Earlier this week I doled out my picks for the top films of 2009 and the decade, and today offer a far more dubious distinction. I saw sixty movies last year, and the below ten are the worst of the worst. Unsurprisingly, this list was easier to compile, but is accented by far more sour memories. Each pick includes a hyperlink to my original reviews where applicable. Grab a clothes pin and enjoy.
10. Public Enemies
I've never heard a film released with worse audio-editing. That the visuals are marked by ugly and overblown digital noise is the icing on the cake for this Michael Mann snoozer. I wasn't keeping track, but I think "Public Enemies" may hold a personal record for most sideways-phone-glances.
9. World's Greatest Dad
A hilariously dark premise is all but ruined by Bobcat Goldthwait's unfocused screenplay and amateurish direction. Like this year's "Observe and Report," some will call any transgressive comedy great based on gall alone, but "World's Greatest Dad" crescendos to a sappy ending that totally undercuts the tone.
This blisteringly over-long exercise in melodrama is further proof that Zack Snyder makes the world's least-articulate comic book films. I'll be the first to admit the opening montage is awesome, but the rest of the film is nigh indescipherable to anyone who hasn't read the novel. Fan service is one thing, directing a film is another.
7. The Hangover
I've waged war on this film ever since sitting through it stone-faced last June. It's popularity baffles and infuriates me. The premise gives the writers essentially free reign to write any comic scenario they choose, and they settle for half-baked celebrity cameos and animal gags.
6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I remember probably a combined two minutes of this film.
5. Everybody's Fine
Even as tepid family dramas go, "Everybody's Fine" is bad. Its charcters are cardboard surrogates for human beings, and the only thing more laughable than their supposed 'problems' are the ridiculous lengths they go to cover them up. It's hard not to feel bad for the neutered shell of Robert DeNiro in the lead.
4. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
2009's dumbest summer blockbuster (if only by a hair), the second "Transformers" film seems to take every flaw of its predecessor and expand upon it, with bludgeoning action, transparent characters, and a plot that moves just slightly faster than the speed of logic.
"Humpday" is an indie comedy built on "hilarious" performances and improvised "dialogue," but mostly succeeds in delivering an unintentionally dislikable protagonist and one of the most anticlimactic endings of all time.
2. Terminator Salvation
"Transformers" may have been the dumbest blockbuster of the summer, but "Terminator: Salvation" was the worst. The high-contrast look of the film saps not only the color from the franchise, but any and all traces of fun. I challenge anyone to explain to me who was doing what and why over the course of this pretentiously operatic, testosterone-drunk mess.
1. The Twilight Saga: New Moon
I'd feel guilty about this choice if I hadn't actually sat through it. I know it seems like a fanboy gimme, but I can assure you first-hand that "Twilight: New Moon" is every bit as awful as you've heard. Objectively, there isn't an ounce of legitimate craftmanship on display in the film, which lies somewhere between an oozingly depressive highschool sob-circle and soft-core male pornography. I may not have bought a ticket, but I overpaid.