Worst of lists aren't getting the love they deserve this year. Maybe its because we're in an economic downfall that's being touted as some sort of crisis. People just don't have the money it takes to waste on bad movies. And that includes renting them on DVD as well as paying to see them in theaters. Unless you're a so-called media pundit, a lot of these films wouldn't be in your radar. Heck, according to the nightly news, we can't even pay for basic cable anymore. So most of you will never see some of the crap that is listed here. Still, its fun to poke a stick in the ribs of this worthless garbage. If I can't pick on it now, when can I pick on it? Consider these the films to stay away from when they reach their broadcast television debuts. Oh, you can't afford that new digital converter box, either? Well, consider this a cautionary tale of warning then. Even though you'll never eat that shrimp buffet at Circus Circus just outside of Reno, Nevada, that won't stop me from screaming about these stomach cramps. The truth of the tale is: We watch this stuff so you don't have to!
Worst Animated Film:Space Chimps. This crudely drawn tale of a stunt monkey sent to space gleefully waisted the talents of Andy Samberg and Cheryl Hines while providing absolutely no nutritional value or entertainment for the poor lost children that wandered into it's lackluster ways by accident, thinking they were going to see something funny. The jokes were musty, and the humans looked as though someone squeezed Chris Burke out of a year old tube of toothpaste. The aliens were possibly the worst space concepts ever conceived for the screen, and when all was said and done, this played worse than a Hanna-Barbara cheapie from some lost 70s Saturday morning. The worst part? Kristin Chenoweth as Kilowatt, a little squawk-voiced light bulb entity that gets eaten by a monster only to come shinning out of its rectum later in the film. So hard to sit through, it became a mental struggle to keep cognizant throughout its ass-fist like ways. It was the worst in generic fruity breakfast cereals. And it gave me a stomachache.
Worst Comic Book Movie:The Spirit. A fiasco? A cluster f*ck? An incomprehensible mess? Gaudy? Superfluous? Too weird for the mainstream? Down right dog sh*t? Yes, Frank Miller's first foray into directing his own superhero movie were all of these things and more. How could it not be? Miller aped Rodriguez's Sin City aesthetics (which his name is tied to as a co-director) and took them in a new and fascinating direction. Fascinating because it's a real head scratcher. How could such a simple story play out so awfully on screen? Was it Samuel L. Jackson's M.C. Hammer pants that brought down the legitimacy of this project as a whole. Or was it the fact that this thing was entirely built in a barn against green screen sheets that provided the actors with no sense of security whatsoever? I think the fault line rips through the chest of Miller himself. Did he really direct this? Or was he sitting somewhere in a chair, staring blankly at a monitor, sipping whiskey while a group of second unit misfits called the shots. Hard to say, really. But I'm inclined to believe the second part of that sentiment. Look, the fact that Miller can't properly shave his neck without leaving long unsightly hairs protruding from the base of the skin should have been some indication that he was incapable of bringing Will Eisner's beloved art to the big screen. Was Miller's heart truly in this? Or was he trying to cash a fast paycheck on the back of all that fat praise he earned in the day? The man has a distinct style that is pure and half-part genius. Hopefully he will use The Spirit as a learning tool towards producing something worthwhile. There is no doubt that this toxic waist will someday become a cult minorpiece amongst Miller enthusiasts. But for the public at large, it only weighed heavily on their pocket books. And provided nothing in return.
Worst Thriller:One Missed Call. Director Eric Valette took Takashi Miike's Japanese ghost story and repurposed it for a bunch of thirteen-year-old girls. The result was nothing short of unwatchable. This tale of a killer cell phone made fools and tools out of both the beautiful Shannyn Sossamon and the usually excellent Edward Burns. Forced to deliver a handful of mumble-mouthed lines and act scared at the weakest jump scare in history, this duo didn't even get to consummate their impending love on screen before falling victim to the unholy demonic powers of Sprint and AT&T. What was already a ludicrous plot device became an even more stupendous idea once it played itself into reality. One Missed Call is laughably bad. MST3K bad. At one point, a burnt corpse falls on top of Sossamon and you half-expect her to start making out with its gruesome visage. This isn't rotgut whiskey. It's a bottle of Sisqo mixed with blueberry yogurt. And that's proved to be neither pleasant coming into or going out of the body. It gave me the corn sh*ts.
Worst Drama:Savage Grace. This is weenus-down (because it made me flaccid) the worst film I had to sit through this year. And that notion may very well bleed into the upcoming years surrounding it. Savage Grace is both a pointless and ultimately tedious look at one tiny piece of American pop culture minutia. The film tells the horror story of the Bakelite family, and it gathered buzz for its lurid tales of incest. Sadly, those tales were quite vomitous. The usually not-so modest Julianne Moore, number one gunner on the cinematic beaver parade, never once strips down to that 2% milk colored body of hers. And the movie, as well as the audience, might just be better for it. The narrative goes a little something like this: Boring, boring boring! Julianne has a three way with her son and a gay suitor. Boring. She soccer balls her son while fully clothed. Off come the panties and its one of the most grotesque sex scenes seen in 2008. When the kid fails to cum, she pull-pops her sloppy gooch of his pencil thin business and proceeds to give him a handy with the butter cream. There's some more boring narrative. And then the kid stabs Moore with a kitchen knife. The end. I never actually fell asleep during the film, but I wanted to. The gratuitous, red skirted love scenes are some of the worst simply because the guy she is pink-momming is a dead ringer for Hans Klopek. And the film plays like some odd prequel to the 'Burbs. Now I know what was wrong with that kid in Joe Dante's 1989 cult classic. Ray Peterson had every right to be suspicious. This horrible little slice of wrongness is pure, unfiltered assjuice.
Worst Comedy: Gosh, take your pick. There were so many. Ten thousand pounds of unfunny were haphazardly tossed in the face of our film going community this year like a handful of spunk Spider-manned off a dead hobo's hand. It was greasy flute choogle, and there are far too many bad comedies to pick from. Possible the hollowest turd to come down the pike was Over Her Dead Body, which saw Eva Longoria Parker returning from the grave to spy on her fiance as he made mad love to the new girl in his life. Not even Paul Rudd could save this one. He looked trapped in an Iron Maiden of his own making. Then there's The Foot Fist Way. This "acquired taste" aperitif left me baffled. Why were so many of our top comedic actors fighting over the rights to this seriously lucid business? I just didn't get it! This sh*t just wasn't funny. There's maybe one classic bit in its entire 80 minute running time. It's like a joke-free version of Hot Rod; and I don't remember too many people chuckling through that intensive labor ordeal either. The Foot Fist Way came on like some sort of horrible nightmare, and brought back bad memories I hadn't thought of in years. Tae Kwon Do class. Danny McBride looks and acts almost exactly like my instructor back when I was eight, trying to unsuccessfully protect myself while throwing ninja stars. Those are some pretty repressed times. They didn't scar me. I'd just rather forget about those sweaty nights practicing my punch against a non-reciprocal wall. This film is a bad memory I've unsuccessfully tried to shake out of my brain. As it stands, The Foot Fist Waystinks like the pit of my fourteen year old Doo Mu Duk. How to Lose Friends and Alienate People proved to be the stinging moment Simon Pegg lost all of his geek credibility. It might as well have been titled Bonfire of the Vanities 2: The Downfall of Nerd Cool. The film came on like some lost 80s retake on the filmmaking and publication business. The notion has been sold a billion times before, and there wasn't one new joke or smile to be found here. We even got handed the requisite "dog jumps out a window" bit. Which is certainly played out beyond all means, and I can't believe a gifted writer such as Pegg stooped to being photographed while accomplishing such a retarded retread of a so-called joke. I wasn't amused. Strange Wilderness was an improv mess that allowed its comedic masterminds to run free. The editor was left holding dead dick in his hand, and he did his best to make it presentable. Watchable? That's another story. And finally, we have American Zombie, which was about as hilarious as a vasectomy without painkillers. This faux mockumentary tried hard to be about something, implementing George Romero's life in downfall metaphors, but it came out the other end a boring, flaccid experience that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. All in all, these were some pretty bad comedies.
Worst Horror Film:Cloverfield. Here was a film sold on hype and hype alone. I can't believe that so many people still pretend to believe that they enjoyed this headache-in-a-can. More than half of its shaky cam madness was unwatchable. And don't even get me started on the monster. Ol' Cloverfield had testicle cheeks? WTF? This thing looked more like Wally Cox than it did a street destroying smash-'em-up. Godzilla could crush this thing in a heartbeat. It looked like something that crawled out of Godzuki's fish dunkle. I was seriously disappointed in the design of J.J. Abrams' fetish whore. The thing is basically a mutant armadillo with man titties. And those wild eyeballs? This war waging beast reminded me of Francis the Talking Mule on a coke bender. I still can't believe they got me so psyched to see..."That". That F*cking Thing. With its greasy uncooked frog legs. And its pedestrian smile. The movie is pretty fucking bad, too. Almost a year later, my left eyeball is still pulsating from that loose Blair Witch-inspired camera work. I don't get those who've stated that Cloverfield is a great cinematic achievement. It is dogsh*t sold on the end of a Syracuse Tai stick. It is like all of the boring parts from every single Godzilla movie ever made rolled into one. Only with less monster. Brilliant? I say donkey dunkle! I'd like to kick this sick bitch back up Abrams' butt hole where it came from. Because that's where it belongs. The pubic lice in the subway tunnel? Too little, too late my friend. So don't try using that as an excuse for telling me it was any good. I clocked the screen. Less than four minutes of the Cloverfield monster make an appearance? That smells like a rip-off. Heck, the entire movie only lasted 71 minutes. I was supposed to pay twelve dollars for that? I don't think so, chief.
Worst Sci-Fi Flick: It's really quite a toss up between The Day the Earth Stood Still and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Though Keanu came with some pretty blank and impressive moves as Klaatu in this end of year thriller, it proved to be quite a boring, incoherent mess. The film came on like a directionless hobo, wandering all over the place, yet never really going anywhere. This was as pointless as remakes get, and I really haven't seen one this poorly executed since John Moore jumped behind the lens of 2006's The Omen. It was like watching someone feverishly pump air into a slashed tire only to ride away on a flat, flip smacking the pavement as they don't even make it out of the driveway. After some odd bits of character development, it shifts grinding gears to become a "sort of" disaster movie. It's a jarring jolt of sudden stupidity that, while upholding the thematic elements of the original film, makes you not want to go anywhere near it for quite sometime. Though things start off promisingly with a well-made prologue and an exciting alien arrival scene, I can precisely pinpoint the moment things went completely off the rails and never recovered. And nope, it wasn't the ridiculously computer-painted Gort that presents itself in the first fifteen minutes, either. I am talking about Kathy Bates. Seriously. What the heck was she doing in my Keanu Reeves sci-fi holiday extravaganza? This was the worst kind of miscasting. Its like she wandered off the stages of Tyler Perry's latest family face drubbing and accidentally stepped into Day's studio barn while they were shooting. No one questioned her presence because she's Kathy Bates. No one wanted to speak up and state the obvious. She is like a cancerous growth on this pristine film stock. She arrives in her Sears Gold Collection evening wear (no, really, she wears the same cheap, ugly jacket throughout the entire duration of the day in the title) and pretends to be some sort of authoritative voice. Her presence completely ruins the entire movie. I haven't seen one actor do this much of a disservice to a single film in a very long time. Except for maybe Jabba the Hutt's Uncle Ziro, a drag queen lizard that sounded like Truman Capote doing an impersonation of Richard Simmons. Seriously, folks. This was the moment that proved, without a doubt, that George Lucas has totally lost his mind. Ziro makes Jar Jar Binks look like a welcome dinner guest, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars makes The Star Wars Holiday Special look like a winning masterpiece. Yes, this was a sad year for science fiction. In deed.
Worst Spoof: Was there really anything we could have considered a good spoof at this current point in time? Nearly every single so-called parody film was atrocious. The worst was certainly Disaster Movie. But Meet the Spartans came in a close second. Superhero Movie actually had some solid laughs, but it wasn't a great film by any means. This is one genre that is over and done with. Though more are scheduled for 2009, I declare a moratorium on the Spoof film. Sadly, the twelve year olds that like to spend their parents' disposable income do not concur. So this trend will continue for quite some time. It's a sad state of affairs. But the truth of the matter is, they do make money. The spoof is an unstoppable train at this point in time. And they will be around until they stop accumulating the cash. They are cheap and easy to make. And kids eat them like the bad, mouth rotting candy that they are.
And that's it for our Worst of 2008 list. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a shower and wash this past year off my skin. It's making me itch. And my brain is starting to tingle in a massive stroke sort of way.