The Film Babble Blog Top Ten Worst Movies Of 2008

2008 was definitely not as strong a year in film as 2007 as it had many more clunkers and mediocre movies that crammed theaters weekend after weekend. I mean this was a year in which respected icons Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (together again for the very first time!) appeared in a movie nobody cared about while Mike Myers and Adam Sandler competed over who could make the least appealing former SNL player vehicle ever (THE LOVE GURU and YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN respectively). I avoided those movies but I saw more than my share of absolutely awful films. Here’s the worst of the worst:

1. WANTED (Dir. Timur Bekmambetov) This ginormous train wreck of a movie actually featured a ginormous train wreck in a central sequence that was certainly its most memorable moment. That, for way obvious reasons, is fitting because the awful premise that attempts to flesh out a FIGHT CLUB-ish dis-satisfied working cog scenerio into a Swartzennegerian high octane comic book extravaganza just ends up a CGI suckfest. I felt sorry for James McAvoy and Angelina Jolie (who make one of the most unconvincing screen couple action duos ever) along with Morgan Freeman, Terrance Stamp, and even the damn fake train for having to take part in this high octane tripe. I literally got sick seeing this last Summer, that may have been the food at the Raleighwood Cinema Grill, but this sure didn’t help!

2. AN AMERICAN CAROL (Dir. David Zucker)

Michael Moore responded to a question from Time Magazine’s Richard Corliss about this movie that mocks him with “[Cyber-silence].” Not dignifying it with an answer was beautiful on Moore’s part because a film that treats Bill O’Reilly like he’s a hero and treats the audience like idiots ready to lap up faux patriotism presented as cheap shots at a popular liberal documentarian should be (and was) roundly ignored. Chris Farley’s brother Kevin was in the lead role as the ersatz Michael Moore – enough said?

3. CHAPTER 27 (Dir. J.P. Shaefer) Infamous John Lennon murderer Mark David Chapman is no deranged Travis Bickle poetically stalking the mean streets, and this is no TAXI DRIVER. Jared Leto gained weight but no cred for this disgusting nothing. Fun fact: Lindsay Lohans only screen appearance of 2008 was in this as a Beatle groupie named Jude. Oh, actually thats not really much of a fun fact. Nothing about this is. Read my review of the detested DVD here.

4. EXPELLED: NO INTELLIGENCE ALLOWED (Dir. Nathan Frankowski)

The most aptly titled film on the list by far. Ben Stein used to be likable despite being a former Nixon speechwriter because he was like ironic, you know, as the game show host on Comedy Central’s Win Ben Stein’s Money and that classic cameo in FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF (“Bueller? Bueller?”). Now he’s destroying that charming ironic image by trying to debunk the theory of evolution and equate those scientists who supposedely repress the study of Intelligent Design to Nazis. This poorly made, poorly written, and just plain poor non doc is even stupider than it sounds. I was too appalled to write a review when I watched the DVD a few months back but I highly recommend Roger Eberts blog-piece (not an official review mind you but still brilliant) Win Ben Stein’s Mind (Dec. 3rd, 2008).

5. THE HAPPENING (Dir. M. Night Shyamalan) The only thing that happened here was we were given the undeniable sign that Shyamalan should be stopped at all costs. Donnie Wahlberg, so good in THE DEPARTED, regressed into a placid persona that will be SNL impression fodder forever. It wasn’t his fault though, some actors are only as good as their material and he was given a formless piece of high concept crap in which to run around aimlessly in. Again, how can we stop Shyamalan such a Hitchcockian hack from offending again? Any ideas?

6. THE ONION MOVIE (Dirs. Tom Kuntz & Mike Maguire) In Britain this was renamed NEWS MOVIE which makes it appear to be in the series of putrid non satires including EPIC MOVIE, DISASTER MOVIE, MEET THE SPARTANS, etc. and though thats not really accurate it’s still right as rain to add it to that bunch of bullshit. Read how I believe it killed off the tiny sub genre – the sketch comedy film – here.

7. QUANTUM OF SOLACE (Dir. Marc Forster)

Bad Bond – bad! Read how bad here.

8. WAR INC. (Dir. Joshua Seftel) A while back I wrote about how much I craved a new good John Cusack film (A Cry For Quality Cusack – Oct. 6th, 2007) and while he did make a close to decent film this last year (GRACE IS GONE) he took a huge step backwards with this quasi sequel to GROSS POINT BLANK which is just grossly unwatchable. Glib with not a plausible frame or laughable line, WAR INC. wastes not just Cusack but Dan Aykroyd, Marisa Tomei, Ben Kingsley, and even the voice of Montel Williams (that’s right) as well in this toothless political parody. Even John’s usually reliable sister Joan comes off as unbearably obnoxious. I never wrote a review of it but the Onion A.V. Club’s Nathan Rabin’s hilarious appraisal (No Blood For Oil Stridently Political Case File #129: War, Inc.) in which he labels it a “Fiasco” is well worth checking out.

9. THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE (Dir. Chris Carter) Way to kill off a possible franchise, Mr. Carter! Make a movie that contains none of the original supernatural charm of the seminal series or the previous film and make it excruciatingly dull too, why doncha? Read more of my bitching here.

10. CASSANDRA’S DREAM (Dir. Woody Allen) Hey – The Woodman has a film on both my Best Of and Worst Of 2008 lists! The luscious VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA luckily erased memories of Ewan Macgregor and Colin Farrell as brothers who scheme to…uh, like I said I don’t remember. I just remember being bored and wondering if Woody would ever make a good movie again. Thankfully he did. Read more about my darkness before the dawn (I know –sounds appealing doesn’t it?) here.

Okay! I skipped so many movies that probably would’ve made the list had I seen them – 88 MINUTES, SPEED RACER, FUNNY GAMES (I did see the original if that means anything since it was a frame by frame remake), BANGKOK DANGEROUS (more crappy Nicholas Cage!), THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, MAMA MIA!…the list goes on and on. Well, for now at least, it stops.

More later…

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