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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Random Factoid #441

12 10 2010

I’ve seen lots of topics around gender pop up on the web over the past few days, so I’ve decided to dedicate two factoids to the issue.  Today’s focuses on the men; tomorrow, on the women.

Cinematical took a look at the MPAA’s sexism in evaluating nudity in movies.  Listen to this statistic:

Since 2006, 786 movies have been flagged for “nudity.”  Only three — all 2010 releases — have the warning of “male nudity”: Jackass 3DEat Pray Love, and Grown Ups. Zero in five years carry a “female nudity” red flag.

So why the discrimination against men?  Apparently it’s the legacy of “Bruno,” which angered quite a few parents.  I’ll admit that it was quite graphic (and a little bit more than I expected from an R), but I’m sure there are plenty of movies with graphic female nudity and we don’t see them getting descriptors added.  And for those wondering, “Bruno” was rated R for “pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language.”

I don’t understand why male nudity is that much more taboo.  I saw “Eat Pray Love” and “Grown Ups,” and neither featured any sort of traumatizing images.  Both were just bare backsides, which can pass in PG movies.  The double standard seems quite strange.  Are we just protecting women from the indecency of seeing certain things?

There’s only one fair way to do this: either the MPAA takes the unnecessary step of adding the gender of the naked person before each mention of nudity in a movie OR they just go back to saying “nudity” and leaving it at that.





REVIEW: Grown Ups

19 07 2010

In “Grown Ups,” Adam Sandler and friends have three stages: childish, adolescently juvenile, and grown up.

When they are childish, the movie is old and trite.  We’ve seen all the bathroom humor, boob humor, fat humor, hot girl humor, and racial humor Sandler can throw at us.  It was funny in the ’90s whenever movies like “Billy Madison” and “Happy Gilmore” were rocking the comedy scene.  But Sandler hasn’t changed his game much since then, and it’s time to move on from the silly and stupid just to get a quick laugh.  In fact, I usually just groan now.

When they are adolescently juvenile, the movie takes flight.  I assume that a lot of this is outside the lines, improvisational stuff.  I felt like I was watching them brainstorming one-liners for SNL in the writer’s room.  It’s like they are reaching out and including us in these creative sessions as they just rattle off joke after joke.  They have some clever wordplay and witty situations when they are at this level, and it’s where they should dwell more often.

When they are grown up, the movie is corny and laughable.  There’s that obligatory “oh, we’ve been joking the whole time, let’s grow up quickly and have a lesson” scene towards the end that derails all the comedic momentum the movie built up.  And this one is so bad and so out of place I can only hope Sandler and pals meant it to play off as a giant joke.

All comics are not created equal, as the movie shows us.  Sandler writes the best for himself, making he and his wife, played by the gorgeous and incredibly out of place Salma Hayek, the only normal ones.  Compared to him, the successful Hollywood agent, we are supposed to assume that everyone else is a loser in comparison to him.  There’s the Mr. Mom played by Chris Rock, the obese therefore butt of jokes played by Kevin James, the creepy bachelor played by David Spade, and the just plain creeper played by Rob Schneider.  Spade’s bits are stale, Rock is fair, Chris Farley’s doppleganger James is good enough not to make us yearn for the late star, and Schneider is as good as he’s ever been – which is to say that he wasn’t funny then and he’s not funny now.

So in the end, it’s that creative spark that comes from just reeling off one-liners and playing off each other that saves the movie from being a total disaster.  It’s that more refined immaturity that we don’t get nearly enough of that keeps us coming back to Sandler’s movies.  Because we don’t want Adam Sandler to grow up so much as just move on.  C /





Random Factoid #326

19 06 2010

I don’t watch much late night TV, not even the talk shows.

How does this tie in with the movies, which I tie everything into?  Well, I watch Letterman, Leno, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel whenever there is a big comedic movie coming out with a whole lot of stars doing the promotional parade.  The campaign has to take them to late night, so I buy in and watch them talk.  It’s pretty entertaining stuff.

The last time I made a concerted effort to watch a lot of guests was at the release of “Funny People” last summer when Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill, and more were doing the rounds.  This summer, I’ll be watching around the release of “Grown Ups” with its five stars that will most likely be lighting up the late night circuit.  It kicked off last night with David Spade on Leno, and I’m sure it will be in full force next week.

But let me share the three top moments of the “Funny People” cast’s appearances from last summer.

3. Seth Rogen gets rejected by Megan Fox

2. Jonah Hill and his fake Twitter account

1. Leslie Mann likes to Google herself





The Comedy Flops of 2009

4 06 2010

I don’t often put much thought into what is written on DVD cases.  However, I saw a particularly interesting one on the cover of “Year One.”  Rene Rodriguez of the Miami Herald wrote:

“I double dare anyone not to laugh.”

So, I decided to take Mr. Rodriguez’s dare.  Easier done than said.  I think I laughed more in “Revolutionary Road” than I did in “Year One.”

A few weeks later, I found myself watching “Land of the Lost.”  On the DVD case for that instant classic, Colin Covert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune said:

“Laugh-out-loud funny!”

I never LOLed, although I did chuckle a few times.  These weren’t mild laughs; they were a response to very uncomfortable situations that I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to.

We laugh off these two movies now like an age-old joke; they somehow have quickly come to be the quintessence of comedic failure.  But back in June 2009, “Year One” and “Land of the Lost” had massive expectations.  They were supposed to rake in the money while making audiences howl with laughter.  But as we all know, they both fell flat on their faces in both respects.

Fast forward to today, 2010, and the studios are praying they haven’t got another comedic dud on their hands.  Universal, who was responsible “Land of the Lost,” brings us “Get Him to the Greek” on June 4; Sony, guilty for “Year One,” gives us “Grown Ups” on June 25.  These studios would nothing more than to have their latest releases become the new “The Hangover,” a modest comedy which far exceeded anyones expectations.

There are reasons why “Year One” and “Land of the Lost” flopped, and both share a lot of the same missteps.  Allow me to elaborate…

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What To Look Forward To in … June 2010

16 05 2010

Summer heats up with June’s releases.  We have the welcome return of an old franchise (“Toy Story”) and the unwelcome return of a newer one (“Twilight”).  We have reboots (“The A-Team”) and remakes (“The Karate Kid”).  We have old comedic stars (Adam Sandler) and new ones (Russell Brand).  Whatever the month give us, let’s just hope for some entertainment.

June 4

“Get Him to the Greek” looks to provide some summer humor in the same weekend that made “The Hangover” the smash success of 2009.  I’m not even watching the trailer in an attempt to make it the most hilarious experience possible.

“Splice” stars Oscar-winner Adrien Brody and Oscar-nominee Sarah Polley (for writing, not acting) as scientists who create a monster.  This looks really freaky.

Really, Katherine Heigl?  You quit an Emmy Award-winning show so you can focus on movies, and now you are doing this?  And you really expect people to take you seriously?  Really?  SNL references aside, “Killers” looks absolutely horrific.

June 11

“The A-Team” looks to reboot the franchise with only a little bit of nostalgia.  Good luck.  With Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper, Sharlto Copley of “District 9,” and some guy who looks like Mr. T, it might be possible…

A remake of “The Karate Kid” already?  The original only came out 25 years ago, and Pat Morita only just passed away.  I’m curious to see how this fares.  Jackie Chan isn’t exactly on a hot streak – “The Spy Next Door,” anyone?  Jaden Smith is unproven other than “The Pursuit of Happyness,” which was all his dad.  It’s only going to corner the market on the family crowd for one week, so Sony had better hope all the families come out on opening weekend.

Opening in limited release is “Winter’s Bone,” a Sundance hit which made it onto my list of the ten most anticipated movies of the summer.  It reminds me a bit of “Frozen River.”  That movie got 2 Oscar nominations.   We’ll see how this turns out.

I’m really excited to see what makes Joan Rivers tick in the documentary about her, “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.” What lies behind that plastic face will most certainly be entertaining. Now it just has to get to Houston…

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