The Electric Grapevine | Top 10 Worst Films of the Decade Vol. 2 | 01.17.10
In true Tarantino fashion I’m back with Volume 2:
Burn After Reading
The Cohen Brothers’ follow up to the epic saga that was No Country For Old Men was in my opinion the weakest film the deft filmmaking brothers have made. I actually got so mad upon the first viewing I went back in to the theatre to make sure I really disliked the film as much as I thought. With the exception of the always reliable David Rasche and J.K. Simmons, this film was devoid of character or likeable characters for that matter.
The film simply had no one to root for. The all star cast of Clooney, Pitt and McDormand must have been given one line of backstory for each character as they winged their ways through the tepid script with half hearted caricatures. The film was plainly a project that was greenlit from the still burning embers of No Country’s red hot tear through the awards season as I cannot see any other way in which this film would see the light of day.
Anything Nicolas Cage Starred In
The former method acting genius could do no wrong whether he headlined a 100 million dollar Michael Bay film or poured his heart into a small indie feature. In the 00’s though something went wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. We, the audience, were subjected to an astoundingly poor string of films with very few highlights outside of “The Weather Man” and “Lord of War.” Sporting one ridiculous hairstyle after another, Cage opted to torture fans of his previous work with efforts such as “The Wicker Man, Next, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” and so on. “The Wicker Man” was immediately enshrined in the Unintentionally Funny Classics category due to his character’s bizarre behavioir that included punching pilgram women in the face whilst dressed as a bear and yelling at people arbitrarily. I was pleased to see Cage’s method efforts at work in the recently released Bad Lieutenant but I was stunned to see the microphone in frame no less than a dozen times thus ruining the film entirely. Cage famously had teeth removed sans anesthetic for the love of his craft, he must have felt it was time to return that pain to the audience.
Star Wars Parts 1 and 2
While the second trilogy did have its followers, general consensus was that the originals as usual, were far superior. I’m not going to pretend to be an avid follower. I liked the originals and appreciate them for their ingenuity and history but I didn’t even wait in line at the theatre for the latest installments. Many did however and many were disappointed in the CGI laden films. For overall all disappointment and sheer volume of dissatisfied fans, Star Wars makes the list.
Submerged is the black sheep on this list. It’s a Steven Seagal film for god sakes. It is, however, perhaps home to one of the most absurd attempts at filmmaking ever, anywhere in any time period. This gem seems to be the by-product of two failed direct to video efforts by the quintessential thespian himself. One plot involving over throwing a dictator is fused with one involving alien like beings acting as the villains. Neither is explored nor explained. The presence of a “CG” shot consisting of a spyplane made literally of paper plates and tin cans lands this film on this list. I have never replayed a shot so many times in my life. I swear to you this film is worth renting for this one shot alone and lucky for you it appears early in this cinematic nightmare. When the villains’ photo is shown as a motivator for the invincible Seagal character, he appears wearing exactly the same clothes as his mugshot. What should be a climactic scene with British martial arts expert Gary Daniels results in the untouched Seagal stabbing him in the head with a knife and declaring “That’s too bad,” totally out of context.
I’ve saved this one for last as I know how many people adore this film because they’ve been told to. The Departed bugged me on numerous levels from the casting to the silly little “Family Guy” like cutaway shots that shouldn’t be in a film of this caliber. When explaining the plan to a colleague that involves obtaining microchips, do we really need the actors to pause as we cut to a static photo of Acme microchips? Where’s Peter Griffin? He may have blended in better than the cruise control version of Jack Nicholson that we got. Not since the early nineties have I watched a film and actually seen a character with Nicholson. I simply see Jack the same as I would on the sidelines at Staples Center. Even DeNiro in coast mode has more depth. A scene involving a conversation between Jack and Martin Sheen was so plainly stitched together on different days that it lost all of the tense momentum that lead up to it. Can we not schedule both actors for the same day for the films’ only real confrontation between the two veterans?
The Best Parts of The Wicker Man