2004 YEAR IN REVIEW
Movies you may have forgotten existed
Paul Bettany as leading man. Kirsten Dunst can't really seem to make a non-Spiderman-related mark, can she?
2. Walking Tall.
Did this movie bomb? Is the Rock still a movie star?
3. A Home at the End of the World.
Apparently, audiences are as interested in Colin Farrell's wiener as they are in the rest of his career - which is to say very little (the interest, not the wiener. which I am told is huge! As huge as Farrell is a huge star! A giant wiener on a giant superstar! He's famous!). He has to be the least successful movie star of all time. I bet if you added up all the money his movies have lost, that amount would be enough to make another two sequels to Alexander.
4. Against the Ropes.
Meg Ryan. She was famous once.
5. Anything Else.
It's a Woody Allen movie. This seems to be his shtick since Sweet and Lowdown: make one absolutely forgettable film after another at the pace of one per year. It also features the two least appealing members of teen America's cinematic old guard: Jason Biggs and Christina Ricci. I won't begrudge the dude with some pie-fucking insult. Instead, I will disgust at how he was supposed to be the charming, likable one out of a group of three that included Jack Black and Steve Zahn. Seriously, that's like casting Jason Schwartzmann as a loser opposite Devon Sawa as the charismatic leader of a group of merry pranksters. Of course, those are entirely different movies I'm talking about. Christina Ricci needs to go back to sucking Vincent Gallo's cock on camera.
So Beautifully Awful
The sheer and total stupidity of this film makes me feel all warm inside. It has to take the "honest to crap: what were they thinking?!?" award hands down this year. Not an ounce of this movie made sense. I guess since Stephen Sommer's whole legacy will be incinerating the legacy of great Universal horror films, he figured he should stop trifling with individual monsters in individual remakes and create the Dachau of opportunistic, high-concept remakes. The trademark characters of Dracula, Frankenstein, Mr. Hyde and the Wolfman all get taken out in one cruddy blaze of glory. I hope he makes a Creature from the Black Lagoon movie next. The Creature can going flying out of the lake in slow motion with, I don't know, fire on the lake and he'll jump right onto the back of Billy the Kid and bite him so that he turns into a wookie and then Billy will try to rob banks all covered in fur, but only Batman has the antidote so Billy gets Doc Holiday and the James brothers together in a posse and they attempt to steal a diamond from Andy Garcia so they can afford to buy the antidote. Maybe Brendan Fraser can play Billy. Oh, we need a chick, so maybe... maybe, Vampirella or Mary Magdelene is there helping him out because she's caught in some kind of a trans-dimensional mix-up. And the Creature will be played by Martin Lawrence.
Genuinely the Worst Film I Have Ever Seen
A Love Song for Bobby Long.
I don't say this lightly. I really, genuinely think this is the worst movie I have ever seen. John Travolta plays an alcoholic, Southern, ex-Literature Professor living a stinkhole existence in New Orleans with a dye-grey hair thing going on. Early in the movie, he quotes from "Martin Chuzzlewit" (sp?). But wait, it gets worse: add in Scarlett Johansson as piece of Floridian trailer-trash who eats m&m's simultaneously with peanut butter straight from the jar. In a thoroughly unconvincing moment, her hick boyfriends tells her that her mother has died and then suggests they forget all about it and go rent some porno. Oh man, what wacky and dysfunctional characters! Did I mention John Travolta's big toe has gotten gangrene and fallen off? So, he walks around with one foot in a flip-flop, drinking whiskey straight from the bottle. Can you imagine! Oscar-ville, anyone? Also, Scarlett Johansson needs to go back to sucking Vincent Gallo's cock on camera.
Least appealing t.v.-to-movie crossover star: It's a tie! Jimmy Fallon in Taxi & Ashton Kutcher in My Girlfriend's Boss or whatever the fuck that movie with Tara Reid is called.
"How do you still have a career?!?" Award: The extremely shitty Ms. Tara Reid. Hollywood is full of non-descript, talent-less, dumb-looking women. Did we really have to settle on this one?
Also, we need to put an end to this "Queen Latifah is great" nonsense once and for all. She was co-creator of Cookout, for the love of Christ. She was also in Barbershop 2. (Speaking of movies that you may have forgotten existed and sequels no one asked for) In summation, she sucks and is fat. In the words of Paul Cooney: supermodels robbing banks - you've got a great plot right there. Why fuck it up with Jimmy Fallon and some cab driver bullshit? I will give her this: she's sassy.
Didn't Have to See It to Know It Sucked
Meet the Fockers.
The Day After Tomorrow.
Phantom of the Opera.
The Polar Express.
Hildago. (but I saw it anyway)
Troy. (again, I should have not seen it, but you know how Paul Cooney gets when he wants to see something)
Alien Versus Predator. (perhaps I have a problem)
Catwoman. (back on track - I did not see this steaming load!)
She Hate Me. (in the words of Just One of the Guys, "Sorry, Spike.")
I'll start this list off with a film I genuinely liked a great deal. However, it suffers from a central premise so idiotic that not even the best director in America, several great performances, an unrivaled (in Hollywood films at any rate) sense of place, a pitch-perfect tone, and a speech about Pedro Negro can get over it. The film is definitely good. I just was hoping for another The Insider or Ali. I'll take another Mann film anytime I can get it, but I can't help but feel sad he took himself off of The Aviator to do this film in a bid explicitly designed to restore his commercial viability. The Aviator could have been a third in a trilogy of biopics recounting nothing less than the history of the United States in the 20th century. As it stands, we have a pretty good Tom Cruise movie about a hit-man trying to pull off a wildly improbable task in an essentially illogical fashion. Mann shows that he's the greatest and every frame screams the champ is here, but the film just ends up making a great case for why he should not be wasting his immense talent on films this inconsequential.
2. Team America.
Two or three good songs. One or two great jokes. An absolute classic gag (Panthers!). Material recycled from other projects. Muddled and mean-spirited politics. Cheap shots and self-consciously racist comedy. I wanted another South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, but I got the filmic equivalent of that Rodney Dangerfield album with "Rappin' Rodney" on it.
3. Million Dollar Baby.
This movie seems to be just about every major critic's pick for the best film of the year. It has some genuinely great stuff and Morgan Freeman/Clint Eastwood is a truly classic duo, but the flaws are as gaping as Tera Patrick's sphincter. Both this and Mystic River featured a couple horrible performances that, to paraphrase the immortal Steve Carillo, stood out like a turd in a punch bowl. Marcia Gay Harden's troubled wife with an "unbearable burden" in Mystic River was hands down the most over the top piece of histrionic overacting I witnessed last year with my own two eyes. This time, it's some no-name teenager playing a lightweight with no shot at becoming a boxer who gets in on the act. His performance is supposed to be "comic," a bit of relief from the bleak surroundings that are the film's main narrative. However, he mistakes "comic" for "borderline retarded" and comes across like a lesser Terrytoons cast-off. His vocal stylings are one part Chuck Jones' Baby Bear, one part Nicolas Cage, and one part kid from Gigli. The stench from that performance can even be smelled in Northern Jersey. Hilary Swank's family is similarly cast and they deliver more out of place, ridiculous performances. Also, there are several very clichéd moments about adversity - and the narration, as per just about every book into film narration, sucks. The movie is also almost pointlessly grim at the end. It kind of makes you think Clint Eastwood would like to kill himself. All in all the film is a minor work with some major flaws by a sturdy director who doesn't seem to have sets his sights very high.
4. The Incredibles.
As you know, I thought Finding Nemo was the best movie to come out last year. I also love Iron Giant (Vin Diesel, Ted Rathke and all) as much as anyone. I just found this film off-putting. The middle section on the secret island is too boring by half, the climatic showdown is as mindless and rote as anything out of a Michael Bay film, the jokes were often too impressed with their own cleverness and the several of the characters were way more annoying than funny. In particular, the woman who designs the costumes needs to be erased from every hard drive that she exists on. She is the fucking Jar-Jar Binks of Pixar. God, she sucked. She's the CGI Aunt May. Anyways, the children (Speedy and Mopey) were annoying as shit and I was basically rooting for Jason Lee the entire time. The little boy in particular needed to be slapped around with vigorous backhanded slaps. Also, the Ayn Rand, will-to-power politics of the whole thing were kind of fucked up. Unfortunately, the movie seemed to be inadvertently making the kind of social Darwinist "let me be as powerful as I want and stop suing me!" arguments that conservatives constantly use to bait their opponents. I will admit that Cars seems like it will undoubtedly make me look back at The Incredibles fondly. Also, the short before it (Hopity Hop Hop? Jumpin' Jamboree? I can't remember) was really kind of pathetic. Strangely so.
In summation: Miracle, baby! What team do you play for?
Love, Dexter Wynn.
- christopher funderburg, January 2005
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