At least until the Fall hit – 2010 was NOT a good year for movies. In fact, it was a shitstorm of epic proportions and narrowing the worst of the worst down to a mere ten was an exercise in futility. I did it, but couldn’t resist putting a long list of dishonorable mentions as well.
I also combated with myself about what kind of list I wanted to put out — an overall countdown of the most execrable films I’ve seen this year, or, as is my specialty on this sight, keep it strictly horror. I’ve opted to do both. Here is my worst of the year list, non-horror, starting with the runners-down. I have a couple more flicks to catch, so coming soon, I’ll have my over-all best of list, plus an epic countdown of the best AND worst horror films 2010 put out. Obviously, there may be some overlap.
Now without further ado….
Dishonorable Mentions: (in order of release) Legion, The Wolfman, Cop Out, Repo Men, The Losers, Robin Hood, MacGruber, The Last Airbender, Dinner For Schmucks, Vampires Suck, Resident Evil: Afterlife, Enter The Void, Saw 3D, Skyline, The Warrior’s Way
10. Alice In Wonderland The Chronicles of Narnia re-imagined by a Hot Topic-damaged emo kid. Tim Burton’s ugly-looking, overwrought hash of Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic is proof that the director’s brand of ghoulish macabre whimsy should NOT be applied to a vacuum-sealed, big-budget kiddie adventure. As a goggle-eyed, carrot-topped Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp makes oddball quirk look phoned-in.
9. Jonah Hex From what I understand, the original Jonah Hex comics (I never read them) are a dark, gritty blend of horror and western tropes, about a bad-ass, scarred gunslinger tangling with supernatural forces. Josh Brolin got the bad-ass part right, but the rest of the movie is a defanged mess. Running 81 minutes (including credits), Hex is pacey, but inept, with an editing job as butchered as our hero’s face. You want horror? Watch Megan Fox’s performance, too listless to even be eye candy. You want a Western? Jonah Hex is like the unwanted direct-to-video sequel to Wild Wild West.
8. Bitch Slap Juvenile T&A trash that doesn’t even know how to do juvenile T&A trash right. Made by a guy who’s most acclaimed work could be found on “Xena: Warrior Princess”, Bitch Slap is like watching Faster Pussycat, Kill Kill reimagined by Zack Snyder from a Robert Rodriguez script — if, you know, Snyder and Rodriguez were stripped of every last ounce of their talents. Existing as little more than a masturbatory excuse to show hot babes in tight clothing wield guns and engage in gratuitous lesbian make-out montages, it can’t even get that right (not one of its actresses gets nude — and they cast a Playboy model!) Bitch Slap fails not because it’s badly acted, atrociously written, poorly directed, loaded with ugly CGI work and desperate to be considered cool. It fails because it can’t even manage to work on the one level it attempts to work as: an pubescent exploitation B movie.
6. Dear John Future rule for makers of sappily melodramatic, sun-kissed manipulative-swill romantic dramas: make sure your stars have chemistry. Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried might be pretty, but they look like they rather be doing anything else — filing taxes, trimming toenails — than romance each other.
5. The Sorceror’s Apprentice There’s one moment in The Sorceror’s Apprentice that’s truly magical: Jay Baruchel, as the titular nebbish 20-something noodle of a wizard, woos his crush, a pert, blonde and bland college co-ed, with a science experiment involving tesla coils playing music. As the sounds of OneRepublic play, we watch blue-shard bolts of electricity dance from coil to coil in time to the music and the effect is transporting. It’s the only moment in Apprentice that’s genuinely full of wonder, and it serves to show how leaden, dull and pre-fab the rest of the movie is.
4. A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddie Kreuger deserves better. So did horror fans, who have been given a soulless, despicable mercenary piece of trash.
3. Killers Shrill, tinny, obnoxious. The runt of an execrable trend — the mismatched romantic action/”comedy” —Killers stars Katherine Heigl as her usual repulsive rom-com heroine — an uptight, flighty and shrieky cartoon setback to the female race. There’s not one moment that is funny, romantic or watchable.
2. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time A plastic Indiana Jones wannabe. Jake Gyllenhaal buckles his swash well enough but Gemma Arterton tries (and somehow fails) to be sultry and Ben Kingsley sneers blandly while cashing his paycheck. A sword and sorcery toy without any life.
1. My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done David Lynch. Werner Herzog. A cast that includes Michael Shannon, Willem Dafoe and Brad Dourif. Inspired art house insanity? How about the biggest slog of the year, an “avant-garde” hostage negotiation flick apparently made by and starring aliens. Dull, torpid, acted by a cast seemingly mimicking those rickety clockwork automaton bands you see at amusement parks, My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done may have been the single most unendurable film I’ve seen this entire year. Proof that even bizarro-genius auteurs can get lost in their own impenetrability.
There you have it. My Worst list. Check back soon when I will offer my best of the year list.