Cinema Knife Fight Presents: THE WORST MOVIES OF 2010
By Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(The Scene: An old-fashioned “mom and pop” movie theater with fresh popcorn popping in the background, and real butter melting on the stove. MICHAEL ARRUDA & LL SOARES are dressed in blue jeans and T-shirts. They’re drinking beer while feasting on a plate of nachos.)
LS: By the way, what happened to the tuxedos, champagne and the fancy food?
MA: This is the WORST MOVIES OF 2010 column. Beer and nachos is as good as it gets!
LS: That’s okay. I like beer and nachos too.
MA: Me, too.
LS: And don’t forget the delicious fresh popcorn, which is sooo much better than the stale Multiplex popcorn and mysterious “butter-flavored liquid” I normally have to deal with.
MA: Someone should write a story about just what exactly is in that mysterious liquid. I agree. Popcorn at the multiplex just isn’t what it used to be. Yet I eat it anyway.
I suppose we should be grateful we weren’t served water and saltines. Anyway, welcome to our first ever WORST MOVIES OF 2010 column. We’ll be picking our Top 5 Worst Movies of the year, based on movies we reviewed this year at Cinema Knife Fight.
Anyway, would you like to start us off?
LS: Sure. My Number 5 choice is INCEPTION.
MA: An overrated bloated turkey if I ever saw one! Good choice.
LS: Yeah, why go after low-budget movies with no resources? I’m gonna go after the big fish. When we first saw INCEPTION, I gave it a better review than you did, because I was dazzled by the visuals of the movie. I still think it looked great. So why is it on my WORST OF list? Because the more I thought about this movie over the months between then and now, the more I think INCEPTION was a major-league BORE.
In its effort to be so damn clever and complicated, INCEPTION thought that by putting dreams inside of dreams inside of dreams, we’d be pummeled into submission. But I can easily say that I never want to see this movie again. In a weird way, that van that takes 2 HOURS to fall into the sea epitomizes the entire movie for me. A lot of it is the cinematic equivalent of watching paint dry. Sure, it’s colorful paint, sure it matches the carpets okay, but it’s still damn boring to watch paint dry. I have seen the Emperor, and I am telling you, the dude is NAKED.
MA: If Godzilla had a mind-fart, it’d be INCEPTION.
Moving right along, my pick for the Number 5 Worst horror movie of 2010 is SKYLINE, a silly alien invasion movie that was simply dreadful.
It had fake-looking monsters, fair special effects, and very weak direction by the Brothers Strause (Colin and Greg). The film lacked anything resembling a memorable scene, which is amazing when you think of its subject matter. SKYLINE is so bad that it was even worse than the similarly themed MONSTERS (2010), a film that in spite of its title forgot to include monsters (okay, there’s a few monsters in MONSTERS, but it’s not called FEW MONSTERS now is it?). There are plenty of alien monsters in SKYLINE, but they’re about as frightening as Spongebob Squarepants and his pals.
LS: They’re all CGI and no matter how advanced CGI is, it still looks fake most of the time.
MA: SKYLINE also suffered from some very weak acting. Lead actor Eric Balfour looks like he’s constipated throughout the whole movie, and while I like Donald Faison a lot, (loved him on SCRUBS) he’s not so hot here.
The screenplay by Joshua Cordes and Liam O’Donnell left key things in the movie unexplained and sported dialogue that was plain and uninspiring. They also created a bunch of characters who were simply annoying.
LS: I didn’t think SKYLINE was great, but I had fun with it while I was watching it. It was just a big, dumb alien invasion movie. I was interested in seeing how it was going to unfurl. Sure, it’s not one of the best movies of the year or anything, but it wasn’t bad enough to make my WORST OF list.
And, for the record, MONSTERS made my BEST OF list—even if it did just get an Honorable Mention. I still don’t get why you hate that movie so much. I thought it was really good.
MA: There simply weren’t enough monsters in it, and the few scenes in which the monsters did appear weren’t that exciting. I found the movie stylish but exceedingly dull.
Coming in at Number 4 for me is DEVIL, a movie ruined by its title, and certainly not helped by the guy responsible for its story, our old friend. M. Night Shyamalan.
DEVIL was directed by John Erick Dowdle, who also directed the decent thriller QUARANTINE (2008), but unfortunately that’s where the comparison ends, because DEVIL is anything but a decent thriller.
It’s the story of five people who get stuck together on an elevator and find themselves trapped inside with a presence that is hell-bent on killing them one at a time, a premise that might have been compelling if not for the fact that the title of the movie tells the audience quite clearly that the baddie in this one is Mr. Horns and Pitchfork himself, the devil. Now where’s the fun in that? Things aren’t helped when the movie is set up as a mystery— hmm, I wonder what kind of creature is responsible for their plight? Could it be— the devil? Yep. Yawn.
LS: How did you guess?
MA: Common sense, dudes. If you’re going to write a mystery, don’t tell us in the title who the bad guy is!
The script for this one is a complete mess. Written by Brian Nelson, who also wrote the superior 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007) and HARD CANDY (2005), it doesn’t work at all. It plays out as if it were still in some serious need of revising.
By far, DEVIL was the most contrived movie I saw in 2010.
LS: I have to agree. This is one dumb movie. In fact, this one was so stupid it annoyed me. This is supposed to be part of a series of movies based on “ideas by M. Night Shyamalan” called THE NIGHT CHRONICLES. Basically other directors take his ideas and make movies out of them. I think DEVIL did pretty badly at the box office, so maybe the THE NIGHT CHRONICLES will stop with this one. I hope so.
Unfortunately, I doubt it.
DEVIL was Number 2 on my list. So I’ll agree that it’s easily one of the worst of 2010.
LS: My Number 4 pick is the big budget remake of CLASH OF THE TITANS in glorious…er, lame-ass…3D. The original movie (from 1981) wasn’t that great either, but at least it had Ray Harryhausen’s totally unique stop-motion animation to recommend it. The remake has nothing to recommend it. Sam Worthington, who was the only thing good in TERMINATOR:SALVATION and who became a star in AVATAR (both from 2009) is pretty much wasted here. His Perseus has no personality and his backstory is a snooze. And instead of Harryhausen monsters this time around, we get ho-hum CGI monsters and giant scorpions. Even the 3D effects are awful, since they were added to the movie AFTER it was made – so it wasn’t even originally filmed in 3D. Only one scene, with the Gorgon, seemed to be made for 3D. So not only was this movie bad, it cost me an extra 5 bucks for almost non-existent 3D effects.
MA: CLASH OF THE TITANS didn’t make my Top 5 list, but I didn’t like this one either. I thought it was middle of the road.
LS: My Number 3 pick for the WORST of 2010 is the new remake of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. This is another one that was just plain boring. The reason to see the original films was for Freddy Krueger, as played by Robert Englund. Sure, he was always making cheesy jokes and spouting corny one-liners, but Englund was terrific. It’s because of him that Freddy became such an iconic character, even if the multitude of sequels to Wes Craven’s 1984 original were pretty awful. You could always count on Freddy to be entertaining, even if the rest of the script sucked.
Recasting the role of Freddy was just plain dumb, and even though I really like actor Jackie Earle Haley, I think he was completely miscast here. His Freddy is humorless and tedious. And the attempt to make the entire story darker and more disturbing failed. Instead, it’s just grim and lifeless, without any impact at all. And boring. It’s a lifeless mannequin.
MA: I agree with you 100 % here. I hated this one as well, and it just missed my Top 5 List, coming in at Number 6.
Coming in at Number 3, it’s MY SOUL TO TAKE, Wes Craven’s latest horror movie disaster. Who would have thought Craven could make a worse movie than CURSED (2005)?
MY SOUL TO TAKE is about a group of seven 16 year-olds who live in fear of the ghost of the Riverton Ripper, a serial killer who died on the night they were all born. The Ripper had multiple personalities, and on the night he was killed, the personalities or souls supposedly jumped ship and hid inside the bodies of the seven babies born that night. The teens start dying one by one, and the film leads us on a mystery tour of sorts—who’s doing the killing? Is it the ghost of the Ripper? One of the teens possessed by the ghost of the Ripper? Or is it the actual Ripper, still alive all these years later, since his body was never found?
MY SOUL TO TAKE has a lot of problems, but the biggest by far is I didn’t buy its story for one second. For example, its basic premise of the Ripper and how his personalities supposedly entered the teens when they were newborns is problematic. For this to be true, then the Ripper would have to be dead, for how else would a soul leave a body if it weren’t dead? Yet, the film also hints that the Ripper might not be dead, since his body was never found. Since these two storylines can’t both be true, it makes it very difficult to believe either one. It comes off as fake drama.
The screenplay by Wes Craven was simply horrible. The characters and story seemed to be a lame attempt to recapture the cleverness of SCREAM and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but in this case it doesn’t come close to working since the story is so damned unbelievable.
LS: The “cleverness of SCREAM?” That’s pretty funny.
MA: I thought you’d like that. MY SOUL TO TAKE was one of the worst movies of the year, a shame since it was made by someone once considered a master of the genre, Wes Craven.
LS: It’s been a long time since Wes Craven was a master of anything. I expected MY SOUL TO TAKE to be bad, but it was dismal! Easily one of the worst movies Craven has ever made, and he can’t blame a script by Kevin Williamson this time around (like he could with CURSED or those awful SCREAM sequels), because Wes wrote this one himself. Next time, get a real writer to write your script, Wessy.
MA: Okay, my pick for Number 2, is TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE.
While I didn’t pick this as the worst movie of the year, I will say that this movie and the others in this series have the dubious distinction of being the most BORING movies I’ve ever seen in my life, period, and if I have to see yet another TWILIGHT movie, I may not survive the experience.
I’ve seen worse movies than these TWILIGHT films, in terms of the way they’re made and the acting in them, but never have I suffered so much from pure boredom than I have sitting in the theater watching the ridiculous plight of Bella and which boyfriend—vampire or werewolf—she’s going to choose. It’s one movie during which I WANT people to turn on their cell phones!
I’ll also add that they don’t really deserve to be called vampire films. Even Walt Disney created more frightening characters than pale-ass Edward!
The sun can’t set fast enough on TWILIGHT!
LS: Yeah, yeah, this was an obvious one. It’s a horror movie without the horror. It’s vampires that have been defanged and werewolves that have been declawed. It’s romance masquerading as horror, where the members of a love triangle get to play dress-up and pretend to be scary creatures. PRETEND being the operative word here. TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE is a joke, and a bad one. But because there is an audience for this tripe, it continues to rake in the dough each time a new one comes out, and there’s going to be more sequels. So we have to put up with this stuff.
And you’re right. Sure, really bad movies deserve to be on our WORST OF lists, but so do movies that are just plain boring. Boring is the WORST thing a movie can be. And the TWILIGHT films are boredom squared.
On to my Number 2 pick. For me, it’s DEVIL, based on an “idea” by M. Night Shyamalan. How do I know this? Because his name is in big letters on the movie poster. Even though he didn’t direct it and didn’t write the finished screenplay. And yet, his fingerprints are all over this cinematic dud. I think we’ve talked about this one enough. It’s garbage. Let’s move on.
MA: By all means. Continue.
LS: As for my Number 1 pick for the WORST MOVIE OF 2010, it’s a tie. Two movies so bad, I couldn’t decide which one was worse. And they’re ones we’ve already discussed, so I won’t belabor my dilemma, except to say they’re both awful. MY SOUL TO TAKE reaches Number 1 status because it’s dumb, badly acted, horribly written, and the 3D effects (we had to pay extra for glasses to see this thing) are NON EXISTENT. Not like CLASH OF THE TITANS, where there’s just one good 3D scene. In MY SOUL TO TAKE, there is not one moment where you say, “Hey, this is cool 3D, I’m glad I have these glasses on.” Wes Craven scraped the bottom of the barrel with this one. There is not one positive thing about it I can think of. It’s abysmal.
But there’s another movie just as bad, and that’s TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE. TWILIGHT may look better, may have slightly better acting, may be slightly more coherent, but the story is BOREDOM taken to a new level, and there is not one character I like or care about or want to survive by the end credits. Sitting through a TWILIGHT movie is like being tortured. Hell, both of these movies were pure torture to sit through. And I don’t plan to repeat the experience anytime soon.
MA: I agree, but for me, there was one more movie that was even worse than TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE.
My pick for the Number 1 WORST HORROR MOVIE of 2010 goes to PIRANHA 3D.
PIRANHA 3D is nothing more than a GIRLS GONE WILD wannabe disguised as a summer horror movie. Shame on everyone involved with this stinker, including lead actress Elizabeth Shue, Richard Dreyfuss for allowing himself to do a cameo in this one (spoofing his JAWS character Matt Hooper), and, most of all, director Alexandre Aja for directing this fish tale.
The 3D effects in this one also failed to impress. And the blood and gore here was on the tasteless side, with a huge bloodbath scene, the centerpiece of this movie, that I thought went on way too long. It relied on shock instead of suspense.
The sex-obsessed screenplay was written by screenwriters Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg. These guys also wrote SORORITY ROW (2009), another awful horror movie obsessed with sex instead of horror. Maybe they should switch genres.
PIRANHA 3D was by far the most disappointing film of the year for me. It was also the year’s most shallow film. A complete disaster from start to finish.
LS: If you truly thought that PIRANHA 3D was worse than MY SOUL TO TAKE, TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE and DEVIL, then you really need to turn in your critic’s card. You’ve always had bad taste, but this little number takes the cake.
MA: Bad taste? PIRANHA 3D was AWFUL! It SUCKED!
LS PIRANHA 3D actually made my BEST OF list as an Honorable Mention. It was easily my favorite 3D movie of 2010—I thought it was a lot of fun—and at least the 3D worked in this one. It had naked girls aplenty and even more gore. The story was entirely tongue-in-cheek, and it wasn’t boring for a moment.
MA: No, it wasn’t boring. It was HORRIBLE! Naked women and dumb ass gore do not a good horror film make! And you put this on your Best of List? You’re the one who needs to tear his critic’s card and go back to school and take some taste classes. Give me a break!
LS: There were so many worse movies in 2010. I am speechless that this was your number one pick.
MA: Speechless??? Hell, there’s a first time for everything!
LS: I have one more movie to mention. My choice for the BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF 2010. It wasn’t the worst movie of the year, but it was bad, and I went in expecting a lot better from the people involved. And that honor would go to George A. Romero’s SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD.
I love Romero to pieces. I think he’s directed some of the best horror movies ever made. He’s still the best director to make a flesh-eating zombie movie —hell, he’s the one who started it all. But SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD was a complete letdown, from the acting to the script, I just sat there with my jaw hanging open wondering what Romero was thinking when he made this one. But I still enjoyed it more than the movies I’ve listed here as the WORST OF 2010. I just hope Romero gets his mojo back sometime soon.
MA: And for the record, I really liked SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD. It was a heck of a lot better horror movie than PIRANHA 3D!
(LS rolls his eyes)
MA: Okay, that wraps things up from here.
LS: Well folks, we’ll say so long for now, and the next time we see you, it will be with the review of a new movie!
© Copyright 2011 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares