Culture keeps dumbing down and aiming more and more for the crotch of the lowest common denominator, right? Big fucking surprise. Obviously it's because the bleating sheep of society are by and large an incredibly stupid herd and 2008 didn't disappoint the ham and eggers/joe jobbers who love a base blow 'em up spectacle, a painfully unfunny comedy, or a special effects laden disaster with no story. The more basic, the better. Without further ado, the WORST films of 2008 as picked by The Playlist members. If you actively paid to see any of these without being dragged by someone, consider a lobotomy.
1. "The Love Guru"- An excruciatingly insipid new low of buffoonery and corny, cringe-inducing "jokes" that by all rights should have ended Mike Meyers career. The camera mugging is utterly skin crawling and it sets new standards of unfunny.
Cost: $62 million
Grossed: $40 million
Lost: $22 million
2. "The Spirit" - Frank Miller took on this comic-book adaptation, mostly because he didn't want anyone fucking up an adaptation of his mentor Will Eisner's work. Oh, the brutal irony. Samuel L. Jackson has never been more spectacularly retarded and the rest of the cast is like wood. The unintentional comedy of the year. Next time bring Robert Rodriguez with you and save yourself the embarrassment.
3. "Speed Racer" - An eyeball searing abortion of hot-white colors and CGI-infested velocity, even children — who this film was allegedly made for — stayed away in droves. Sorry Wachowski's, not all kids are as autistic, ADD-laden and as Ritalin hyper as you assumed. Dreadful and perhaps solid proof that no one should ever pay Matthew Fox to act again.
Cost: $120 million
Grossed: $97 million
Lost: $23 million
4. "The Happening" - M. Night Shyamalan truly outdid himself with his latest creation. With a slew of atrocities under his belt, there is not much of a surprise as to why he would attempt to strip his latest film of all this distinctive cinematic touches. The production and plot details were kept under lock and key for so long, because the film has no plot therefore there is nothing to spoil — Shyamalan already managed to do that himself. He employs tactics so implausible and dumbfounding that the bizarre film goes out of its way to ensure it is not overlooked when the next spoof movie picks its targets (sadly made about $16.5 million dollars profit after its budget was covered).
5. "88 Minutes"- This thriller's predictable setup could have been overlooked, if the execution were not so appalling, stumbling between nothingness — starting at a low point and ending on yet another. Perhaps the saddest thing about the film is that it proves that old age, or mental illness, is catching up with Mr. Pacino if he agrees to star in a film like this one, where most of its problems stem from its overdone yet disappointingly empty screenplay. Corny and painfully unremarkable.
6. "Sex And The City" - Most men either can't admit it or just never watched it and are ignorant, but there was a time when HBO's "Sex & The City," was a sharply written show that was intelligent and pioneering for women on television that actually had half a brain. It's unfortunate that the dismal film was so wretched it set women back almost fifty years and had us wondering whether their vote should be now taken away.
7. "Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls" - You would think that by now fans would have realized that everything George Lucas now touches turns into instant laughable dogshit. So, you would think that by now Spielberg and Harrison Ford would know all the more. So abysmal it spawned the derisive term, "nuke the fridge" as a synonym for jump the shark (which shows you just how naïve and easily pleased most movie fans are — Indy 3 was not respectable)
8. "Hancock" - Largely awful from the get-go at least Jason Bateman's everyman humor kept it semi-tolerable at first, by the time the big "twist" happens and Charlize Theron is revealed to be an ancient god just like Will Smith, the film devolves into a sprawling mess of comical, cataclysmic proportions. That climax is perhaps one of the worst, confused action scenes ever.
9. "Eagle Eye" - The premise of this one is so fucking retarded Steven Spielberg, the genius so please with himself for coming up with it, should get a swift cockpunch to the groin. Shia LaBeouf is also the worst, we're not sure what that guy sees in him. Without worrying too much about reason or logic, DJ Caruso takes the endless plot holes here and plugs them with enough bullets to make the thrill ride flow smoothly enough to entertain, before it becomes overbearing and exhaustive. A grotesquely mechanical, barely functioning film results where its face value valor is all it has, and is one injection away from suffering from a heart attack.
10. "What Just Happened" - This inside-baseball movie industry flick tries to redo the already played-out black comedy of Altman's "The Player" only with disastrous results. It probably qualifies for the worst indie film of the year if we were going to make that distinction. Even worse, it thinks it has this edgy, sharp satire going for it, but its humor and subject are dated by about 10 years. Films like this are near justification for blowing up Sundance and all who attend.
11. "What Happens In Vegas" - This magnificent excuse for a turd doesn't even justify its scant 90 minute running time, especially when it's a rom-com featuring shit-for-talent celebrities with no ability to act and zero chemistry. You're better off wasting thousands of dollars in Vegas instead and even if you found yourself at the end of a trip in a bathtub with your organs stolen, you probably still had more fun.
12. "Bangok Dangerous"
Nick Cage, "his" hair and a lot of bullets, which we decided to count out of boredom. Incredibly, it was the lowest-grossing weekend winner since "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star."
13. "Wanted" - Was it paycheck season for phoning-it-in James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman? The trio play assassins who fight evil when an ancient loom tells them to. There is no chance that, at any point in the script development process, this was designed as anything more than to make money off of stupid people. The final product came out featuring the more banal and preachy aspects of "Office Space," the general attitude towards society of "Fight Club" but with dumber special effects and weird ancient history hints of "The DaVinci Code" which are probably supposed to give it a air of import but laughably did the opposite.
14. "Baghead"- Mumblecore amateurs try their hand at horror with typically amateurish and unfunny results, partly because it appears nothing short of uninspired and free from anything like even-handed restraint and structure. Emphasizing improvisation and a shot on the fly, do-it-yourself aesthetic and configuring that around an uneasy blend of comedy/horror, it’s tough to figure out where the film’s faults begin and end. And, if you’re gonna make a movie about twentysomething actors, try not making them so fucking dull and vapid.
15. "Marley & Me" - While the trailer offered hope for some safe-as-warm-milk laughs that wouldn't keep the average American family from making a Christmas day trip to the movies, "Marley" also offered plenty of eye-rollingly annoying moments that rubbed your nose in the fact that Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson are shallow, empty, air-headed and attractive people playing successful white middle-class people with 3 kids, a dog and a house. That Abercrombie & Fitch-y bland synopsis should be enough of a spoiler for you, in case you needed a reason to not go in the first place.
16. "The Promotion" - Seann William Scott's cornered the market on comedies marketed at frat guys, and John C. Reilly's done well for himself as a goofy counterpart to Will Ferrell. Neither them, nor there director Steve Conrad, could provide the nuanced performances that the script called for. "The Promotion" trudges towards moments of conflict that leave you wondering when you're supposed to start caring about the characters (the answer, of course, is never). When Fred Armisen's supporting character is the funniest part of the movie, yet doesn't elicit a worthwhile laugh, you know something has gone terribly wrong.
Update: 17. Somehow we failed to mentioned "Henry Poole Is Here." This movie could have easily cracked the top 10 here. One of our most loathsome films of the year was the brutally uber-sappy indie, 'Poole' which was unfortunately directed by Mark Pellington and starred Luke Wilson. We called the painfully insipid film "hopeless," and gave it a C- grade (which was generous).
"The Blair Witch" meets monster movie! J.J. Abrams is a genius.
19-20+/Just As Bad, We Don't Feel Like Wasting Breath On Them:
"Towelhead," "Transporter 3", "Rambo," "10000 BC," "Prom Night," "Untraceable," "21," "Semi-Pro," "The Longshots," "Baby Mama," "Made of Honor," "27 Dresses," "War Inc.," "Seven Pounds," "Hellboy II,"
Some of us tried to sit through Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg's (Hollywood's biggest hack chuckleheads) "Meet the Spartans" and "Disaster Movie" this year and failed miserably. In all probability both were actually worse than any and all films on this list. Those two should be raped and hung for their crimes against even the stupidest of popcorn, escapist cinema.
"Quantum Of Solace"
Thoughts? Did we miss anything? In case you're wondering, here's our Most Disappointing/ Most Overhyped Films Of 2008 list.
Contributed by Christopher Adams, Mickey Pagels, Alex Sherman, Astrud Sands, The Playlist and special thanks to Nick Plowman for really helping out here, your commitment to seeing every film possible, garbage-sounding or otherwise is honorable.