Archive for Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Hanging by a thread

Worst movies of 2005 fall short of mediocre

January 3, 2006


I've never walked out of a movie.

No matter how irritating, repulsive, juvenile, confusing or just plain boring the experience can be, I know in the back of my mind there is room for retribution. I can always place that dud on my Worst of Film list.

Starting with the worst, here are this year's cinematic culprits:

Jiminy Glick in Lalawood

Martin Short dons a fat suit to portray the ultimate clueless entertainment reporter in a big-screen adaptation of his TV character. While the idea proved amusing when Short would ambush unsuspecting celebrities, trying to force a narrative around it results in one of the least funny comedies of the decade. The air of desperation that trails the cast is as pervasive as Glick's flatulence jokes.


Hard to believe this abysmal horror film sprang from the mind of Eric Kripke, the same guy responsible for the enjoyable "Supernatural" TV series. After a promising intro, "Boogeyman" spirals into a ridiculously incoherent tale of closet-dwelling evil that plays like a horror version of "Monsters Inc."

Stupidity is exchanged like hard currency in "The Dukes of Hazzard," the year&squot;s worst adaptation of a "classic" TV show.

Stupidity is exchanged like hard currency in "The Dukes of Hazzard," the year's worst adaptation of a "classic" TV show.

The Dukes of Hazzard

Stupidity is exchanged like hard currency in the year's worst adaptation of a "classic" TV show. This romp through backwater Georgia features the same ratio of car-chasing, arrow-shooting and lowbrowing as before, but with more racism and sexism added for laughs. No wonder the South lost the war.


"Sahara" star Matthew McConaughey drove around the country in an RV to promote his sub-"Raiders of the Lost Ark," sub-"National Treasure" adventure romp. A documentary of that trip would have undoubtedly delivered more thrills and humor than this franchise-killing translation of the popular Clive Cussler novels.


"Bewitched" proves a story's true magic lies in its simplicity. In an update of the 1960s TV series, writer/director Nora Ephron does everything to distract from the pure premise of the show: Mortal guy marries a witch. She instead concocts a convoluted plot that plays like a WB sitcom mixed with "Adaptation."

Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell star in "Bewitched"

Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell star in "Bewitched"

The Perfect Man

The relentlessly annoying Hilary Duff headlines a shallow family comedy that asks viewers to believe mom Heather Locklear is incapable of finding a boyfriend, and every time a guy breaks up with her she moves the family to another state. May I have the number to social services, please?

Fantastic Four

Its plot is stretched thin. Its creativity is nearly invisible. Its logic is rocky. And the whole enterprise goes up in flames. Marvel Comic's least impressive entry into its recent superhero adaptations seems particularly hokey under director Tim Story ("Taxi"), whose campy approach does the material no favors.


"Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes." These opening lyrical lines of "Rent" also seem to describe how long it takes for a viewer to sit through the movie. Hollywood's late-to-the-table adaptation of the acclaimed Broadway musical comes across as horribly dated, both topically and musically.

The Amityville Horror

If the supernatural events really happened to the Lutz family as portrayed in this picture, then they must have had the crew of Industrial Light & Magic living in their basement. A remake of the 1979 horror dud (based on the "true" novel) is yet another modern haunted-house movie where the effects far outweigh the scares.

Former Pro quarterback Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler), right, calls upon coach Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds), center, and Caretaker (Chris Rock), left, to help him field a football team of inmates to take on the guards in the comedy "The Longest Yard."

Former Pro quarterback Paul Crewe (Adam Sandler), right, calls upon coach Nate Scarborough (Burt Reynolds), center, and Caretaker (Chris Rock), left, to help him field a football team of inmates to take on the guards in the comedy "The Longest Yard."

The Longest Yard

Adam Sandler as a former Pro Bowl quarterback? That's one of the many choices fumbled by the remake of the 1974 Burt Reynolds comedy where prison inmates play football against the guards. The fact that nearly every joke is based around an ethnic or gay stereotype adds to the shutout effort.

Dishonorable mention: "Hide and Seek," "Cursed," Elizabethtown," "Brokeback Mountain," "Doom."


horrorgeek 12 years, 5 months ago

Brokeback Mountain?! A good movie, and hardly fair mentioning it on the same list as Sahara and The Dukes of Hazzard. Reviewers are interesting--Many just follow the crowd and love (or hate) whatever the masses love (or hate). Not so, here. I'm convinced this guy purposefully avoids the crowd simply because he'll look "cool" or "bohemian." I knew this a couple of years back when he put The Hours on his worst of the year list.

Charla Welch 12 years, 5 months ago

I don't pay much attention to reviewers. They probably hated 2 of my all time favorites: Army of Darkness and Idle Hands. It's all a matter of opinion. Instead, I ask my brother. If he likes it, chances are I will. And he usually sees it before me.

concerned_citizen 12 years, 5 months ago

Sweet! I have missed every single one of those movies!

meggers 12 years, 5 months ago


I don't see Brokeback Mountain on the list. Am I missing something?

artwhore 12 years, 5 months ago

i saw bewitched on video.
i couldn't remember any of the bad reviews that it got when it came out. it wasn't "stripes", and it wasn't "citizen cane" but when you go to see a re-make of a mediocre 60es sitcom, you need to lower your expectations just a little bit. don't go into "bewitched" expecting the greatest flick of all time, and you might be surprised. i was totally entertained by this movie. it was absurd and will ferrel was very funny.

i thought i must have seen a different movie than the one that got panned by you and all the other critics.

ebert has begun this new way of reviewing movies but judging them not against the greatest of all movies, but whether the thing has any merits just on it's own, with no expectations, as a form or entertainment.

you might try that.

Amy Bartle 12 years, 5 months ago

Where is the movie, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava Girl? That was the worst movie I have ever seen in my life!

meggers 12 years, 5 months ago

Where are you seeing Brokeback Mountain on the "worst" list? Is there another list, other than the one this thread originated from?

meggers 12 years, 5 months ago

Thank you, Solomon. I've heard great things about Brokeback Mountain and I can't wait to see it. I suppose it's possible that all of the other reviewers are wrong, but I can't help but wonder if Niccum has more of a problem with the subject matter, rather than the quality of the movie.

horrorgeek 12 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, haven't seen his review of it yet, but I saw it on the dishonorable mention list and had to say something. I like judging movies on their own merits (rather than going with the hype), but I swear some reviewers fall into that backlash thing just so they can look cool or hip. In addition, Ebert can't help it either: He gave a thumbs up for the Devil's Rejects, but zero stars for Wolf Creek. Read the reviews and figure that one out. (Plus, Niccum came to the screening of Monster with Patty Jenkins a couple of years back and his question for her was what she did on the night of the oscars. If that isn't trying to be cool, I don't know what is.)

Andria Platt 12 years, 5 months ago

Okay, I agree with most of your comments but two of them just demonstrate why I don't base my decision to go to the movies on comments from movie critics/reviewers. Did Jon Niccum attend a private screening of Brokeback Mountain somewhere because it hasn't been released in Lawrence yet? And panning a movie because most of it's humor was based on ethnic or gay stereotypes is just hypocritical.

Andrew Kong 12 years, 5 months ago

everyone, the worst movie this year is Wolf Creek. i have never seen so many people walk out of the movie theater. it is a slow-moving shock flick that serves no point but to make one uneasy about getting lost in the wild. OH NO!!! few critics have found it even the least bit enticing, noting that the gore does not begin until much later in the film, but by the time you reach this point, you are a) confused as to what the hell is going on, b) confused as to why some of the 'native' Australians speak with a British accent, and c) confused as to why you are still in your seat and not watching a much more classy film like Urban Legends 3: Bloody Mary or The Land Before Time 11: Invasion of the Tinysauruses; and you can take that to the bank.

OmegaPaiN 12 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, there is definitely no chance he saw brokeback mountain, and there is no chance it sucked. Let's insinuate the author is a gay-basher with zero evidence. Please, people, get ahold of yourselves. It takes a very bold person to review that movie in the first place, especially with the politically correct crowd out there just waiting to place a bigot tag on everything that moves. It's very difficult to develop a love story on screen that is believable and has chemistry, and when you stack on the difficulty of the actors having to portray a different sexual orientation in a self proclaimed "Gay love story," the odds are against the director's success. Let's be real for a second here too. How tough a job is it for the writers/directors to get heterosexual males and females to enjoy a movie populated with men physically loving men? A very difficult task it is, but that's not to say it's impossible. The movie/play Hedwig and the Angry Inch succeeded because it had all the elements. It was extremely well written, colorful, artsy, and original. The good writing and the acting allowed us a level of immersion and succeeded in making the story about love, and not about gender. Time will tell for brokeback mountain, but if it fails, or you don't like it, doesn't make you or society at large a bunch of homophobes. It's probably just another crappy movie.

jniccum 12 years, 5 months ago

For the record: I'm not one to post comments concerning my own article, but of course I've seen "Brokeback Mountain." I saw nearly two months ago before the hype had built up around it. I thought it was boring and emotionally dead. You can read my review of it on Friday (which is when it opens in Lawrence). Before you go psychoanalyzing why I didn't like the movie, you need to step back a minute. I know a lot of friends and fellow critics who didn't like "Crash." I don't think they are racists. I know several who didn't care for "Munich." I don't think they are anti-Semitic. It wasn't the subject matter of "Brokeback Mountain" that bothered me, it was how poorly it was presented. Remember, as Roger Ebert constantly points out: A movie is not what it's about, but how it's about it.

meggers 12 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for your comments, Mr. Niccum. I apologize for my earlier remarks- I should have waited for more information (such as your review)before speculating in such a manner.

I have a friend who saw it and said it was the best movie she's seen in years. I guess it's all a matter of perspective. It's up for quite a few awards, so it must have some redeeming aspects. I say we all post our own reviews here after seeing the movie.

BTW, I really enjoyed Crash.

Thanks again :)

horrorgeek 12 years, 5 months ago

I NEVER thought Mr. Niccum was homophobic--I don't think I ever implied such a thing. Others, I believe, took it and ran with it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 5 months ago

Surely Dubya is the worst actor on the planet. Can anybody really believe he's president?

littleme 12 years, 5 months ago

"The Brothers Grimm" was by far the worst movie of the year...and maybe the worst movie I have ever seen. I thought it was a joke. NO one waste their time!!! Seriously!

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