December 28, 2009

A subject only a movie reviewer can care about.

Worst movies of the decade.

Come on, if a movie was that bad, any lay person would have avoided it. It's nothing we're longing to erase from our memories. We figured out not to go — because you, the movie reviewer, took the hit. That's your problem.

So I don't need a decade-end list of the very worst crap that you saw and I didn't see. I'd rather make a list of the worst movies that you, the movie reviewer, gulled me into seeing. What did you say was good that I wasted my time and money on?

Help me make a list...

1. "Little Miss Sunshine"
2. "The Hours"
3. "Sideways"
4. "American Splendor"
5. "Lost in Translation"
6. "Traffic"
7. ...
8. ...
9. ...
10. ...

150 comments:

Freeman Hunt said...

Can we put "The Hours" ten times? Because it was that bad.

"Crash" should be there since it even won Best Picture. "Revolutionary Road" was just plain horrid.

HelenParr said...

The Wrestler.

HelenParr said...

Borat.

chickenlittle said...

"Milk"

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Burn After Reading

But I must say, I enjoyed both Little Miss Sunshine and Sideways

MnMark said...

Someone didn't like Little Miss Sunshine???? That movie was hilarious! The scene where the cop stops them and their horn won't stop honking and the cop finds the porno magazines alone was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time.

Sideways was hilarious too!

vbspurs said...

I adored Revolutionary Road, far more than The Reader, for which Winslet won the Oscar. I also liked Sideways and American Splendour (I sense Althouse doesn't like Paul Giamatti).

I'll add of all the movies I've seen this decade:

- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

- An Inconvenient Truth

- Glitter

- Surviving Christmas / Four Christmasses / Deck the Halls (ugh)

- Basic Instinct 2

- The Wicker Man

- Battlefield Earth

But the winner is...! Gigli

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

I hated Little Miss Sunshine, and indeed, Crash.

AprilApple said...

"The Watchmen" - SUCKED.

vbspurs said...

Incidentally, with this post, it just hit me -- The '00s are over already???? My God, I think for the first time in my life, I know what feeling old is.

John Stodder said...

I liked 3, 4 and 5, so on my list you'd need seven more.

"Crash" is one for sure. "Spanglish" was pretty bad. I recall being disappointed by "Gosford Park."

The Ghost said...

Avatar ...

ricpic said...

Just saw Up In The Air. Overrated.

danielle said...

yes, please PLEASE put Crash up there.

vbspurs said...

Put me down for Avatar too. I walked out.

Paddy O. said...

Nice list, totally agree, though my one exception is I did like American Splendor.

My list would add Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Wall-E. I netflixed each of them purely because so many people said they were good. And they just weren't. Not to me. Not really at all.

chickenlittle said...

John Stodder wrote: I recall being disappointed by 'Gosford Park.'

Really? I could watch that one just for Maggie Smith's performance alone. So much to like there.

vbspurs said...

I liked Gosford Park, especially given the crisp Julian Fellowes writing, but since it's the type of film I normally would LOVE and didn't, I can see where John Stodder is coming from.

The theme was messy. It had a "Clue"-like murder mystery feeling to it, and film of social manners like Upstairs Downstairs -- and I suppose it's a nod to Robert Altmann's foreigner's eye to funny British ways.

Kristin Scott-Thomas was glacial, but not in a believable way. I think she didn't have a well-judged performance. Loved Maggie, and Helen Mirren.

Paddy O. said...

I also didn't think Juno was that good.

Moose said...

Was someone wearing shorts in "Lost in Translation"?

Paddy O. said...

"I walked out."

I am having a hard time figuring out just why, but I have utterly no interest in walking in for this one. Indeed, I was thinking and I don't even have an interest in netflixing it later. It's a zero interest movie for me.

mccullough said...

Babel.

Moose said...

AppleApril:

Ann is only referencing *important* movies.

[rolls eyes]

vbspurs said...

Paddy, I'll give the film this -- you MUST see it in 3-D. Not Imax 3D even, but in 3-D. It really is a very special experience, visually.

But the STORY. OY. No. I walked out after 45 mins, and got my refund.

wv: chill! LOL.

Scott M said...

I tend to actively dislike the big budget awfulness more than run-of-the-mill awfulness. In that vein, I give you, in no particularly painful order, my worst of this decade.

1) Any Star Wars movie that qualifies as being in this decade.

2) Both Matrix sequals.

3) Anything Paul Verhoven or John Carpenter put out in this decade (or, for Verhoven, any other).

Joe said...

The list is long, but yours is a very good start. Here's the start of my list. I did a first past to eliminate the more obscure movies. The rest are so loathsome, I'm reluctant to take a second pass.

Borat
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Flags of our Fathers
Gangs of New York
In the Bedroom
Into the Wild
Love in the Time of Cholera
March of the Penguins
Memoirs of a Geisha
Open Range
Sin City
Syriana
The Constant Gardener
The Libertine
The Royal Tenenbaums
V for Vendetta

Freeman Hunt said...

I'll add of all the movies I've seen this decade:

None of those movies were critically acclaimed.

Chris said...

Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Except it produced an excellent South Park.

Freeman Hunt said...

Lots of people are listing well-known crapola. The point is to list overrated movies. Movies that were bad but that critics said they liked. Movies we were tricked into seeing.

vbspurs said...

This is true Freeman, but I didn't see Ann put a qualifier about critically acclaimed. These are just the worst movies, full stop.

I'll also add "Ils", a Franco-Romanian horror film.

Freeman Hunt said...

So I don't need a decade-end list of the very worst crap that you saw and I didn't see. I'd rather make a list of the worst movies that you, the movie reviewer, gulled me into seeing. What did you say was good that I wasted my time and money on?

LarsPorsena said...

"Lions for Lambs","The Valley of Elah","Syriana", anything Hollywood produces regarding the war with Islamofacism.

D. B. Light said...

Benjamin Button, Milk, Babel, Letters from Iwo Jima, Good Night and Good Luck, Traffic, American Beauty, Erin Brockovich, In the Bedroom, Moulin Rouge, Little Miss Sunshine, Crash. All were nominated for or won Best Picture -- all were terrible films.

The Crack Emcee said...

Just want to put my two cents in for "Crash".

Listen, I'd stay and talk about it but I've got a white co-worker who needs help and, since we can barely get past our long-simmering racial conflicts to do anything constructive together - much less look each other in the eye - it'll probably take a lot of time, kvetching, before something serendipitously unforseen happens that can force us to symbolically slap our foreheads and declare, "Wow, Scientology could've taught us this a long time ago - and for a whole lot more!"

And, I'm sure, no one here would want me to miss that for anything in the world.

rcocean said...

"Flags of our Fathers"
"Million Dollar Baby"
"Crash"
"letters from Iwo Jima"
"The Assassination of Jesse James"

All really bad.

Jana said...

I nominate the execrable "Bad Santa," recipient of a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Never have so many laughs been promised and so few delivered.

By "few," I mean none.

J. Galt said...

Do those podcasts of yours count?

Serious wastes of time, but not money.

But WAY over-hyped, that's for sure!.

Jana said...

Ooooh, I have to second "American Beauty," too. That's up there with "Crash" as a dubious Best Picture winner, I think. Although, I never saw "Crash," I just always assumed it sucked.

It is #1 on Netflix's "Top 100," though Netflix doesn't define exactly what that means. I find it odd that would be the all-time highest Netflixed film.

vbspurs said...

Movies we were tricked into seeing.

Okay, let's see:

- Sicko (even liberals saw through Michael Moore with this one)

- The Class (French foreign film, 2008)

- Milk (I thought the writing was execrable)

- Bruno (had all the charm of a shark)

- Ratatouille (gag me with a spoon, a rat cooking dinner)*

- The Host (maybe I don't get K-horror)

- Children of Men (dystopic silliness)

- The Constant Gardner (Weizs can act, but Fiennes just flat out can't)

- Any of the Kill-Bills

- Mystic River (just hated it)

*Interestingly, some of the best films this decade were animated, such as The Incredibles.

Cheers,
Victoria

Freeman Hunt said...

@The Crack Emcee: Ha ha ha. Exactly.

MarkW said...

I pretty much never pay to see a movie I hate -- there are always enough reviews to know before hand that the movie will totally suck. You would have had to tie me up and drag me to the theater to get me to see 'Little Miss Sunshine', for example.

On the other hand, I've taken on a flyer on some Netflix streaming movies that I shut off after 10 or 15 minutes, but there's no cost there (other than the 10 minutes I'll never get back).

Your list, BTW, seems not to consist of truly horrid movies, but movies that weren't nearly as good as their reputations. I'd agree that Sideways and Lost in Translation weren't as good as many claimed -- but all time worst of the decade? No.

Lonetown said...

Any Michael Moore film.

Any Iraq war film.

Any Oliver Stone film.

oh hell, have ther been any good films in the last 10 years?

Old RPM Daddy said...

@ScottM: "Any Star Wars movie that qualifies as being in this decade."

Drat! Beat me to it. I'd also have to add:

Star Trek -- You'd spend your time better watching reruns of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius on Nickelodeon.

Quantum of Solace -- Manages to take a bad idea for a James Bond movie and make a really bad James Bond movie out of it.

Freeman Hunt said...

Another note on worst movies of the decade: The list on NPR is pointless because the movies that were truly the worst are ones almost nobody has seen. Trust me. I've seen many of them.

vbspurs said...

OH! And how can I forget -- possibly the worst film I saw this decade, with an all-star cast featuring Sean Penn, Jude Law, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, and Kate Winslet...

All the King's Men

The original 1949 version with Broderick Crawford was outstanding. In fact, that's a good movie for New Year's Eve, if you have nothing to do.

michael farris said...

I was going to say the Phantom Menace, just because the only reason I saw it was the screed nerd magnum opus against it Althouse linked to. But it just missed out on this decade (and it's not like it was a critical success either)...

In recent years I've pretty much avoided movies I'm pretty sure I'll hate (Crash, Million Dollar Baby, The Sea Within some other oscar winners). I'm probably missing a few that I'd be surprised I liked but it does save a lot of aggravation.

Some that I did hate:

V for Vendetta - a 13 year old boy's idea of deep political thought.

Children of Men - an okay book but the refugee stuff was tacked on for no good reason.

Scoop - sucked (but I didn't expect it not to, does that even count?)

Still thinking about this...

Joe said...

"American Beauty" came out in 1999, though it was complete rubbish.

I forgot about "The Assassination of Jesse James"; totally over hyped crap with, as far as I could tell, no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

I don't think "The Wicker Man" counts; Cage and LaBute, did anyone think it would anything more than crap? (The original wasn't that good either, but it did have Britt Ekland topless and Edward Woodward & Christopher Lee chewing up the scenery.)

michael farris said...

"Anything Paul Verhoven or John Carpenter put out in this decade (or, for Verhoven, any other)."

I rather enjoyed Spetters and De vierde man from the early 80's when he was still working in the Netherlands.

And Showgirls is a lot of fun for all the wrong reasons (and Starship Troopers is kind of great, a mess to be sure, but in a kind of great way).

Scott M said...

@Old RPM Daddy

The challenge was for worst of the decade. Quantum wasn't a home run for Bond fans, but it certainly breathed life and relevancy back into the franchise. It wasn't gawd-awful, in other words.

I've got to call you out on JJ's Star Trek. While no capital-T Trekkie, I do enjoy the occasional warp. This one was put together well from the ground up. I know a lot of trekkies that had severe problems with it, but I also know a lot of trekkies that have never been laid.

By the way...hot chicks profile trekkies. Is that unconstitutional?

Smilin' Jack said...

I don't think "Sideways" is bad enough to make the worst ten list, especially since places on that list are badly needed by "Donnie Darko," "The Royal Tenenbaums," "The Assassination of Jesse James," "Syriana," and both Borat movies.

vbspurs said...

Spetters and De vierde man

He was awesome then! Don't forget Soldier of Orange and even the saucy Turkish Delight.

Freeman Hunt said...

Ah yes, "Donnie Darko" needs a slot.

chuck b. said...

"Ah yes, 'Donnie Darko' needs a slot."

I'll trade you Donnie Darko for Avatar.

Mike said...

Slumdog Millionaire

AprilApple said...

@ Moose
Little Miss Sunshine is considered "important"?

rcocean said...

I finally learned: Paul Haggis = Crappy movie.

Beaverdam said...

Brokebutt Mountain.

Beaverdam said...

"back"

vbspurs said...

Weizs can act

I bet most people like Rachel Weisz, but didn't like the film she made for her husband, Darren Aronofsky, which was panned by many reviewers.

The Fountain

It was a mess, but you know, I liked it. But then I loved Pi and The Wrestler. I just like Aronofsky.

AprilApple said...

Was Gosford Park this decade? yeah - that was a pompous emotional waste of time.


I liked the Kill Bill movies. Revenge!

class-factotum said...

Victoria,

I agree on "Ratatouille." What's to like about a rat around food?

And they completely changed "Children of Men" from the book, which must have had the author seething in rage. Never yield script control would be my motto. It is not about illegal immigrants. It is about totalitarianism and the abuse of power.

"Mystic River" is a good book. I don't think I saw the movie.

WV: raticing = enticing only to rats

Comrade X said...

I liked The Adventures of Pluto Nash better than anything on Ann's list.

Freeman Hunt said...

I love "Ratatouille." He was an exceptional rat. (And all the rats were shown washing their paws.)

Instugator said...

The Weatherman (Nicholas Cage)... Joan and I kept saying that something good had to happen soon, because we couldn't believe that Nicholas Cage made a movie that sucked that bad.

Then Knowing happened.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I can't believe nobody's mentioned Napoleon Dynomite. Co-workers bugged me for weeks about how funny it was, finally saw it and could barely force a chuckle throughout the whole thing. My husband's still mad I made him sit through it.

Eric said...

Egads, we're a bunch of suckers. I like to think that I know how to read reviews and can usually winnow out well-reviewed bad movies, but I do get caught every once in a while.

Here are my candidates:

Sideways, because it just wouldn't end (I think I counted six endings and was begging for merciful release when it finally stopped).

Little Miss Sunshine, just for its umitigated meanness.

bagoh20 said...

Independence Day: The President of the United States personally attacked the aliens in a fighter jet, I guess everyone else was busy.

2012: Flying elephants and giraffes via helicopter over the Himalayas, why not?

Both movies made realize we are doomed culturally and existentially.

Pogo said...

My votes for worst of the overrated:

Mystic River
Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
Juno
Lost In Translation
Moulin Rouge
An Inconvenient Truth
The Queen
A Mighty Wind

Scott M said...

On the flipside of all of this negative cinematic karma, I have to say that I went into the film adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Stardust expecting to hate it. It's an exceptional movie and not-to-shabby an adaptation. More Gaiman is on the way, so I hear.

Henry said...

The two worst non-obscure movies I've seen this decade, were American Beauty and Ice Age 2. One of those was critically acclaimed.

Instugator said...

Star Trek - for 1 reason only.

Dear Trekkies,
Thank you for keeping the franchise alive during the late 60's and early 70's. We (Paramount) truly appreciate all of the fan created material that you provided us. We especially like that you took us out of our comfort zone and required that we sell you source material and countless novels throughout the 80's, 90's and 00's - the take on our end has been several Billion dollars. We really like that - so please forgive us for rendering all of your investments in time, money and brainpower completely worthless. Now, let's do it all again.

-- Paramount & CBS

Henry said...

Reading backwards, Joe reminds me that American Beauty came out in 1999. It was bad enough for two decades.

michael farris said...

Just realized "Dancer in the Dark" was released in 2000.

I _hated_ it so bad I can hardly express it.

bagoh20 said...

The one I saw that seemed the most overrated was "Lost in Translation". Nearly everyone I talked to said: "What the hell was that?" or "I fell asleep." Most said both.

1jpb said...

Good to see some commenters push back re #5. That is a great movie.

But, different strokes for different folks. For example, I thought that "My Dinner w/ Andre" was the epitome of baby boomer navel gazing self-reverential blather. And yet Althouse can't get enough of that movie. Wonder why?

edutcher said...

Needless to say, the last (we can hope) of the "Mummy" franchise. Without Rachel Weisz, Brendan Fraser is lost.

PS Not sure if it's in the decade, but, "The English Patient". It's supposed to be a romantic chick flick, but The Blonde hated it and I was bored stiff (keep in mind, though, some of The Blonde's recent faves (as in last twenty years or so) are "Con Air", "Broken Arrow", and "Ronin").

Sheepman said...

Some of the movies listed were overrated but still worth seeing. I'd put "Lost in translation" and "American Splendor" in that category.

The worst movie going experience for me in the 00's was "I'm not There". The premise of the film was promising and the casting of Cate Blanchett as a mid-60's Dylan was brilliant. But unlike Dylan,
Haynes was unable to make disparate elements work as whole. The film had no rhythm, no soul. Worst of all, Haynes had free reign with Dylan's song catalogue, something that will not likely be repeated in my lifetime.

Oberon said...

Who didn't like Little Miss Sunshine? I can see why you might not like the other movies on your list, but LMS? I feel like you're playing professor again - throwing out something outrageous just to get us talking.

c3 said...

Clearly tastes vary (regardless of what critics say)..I'm happy to admit I liked "Lost in Translation", "Crash", "American Beauty", "Sideways", "Gosford Park", "Eternal Sunshine..". I own several of them.

I would agree that "Burn After Reading" was poor for the Coen Brothers. "V is for Vendetta" had nice cinematography but the story! C'mon a semi-closeted gay man treasuring a Koran!! Talk about political bias leading to idiocy.

And I will admit that I'm probably one of the few guys out there who enjoyed (relatively so) "The Hours". Yes, I was aware as I watched it that it was "supposed" to be a serious movie for women. And yes it was very slow but I still liked it more than I disliked it.

I'm surprised no one mentioned the movie "Solaris". Again I saw things in it I liked but I haven't met anyone who liked it.

Finally, I admit I was surprised at the reviews that "Million Dollar Baby" got. There are things to like about it but I thought it wasn't one of Clint Eastwood's better efforts. And as a doc, the final euthanisia scenes just weren't convincing. It was as if Eastwood had never heard of the Nancy Cruzan case (and many others)

Scott M said...

@C3

Re: V Is For Vendetta...what do you expect from the same guys that brought you a Matrix filled with evil white guys?

Re: Solaris. Ditto. It was good sci-fi, but that doesn't always translate to good sci-fi cinema.

ricpic said...

I nominate the execrable "Bad Santa"...Never have so many laughs been promised and so few delivered.

Put me down as a Bad Santa fan. How can you not love a film which makes no bones about having zero redeeming social value?

Plus, it's got Billy Bob Thornton.

Matthew said...

BABEL

XWL said...

I think you can divide a list like this into five broad categories:

Every 'serious' Clint Eastwood directed flick in the 00s (except Gran Torino, and possibly Invictus, haven't seen that yet), that would be Changeling, Letters form Iwo Jima, Flag of Our Fathers, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River.

Every movie with a Paul Haggis connection (except Casino Royale), that includes three of the above Eastwood flicks, plus Crash, The Last Kiss, In the Valley of Elah, and Quantum of Solace.

Every anti-war war picture centered on the War on Terror, or the previous Gulf War. That list goes on and on, but includes, Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs, The Manchurian Candidate, Jarhead, Brothers, Syriana, Babel.

All the, 'we wrote this during the Bush years, so let's make a picture where the world has turned into a bleak and depressing dystopia because that's exactly what's happened since those evil social cons have taken over the country' pictures. That list includes, V for Vendetta, Children of Men, The Road, Blindness, Southland Tales, 28 Weeks Later (which turned everything that was interesting about 28 Days Later and spun it into a hamfisted political screed, instead), and to some degree the last 3/4 of Wall-E (which covers the same territory as the far superior Idiocracy).

The last category would be the overhyped 'indie' picture that covers one of three themes, 'my family sucks', 'white guilt', or 'I'm a manboy in love with a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who doesn't love me back'. 'Indie' films almost always fall into one of those plot outlines, and generally don't deserve whatever good reviews they get.

DaveO said...

"Crash" and "Babel". Both dreadful films that somehow won critical acclaim.

kynefski said...

I can't believe nobody's mentioned Napoleon Dynomite. Co-workers bugged me for weeks about how funny it was, finally saw it and could barely force a chuckle throughout the whole thing. My husband's still mad I made him sit through it.

Ah, you cannot see that movie once. Seen once, it's one of the worst films ever made. But when you see it again, knowing what happens next, it's hilarious and heartwarming.

Nels said...

Juno
Children of Men
Adventureland
The Squid and the Whale
Napoleon Dynamite
Almost Famous
Eastern Promises

Scott M said...

@XWL

You'll have to clear up why The Road is on your list. I read the book twice and it didn't have a single political syllable that I can remember.

I haven't seen the movie as I'm not inclined to spend $30 for a night out having my soul ripped apart for entertainment's sake. I'll wait for the DVD. Did they push a square political peg into the stories round hole in the movie?

Scott M said...

I should have added Southland Tales to my original list, but I didn't for a reason. I still can't decide if it's a gawdawful movie that's horribly anti-conservative on it's face, or if it's a deeper, secretly ironic movie that actually makes fun of liberals.

Either way, it had a lot going for it going in, but I could never quite get myself to finish the whole thing.

ken in sc said...

Of the movies mentioned above, the only ones I saw were Independence Day and Milk. The first I liked and the second I didn’t. The fact that an American president who is a qualified fighter pilot might act as a fighter pilot in a last ditch battle to save the earth is not unrealistic to me. Especially considering that George Washington actually led troops in the field as Commander in Chief in the Whiskey Rebellion. If everything is at stake, why shouldn’t the president fight? Oops, saw The English Patient and Solaris, both bad.

virgil xenophon said...

Freeman, you're going to have to turn in your "hipster" badge and decoder-ring if you even HINT that "Donnie Darko" wasn't the most wonderful, complex, insightful, multi-leveled meaningful (but only for the subtly visionary) commentary on the contemporary condition extant.

JAL said...

@ Freeman Hunt the movies that were truly the worst are ones almost nobody has seen. Trust me. I've seen many of them.

Aww, Freeman, you are not nobody, regardless of what you say.

wv epitypit
A funny wv.

John Lynch said...

I hated The Butterfly Effect. The point of the movie seems to be that it's not possible to change the past for the better, but the main character makes several choices to make the past worse. It was entirely within his control and he just kept making bad choices. Then he kills himself. Stupid.

XWL said...

"Scott M", didn't mean to suggest they twisted The Road to turn it into an anti-Bush screed, just suggesting that those type of movies have been getting green lit more often because of the general zeitgeist in liberal Hollywood. They think everyone felt like the world was over because Bush was President, so the films they produced reflected that feeling.

That was brought home by watching the Blu-Ray for Year One. Listening to the commentary, and watching the alternate ending, Harold Ramis explicitly said that they went with the more optimistic, 'be the change you believe in' ending because, 'the good guy won' in 2008. I guess had McCain triumphed, they would have released the fire and brimestone ending instead (which was funnier, by the way).

Kind of ironic, too. Most of these dystopic films will be consumed by the public at home, during the Hope and Change-y Obama years. Will folks relate them back to the Bush Administration, or will they see the Obama Administration as the evil guys behind the curtain of all the awfulness?

ken in sc said...

Oh, I left out Napoleon Dynomite. I showed it to my 6th grade students on the last day of school 2006. It was OK.

JAL said...

The last category would be the overhyped 'indie' picture that covers one of three themes, 'my family sucks', 'white guilt', or 'I'm a manboy in love with a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who doesn't love me back'. 'Indie' films almost always fall into one of those plot outlines, and generally don't deserve whatever good reviews they get.

Once upon a time these were "cutting edge!!1!" Hollywood still thinks they are against the grain.

They are boring and predictable.

JAL said...

Thread Jack Warning:

Freeman -- how was Christmas with the new bambino (how old now?) -- fun :-))?

Kensington said...

Rather than identify any specific films, may I just identify Roger Ebert as the film critic most likely to mislead?

Once upon a time (at least until some time in the '90s) a 4-star Ebert review reliably indicated a film worth seeing, but nowadays? It more likely indicates merely that a film's political or social message supports whatever political grievance Ebert is currently nursing.

For examples, see his reliable enthusiasm for the film of Michael Moore, Al Gore and his assurance that every America-hating Iraq war film is some work of startling genius.

Add to that his remarkable habit of revealing almost as much plot development as a typical movie trailer in his reviews, and you have a man barely worth reading as a critic any longer.

Henry said...

Gene Siskel hated everything. He was the last movie critic I paid attention to.

Ilona said...

Kensington absolutely nails what is wrong with an Ebert review these days.. I can't trust any review of his anymore. I spend a lot more time getting multiple reviews, and seeing blogger comments, and watching the trailers to determine if I'll support a movie by going to see it. Ebert is completely off the rails, and does not have even a scintilla of objectivity anymore. As for the worst movie of the decade, this was probably the decade in my life where I saw the fewest movies ever (my 40's, because they are so much propaganda anymore), but I have to pick the second Star Wars film. Gah, what awful acting, what awful dialog.. the only movie that Portman ever truly acted in was The Professional, and she was 12.

John said...

XWL pretty much nails it. The Eastwood films especially pain me, alhtough for my money Grand Torino was the best film of the decade or at least in the top five.

There just were not many good movies made in the last ten years. And many of the good ones that were made were made overseas.

Five best movies of the last decade
Mongol,
Grand Tornino,
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Lives of Others and
Amalie. Only one of those was made in Hollywood. And none of course won an Oscar.

Worst movies of the last decade,

The Day After Tommorow
The Matrix Sequals
The Star Wars Sequals
V for Vendetta
The Road

Although picking five "worst" is pretty dificult. But all of them are big budget Hollywood movies. Hollywood is just awful these days.

Kurt said...

Really? I liked "The Hours." Maybe I was one of the few.

And even my elderly mother thought "Lost in Translation" was entertaining--particularly that scene with the "Fantasy woman" who says "Rip my stockings!"

However, I'll agree with you about "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Sideways."

Unlike some of those who suggested "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," I loved that movie, even though viewing it got screwed up because the DVD skipped and played most of it back at some point more than halfway through, and we weren't sure if the movie was supposed to be that repetitious or not. (Later we figured out it was a glitch.)

wv: mismahst--sort of like "miscast": the feeling that decent movies have somehow mistakenly ended up on the bad movies list.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Movies I was tricked into seeing and hated:

Waitress <-(They even gave me a free gift bag and I still hated it!)
Russian Ark
Transamerica
Master and Commander
Match Point

Also, this is the decade that I learned to hate French movies. I haven't liked anything out of there since Jean Renoir stopped making them, although The Spanish Apartment was fun (and technically a Spanish movie).

Glenn Howes said...

Star Trek was my favorite movie of the year. "Your father was the captain of a star ship for 13 minutes. He saved 800 lives including your mother. I dare you to do better." (Paraphrasing from memory)

Completely unlike me, I like Lost in Translation, and will often watch it with the sound off when I'm coding.

And Sideways is a good film about people who refuse to make decisions which will make them happy.

William said...

In Lost in Translation, Scarlett Johansson wears lingerie and has a fling with an older man. The movie is not without redeeming value....I have to put the Star Wars, Matrix, and Indiana Jones sequels at the top of the list. Movies like Babel, The Hours, and Crash were meant to be edifying, and cineastes got what they deserved: well bred boredom. Don't go to church if you want a lap dance. But the selling point of the sequelled movies was the entertainment value of their first, fine lyric flick. The sequels weren't godawful but, in comparison to their progenitors they were sadly lacking. This gap between promise and delivery felt like a kind of betrayal. They inspired not boredom but antagonism.....Congrats to Harry Potter for building on the brand.... The Star Trek movie had one fine grace note: Leonard Nimoy as a time travelling Spock looked at his younger version and said "Live long and prosper". Spock has become our generation's Sherlock Holmes. He'll carry on.

John said...

Jason,

This was a great decade for French movies you philistine. Vie en Rose, Amalie, A Very Long Engagement, Man on Wire were all tremendous movies. And Master and Commander is a great movie to. How can you not like that one? Do you just not like guy movies?

John said...

William,

Scarlett Johnanson never sleeps with Bill Murrah in Lost in Translation. They never have a fling. They just bond with each other for a few days. And the lingerei is not that great, although the opening shot of her ass is spectacular.

John said...

It is interesting how Natalie Portman is in so many of the worst movies of this decade. I think she is one of the most beautiful women in the world. I absolutely adore looking at her. But, it appears she can't act.

rcocean said...

"Kensington absolutely nails what is wrong with an Ebert review these days.. I can't trust any review of his anymore"

Ha, when was he trustworthy? He was always an easy grader - "American Pie" Two Thumbs Up!

Kurt said...

I tend to agree with Freeman Hunt that "the movies that were truly the worst are ones almost nobody has seen."

In that category, I'd like to submit the following titles from the last decade, all of which I gave low ratings on my netflix queue:
*Then She Found Me (2007)
*Elling (2001)
*Into the Wild (2007--and nominated by a few others already)
*Bringing Down the House (2003)
*Nearing Grace (2005)
*A Home at the End of the World (2004)
*The Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (2006)
*Funny Ha Ha (2005)

And my number one pick for worst movie of the decade (which quite a few people also saw, but which was also the most annoying sequel ever):
*Before Sunset (2004)

victoria said...

Awful awful awful the following:


1. Any movie Kevin Costner is in.
2. Any movie directed by Roland Emmerich, Michael Bay or any of the Scott Brothers. Mindless drivel with no semblance of a plot, character development or story.
3. Any film (except The Family Man) with Nicholas Cage.
4. Anything directed by Tarantino.
5. Any movie with Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie or Matthew McConaughey or Natalie Portman.


This is just the first gasp. I am a movie fanatic and have found, over the last 10 years, less and less opportunities to really go to the movies and see something great. In the last 3 months the only movies worth seeing were "An Education" and "The Blind Side" Awesome.

WTF? You didn't like "Little Miss Sunshine" I laughed so hard I almost had to make a trip to the bathroom.



Vicki from Pasadena

vbspurs said...

NELS! Not Squid and the Whale...BTW, for whatever reason, I thought that was based on Ann's life. Laura Linney could certainly play Ann in a movie.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Russian Ark

Arrgh, now I'm just picking through people's lists with incredulity.

This film is a tour-de-force. It's not a popcorn movie -- instead, it's an artistic reinvisioning of the most iconic characters in Russian history. 300 YEARS SHOT IN ONE TAKE.

Come on, how this can be mentioned in the same breath as Gigli or Crash, is beyond me.

Although you can dislike anything you want, Jason. :P

vbspurs said...

Since it's a movie thread, allow me to thank the commenter (I forget who it was) who recommend "Crazy Love" -- the story of Burt and Linda Pugach. They married each other years later after he paid someone to throw lye in her face, disfiguring her and leaving her blind.

An excellent documentary, in a year which has yielded much.

THANKS!

cold pizza said...

There are bad movies that you know are going to be bad going into them like "Brothers Grimm" or "Superman Returns."

You know what you're getting when you set out to see "The Hangover" or "American Pie 69" or "The Howling Grudge Ring" or anything by Uwe Boll.

Then there are bad movies that are the equivalent of red hot slivers being shoved through your eye sockets. Ideas that could have been good but were battered by bad writing and dull acting and "artistic" sentiment.

"Premonition" with Sandra Bullock was the worst movie I've ever seen. A truly horrible experience that I paid money to see. Now I've got to go home and rinse my mind out with bleach again. -cp

wv: ireograp. Wrestling with wrath, WWE!

vbspurs said...

The Hangover

That's a hilarious movie, that actually only makes sense in its hilarity with the closing credits. American Pie is also a very funny movie, with a good ensemble team.

But perhaps in an age thing. I was still quite young when I saw American Pie, ten years ago (!).

mariner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mariner said...

I wonder if some people thought "Crash" and wrote "Traffic".

I thought "Traffic" was a good movie. I thought "Crash" was insufferably preachy and I hated it.

I missed The Weatherman on the screen; when I rented it I found it so bad that I ejected it after about 20 minutes.

I guess I've become jaded enough about Hollywood that I didn't see most of the movies people here think the worst.

vbspurs said...

I thought "Traffic" was a good movie. I thought "Crash" was insufferably preachy and I hated it.

I thought the same thing (about the confusion, and about the movies)!

lohwoman said...

Hated, hated, hated "Notes on a Scandal." Some stories should never be told. That definitely was one.

prairie wind said...

Ah, geez...I remember really liking American Beauty. I liked it enough that I refuse to see it again in case I was wrong. And now I guess I'm glad I have that rule.

Master and Commander is one my family can watch again and again.

Ratatouille...ewwww. Not only did it have rats in the kitchen, it had David Schwimmer in it.

Paco Wové said...

A second vote for "Russian Ark" as a remarkable, worthwhile movie. Beautiful to watch and listen to.

Kensington said...

If I'm going to watch a movie with David Schwimmer in a kitchen, he'd better be slow roasting.

Matt said...

lohwoman
Why is 'Notes on a Scandal' a "story that should not be told"? That's odd.
There are movies made every day about people who kill other people. There are war movies, horror movies and action movies. Are you opposed to those movies? Especially since those movies glorify violence. 'Notes on a Scandal' doesn't glorify anything. It shows how screwed up some people are. But it also presents a human side to someone who commits a crime that is highly unnacceptable.

But there is a story there. It's also very well acted.

Jason (the commenter) said...

John: This was a great decade for French movies you philistine. Vie en Rose, Amalie, A Very Long Engagement, Man on Wire were all tremendous movies.

A Very Long Engagement was just a little too Romantic. I thought the Amelie character was creepy and Man on Wire was boring (plus the main character was a jerk).

This was a great decade for Spanish or South Korean movies, but not French ones.

And Master and Commander is a great movie to. How can you not like that one? Do you just not like guy movies?

Guy movies I liked:

3:10 to Yuma, The Departed, Gone Baby Gone, Grand Torino, Grind House, The Motorcycle Diaries, Murderball...

rcocean said...

This was a great decade for Spanish or South Korean movies, but not French ones.

Love South Korean Movies. Which ones were "great" in your opinion?

vbspurs said...

A Very Long Engagement was just a little too Romantic. I thought the Amelie character was creepy

Agree on both counts. In fact, other than Amélie, which was delightful, can anyone point me to a really good performance by Audrey Tautou? Audrey Hepburn had charm, and class, and maybe it's because of the similar name that I REALLY wanted to continue liking Tautou. But she was an one-trick pony. She has zero chemistry with her male leads, including Gad Elmaleh in Hors de Prix, a mildly enjoyable romantic comedy.

Cheers,
Victoria

wv: viguerst. Quite.

Jason (the commenter) said...

vbspurs: Russian Ark...

...This film is a tour-de-force. It's not a popcorn movie -- instead, it's an artistic reinvisioning of the most iconic characters in Russian history. 300 YEARS SHOT IN ONE TAKE.

It's a bunch of people in period costumes who walk around. Have you never been to a Renaissance festival? And the whole thing about it being filmed in one take is just a gimmick. It adds nothing worthwhile to the experience and is only there to provide buzz.

Matt said...

Jason (the commenter)

I think you are being a contrarian. Have you ever made a movie? Try doing a single take movie with that many extras and make it work like it does in Russian Ark. It's a pretty terrific feat.

Also you are correct about South Korean movies but a bit critical about French ones. This was a good decade for French films too:
Tell No One, Amelie, Beau Travail [and other films by Clair Denis], Summer Hours [and other films by Olivier Assayas], Kings and Queen [and other films by Arnaud Desplechin]. And then Rohmer, Rivette, Resnais, Ozon, Chabrol and Godard had films.
Also La Moustache, The Beat That my Heart Skipped, Read My Lips.

And if you count Belgian filmmakers the Dardenne Brothers films are great. Also the films by Michael Haneke are in French and therefore pretty much count as French films.
And that's just the more mainstream titles that came to the US.

Jason (the commenter) said...

rcocean: Love South Korean Movies. Which ones were "great" in your opinion?

Aachi & Ssipak
Oldboy
A Tale of Two Sisters
3-Iron
Lady Vengeance
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring

vbspurs said...

It adds nothing worthwhile to the experience and is only there to provide buzz.

If Russian Ark were a battle, it would be D-Day -- it was that complicated to do.

Cheers,
Victoria

Jason (the commenter) said...

Matt: Try doing a single take movie with that many extras and make it work like it does in Russian Ark. It's a pretty terrific feat.

But it's all technique. Nothing's done with it, there's no reason for the film to be shot that way. In 3-Iron the two main characters never speak to each other, and it's a love story. That is an amazing movie. Russian Ark is just some guy with a camera who can move extras around. The North Koreans could probably make ten movies like that each year. Someone was probably shot in the head there for not thinking of it first.

Why is Russian Ark all technique? Because it would have been too hard for the movie maker to use it artistically. He hasn't really mastered the art of single take films in Russian Ark. The movie maker has in fact failed at it!

vbspurs said...

But it's all technique.

It's like being enveloped in a beautiful dream, a fog of historic tableaux vivants approaching the viewer in a seamless wave of images. The professional concentration of the actors cannot be imagined, as they must go into character in a split second, do their bit, and let the camera dissolve into the next historic sequence without missing a beat.

Maybe it's the Russian history which enthralled me, especially watching the scenes which everyone who has read Russian history remembers...from Peter the Great berating his son before killing him, to watching Catherine the Great say she wanted a pee in her enormous sideways crinolines, or interrupting the last Romanovs in one of their cosy family tea parties, it's like opening up a history book, and getting freebies like ballet and opera in cinematic format.

Cheers,
Victoria

Matt said...

Jason (the commenter)

You write:
[Russian Ark is all technique] because it would have been too hard for the movie maker to use it artistically.

What does that mean?

First up, do you know who the filmmaker is? Aleksandr Sokurov is a modern master and Russian Ark is completely different than anything else he has made technically.
Next, you cannot say with a straight face that there is no reason to do the film in a single take. Seriously.

You are assuming that the technique somehow hurts the film or the film's meaning. When, in fact, it is just the opposite. Would it be a better movie for you if it had a 100 edits? Most movies are in fact full of technique. [Movies made today would freak out viewers 100 years ago because of the ‘technique’].
But note that the film's single take signifies a message to the viewer about Russian history. That history is connected in time with no breaks. Yes, besides being a technical feat it also combines form and content extremely well. It's like a fever dream or an aria with no breaks or a poem [or novel] with no punctuation leaving the viewer in an almost metaphysical state of limbo through Russian history. Note the way the camera floats rather than moves on tracks.

Anyway, it's one way of making a movie. And to my eyes [and mind] it's as legit as any other way.

TomM. said...

Happy Feet.

John said...

Jason,

I am sorry but you are a philistine. 3:10 to Yuma? Are you kidding? The original with Glen Ford maybe but not the remake. The Motorcycle Diaries? Spring Time for Hitler for the NPR set. Unbelievable.

And Amalie was an incredibly creative, interesting movie. There was nothing creepy about Amalie. She was just a girl who was incredibly shy. There is no other movie quite like it.

South Korean movies? That is just you being a poser. Oh I don't watch European movies, I only watch South Korean ones of the Yu Tang school. Please.

save_the_rustbelt said...

I'm glad I have grandchildren, I watched a lot of kid movies and did not have time to see all of the wretched adult flicks.

Did see and liked Gran Torino.

Notting Hill was made in the 90s, but I am still pissed that I wasted $3 to rent it and then sat through it, so I nominate is as the carryforward worst movie of the 00s. Add any movie with Hugh Grant.

vbspurs said...

Yes, besides being a technical feat it also combines form and content extremely well. It's like a fever dream or an aria with no breaks or a poem [or novel] with no punctuation leaving the viewer in an almost metaphysical state of limbo through Russian history. Note the way the camera floats rather than moves on tracks.

*APPLAUSE*

Pogo said...

Aww, Amelie was a joy to watch.

Made me almost like the French again.

Freeman Hunt said...

John, "3:10 to Yuma" was good. So were the South Korean flicks. Jason is not wrong on those counts. Why so harsh?

Writing of South Korean movies, "Memories of Murder," anyone? Loved that.

Freeman Hunt said...

Where's Lem? He has great taste in film.

Kensington said...

"The Motorcycle Diaries? Spring Time for Hitler for the NPR set."

Oh my God, that's perfect!

BRAVO!

Joan said...

Sorry, Freeman, 3:10 to Yuma, the remake, sucked badly.

I'm happy that I've avoided many of the movies mentioned here. I'll disagree with a few others and say that I liked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Moulin Rouge! is a guilty pleasure, and The Wrestler was a completely wrenching experience.

OTOH, I detested Wall-E.

I try to read enough movie reviews to figure out which ones I'll detest in advance, so I can wait for them to hit DVD or cable. I'm patient that way. For example, the Sex in the City movie was so horrible I can't even describe it, but I watched it on HBO one night when I had nothing else to do. It cost me neither time nor money, and I got to laugh at the clothes.

There are very few movies I see and think "I'm sorry I missed that in the movie theatre." So much dreck, so little incentive to watch it.

Jeremy said...

talk about a bunch of know-nothing douche bags.

you people really need to get out more.

Leland said...

A movie I haven't seen mentioned yet is "War of the Worlds". I went in hoping to see a modern version of a classic. The opening act was well done. Then Dakota Fanning began screaming, and it went downhill fast. The civilized world from New York to Boston is almost completely destroyed, with humans becoming tasty hors d'oeuvres along the way. Except Boston, where the hearth is warm and the people look ready to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner after they welcome the new guests.

The movie was so bad that Independence Day now looks deep and dramatic in comparison.

Scott M said...

Jeremy said...talk about a bunch of know-nothing douche bags.

you people really need to get out more.


...and in an apolitical thread about stinker movies. Do you wonder why people hereabouts dislike you so much?

Paco Wové said...

...he doesn't wonder, he revels in it. Because he's a troll. Whose only purpose is to disrupt threads, and insult people. Nothing more.

jr565 said...

Two movies that stick out for being completely awful were Gus van Zant's Elephant (think it was done in the past 10 years) and
Synedoche, NY.
Elephant is one of the most inert boring movies ever made, with at least five extended scenes where all the action that takes place is a long shot of a character walking down a hallway, or across a football field, or down a street. Maybe they say hi to someone as they walk by, but that's it. And this happens over and over. If you want to describe ennui, this is the movie to do it.
Synedoche, was the movie where I went from admiring Charles Kaufman's brand of storytelling, to detesting it. one of the bleakest, most self indulgent, neurotic movies you'll ever see. What starts out as a clever twist on telling a story, turns into an interminably boring movie that will make you want to slit your wrists if you haven't fallen asleep while watching it.

jr565 said...

Another stinker was A Thin Red Line.
Beautiful to look at, but oh so boring.

Yah said...

I was conned by a four star review in the Chicago Tribune into watching "Police, Adjective," a Romanian movie. Ugh.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Freeman Hunt: Why so harsh?

He was so harsh because he couldn't think of anything else to say.