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the film criticism aspect of cyber | by maryann johanson

best of 2007: 10 worst movies

My picks for the best and worst movies of the year are no secret to anyone who follows my annual ranking of every new theatrical release I see. The ranking is a work-in-progress throughout the year. It begins when I see the first movie slated for release within a calendar year — for 2007, that began in Novemeber 2006 — and ends when I see the last theatrical release for consideration for year-end wrapups, and for the Oscars; for the movie year 2007, that happened just this past week, when I caught up with a couple of Oscar-nominated documentaries.

My complete 2007 ranking is here.

The 2008 ranking is now in progress here.

After the jump, my 10 worst movies of 2007.
WORST PICTURE

10. Knocked Up: A smush-smortion of a movie that celebrates idiocy on both sides of the gender fence and expects us to applaud those who settle for lives of quiet desperation. [buy at Amazon]

9. Mr. Brooks: Ugh. This “sensitive” drama about a serial killer who’s also a dedicated family man — because homicidal psychopaths are people too! — is a nightmare of faux emotion and unthrilling “thrills.” [buy at Amazon]

8. Evan Almighty: This is proof of the nonexistence of God: if he were around and able to wield omnipotent rage, he’d have smitten this before it ever got greenlit. [buy at Amazon]

7. Superbad: What should have been an entree into the heads and hearts and other organs of teenage boys is instead a gaudy carnival unable to see past the adolescent mindset. [buy at Amazon]

6. Daddy Day Camp: Yet another “men are freakin’ morons and whatcha gonna do about?” salute to adolescence extending well into middle age. [buy at Amazon]

5. Southland Tales: It’s either a satire that goes terribly wrong, or a serious drama that goes even worse. It’s so cobbled together and half-assed in execution that it’s entirely possible Richard “Donnie Darko” Kelly wanted it to be both at once. [preorder at Amazon]

4. Georgia Rule: Hoorah! It’s a wacky comedy about childhood sexual abuse! Lindsay Lohan apparently plays herself, which is so genuinely sad — not that it was intended to be — that you wanna cry. [buy at Amazon]

3. I Know Who Killed Me: Lindsay Lohan hits a double! One of the most ineptly conceived and written movies I’ve ever seen: Ed Wood wishes he were this hilariously incompetent. [buy at Amazon]

2. Smokin’ Aces: This would-be snarky, winking sendup of orgiastically violence crime movies said to itself, “Never mind the satire, let’s just let the bullets and the gore fly.” Quite possibly a sign of the apocalypse, and if this is what we’ve been reduced to, I welcome it. [buy at Amazon]

1. Beowulf: One of the most horrendously misconceived movies I’ve ever seen, one that fundamentally fails to grasp the reason movies work at all: because they let us connect to other sentient creatures, and let us forget that they’re mere illusions flickering on a screen. If Robert Zemeckis set out to remind us of the deep and utter falseness of film, he succeeded, and wildly so. Thanks for ruining not just this movie, but the entirety of the medium for us. [buy at Amazon]

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  • I cant believe you put Beowulf as the very worst movie of the year,thats insane. I honestly think you putting the movie too high on the hate meter. I think you have some sorta Beowulf denial thing going on. Deep somewhere with in you, is some serious like for this movie. You just don’t want to admit to it because you feel like people will see you in a different light.
    What’d you expect from this movie honestly, It got the era right, it got the genre right, the only thing it didn’t do its homework on is the book, but who cares about the book, I DONT.

  • Doa766

    Beowulf is an entertaining cartoon, I don’t undertsnad what’s your problem with it, it’s dumb fun

  • MaryAnn

    Deep somewhere with in you, is some serious like for this movie. You just don’t want to admit to it because you feel like people will see you in a different light.

    Oh my god, you’re like so totally right! I secretly LOVE this movie, but I’m afraid to express it lest my hip credibility be ruined.

    *sigh*

    If you’d read my review, you’d understand what my immense problem with the movie is. You might not agree with it, but you’d understand it.

    Honestly, though, these two comments above pretty much speak for themselves.

  • Drave

    Beowulf was pretty terrible, but I have to give my Show Me On the Doll Where the Movie Touched You award to Southland Tales. You’ve heard people say “I hurt in places I didn’t even know I had,” or similar? This movie failed in ways I didn’t even know it was possible to fail.

  • Ryan

    Beowulf was absolutely terrible…but I am shocked that Norbit did not make this list! That movie was one of the worst things I have ever seen 24 minutes of.

  • MaryAnn

    I didn’t see *Norbit,* or I’m sure it would have made this list.

  • Doa766

    I agree with you that the expirement, or whatever you want to called it, in Beowulf of replacing actors with CGI characters is a complet failure and a wastes of time, money and the oportunity of making a really great movie with a classic tale

    having said that, what’s on the screen is far from boring

    I guess the failed experiment bother you so much that you couldn’t enjoy whatever what’s left on the screen (like a said before, an entartaining cartoon)

    that’s like saying that you didn’t like mision imposible because Tom Crouse is a religious fanatic and a nut, that has nothing to do with the end result

    then according to your opinion if instead of realistic looking CGI characters Beowulf would have been hand drawn like an old Disney movie, but keeping the exact same story and scenes, then you would’ve like it, right?

    that’s nuts

  • MBI

    I hardly think Beowulf is the worst movie of the year, but I can’t get really too upset about its placement on this list, as MaryAnn is very, very right about what serious problems it has. Now, Knocked Up and Superbad, I don’t agree with those at all. But let’s not get into that again.

    I Know Who Killed Me is not a good movie by any means but I’m kind of cheered to see it building up a cult following. There’s a lot more energy in it than in something like Evan Almighty, say — not enough to overcome its narrative stupidity and the first performance of Ms. Lohan that I didn’t like. But still, it’s so goofy, and at least partially on purpose — I can’t really hate it the way I hate pretentious bullshit like The Brave One, or even insulting garbage like Fantastic Four 2.

  • MaryAnn

    having said that, what’s on the screen is far from boring

    I found it completely boring.

    that’s like saying that you didn’t like mision imposible because Tom Crouse is a religious fanatic and a nut, that has nothing to do with the end result

    That’s in no way at all comparable to what I said. Cruise’s personal beliefs, indeed, have nothing to do with what’s on the screen in the MI movies. But the failure of *Beowulf* to capture realistic human emotion has everything to do with why that movies doesn’t work.

    then according to your opinion if instead of realistic looking CGI characters Beowulf would have been hand drawn like an old Disney movie, but keeping the exact same story and scenes, then you would’ve like it, right?

    How on earth do you come to this conclusion? All other things being equal, then no, hand-drawing this same movie would NOT make it work. Please read my review, wherein I explain the differences between what animation can do and what live-action photography can do. For this movie to have worked, it needed to be live-action.

  • Doa766

    you missing my point

    if the movie were hand drawn like for example disney’s mulan but keeping the exact same story and scenes, then for you it would have been just another average mediocre movie and you wouldn’t say it’s the worst of the year

    on your review you’re not talking about the movie itself
    all your criticism seems to be about what the movie could have been and not what it is

    but we can disagree, it’s fine, I like your website

  • MBI

    If it were a 2-D cartoon, it would have been fully animated and not half-assed animated like it was. It would be entirely different. Your “if-then” statement is worthless; she also wouldn’t have put it on this list if it had been “The Godfather.” But it wasn’t. It was “Beowulf.”

  • MaryAnn

    If *Beowulf* were animated the way that most animated movies — CGI or hand-drawn — are… then the animation itself would have been used to express emotion and humanity and soulfulness and so on. Or it would have attempted to use an expressionistic style. It might have failed. But then it would have failed for entirely different reasons that *Beowulf* fails. *Beowulf* leaves the expression of emotion, soul, etc, to the “performances,” which are, in this film, so shockingly, ghoulishly INanimated as to be horrific. At this point, even the most realistically rendered CGI face cannot compare to an actual filmic of a human face. No amount of cartoon imitation of what crosses the face of a good actor can yet substitute for that actor’s actual face.

    All of which I explained in my review.

  • Doa766

    and I dont want to keep this going forever and I completly agree that the movie fails to capture performances and the result seems a little creepy (not as much as the polar express)

    I believe that the most important thing in movies (or literature for that matter)is the story itself, not the way it’s told, which comes later

    you can have the most brilliant director, actors, DP, CGI, etc. but without a good story it doesn’t work

    I’m not saying that Beowulf has a great story, but it’s OK, and it’s told straight foward with a quick pace and a clear character arc

    I just don’t let one bad (or awful) aspect of the movie blind me to the rest, that’s all

    try alien vs predator 2 or I know who killed me to see what deserves to be called the worst

  • Doa766

    also keep in mind that I’m one of the few who agrees with you about knocked up and superbad being awful and completly mediocre movies

  • try alien vs predator 2 or I know who killed me to see what deserves to be called the worst

    Hey, now. AvP2 (or AvP:R as it is properly abbreviated) was actually pretty decent. Obviously written and directed by a couple of fanboys, but the movie had good FX and it didn’t pull any punches (i.e., no one was safe).

  • MaryAnn

    A quick look at my 2007 ranking will confirm that I did indeed see *AvP2.*

    also keep in mind that I’m one of the few who agrees with you about knocked up and superbad being awful and completly mediocre movies

    So? We should automatically agree on every film, then?

    I believe that the most important thing in movies (or literature for that matter)is the story itself, not the way it’s told, which comes later

    *How* a story is told is an intrinsic element of effective storytelling. There’s no such thing as a “good” story that is poorly told. *Beowulf* is poorly told.

  • Pedro

    i second the motion for “Norbit” making the list. that was absolutely DREADFUL.

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