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Worst Films of the Decade

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With all the talk about the best films of the decade, shouldn't we give equal time to the worst? Go ahead and define "worst" however you like. Me, I hold a special place of loathing for these two films:

Apocalypto

The Boy in the Stryped Pajamas

I'm sure I've overlooked some screamingly obvious candidates, but those two continue to make me spitting-mad whenever I think about them. Other critics found them admirable, which, I think, makes them the best kind of choice for a list like this.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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TRANSFORMERS 2: RISE OF THE FALLEN, anyone?

But the two "acclaimed" films that irk me the most are CRASH and MILLION DOLLAR BABY. If we're counting 1999 (it's ten years back, at least), you can add the thoroughly stupid AMERICAN BEAUTY and FIGHT CLUB to the list.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Absolute worst film of the aughts, (that happened to get overenthusiastic critical buzz)?

Too Easy.

Mullholland Dr.

(No apologies for "the enlightened").


Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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MULHOLLAND DR.? It's no favorite of mine--Lynch and I have a love-hate relationship--but I think it's a far more interesting and accomplished film than many others released this decade, even if it is ultimately baffling and incoherent.

You say "interesting and accomplished" though "ultimately baffling and incoherent."

I raise you... clearly a misguided attempt to coddle together some vestige of storytelling from a failed TV narrative.

No. Apologies.

Nick


Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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I raise you... clearly a misguided attempt to coddle together some vestige of storytelling from a failed TV narrative.

I'm not sure that does much to describe MULHOLLAND DR. at all; MULHOLLAND DR. is more clearly described as a surrealist journey meant to evoke emotions than it is to really embody "storytelling." What narrative is there exists for the mood of the piece, rather than the mood of the piece existing for the narrative. It's kaleidoscope moviemaking. Honestly, I don't see anything strictly wrong with that in concept, even if it's not strictly for me. But even if MULHOLLAND DR. can be described as a failure, there are failures and there are failures. MULHOLLAND DR. is not a film devoid of merit; its aesthetic pleasures alone make the film worth sampling. Lynch's MULHOLLAND DR. is still a far more engaging and intriguing and artistically impressive offering than, say, Paul Haggis' trite and clunky CRASH.

Edited by Ryan H.

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Absolute worst film of the aughts, (that happened to get overenthusiastic critical buzz)?

Too Easy.

Mullholland Dr.

This one still holds up very well. A better Lynch target would be Inland Empire, which while featuring that great Dern performance is so muddled that it is hard to tell whether it is good or bad. I have not been a fan of world-consciousness era Lynch.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Absolute worst film of the aughts, (that happened to get overenthusiastic critical buzz)?

Too Easy.

Mullholland Dr.

This one still holds up very well. A better Lynch target would be Inland Empire, which while featuring that great Dern performance is so muddled that it is hard to tell whether it is good or bad. I have not been a fan of world-consciousness era Lynch.

You're entitled to your opinion. But I'll say this for MDr... it made me to never want to subject myself to any of Lynch's other forays into time-suckage. I also openly wonder if Lynch's best film was because of Mel Brooks showing Lynch who's the boss.

Nick Alexander

Keynote, Worship Leader, Comedian, Parodyist

Host of the Prayer Meeting Podcast - your virtual worship oasis. (Subscribe)

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I also openly wonder if Lynch's best film was because of Mel Brooks showing Lynch who's the boss.

But Brooks wasn't involved with The Straight Story. :) Walt Disney was.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Do we need to have actually seen the film in order for it to qualify? 'Cuz I'm certain I can think of a hundred if I didn't have to see them... Like Transformers, etc.

I did see Benjamin Button. It is standing out to me at this point.


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Jackass.

(The movie, as opposed to anyone in this thread.)


In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Nominees should include:

Battlefield Earth

Catwoman

Dogville

Fantastic Four

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Lady in the Water

Kangaroo Jack

The Spirit

Van Helsing


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Muholland Dr.? Fight Club? American Beauty? Okay, I am officially an outsider looking in with regards to this discussion. Saying those films are bad, appear to me just as grievous as all the atheist film reviewers who cited Passion of the Christ as worst film of its respective year. It may be one's least favorite, but definitely not worst, even if you do make the disclaimer that you are talking about films that received critical acclaim.


"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

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Muholland Dr.? Fight Club? American Beauty? Okay, I am officially an outsider looking in with regards to this discussion. Saying those films are bad, appear to me just as grievous as all the atheist film reviewers who cited Passion of the Christ as worst film of its respective year. It may be one's least favorite, but definitely not worst, even if you do make the disclaimer that you are talking about films that received critical acclaim.

Speaking as an advocate of The Passion of the Christ, I think it is a reasonable contender for someone's worst list. I would be dismissive of anyone who hated on it so harshly because he or she was an atheist, but I'm not going to dismiss someone for hating on it. Same goes for Muholland Dr., Fight Club and American Beauty, as well as my own choices of Dogville and Lady in the Water, either of which you can think much more highly of than I do and still be within the bounds of reason. (If you think much more highly than I do of Fantastic Four or The Spirit, that's different. I sneer in your general direction.)

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Nominees should include:

Battlefield Earth

Catwoman

Dogville

Fantastic Four

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Lady in the Water

Kangaroo Jack

The Spirit

Van Helsing

Lady in the Water, while laughably bad and self-indulgent, isn't even M. Night's personal worst movie of the decade. That honor (?) belongs to The Happening.


It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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How do we play this game? We are listing films that had some sort of studio or critical legitimacy, but were actually pretty lousy for whatever reason?

Frankenfish was pretty bad.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Lady in the Water, while laughably bad and self-indulgent, isn't even M. Night's personal worst movie of the decade. That honor (?) belongs to The Happening.

I believe you, but I didn't see The Happening.

How do we play this game? We are listing films that had some sort of studio or critical legitimacy, but were actually pretty lousy for whatever reason?

That seems right to me. I mean, I skipped mentioning dreck like Half Past Dead, National Security and The Animal, because why bother? We don't really want to shoot fish in a barrel, do with?


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Nominees should include:

Battlefield Earth

Catwoman

Dogville

Fantastic Four

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Lady in the Water

Kangaroo Jack

The Spirit

Van Helsing

Was Battlefield Earth this decade? Wow. Dogville I disagree with, but won't get into here. Fantastic Four was bad, but not worst of decade bad. Van Helsing I just rewatched (why? - you and I both ask) and actually found to be reasonably fun if you ignore any expectations.

The Spirit... Yes! That is easily on my shortlist of worst films I've seen this decade. So, so bad. I might actually rather watch a couple Uwe Boll films instead of that one again.


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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The Rollerball remake hands down.

I'll nominate College Road Trip for worst film that wanted to be a family film.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Muholland Dr.? Fight Club? American Beauty? Okay, I am officially an outsider looking in with regards to this discussion. Saying those films are bad, appear to me just as grievous as all the atheist film reviewers who cited Passion of the Christ as worst film of its respective year. It may be one's least favorite, but definitely not worst, even if you do make the disclaimer that you are talking about films that received critical acclaim.

Well, yes, FIGHT CLUB and AMERICAN BEAUTY are not, say, SAW V or TRANSFORMERS 2 (I've already defended MULHOLLAND DR.). FIGHT CLUB and AMERICAN BEAUTY are films that have been made with a great deal of care and effort, and even style (though I'd argue AMERICAN BEAUTY isn't very interesting in that regard). But they still rank among my most-loathed films, perhaps because they are the most insidious kind of bad film. FIGHT CLUB and AMERICAN BEAUTY think they have something worthwhile to offer, and in every moment, one can feel the film straining for significance. But they have no real significance or weight, and more often stupid than profound.

While we're at it, I'll add REQUIEM FOR A DREAM in here.

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Lady in the Water, while laughably bad and self-indulgent, isn't even M. Night's personal worst movie of the decade. That honor (?) belongs to The Happening.

I believe you, but I didn't see The Happening.

How do we play this game? We are listing films that had some sort of studio or critical legitimacy, but were actually pretty lousy for whatever reason?

That seems right to me. I mean, I skipped mentioning dreck like Half Past Dead, National Security and The Animal, because why bother? We don't really want to shoot fish in a barrel, do with?

SDG. If you were to make a list of the 10 most poisonous films of the last decade, what do you (off the top of your head) think they would be?

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A few nominees:

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

Babylon AD

Love in the Time of Cholera

The most unpleasant moviegoing experience I had all decade was Dogville-- but I wouldn't call it the worst film by any means, at least in terms of craft.


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