Wednesday, January 27, 2010

LowRes 2009 Movie Awards: Part 1, The Worst

With the Oscar nominations coming out next Tuesday, February 2nd, it's about time I show those fuddy-duddy Academy members (jerkfaces!) who's boss and offer up my own choices for the best of the year. I'm going to break this up into several posts across the week, and hopefully I'll be able to get a decent snapshot of what I consider a pretty underrated movie year (though one in which I'm not entirely onboard with most of the Oscar frontrunners).

We'll move in concentric circles, towards my Top 10 movies of the year. In today's installment, the outermost ring: the worst movies and performances of the year. (Good stuff is on the way, though! Check back later today for the Best Trailers.)

Bride Wars
The Fourth Kind
Funny People
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

I don't always do a Worst Movies list because I generally avoid movies that clearly look awful. But this year, with the advent of Embarrassing Movie Wednesdays (they're coming back in 2010, y'all!), I wound up seeing more...shaky cinematic options. Only 2.5 of the above terrible films were EMW entries (Post-Grad was an Embarrassing Movies Special Birthday Request and thus only counts as half). I can't say I had much hope for Bride Wars (the trailer alone was horrible enough to earn a place here on its own), but Ghosts of Girlfriends Past wasted the talents of Jennifer Garner and Emma Stone, and didn't even have the grace to make Matthew McConaughey take his shirt off.

Funny People gave me rage, lasted for a billion years (would that Apatow's movies got prematurely canceled like his TV shows used to), and tried to make Eminem culturally relevant again. I'm actually somewhat fascinated by the bubble of love this one got from critics. I can see wanting to boost a flawed movie because it had characters you loved or really made you laugh, but Funny People was the exact opposite of that on both counts. I've never seen such a generally poorly received movie still be incredibly overrated like this one.

The worst of them all, though, was The Fourth Kind. What it lacked in Bride Wars's misogyny, Funny People's hateful excess, Post-Grad's thin plot, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past's general charmlessness, it more than made up for in inept execution and a completely failed found-footage concept.

Click below for the Worst Performances...

Rose Byrne - Knowing
Lily Cole - The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Jae Head - The Blind Side
Terrence Howard -Fighting
Charlene Yi - Paper Heart

It sucks, because I had grown so fond of Rose Byrne on Damages, and I wanted to believe she was going to just sit back and let Knowing suck all on its own. It didn't need her help! But help it she did. What started merely stiff and uninspiring went totally off the rails in the final third, until a "WE HAVE TO SAVE THE CHILDREN!" embarrassment and she's ultimately put out of her (our) misery.

In other news, I feel bad picking on Jae Head that poor little white boy from The Blind Side, and it's probably more than half director John Lee Hancock's fault for featuring him so prominently as "comic" "relief." I have no such conflicting emotions about calling out Terrence Howard, whose performance as a developmentally-delayed Fagin was full of tics and mumbles, signifying nothing.

Paper Heart would have been an unsuccessful movie anyway -- it's aimless and unconvincing and dull -- but Charlene Yi's mumbly woman-child routine made it aimless, unconvincing, dull, and annoying.

The worst was probably Lily Cole, who was a perfect storm of amateurish non-talent (yes, I know she's a model; I'm a writer; neither of us should be actors) and over-prominent role. She wasn't the only problem in the messy Parnassus, but among the actors, she was the biggest.

1 comment:

DuchessKitty said...

THANK YOU for being another person who was annoyed by that Jae Head kid's performance in The Blind Side. He practically ruined an otherwise great film for me. I don't think I can put the blame on the director here either.
When they showed Head leading the parade at the end I was really hoping to see him trip and get trampled by a bunch of Ole Miss students. I recently watched an interview with the real Touehy son and if I'd been the interviewer I totally would've asked him how it felt to see himself portrayed on screen by such an annoying little imp.
Word! on Charlene Yi being irksome too. I saw Paper Hearts at a film festival this summer and the fact that Yi was in attendance sitting about 6ft away from me in the audience was the only reason I didn't yell "shut up Charlene!" at the screen a hundred times.