January 8, 2007

2006 at the Movies Part II: My Bottom Ten

Going to the movies can be a painful experience. As much as I would like to hope that everything I go to is going to be entertaining, there are many, many films that do not have much to offer. 2006 had its share of bad movies. Fortunately, I do not regret seeing any of them. I can take a little pain in order to better serve my faithful readers. I try to remain positive, every movie has its fans, every movie has something to offer, even if it only serves to show how not to make a movie.

What you are about to read is a list of the 10 films that landed unceremoniously at the bottom of my rankings for 2006. I have to say that it was not all that difficult to boil down my stew of films to the essence of bad. Well, the bad doesn't really need all that much introduction. Read on and see what films you can safely avoid, unless you like inflicting your eyes with the potentially pain inducing sight of these films.

1. Basic Instinct 2. Simply the worst. Sharon Stone must be getting desperate for a paycheck to do this. There is nothing sexy about it, nothing thrilling, nothing intriguing. This is a sequel that no one needed, and no one wanted. What can I say, this was just a dull movie. The story moved on a straight line to a conclusion that was not satisfying. The highly touted eroticism and Stone's full monty was nothing terribly exciting. It was a film that did not get anything right, an obnoxious score, laughable dialogue and poor acting are the highlights. And to think, Sharon is considering directing a second sequel.

2. Date Movie. Terrible. There is only one reason to go near this, and that is the lovely Alyson Hannigan. This is just flat out not funny, all they do is mimic scenes from other films and never take them anywhere or connect them in any worthwhile fashion. It is becoming aparent that the spoof comedy is losing the creativity and spunk that was exhibited back in the days of Airplane and Naked Gun. This is proof that advertising yourself as being from two of the six writers of Scary Movie is not necessarily a good thing to brag about. And to think, they have another one coming out this month, Epic Movie. I can't hardly wait.

3. The Return. When the PR machine has to tell you that this isn't The Grudge 2 you know you're in for a bad time. Sarah Michelle Gellar stars in this bore fest that goes nowhere, and not terribly quickly at that. It is a story that has characters appear and disappear for no particular reason, there are no scares, no ingenuity, and is just a poor experience all around. Trying to write about it is a chore as you are left with mere scattershot ideas of just what they were trying to do. The best thing to do is just skip it altogether. Although, it does have an fantastic poster.

4. The Covenant. It takes a lot of talent to make a movie this bad. Whoever tells you that people who make bad movies have no talent, do not believe them. It merely takes the right combination of will power and alignment of stars to come together for this type of output. This could just as easily have been called Supernatural 90210. If your thing is watching twenty-somethings, playing high school kids, walking around with an air of self importance, while ultimately doing nothing, then this is the movie for you. I went in with low expectations, and even they were not met.

5. Turistas. The posters say Turistas Go Home, I say moviegoers stay home. The marketing made it out to be another film in the tradition of Saw and Hostel. Indeed it was related to that pedigree, for better or worse. For those looking for splash of the red stuff would be best to look elsewhere, for those looking for a good movie, don't even bother considering this mess. Unless you are an absolute hardcore fan of the genre, or one of the contained actors, this is one you can scratch off of the must see list. Turistas is devoid of scares, thrills, and gore, merely a stand-in until something better comes along.

6. An American Haunting. Avoid this movie, unless you are suffering from insomnia. There is no purpose for this story, as it stands. There are nuggets that could have been a good base for a fictional film. The talents of the cast are wasted, and the direction is terribly lackluster. The only reason to even consider this would be the nice looking cinematography. Otherwise, avoid this stinker like the plague. It is based on the true story of the Bell Witch, but I still don't feel as if I had learned anything about the actual event.

7. Deck the Halls. I really should have known better. Deck the Halls does nothing to spread seasonal cheer, it does not embody the spirit of the holiday. It is a movie that sucks the life out and makes a weak attempt to stop the hemmoraghing at the end with a half hearted climax which brings everyone together. This is the kind of movie that makes you loathe the holiday movie season. It is a movie that is devoid of heart and soul, it grinds the holiday season down to a competition of lights. It presents a story in a town of some alternate universe, probably also inhabited by the Kranks of Christmas with the Kranks (which made last year's worst list), populated with paper thin characters and the superficial cliches of the season.

8. When a Stranger Calls. Completely pointless thriller. Director Simon West takes a break from the slick action films he started with to make a side trek into the genre du jour of horror thriller remakes. This isn't exactly a mess so much as it just doesn't matter in the scheme of remakes, or in terms of the story. There is a distinct lack of suspense and reason for happening. I do like to have some sort of connection between the characters, this flick provides none, so the big reveal at the end is rendered meaningless. Whoops, did I just give it away? Sorry. Well, one less reason for you to bother with it.

9. RV. You are about to enter the Twilight Zone, a place where movies bring with them a strange sense of familiarity, but the faces are different. That was how I felt the further into this movie I got. I know I had seen something like this before, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then it dawned on me, this could have been known as Colorado Vacation, or perhaps Vacation Camper. Whichever way you slice it, this is a Vacation movie with a different cast and different names. A movie where Robin Williams has revealed his inner Chevy Chase. The movie was not really offensive, it was just dull. The story just plodded on, everyone knew where it was heading so there were no real surprises. Williams seems awfully restrained here, there is very little life to his performance, which is a shame.

10. Eragon. Every once in a while a movie comes along that you know is bad, but you don't realize just how completely awful it is until days later. Sometimes you just need some time to think it through and talk it out with some others who have seen it. The movie feels incomplete, sections of story are mysteriously missing and the flow feels off. It is a half baked retread of what has come before, if you have seen Star Wars or Lord of the Rings you have seen a better version of this. The effects and sets are good, but not enough to save it.

That about wraps it up. Ten movies you would do best to avoid. Hopefully, I have saved at least one of you a few bucks. If you are more discerning than I with your cinematic dollar, skip all of these movies and take a look at my Top Ten list for better avenues to spend that dollar.


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