Even though the Oscars are still several months away there is already plenty of buzz in the air regarding potential nominations and wins. Quite incredible considering there hasn’t even been a Holocaust movie, a Meryl Streep vehicle or a biopic about a reformed musician. Okay, fine – there are have been some quality releases this year; The Social Network, Easy A, Blue Valentine, The Illusionist. But for every good movie there are an almost infinite number of terrible films to reset the balance; When In Rome, Shank, Dinner For Schmucks…as intrepid film critics we’ve sat through countless hours of dross. Indeed some were so poor, we felt they deserved extra recognition…
The Contenders: Pocahontas, Dances With Wolves, Fern Gully, Captain Planet, An Inconvenient Truth, The Smurfs
James Cameron harping on about Piranha 3D diminishing the creativity of cinema was possibly the most ironic statement of the year given that his 12 year magnum opus appeared to be several other films held together with masking tape and spit.
Avatar has something in common with all of the above, whether its Dances With Wolves’ flagrant abuse of the Mighty Whitey trope, Fern Gully’s plot about a humanity ravaging the forests only to be stopped by faeries or Captain Planet’s message about the spirit of nature being stronger than humanity’s destructive urges. Throw in a pinch of moral lecturing from an Inconvenient Truth and stir liberally and you have your very own plagiarism stew.
And the winner is:
Pocahontas: Let’s face it: Avatar is almost a scene by scene remake as proven here.
As part of Hollywood’s desperate bid to crush piracy it has now become standard practice to retrofit films to facilitate 3D screenings which has led to a raft of headache inducing visual effects.
However, a recent phenomenon, as a result of this technique, are films where the 3D has so little effect you barely notice it at all which begs the question: why do it in the first place? The answer is money of course, so to honour this cynical exercise we’ve nominated five films for the title of The Most Unnecessary 3D Movie Of The Year.
Apart from sporting one of the lamest plots of the year, The Last Airbender was also straddled with an ugly 3D retrofit which made half of the film look out of focus. By the time the ‘airbending’ was underway most of the audience were rubbing their eyes as they fumbled in the dark attempting to load their pistols to commit suicide. A similar fate also befell Alice In Wonderland which gained absolutely nothing from its re-formatting. Two strong candidates for this year’s award.
On the animation front, Toy Story 3 was nothing less than fookin’ brilliant but it took until the end of the film to realise it had been in 3D because you’d been so absorbed in the story. So why shoot it in 3D in the first place? Oh yeah – money. Had Despicable Me and Shrek Forever After been anywhere near halfway decent as Toy Story 3 they may have escaped their nominations but, with stories that failed to captivate, they too sank under the weight of those hefty NHS-style specs.
And the winner is…
Toy Story 3: We loved it but the 3D was a complete waste of time and could’ve potentially ruined one of the best films of the year.
You’re guaranteed a couple of comedy howlers with each passing year but Hollywood have really outdone themselves this time round. Some excruciating films were mysteriously given the green light despite having a laughter count of nil.
The Contenders: Death At A Funeral, Dinner For Schmucks, Vampires Suck
You know that rule about remakes? That they’re not very good? Well this was proved in abundance this year by the utterly pointless existence of Death At A Funeral, a remake of the British original which, like its predecessor, also considered gay midgets, incontinence and hallucinogenic drugs to be the pinnacle of outright hilarity. They weren’t.
On the subject of remakes, Dinner For Schmucks, adapted from the French version Le dîner de cons, also failed to improve on the original and sent Steve Carrell headfirst into a career slump that was only partly restored by Despicable Me – depending on how low your standards are.
If Hollywood wasn’t remaking foreign films they were making pastiches of their own, one being Vampires Suck which arrived about a century too late in order to qualify as relevant. That said, no matter what time it arrived, it still wouldn’t have been funny. Truly in a league of its own, thousands of people who saw it have suffered from migraines and severe depression ever since.
And the winner is…
Dinner For Schmucks: Our reviewer Jez arrived back in the office having seen this film looking shell-shocked. We made him a nice hot chocolate, covered him with a blanket and sent him off on a month long holiday to recuperate. He’s almost back to his regular self but can still be found in the toilets quietly sobbing every now and again. Tragic.
Always the toughest and most sought after trophy, there were plenty of candidates jostling for the coveted prize of the OTB Award For The Worst Film Of The Year, all of whom contributed some proper stinkers. After a lot of head scratching and unpleasant trips down memory lane, we finally managed to draw up a short list which unfortunately meant a lot of titles have been spared their infamy in the annals of OTB history.
The Contenders: The Last Airbender, Vampires Suck, Grown Ups, Dinner For Schmucks, Jonah Hex, Knight & Day, Sex & The City 2
Julia Roberts ended her brief hiatus from the screen with Eat, Pray, Love – easily the most platitudinous and pretentious piece of crap since The Secret. Centred around a travelogue writer who is both vain and self-absorbed (among other endearing qualities), the filmmakers must have inexplicably been under the illusion that it had something important to say when, in reality, it’s just intent on regurgitating the same trite advice and observations easily found in any self-help bargain basement bucket. That and it rambles on for two and a half hours. If patience is a virtue, Eat, Pray, Love would drive your most spiritually balanced Buddhist into a homicidal frenzy.
Continuing the theme of women on a voyage of self-discovery, how could we forget about Sex & The City 2, possibly one of the most putrid offerings from a genre of films that openly sanction bitchy and materialistic behaviour of the highest order? When this film came out I convinced my girlfriend, an otherwise highly intelligent and astute individual, that Mr. Big had contracted AIDS and infected Samantha. Not that I’d wish that on anyone. But in the world of fiction, had this in fact been true, I wouldn’t have been displeased.
Then there was Knight & Day – a date rape rom-com which, should child welfare come across it, will probably lead to the authorities confiscating Tom Cruise’s kids for their own safety and well-being. A truly baffling concept which would easily be forgotton were it not so frightening to watch. It’ll take a long time for Cruise’s manic, glazed over expression to erase itself from my mind.
And the winner is…
Eat, Pray, Love: A film so pious and simultaneously vacant we can only hope that every single frame will one day be burnt down to the ground and lost forever after. At least Sex & The City 2’s racism and intellectually barren observations elicited a passionate reaction. Eat, Pray, Love was so infuriating it induced a heavy depression that even the heavist dose of prozac wouldn’t cure.
A round of applause everyone for Mr. M . Night Shyamalan who, even by his own standards, has excelled in directing one of the worst films ever made. We thought Mr. Shyamalan had reached his career zenith after The Lady In The Water but, unwilling to give up too soon, he persevered and surpassed our obviously too low expectations, admirably risking his credibility in the process.
It’s for this reason that we’re honouring M. Night Shyamalan with the M. Night Shyamalan Award For The Worst M. Night Shyamalan Film for his excellent adaptation of (to give it its full title) Avatar: The Last Airbender, a truly magnificent work of utter horse s***, the likes of which you’ll rarely see again.
But don’t despair: there’s good news for next year’s award as the man responsible for “I see dead people” has plans for a sequel. Possibly a trilogy. We can’t wait.