Sunday, December 20, 2009

Man on Film: Worst Films of the Aughts - Honorable Mention

When getting down to the business of compiling decade's end lists, there is the obvious issue that there is no way for the writer to have seen all of the films released in that window of time. So while this list will obviously be incomplete for that reason, I can say that I have seen a fuckload of movies over the past ten years.

Now in most places doing these lists, you'll find a best-of list pounded out by some fanboy eliciting arguments from other fanboys about how Oldboy should have been higher than Audition or how the Lord of the Rings trilogy should have held the top three spots (even though it wasn't even the best trilogy of the decade). Obviously, my list would have been Rambo and then everything else, and where's the suspense in that?

Putting together a list of the worst movies of the decade is a lot more fun, and you know it.

Now since we're talking about awful movies, it will be hard for me to dial back the language to an even remotely family friendly standard, so if you are sensitive to harsh language, this is the post that you should probably avoid. There is also the obvious shortcoming of not having seen movies like Daddy Day Camp, Malibu's Most Wanted, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, White Chicks, Dracula 2000, Wild Hogs, Saw VI, or The Love Guru*, so this list will be mostly comprised of movies that it will have made sense for someone to have seen. This means that these films had some sort of expectation of being more than they were, meaning they failed much more than a Jamie Kennedy star vehicle, which was obviously going to suck from Jump Street.

*There is also the curious phenomenon of the Tyler Perry catalog. I saw 20 minutes of Madea Goes To Jail and was horrified. I'm not sure what to make of these films and how they would fall into this list. Don't get me wrong that 20 minutes was painful and transvestism for comedic effect rarely works, but I wonder if it's really worth my time to write anything about them. And if I did, I would be afraid that my favorite person to make the BALCO investigation list would come after me...

It also should be noted that I have not seen From Justin to Kelly, Crash, Van Helsing, or either of the Fantastic Four films--all of which I fully believe would contend for spots on this list. I have seen the first 20 minutes of Norbit, and I am confident that it would make the top two if I had been able to finish it. Unfortunately for this list, fate and work intervened, and I have not seen the entire film.

I also feel like there is a very good chance that I will hate Avatar and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, both of which come out as the Aughts come to an end.

Without further ado, here is the list of the Worst Movies of the Aughts...

Honorable Mention:

These films were all terrible in their own right. They just do not happen to have been so bad as to make the cut.

America's Sweethearts - 2001

Holy shit. There was a time when Billy Crystal was funny. Seriously. Well, he co-wrote and co-starred in this shit heap. It starred Julia Roberts (who only Steven Soderbergh can coax a remotely bearable performance out of) and Catherine Zeta-Jones (who sucks outright), stacking the deck on the "this is going to blow" side of the argument from the get-go, but also managed to make the inherently likable John Cusack come across as unsympathetically whiny.

Battlefield Earth - 2000

Do I really need to say anything about this? If this came out more recently, maybe this would crack the top ten. If I hadn't missed 45 minutes of it while a roommate was watching it on cable, it might make the top of the list. Having missed one-third of the film did not dull the pain enough to have BE not make this list.

Death Proof (The Grindhouse cut) - 2007

So I'm cheating a little bit here, but there is no fucking way I was going to sit through the director's cut that meant I was going to get to hear more shameless name-dropping of Austin landmarks and poorly written dialogue for female characters. The car sequences were decent enough to exempt this from the top ten, but it still makes the honorable mention cut. It somehow manages to waste Kurt Russell, which I thought was impossible, but casting against type doesn't automatically make something good.

Righteous Kill
- 2008

Al Pacino and nuance have been estranged since at least 1983. He hasn't carried a decent movie since 1992*, if we're being generous. Robert DeNiro hasn't been in a strong serious film since 1998's Ronin. You could tell from the trailer that it was going to be awful. It didn't disappoint. Given their decade-plus track records of churning out garbage, it was hardly a surprise. If the honorable mentions were being ranked this would be wrestling with Battlefield Earth for making the top ten.

*Michael Mann's Heat is the shit, but that is absolutely an ensemble piece.

Swordfish - 2001

How does a movie containing the first Halle Berry topless scene on celluloid become the most boring Heineken ad ever? Ask Swordfish because it accomplished that feat.

Complete and utter shit, and it solidifies John Travolta as this generation's Al Pacino.

Check back Monday for the bottom half of the top ten.

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