— by CAM SMITH —
Before delving into my list of the Worst 10 Films of 2009, I’d like to make clear that this list is not without its glaring omissions. I never subjected myself to “All about Steve,” “Old Dogs” or “The Hottie and the Nottie.” I avoided “Bride Wars” and “Miss March” like the plague. I also made sure to not buy a ticket to “Planet 51.”
I did see “New Moon” and “Transformers 2,” but they fell more into the “forgettably mediocre” category than the “unwatchable” one.
So, basically, this list really represents the most unbearable movie-watching experiences I endured this year, the films that either caught me by complete, horrified surprise, or I went in gritting my teeth for.
Part of the fun of writing “Worst” lists is getting to hear about other ticket-buyers’ lousy cinema experiences, so please, for my pitiful sake, let me know what movies made you question the existence of a compassionate God this year? Let that bile and vitriol spew!
Anyhoo, onto the list!
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10. “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”
Yikes, even Wolvie’s enhanced healing powers may be helpless to restore his box-office vitality after the heavy blow dealt by “Origins,” a clumsy not-so-superhero blockbuster-in-name-only. Costing $150 million, but boasting bargain-basement CG effects, paper-thin supporting mutants and a script comprised of plot-holes so gaping that the X-Jet could soar through them, the Clawed One’s first solo adventure was so hopelessly bungled that it’ll take more than an amnesia bullet to wipe its crappiness from movie-goers’ minds.
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9. “Year One”
Is there anything funnier than seeing Michael Cera and Jack Black stand listlessly around in animal-print loin clothes? Not in “Year One,” that’s for sure. Apparently written over a weekend by “The Office” scribes Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, along with director Harold Ramis, the flick feels like an inane artefact of the early ’80s; an expensive, high-concept comedicus stupidicus boasting a hard-working, but visibly mortified, cast of improv all-stars (Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt and David Cross, to name a few) frantically attempting to draw the audience’s attention away from their silly costumes. Fortunately, with this pathetic, laugh-free clinker stumbling at the box-office, any chances of “Year Two” occurring are completely extinct …
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The biggest sin committed by this trashy hit is that it completely misunderstands the appeal of its inspiration “Fatal Attraction.” By removing all moral greyness and egotism from male lead Idris Elba, we’re left with a soppy victimized nonentity, devoid of complexity, guilt or inner-conflict, forced to sit impotently on the sidelines while his no-nonsense lioness wife (Beyonce Knowles) heroically saves him — through gloriously campy cat-fight fisticuffs — from sultry, 95-pound stalker Ali Larter. Director Steve Shill also eradicates all erotic charge from the lurid premise, making “Obsessed” feel as limp as its emasculated protagonist.
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7. “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li”
It takes a pretty major debacle to make 1994’s Jean-Claude Van Damme-led “Street Fighter: The Movie” look good by comparison, but “The Legend of Chun-Li” does just that. Starring “Smallville’s” Kristin Kreuk as the titular Chinese(!) butt-kicker, the film pilfers most of its key scenes and crucial plot-points from Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” but strips them of technique and emotional resonance. Filled with unintentionally comic dialogue, robotic acting — minus Chris Klein’s side-splittingly atrocious performance as swaggering cop Charlie Nash — and wooden martial arts battles, this second “Street Fighter” is yet another sluggish video-game adaptation in desperate need of a creative power-up.
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6. “Ninja Assassin”
Following the release of 2005’s sophisticated and thrilling “V for Vendetta,” director James McTeigue looked like a rising star to be reckoned with; a virtuoso talent with genuine action chops and a flair for epic dramatic storytelling. However, after enduring his sophomore effort “Ninja Assassin,” I think we may need to start re-evaluating our expectations. By attaching his once-respectable name to such an irritatingly humourless, inert martial arts pot-boiler, populated by stony one-dimensional characters engaging in drearily incomprehensible CG-addled fight scenes, McTeigue has committed what can only be described as film career seppuku.
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Click here to read The Worst 10 Films of 2009: Part II — No. 5 to No. 1
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Follow Cam Smith on Twitter at http://twitter.com/camspcepisodes.