Weekly Seven: 2009’s Awful Movies
One of my friends pointed out that I don’t do enough reviews of bad movies on here. I guess a lot of it has to do with the time of the year and trying to see as many Oscar-caliber movies as possible. Studios just tend to release their best movies during the year’s closing months. It’s kind of funny because as much as I love movies, I really love watching bad movies. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the worst movies I saw that were a product of 2009.
#7: The Ugly Truth (Robert Luketic)
In a year when movies like It’s Complicated and (500) Days of Summer did their best to restore my faith in the romantic comedies, The Ugly Truth tried its damnedest to hold the genre back to a cliche-ridden series of predictable events. Gerard Butler has been a hot commodity since rising to stardom in 300, but I really hope he starts being more selective in picking his roles. I understand that you need to strike while the iron is hot (or something like that), but that iron is going to cool down a lot faster if he keeps making shitty movies like this. Unfortunately, he also has that new movie with Jennifer Anniston coming out in early 2010. It looks equally dreadful. While Colin Farrell is a good enough actor to always make me forget that he is an Irishman (or at least when it applies), I can never really accept Butler as an American because he always has so much of his Scottish accent coming through. Throw in a completely unlikable Katherine Heigl and the film’s terrible hot air balloon “climax,” The Ugly Truth does nothing to separate itself from the pack. In fact, it IS the pack… no matter how many dirty jokes and sexual references Butler’s character makes.
#6: Fast & Furious (Justin Lin)
You know a movie can’t be anything special when the only thing being promoted is “New Model, Original Parts.” The first movie in this franchise was decent, but the sequels have been absolutely abysmal. Just because they got the stars of the original back for the fourth installment in the series doesn’t mean that this one is any better. I don’t even remember the plot of the movie, but that really isn’t important. As dumb as it might sound, there were TOO MANY car chases in it. I realize that it is what the movie is about, but it is impossible to hold the attention of the viewer without a coherent story line holding together these ridiculous action sequences. I’m obviously not in the target demographic of visually stimulated Jr. High boys, but the filmmakers should have to at least try to appeal to actual movie fans. The best thing this movie had going for it was the sheer hotness of Jordana Brewster, and she was highly underutilized. I guess she only gets a few scenes because she doesn’t race cars. Finally, the movie’s poster is even poorly done. Look how small Brewster’s head looks compared to Vin Diesel’s… and hers is technically closest to what would be the camera.
My dad often explains movies he doesn’t like as “two hours of my life that I’ll never get back.” I don’t usually think that way and try to enjoy every viewing experience, no matter how good or bad the movie is. I can make an exception for He’s Just Not That Into You. This movie takes 129 minutes and multiple interweaving storylines to tell me everything I already know about relationships. The movie’s main focus, Gigi (Ginniger Goodwin) is the most annoying and unlikable of the bunch. She is desperate and pathetic beyond the possibility of it being “cute.” I never cared if she got what she wanted in a man. The only decent portion of the film was the interplay between Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck. They should make a whole movie together. I’m not a relationship expert, but I wish my relationship with this movie ended at the previews.
Kids movies have a pretty efficient money-making formula. For every kid that goes to see a movie, they need at least one parent or guardian to take them to the theater and watch the movie with them. This is why they typically make so much money. If I ever have kids, I hope I never have to take them to a movie like Paul Blart: Mall Cop. I happen to think that Kevin James is a pretty funny guy. He is good on The King of Queens and I have liked him in the few movies he has done, so I didn’t think this movie could possibly be THAT bad. I was wrong. Good “kids” movies, like the Pixar ones, make a point to entertain people of all ages. This way, at the very least, the parents don’t feel ripped off when they take their kids to the movies. Mall Cop makes no attempt to please the adults, and I’m not sure they even made an asserted effort at creating humor. There were so many cringe-worthy moments that were probably supposed to be funny, but completely misfired.
#3: I Love You, Beth Cooper (Chris Columbus)
Director Chris Columbus may have sailed to America in 1492 and directed a bona fide classic in 1990’s Home Alone, but his output this year is something he is probably hoping people will soon forget. I Love You, Beth Cooper has straight-to-DVD written all over it, but somehow it still made it out to the cinemas. I honestly don’t understand how movies like this get the green light. Every character in the movie is a walking teen movie cliché, from the jealous boyfriend and the ditzy best friend to the dweeby valedictorian in love with the school’s “hot girl.” The film’s dialogue is tritely written and poorly delivered by the its terrible actors. Hayden Panattiere’s character utters lines like “Am I everything you ever masturbated to?”. I don’t see Panattiere ever becoming a big star, and this movie is evidence why. I guess she better make as many of these types of movies as she can before she becomes too old to play a high school leader anymore, at which point everyone will forget about her.
I really wish the studios would stop remaking classic horror movies, and this is probably the worst of the recent crop. Good horror movies, like the original classic this is based on, have a slow build. They create suspense and develop the characters, revealing just enough to keep the viewer intrigued until the killing begins. The Friday the 13th remake features killings from the opening credits. There are three different groups of people who head out to Camp Crystal Lake, and they all get killed so quickly that no one cares about the characters enough for the murders to have any impact. The kills themselves aren’t even particularly clever or original. It features virtually every horror movie cliché of sex, drugs, and wandering out into the woods alone. Worst of all, though, might be the extremely cheesy use of the word “stupendous” during one of the movie’s several sex scenes.
Will Ferrell is getting to the point where he can only be tolerable in small doses, like in his recent roles in Eastbound & Down and The Goods. He has been playing the same character for years, but his movies just aren’t as good as they used to be and he isn’t funny enough anymore to make them tolerable. Not even the supreme comedic chops of Danny McBride were enough to make this movie watchable. One of my biggest pet peeves is that of comedies that simply aren’t funny, and I don’t think I laughed a single time during Land of the Lost. Not a giggle, chuckle, or anything else resembling some sort of comedic reaction. Not only was it unfunny, but it was inconsistent in its tone and delivery. It sways from tongue-in-cheek parody to standard action/comedy, and I couldn’t figure out if it was taking itself seriously or not. I know for sure that I didn’t. Please, avoid this movie like the swine flu.
Leave comments with your choices for the worst movies of 2009.