January 20, 2009

The Worst of 2008

Well, with all great things, there must follow the crap. For every great movie that came out in 2008, it seemed like there was an atrocity to go with it. There were some serious cases of sequel fatigue, bad adaptations, and less then average remakes being thrown at audiences this year. So, without further ado, allow me to bury the stake into the hearts of these abominations. Send flowers, if you wish. 

Top 5 Worst Films


4. The Spirit: On paper, it's flawless. Technically dead cop runs around city, beating the crap out of bad guys, and seducing every woman he meets. Too bad director Frank Millar screwed up so monumentally. All the actors, with the exception of Samuel L. Jackson, are all so monotone that, if it weren't for the cool style of the movie, you would be in danger of falling asleep. With the additions of a lackluster plot and anticlimactic ending, The Spirit is the one blemish on a near flawless year for comic book adaptations. 

3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Jesus Christ, George Lucas! What the hell have you done to Star Wars? What is this unholy mess that you have delivered on to us? Why do the characters look like and behave as they were carved out of wood? Why is the plot a throwaway? Why must you continue to attempt to squeeze every last ounce of credibility from this franchise? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Mr. Lucas, apologize! Seriously, get on your knees, and apologize. NOW!

2. Twilight: Fine! Cheap shot, but I don't care. Regardless whether you bought into the hype like pretty much everyone I know, or remained skeptical like me, you cannot deny that Twilight did not meet expectations. Wooden performances from both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, bad special effects, and an incredibly depressing color palette all add up to make this one uninspired piece of vampire fiction. Everyone plays this on one horrendously annoying note of teenage angst, that I half expected them to start singing something for Spring Awakening. Here's to New Moon changing my perception of this franchise, but I wouldn't bet on it. 

1. Max Payne: Here's a movie that actually offended me with it's laziness. Yes, I know it's based off a video game, and yes, I am aware of the curse that usually brings on movies of this genre, but, come on. Max Payne had the potential to be a legitimately great movie; the source material certainly would allow that. The game on which the movie is based told a great story, and had some really awesome action set pieces. The movie told a bland story loosely adapted from the game, and had some incredibly boring action scenes. It doesn't help that Mark Whalberg gives quite possibly the worst performance of his career. This is a terrible movie. Avoid it, aggressively!

Worst Directors

5. Catherine Hardwike for Twilight: It comes as no surprise that Catherine Hardwike has been fired by the studio to direct New Moon. She did not do a good job with Twilight. The wooden acting, cliche ridden script, and bad special effects can all be attributed to Mrs. Hardwike. She should return to making mature, adult movies, like Lords of Dogtown

4. John Moore for Max Payne: Moore doesn't get completely shafted here for one reason. Normally directing the worst film of the year would merit you the top spot on this countdown, but, he doesn't get it. Boo hoo, right? No, Moore is not the worst director of the year because he managed to make a bad film, but make it look really pretty. Sure, the performances sucked, that action was boring, the story was terrible, but the movie looked great. So, congrats Mr. Moore. You have shown us that you can make a beautiful piece of shit. But don't let it go to your head.

3. Steven Speildberg for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: I got a lot of crap from the masses when I recommended Indy 4 a few months ago. Looking back, I'm beginning to realize that it was well deserved. Yes, masses, you were right. Indy 4 was incredibly sub par compared to it's three older siblings; it was just a case of blissful nostalgia that made me tell you to go out and see it. Speildberg loads the screen with his usual, supremely good special effects, but it doesn't have the same effect of awe as it did in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Speildberg doesn't do a terrible job here. Just the fact that he managed to essentially ruin the fantastic franchise nets him the third spot. 

2. DJ Caruso for Eagle Eye: Sure, he knows how to film an action scene, but he does so in a way that gives me the impression that he is trying to emulate a certain someone a little too much. I'm all for someone be inspired by a director, but blatantly copying them? I have no sympathy. 

1. Rob Cohen for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: This movie was came so close to making the list above, but it's director is number 1. Why? Because all of the other directors on this list had some redeeming qualities that they brought to their movies. Rob Cohen has no such qualities. Right off the bat, you realize you are in for one hellish trip. All the performances suck, the special effects are terrible, and the violence is monotonous and stupid. If Cohen had brought something new to this franchise, then I may have felt a bit more sympathetic. As it stands, he successfully killed all the good will I had towards Brendan Fraser and ruined what was a pretty cool series. Well done, Mr. Cohen. Well done indeed. 

Worst Performances

5. The Entire Cast The Spirit: Yeah, that's right. I can't pick out one wrong doer from the insipid pile of tripe that was The Spirit. For the record, I'm excluding Samuel L. Jackson from this list, because he was actually damn entertaining as the villain. I can't say the same for the rest. Gabriel Macht is bland as the title character. Sarah Paulson just comes off as stupid. Scarlett Johansson gave one her worst performances ever. And all Eva Mendes contributed to the project was disrobing for a few seconds of PG-13 nudity. I hate the MPAA.

4. Robert Pattinson for Twilight: Jesus Christ, shut up. I hated Twilight; get over it. Everything about the movie sucked, except Kristen Stewart, and that's why she's not on this list. Robert Pattinson is a talented fellow, he showed us that much in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and this is not a good example of it. Like I said, you know you have problems when all you can think about the male lead is how white his skin is. A word of advice Robert; when you see a one note role, ADD NOTES!

3. Mark Whalberg for Max Payne: Mark Whalberg plays a cop on the edge in this video game adaptation. How does he go about this? By not smiling for an hour and a half. Oscar level work, this is not. Whalberg had a career low year with this, and The Happening, but he was actually OK in that M. Night Shamaylan crap fest. In Max Payne? No such luck. I'm not gonna reiterate my rant on this movie again; I don't have the energy. Just know that Whalberg hit an all time low, and that's saying something. This is the man, after all, who headlined the awful Truth About Charlie remake.

2. Brendan Fraser for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: He was the one bright spot in Mummy 3, but that's like saying the one ripe piece of flesh on the completely rotten apple is an edible piece of fruit. Don't think to much about that simile; I certainly didn't. Fraser repeats the same shtick he used in the last two entries into the series. You can't help but feeling a lingering sense of fatigue and boredom about the whole thing. His sarcastic remarks and snarky comments were pretty witty in the first Mummy. Now, they're just stupid. Look, he gets outstaged by a group of CGI yetis. Probably time to call it a day.

1. Maria Bello for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor: If there was performance that was sinfully bad, where it is obvious that it was only done for the money, it's Maria Bello in Mummy 3. Not only does she deliver one of the worst British accents ever heard, she manages to destroy all the pent love I had for her from her performances in The Cooler, A History of Violence, and World Trade Center. When you think about it, that is a monumental achievement, seeing as how spectacular she was in those movies. She has probably since learned her lesson and will never sell out on us like that again, but it won't matter. The damage is done. 

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