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Forget the Best – Here’s Three of 2005’s Worst Movies

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Yeah, everybody’s doing their “top 10″ lists right now, and there were a lot of mighty fine flicks this year. But what about the ones that stank up the joint? Here’s my pick for the three worst movies I saw this year. Feel free to chime in with your own choices for 2005’s dogs.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
There were worse movies this year, but few as disappointing. A pale, limp attempt to capture the wit and snark of Douglas Adams’ sci-fi parody novels. It starts out OK but gradually gets worse and worse, descending into a parade of computer-generated effects and turning into an inane chase movie. It has the moldy feel of a failed Saturday Night Live parody from 1987.

Dukes of Hazzard

Lord, I tried. But I couldn’t even watch the entire movie of this misbegotten TV remake, starring Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott, and a bizarrely miscast Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg. Also featuring Jessica Simpson, who looks nice but is upstaged in acting skills even by the General Lee automobile. The original TV show was trash, too, but in a corny, amiable way. This one piles on the vulgarities and is like watching a truck full of rednecks crash into a manure pile — an ugly, smelly sight.

Bewitched
You may notice a theme here. I’m not filled with hope for the CHiPS remake heading to the big screen. This one had the talent — gorgeous Nicole Kidman, funnyman Will Ferrell — but was saddled with a ridiculously self-referential, strained plot. See, it’s a movie about the remake of the TV series Bewitched, starring a real witch who doesn’t want to be a witch any more but she ends up playing a fake witch for Bewitched. Get it? Don’t bother.

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About Nik Dirga

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    No arguments here, but let me add just one more:

    History of Violence. I was thisclose to walking about, but the icing on the cake was all the amazingly gushy accolades it received.

  • http://spatulaforum.blogspot.com Nik

    I can’t go with you on that one, I really liked “History of Violence” myself. What didn’t you like about it?

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Well, I know its message is “violence is bad.”

    (1) Duuuuuh.

    (2) The movie contradicts itself by glorifying violence and depicting it to make its point. I recall those anti-abortion activists holding graphic signs of partial birth abortion as a way to get their message across, and HoV reminded me of that. That’s not the way to talk about pressing issues.

    (3) A rape/sex scene on a staircase never won me over before.

  • http://frictionblog.blogspot.com/ Jackson

    I hate to do this… but I’m gonna throw out some movies I didn’t actually see. I don’t enjoy watching awful movies, so I avoided Stealth and Fantastic Four. I couldn’t imagine even trying to sit through those. If you have seen them, please validate my suspicions by letting me know how bad they sucked. I also agree that Bewitched stunk up the screen, but I’m also gonna add Must Love Dogs and the Legend of Zorro. Must Love Dogs was hilarious for all the wrong reasons and the Legend of Zorro was simply dull and painful.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Suss, that’s not the message because violence is good as well. It is used in the name of good many times during the film by the father and the son. What makes you think the message is only “violence is bad.” It seemed more like “violence is”.

    The film deals more with individuals knowing themselves, trying to run away from themselves and deny who they are, relationships between people based on assumptions and ideals rather than truth.

    I enjoyed it a great deal and thought it was Cronenberg’s most accessible film since The Fly. All the performances were fantastic.

  • Barfly

    Here are my worst:
    1. I Walk the Line – he didn’t even look like Hank Williams!?
    2. King Kong – everything looked old, like the 30’s.
    3. Munich – when did the Israelis ever invent The Hulk?

  • http://spatulaforum.blogspot.com Nik

    Yeah, I didn’t really think History of Violence was as simple as just being an “anti violence” movie. Cronenberg loves to make people feel uncomfortable, and I felt like the point of the movie in some ways was to avoid easy conclusions. At the end we’re not really sure what will happen next or if good or evil has won out. I really liked it, myself.

  • http://frictionblog.blogspot.com/ Jackson

    Barfly… uhh… Walk the Line is about Johnny Cash, not Hank Williams. And King Kong is set in the 1930s. Are you serious or just trying to get someone gullible like me to fall for some weird joke?

  • http://frictionblog.blogspot.com/ Jackson

    Weird… I’ve only heard outright denouncements or absolute praise for History of Violence. Nothing in between. It must be one of those films you either love or hate. I actually haven’t seen it yet, but I’m thinking that I probably should.

  • Shark

    A History of Violence = Best Film of 2005

    Actors Mario Bello and Viggo M. were incredible.

    And AHOV has one of the best endings in film history, IMO.

    =======

    Some Misc. Questions:

    * Does “Duuuuuh” qualify as a valid critique?

    * How does one decide how many “u”s go into a “duh”?

    * Which implies more implicit violence on behalf of the “speaker”: a “duh” or a “whatever”?

    ========

    BEST EXAMPLE OF MISTAKING AN ATTRIBUTE FOR A VICE:

    Matthew T. Sussman on what he DIDN’T LIKE about “A History of Violence”:

    “The movie contradicts itself by glorifying violence and depicting it to make its point.”

    …spoken without a hint of irony.

    ======

  • Shark

    As an example of how some of what this film was ‘about’ flew right over the heads of its audience:

    the scene where the bully boy gets his: many in the audience cheered and applauded.

    heh. Interesting moment.

  • Bliffle

    I didn’t like HOV either. Don’t especially like movie violence, but more importantly I just didn’t think HOV had anything new or novel to say about violence. Ho hum, just another conventional vengeance movie. HOV, like “Munich” makes the connection between sex and violence, but so what? Not very original. And I had a hard time accepting the hot sexual relationship of the two principles after such a long marriage.

    I’m not opposed to HOV and “Munich”, I just thought they were ordinary and wouldn’t recommend either one.

    Instead of watching a bad 2005 movie, hunt up an older movie that you haven’t seen that you might enjoy. I find netflix to be really useful for this.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Didn’t mean to make this a discussion about History of Violence. I’m trying to think of another clunker I saw this year …

    …my roommate walked out of Aeon Flux. Discuss.

  • Bliffle

    Shark: “And AHOV has one of the best endings in film history, IMO.”

    Careful, shark, lest you expose an ignorance of film history and thus damage your film credibility. HOV has a pedestrian finale.

  • Bliffle

    Movie finales are a good moviemakers meat. It would make a good BC topic but I don’t have a blog. Right away I’d recommend “Cinema Paradiso”, “All Quiet On The Western Front”.

  • http://donbaiocchi.blogspot.com/ Don Baiocchi

    and it was not a “rape/sex scene,” either. She clearly grabs his head and pulls him in to kiss him. She initiates the sex. At first she refuses, then she initiates. It’s a brilliant scene depicting the push/pull, darker side of sex between men and women and a woman’s fear of and animal sexual attraction to a physically powerful man.

  • http://bunnydee.blogspot.com Mel

    Ummm… just a second here…
    No offense, but *have you people seen what’s out there* ?!?!
    I mean, I won’t argue whether the 4 films mentioned were any good (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Dukes of Hazzard, Bewitched & History of Violence) – i actually enjoyed them for what they were. But still, they’re faaaar from the “worst films of 2005″. There’s so much junk out there that either gets overrated by arty fellas or gets no media attention whatsoever apart from the creators’ friends’ comments.

    I think that films aimed at a broader audience can often be “misread” by viewers. But, for me, there’s no such thing as a truly bad film, one that should never have been made, as long as at least one person enjoyed it (even if that’s the director or his wife :P).

    I think the best option for everyone is just not to watch films that they don’t think they’ll enjoy. Not every film, even in the “blockbusters” general category, is meant for everyone. So, to avoid being disappointed in the future, it’s better to just think it through before you buy that ticket.

    The fact that your friend liked it, or that reviewer in that magazine or website liked it, is no guarantee that you will too. Compare their review of the film in question with their review of other films you’ve watched. Think of their reasons for liking it or not, and whether these are part of your priorities in film watching. Think of what the film “probably wanted to do” and ask yourself if you give a damn. It takes more than a second’s reading of the “star rating”, but it’s worth it.

    Unless what you enjoy the most is bad-mouthing other people’s work, which is as legitimate a passtime as any. I have friends who do it, and they’re great people, I just rarely go to the cinema with them if I plan to enjoy myself :P