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The Projectionist’s Bottom 12 Films of 2007

Ironically, bad films are the most fun to write (and read) about.  In this great year of 2007, I actually had less of a pile of bad films to choose from than good films.  This is not the norm, and it was the ultimate proof that this year stood out.

However, I did have 20 films that I considered for this list.  That’s still roughly 40 hours of discontent that I had to sit through.  Not making an appearance this year is Uwe Boll, whose films have appeared on my bottom lists three of the last four years.  But he’s scheduled in the first two months of 2008 to have two films that were supposed to come out in 2007 and even 2006 (In the Name of the King and Postal)!  That’s called “making it up for the fans.”

12. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Last year I put the second Pirates at this position, and I probably should have pushed it aside for Eragon.  This year there was no doubt that I was going to put the third Pirates on this list.  This movie was probably the most incoherent of the summer, filled with such nonsense the script must have been written via Mad Libs.

11. Halloween

Rob Zombie is considered a genius by some people.  But this is his second film to make my worst list, and his last one, The Devil’s Rejects, narrowly missed.  I go into every movie hoping to love it, and I was hoping this remake of Halloween would at least approach the original.  But Zombie makes the mistake that so many horror directors have decided to make recently: giving us a reason for the madness.  The old Scream adage, “It’s a lot scarier when there’s no motive,” hasn’t been followed too much in the past couple of years (like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel last year).  In fact, it’s been the reason for the whole movie in some cases (Hannibal, another such example, was also considered for this list).

It’s loud, too explanatory, and none too subtle.  And it’s not scary, the ultimate reason it’s no good.

10. Are We Done Yet?

Just for being unnecessary, this sequel would have likely made the list.  But when the two kids from the first film, Aleisha Allen and Philip Bolden, reprise their annoying characters that the first film swore had learned their lesson, the movie became an instant Bottom Film.  I’m so tired of watching kids hackle at inappropriate times, or copping attitude at every second.  Sure, this is something kids do, but we shouldn’t have to watch it onscreen in a darkened movie theatre.  That’s reserved for the airport or a restaurant…or from kids inside a darkened movie theatre.

9. Primeval

The trailers made this look like some horror movie in the jungle, with some crazy dictator being the killer.  But this was a killer crocodile movie that wasn’t nearly as fun as its predecessor, Lake Placid.  Awful everything: dialogue, plot, acting…but Orlando Jones was kind of fun, and he had the best scene probably when he was shown running away from the big croc and we got to see it in its full glory.  More scenes like that, and we might be talking about an “underrated” film, but this was just boring and humorless for the most part.

8. The Invisible

The Invisible had one of the most misleading trailers of the season, was pushed back several times, and the final film was ultimately missing an intriguing premise that was promised: Solve the mystery of your own death, and be able to come back.  However, it wouldn’t have made any sense in the final film, which is a shame: the main character isn’t dead, only near-dead.  The movie was obviously cut to ribbons, probably went through numerous script revisions before and during production, but the other thing that bothered me was that Justin Chatwin’s character yells at people the whole movie, even though he knows no one can hear him.  And he keeps trying to give people directions despite knowing this.  It just tore my nerves up watching this thing.

7. Perfect Stranger

Dr. Sam Loomis has this as his number one worst film this year, and there’s no doubt it belongs on my list.  Another really incoherent film, one with a whammy ending that would have worked in a movie that had, say, anything exciting in it beforehand.  I don’t understand these movies at all.  It’s so obvious the ending was what the writers had in mind from the get-go, and they took no interest in providing a compelling story, i.e., a reason to care, or a reason not to demand your money back before sending anthrax to the box office.  Halle Berry is getting closer and closer to having to rescind her Oscar.

6. The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising

This was incoherent as well, so you might notice a theme to my Bottom List.  I don’t get it.  If finding artifacts requires that you have the seventh son of a seventh son, in other words, The Seeker, then why go through all the trouble of hiding them all over creation as if someone could just stumble upon them like a kiddie porn dungeon?  The absolute most annoying character of the year was played by Christopher Eccleston, who says the same thing over and over throughout the movie and often serves as the movie’s unofficial evil narrator.

5. Balls of Fury

Balls of Fury suffers from anything-goes disease.  Comedies can benefit from it if there’s a method to the madness (this year’s Hot Rod, for instance, is an above-average example).  But when the movie decides to eschew storytelling and begs the audience to forget about anything making sense.  Ultimately, though, it just isn’t funny, and with it being modeled on movies like The Karate Kid and Kung Fu it lands on the list for wasting heaps of opportunities to be uproarious.

4. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem

Incoherence takes many forms; one is in storytelling, which this is an example of, but also in action scenes, which this movie delivers in murky frame after frame.  When the alien and predator and the alien/predator get involved in fighting with each other, you see nothing but dark shapes during the usual rapid-fire editing.  Taking an idea like the a/p hybrid and wasting it instantly made it a candidate for this list, but then throwing in the most uninteresting human characters and giving them their own uninteresting stories that had nothing to do with the otherworldly slaughter that followed just buried me forever in careless mode.

3. The Comebacks

Surprisingly, it wasn’t called Sports Movie.  The spoof genre in the last few years has become entirely about guessing the reference, and then I guess feeling smart that you got it.  And then, logically, laughing afterwards.  This kind of “comedy” has the opposite effect on me in that it makes me angry.  It sounds pompous I guess to deconstruct what constitutes a good joke, but I think everyone agrees that setup and delivery are important.  You should ratchet up the comic tension for the audience before going for the punchline, but these kinds of movies are all punchlines, and the punchline is, “See, this is Invincible…and look here, this is Coach Carter.”

2. Premonition

Premonition gets its low marks for being so insulting to the audience.  The premise is that Sandra Bullock has one of those weeks where all the days are out of order, where she spends Thursday thinking tomorrow will be Friday but it’s actually Monday.  This happens to us all, and we learn things from it.  For instance, I was able to successfully bet on all the underdogs in college football one week because I experienced Saturday first and then woke up on a Wednesday.  But Bullock, stupifyingly, despite all she learns, becomes stupid when it counts most.  Another movie in which the ending was planned but nothing exciting was planned before it.

1. Epic Movie

Before I get into Epic Movie, it should come as no surprise that writers/directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer are behind January 2008’s Meet the Spartans, which looks like an easy early candidate for Worst of the Year, as Epic Movie is here in 2007.  Their Date Movie cracked the Top 10 of my Worst of 2006 list.  In other words, collectively they are the Uwe Boll of parody movies.  These assholes are so unfunny they implode and create a black hole where no humor can escape.  They’re probably responsible for killing Mitch Hedberg, they’re so unfunny.  It’s like matter and anti-matter. 

The one joke in Epic Movie that probably made it impossible that any other film beat it was the joke about the Harry Potter actors being too old to play the roles they’re playing.  Considering that all the major players are still in their teens, and will only be in their very early twenties by the time it all ends, I realized that Seltzer and Friedberg were playing on an all-too-common belief for this joke.  Humor is found in truth, though.  It’s about knowing what the truth is: a better joke would have been if the Harry Potter actors were being played by young children, and still everyone thinks they’re too old.  But I guess that’s too-heady stuff to actually think about the humor process, especially from people who are obsessed with MTV parodies.

And really, there is nothing close to Epic Movie.  Premonition is a distant second.  If only these parody movies weren’t so cheap to produce, then the couple of millions they make wouldn’t encourage studios to make them anymore.  But many of you out there are going to shell out $11 to watch Meet the Spartans.  These movies make me want to reconsider that whole “it’s all just an opinion” philosophy.

Dr. Sam Loomis’ 10 Best Films of the Year

Dr. Sam Loomis’ 10 Worst Films of the Year

The Projectionist’s Top 12 Films of the Year

The Projectionist’s Other Observations of 2007

2006: The Year in Film

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