Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Worst Movies of 2009

I’ve been kind of slacking off on the blog over the holidays.  I’ll have reviews of some new movies and CDs coming soon, but in the meantime I figured I’d get one last parting shot in at some of the movies that caused me pain in 2009.  For the purposes of this list, I’m sticking to movies that got an actual theatrical release.  I saw plenty of straight to video flicks that were worse than most of the titles on this list, but picking on those is like shooting fish in a barrel.  Besides, I’m sure most of you are smart enough to walk past crap like Legend of the Bog and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.  Either that, or you suffer from the same mental illness I do, and nothing anybody says is going to stop you from hurting yourself. 

The Bottom Ten

  1. Transformers 2 – I went easy on this one when it first came out, calling it more mediocre than bad and awarding it 2 stars.  This was a case of me over thinking a review, and in retrospect I should have just gone with my gut and given this 1 star.  I can’t think of any movie I saw this past year that I had less fun watching.  The most amazing thing about Transformers 2 is that Michael Bay managed to make a 2 ½ hour movie without anything resembling an actual story.
  2. Land of the Lost – Unless dinosaur shit jokes are your thing, you should probably stay away from this alleged comedy starring Will Ferrell and Danny McBride.  Even then, there have to be better dinosaur shit jokes than the ones in this movie.  The only reason this ranks below Transformers 2 is that it’s about an hour shorter.
  3. Halloween 2 – Rob Zombie says he was given complete artistic freedom to make this sequel to his controversial reboot of the popular horror series.  The film is a stupid, incoherent mess covered in wash of cheesy psychedelia that can’t hide the fact that every scene is an “homage” to some other, better movie.  I’ve seen horror films made for 600 bucks with a camcorder by college kids that are more deserving of theatrical release than this was.
  4. Black Devil Doll – Somehow this amateurish bit of schlock managed to get all kinds of hype and a limited theatrical release, thus making it fair game.  No doubt the makers of this film thought their politically incorrect racial humor was edgy.  It’s not.  But whether you find the film offensive or not, it’s still stupid and boring.  It does have a good score by the band Giallo’s Flame, though.
  5. The Unborn – This Exorcist rip-off involves a creature from Jewish mythology known as a dybbuk.  Writer/director David S. Goyer’s script is so bad it’s hard to believe this is the same guy who wrote Dark City and has story credit on both of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.        
  6. The Fourth Kind – Yet another movie that tries to get by on the shaky premise that the audience is watching real footage of something unexplainable.  Does anyone really fall for this gimmick anymore?  The scenes in here that are supposedly re-enactments actually aren’t half bad, but the finished product is a complete mess.
  7. Knowing – The first and the worst of this year’s “end of the world” epics.  There’s some fun to be had in Nicholas Cage’s over the top performance and the special effects, but ultimately it’s a pretty silly movie from a director (Alex Proyas) who has done much better.
  8. Precious – The more time passes from when I saw this over the top melodrama, the more I dislike it.  It’s shallow, stereotypical, poorly directed and edited, and flat out ridiculous.  The revelation that director Lee Daniels, influenced by John Waters and Pedro Almodovar, was deliberately going for over the top humor makes sense (read this article on Jim Emerson’s Scanners blog for more info).  That doesn’t make this a better movie, though.
  9. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans:  While they weren’t great, the first two Underworld films were at least entertaining trash.  This prequel, however, is the sort of pointless minutiae best reserved for a cheap paperback book tie-in.  Brit actors Bill Nighy and Michael Sheen make it somewhat tolerable, turning in their usual top-notch performances despite the cheesy material.
  10. Orphan:  One of the few bonafide “so bad it’s good” movies on this list.  Director Jaume Collett-Serra clearly has the style and talent to make a good horror movie, and leads Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard are no slouches, either.  But the script is so ridiculous, especially its big twist, that the end result can’t help be anything but pure camp.   

Dishonorable Mention

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto:  I know I said I wasn’t going to pick on straight to video movies, but I’m going to make this one exception.  I really wanted to like this animated mix of horror and sleaze, but as with Halloween 2, but there’s nothing here but a bunch of nods and winks at other, better movies.  Yes, we all know that Quentin Tarantino steals shit from other movies, too.  The difference is, Tarantino takes those stolen elements and integrates them smoothly into a fresh concoction of his own.  Zombie just throws a bunch of random shit he likes into a blender and throws it up on the screen.


Franco Macabro said...

I actually liked Orphan, I thought the direction was great, and the performance from that girl...amazing. The ending left me speechless...I dont know, I just loved that movie.

Knowing I liked, because it had these amazing effects, and because it was about science vs. religion. Didnt really hate it.

But I agree with ya on TRansformers 2! Im still amazed at how that movie made money! Its so baaaad!

I havent seen Halloween 2, but I keep hearing awful things about it. From what I hear, making that film wasnt exactly a fun experience for Rob Zombie.

The Unborn, NOW theres a bad movie. tried to be scary, it tried, but in the end, that exorcism scene where they had to sign papers to do it and they had to translate the jewish...oh my god absolutely laughable!

I was curious for THe Fourth Kind, Ill still check it out when it hits DVD.

I agree with you with Land of the Lost, it was so bland, so uninspired! It was another one of Will Ferrells bad films. Like Bewitched.

Ive heard good things about Precious, so I dont know about that one.

Anonymous said...

If you thought the makers of Black Devil Doll were trying to be "edgy" then you completely missed the point, which doesn't surprise me.

Pull your head out of your ass.

Bob Ignizio said...

@The Film Connoisseur - Yeah, I know some other people who liked 'Orphan' and whose opinions on horror I respect. It just didn't work for me.

The thing with the religion vs. science aspect of 'Knowing' that annoyed me is that it felt like the movie tried to have it both ways.

I'm definitely in the minority on 'Precious'. By all means I think you should see it and come to your own conclusions. If nothing else, the performances are good.

@Anonymous - 'Black Devil Doll' is a movie that revels in pushing racial hot buttons to get a rise out of the politically correct. I call that trying to be edgy, you call it what you like. However you choose to describe the filmmakers' intent, in the end it's a one joke movie about a puppet raping and killing silicone enhanced women filled with juvenile jokes about race and gender. Yawn.

If you have something of substance to say on behalf of the film, I welcome your further comments. If "pull your head out of your ass" is the best you can do, please go trolling elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

"a puppet raping and killing silicone enhanced women filled with juvenile jokes about race and gender."


And that is the pure simplistic GENIUS of Black Devil Doll. And the reason why it has been embraced and adored by me and so many other genre fans.

Is there anything wrong with turning off your brain for 70 minutes and enjoying pure filth for the sake of filth?

THAT is the point which you are too fucking smarmy to see.

Bob Ignizio said...

@ Anonymous - Aside from the racial angle, which is just cheap and easy shock value, there's little to distinguish 'Black Devil Doll' from the hundreds of other no-budget exploitation flicks that litter the tables at horror conventions everywhere. I've seen boobs and red kayro syrup before. If wanting a little more than that from a movie makes me smarmy, so be it.

Franco Macabro said...

Its true, Knowing didnt really take sides with either issue, and that point actually confused a great many viewers.

I guess if you are religious, youll see it as God destroying the evil humans and starting again, same as he does in the bible.

If you are more inclined towards the scientific explenations in life, youll see it as aliens coming down to save humans because their planet is about to be destroyed.

I saw it as aliens coming down to save humanity. I mean, those were freaking spaceships, angels dont use spaceships is what I always say.

Bob Ignizio said...

@ The Film Connoisseur - maybe the angels just wanted to take it easy for a change? ;)

Brian White said...

Here's my 2 cents in regards to your list.

Never saw BDD, but now I know I won't waste my time on that one.

I agree 100% with you on H2, but I have to disagree on Superbeasto. I really had fun with that one, but as we discussed probably has something to do with my love for Family Guy.

The one good thing about Unborn was Odette, but not even her beauty could save it. I can't believe Oldman wasted his time in this one.

Same thing with TF2...we had some good looking babes, some sexy looking cars and some cool robot story!

Land of the Lost looked so bad in the trailers that I stayed far away from this one. Same thing with the Fourth Kind.

I agree with the Film Connoisseur on the Orphan. I had a good time with this one.

As for with Knowing, I felt like I knew better not to touch this one and by gauging from what I hear from others I think I made a wise choice not seeing it.

Great list Bob!