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Lists.

Top Ten. End of the Year.

They are the popcorn chicken of the critical world. Every single basement reviewer is scribbling to write one in haste as we speak. Like I give a f*ck what those spiteful twats love or hate. These lists aren't created in a scientific lab. The people behind them couldn't have possibly seen every single movie released in the last year. How dare they (except for, maybe, Roger Ebert, because he has seen every single one of them) tell me what the best and worst films of 2004 actually are? It's all-subjective. Like the finest stand-up comedy. You either get the joke, or you don't.

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Wait. Don't think I'm standing on the roof of the White House. I know that, in the last couple of years, it's become cool to point this out. Especially by those people that want you to read their lists the most. They go on and on about how worthless Year-Ending lists are, yet they toss theirs in your face like it's some kind of important tablature. They believe it to be part of the New Testament, or some sh*t. That's rather hypercritical. Isn't it?

Maybe.

List bashing is nothing new. It's a hipster stance. One I'm sure you'll hear over and over again. Especially here, at the end of 2004. Here's a fact: We've had more truly great films this year than we've had in awhile. And we've also had some that would sink the balls on a menstruating Pit Bull. But who's to tell me which ones are which? It's a semblance I'll have to generate within my own heart.

Personally, I like this engraved type of December cataloguing. For one simple reason. I can peruse the pages of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, The LA Weekly, or whatever homogenized trash-filled rag and verbally yell at the writers of these lists. "Asshole!" The whole barbershop looks at me to follow-up on the insult, "This prick here, Harvey S. Karten? He left Shaun of the Dead off his top ten list. What a tit." Top 10 Year End lists are a wonderful place to direct my pent-up anger, "Oh, but that jerk made sure to throw Garfield: The Movie in amongst the top five. F*cking asshole."

I want to see who agreed with me. And who didn't. And that's the only reason, I believe, that these lists still have a place in our society. It's a communal type thing. My favorites are the one-shot Category lists. More then a few people are going to call out Chloe Sevigny for giving The Best Blowjob of 2004, even though that award should go to both Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg for properly going down on the zombie genre with such verve. A few will miss the wink-and nod.

Most of the time, these subdued registers all roll with the same type of punch. We'll constantly see the same films creeping onto a majority of these lists. Probably, almost every single one of them that you look at this year will have Million Dollar Breezy towards the top. In the "Best" Category. And AVP will linger in the bottom of the worst. But how many lists will remember to include Baadasssss! on the awesome side of their handpicked offerings? And will anyone really remember what a soul sucking eternity The Whole Ten Yards turned out to be. Like I said…

Maybe.

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But what about those films that are on the fence? The one's that don't get represented anywhere? The films no one cares about either way. They didn't like them, but they certainly didn't hate them. Hell, they don't even remember them. Why? Because they're…The Top 10 Most Mediocre Films of 2004.

Right away, let me tell you, this is, in fact, one of the most scientific Year-Ending Top 10 Lists you will ever read. This isn't merely my opinion here, folks. No. This is solid fact. I did some research, using Rotten Tomatoes & Box Office Mojo as my source guides. I painstakingly went through every single film released in 2004, and all of the written reviews concerning them. Just know; sheep like to stand on milk crates and "BAAAAHHH!" in the same general direction. Meaning, it wasn't too hard to figure this sh*t out…

Using the Tomato Meter, it was easy for me create a list from the bottom up. 60% is still considered fresh, but even on a bell curve, that's a D + at best. One negative review in the opposite direction, and Ocean's 12 is rotten at 59%. That's one Hell of a weak push. Isn't it? It could fall either way for people…

Here it is, in all its glory…

MOVIEWEB'S OFFICIAL TOP 10 MOST MEDIOCRE FILMS of 2004 LIST!

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#10 - Harold & Kumar go to White Castle

Arrives with a 72% on the Tomato Meter. This means it's fresh. Its ranking is low on the list because it's leveling out at a C-. Someone, somewhere in the world (Blake Snyder, this finger is pointed at you) is bound to call this sucker into their Top 10 Best list. Why would they do that? I'm not sure. A lot of people called it out for breaking stereotypes and having the courage to cast an Asian and an East Indian in the lead roles. So what? The writers of the film then created stereotypes of their own with some unpleasant Jewish caricatures, and played it over-the-top with their steroid-induced Gen-X Extreme Sports nuts. Which augmented their already undeserved bad name; one they've been trying to shake ever since Vin Diesel "Amos-n-Andy'ed" it up in XxX. Harold & Kumar is a bland one-note joke about driving all night, stoned, to get sliders. In my personal opinion, the David Faustino-Corin Nemec straight-to-Blockbuster epic "Killer Bud" did ten times as much with the same narrative through-point. Sure, Harold & Kumar made me hungry, but it did little else to stir the senses. I heard such great things about the film before seeing it. Not one moment stands out as being original, or note-worthy. Neil Patrick Harris does a nice bit, but we've seen too much of this self-congratulatory championing of the celebrity spirit already. How many actors have to play themselves in some lackluster project? The trend is getting old, and so am I. Get it out of my face. It was funny once upon a time, now it's just blasé. Kind of like going to White Castle. Crystal (talkin' about the Burger Joint, not Mantooth's ex-roommate) is better, anyway…

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#9 - The Big Bounce

&

Without A Paddle

Both tying with a 16% on the Tomato Meter. That means they're both rotten. They might wind up on a Worst List somewhere. If any one can truthfully remember either flick, that is. Both are harmless time killers. The Big Bounce came as the umpthirtieth film of 2004 starring, or featuring, Owen Wilson. It was as easy and breezy as the sh*t going on inside his head; a cool, light gust of wind that failed to register on any radar. It was too quiet and dull to irk the film going public into a riot. The same goes for Without a Paddle. It holds the standard definition of audience indifference. Most people that actually saw it said, "Hey, I don't care. It was watchable. I don't remember anything really funny about it. But it wasn't awful." Both films came and went without much fanfare.

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#8 - Walking Tall

Comes in with a 26% on the Tomato Meter. It, too, is rotten. But it's edging closer to that center mark. There's not one thing to hate about the film except that it's shorter than Men in Black II, clocking in at an hour and seven minutes. Nobody wants to spend twelve-bucks on something that doesn't last as long as standing in a summer line. You could watch the film twice, in the car, on the DVD player embedded in the back seat, before even making it across town to the theater. Walking Tall was a remake that people forgot to even compare to the original. No one cared. The Rock was charming. Johnny Knoxville stole another show. And there was some all-right action thrown in the mix. It was a cracked open can of Coors, forgotten (by the few that saw it) as soon as it went down the gullet. The Scorpion King had guts; at least it stuck around inside that hate-able part of the brain for a while. This, here, is Teflon cinema at its best.

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#7 - Along Came Polly

Edges out The Rock's middling remake with a 27% on the Tomato Meter. Ben Stiller, like Owen Wilson, has been in just about every other movie that came out this past year. He literally raped the box office with his face. Along Came Polly is the most inoffensive of the bunch. It's a generic comedy farce; a great example of gray cinema. All of the best scenes made an appearance in the trailer. And even those barely managed to eek out a laugh from an already brain-dazed audience. A blind ferret running and bumping into inanimate objects does not a great movie make. And when we've already seen the joke ten times before entering the theatre, it's rendered less than proficient upon purchase of that ticket.

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#6 - 50 First Dates

Stands at 42% on the Tomato Meter. Like Along Came Polly, this is another in a long line of faceless romantic comedies that lingered around with only one goal in mind: Acquiring the American Dollar. It stood out as a Groundhog Day rip-off, and never fully acclimated itself into the worthwhile World of classic Sandler cinema. His films are love ‘em-hate ‘em endeavors. It seems like every other project of his, before this, fell firmly on one side of the fence. Mr. Deeds deserves to be on a Worst List of some sort. Somewhere. Punch Drunk Love made it onto a lot of Best Lists last year (or was that the year before; I can't remember). 50 First Dates could and would only find a place on this list, here. There's nothing memorable about it, which is fitting, since it's about long-term memory loss.

#5 - Hidalgo

Is marked at 48% on the Tomato Meter. It is as dry as its sandstorms. There are boring stretches that seem to last forever. But the relationship between Viggo Mortensen and his horse makes this three-hour marathon worth watching. It has some wide-ass holes, yet the race is enthralling and irreverent. I wanted to hate it. Yet, at the same time, I wanted to like it. It's kind of like Cheese on a Stick at the mall. Sure, I grew wearisome sitting there, waiting for it to be over. But then, leaving the theater, I had a sense of satisfaction. I felt like I'd watched something good. Almost. Its awesomeness was lingering on the outset of its compromises.

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#4 - The Girl Next Door

Critics almost liked this movie. Almost. It's at 57% on the Tomato Meter. That's only three points away Fresh…What was it about again?

#3 - The Terminal

Is an almost worthy outing with 62% on the Tomato Meter. It is truly one of the most mediocre films of the year. And possibly one of the most pedestrian films of Steven Spielberg's entire career. It's forgetful fluff. In ten years, do you think anybody is going to care about Tom Hanks stumbling about in an airport, aimlessly? No. They won't. It's December. The thing has come and gone on DVD. People have completely forgotten about its existence already. Watching it, it is likable. But the whole storyline goes in one ear and right out the other. Can you remember a line of dialogue? Can you remember one scene? Nope. And that's why it's number 3 on the list.

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#2 - I, Robot

Has only been edged out of the top spot by one point at 61% on the Tomato Meter. This sucker is something that truly split everyone clean down the middle. It's extremely cheesy, but it's a lot of fun. Will Smith was the absolute worst choice for this particular film's lead. Yet, you can't help but like watching the guy's on-screen charisma. Some of the story lags like a quadriplegic that's fallen out of a wheelchair on the way to the restroom, but when those action scenes kick in, they're liable to send you through the back of the theater. One minute it's rocking the awesomeness, and doing a drive-by-spanking on your face. The next, it's sucking long cock and spitting those ejaculated seeds onto your empty plate. Out of all the movies this year, I truly couldn't decide if I loved it. Or if I hated it. It pulled me in two different directions, leaving me to respond in kind, "Eh, it was okay…"

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#1 - Ocean's 12

One of the few Tomato Meter readings that rests right on the electric wire fence. 60%. That's the percent that turns a movie from Rotten to Fresh. One critic. Just one critic pulls his review off of Rotten Tomatoes and this bad bitch is living in another part of town. The poor part of town. Frankly, I've never seen such a mediocre film in my life. All of these great actors have shown up. They've got their game face on. And they do nothing. This is like wading through a bag of warm marshmallows. Each hip trickster gets a scene or two of shinning example, but it never amounts to much. You want to hate its incredibly tedious delays, yet you don't mind starring at the people on screen. It's the film version of US Weekly. It's a moving People Magazine. They should play this thing on a screen, near the checkout isle, in grocery stores. You don't really need to watch the whole thing at once. Minutes at a time, over the course of a lifelong grocery-buying journey would suffice. I mean; the ending, where Julia Roberts unconvincingly pretends to be herself, is bordering on being a rotgut climax. It should have turned this tiny turd into one of the worst films of the year. But, somehow, they pulled it off. Kinda. You just have to stare at it in bewildered amazement. The whole endeavor is a handpicked flower, dying in a vase. It doesn't bother me that I'll have to throw it out. Frankly, Ocean's 12 didn't bother me at all. In any way, shape, or form. It just kind of filled my eyes with a void. Like the best Mediocre Film of 2004 should.

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Harvey refused to put

Shaun of the Dead on his

Top 10 list, the asshole!

So, there you have it, jerks. It's not the best that counts. Or the worst. It's the fast food sh*t that sells and makes money. I just couldn't bring myself to hate any of these movies. Or like them for that matter.

Now get out of here, I have a play date with Darth Vader and Chewbacca behind the couch.

We'll be seeing you again, next year…

Maybe.