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Worst of 2003?
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The Third M?n
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Joined: 09 Sep 2003
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Location: Chasing Stef around post-war Vienna

PostPosted: 01.16.2004 5:06 pm    Post subject: Worst of 2003? Reply with quote

I have avoided crap this year, and these are the two really films that are not worth seeing. What are the worst films you've seen this year?

El Cid, la Leyenda (2003) Dir: Jose Pozo

What a worthless waste. El Cid, the latest in Spanish animation, is a film that will very likely disappoint more than just one person. I went to see it with my family [not excluding my two brothers and two sisters] but it turned out none of us liked it one bit. In fact, we disliked it quite a lot. As it is known, there was an earlier cinematographic version of El Cid Campeador with Charlton Heston in the lead role, [who has held the cinematic monopoly of El Cid for almost forty years]; if you get the chance to see it, then do so its a very fine film. However, director Jose Pozo has got the chance to do a re-telling, a re-imagining if you will [with little historical accuracy and ignoring some of the legends most pivotal points], of the story of one of Spain's greatest heroes. The production is 100% Spanish, but, unlike in Samuel Bronstons epic of monumental proportions, there is nothing really spectacular about the new version. If there is one redeeming facet about the film, it has to be, simply put, the animation. It is very risky, what with the personages' exaggeratedly big arms et tout, but I have to admit that I loved it. The characters seem to have gone through some kind of metamorphosis - surely this isn't your typical design in a film whose main audience is younger than ten years old? Nonetheless, it remains surprisingly effective, if a little too bewildering, [despite its visible, erm, ugliness], but it is the rest of the animation's components that prove to be the most amazing; Castilla's beautiful landscapes are magnificently illustrated here, the sky, the land, everything as far as animation goes is top-notch. Oscar Araujo's score is often excellent and the voice work is also reasonably good. But that's it. If I were to point out the positive elements about the film [which I have just done, but anyhow], the positivism of it all would finish right here.

Onto the negative aspects of the film [and there are many]:

The story of El Cid is a legendary one, full of splendour and magic. It is rather stunning to find out all he did for Spain, to discover how heroic he was and in how many battles he fought. Yet, that amazement that was meant to be present in this film ca'nt be found anywhere - it's pretty much non-existent, really. It seems to me as though Jose Pozo hasn't really taken patience and time, or at least paid attention. El Cid, to put it bluntly, is a total and utter mess. For a film that's aimed at children, El Cid commits two sacrileges a children's animation film should never do: it bores and it doesn't make you laugh. It's not that these were the makers' intentions, oh no, because one can clearly see that this wasn't done deliberately. And tha'ts the problem. So many faults in the film, yet the creators dont seem to have noticed that they're there [or could it be that they're just ignoring them?] Either way, its masturbatory and wrong. The film is very tedious. It may be a little longer than an hour, but without the excitement, the magic, the laughs and with no real sense of danger, the film is shallow and therefore bores because of its nothingness. It's a space filled with emptiness. Stare at it for more than an hour and bore yourself. As I said, the film is not funny; it's surprisingly humourless. But how can an animation film for kids not be funny, when it just has to be? Who knows? But didn't they tell us in Singin' in the Rain to make 'em laugh? Make no mistake: the director has put plenty of jokes and "hilarious" moments for the mere delight of the younger audience - but they're just not funny. They're either monotonous, tasteless or whatever, but they dont fulfil their duty. I can say, with absolute sincerity, that nobody [nobody!] laughed through the entire film. And if anyone did, it would be at the utter idiocy and lack of self-awareness that the film contains [which would have been me]. Capital sins aside, the film is presented to us as a succession of brief moments, with no sense of continuity or direction whatsoever, all edited with the poorness of a blind monkey that suffers from Parkinson's. Characters come and go, on and off screen; and we don't get to know who they really are or what they're doing. It all proves to be somewhat perplexing - my younger sisters [and I] didn't have a clue what was really going on and at the end one reaches the conclusion that the film was a muddled and pitifully conceived chaos. The battle scenes lack any true sense of spectacle [partly due to the horrible editing], there are scenes that seem to have been ripped right off The Prince of Egypt and they just had to include the little cuddly animal for the enthusiasm of the younger public [which, funnily enough, has been copied from Pocahontas]. True, so there is lots of worse visual diarrhoea out there, but the film is told with such vagueness one can't avoid but feel ashamed of having seen it. If you have a good story, but don't know which way to tell it, then just don't bother. At the end, I ultimately left the theatre very disappointed. And some minutes later, I regretted it all.

[35]

AND



The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) Dir: Stephen Norrington





The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen promises a lot but ultimately does not deliver. I ended up seeing this wreck because my two brothers literally dragged me to it; my expectations were, having seen all the negative reviews and buzz, reasonably low.

It must be said, however, that the film starts off quite well. The story is simple: adventurer Allan Quartermain (Connery) is the lader of a team of extraordinary figures with legendary powers to battle the technological terror of a madman known as The Phantom, who wants to create a world crisis and take over everything. Having been "rescued" from Africa, he finds all the members of the group. The league consists of seafarer Captain Nemo (Shah), an invisible man named Rodney Skinner (Curran), vampiress Mina Harker (Wilson), American secret service agent Tom Sawyer (West), the schizophrenic personality of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Flemyng), and the ever-living Dorian Gray (Townsend).

Based upon the acclaimed comic books by Alan Moore and Kevin O' Neill, the film certainly does have a lot to offer; the set pieces are impressive, the visual effects are for the most part quite sensational indeed and the premise is great. Bringing the personages from literary works by Oscar Wilde, Jules Verne, Louis R Stevenson etc is a fantastic idea - shame the execution by director Stephen Norrington is poor, uninspired and shabby. What could have been an intriguing story is absolutely ruined by a less than ordinary implementation, what could've been a fun roller-coaster ride is instead turned into an uninteresting and boring action-adventure vehicle for the deliberate showing off of Connery (who, by the by, is also executive producer of the film. Surprise, surprise...)

The main aim of the film is to entertain its viewers for almost two hours. The audience is meant to enjoy it as any given Saturday matinee, and that's precisely what it does (or at least tries to do): it seeks to keep the audience amused with all the bada-boom explosions, car chases and gunfights, all of them free of any palpable logic, of course. Expect no more. The thing is, while watching the film I could not cease thinking that the makers of the film considered the audience to be idiots. You see, there are moments in movies where the boundaries are crossed, sometimes for the better, others for the worse. Here Norrington does not simply cross the boundaries; he chews them up, spits them out and stamps on them with colossal force. Because at one point, you just know that when the monumental Nautilus submarine sails across the narrow canals of Venice, you can't help but laugh at the incomprehensibility and utter absurdity of it all. Either the makers of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen do not have a clue about Venice by any means, or worse (and more likely), they believe that their audience doesn't. And when filmmakers think that they know a lot more than the public, don't you just have that desperate wanton to violently beat their faces to a pulp with a metal pole?

One of the other important things that the movie seems to (purposefully?) ignore is the laws of physics. Now, I am aware that the laws of physics in action movies are often easily overlooked they are no doubt less relevant than the eye-boggling explosions. That said, I rapidly came to the conclusion that the movie as a whole was a mere joke; in one particular scene, (if my memory serves rightly) as Tom Sawyer and Quatermain go through the streets of Venice in a speeding car (yes, that's right, a car in 1860 something), Quatermain jumps out of the car and lands on the floor. He's just standing on the floor. Inertia did not seem to affect his jump or anything; he didn't roll on the floor after the jump. He merely jumps out of the fast-moving vehicle and in the next instant hes standing on the floor. Just like that. I was like, "What the hell?" I felt like throwing my popcorn at the screen, but I decided not to. I tried to ignore that and moved on.

The film also suffers from the so called atrociously-written dialogue syndrome. Connery goes around, beating up everyone in sight without getting hurt, throwing unoriginally lame one-liners everywhere and trying to be funny when in fact he's not. This is made all the more saddening because the writers do not seem to be aware that what they've written is solely and purely appalling. They just won't (or perhaps don't want to) realise that the dialogue is terribly unimaginative. Everything is so muddled, so convolutedly disorganised and uncreative that to not think of the word "catastrophe" is inevitable.

And it's not just that: all the characters that they've illustrated are as unsympathetic as they're dull, and note that there's a vast array of them. Not even once did I feel for any of them or identify with them, let alone relate to them and their emotions. The father/son relationship between Quatermain and Tom Sawyer is disorganised and unimportant, as is the one between Dorian and Harker. Overall, the script is a disaster, although not even more so than the execution of it.

Summer 2003 was a fun one. Several blockbusters proved to be convincing: Pirates of the Caribbean, Terminator 3, Hulk - they all did the job they were assigned to do with great finesse. However, while The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen may be mildly fun, it's also brainless, dumb and simply put, ineffably stupid - that's how bad it is. Do not spend your money on this unnecessary and pointless piece of trash, unless that is, you're in the mood to get a feel of what messy editing looks like.

[28]
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 01.17.2004 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, since I don't think there's much crap left for me to see, here's mine, but it is of curse, subject to change for the next 15 days:

1. My Boss?s Daughter

2. Bad Boys II

3. Scary Movie 3

4. Bruce Almighty

5. Kangaroo Jack

6. Legally Blonde 2: Red, White, and Blonde

7. Malibu?s Most Wanted

8. The Matrix Revolutions

9. Wrong Turn

10. A View from the Top
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 01.17.2004 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bad Boys 2 was the movie I had the least amount of fun watching. I found the whole endevour pretty depressing. Wrong Turn is an abysmal movie, but it does contain a certain entertainment potential the filmmakers hadn't bargained on, especially if you're watching it with a few like-minded and witty friends and case of beer.
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Al_Bundy_007
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PostPosted: 02.28.2004 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Top 10 Worst of 2003

10. Cabin Fever

9. Cat in the Hat

8. The Matrix Revolutions

7. Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights

6. Kangaroo Jack

5. LXG

4. The Hot Chick

3. Hulk

2. Gigli

1. Boat Trip
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.28.2004 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still cringe when I think of some of these:

10. Pieces of April (Peter Hedges)

9. S.W.A.T. (Clark Johnson)

8. The Matrix Revolutions (The Wachowski Brothers)

7. Bruce Almighty (Tom Shadyac)

6. Anger Management (Peter Segal)

5. Uptown Girls (Boaz Yakin)

4. American Wedding (Jesse Dylan)

3. Masked and Anonymous (Larry Charles)

2. Gigli (Martin Brest)

1. The Cat in the Hat (Bo Welch)

Gigli merely inspires amazement that something so awful could be shamelessly and widely released; The Cat in the Hat, meanwhile, inspires pure and utter hatred.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.28.2004 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minor defenses:

I cringed every time I saw the Pieces of April trailer, but the movie itself is worthwhile. Despite the sitcom structure, and despite the grotesque abuse of black stereotypes, the movie contains some genuinely observant, funny, mildly wise asides, especially in terms of performance. Holmes perfectly captures April's hopeful naivete, determined and blind to her own ineptitude. I also liked the way the tenants treat their rooms as sacred territory; her presence violates their shells in unique, often in unexpected ways. Perhaps the best joke is that the entire family is trying to buy into synthetic holiday cheer merely as a matter of routine--cynically, the movie punctures a singular American sensibility.

S.W.A.T. may be mediocre, but what makes it worse than the average actioner? I appreciated the relative lack of intrusive CGI--at least compared to most others in the genre--and I'd argue it is slightly smarter, and more stylish, than many of its contemporaries. The familiar subjects may be bluster, machismo, and buddy loyalty, but I'd rather watch this law enforcement advert than another psuedo-cynical story about cop corruption, or the exoticism of the drug culture. I agree with NW that Bad Boys II is by far the year's worst offender in the action genre.

The real subject of Bruce Almighty is Jim Carrey, and as with Liar Liar, that was enough for me. Both pictures are sporadically hilarious, partially because Carrey is today unparalleled in his comic physicality. While I think many of his pictures are mediocre-to-poor, I'm still a believer: There's an astonishing mix of of risk, elegance, camp, mania, pain, and, yes, even tragedy in his comic persona. Has anyone ever so clearly tapped the comic potential of exposing the sinister underbelly of being so gosh-darned nice? He's like a demon unleashed, and one of the most important forces in American movies.

I expected to loathe The Hot Chick, since Rob Schneider is one of the most grotesque forces in American movies. I can't say it's a good movie, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the movie is the strongest in Schneider's "transformation" trilogy (following Deuce Bigalow and The Animal.) The jokes are only marginally funnier than his other braindead comedies, but better paced and better strung together. The central conceit is a crude reworking of Big and Some Like It Hot, but the premise is still ripe for funny gags about learning how to urinate. Mostly, though, I forgave the rampant juvenilia because the movie is surprisingly good-hearted and, shockingly, tightly focused on its theme of tolerance.

My Worst included House of 1000 Corpses; Just Married; Gods and Generals; Anything Else; Charlotte Sometimes; and Better Luck Tomorrow. I'd also add The Believer; Bringing Down the House; The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky; Gigli; The Guru; The Happiness of the Katakuris; I'm Going Home; In Praise of Love; Irr?versible; and Northfork.

Eric
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matt header
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PostPosted: 02.28.2004 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Minor defenses to your defenses:

Nothing worked for me in Pieces of April, most of all Hedges' direction, which seemed peculiarly unconcerned with controlling the film's style. It has meek attempts at dark comedy which mostly fail (especially Sean Hayes' performance) and tries to be a bittersweet family drama, but Clarkson's character is so unrelatable that it was hard for me to care about any of them. The best part of the movie is indeed Holmes, who gives a comparatively understanding performance; but for me, she couldn't save it.

S.W.A.T., I agree, isn't awful. I haven't seen Bad Boys II, otherwise that would have taken its spot most likely. But I couldn't help comparing S.W.A.T. to XXX, a comparatively enjoyable, exuberant movie. While XXX was equally lunkheaded and silly, it had joy to it, a sense of humor, a ridiculous preposterousness that made the movie exceptionally fun. It also seemed to notice how it represents the modern action hero, composed of technological spectacle and extreme stunts. S.W.A.T. has no such self-deprecating humor and, more importantly, no joy - it doesn't realize that it's just another stupid action movie, which for me makes it worse than a bunch.

Bruce Almighty is a gimmick put on celluloid, a pitch meeting transferred to film seemingly as a second thought. It's a Carrey movie, built all around his shtick and his humor, and some of it is funny (I like him very much as a performer) - but even while I was laughing the movie felt unworthy of such laughter, like it was just parading around a humorous star and yanking cheap laughs out of us. The maudlin elements are awful (so Bruce needs to get hit by a truck for Jennifer Aniston to fall back in love with him?! excellent?!) and for every Carrey-esque gag that works, there are a few more that fail. I enjoyed Liar, Liar, but Bruce Almighty is such a concept-driven comedy that it forgets to put any real enjoyment in there.

S.W.A.T. and Pieces of April really aren't that bad; I threw them on there simply because I haven't seen a great many terrible movies this year. But I do, I must admit, hate Bruce Almighty.
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the night watchman
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PostPosted: 02.28.2004 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

matt header wrote:


Bruce Almighty is a gimmick put on celluloid, a pitch meeting transferred to film seemingly as a second thought.


That's a perfect summation. Freeman and Carrey have awfully good on-screen chemistry, and when they're together, the movie's pulse starts pumping. But nearly nothing else works, from the obvious gags (although Bruce's e-mail account, called Yahweh, made me laugh out loud) to Jennifer Aniston's thankless role as the put-upon girlfriend, to God-as-skydaddy mentality. And I honestly cannot believe how many people thought the ass-monkey was actually funny. Sheesh.
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Al_Bundy_007
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PostPosted: 02.28.2004 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

S.W.A.T.- *1/2

Bruce Almighty- **

not the worst but not the best
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 02.29.2004 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I now think that Jeepers Creepers II is easily the worst of 2003.
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Kurosawa Fan
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PostPosted: 02.29.2004 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll go with In the Cut as the worst film I saw in 2003. I avoided such bombs as Bad Boys 2 and Gigli, so my frame of reference is much smaller than some. I will second Better Luck Tomorrow's nomination, a film so manipulating and unbelievable I grimaced through the entire thing.

I'd also put in a nom for Hulk, which I know some people appreciated but I found to be a complete mess. Not even the visual effects were up to par on this one.

I also HATED The Last Samurai. Talk about Hollywood fluff. I won't give details because that would involve spoilers, but the last half of the film is ridiculous.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.29.2004 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I concur regarding In the Cut, which, despite a terrific Mark Ruffalo performance, is my least favorite Campion picture. Here are a few others that haven't yet been mentioned:

The Real Cancun; Chump Change; Versus; The Life of David Gale; 2 Fast 2 Furious; The Missing; Beyond Borders; Head of State; Dumb & Dumberer; The Medallion; Hollywood Homicide; Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life; Black Mask 2; Cradle 2 the Grave; From Justin to Kelly; Darkness Falls; The Way Home; Princess Blade; Power and Terror: Noam Chomsky in Our Times; Dreamcatcher; Under the Tuscan Sun; Old School; National Security.

Some of those probably would have cracked my year-end Worst list if they were more interesting in their badness. Most, though, are so conspicuously poor that there's no point in cataloging the obvious.

Eric
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Al_Bundy_007
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PostPosted: 02.29.2004 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually liked The Missing and Old School was alright too.
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Edward Scissorhands (3rd) - ****

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Kurosawa Fan
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PostPosted: 03.01.2004 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, just after I posted I remembered the travesty that was The Life of David Gale. I've never seen a piece of propaganda so obvious in it's mission. Subtlety was not a strong point here.
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juhsstin
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PostPosted: 03.05.2004 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

life of david gale i thought was an engaging movie, but i do agree that it lacks political integrity and is self-defeatist. it's like that simpsons episode where lisa babysits bart who gets upset over it and proceeds to destroy his own body to prove she's not a good babysitter.

i just rented "the missing" last night, and i thought it was pretty good! Confused
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