January 4, 2011

2010 Year in Review: Bottom 10 Movies

I see a lot of movies in a theater each year, probably too many. Every so often I try to avoid the stinkers, but there are just too many and I see too many. The problem with that is that it makes compiling this bottom list all too easy. One year I would like to do an awesome job of avoiding bad movies in such a way as to make this list a little bit challenging. Somehow, I don't think that is going to happen. In any case, let's take a look at the movies that sank to the bottom of my theatrical viewing list. It's not going to be pretty.

Let's do this in reverse fashion to leave the worst movie I saw theatrically this year a surprise.

10. Faster. What a mess. Seriously. What should have been an energetic blast of violent revenge turned into a slow motion slog filled with extraneous characters and fuzzy purpose. I just hope this doesn't put a stop to Dwayne Johnson's action career, as I truly believe he has what it takes to be a big time action star. This just fails to deliver much of anything. This could have been a great action/revenge picture.

9. The Last Airbender. What a terribly frustrating movie. The story only gathers any steam as it comes to a close, the screenplay is awful, the performances are awful, and it is so much squandered potential. M. Night Shyamalan is a terribly frustrating filmmaker. He has a great eye and some of the images he gets here are great. It's too bad the rest is so bad.

8. Jonah Hex. It is amazing that Josh Brolin can star in two Western-related films and have tem be so vastly different in quality (the other being True Grit). This comic book adaptation is a post-Civil War supernatural romp that has nothing to say and wants to be oh so cool as it does it. The movie just does not hold water. The focus is nonexistent, none of the characters feel like they are in the same movie. The scenes just stop as new ones begin, there is no connective tissue. It has a bizarre dream sequence with a fight on red sand. There is an appearance by an Indian tribe that has nothing to do with anything else. The bad  guy tells Hex he wants him to watch his family die and then closes the door. Ugh.

7. Grown Ups. I wonder what the purpose was for this movie. It offered no insights into the nature of long lasting friendship or balancing family and friends, or even about correcting the mistakes of the past for the children of the future. Granted, I never really expected anything nearly so lofty in the first place. I wondered where the laughs were. Aside from a couple of chuckles I did not find this to be all that funny. Much of the humor was mean spirited, humorless, and ultimately took us nowhere. This was friends on vacation who brought a camcorder.

6. Shrek Forever After. It is not really fun. It is not particularly exciting. The laughs are few and far between. I just was not enthralled with the story. It felt dark, serious, and more heady than a film that is ostensibly for children should be. The series always had a quotient that was there for the adults, but the pendulum swung a little too far in that direction this time around. As heady and insightful as it wants to be regarding maturing relationships and the changes and conflicts that go with it, it doesn't have anything new to say. So, they robbed the series of its fun and replaced it with something wholly different and, dare I say, unwanted. I don't care if I ever see these characters again.

5. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Do you want to know what the best part is? The end credits so that I could leave. I kid, I kid. I have seen many more worse films, this one was just boring when it should have been breezy, too fast when it should have slowed down a tick, and spoofy when it should have been satirical.

4. The Black Waters of Echo's Pond. What if Jumanji was a horror movie made by people who didn't know what they were doing? Well, watch this movie and find out. Especially watch this if you want to be bored to sleep. This is not good from any angle. Genre fans can feel free to take a pass on this one.

3. The Bounty Hunter. This is a dull, laugh-less, lifeless affair that really was not necessary. Granted, the majority of films made are not necessary, but this pushes it to the next level. It is a romantic comedy with some action that is built out of all the cliches of the genre. At no point does it make any attempt to bust free of the cliche. There is no ambition in the screenplay, it feels almost like like a mad-lib of common genre cliches, fill in the blanks and let the studio take over. Quite frankly, I was bored with the whole thing and would have just as happy to have taken a nap.

2. Cop Out. The first film directed by Kevin Smith that he did not write. Coincidence that it is also his worst? I cannot say. What I can say is that the funny stuff is in the trailer, the laughs are very, very few, there is no heart and the characters are annoying. I am a Smith fan but I was glad when it was over.

1. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. I sat in the theater for more than two hours waiting for something to happen. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting some more. Nothing. As I walked out, I heard fans behind me talking about how epic it was how it was their favorite movie ever. I swear, I had this pained grimace on my face that I am sure would choose to differ with them. There are legion who will disagree with me. If you like this, I am happy for you. I'm just glad to not have stroked out in the darkness. Also, not the Photoshopped-within-an-inch-of-their-lives Village of the Damned-gaze poster.... creepy...

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