If it's crap ... We'll tell you
I finally got around to watching all the movies I feel were necessary to watch in order to come up with a good "worst of" list for 2010. I wasn't quite as determined to see every bad film this year as I was last year, but I still was probably seeking out more atrocities than I should have been. I'm not sure why I put myself through them, but I feel you can't really say you didn't like a movie until you watch it. And I also don't like to walk out of a movie (or turn it off) before it's finished. You never know how a movie is until you've seen the entire thing. All of the following I have watched in their entirety and I feel deserve to be on this list. It is going to be biased because it is MY list. These are the films I felt were the worst of the year.
Every year there's one movie that is just goes way beyond being simply "bad" that it circles around and becomes great. Last year, it was STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI mainly due to the awesomely (probably intentionally) awful performance by Chris Klein. This year it's SKYLINE. SKYLINE, directed by "The Brothers Strauss" (a name they dubbed themselves which tells you how highly they think of themselves, the Coen Brothers never called themselves the Coen Brothers, everyone else started that) who previously did ALIEN VS. PREDATOR: REQUIEM, that there should tell you enough.
SKYLINE is an example of how not to film. Everything it tries it does completely wrong. Sure, the special effects are at least decent, but the directors are accomplished special effects artists. They've worked on movies such as AVATAR and the upcoming BATTLE: LOS ANGELES, but as directors, they just can't cut it. The dialogue is hilariously bad and the characters are all unlikable at best.
I can't bring myself to fully hate the movie as it's one of those films that just fails so hard that I couldn't help but to laugh through it. The alien design at times is odd. Every time they grab a person, they get sucked into something that looks either like an anus or a vagina. The final 30 minutes of the movie had me rolling out of my chair. It's just so god awful I couldn't control myself. But what's worse is how they end the movie. They had a perfect ending set up and executed (perfect for the story that is), if they had just cut it at a certain point I could have been all right with it. But they go on for an extra 10 minutes that just makes everything so much worse. And not only does it go on too long and make things much more ridiculous, it cuts it off right as things get interesting and give us still shots of the rest of the story.
I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy myself while watching SKYLINE. I had a lot of fun with it, but it is easily one of the worst films of the year.
9. THE OTHER GUYS
I appreciate a new take on the buddy cop films, but this isn't really where I would have taken it. The reason why there's those buddy cop films like LETHAL WEAPON is they actually are entertaining (for the most part). THE OTHER GUYS takes those entertaining cop films in the form of Dwayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson for about 10 minutes and then gets rid of them so we can spend the rest of the movie with the boring Mark Whalberg and the ever-so annoying Will Farrel. I knew from the trailer it was going to suck, but I wasn't quite sure it was going to be as bad as it was. It's mainly just a borefest with a load of misfired jokes. I can see how people like it, but to me it was just way too juvenile.
8. THE BOUNTY HUNTER
The two worst things you can do with a romantic comedy is miss the comedy and miss the romance. Comedy is almost nonexistent in THE BOUNTY HUNTER. I'm assuming they were trying to make an action-romantic comedy, but that didn't work out so well for FOOL'S GOLD a few years back and it doesn't work out here either. Top that off with the complete lack of chemistry between Gerrard Butler and Jennifer Anniston and a plot that's beyond absurd and you get one of the most boring films of the year. I must have checked my phone for the time every 5 minutes. The action wasn't shot well at all, the jokes all didn't work and the romance between the characters was beyond forced and unbelievable. After a while I just wanted the bad guys to kill them so the movie would be over.
7. JONAH HEX
The best thing about JONAH HEX is the simple fact that it's only 73 minutes and 10 seconds until the "Directed by..." comes up on screen. It felt like WILD WILD WEST 2 (a film I really don't like to talk about). Josh Brolin coming off of MILK falls really far down the totem pole with this turd. From the bad prosthetic on Jonah's face to the fact that his name is uttered at least once every minute, there's not much you can say that this movie did right. The movie's disjointed and feel like they scrounged up the least amount of footage possible while having enough to justify a theatrical release, lazily cut it together and called it a film. John Malkovic is completely wasted and Megan Fox is useless. Even Josh Brolin can't do much as he has to just talk with his teeth closed the entire time due to his make up. To top it all off, it's boring. While SKYLINE was a worse movie, at least it was entertaining with how bad it was.
6. TWILIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE
TWILIGHT SAGA has a nice run going on. So far, every one of them has consecutively made my bottom 10 of the year. All with good reason. While ECLIPSE is easily the best of the series, that's like saying it's the prettiest turd in a pile of crap. The sad thing is that it started out pretty cool. The opening scene involving a guy being hunted down on a dark, rainy night was actually pretty damn cool. It felt like a horror film, but after that ended, the true horror started: A sparkling vampire and a girl with no personality laying in a sun-soaked flower field. I have to give director David Slade credit, he did the absolute best he could with the script and story that he had to work with. The action was actually pretty good and the movie had much better cinematography than the previous two. All the technical aspects of the movie were good, it's just the story and characters suck so hard that it feels all wasted.
5. THE BACK UP PLAN
After a 5 year absence from acting, Jennifer Lopez returns to show us that she hasn't learned a thing about giving a convincing performance. But the movie being on this list isn't her fault, it's the script's fault. Take your typical fantasy romantic comedy, your woman, your perfect guy, the implausible meeting, the two falling for each other, breaking up, and finally getting back together. Put all that in, then throw in some over-the-top pregnancy antics and a cult-like "support group", turn the gauge on everything up to 12 and you got THE BACK UP PLAN. Everything from the meeting, falling in love and even the perfect guy himself is so beyond even the possibility of suspending disbelief that everything just doesn't work. Jennifer Lopez's Zoe goes through the most overly done pregnancy mood swings and antics that even the "perfect man" would be out within the first hour of the film. I'd say if one aspect of the film really destroys it, it's definitely the "Single Mothers and Proud" group. Wow... Just being filled with crazy stereotypes is enough to make it bad, but throw in an Exorcist level birth scene.... I can't even find the words to describe the atrocity.
4. MY SOUL TO TAKE
"From the master of suspense..." Since when was Wes Craven the master of anything? Yeah, he did NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET and SCREAM, but other than that he's been outdone in every aspect. If anything, he owes NIGHTMARE to John Carpenter for HALLOWEEN. I'm not saying Craven is a hack, I'm just saying that the title of "Master of Suspense" is falsely appointed. And what more to prove it with the craptastic MY SOUL TO TAKE. The movie is a complete mess. An intrigueing premise that doesn't get to go very much further than that. The kills are uninspired, the characters are boring and the lack of logic in the film leaves us not really trying to guess "who done it" as much as we're just waiting for it to be all over. I will say though, the best part of the movie is that it killed off the potentially ongoing annoying character off pretty damn quick to everyone's relief. Unfortunately, the rest of the film carried on with such a drag of a pace that we felt like victims ourselves.
3. COP OUT
I remember when Kevin Smith was good. CLERKS is still one of my all time favorite movies and every one of his View Askew movies (except Jersey Girl) I enjoyed on some level. When I saw the trailer for COP OUT, I thought to myself, "It can't be as bad as it looks. It just can't." Well, I was right. It was much worse. Just the simple fact that we have to spend almost the entire film with Tracy Morgan is enough for anyone to want to put a gun to their head. Even Bruce Willis looks ashamed to be standing next to him. The first 10 minutes of the film is "Tracy Morgan Theatre" where he's "interrogating" a suspect by endlessly spewing out movie lines and Bruce Willis is naming off the movie where they're from. It's painful to watch. 1. You don't just quote movie lines without any sort of context, it's not funny. It's like saying "hey, you seen this movie? Haha, it's good isn't it?" There's not punch-line. No joke. 2. When you do make a reference to something, you don't say where it comes from. If you have to do that, then your reference isn't going to work and therefore isn't funny. The rest of the film doesn't get any better. The opening scene pretty much sums up the entire film. If anything did work, it was the brief appearance by Sean William Scott. Kevin Smith is going to have a lot to prove with his next movies before he becomes a joke like M. Night Shayamalan...
2. VAMPIRES SUCK
I didn't think it was possible, but this movie actually made me wish I was watching TWILIGHT instead. VAMPIRES SUCK is by the phenomally succesful duo of Seltzer and Friedberg. They deserve that term "phenominal" because it's truly amazing how successful they are with the utter lack of skill that they possess. They have been riding of the success of being 2 of the 7 writers of the first SCARY MOVIE and haven't learned that what they do isn't funny.
Here's the formula for making a Friedberg/Seltzer movie:
1. Look on IMDB.com for trailers of movies that look like they'll be popular
2. recreate those trailers in front of a camera
3. throw in pop-culture reference as your "jokes"
My friend tried to convince me that the movie isn't that bad because "it's taking everything we say about Twilight and putting it into a movie." I'm sorry, but that's a load of crap. It's not doing anything new, infact, it's taking what a 12 year old can come up with and calling it their own. Aside from the TWILIGHT jokes, you got mindless and irrelevant pop-culture references that serve no purpose and have no punch lines. "who are they?" "j-wow, ....." "no, not the douche-bags from the Jersey Shore" *cut to 5 second shot of Jersey Shore look alikes posing in underwear* NOT FUNNY! I'm really not sure what's worse, the movies themselves, or the people who find this stuff funny. Either Seltzer and Friedberg are complete morons, or they're the most brilliant guys on the planet. I'm more inclined to think the former as they actually think what they are doing are masterpieces.
1. THE LAST AIRBENDER
I saw this movie twice. Once in theatres before I saw the show and once at home after I watched the show. Both times I thought the movie was an epic failure. But the reason it made the worst movie on my list is because I watched the show and fell in love with how amazing it was. The movie had potential, it was just put into the wrong hands. While we can all point fingers at M. Night for this, I have to point the blame towards Nickelodeon and Warner Brothers for allowing M. Night Shayamalamadingdong for getting a hold of such a great and beloved property. I'm not entirely sure when it happened, by M. Night has seemed to forgotten how to write as well as direct. He shows that he does have some good ideas with his movies but he lacks execution. But THE LAST AIRBENDER just goes all out in unimaginative filmmaking that it's mind-boggling. With a show so amazing, how can you make a movie so boring? If it weren't AIRBENDER, it wouldn't be my #1 worst film, but it would still make the list. For the simple fact that M. Night could almost destroy a franchise from ever seeing a proper big-screen development is unforgivable.
Hopefully in about 7-10 years we can see a younger film maker who grew up with the show and has some directing chops bring the show to the big screen with the love and respect it deserves, but until then, at least we still have the cartoon.