Looking Back: The Top Five Most Terribly Awful Films from 2010!
by Ethan Anderton
January 7, 2011
While there were plenty of great films to see in 2010, many still failed to impress and, in some cases, were laughable and unbearable to watch. Of course there are some films that I was able to avoid at all costs, and while they may be worthy of an mention on here, I can't officially riff on the romantic comedy You Again, the Hanna-Barbera grave-turner Yogi Bear, action-comedies Killers or The Bounty Hunter, garbage like Furry Vengeance and many others. Though these may not definitively be the Five Most Terribly Awful Films from 2010, they're definitely the five worst films I've actually subjected myself to this year.
#5 - Grown Ups
You might think that a huge reunion of Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider and Kevin James (no matter how unfunny he might be) could deliver some semblance of a decent comedy with some heart. However, this film is anything but grown up and instead opts to piss in the pool (literally and figuratively). While I admit there's a couple laughs to be had, the extremely brief moments of funny are the equivalent of putting a few squirts of chocolate syrup in a used litter box. Parts of it will taste all right, but you really have to struggle to get through it, and there's still shit buried all over the place.
Most of the shit comes from the fact that this is a sloppy, insignificant and completely heartless version of The Big Chill. The attempts at genuine coming-of-age moments between the characters, and reflections of friendship and the good ole days are tainted with mediocre comedy. Adam Sandler is better than this junk in almost every way, but he has a soft spot for making generic comedies with his buddies nowadays as opposed to memorable comedic work like in Happy Gilmore or The Wedding Singer, or even great completely dramatic turns in Punch-Drunk Love and Reign Over Me. But that's not what we got here.
#4 - Clash of the Titans
My dislike and general criticism of Sam Worthington is no secret, but way back in March, I was willing to give him a chance at being a truly badass, epic hero. Well, he was bad all right, unfortunately so was nearly every single aspect of this poor excuse for a remake. Forget the fact that a rushed 3D conversion made it the most expensive motion pop-up book ever. Why? Because even the most technologically advanced 3D cameras couldn't bring any depth to the flat story, two-dimensional characters and weak climax.
Not even the release of the Kraken could deliver a decent action sequence since it took almost the entirety of the climax for the damn thing to get out of the water before it turned to stone. By that point I was already stricken dumb anyway, so I suppose it didn't really matter. Interestingly enough, this film marked the better appearance of Gemma Arterton as an exposition-filled, hollow shell of a female character, while the other, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, just barely escaped this list of the worst five films of the year.
#3 - The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Chronicles of Narnia franchise has taken hits for being a childish version of Lord of the Rings and while that's not necessarily much of a negative observation, with this third installment it's clear this series has lost its steam. This time that point seems much more valid though as the film also attempts to become a kiddie version of Pirates of the Caribbean, with a cheap theft of a key plot point in Ghostbusters and no real villain in sight. But that's not the biggest issue.While those familiar with the series are very much aware of the symbolism referencing Christianity, it seems like the writers decided to dispense with any of the subtlety and metaphors from the first few films and essentially adapt The Bible into an action flick.
Also, this time Edmund and Lucy are on their own in Narnia (no Susan or Peter), but they're stuck with the idiot cousin Eustace, who's not a far cry from cousin Oliver in later episodes of "The Brady Bunch." But even without that painfully annoying and stupid character (even beyond the intention of the writers), our heroes don't have much to do except fight temptation, thereby making the themselves the hardest villain to overcome. That just doesn't translate well to screen, and neither do the performance of our young lead actors. And while a last ditch effort is made to have a real epic with a monster appearing as a result of Edmund thinking of the thing he fears the most (it's a sea serpent rather than the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man), the film cannot be saved by this sequence alone.
#2 - The Last Airbender
Try as he might, M. Night Shyamalan didn't make my pick for the worst film of 2010, but he came pretty damn close. Doesn't get worse than a convoluted script composed almost entirely with expository voiceover, atrocious acting from talents both young and old and some of the most sloppy storytelling I've ever seen. Not even a 3D conversion helped this film look all flashy since everything just looked colorless, foggy and unbelievably artificial (and not in a consciously stylistic way). It was like watching a boring video game.
Interestingly enough, one of the biggest complaints about this film comes from what became known as "racebending" with several of the main characters being portrayed by an actor outside of the ethnicity described in the source material. As much as I would have liked to see the movie be more truthful to the original TV series, if the script is any indicator, they could've gotten the finest actors money can buy, and it wouldn't have made one bit of difference. "We have to show them that we believe in our beliefs as much as they believe in theirs." Yep, that's a real line of dialogue… and I think that says it all.
#1 - Jonah Hex
It wasn't enough that Josh Brolin talked like he had Bell's palsy with half his face paralyzed, but this shitty excuse for a comic book western had to go and paralyze my brain for less than an hour and a half. Brolin does the best with what he's given, but the same can't be said for his supporting cast. Megan Fox walks around, shaking her ass and delivering lines like a ventriloquist dummy, John Malkovich acts the way he does in every single movie (and he doesn't fit within the confines of a western as he does in films like Burn After Reading), and I don't know what the hell Will Arnett is doing in this flick at all… which is just crazy.
The wacky, adrenaline fueled duo of Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor had their script torn apart before the film ever went into production, but that's no excuse for a shitty final product. And of course, the "story" suffers as there's no explanation, or even justification for Jonah Hex's powers. From an almost non-existent story to what might be the worst climax/final battle in motion picture history, Jonah Hex has more issues than the scarred face. This is even more sad considering Jonah Hex has a rich history of comics from which to create a decent film, but Hollywood decided throw feces at the screen like a monkey instead. Well done!
Well, those are my picks for the five worst films that I had the misfortune of seeing this year. I'm sure some of you have seen far worse films this year, or may have even liked a few of these, and I would love to hear a reasonable defense for any of them. So feel free to "sound off" below and let us know what you think of this list, then toss up your own in the comments, too. Of course, with the "bad", there's also the "good" so stay tuned for my Top 10 Films in the very near future as we finish up looking back at 2010. Sound off below!