10 for ’10: Worst Movies

26 12 2010

Catch up with the idea behind this series here.

How do you know when it’s been a bad year for the movies?  Answer: when you have to narrow down a field of the year’s worst.  There were WAY too many candidates for this 2010’s worst of the year; I had to whittle down from a list of 20 to get an ultimate 10.  You’ll notice that “I Am Love” is absent from this list despite me giving it a flat F, and that’s because I saw it way back in 2009.

So enjoy – or cringe – this list of movies so bad, they don’t even get a snide remark under the picture.  They just get linked back to my review from earlier in the year when I totally trashed them.  Take the time to look at the reviews if you need convincing – I think I write my best stuff when I’m mad as #&*$ writing a bad review.

(NOTE: These are the worst movies that I saw this year.  There are probably much worse out there that I simply refuse to subject myself to watching.)

10.
Grown Ups

9.
The Last Airbender

8.
Alice in Wonderland

7.
Clash of the Titans

6.
Splice

5.
Dinner for Schmucks

4.
MacGruber

3.
The Bounty Hunter

2.
The Wolfman

1.
Marmaduke

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10 for ’10 – Worst Predictions

23 12 2010

Catch up with the idea behind this series here.

We can’t be right all the time, unfortunately.  I’m among the guilty people on this planet who make stupid predictions every once in a while, and I made them often with conviction.  Now that the year is over, here’s a look back at some of my worst predictions in chronological order – and with 2011 up ahead, I’m laughing at these predictions.

January

“… if there is a breakout hit in [January], my bet is on [‘Leap Year’].”

What To Look Forward To in … January 2010

Well, this didn’t turn out so well.  In the first weekend of 2010, “Leap Year” opened to $9 million on its way to a total haul of only $25 million, ending up among the bottom half of January grossers.  On the bright side, it did manage to recoup its production budget!

“Could Kristen Bell become a breakout romantic comedy star with ‘When in Rome?’ … I have a feeling that this could surprise people and a new start could be born.”

What To Look Forward To in … January 2010

When in Rome” only grossed about $32 million in its whole run, or in Leyman’s terms, what “Avatar” grossed in its 7th weekend.  As for Kristen Bell, she still hasn’t hit it big; “You Again” grossed even less in September.

April

 

“I’m waiting for tomorrow – ‘Clash of the Titans,’ baby!”

Shameless Advertisement #11 – April 2010

Talk about a bust.  “Clash of the Titans” was a huge disappointment as I was really eagerly anticipating it.  As I wrote in my review, “My eyes might have seen in three dimensions, but my brain saw a movie that only had one.  Given how deeply rooted in mythology the story is, I had very high expectations for ‘Clash of the Titans.’  Unfortunately … it fails on all levels.”

May

“[Best Supporting Actor]  LOVES villians … It is also a category that likes to reward actors (usually veterans) who are overdue for a trophy … By these two characteristics, Rourke would appear to have a great shot.”

Oscar Moment: “Iron Man 2”

It’s funny because while I wasn’t a fan of “Iron Man 2,” I actually thought Rourke was the worst part of the movie, and there I was writing about his awards chances!  As I said in my review, “It’s hard to believe from watching ‘Iron Man 2’ that Mickey Rourke was being heralded as an Oscar nominee just 18 months ago.  When we aren’t waiting for him to say a word, his Whiplash seems to be nothing more than an unkind Russian stereotype.”  Clearly I liked “The Wrestler” too much …

“If ‘The Dark Knight’ was part of the reason that the Oscars moved to ten nominees, then they are still looking for that popcorn flick with enough brain to atone for their horrifying omission.  ‘Robin Hood‘ could be that movie.”

Oscar Moment: “Robin Hood”

Clearly I forgot about a little movie called “Inception” that was gearing up for release.

August

“Don’t be surprised if [‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’] is an out-of-nowhere smash hit.”

What To Look Forward To in … August 2010

Despite massive love from the bloggers, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” became a high-profile flop over the summer, earning just $10 million in fifth place its opening weekend on its way to just over $30 million cumulatively.  Ouch.

October

“I think the premise alone [of ‘The Social Network’] draws in $80 million in revenue, but the fact that it’s going to be really good will increase its total take to somewhere in the range of $120-150 million.  I’m hardly a box office analyst, I know, yet I feel pretty confident making this financial prediction.”

Oscar Moment: “The Social Network”

Perhaps I overestimated the box office potential of “The Social Network” earlier this year.  The Facebook movie drew in a respectable but not great $23 million in its opening weekend and displayed strong legs to power itself to $91 million (and still counting slowly).  So I was a little bit off on it setting the box office on fire.  But to my credit, I was dead-on about it being the Best Picture frontrunner all those months ago.

“I think [‘Hereafter’] could be a very powerful movie …”

What To Look Forward To in … October 2010

Hereafter” was a pretty big disappointment for me in 2010.  I wrote in my review, “In hyperlink cinema, one might say there exists a formula that the final product is equal to the sum of its parts.  However, Eastwood’s ‘Hereafter’ in total feels like less.”  Too bad, it could have been something good.

November

“To save the weekend, there’s Rachel McAdams in ‘Morning Glory!’  As if she’s not enough, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton are on board for this drama-comedy mix that doesn’t seem to favor any genre over the other.  What a great surprise awaits us!”

What To Look Forward To in … November 2010

Rachel McAdams may have won me over with her incredibly good looks, but she sure didn’t win me over with her 2010 movie selection.  “Morning Glory” was incredibly cliched and forgettable, and it was hardly a breath of fresh air in November like I had imagined it would be.  It was recycled air, like the gross kind on a plane.

December

“… ‘How Do You Know‘ is still unseen, but I’m getting good vibes.  Probably stupid to put it on my list [of predicted Best Picture nominees] instead of ‘Another Year,’ but I’m going gutsy.”

Oscar Moment: November Predictions

How do you know when a movie won’t get a Best Picture nomination?  When despite being directed by an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, it can’t even muster up a single Golden Globe nomination and movies like “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Tourist” can.  If my hunch back then somehow winds up being right, I think a whole lot of people will give up Oscar guessing as a hobby.





Random Factoid #281

5 05 2010

Following a series of linked posts the other day, I wound up at this interesting USA Today article: “What happens to those 3D glasses after Avatar?”

Here’s an excerpt, featuring some pretty astounding statistics:

Laid end-to-end, the 3-D glasses worn by avid Avatar-goers since the blockbuster movie opened 46 days ago would reach from Los Angeles to Angmagssalik, Greenland — about 3,987 miles.

That’s a whole lot of plastic. With about 75% of people who see Avatar seeing it in 3-D, it works out to about 42.1 million pairs of glasses worn, or 935,834 a day.

Four companies provide 3-D systems for showing the wildly popular sci-fi epic in the USA: Dolby Laboratories, IMAX, Real-D and XpanD.

Each has a recycling program in place, for hygiene and to keep what would otherwise be a mountain of plastic out of landfill.

Real-D has the lion’s share of 3-D projection systems in the USA, accounting for at least 700,000 3-D glasses used a day. It distributes cardboard containers so movie-goers can recycle their glasses. According to Real-D’s Rick Heineman, the glasses are shipped to a cleaning facility near Los Angeles, where they’re sanitized, checked for defects, repackaged and shipped out.

Real-D provides the glasses for most of (if not all of) the 3D movies I see.  I must say, their cleaning facility is slacking.  When I went to see “How to Train Your Dragon,” there was a humongous scratch on my lens!  If you know me or have read any factoids, then you can probably guess this did not make me happy.  Eventually, I was able to get past the scratch and enjoy the movie.  But if that scratch had been on the lens during “Clash of the Titans,” I might not have been so kind.

I have a good pair of 3D glasses hanging from the karaoke machine in my room.  Maybe I ought to keep them in my car and take them to all 3D movies I see.  Can’t trust Real-D anymore.





Random Factoid #255

9 04 2010

A week ago, I almost blew a fuse at the ticket kiosk.  I had just looked on my iPhone Fandango app and seen that it was going to cost me $10.50 (too much) to see “Clash of the Titans.”  With parking garage traffic looking congested and not much time to spare before the movie started, I decided to grab my friend’s cash and bolt for the theater to buy the tickets.  The following conversation took place with the woman at the counter.

MARSHALL: I’ll have two tickets for “Clash of the Titans” in 3D at 1:40.

TICKET LADY: That will be $23.00.  Do you have your Regal Card?

MARSHALL: My gosh, have you all raised your prices?

TICKET LADY: It costs more for 3D.  (Side commentary: Well, DUH!)

MARSHALL: No, it didn’t always cost this much to see a 3D movie.

TICKET LADY: I don’t know.  (Side commentary: Yes, you do.  You just don’t want to get outsmarted by me.)

Then there was just awkward silence.  But I almost said, “You can’t keep raising the prices like this or you are going to start losing business.”

I could have used the price discrepancy to get my refund, and I could have used the quality of “Clash of the Titans” as further reason.  But I didn’t.





REVIEW: Clash of the Titans

3 04 2010

It’s a pretty rare feeling for me to walk out of a theater feeling scammed.  But as I pitched my 3D glasses in the eco-friendly disposal boxes outside my theater, that’s exactly how I felt.

After seeing the success of “Avatar” early this year, Warner Bros. decided to add an extra dimension to the release of “Clash of the Titans.”  Usually, 3D adds to the wow factor of a movie and enhances the experience.  This, as moviegoers are now beginning to learn, also enhances the ticket prices – and the more we go, the higher they climb.

But the only thing that 3D enhanced in my viewing of “Clash of the Titans” was my disappointment and indignation.  I like the technology, and I know that great filmmakers will utilize to create some truly incredible cinema.  But here, we see 3D at its worst.  When it is just arbitrarily added to any movie, then it truly becomes a boondoggle and a meaningless accessory.

It is now the responsibility of the American moviegoer to stop 3D from becoming an arbitrary embellishment, and it has to start here.  If studios and theater goers think that we are so smitten by 3D, then they will continue to take advantage of us.  Think a movie like “Clash of the Titans” being retooled for 3D is bad?  At this rate, we will have “Precious 2” playing in 3D in the coming years.  That idea doesn’t sound all that crazy to a studio executive with you $4 premium ticket price lining his pocket.

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What To Look Forward To in … April 2010

24 03 2010

I completely forgot that I needed to do this post, so for any of you who happened to be waiting all month for this, my apologies.  But maybe having the April preview post closer to the month itself will increase voting in the polls (wishful thinking) or increase excitement for the month’s releases.

April is usually that awkward month before Hollywood comes out all cylinders firing for summer, but I think this year boasts one of the month’s finest lineups in a long time.

April 2

The first truly BIG action movie of 2010 finally arrives!  “Clash of the Titans” is that taste of high-octane blockbuster that will serve as the perfect tease for summer.  After seeing the success of “Avatar,” Warner Bros. saw that they had the capability to create a 3-D version of “Clash of the Titans.”  So, now the movie arrives in both the second and third dimension.  This is the first time in my memory that three huge 3-D movies have come out within a month of each other, and I think it is only a preview of what is to come (just pray that your theater can accommodate the demand.)  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the first big live-action movie to come out in 3-D.  I’m excited.

Tyler Perry is at it again with “Why Did I Get Married Too.”  The first one did pretty well, but if Perry can expand beyond his normal audience is still a question.  Oh, and I forgot to mention it in the March preview, but the latest Nicholas Sparks sob-fest, “The Last Song,” comes out on Wednesday, March 31.  It stars Greg Kinnear and some unknown actress named Miley Cyrus.

April 9
The comedy gods smile upon us at last! Tina Fey and Steve Carell together in “Date Night” seems long overdue. Let’s just hope that the writing of this movie deserves their talents.

And for those of you who liked Christian entertainment like “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants,” then “Letters to God” will surely excite you.

The Runaways” opens wide this weekend, but I don’t think this will be any big event given its lackluster performance in 244 theaters in this past weekend (strangely, not a one of them was in Houston, the fourth largest city in the county).

April 16

There seems to be a large cult fan base gathering around “Kick-Ass.”  Sometimes that can be bad (“Snakes on a Plane”), and sometimes it works (“Cloverfield”).  This seems to be a pretty entertaining premise: basically a send-up of “Watchmen” and ordinary people becoming superheroes.  I think I’ll wait to get the audience’s take before I slap down some cash for this.

Please do yourself a tremendous favor.  Before you go see Chris Rock’s urbanized version of “Death at a Funeral,” be sure to rent the original British version.  Even if this latest spin fails, you will have seen one absolutely hysterical movie.

April 23

Disney Nature rolls out its annual Earth Day “nature porn” documentary, “Oceans,” shot in sweeping views that could make your heart turn green.  Meanwhile, CBS Films (?) gives us Jennifer Lopez in “The Back-Up Plan” as a woman who bypasses the normal steps and gets pregnant.  But in typical coincidental rom-com fashion, this all happens on the day she meets the perfect man.

The best of the worst this weekend appears to be “The Losers,” starring Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).  The movie follows a group of CIA agents who seek out the group that tried to assassinate them.  Who knows, maybe this will make a good rental.

April 30

“The Nightmare on Elm Street” looks legit.  I’m scared.  Plus it has Jackie Earle Haley, the man who made “Little Children” crazy good. (For a different kind of nightmare, see Brendan Fraser in “Furry Vengeance.”)

As for the indie scene, which doesn’t seem to be too big in April, the best offering seems to be “Please Give.”  A hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the movie follows a married couple (Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt) who have to wait for their elderly neighbor to die so they can expand their apartment.  It seems to be that nice blend of comedy and drama which really has the ability to hit home.

“I Love You Phillip Morris” was slated for release back in February, but it’s here now for unexplained reasons. The movie premiered at Cannes last year and after some issues finding a distributor is finally finding a way into a theater near you – or will it? Rumor is that the movie had to be tamed down to find distribution due to its strong homosexual content. The two lovers here are Jim Carrey and Ewan MacGregor, a pair that discovers their love in prison. Before heading to the slammer, Carrey’s character was a straight Christian policeman from Texas. Now, he finds himself determined to bust out to be reunited with his lover. I’m curious to see if Freestyle Releasing can get it in front of a large audience … this is the third month that I have published this same blurb. Will they ever settle on a release date?

Thoughts, anyone?  What are YOU looking forward to in April?