By Don Simpson | 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…
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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