Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Man on Film: Worst Films of the Aughts - The Top Five

So here we find ourselves, staring down at an abysmal five films. The honorable mentions and the bottom half of the top ten have been covered. It's time to put the waders on because we've got a veritable stream of shit to make our way through.

5. The Master of Disguise - 2002

Every person I have ever met with Down Syndrome has been absolutely delightful to be around. Their disposition generally makes me feel bad for being such an awful person, and the thought has certainly crossed my mind that I'd be a lot happier if I had Down Syndrome. As much as I might like people with Down Syndrome, I don't really want to see a movie conceived by them, and that's the only explanation I can think of for the existence of The Master of Disguise.

There was a time when Dana Carvey, much like Billy Crystal (who we spoke about in the first installment), was considered funny. In retrospect, was the Church Lady that funny? Was Opportunity Knocks the high point of the 1990 comedic film docket?

Hindsight is 20/20. Seeing him go on the late night talk show circuit in the past ten years has just been sad, with each host tossing up incredibly lame softballs to let Carvey bust out his 20-year-old impressions.

This movie is a Dana Carvey star-vehicle at least eight years later than such a thing ever should have happened. If the picture above doesn't drive my point home, then here is the trailer:

I assure you, this movie is as dumb as it looks. I had to watch it at work once with some kids. I couldn't leave the TV room.

I should have quit that job when faced with the likeliness that I was going to have to watch it...

4. X-Men: The Last Stand - 2006

Now unlike many who took great offense to this film, I didn't actually care for the first of the three X-Men movies. It seemed like Singer & Co. tried to fit way too much into the film, the film lacked a narrative focus and direction, and the selection of X-Men for inclusion in the first film seemed a bit off to me. Add some questionable casting decisions (read: Anna Paquin as Rogue and James Marsden as Scott Summers) into the mix, and I came out of the theater very underwhelmed (definitely less than whelmed).

The second film in the series, however, was outstanding. Were I to make a list of the best superhero flicks ever, it would be in the top five* with ease. So when Brett Ratner's name was attached to direct, it became clear the film-going public would be the ones to pay.

*I think Spider-Man 2 was better and would probably place Batman Begins and The Dark Knight ahead of X2, but that's it.

Just how much they were going to have to pay would be impossible to imagine without actually seeing the film. To sum it up succinctly, Bryan Singer is having to be brought back on board after essentially being run off when he agreed to do Superman Returns and they are having to do an origins flick with Charles Xavier in his 20s.

Yes, X-Men: The Last Stand is that awful. The plot is paper thin. There is no set-up for anything that happens. It meanders from scene to scene with little regard for keeping the audience involved. Largely it is a film with set pieces around which a story is loosely tacked on. If it were a stand-alone movie it would be awful on its own merits. Given that it follows such a great film and essentially shits all over the goodwill that was built up in the second film makes its release a travesty.

Adding insult to injury, Ratner sees fit to anticlimacticly kill off characters that the majority of the audience has at least a decade of involvement with going back to the comic books and multiple cartoon randomly throughout the film, thus fucking the franchise going forward. The performances of all but Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Ellen Page (shockingly, but more on that later) range from mailed in to abysmal.

*Can someone please tell me how Shawn Ashmore continues to get work?

It was obvious when Brett Ratner, the 'brains' behind the Rush Hour franchise was signed to direct the third installment that it was going to be awful, but no amount of reshooting was going to save this film, Marvel Entertainment. You should have given this film the third-term, partial-birth abortion it warranted and just gone back to the drawing board with a competent director at the helm. Instead, we all get this, and you will find yourselves scrambling to dig out of this hole for years to come. I hope you're satisfied.

3. Southland Tales - 2006

It may be hard to remember, but there was a time when the entire film world was buzzing about Richard Kelly. Donnie Darko had worked up a feverish cult following on DVD after having had an unfortunate release concurrent with 9/11. Kelly's script for Domino was snatched up by Tony Scott, who proceeded to make a film that failed to crack a 6.0 user rating on IMDB, but eager fans chalked that up to the director not the scribe. We waited anxiously for Southland Tales, which from everything we heard was going to be enormous in scope--so big, in fact, that there were going to be a series of graphic novels that would come out beforehand to lay the groundwork for his magnum opus.

But the reaction was so overwhelmingly bad that I was was scared off until video where I watched as a mutual dare/suicide pact. This was my response after seeing it (when this blog was still clumsily walking a line lacking the requisite focus to have a semi-decent following):
Now hopefully (for you), the quote in the title is unfamiliar. If it does ring a bell, I'm sorry. That line is said not once, not twice, but three times in the most incomprehensible film ever made. Based on what the filmmaker said, this was a film that was supposed to be all things. Comedy. Thriller. Satire. Action film. What it ends up being is an utter piece of garbage.

The 'it' of which I speak is Southland Tales, and trust me, you do not want to see it.

Going in, the Old Lady, J-Bone, and I knew that we were about to watch a movie that was reportedly bad. That being said, I think we all were fairly open-minded and were expecting to find at least a few redeeming qualities. What we were treated to was essentially what would happen if Brett Ratner's ambitious, half-tard brother made an homage to Brazil. A disaster.

And all of us liked Donnie Darko. Sure it was convoluted and had some plot holes, but it was still enjoyable at the very least.

Southland Tales is anything but enjoyable. It clocks in at 2:15 (maybe more, my brain was hurting a lot by the time the movie was over), and I can safely say that there was only one scene that was actually good--and the faux domestic disturbance between Wood Harris and Amy Poehler was hilarious only because of my boy Avon Barksdale's gesticulating. The rest of the film is basically a series of events that take place involving characters leading up to this huge explosion, only there is absolutely no tension, and even if you are following what's going on and can makes sense of it there is simply nothing of any interest whatsoever.

I wanted to walk out of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 after about half an hour. I wanted to shoot myself after about fifteen minutes of Southland Tales. I guess I wasn't much of a pimp.

But I did finish the piece of shit, so I guess there's that.
This movie was completely and utterly worthless. If you need a reminder, here's the trailer:

I mean, Jesus Christ, he wasted The Rock and the opportunities that should have arisen from having Sarah Michelle Gellar play a porn star.

2. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - 2008

Cinematically speaking, this film comes as close to travelling back in time and raping your 12-year-old self as anything else could. It's like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg got together and decided that they were going to tie you down into a chair, murder your boyhood dog, and then skullfuck its corpse.

When trying to come up with anything positive to say about IJ:KoCS when initially reviewing it, I could only muster the following:
Shit script aside, there really isn't a lot to like about this film. Shia LaBeouf did what he could with a crap role loaded with cliche-ridden, greaser dialogue. Cate Blanchett's hair looked good. There's something about Ray Winstone I generally like, I guess.
This film single-handedly ruined a treasured (perhaps unjustly so) franchise from twenty years ago, ushered a new phrase into the pop-culture lexicon to augment and possibly rival "jumping the shark" ("nuking the fridge"), and made grown men cry. It gave us a leaden, humorless, and geriatric Indiana Jones complete with a horrible Harrison Ford performance that probably would have been better suited for the portion of Regarding Henry just after he is shot but before he starts to get his bearings about him. There are child-pandering transgressions here that are far more egregious than Jar-Jar Binks and the Ewoks combined, like the moronic vine-swinging sequence.

In short, fuck this movie.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Dead Man's Chest - 2006

I wrote the following diatribe on IMDB within hours of walking out of the theater:
This film is like having a fat man who ate at IHOP run a marathon and then drop a diarrhea dump on your chest and proceed to use your face as toilet paper

I should preface this review by saying that I was indifferent as to how I might feel about this film going into it. I thought the first film was fairly good. It was entertaining, but nothing that made me yearn for a second one. That being said, I hadn't read a review of this film (and still haven't) and had only heard that it had received mixed reviews. I had tempered expectations going into the theater, but I was certainly open to a good time.

A good time was not had. This film was quite simply awful. I have not seen anything in a long time that made me marvel at the fact that it was actually the finished product of a gigantic summer film churned out by a Hollywood Studio. I saw X-Men 3. While that was dreadful, this was eons past X3 in terms of excrement put to celluloid.

The plot was akin to a second-grader's class project. There was zero character development and not a single moment in which you thought you were seeing an original thought projected onto the screen. While it is a sequel, at some point the things that happen to the characters should matter, and if something bad happens to a character, the events that have molded him or her to that point should affect the audience somehow. Instead, the tools responsible for this screenplay have events happen without emotionally investing the audience in any way, shape, or form as to the fate of the characters on-screen, simply hoping that writing an event will somehow tug at the heart-strings of the audience without ever having to earn it.

I don't know that it is entirely the filmmakers' fault, because it seems that Verbinski & Co. were tied to some P.O.S. script that was churned out in a matter of days to get the cameras rolling, so Disney could bend the movie-goer over and sodomize them while getting paid for it. In the place of an actual story, they were probably told to blow up the film with mind-numbing action sequences and lame special effects.

To add insult to injury, the film clocks in at a mere two-and-a-half hours, which for a film with a plot wouldn't bother me in the least, but when you can write out the entire plot of this film in a matter of moments, seeing that paper-thin storyline stretched into 150 minutes is unbearable.

I could even make an exception to all of the aforementioned gripes and say that there was something in the film worthwhile if there was one performance from the cast that was mildly amusing. Alas, there is not. The actors all seem to have mailed it in, including Depp, who had a single chuckle-worthy moment as a follow-up to an Oscar-nominated turn in the previous Pirates outing.

***********SPOILER ALERT*************** When it comes down to it, all you'll get from this film is an obscenely long prologue to Pirates of the Caribbean 3: The Search for Spock--I mean Jack, because the entire plot of this atrocious piece of refuse is enough to fill a mere introduction to a real story.

Now, as one could imagine, I did not bother with the third, At World's End. I am sure that it would make the list, but one of these is enough.

I still feel like I did when I wrote that. This was a wretched film. This was, by far, the worst movie of this past decade, and it's not even close.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...