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The Projectionist’s Worst of 2010

The Bottom 13 of 2010

Projectionist’s Note: Because I kept lousy records this year, I missed one of the worst films of the year and felt the need to mention it.  So, now, the list is the “Bottom 13″ rather than just omit something to make room.  The movie that has been added is Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?

I’ve avoided this for the past couple of years, but oh well, lists are fun aren’t they?

I saw quite a few bad movies in 2010, with just enough wretchedness to compete with the worst movies I’ve ever seen.  And still, I didn’t see a lot of movies that could have made the list.  I avoided a great many movies this year.

13. Red

Red throws in a bunch of name actors: Morgan Freeman, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, and Richard Dreyfuss, and basically begs you to like the movie because they are in it.  It worked: many people did like it, apparently because of that very reason, because it simply isn’t very good.  Yet this boring movie made around $90 million at the box office.

12. Clash of the Titans

Bad conversion 3D doesn’t really begin to describe what disappointing lows this movie reached.  I remember watching the trailer and being excited for all the cool-looking creatures in this film, like the Kraken, even if the Kraken had already seen the light of day (sort of) in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.  In the trailer, we see the Kraken in full glory, screaming its head off, looking scary…only to see it easily defeated.  In fact, many baddies are just easily disposed of, as if we don’t like suspense in movies.

11. The Wolfman

One of the most boring horror movies you can watch.  I’ve never understood the idea behind trying to make a slickly-produced horror film.  Perhaps some filmmakers believe horror needs some sort of credibility, and you make it with name actors and high production values.  But no other genre benefits more with less, and almost any time a horror movie goes for a blockbuster type of feel, it fails miserably.  Every year when horror fanatics list their favorites, I can almost guarantee nothing released in theatres makes the cut.  It’s all straight-to-video and fear.net these days.  Those movies will never see the light of day in a theatre, because God forbid we see something that looks cheap in a multiplex.

10. Dear John

Yeah, this movie starring Channing Tatum and the brutally hot Amanda Seyfried just plain sucked.  This movie is really no different from another big Nicholas Sparks adaptation, The Notebook.  It’s pretty much the same exact story minus the dementia, and contains a surprise that doesn’t make sense.  I just don’t think love works the way it is portrayed in this movie, so I didn’t care about the main characters and especially the “dramatic twist” at the end.

9. Extraordinary Measures

Harrison Ford used to be a can’t-miss movie star.  You would pay to see this guy read the phone book.  Now, when we pay to see Harrison Ford, that’s about what we’re getting.  Extraordinary Measures, part of what I like to call “The Measures Trilogy” along with other movies you’ll confuse this with in the future, including Desperate Measures and Extreme Measures, is a tedious and bland film that you would expect to see made-for-cable.  Harrison Ford’s resume in the last ten years is almost all miss.  If it weren’t for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which most sane people agree sucked, Ford would not have a hit since 2000’s What Lies Beneath.

8. Robin Hood

Basically, this year was chock-full of movies that just weren’t exciting in any meaningful way.  Robin Hood, a movie no one asked for, gave us what we’ve seen a billion times now since Braveheart: lots of men warring with each other in open fields.  As I mention in the review, it’s gotten to the point where if I see a bunch of dudes dressed in battle gear and swords about to do battle with each other, I immediately become tired.  Men overcoming tyranny in olden times sit on the shoulders of all the movies that came before it, and we’re supposed to just fill in the blanks.  A bad guy is just bad…we don’t need to know anything further.  He doesn’t need to do anything that makes us actively involved in his ultimately being vanquished.  And that’s why a movie like Robin Hood sucks.  It’s an exercise in who-cares filmmaking.

7. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

We knew this was going to suck before it even came out.  Despite those low expectations, Prince of Persia never manages to exceed them.  Action movies are the ultimate ADD victims now with poor shooting and editing that, as close to the word “literally” as you can possibly get without being the definition, flips the finger to the audience.  They say, “We don’t care if this scene makes sense, because you don’t.”  And I’d say they’re right in some cases.  Or, the worst scenario has happened: the filmmakers can’t even tell what a good action scene is anymore.  Mike Newell used to be a distinguished director.  This guy did Donnie Brasco.  What the hell?

6. Predators

Seeing as how every attempt to bring Predators back into cinema consciousness has failed, from Predator 2 to the two Alien Vs. Predator movies that both made my year-end worst lists, it was no surprise that this latest reboot ended up being horrible in its own right.  And yet, I still heard that this was a step in the right direction for the Predator series.  Shrug.  I disagree.  This movie puts a whole bunch of badass killers (plus Topher Grace) down on a planet with two different kinds of Predator and this still sucks incredible balls.

5. Skyline

Here’s the point in the worst list where I actually had to juggle through 4 movies, all well deserving of the Worst of the Year honor.  Almost everything from this point forward is worthy.  Skyline is worthy of being Worst of the Year from many of the most ludicrous character actions and plot devices I’ve ever seen in any film.  The reason why it “rises above” the other three is that Skyline might be the kind of bad movie in which we will be making our own fun for years to come.  It’s that damn stupid.  Also, its placement here nicely segues from Predators because the Brothers Strause, who made this film, made the insipid Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem.

4. Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too? (not reviewed)

I know I’m not the audience for Tyler Perry movies, but seriously, his audience deserves better.  Perry never tells a story with any technique, lets his actors go into over-the-top mode at will, lets scenes run too long, and this movie contains probably one or two of the worst scenes in a movie this year: Janet Jackson’s character trying to force alcohol down her husband’s throat, then later buying one of those stripper cakes and taking it to his office so that an over-the-top gay stripper can come out of the cake and humiliate him in front of his co-workers.  And then he gets hit by a car.  And then we should feel all OK because Janet feels terrible and then finds love with, I’m not kidding, a character played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in a cameo role.

3. A Nightmare on Elm Street

This Michael Bay-produced horror remake, which completes the circle of life for every horror franchise that you ever held dear being remade, briefly held onto the worst spot when it arrived in April of 2010.  This movie is downright boring, with no scares at all, characters you don’t care whether they die, and a different characterization of Freddy Kreuger that steals all the fun from the original.

2. My Soul to Take (not reviewed)

This segues nicely, as Wes Craven, “master of horror” and the man behind the original Nightmare on Elm Street, actually made a movie that was worse than the remake of the movie he originally made.  My Soul to Take seems to have a lot of things on its mind, confusing the audience and likely confusing everyone who was making this film.  It’s a movie that doesn’t want you to guess the killer’s identity, so it throws a lot of red herrings all over the place.  Not that you would care anyway.  Craven did the red herring thing very well, and more subtly, in Scream.  Here’s hoping that Scream 4 doesn’t suck.

1. MacGruber

I hate comedy done poorly more than I hate anything else.  No movies this past decade have pissed me off more than the “Movie” movies such as Epic Movie and Date Movie, where people who think they might be funny piss all over comedy.

I don’t think Will Forte is this bad, but now he has appeared in (and written) two movies that have made my Worst Lists in the past, the other being The Brothers Solomon.  I’m not quite sure what is going on with Forte, but maybe this is what we should expect from him.  MacGruber is painfully unfunny, although on occasion it nails something and I found myself laughing in a movie that I can’t stand.  It wants to make fun of every eighties action flick, but I think it could have been better if MacGruber wasn’t so bumbling.  He should be psychologically unbalanced in some way, but not bumbling.  And I know that’s what is funny about the SNL skits, but here, it’s just not right.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to shake seeing Will Forte with celery stuck in his ass.


Comment from Jonathan
Time: January 17, 2011, 11:04 pm

Before I started reading this list, I was thinking surely I didn’t see many of these, but alas I did. Wasn’t a great year for films I guess. I will say that while “Prince of Persia” and “Predators” were nobodie’s definition of a good movie, they were mild diversions and both had a few good scenes in them. Granted in a year, where I didn’t choose to see “Yogi Bear,” “Meet the Fockers,” “Gulliver’s Travels,” or that movie where Brendan Frasier had to fight a bunch of animals, maybe they would have been on my list. “Macgruber” was really bad as well, but it did have a few moments that made me laugh pretty hard (the 80’s sex scene was pretty damn brilliant, even if it went on a little too long).

Worst movie I saw this year was “Marmaduke.” I didn’t quite avoid all of the talking animal movies after all I guess. I also would have had “Clash of the Titans” pretty high up there. And I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that though “Red” was a piece of crap.

Great list; looking forward to the “Best of…”

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