Bad movies are pretty much synonymous with Hollywood; they're practically a dime a dozen in Tinseltown. But, every so often, a film comes around that is so infuriatingly rotten that it deserves to enter the pantheon of schlock cinema and become recognized as a wretched triumph in cinematic garbage. After wading through a countless number of worthy contenders at the local video store, I have managed to compile a list of the "10 Worst Movies Of The Last Decade" in the hopes that each of these films be avoided by all.
While Hollywood may be known for pumping out bad flicks, it's the good ones that we remember. Even I, despite my engendered cynicism as a movie critic, have come across a few cinematic masterpieces that have made me forget all about those thousands of dollars I've wasted over the years on the stinkers. Good movies are really special simply because, in Hollywood, they're really rare. So, as a companion piece to the "10 Worst Movies Of The Last Decade," here are the "10 Best Movies Of All Time,"? in the hopes that eager readers waste their money renting some of the films that are to follow instead of some of the films listed above.
Cathy Stein, a Counselor in the Blair Career Office, thinks it would be easy. All it would take is filling in one tiny box on one very long college application, an almost imperceptible lie that's essentially impossible to disprove, and one that can significantly increase a student's chances of being accepted into college.
Look down the list of movies coming out this Christmas season, and you're bound to see a few strange things. There's a rectangular sponge who tries to save the world from a piece of plankton. There's a zany in-law who's kept some rather odd souvenirs from her son's circumcision. And there's Colin Farrell doing his best Fabio impression in a skirt while fighting an army of murderous elephants.
It's hard to buy Joaquin Phoenix as a bon a fide action hero in Ladder 49. He's a tad on the pudgy side, and he talks with an unaffected flustered drawl that makes him sound just a bit dim-witted. He's got a coarse face, handsome but not striking. He's common, familiar. Ordinary.
It's very easy to entertain me. I can stare at a lava lamp for hours and wonder how the manufacturer got molten hot liquid magma into a bottle. I've kept myself up for entire nights in hotel rooms because I love the way the light turns on and off when I clap. I even enjoy calling the cable-company just because I can't get enough of that music they play when they put me on hold for hours at a time. But even I stop being amused when I have to watch Nick and Jessica do their dumb and dumber Newlyweds routine for another season.
The question that Shrek 2 has to solve is where can you go after happily ever after? But with characters as varied as a cross-dresser, gender-bender with a pork fetish and a repentant assassin, Shrek 2 seems more like real-life than a fairy tale. Okay, so the cross-dresser is Pinochio in a thong, the gender-bender the Big Bad Wolf, and the killer Puss In Boots, but at least their problems are realistic. And unlike fairy-tales, in the real world, there's always something that goes wrong after happily ever after.
Troy is a movie about men for men, although the laborious and frequent shots of knotty-muscled, sweaty soldiers battling will no doubt attract their fair share of female viewers. Sure, the film has Helen (Diane Kruger), the name to that lovely face that launched a thousand ships. But Helen's character is largely sidelined; she's an excuse to show brave and genetically well-endowed heroes pit swords and armies against one another. Though not particularly faithful to its source material (the movie was inspired by Homer's The Iliad), Troy is a bloody, overwhelming and intermittently brilliant inauguration of the summer movie season.
Every year around this time I get on my knees before the idol of summer—the television—and offer a feast of spicy buffalo wings and scrumptious beef jerky in thanks for two months of freedom.
Van Helsing may be the most expensive funeral ever mounted. The relentless action flick throttles the last bit of life from the Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolfman franchises of the 1930s and ‘40s, offering a slipshod, noisy film that kicks subtlety right out the door.
It's hard being a teenage girl. That seems to be the point of 13 Going On 30, a delightfully distracting knock-off of Big that manages to throw in a few original jokes of its own; after all, Tom Hanks never had to worry about growing breasts or falling in love with an attractive photographer.
Divine intervention. It's what allowed Buddha to find enlightenment, Moses to part the Red Sea, Muhammad to become a lightning rod for spiritual visions and Jesus to walk on water. And, if you'll believe him, it's what allowed Mel Gibson to complete The Passion of the Christ.
Kill Bill Vol. 2
Fed up with money-grubbing studios that care more about profits than the music? Not to worry. Silver Chips is here to provide the inside scoop on five of the most innovative independent talents who manage to comfortably operate without the backing of a major label.
The Coen brothers and Tom Hanks make for a very odd team.
Imagine Silence Of The Lambs being slapped across the face with the feminist movement, and you'll get something close to what director D. J. Caruso was striving for in Taking Lives, an overcooked potboiler that is about two hours too long.
Let's begin with Johnny Depp, since more people seem to be concerned with the odd-ball leading man himself than with his newest movie, Secret Window. He's got terrific presence, with just a hint of wicked humor beneath the fashionably rumpled bathrobe he seems to be sewed into. He suggests that his character can be dangerous, even though it's often frustrating how impotent his emotionally inept writer can be. And he is, as always, a joy to watch. Secret Window may not be as scary or as exciting or as shocking as writer/director David Koepp (who also wrote Spider-Man and Jurassic Park) may have hoped, but Depp sure takes it for a ride.
The original 1970's buddy-cop show on which Starsky & Hutch is based is only funny in retrospect because it took itself so seriously. The whole belted sweater get-up, not to mention those hairdos, were all actual style statements back in the seventies. They really fit this decade much better, at least in terms of milking ridiculous laughs.
People like director Jeff Schaffer shouldn't be allowed to make movies. They should be tarred, feathered, paraded before the entire village and subjected to every single ridiculous and offensive stereotype that they use oft-drunken, perpetually sex-starved teenagers to plug.
How many good movies (or even just fairly good ones) will Adam Sandler have to star in before he can make up for all the bad ones? None but the comedy gods can tell, and although 50 First Dates may not deserve to be chocked-up on the list of "good” Sandler films, it certainly isn't one of the bad ones.
Monday through Friday he works at Radio Shack after school to help support his family. On the weekends he holds another part-time job at Taco Bell. Only during lunch does Blair junior Jonathan Avila, a student in ESOL 3, have the time to study for the High School Assessments (HSAs).
When the original Barbershop was released, a controversy arose over whether or not the film should be nominated for an NAACP Image Award, thanks largely to a few less-than-complimentary statements made about Rosa Parks in the film. Not to worry. The second film chooses not to riff on Ms. Parks, though, in every other respect, it has remained delightfully true to its source material.
The highest height from which the average person has fallen peaks somewhere within the range of 25-30 feet, and that's usually off a diving board. British mountain climber Joe Simpson fell for 300 meters into a crevice of ice back in June 1985, shattering most of his legs. And that was all before he dragged himself down a mountain.
When was the last time you heard someone say to their significant other, "Hey, let's go out and see a movie about the most mysterious painting of 17th century artist Johannes Vermeer – it's set in Delft, Holland and there is hardly any dialogue in it at all?” If you never have, director Peter Webber's Girl With A Pearl Earring is a good reason why.
In America, Irish-born director Jim Sheridan's somewhat biopic film about a young Irish family that illegally immigrates to the US in the early 1980s, hits exactly the wrong notes; it's comical when it should be serious, heavy when lighter moments would be appropriate, and disjointed where it should flow.
Cold Mountain, author Charles Frazier's 1997 award-winning novel, is a difficult book. No two ways about it folks, reading it is as long and arduous a journey as the one Inman (the book's main character) undertakes when he treks 300 miles through woods, swamps, and various manifestations of hell to return to his lovely Ada. Enter writer/director Anthony Minghella, who has shown a genuine talent for adapting lengthy, literate novels into solid films (visit the library and just try reading The Talented Mr. Ripley and The English Patient without falling asleep). Unlike the approach most screenwriters might take, Minghella chose to preserve rather than cut back on Cold Mountain's literary structure, plastering it onto the screen in a sublimely moving and exquisite film.
Who knew that Diane Keaton was so funny? Sure, she showed a great affinity for the precise timing of physical comedy in Annie Hall and has likewise bared her comedic chops in many other films of the 1960s and 1970s. But what has she been in lately? Lucky for Keaton (and the rest of us), the actress was tapped for writer-director Nancy Meyers' latest battle of the sexes, Something's Gotta Give.
I loved Jurassic Park. I thought that Andromeda Strain made for an equally enjoyable film. Same with Congo, Lost World, and especially Sphere – the last being one of the scariest movies on the market. Michael Crichton books always seem to make good films, unlike John Grisham (see the awful results of Runaway Jury or The Firm) or Stephen King (occasionally you'll get a good one, but there are more Dreamcatcher's than Shinging's). But Crichton's latest book-turned-film is a so-so picture that doesn't do justice to its source material.
The Adventures Of Robin Hood
It happens every year around Thanksgiving. People scramble to visit their families and gorge themselves on dry turkey and lumpy stuffing; babies cry, relatives are yell and you try to avoid that one creepy uncle hanging around the house. You run to the local Cineplex, praying for just a few hours relief from the holiday stress, and then the Powers That Be in Hollywood trick you into seeing a stinker of a movie because they know that you're starved for distractions and will see absolutely anything. Gothika, headlined by a painfully miscast Halle Berry, is this year's helping of bad turkey and lumpy stuffing mixed with a rotten script and egotistical direction.
There's a quiet maelstrom brewing behind the eyes of Captain Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe), the titular master and commander of the English vessel the H.M.S. Surprise during the Napoleanic Wars. Whether he's orchestrating the rigging on the main sail, expertly fiddling at the violin in his quarters or diving for "God, England, and the prize,” onto the deck of an enemy vessel with cutlet in one hand and musket in the other, Aubrey is a masterful lesson in courage and bravery. Bracing this wayward hero is Australian director Peter Weir, who sails to the U.S. on the deck of one of his best films in years.
She catches me before I can reach the door. A saleswoman with a syrupy-sweet grin asks if I want to inspect the new stock of Halloween merchandise. For the rest of America, it is barely Sept 20. But as I stand in the Hallmark Store in Montgomery Mall, it seems like Oct 31.
There's hardly a romantic comedy cliché that goes overlooked in the wonderfully over-the-top Love Actually. You have Hugh Grant shaking his rear a là Tom Cruise in Risky Business, Liam Neeson trying desperately hard to help his stepson find love and Keira Knightley, Colin Firth and Emma Thompson looking like beautiful and adorably insecure romantics. Love Actually may not be very edgy or challenging, but it's more than good enough to leave you hopeful that you just might bump into your future spouse walking out of the theater.
It sounded like such a good idea: a movie starring Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Gary Sinise, and helmed by Robert Benton, the Oscar-winning director behind such intelligent, sensitive films as Kramer vs. Kramer and Billy Bathgate. Yet, the characters in the erstwhile drama The Human Stain never command much attention, and a movie with so much potential falls flat on its face.
Hayden Christensen should grow up. In Shattered Glass, Christensen plays real-life The New Republic reporter Stephen Glass, who was fired after the paper discovered that he had fabricated more than half of his stories. In Glass, Christensen plays the same overgrown man-child who resorts to childish means to escape the weight of adult responsibilities as he did in last year's Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. The only difference is that this time around, the Christensen is actually quite good.
Never have divorce, fatal heart-attacks, peptic ulcers, rabid Doberman pincers or unintentional suicides been more hilarious than in Intolerable Cruelty, the latest offering from brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, the writing, directing and producing team behind such idiosyncratic fanfare as Raising Arizona, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, and O Brother Where Art Thou?
Mouths open wide and lips ram together as a sinewy tendril of saliva drips to the floor. The spectacle is grotesque and comical, and it brings to mind the image of two glassy-eyed, open-mouthed fish clumsily trying to mate. As I turn down Blair Blvd and walk to my second block class, I wonder how kissing can be so enjoyable to do and simultaneously appear so ridiculous. However absurd kissing may look, Blair students still enjoy physical romance. According to an informal Silver Chips survey of 100 students conducted on Sept 12, 100 percent believe that kissing is enjoyable. However, only three percent of students enjoy watching others kiss. For many Blair students, public displays of affection (PDAs) are an uncomfortable aspect of school.
Once Upon A Time In Mexico
The Fellowship Of The Ring was a terrific movie, and like many, I eagerly anticipated the release of its sequel, The Two Towers, last Christmas. I was met with a film that was, while very enjoyable, not quite as good as its predecessor. With no small amount of trepidation, I awaited The Return Of The King, the final installment in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, hoping that director Peter Jackson would end on a high note. What I got was a terrific film, epic in just about every way and very moving.