Top 15 Worst Films of 2009
As with any year, 2009 delivered a fair few stinkers – such as blockbusters GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra and St Trinian’s 2, as well as romantic dramas such as The Ugly Truth. But which of these films, if any, made it into our top 15 worst films of the year?
15) The Ugly Truth
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Gerard Butler
What’s the story? An uptight TV producer (Heigl) finds her life transformed when her bosses decide to hire a chauvanistic TV host (Butler) to boost the channel’s failing ratings.
Why so bad: The ugly truth is that this battle-of-the-sexes comedy simply can’t cut it as either a satisfying romance or a fun romp. Its problems are manifold and range from the lacklustre, tacky script to the lame, uninspired direction.
Starring: Bill Pullman, Julia Ormond
What’s the story? Two FBI agents who are sent to interview the three survivors of a massacre on a deserted (or lost?) highway, which has left five people dead. Will they discover the truth?
Why so bad: Lynch’s first film since the long-lamented Boxing Helena almost 15 years ago is populated by the same kind of oddball characters that feature in a lof of her father, David Lynch’s movies, as well as a sinister and surreal reality. But while the ingredients are in place for a strong psychological thriller, the director squanders all potential by opting to focus on voyeuristic and exploitative violence and objectionable characters.
13) Fired Up!
Starring: Nicholas D’Agosto, Eric Christian Olsen
What’s the story? Two High School jocks give up their summer camp with the guys in favour of cheerleading camp with 300 girls.
Why so bad: While some comic irony is sought from the film’s “FU” initials, it’s doubtful whether you’ll be thinking anything more favourably towards it once you’ve sat through its laboured endeavours.
12) The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner
What’s the story? A celebrity photographer and serial womaniser attends his brother’s wedding to dissuade him from going through with it. Pre-ceremony, however, he’s visited by his late uncle who delivers a life lesson by using the ghosts of Connor’s girlfriends past, present and future.
Why so bad: Matthew McConaughey’s Ghosts of Girlfriends Past is a contemporary take on A Christmas Carol that places sexual promiscuity above miserly tendencies as its main dramatic thrust. The result is as ghastly and ghoulish as its premise suggests..
11) St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold
Starring: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth
What’s the story? The girls go hunting for missing gold after discovering that headmistress Fritton is related to a famous pirate.
Why so bad: Clocking in at an hour and three quarters, St Trinian’s 2 feels like a very long and unnecessary ride that’s muddled, cliched and derivative. Girls are defined by the shortness of their skirts or the confidence of their posturing, while some top British stars (including Tennant, Toby Jones and Colin Firth) mercilessly send up their own images to emerge as bumbling stiff upper lipped old school Brits.
10) Driving Aphrodite
Starring: Nia Vardalos, Alexis Georgoulis
What’s the story? Georgia came to Greece a few years ago to get the man of her dreams. Since then, she’s been cast aside, alone and adrift in a foreign land. Will her fortunes change?
Why so bad: If you can’t figure out who it is within the first few minutes consider yourself braindead. The set up and locations of the film could have amounted to something interesting but the terribly stereotypical characters plonked in the middle of the story ruin any chance of this ever being likeable.
9) The White Ribbon
Starring: Christian Friedel, Ulrich Tukur
What’s the story? Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years just before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment.
Why so bad: The White Ribbon is a well made, thoughtfully written and provocative film in many ways, but it’s also bum-numbingly long, self-consciously ambiguous and not at all satisfying.
8) Synecdoche, New York
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton
What’s the story? Caden Cotard is an uptight theatre director who finds his life beginning to unravel while he is trying to produce a version of Death of a Salesman using young actors.
Why so bad: Having been a massive fan of Charlie Kaufman’s screenplays for the films Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation, I approached his directorial debut Synecdoche, New York with high hopes. Sadly, the film is one of the most pretentious and impenetrable films I’ve seen in a long time, despite the presence of a strong ensemble cast and some typically thought-provoking ideas.
7) The Punisher: War Zone
Starring: Ray Stevenson, Dominic West
What’s the story? Ex-Special Forces specialist, and family man, Frank Castle attempts to bring down a disfigured crime lord, Jigsaw, and his deranged brother, “Loony Bin” Jim, while coming to terms with a mistake that led to the death of an FBI undercover officer.
Why so bad: The Punisher: War Zone is a sickeningly violent film that’s designed as a throwback to the plot-light style of the ’80s… The violence is unremitting and almost always unpleasant, no matter how OTT and blackly comic Alexander intends it to be, while the performances are excruciatingly bad.
6) Lesbian Vampire Killers
Starring: Matthew Horne, James Corden
What’s the story? Eternal slackers Jimmy and Fletch resolve to go on a walking holiday in Britain when it becomes clear they haven’t got the required money for a trip to Ibiza. Picking a remote village by random, they soon find themselves stuck in a remote cottage with a camper-van fill of sexy Swedish students and beseiged by a hungry army of lesbian vampires.
Why so bad: Phil Claydon’s film was supposedly conceived as a comedy-horror homage to the Hammer films that provided an ideal platform for its stars to showcase their small-screen talent on the big screen. Instead, it comes across like a juvenile and shockingly amateur pre-pubescent male fantasy that’s unfunny, crass and boring.
5) GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Starring: Channing Tatum, Dennis Quaid
What’s the story? GI Joe is a covert, multi-national group of soldiers tasked with achieving the impossible (“when all else fails, we don’t!”). Joining them for the first time are new recruits Duke and Ripcord on a mission that involves protecting a lethal formula from the clutches of an evil organisation led by a notorious arms dealer.
Why so bad: Stephen Sommers hasn’t directed a good blockbuster since he first broke onto the scene with The Mummy. The sequel to that film was overblown and wretched, his take on Van Helsing was a complete disaster, and now he squanders the GI Joe franchise.
4) Miss March: Generation Penetration
Starring: Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore
What’s the story? When Eugene Bell falls into a coma instead of into bed with his virginal High School sweetheart Cindi, he wakes up four years later to discover that she’s now a Playboy centrefold.
Why so bad: Miss March: Generation Penetration has to rate as one of the most repulsive films of the year… if not of all-time! Adolescents anticipating some cheap thrills courtesy of busty Playmates and laddish dick jokes may be sorely disappointed to find that the film even fluffs those! Rather, it’s more concerned with stooping to ever more depraved levels with jokes concerning epilepsy (and its impact on sex), poo (a central character’s inability to maintain bowel control in light of having been in a coma) and sexism (women being trophy-like objects of desire, lesbians or just plain whores).
3) Dance Flick
Starring: Damon Wayans Jr, Soshana Bush
What’s the story? A mis-matched couple get to put their lives in order through the medium of dance.
Why so bad: The dance movie genre was always ripe to be spoofed given the optimistic nature of most of those movies. But Dance Flick gets the parody completely wrong, emerging as yet another crass attempt to poke fun at a genre like Epic Movie, Meet The Spartans and others of that ilk… A hip-hop chick giving birth to her baby on the dancefloor is one of several gags that misfire spectacularly, while endless jokes at the expense of colour and obesity just feel like cheap shots at easy marks.
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg
What’s the story? After their child dies in an accident while they are making love, He persuades She to join him at a secluded cabin in the woods where He (as a therapist) can treat her depression. But as the surounding woods begin to torment She, the couple eventually turn on each other with extremely bloody results.
Why so bad: Lars von Trier boldly insists that he makes no excuse for Antichrist while proudly describing it as the most important film of his career. It’s undoubtedly the most notorious and unquestionably the most extreme. Yet it’s also one of the worst films of the year, containing graphic sequences (including a close-up clitorectimy) that really have no place in any movie.
Starring: Danny Dyer, Noel Clarke
What’s the story? Six men head for a weekend in the country to re-connect with their masculinity only to find that the sleepy town they have chosen has become over-run by zombie-like, cannibalistic women.
Why so bad: Jake West’s Doghouse is one of the most sexist, misogynistic and downright lamentable movies you’re likely to see this year. It’s also poorly made, poorly scripted and one of the more baffling cinematic releases of the year… All in all, this is the type of movie-making that sullies even the good name of crap.
The best films of 2009: Click here