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  • Don’s Biggest Disappointments of 2009

    By | January 5, 2010

    Most of what I would consider to be the “worst” films of 2009, I either skipped altogether (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, The Twilight Saga: New Moon) or I expected them to be bad (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, It’s Complicated) so there wasn’t very much room for disappointment.

    So, in this list I opted to focus on the ten films of 2009 that could have (and should have) been – because of the subject matter, writer, director and/or acting talent – amazing yet wound up being amazing let-downs for me instead. When I entered the theater I was really looking forward to seeing each one of these films, yet I was severely upset and disappointed upon leaving the theater at the end of each of these films. (Admittedly, in some cases, maybe my expectations were just a wee bit too high.) Probably the worst part was writing the review afterward – it’s nearly effortless for me to write positive reviews, but I really hate being negative. Trashing people’s creative output is not what I consider “fun.” Anyway, here’s my list…

    10. A Perfect Getaway

    A Perfect Getaway is a ridiculous meth trip of plot twist anticipation – but to be fair and completely honest, the film is engaging and entertaining on many levels even though a lot of the story setup is contrived and calculated. This holiday thrill trek ends up being not so much a dream vacation as it is an entertaining afternoon at the beach. – Dave Campbell

    9. Funny People

    Very long story short (Apatow’s epic clocks in at just under 150 minutes), there is very little that is funny about Funny People (that is unless you enjoy a relentless onslaught of dick and balls jokes). My initial reaction was disappointment in Apatow’s portrayal of the female characters in Funny People as weak and shallow (something that frustrated me with Knocked-Up and 40 Year Old Virgin as well) – but then I realized that all of the characters (male and female alike) are prime candidates for harsh scrutiny. – Don Simpson

    8. Capitalism: A Love Story

    Moore has a tendency to preach to the already converted. At this point of the game (after making films such as Fahrenheit 9/11and Sicko) – and no matter how fair and balanced Capitalism: A Love Story purports to be – no hard-line Republican is going to allow Moore the time to lecture them on the faults of their prized and cherished free market system. – Don Simpson

    7. The Men Who Stare at Goats

    The content alone is ridiculously hilarious, yet The Men Who Stare at Goats is hacked together in such a disjointed non-linear manner that is both disorienting and frustrating. Heslov opts to tell the tale from the point of view of the journalist (possibly to add authenticity or realism); half of the story is Bob’s present day adventures with Lyn and the other half are flashbacks that begin with “Lyn told me…” It seems like every time the story starts picking up momentum, it stops in order to completely change gears. – Don Simpson

    6. Avatar

    Avatar is much more thoughtful and intelligent (at least in terms of overall message) than I would have ever dreamed and it looks absolutely amazing (also beyond my dreams); unfortunately the plot and the dialogue are its greatest burdens, really dragging this down from a great film to something existing somewhere around mediocre. – Don Simpson

    5. Invictus

    While Invictus is an adequate piece of film making, it suffers from a cinematic miasma that could bring about much eye-rolling and yawning from the experienced filmgoer. In short, we’ve seen a lot of this before. The long, pained expressions while staring through windows, and the sappy musical score are moments that are meant to bring us to tears. Unfortunately, such scenes seem to only serve as filler for what could have potentially been an extraordinary movie. – Dirk Sonniksen

    4. Sherlock Holmes

    All that is afoot in Sherlock Holmes is a bit of the old ultra violence; and all brawn and no brain make Sherlock Holmes a very dull film. Very disappointing my dear Watson, very disappointing… – Don Simpson

    3. The Young Victoria

    The scenes are purposefully chopped short, as the film barnstorms through the Cliff Notes of Victoria’s late teens. This is a mere outline of a plot, rather than a fleshed out story. – Don Simpson

    2. Whip It!

    Whip It! is an inconsistent and muddled mess. Barrymore’s interpretation of the roller girl movement is overly quaint and twee – and anything that does not appear to be quaint and twee (such as the warehouse where the roller derby matches take place) comes off overly exaggerated and fake. – Don Simpson

    1. Me and Orson Welles

    Unfortunately for Linklater, Efron is in way over his head in this production – especially when cast opposite of the brilliant McKay (who literally transcends into Welles). Efron’s performance is utterly superficial, with absolutely no emotional depth. Even when Efron’s Richard is on stage as Lucillus, his performance is flat – how Richard did not get fired on day one by the totalitarian Welles is a complete mystery. Heck, how he remained in the final cut of Me and Orson Welles is also a mystery to me! – Don Simpson

    Topics: News | 5 Comments »

    • http://Let'sNotTalkAboutMovies Yojimbo_5

      “Lucius.” The character’s name in “Julius Caesar” is “Lucius.”

      Fact. Check.

    • Holly

      I was expecting Efron’s acting to be all the things you found it to be, superficial, no emotional depth, but I was suprised. It certainly wasn’t an oscar-winning performance, but it wasn’t a role that could possibly have been. It would have been wrong for Efron to upstage anyone in that role. Richard is supposed to be a kid who unsure of himself, but makes himself out to be amazing. Everyone has high expectations of him, he’s trying to stand up for himself and compete with one of the most famous people in America, and he’s out of his depth. Richard is in ways in the position you percieve Efron to be in, doesn’t really know what he’s doing, it’s questionable whether he should be there but he is. You say “Efron is in way over his head in this production – especially when cast opposite of the brilliant McKay” but changing the names “Richard is in way over his head in this production – especially when cast opposite of the brilliant Welles” merely becomes a description of the plot.

    • Mandy

      haha! love that, so basically it wasn’t Zac’s acting, it was Richard. Like I could say Christain Mackay’s acting was over the top, but it’s not his acting that’s over the top, it’s Welles that IS over the top. I think Zac was good, becuase 1. he made me cry, and 2. some of the best parts of the movie were where he didn’t say anything. His face when he’s sat on Sonja’s sofa- Priceless. And when they’re talking about the quadruple space thing! love that.

    • patrick

      how did you not like avatar? that movie was soo awesome

    • jane

      I have to disagree. Zac was really very good, and was the perfect Richard. As Holly said, Zac played Richard exactly how he was described in the book. And when you take into account the fact that he filmed this two years ago in feb and before HSM3, he has all the characteristics that Richard was meant to have. Zac would be the first person to say he is not perfect, but nor is he meant to be. He is growing and learning and Richard Linklater believed in him and he proved him right.