“For the 83rd consecutive year, celebrating the gems in a sea of mediocrity.”
There’s always quite the brouhaha about the Oscars this time of year. Which million dollar masterpiece will be honored with best picture? Who will win the bald, golden statue for best actor/actress? What hideous gown will make the best and/or worst dressed list this year? (For the record, Cate Blanchett’s bizarre, pink frock – she looked like she’d been exposed to an alien virus – gets my worst dressed vote.) Yet, while I can fully appreciate the abstract artistry of a Black Swan or a brilliant script à la The Social Network, I can’t help but look passed the Hollywood glitz and glamour to reflect on the overwhelming number of awful movies I was exposed to in 2010.
While the minds behind the Academy Awards saw fit to recognize 10 films in the best picture category this year, in retrospect they seem to be rare cinematic gems in a sea of mediocrity. For every good to great film I watched in the last 12 months, at least a half dozen appeared to warrant a refund after the first 20 minutes. Some were presented using useless, over hyped 3D technology. Some insulted your intelligence. Some made you think about hunting down the actors to retaliate for retinal abuse.
We go to the movies to escape, to be entertained and, despite Hollywood rumors to the contrary, that desire was more lacking in 2010 than ever before. In fact, the more I investigated the topic, the more bad movies I discovered to add to my hit list. So before this rant gets any longer, in honor of the 10 official Oscar nominees of 2010, I give you…
The Top 10 Worst Movies of 2010!
Ah, Steve Carell. The accidental genius, God bless him.
#10 – Dinner for Schmucks
Steve Carell is no leading man, but he still has this amazing ability to take garbage and make it, at the very least, smell like a taxi cab air freshener. He’s fantastic in The Office. I watched him work miracles in Evan Almighty. Even in Dinner for Schmucks, Carell manages to portray Barry as an endearing idiot savant… in a creepy, stuffed rat posed in 1950s Americana sort of way. Unfortunately though, it’s not enough to dilute a weak script and poor execution. Schmucks is a lot of wacky people being overtly weird, the same jokes playing out ad nauseam, and a hapless Paul Rudd as the biggest loser of them all.
Crazy stalker in your house? Don’t call the police, sit back and enjoy the chaos! Your girlfriend thinks you’re cheating? Don’t immediately try to explain the situation, drag the nonsense out for another hour until the explanation happens unintentionally!
Obviously Dinner for Schmucks was never going to be an Oscar contender, but when your viewers find themselves angrily shouting “WHY?” at the screen while simultaneously searching for the exit, that’s never a good sign it’ll sell a lot of DVDs either.
#9 – Hot Tub Time Machine
This could’ve been a funny movie… if I was drunk, stoned, or both. Maybe then I would’ve felt like I had something in common with the characters or the state of mind of the writers. It also has cringe worthy dialogue that suggests those delivering the lines think they’re being clever; a Jerry Seinfeld, who laughs at his own jokes, effect. A poor excuse for comedy.
“You want me to turn it sideways and do what with my career?”
#8 – The Tooth Fairy
I love The Rock. He’s one of the greatest professional wrestling personalities of all time. As his performances in both The Rundown and Walking Tall demonstrate, he’s also not a half bad actor either (he blows John Cena out of the water on both counts). However, if I have to sit through another child friendly flick where a sickeningly saccharin People’s Champion is forced to prance around like a ballet dancer (see The Game Plan for an equally excruciating experience… on second thought, don’t), I may be forced to give up on supporting his movie career altogether.
#7 – Iron Man 2
Note to the Iron Man. You’re not immortal. Your special super hero suit does not come customized with internal airbags. Nevertheless, you can be whipped around like a crash test dummy and plummet hundreds of feet to the earth without turning into an iron bucket of broken bones? The errors in logic from this movie hurt my brain.
Just keep walking, honey. You and you’re fancy heels wouldn’t last five minutes.
#6 – Leap Year
When it comes to the reasons why co-star Matthew Goode choose to do this film, it should be no surprise that he said, “It wasn’t because of the script, trust me.” One hundred minutes with a whiny, spoiled redhead complaining, played infuriatingly well by Amy Adams, is not my idea of fun. Then there’s the added bonus of her trying to get to Dublin, Ireland from Wales (a northwest route) by taking a boat traveling southwest to Cork, which was then diverted to Dingle, which is roughly 100 miles passed Cork on the other side of the country? Did the writers, actors, director, or anyone involved in the production of this film ever look at a freakin’ map? Where exactly do you think Dublin is? Iceland? She would’ve needed more than the luck of the Irish to make it to Dublin by 2012!
#5 – Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
If the length of a movie title were any indication of the time spent on character development, then perhaps Percy Jackson would’ve been worth the financial investment at the cinema. Alas, within the opening 10 minutes we’re treated with dialogue akin to:
Percy: “Oh! A creepy bat thing is trying to kill me! What the hell is going on?”
Some Dude: “It’s because you’re the son of Poseidon.”
Some Dude: “Now we’re going to send you to a special camp where you’ll meet other kids whose parents also come from mythology.”
Percy: “That explanation is perfectly logical. Okay then. Let’s go.”
#4 – District 9
I assumed, incorrectly, with LOTR director, Peter Jackson, at the helm the unique story of District 9 surely would provide an interesting evening of entertainment. Boy, was I wrong, wrong, wrong.
As part of a DVD double feature night, I picked this movie to trail a viewing of Babe; a sweet, heartfelt tale about an extraordinary pig to be followed by dead pork carcasses being used as projectile weapons. This was a poor choice to be fair. I also didn’t appreciate the enormous gap left open at the end for a sequel. Really? You’re that confident viewers will give a crap whether or not your extremely unlikable “hero,” will ever be saved? If they were trying to make a statement about human misery, they should’ve worked a little harder on presenting a coherent story, rather than psychologically torturing their audience.
My thoughts exactly.
#3 – Clash of the Titans
The subtitle of this film should’ve been “FX Overkill: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
The trouble begins when they laugh off Bubo the owl. (I hate this revision from the original almost as much as I hated George Lucas changing the Ewok party theme music at the end of Jedi.) Then there is, like most films these days, the pointless addition of 3D nothing. They also fail to deliver on the eerie characters of Calibos and Medusa (she’s meant to be hideous, not a supermodel with snake hair), turned killer scorpions into rodeo arthropods, and then went completely overboard on the special effects.
It takes what feels like an HOUR to “release the Kraken!” for gawd sakes!
It’s as if the technical geeks thought, “let’s turn him into an Octokraken with a thousand legs and show 15 minutes of CGI footage for every individual limb!” In the time it takes for the beast to emerge from the sea to wreak havoc, the townspeople could’ve evacuated and rebuilt an entirely new city from scratch!
There are rumors a sequel is in the works, but I say you should save yourself the hassle and check out the original Harry Hamilton version instead.
#2 – Piranha 3D
No plot, lots of cursing, and more! A multitude of extended montages of bikini clad, gyrating, booby jiggling sluts? They’ve got it! Repeated blasts of loud, headache inducing music? It’s like being in a nightclub where everyone’s drunk, but you! An excessively gory shot of a half Jerry O’Connell, half bloody, spinally skeletal legs? It’ll make you long for the days when he was overweight and a reasonably respectable actor! And what was the icing on this disemboweled cake? They’re talking sequel! “No plotline has yet been decided,” according to reports. That’s okay. Something tells me they never came up with one for the first run either.
Just let go, Sly. It’s for the best.
#1 – The Expendables
With all its star power, including Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and WWE’s “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, I walked into The Expendables with high expectations. That was my mistake. From beginning to end, this movie filled me with such disdain, I considered hunting down Stallone, hitting him with a rolled up newspaper, and snapping, “No! Bad Rocky!”
The plot (if you can call it that) is beyond weak, the acting is atrocious, and the dialogue is the verbal equivalent of chicken scratchings. Poorly trained monkeys could’ve produced a better movie. And to make matters worse, the entire thing was filmed using awkward, shaky, and nonsensical camera shots as well. Do we need to inspect every pore on Mickey Rourke’s face or zoom in spasticly whenever someone takes or throws a punch? For all the constant, unnecessary motion, they should’ve offered dramamine at the box office.
Finally, after hours of killing and bloodshed, we come to the anticlimactic battle between Stallone and one of the main evil villains. This is where Sly, using an array of maneuvers unfit for even a roided up 60-year-old man, chooses an armbar submission hold. Really. After thousands of rounds of spent ammunition and merciless, murderous warfare, he decides to go for a tap out? There’s a sequel rumored to be in the works so perhaps we’ll be treated with the dreaded Bob Backlund chicken wing in part two! Then again, do I really want to risk another $12 on this? Unlike Stallone’s dwindling career, my money’s just not that expendable.