As a whole, the year hasn’t been great. For every great film there were several bad ones. And when they were bad this year, they were really bad. It’s a shame to because some films promised so much and ended up being terrible. Other films were as bad as could be expected from just looking at the pedigree, you probably didn’t even need to see some of them, you just automatically knew they would be bad. But there’s always hope that M. Night Shyamalan will make a good film one day. Right?
Bare in mind I’ve avoided a lot of apparently terrible films this year: Sex and the City 2, Fred the Movie, The Bounty Hunter etc. But of all the films I saw this year, the following were the worst.
10. The Lovely Bones (dir, Peter Jackson)
There is a huge unbalance in tone and a confusion as to whether writer-director Peter Jackson wants to take us down a dark alley or along a summer road and often, and very strangely, he chooses the latter. The book balances the dark material of child rape and murder and Susie’s fantasy and there is a definite line and tone between the two. But, in the film, Jackson’s obsession with the fantasy and CGI overrides the human drama at the core.
He is more interested in filling our eyes with gaudy and at times visually arresting imagery as opposed to the drama behind the scenes that I am more interested in. The over flowery, album cover hippy visuals are just over the top and unneeded. He should stop trying to over complicate things. Apparently due to the film being delayed he said he had time to improve upon the afterlife look, maybe more time should have been spent on re-shoots or re-editing.
9. Alice in Wonderland (dir, Tim Burton)
Where did it go wrong? Tim Burton and Lewis Carroll should have been a match made in heaven, but this overly quirky re-imagining of the Alice mythology was more annoying than entertaining. Johnny Depp provides one of his worst performances to date, as the uber irritating Mad Hatter, switching between a high pitched English accent to a badly handled Billy Connoly-esque Scottish accent. While Mia Wasikowska is a good lead, the rest pales in comparison as Burton attempts to inject his usual visual flair, but ultimately fails.
8. Let Me In (dir, Matt Reeves)
Yes one of the best reviewed films of the year is on my list of the worst. Firstly, what were the critics thinking? In no way at all is this film better than the original Swedish and in its own right it is a poor film. It is very confused as to what it wants to be, obviously the focus should be on the relationship between the kids, but Matt Reeves takes a strange fascination with Elias Koteas’ detective which plays out as a pointless replacement for the more integral role as the curious neighbours.
Also removed is the edge of the original, it removes the infamous shot and makes the suspicious relationship between Abby and her ‘Father’ much more opaque. The word that sums up this film is pointless, it doesn’t need to exist, just go see the original, it’s far superior.
7. Burke and Hare (dir, John Landis)
I have seen Burke and Hare not once but twice and both times I sat in the cinema in a catatonic state and didn’t laugh once. The problem is that the film has the maturity of the St Trinians remakes and the gore of a Romero movie, everything is ridiculously over the top in both screwball, dumb comedy and dark humour. For someone who has a great background in both these areas, director John Landis should have known how to balance this and make them work together.
6. Paranormal Activity 2 (dir, Tod Williams)
Paranormal Activity 2 is as feared, a film with too much money at its disposal, resulting in a film which is not only not scary but also quite dull. As mentioned by many critics, it follows a tired and hackneyed formula of …quiet… then BOO! It’s unoriginal to the max, just the same premise as the original only with more cameras and less interest.
I can see this turning into another franchise in the same vein as the Saw movies. By the time you get to Part VII you’ll wish that it never existed in the first place. What is surprising to me is that a lot of internet critics have listed it amongst the best of the year. There is NO way in hell this film deserves to be mentioned with the likes of Inception and The Social Network.
5. Trash Humpers (dir, Harmony Korine)
Once again Harmony Korine proves he is nothing more than a talentless, shameless provocateur. A film which does exactly what it says on the tine, a film which follows old people who go around humping trash, shot on VHS, in Nashville.
It’s grotesque to look at, the characters are vile and it’s depressing that a film like this even exists. Korine probably wants the film to be listed amongst the worst of the year just to prove how much he has affected people, that doesn’t stop it being ugly and hateful.
4. Eat Pray Love (dir, Ryan Murphy)
The new Julia Roberts star vehicle, Eat Pray Love, is based on a bestselling memoir by Liz Gilbert (played by Roberts) who in order to ‘discover’ herself takes a year long trip to Italy, India and Bali to gorge on pasta, then find her inner spirituality and then have physical relations with Javier Bardem. The book is, according to the New York Times, “fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible”. Well if you’re looking for a film with intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is irresistible, you’re looking in the wrong place. This is a trite, flat, narcissistic diatribe of drivel.
3. A Nightmare on Elm Street (dir, Samuel Bayer)
The list of the reasons why Michael Bay is the worst filmmaker/Hollywood insider ever to walk this earth is rapidly growing. At the very top of the list is his current fascination for his production label: Platinum Dunes, to trash every classic, revolutionary horror film from the 70’s and 80’s.
The remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street is just a sickly reincarnation of Wes Craven’s iconic original, the palette of the film altered to this putrid brown colour and the central idea is rendered down, given a back story and isn’t scary. Which as a horror film is the biggest sin of all. It’s just NOT scary.
2. I’m Still Here (dir, Casey Affleck)
So now the cat is out of bag. Yes everything Joaquin Phoenix did like grow a shaggy beard, pretend to be a rapper and more was all fake. So what we saw in I’m Still Here was an entirely false documentary, so an already self indulgent film has turned into an even bigger ego trip for both the actor and its director Casey Affleck. There is no point, it is a boring, badly put together and dull. A film which no one should have any interest in seeing. Because at the end of the day, why should we care?
1. The Last Airbender (dir, M Night Shyamalan)
Is there any other it could be? Shyamalan is one of the worst directors currently working in Hollywood, so clearly this film was going to let us down. It is absolutely terrible. And not even laughably terrible like his previous crime against cinema The Happening, this was desperate. The Last Airbender is a film so bad that not even I could laugh at it. How bad a filmmaker do you have to be to not notice that actors talking to each other about ‘benders’ would not cause your audience to cringe like they have never cringed before. Atrociously acted with incredibly poor visual effects. If Shyamalan has another good film in him somewhere, this is no proof of that.
So there you have it, the top 10 worst films of 2010. What do you think?