Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Worst of 2009 So Far

In my continuing quest to organize this site, I have revisited the various postings to see whether any have been left uncatalogued. Given I've written close to 1,100 reviews along with various opinion pieces, it is not surprising that some posts were missed when placed in the archive.

I have now finally completed all the reviews for films released or seen in 2009, and while I did write a Best of 2009 post, I never wrote a Worst of 2009.  Now, at last, having officially cataloged all of those 2009 films that I have seen so far, I am at last ready to rank the ones I thought were the worst.

There may be some surprises here, as some critically acclaimed films found their way onto this list. Let us therefore begin.

10.) 2012

2012 was cashing in on the fabled Mayan 'prediction' of the end of the world in the year 2012, if man is still alive.  It was all sound and fury, badly acted and with some simply bonkers visuals that really didn't make up for just how dumb it all was.  However, given that 2012 was pretty much meant to be junk, I figure I can be merciful.

09.) Watchmen

I think I can be harsher towards Watchmen, the first film I reviewed, because it thought so highly of itself.  The greatest issue with Watchmen is that it was simply too slavish to the graphic novel on which it is based on, leading to some flat-out hilarious moments such as the 'love scene' between Silk Specter and Nite Owl, which might be how the novel had it but which translates into a comical moment.  Pompous, pretentious, and at times baffling, especially to those who have never read or heard of the graphic novel, I again can be a little more kind given that for some reason Watchmen was marketed as being perhaps a new franchise.

08.) Obsessed

Obsessed is, as far as I know, Beyoncé's only real stab at being her generation's Diana Ross in terms of attempting a dramatic film career. Bey's efforts to be seen as a dramatic actress versus just a pop super-diva/icon, however, fell flatter than the crazed woman who plunged to her death.  It's comically bad, but so bad that it can't even be enjoyed as camp.  Filled with totally stupid characters, and dragging poor Idris Elba into this mountain of nonsense, Obsessed is good only as a reminder that Beyoncé's great acting ambitions have not been fulfilled. Outside of music videos, she has yet to return to the screen.

My only real memories of Public Enemies was on how good the Sweet Tarts that I was popping while watching the movie were.  That and how boring it all was.  It's a shame given that the subject matter of John Dillinger and the FBI agent who pursues him could have been.  However, by the end when Dillinger is at the Biograph Theater, I was more interested in the clips of Manhattan Melodrama that were playing than in this snoozefest, another in the "Loss" column for Johnny Depp.

06.) New Moon

Perhaps it is too easy to pick on a Twilight film as being among the worst, given that the whole series, or rather 'saga', is unbearably awful. I think it would be difficult to find which of the Twilight films is the worst because all of them are a crime against cinema, maybe even humanity.  In retrospect though, I think New Moon may actually be the worst, because somehow we got a bizarre 'rationalization' for domestic abuse: the guy is a werewolf.  It's simply too punishing to revisit this horror, so let's move on.

I confess to not liking Logan, despite its wild critical acclaim.  I felt it all too dour, too morose, and I don't go to X-Men films to leave so depressed.  However, even if I were to place Logan in a 'Worst of 2017' List, I would still prefer it over X-Men Origins: Wolverine.  This not only has to be the worst Wolverine film of the six that have him play a major role (I'm not counting cameos), but perhaps the worst in the X-Men franchise.  I guess that means X-Men: The Last Stand can't blame it all on Logan. Cliched story, bad performances, a waste of Deadpool (which makes continuity with the revived series a bit curious), this disaster was so great that there were no other X-Men Origins films for any other characters.

I understand that Gerard Butler is actually a highly intelligent man, down to having a law degree.  One wouldn't believe it after seeing Law Abiding Citizen, a movie that defies logic and even good taste.  We are asked to sympathize with Butler's character, but he's flat-out crazy, enacting his own brand of justice on people who at times seem tenuously connected to the original crime that he was a victim of.  I get where the film wants to go, but it ends up going nowhere. The story makes no sense on so many levels; if memory serves correct, Butler's character defends himself in court and after essentially admitting to killing two people, he's allowed to walk out without bail because of some random legal technicality. Ugly, excessively violent with awful characters matching awful performances, why so many genuinely like Law Abiding Citizen is something I do not understand.

I have seen all the Terminator films save Rise of the Machines, but that might be that to my mind, Rise of the Machines is when the franchise started going downhill. I cannot prove that yet, but I can say that the Terminator films that followed Rise of the Machines have all been pretty bad.  Terminator: Salvation is more Terminator: Abomination.  It abused its actors (what exactly was Jane Alexander doing in this rubbish), and it had its actors abuse others (the film became notorious for a rant its star, Christian Bale, unleashed that was recorded and released). Apart from the much-missed Anton Yelchin (gone way too soon), no one came out of this horror with any degree of dignity. Of course, thanks to Terminator: Salvation, we'll always have this...

Here is a film that was praised to high heaven, but one I could not embrace.  It is not that I didn't 'get' what Up in the Air wanted to say: the importance of connections in a world where making connections means more catching a flight than feeling for others.  I 'get' it.  I just didn't 'like' it. I found it all smarmy, unpleasant, and not at all funny.  Moreover, I do not understand the hold Anna Kendrick has on people.  I find her neither cute or adorable or even generally competent, but to each his/her own.

It may be because I found Larry Gopnick, the object of A Serious Man, to be such a schmuck that I could not emphasize or sympathize with him or his various 'crises of faith'.  I found him so pathetic, such a nudnik that I simply did not care what happened to him. Again, A Serious Man was worshiped by my fellow critics, but why did they rally so much to this yutz's story? He was a wimp through and through, and I figured if he stopped being such a nebbish he could have fixed his life.  I'm sure many thought it was hilarious, and maybe I'm too much of a goy to get the humor, but A Serious Man was a serious waste of my time.

Well, there it is: my Ten Worst Films of 2009 So Far.  And just for the fun of it...

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