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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

the worst movies of 2006: so bad they’re– no, they’re just bad

Oh sure, the Golden Globes are like so exciting, and ohmigod, next week it’s the Oscar noms. But this cinematic lovefest is getting old real fast, and it’s nowhere near as fun as trashing really, really bad movies. It’s about time we dishonored the very worst movies of 2006. So here they are, the movies I cringed my way through, the movies that make me question my passion for movies, the movies that make me want to hunt down their makers and sentence them to be force-fed their own movies for all eternity.

(See here for my complete ranking of all 215 theatrical new releases I saw in 2006.)
10. Ultraviolet: Quite possibly the first movie specifically designed to be shown only in Eurotrash nightclubs to X-stoked hipsters who aren’t aware of what month it is, never mind having the mental capacity to follow a plot. If there were one. Or to care about the characters. Whom it would be an insult to cartoons to call cartoonish. On the upside, this one prevented Milla Jovovich from actually attempting to act in another film that might have wanted to be taken seriously.

9. Phat Girlz: The absolute worst thing about this “phat is phabulous” so-called romantic comedy about big girls and the chubby chasers who love them is that it doesn’t even pretend to believe a word of its own feel-good nonsense. The most cluelessly shallow movies of the year.

8. Scary Movie 4: Mad Magazine is like unto a Restoration comedy compared to this swamp of pee-pee and poo-poo, boobies and boogers in which wallows ripoffs of pop culture that aspire to parody but barely even manage to achieve a kindergarten mentality. A crazy-quilt of idiocy, signifying nothing … except that Hollywood execs hate us with a pyschotic passion.

7. Curse of the Golden Flower: Bloated, overblown, histrionic, absurd. And those are its good points. The jaw-dropping awfulness of this one really galls because it’s made by an extraordinary team both in front of and behind the camera, all of whom should have known better. But even good kids deserve a time out and a smack on the butt once in a while.

6. Running Scared: Paul Walker as a Jersey mafioso. I wish I were making that up.

5. Man of the Year: Here you get two dreadful movies for the price of one. Smushed together are a hopelessly unfunny comedy about a TV wag who runs for president as a joke and a hopelessly unsuspenseful drama about the fixing of the presidential race. Unforgivably, this is wannabe insurgent filmmaking that dare not rock any boats.

4. The Benchwarmers: I’d never have believed it if I hadn’t seen it, but Rob Schneider — Rob Schneider — has a moment that is unironically meant to be genuinely emotional and touching. It isn’t, and my soul is permanently wounded.

3. Little Man: When it’s isn’t mind-numbing in its bottom-of-the-culture-barrel stupidity, it’s quick-I-need-a-shower icky in its infantilization of an adult man who just happens to be physically small. Everyone involved should be deeply ashamed of themselves, but I doubt there’s anything they can do to cleanse their spirits of this evil blot. I know I’ve yet to recover my dignity, and I was only an innocent bystander.

2. World Trade Center: Could it not, perhaps, have been taken as a given that the first responders on 9/11 did not deserve to be crushed under a falling skyscraper, or was that concept somehow in contention? Oliver Stone whips up an unthinking, jingoistic “patriotism” in the audience via easy mawkishness in what is essentially a made-for-TV disaster movie. How did the guy who made JFK — a crazy, angry, brilliant film with a profound perspective on what it means to be a patriot — also produce this?

1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning: Despicably un-American and downright inhuman, this is a movie so irrevocably at odds with ideals of justice and sympathy and pity that it is impossible to watch without mourning the passing of decent society, a society that has not merely lost track of the inherent humanity of its citizens but acknowledges it, celebrates it, and slaps it on a T-shirt, yours for the low low price of $Your.Soul.

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