January 19, 2008

2007 at the Movies, Part II: The Worst of the Year

Welcome to the second part of my 2007 retrospective. Part one took a look at what made 2007 an excellent year for the movies. Yes, it is true 2007 was a good year for movies, but it was not without its share of stinkers, what year is? Not only that, there were a decent amount of big screen disappointments that may not be outright bad movies, but they certainly failed to live up to their hype. So, below are two lists. The first will be the outright stinkers that I laid out cash for, followed by a list of disappointments. Without further adieu, let's just jump right into the lists.

First up, the worst films that I witnessed on the big screen.

Worst of 2007:

1. Epic Movie. Wow. It is amazing that stuff like this actually gets made. Beyond that, can someone tell me why I insisted on putting out money to see it? The "creative" behind this movie obviously do not know what funny is. The best part? Someone has allowed them to continue inflicting their "humor" on society with the upcoming Meet the Spartans.

2. Delta Farce. Here is a question, did the makers of this mess actually think they were making a funny movie? Also, you have to realize that taking Larry the Cable Guy off the stand up stage and his funny quotient deteriorates rather quickly.

3. Norbit. Eddie Murphy playing a woman in a fat suit, just what we all needed. Aside from Eddie Griffin and Katt Williams there is nothing funny in this movie. It is offensive and laughably bad.

4. Mr. Bean's Holiday. Bean is a character best taken in small doses. Even then, those small doses should not come from this movie. All this movie succeeds at is being boring, dumb, and completely uneventful.

5. Happily N'Ever After. One thing becomes abundantly clear the more you see of this movie. It was apparent that the title wasn't just a clever title - it was indicative of the lack of fun it contained. Rehashed jokes that don't land and the energy was as leaden as the story turned out to be.

6. The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. In short, this is not a good movie. Fans of Susan Cooper will already know this. In the end it doesn't matter if you are a fan of the book or not, you will be falling asleep or struggling to figure out what the purpose of this was.

7. Blood & Chocolate. I have to recommend that this one be skipped. It just is not all that interesting, blandly written, poorly acted, and to top it off, they do something in the film that I wouldn't mind doing to this print. They burn some film for the silver. Sounds like a good idea.

8. I Know Who Killed Me. This was just a poor movie. It was pieced together in a maddening fashion, the acting was sub par, the screenplay didn't click, and in the end you are left wondering "why?" This genre bender seeks to bring the torture porn horror sub-genre into contact with the serial killer thriller by way of this graphic psychological thriller. Sounds good, but it's not.

9. Perfect Stranger. Looking for a way to waste an evening? Do you like films that lack any pretense of believability? Do you like having everything explained in the final minutes of a movie? Do you enjoy movies that are all about the plot, even when the plot doesn't know where it's going? If so, Perfect Stranger may be the perfect movie for you. Otherwise, avoid it at all costs.

10. Slow Burn. Shot in 2003, this overly convoluted thriller is finally saw the light of day in 2007. It probably should have been relegated to the direct-to-DVD market. It sets up an interesting tale of identity, both racial and personal, but quickly slips into a cheap knockoff of Christopher McQuarrie's infinitely superior Usual Suspects.

Biggest Disappoints. of 2007 (no particular order):

1. Spider-Man 3. What a disappointment this was. The first was a very good adaptation of the character and the second film took the genre to new heights. Then this came out and it felt like all the good will that was built up in the first two was thrown out the window in favor of attempting to create the wow factor. Could this drop off be due to director Sam Raimi picking up the pen and co-writing the script? One wonders...

2. Shrek the Third. This movie was just tedious. It was dragged out, not funny, and rather boring. They went off the rails as direction was lost and the original idea of the fractured fairy tale slipped away into the night leaving behind a shell of what it once was.

3. American Gangster. This was not a bad film, but considering the talent involved I expected much more. When the film ended I could not help but feel that surface had barely been scratched. It was like a boiled down version of Coppola, Scorsese, or Diploma.

4. The Golden Compass. So much promise right down the drain. It was like the studio decided to suck the soul out of the novel and regurgitate the remainder onto the screen, with amped up effects to help make it more palatable to a wide audience. Little did they know that we actually like substance.

5. Evan Almighty. I do like the positive intentions behind the film, but the execution is just awful. There is no substance to latch onto, no humor, no excitement, nothing. The script was an original work that was bastardized into a new form to fit the sequel mold while also removing the heart and spirit.

6. War. Jet Li versus Jason Statham? This should have been an action classic. Unfortunately, they give away the story very early on, and for an action film, they sure seemed to forget the action. Plus, the much anticipated one on one was brief and anti-climactic.

7. The Invasion. The latest take on the classic body-snatching tale is a mess that doesn't know what it wants to be. Sure, it is entertaining but it has no staying power. It is no secret that the film was monkeyed with by the studio and I have no doubt that this helped drag the final film down.

8. 30 Days of Night. Talk about wasted potential. There was some nice cinematography and a healthy dose of blood, but the logic boggles the mind. At one point I actually thought that a reel was skipped.

9. Hannibal Rising. The continuity with the rest of the franchise seems to be at odds with this film. It does not feel like a Hannibal movie. The funny thing is that this flick seems to be exactly like Batman, that is, if Batman chose to kill people and eat the occasional lizard.

10. AVP-R. Well, it is better than the original film, but there are still issues. Firstly, the humans are boring, next is that the film has horrible geography, and third, there is no suspense or horror. It was nice to see some blood and the creature designs were better, but there was still a lot to be desired.

Special Jury Prize:
This special award is to give some notice to a film that was such a complete and utter cinematic mess that it transcended its badness and entered an area that few filmmakers dare tread. It goes to a film that is so epic in scope and ambitous in execution that it is hard to be ignored. For as bad as it is, it deserves credit for attempting to be something special. That film is none other than Richard Kelly's Southland Tales. It is not a good movie, not by a longshot. However, for as bad as it is, it was made with love. Richard Kelly's effort can be likened to Ed Wood's efforts, shots, scenes, and movies made by someone who was in absolute love with what he was making, regardless of its actual quality. Southland Tales is definitely worth spending some time with so you can see just how the ideas come together in this trainwreck. Enjoy.

And with that, we are done with the worst of the year. Keep on the lookout for part three.


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