Saturday, August 27, 2011

The 10 Rottenest Tomatoes

Notice: kind of outdated as of 2014.  I have endured a crapload of cinematic trash in the two and a half years since this was first posted.

I've seen two particularly bad movies this month, which have together prompted me to compile my official worst-of list for films.  Allow me to show you my bottom 10.  Some disclaimers before we proceed: All of these movies must have been released to the public in theaters, otherwise every single Disney Channel "sitcomovie" would be on this list.  This is only a list of movies I've seen; that's why Arthur Christmas and Spy Kids 4D aren't on here.  I have judged these movies by motive first and execution second, so while Wall-e certainly looked better animation-wise and had better sound effects than some of the movies lower on this list, it sought to offend audience members and belonged higher on the list.  Astro Boy wanted to brainwash kids, while Clone Wars only wanted to entertain them; therefore, Astro Boy belongs higher.  If you know any movies you think belong on this list, shoot me a comment and I'll NOT check them out.

1. Astro Boy
This movie was not just technically horrendous, it was philosophically wrong and appallingly pagan.  The animation, plot, script, score, and voice acting were all bottom-notch, but the filmmakers also decided to send the message to kiddies that robots, man-made, unemotional objects, can be just as pure and noble as human beings, who are created by God.  In fact, in Astro Boy’s case, they can actually surpass human beings, and fire machine guns in their butts!  Heresy.

2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Whose idea was it to make a PG-13 (should have been), sex-and-violence-packed movie out of an already junky children’s book?


3. Happy Feet
We humans are so environmentally evil and irresponsible we needed an animated movie about singing/rapping/dancing penguins to enlighten us as to our wrongdoing.  This love letter to Al Gore was painful to the eyes and the ears.  The 2nd incarnation of this bomb looks even worse with a global warming theme.  Spare the kids from the heathen indoctrination.

4. Wall-e
Once again, good robots solve for evil, irresponsible, polluting humans’ problems.  Pixar also constantly reminded Americans of their obesity issues throughout this “film”.  I remember that this movie looked appealing to eyes (though not nearly as detailed and colorful as Kung Fu Panda), but the depiction of humanity and undisguised attempt to make viewers feel guilty about themselves is unforgivable.

5. The Day the Earth Stood Still
I wouldn’t consider this as bad as some of the other films on the list if it weren’t based on a 1951 classic of the same name.  This Keanu Reeves remake completely changes the meaning of the original film, which was about man’s disposition to fear and distrust all strangers, and turns it into a simplistic and preachy environmentalist picture where the alien Klaatu is sent to eradicate all human life with the goal of saving the rest of Earth.  I remember Keanu (a sub-par actor, by the way) telling a scientist something like this: “If you live, the Earth dies.  If you die, the Earth survives.”  Being ordered to recycle during a movie is not my idea of entertainment.

Oh, and the behind-the-scenes features on the DVD show the special effects people setting a real car on fire and pulling it across a grass field.  Ethan hypocrites.


6. The Seeker
Another awful movie marketed at kids.  I think I was 12 when I read The Dark is Rising and wrestled my grandmother into taking me to see the Hollywood adaptation.  I wish I saw the trailer first.  “Based on the name of the main character of the book.”

7. Never Say Never Again
This has to be the worst James Bond movie ever made.  My dad and I used the fast-forward-button most readily, simply because the movie is extremely boring and loaded to the max with unnecessary footage.  I could honestly cut this action-and-adventure movie down to 15 minutes or less, and that's because we get one gratuitous sex scene after another with no character development in the long run for Bond, his date(s), or his nemesis.  Bond remains a womanizing loser throughout the whole movie, his women remain 1-dimensional hotties in (or out of) swimsuits, and the villain (who's arguably no less admirable than Bond) is a completely forgettable bad guy without any interesting motive, other than the usual, stereotypical desire for riches and power.  Also, for a James Bond movie, there's hardly any action.  I remember at most 5 action sequences in this movie, and none lasted for more than 5 minutes.  The special effects are pathetic as well.

(The poster isn't appropriate for my PG, occasionally PG-13 blog.)

8. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
This was an obscene, licentious, ridiculously profane piece o' poo, which Dreamworks dared to market towards children under the age of 13.  All of the first movie's charm was replaced with unnecessary cussing, disgusting sex, nearly incessant OMGing, racist Jar Jar Binks sidekicks, and tiresome documentation of the escapades of unremarkable, deviant college students, in a movie supposedly about transforming robots.

9. The Last Airbender
This movie is an unmitigated disaster, and boasts probably the worst acting in film history.  The kids don’t so much play their parts as recite their lines in front of the camera in an always dull, emotion-washed voice with minimal adjustments in facial expression to express surprise, confusion, or happiness.  Admittedly, they’re not given much to work with, as the script is pathetic, loaded with corny dialogue and protracted explanatory speeches about the history of the Avatar world.  I.e., we don’t actually witness on film the fire nation declaring war on the other 3 tribes and terrorizing the land; we only hear Aang’s belabored explanations of those events.  Here’s one of Airbender’s cheesier conversations:
Aang: Do you have a spiritual place where I can meditate?
Moon-fish-girl: Oh, yes, we have a VERY SPIRITUAL place.

The Author’s remedy for this corny and repetitive dilemma:
Aang: I need to meditate.
Moon-fish-girl: We have just the place.

Exchanges like the one above combined with horrible acting – oh, and some dreadful dancing – did manage to garner some unintended laughs from me, so I do recommend renting Airbender (only for free!) if cheap entertainment is desired, despite its standing as one of the worst movies ever made.


10. Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Rather than putting this in theaters, George Lucas should have just made this the pilot to the Clone Wars TV show (which is unbearably corny).  This movie and The Last Airbender are on similar ground, but The Clone Wars is worse because it was based on good source material and had cinematic potential.  The Last Airbender is based on the first season of a rather cruddy Nickelodeon anime series (sorry, Blake), and thus has more room in my heart for forgiveness.  Edit: The Last Airbender was given a worthless 3D downgrade, and is guilty of robbing some gullible audiences of an extra 4 dollars.  Airbender's worse on that account.

Dishonorable mentions

Planet of the Apes (2001)
Just watched this a few nights ago.  Review hopefully coming soon.  Précis-review: Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes is a jumbled mess of poor cinematography, weak characters, cliché plotline, and corny references to the 1968 classic.  By giving the human characters speech, removing the themes of evolution, and making the apes only superior to the humans in their strength, not intelligence, the story is also stripped of all the drama it previously possessed.

Prince Caspian (2008)
A Disneyized retelling of C.S. Lewis’ powerful novel, this butchered all the theological themes presented in the book.  This brilliant article superbly summarizes my feelings about the book. http://circeinstitute.com/2010/12/subverting-narnia/

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension
Who knew that a character with such an incredible name like Buckaroo Banzai could be given such a laughable treatment of a movie.  Buckaroo Banzai is an 80's cult "classic", and it definitely falls into the "so bad it's awesome" category of films.  Who exactly is Buckaroo Banzai?  Well, I wish I could tell you, but the movie does a really poor job of explaining who the heck its protagonist is and what his occupation is.  Wikipedia describes Buckaroo as "a renaissance man, a top neurosurgeon, particle physicist, race car driver, rock star and comic book hero."  While we were watching the film, my dad suggested to me that maybe the movie was just a big insider's joke for readers of the Buckaroo comic books.  Oddly enough, Buckaroo Banzai was made to sell comic books, not the other way around... anyway, the movie, largely bereft of any sort of plot structure or character development beyond the presence of a hero and a villain, boasts plenty of shaky camera, unexciting action sequences, cheesy alien makeup (there's also a brain thingy in the beginning and a slug-creature later on), dialogue so corny it's often outrageous ("Laugh a-while you can, monkey-boy."), hysterically bad cinematography work (Close-ups of Buckaroo's eyes and mouth during a torture scene in "the shock tower"), abysmal CGI, an unfitting soundtrack, and a nearly incomprehensible story line.  How can I enumerate all these flaws but still leave Banzai out of the bottom 10?  My reason is that Buckaroo Banzai is a true joy to watch.  As I stated earlier, it's so bad that it's awesome.  It's definitely worth a recording or rental if you're feeling down and need to smile.  It's just a shame that director W.B. Richter didn't make enough dough to helm the sequel promised before the film's credits.  As far as comic book heroes go, Indiana Jones was far more popular in his own time.


A Dog of Flanders (1999)
Star Wars meets "a boy and his dog" story.  It boasts one of the cheesiest plots ever, and the camera work looks as though it was done by a 5 year old.  Just watch the dance in the gypsy camp.  I chuckle at the memory.



Madeline

A kiddie story about, well, something trite having to do with girl power. Here's my summary: a mischievous British girl outwits and escapes a pair of bumbling dog-catchers-turned-kidnappers, who end up driving into a river and getting all wet.

All the original Star Trek movies (yeah, even Kahn)


1 comment:

  1. hmmmm, now I don't feel bad having missed all these flicks ;-)

    ReplyDelete

Please be aware that Google/Blogger has a regrettable habit of crashing before you hit the Preview or Publish button, so writing out longer comments separately before entering them into the browser is well advised.