For every bit of positivity on the blog, there's a whole chunk o' rant. As I've said before, I'm not here to hector or browbeat you, these are simply my opinions. That people turn around and say I think too much about these films is ludicrous- unless you're living in some bizarro dimension where everyone thinks too much and there's no enjoyment of anything anymore, then you're just advocating entropy. I'm suggesting that certain films that make a lot of money really properly shouldn't be, because no one will try any harder than that in film making. And in any case, I'm not that bad- I'm the guy who enjoyed G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra! Even though it's really bloody silly!
My point is, I try to see and review as many films as possible in cinemas. Mostly in the hope that some of you will be entertained or interested, but also so you don't have to see the really bad ones, provided you take any stock in my opinion. So for a handy catch-up, these are the top 10 worst films of 2009. It wasn't a bad year for films by any stretch of the imagination, but every year has at least a little dreck. Here goes, then!
10. Final Destination 4
A horror sequel?! But Mark, they're always brilliant! It's exactly the same as Final Destination 3, except a little worse because we've already seen Final Destination 3. Cinema-goers could have it presented in eye-popping 3D, but as we've discussed, that's a gimmick, and one that won't carry over to DVD and blu-ray. That means Final Destination 4 is little more than a piss-poor retread of its predecessors, and you know you've gone wrong when its infuriatingly plain characters take 45 minutes to catch up with the audience.
9. Fast and Furious
Yes, another four-quel, and I think this one in particular can go and four-quel itself. I might have liked it more if I hadn't seen the trailer, which shows three of the only good five minutes of stuff in the whole thing. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker indulge in a bit of massively premature nostalgia for the first film, and then generally spend an hour and a half doing car porn. This film would have been a million times better (read as: funnier) if it had been made in 2039 rather than 2009, when Diesel and Walker would be old and fat, but still kicking it old-style. But then rubbish films always end up better in my head.
8. 17 Again
Zac Efron was in another film this year, Me and Orson Welles, that came very close indeed to being in my top ten of the year. That film rests just outside that list, but he also made this one, which is at the heart of this list. It's a comedy devoid of laughs and another spin on the body-swap/body-aging subset of film that really just needs to die. Leslie Mann and Thomas Lennon can really do better on this, and the worst thing is, so can Efron, at least if Me and Orson Welles is anything to go by. Not funny, not entertaining, just bleh.
It was the sum of every other film like it ever made, but equal to less than its parts. Bruce Willis appearing only to collect a salary is one of the saddest sights in the world, especially given the general quality of his films. I could barely stay awake watching this utterly pedestrian sci-fi actioner. It comes from serial offenders Michael Brancato and John Ferris, who also spewed Terminator Salvation at us in 2009, so I really should have known better. Daft, derivative and er... deniable. I literally deny its entertainment value.
6. Sorority Row
A horror remake?! But Mark, they're always brilliant! You're getting the idea, but this is the second worst of its type from 2009. The plot was more nonsensical than most of the films on the list when it was The House on Sorority Row, so in the time it's had to distill since 1983, it's actually got worse. The only real value of films like this is in the occasional funny death of a vacuous and boring character, but unlike Final Destination 4, it even takes long to get to that order of business. It fails on almost every level and we're only at number 6. Oh dear...
5. The Firm
Remaking a Gary Oldman film without Gary Oldman was always going to be a foolish endeavour. But you can't help but think that something's been lost in translation, as director Nick Love has much more affection for this most pointless and stupid facet of football than is palatable. He does try to drown that out with a torrent of utterly irrelevant 80s music which doesn't so much inform the setting as chase your ears inside out into your skull. Une filme de chav.
Aliens! There you go, I think I'll have a cup of tea now. Maybe go and catch up with some Christmas telly on iPlayer and... what? What do you mean, why aliens? Is it not enough to just fling in aliens as the explanation anymore? Fair enough, I'll elaborate a little more- Nicolas Cage continued his rise as the best comedy actor working today by making this po-faced nugget of garbage about a sequence of numbers marking out a calendar for disaster. The only missing numbers were the release date of this film.
3. Friday the 13th
A horror remake?! No, not just a horror remake. A horror remake, courtesy of Michael Bay. One of the few films on the list released at a time when the bloggy reviews weren't frequent enough for this to warrant coverage, so here it is in a nutshell. The trademark Bay impatience and pornographic sensibility come to the fore in this condensed version of the first three Jason Voorhees films, with the hockey-masked killer's menace largely being reduced to voyeurism over holidaying teens. By-the-numbers and er... rubbish- don't forget that Bay was responsible for this too, just because certain bigger droppings were left closer to your vicinity in 2009.
2. Couples' Retreat
It almost doesn't feel worth mentioning this, because in a few years' time, this will be dated beyond the possibility of enjoyment anyway, on account of its shameful product placement. It won't even have much nostalgia value, as no one can call the 2000s' situated culture particularly memorable anyway. More than that, it's the most stultifying comedy I've seen in a long time. That's right, Vince Vaughn has topped (bottomed?) Fred Claus.
1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
If you have read this blog for more than a week, there was probably no tension whatsoever about the build-up to my least favourite film of the year. Michael Bay's travesty of a blockbuster is possibly the worst film I have ever seen- I'm really finding it hard to think of a film I hated more. Indeed, I find it very difficult to have enmity for a film, full-stop, but this swollen, leery and offensive mess just invites disdain. I think I'm actually building up an immunity in my readers by thrashing it so much, so I'll leave it to speak for itself, because it is just awful. I recently rewatched it to make sure I wasn't being awfully unfair to it, and I found whole new dimensions of crappiness. I refer you to my original review, in which I said this--
I actually caught myself enjoying the film for the first 45 minutes or so. There's an interesting diplomatic set-up with the Autobots and the US Government, and Sam's comic-relief parents are used sparingly and with slightly better effect than in Transformers.
I realise now that I was actually trying to salvage some positivity from this debacle, because upon my second viewing, I hated the opening too. And everything else. My hatred was amplified by about a million Griffins on the BNP-o-meter upon putting myself through that ordeal once again. Damn this film. DAMN IT.
So there you are, that's all the negativity about last year's cinema in one manageable bloggy thing. The best is yet to come. Literally, the list of the best films of last year is forthcoming, in one form of another. The special project I've been alluding to for the last few weeks is a video montage counting down the top 10, but it hasn't really come together as I'd hoped. Works well enough as a compilation though, so might post it sans narration and do some text to accompany it.
Until next year, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch!