Saturday, January 06, 2007

My worst movies of 2006

Somehow it only seems appropriate to salute the worst movies of 2006 on a weekend that features Cedric the (former) Entertainer as a janitor-turned-federal-agent and Hilary Swank saving the youth of America. I know you're all strong enough to join me in just saying no.

And, please understand, I'm sure these aren't the worst movies that came out in 2006, just the worst ones I had the traumatic experience of seeing. I'm fairly certain that both "BloodRayne" and "Little Man" are worse than most of the movies that made this list, but until I get paid to watch movies for a living, I won't be finding out for sure. So, here goes ...

"Lady in the Water"
Might as well start with the big daddy, the grand kahuna, the single worst movie I saw in all of 2006. How the hell did M. Night fall so far so fast? The signs were there that he was slipping with "Signs," and "The Village" was even worse, but neither of those could have prepared me for just how bad this movie was. It's all empty and, much worse, arrogant piffle, with M. Night casting himself in the middle of this "bedtime story" as the writer whose dangerous ideas will change the world. Just please, please, please avoid this one at all costs.

"Date Movie"
Being as far removed from the target audience as I am for this one, I should probably be ashamed that I even bothered to watch it, but I did for one reason only: A reservoir of goodwill for Alyson Hannnigan left over from her days on "Buffy." Well, that reservoir is quickly going dry from fare as bad as this. The only time I can remember laughing was when her would-be suitor hoists his boombox Lloyd Dobler-style and blares Player's "Baby Come Back." That joke alone probably shows just how old I'm getting.

"ATL"
I think I was just duped by the marketing campaign for this one. I was expecting a nostalgic look at growing up and roller skating in Atlanta, but this wasn't even close. At the middle of a cast full of wretched performances is rapper T.I., whose technique of showing emotion, any emotion, is simply to squint. Outkast's Big Boi embarasses himself even more as a supposed drug dealer who's about as menacing as Wayne Brady. Just plain bad.

"Freedomland"
I had high expectations for this one after reading the fairly great novel by Richard Price, but from the outset it had no idea what it wanted to be. With Julianne Moore as a woman who makes the explosive charge that a black carjacker took off with her vehicle and her young son in the back seat, it sets up the opportunity to explore all kinds of issues about race and class, but then tackles none of them. A real shame made only worse because the best performance from Samuel L. Jackson in years is just wasted here.

"American Dreamz"
Even if this one hadn't come out in the same year as the vastly superior satire "Thank You for Smoking," it still would have sucked just as much on its own. Supposedly a satire on both the "American Idol" phenomenon and the Bush white house, it's just so silly that it misses all its targets. Dennis Quaid's Bush, in particular, is just so crudely and broadly drawn that it zaps all the venom right out. It just suckz.

"Art School Confidential"
It pains me to even type those three words for inclusion on this list, but unfortunately this flick is well-deserving of the demerits. Terry Zwigoff and Daniel Clowes have made one perfect movie, "Ghost World," and will surely make many more great ones, so I suppose I should just give them this one mulligan. And I would, if it hadn't started my summer off on such a bad note with its ridiculous plot and vacuous script. I know you can do better guys, and I look forward to seeing it.

"Poseidon"
Just about the only enjoyable thing about this "disaster" flick is that Fergie dies within the first 20 minutes or so. For a movie that's supposedly about a sinking ocean liner, you get absolutely no sense of doom, just people walking down hallway after hallway, boring us to death along the way. My favorite piece of dialogue has Kurt Russell imploring daughter Emmy Rossum to cover up her "twins." It's just plain creepy.

"X-Men: The Last Stand"
The sins committed by Brett the Ratner with this one are way too many to detail here, so I'll keep it brief. It just seemed like he packed this one full of way too many mutants and even more plot lines, which he just picked up and dropped as soon as he got bored. The worst was his abuse of the Dark Phoenix saga, which was just atrocious. Oh well. Maybe the Wolverine movie won't suck, and we'll eventually be getting a Memento movie too to help wipe this abomination from memory.

"Idlewild"
How in the world do you make a movie with the tremendously talented Andre 3000 and Big Boi of Outkast playing musicians and then only give them three big musical numbers, one of which doesn't even come until the closing credits? Instead we get a terribly tired gangster plot and a wasted appearance from the great Terrence Howard. The soundtrack album that comes with it is outstanding, but the flick sat on the shelf so long that it only contains a couple of these new songs.

"School for Scoundrels"
After this disaster I'm ready to swear off both any movies directed by Todd Phillips and any starring Jon Heder. How did "Napoleon Dynamite" end up in this completely unfunny movie? Phillips showed some real comedic skill with "Road Trip" but has only gone downhill since, and Heder's one-trick-pony is definitely ready for the glue factory. I'll give Billy Bob Thornton a pass on this one because he's just that good, but he had nothing to do in this waste of celluloid.

Whew. There you have it. The 20 hours or so that I want to get back but never will. So, which movies just made your eyes bleed in 2006? Please feel free to sound off, and please, please, please don't watch any of the movies that made this list!

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am deeply sorry to say I have seen every movie on your list. But hey, it's a living. I often say that having no saturation point for bad movies is the most important requirement of the job. What that means, though, is that I saw movies last year that were in a whole other category of awful than those on this list. Not one, but two terrible Robin Williams movies: "RV" and "Man of the Year." The boy cows with udders movie, "Barnyard." Heaven help me, "Deck the Halls." (Poor Kristen Chenoweth was in that one AND "RV.") I see them so you don't have to. I've seen "Code Name: Cleaner" already in 2007 and have "Pacifier 2," "Daddy Day Camp," "White Noise 2," and "Norbit" ahead of me. Worst list of 2007, I'm ready for you!

Reel Fanatic said...

Holy cow ... does that mean there's gonna be a sequel to "Daddy Day Care"? ... sheesh ... you have my sympathy, Nell, but I think I'd gladly take your job even if it meant having to sit through so many dogs

Anonymous said...

You know I was meaning to get around to watching those movies but you totally took the wind out of my sails.
You have my heartfelt thanks for saving me $120 in DVD purchases.

carrie said...

i liked lady in the water and i like all of shyamalan's movies, but i would like to see him do better. i think that is part of his schtick is to get you all hyped up for one thing and then give you another...

Anonymous said...

Thankfully I saw none of these movies. I almost saw Lady in the Water due to a bit of good will left over for M. Night from the old days, but then the reviews came out... How did he fall so far?

Anonymous said...

I really, really tried to like "Lady in the Water" because I admire what M.Night is trying to do in his movies (I guess I would say horror movies with a heart). But after all was said and done it was pretty awful.

Another guy who's rapidly running out of chances is Jon Heder. He hasn't been funny since Napoleon and to be honest he's kind of hard to look at through a whole film.

Reel Fanatic said...

Like all of you, I wanted desperately to keep with M. Night ... "Unbreakable" and "The Sixth Sense" are nearly flawless films, but "The Village" and then "Lady in the Water" just made me cringe

Marina said...

Again, I like this list and I don't disagree with any of the items on it except that I did see worse than Poseidon. It wasn't great but it wasn't the worse I saw either. That honour has to go to "Ultraviolet". Ugh. Thinking about it pisses me right off.

Anonymous said...

Great list.

I think I liked ART SCHOOL more than you. But then again, I saw it on DVD, and liked it more than Zwigoff's highly overrated BAD SANTA.

As for boycotting Todd Phillips, why now and not after ROAD TRIP, OLD SCHOOL, or STARSKY AND HUTCH? He is a "comedy" director who is able to drain the comedy from every project he works on (not to mention stealing the storylines from other films, making him one of the least original as well). I've always thought he was one of the worst working today.

Sadie Lou said...

Hey! I haven't been in the blogging scene but it was nice to read your comprehensive list of razzies, here. I have had the displeasure of seeing X Men and Lady in the Water but I was tricked! Both of those films have had great standards to live up to. X 2 was awesome and I loved M. Night's earlier works.
Thanks for the email!
I look forward to swapping Netflix notes with you this year...

Linda said...

Agree with you on many of these. Lady in the Water-awful, All the Kings Men-awful,Black Dahlia-awful, Apocalypto-awful. I have never walked out of a film, and all of thse pushed me pretty close.

Reel Fanatic said...

I just skipped Black Dahlia and All the Kings Men, Linda, so I'm glad to hear that they were as awful as I expected them to be ... Several people told me the All the Kings Men remake was actually pretty good, but I just couldn't imagine it would be, because the original is easily my favorite American political film of all time, with Nashville a close second

Anonymous said...

"Lady in the Water" brought us together, Reel Fanatic, so I can't feel sorry that I saw it. "A Good Year" would be my addition.

Lee said...

Easily my worst pick of 2006 was The Break Up. What a let down. So much hype, yet such a pathetic movie. And I love Jennifer Aniston! :(

Chris said...

My worst movie this year was The Grudge 2 and it was difficult to pick between that, Uwe Boll's Bloodrayne, John Cameron Mitchell's "oh-so-daring" Shortbus, and the awful, awful Covenant. My list is here.

Also, I think you can certainly hate Lady in the Water for a lot of things, and I can see where people are coming from on that; but I think calling it one of the worst is a stretch...most disappointing, possibly. It depends on your definition of "bad" or "worst" and if that includes "high level of disappointment." But according to my various definitions (subjective, of course) Lady in the Water is an underrated film; not because it's great, but because I thought it got dumped on more than a movie like that would have had it not been directed by Shyamalan.

Reel Fanatic said...

I didn't bother with a "A Good Year," Diana .. Just the thought of Russell Crowe discovering the secret to life at a vineyard in France made me nauseous

I'm definitely with you on The Break-Up, Lee .. I just never understood what the point of that waste of time was supposed to be

Anonymous said...

Agreed about X-3. God, that movie was awful.

Also, commendations on not jumping on the Da Vinci Code hating bandwagon. The "crappiness" of that movie is way overrated by critics, it's actually pretty good.

Reel Fanatic said...

I have to confess, emma, that the "Da Vinci Code" wasn't even in contentino for me because I didn't bother to see it .. It just looked like two hours of Tom Hanks looking confused and poor Audrey Tautou being miserable, which I didn't think I could stand

Anonymous said...

Oh my... I saw "Date Movie" too, and I agree, the "Baby Copme Back" part was the only thing I laughed at. And as much as I worship Jim Broadbent even he couldn't rescue "Art School Confidentail".

Sarah said...

yes.. i believe Bloodrayne takes the cake on all of these. it doesn't even pass for amusing b-grade sci-fi.

Reel Fanatic said...

It was painful to watch the great Jim Broadbent in that one, Melissa, because it was clear that he was just trying so hard to save it, but there was nothing he could do

Anonymous said...

Well, since I don't get out to see many flicks anymore, I can't say as I have anything to add. I do agree with you about stuff like 'Poseidon' and definitely 'X3.' I guess the only point I differ with is 'Lady in the Water.' I thought it was a neat little flick...not everything it could've been, certainly, but I still liked it.

The only other one I'd toss on your 'worst' pile is 'DaVinci Code.' For such a big-budget piece, you'd think they could've made huge improvements on a pretty mediocre book. But no. In fact, they didn't even use the best parts of the book. Flick was a complete waste of time and money.

Reel Fanatic said...

Though I would never tell anyone not to see it, Lori, I didn't touch the Da Vince Code because the entire idea behind both the book and movie is rather peurile to me

Anonymous said...

Thanks for commenting on my blog. And wow, you really did see a whole pile of bad movies this year! I avoided most of those, simply because I don't have the time or the money to go to the theater as often as I'd like. That being the case, the only movie I would have added to that list was a horrible one I did see: "The Devil Wears Prada." Like you said about Date Movie, I shouldn't have even bothered seeing it because I'm not their target audience, but my husband and I got tricked into it by a good review on NPR. I have to say the jokes were tired, and I laugh more on an average workday than I did at any of the jokes in this movie. Also, the story line was stupid and just reinforced some of the horrible ideologies that run rampant through society. Finally, the notion that the lead actress (I don't know names) was supposed to be anything but a hottie was completely unbelievable no matter how they dressed her at the start.

I hated that movie. And sorry for such a long comment.

Anonymous said...

Great list.

Lady In The Water is an arrogant film made by an egotistical filmmaker. Walt Disney saw it and tried to bring it to Shamalamadingdongs attention, but he ignored it and said he felt sorry for them.

X-Men Last Stand was not horrible, it just wasn't great. And it should have been the best X-Men. But they weren't interested in making it great, they were just interested in making money. That's why they went with Ratner. Why does Brent Ratner have a film career?

Reel Fanatic said...

no need so apologize for the long comment Christina .. I skipped Prada, and I'm sorry you had to sit through it .. it sounds as horrible as I expected

James said...

Yeah, I've gave up on M. Night after The Village and thankfully did not see Lady in the Water

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you about 'Freedomland' - such a colossal waste of a great performance by Samuel L Jackson. The film had potential but failed woefully on every front. At the end of the movie, I took absolutely nothing away... depressing.

Chris said...

Art School was actually pretty good. I wouldn't put it on our best of list, but it was decent. Surely not one of the worst pictures of the year. That honor I would reserve for film's like Miami Vice and The Black Dahlia.

Reel Fanatic said...

I think the timing - right at the opening of the summer - and my expectations - very high due to the presence of both Clowes and Zwigoff - just combined to make it one of my worst movie experiences of the year .. it's entirely possible that I was just too harsh on it, but I have to stand by my initial assessment

Jack's Shack said...

"X-Men: The Last Stand"

He should be flogged for what he did to this movie.

Reel Fanatic said...

I'm not sure flogging would go far enough Jack ... Only removing from this planet we call Earth will probably enough to stop this evil, evil man from making any more movies

Anonymous said...

Wow! I haven't seen even one of the movies on your list. Probably because I keep watching the same dvd's over and over and over. I guess I'm just scare of change. ha!

Reel Fanatic said...

Well, you can believe me, kc, you haven't missed anything by not seeing any of these .. especially Lady in the Water!