For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And so the saying goes. So, for as many good films that grace the silver screen there are plenty that make you wish you never paid for your ticket. Of course bad cinema can be a great thing. It’s the train wreck theory. You’d never want to be a part of such a catastrophe, but there’s something instinctual about witnessing something so horrid, so ghastly bad that it’s just extremely pleasurable. Of course my list of the worst films of the year aren’t fun at all. These are films that are so bad they’re awful. If you want to see a good bad movie watch "Snakes on a Plane" or the best bad movie ever made, "Showgirls." But if you can, whatever you do, don’t even think about renting any of the following films. Witness at your own risk my list of 2006’s worst films:
LADY IN THE WATER - This movie is so bad that I can almost taste my stomach lining as it attempts to force its way up my esophagus. This is a horrid miscalculation on every level and I blame its pretentious director M. Night Shayamalan. The film begins with a stupid animated sequence that sets up the film’s story, but who cares? Even this opening can’t help us make sense of the atrocities that follow. Paul Giamatti and Bryce Dallas Howard are at their worst as a stuttering apartment superintendent and sea nymph respectively. This supposedly scary fairy tale makes you realize that perhaps getting that root canal you desperately need might be slightly more entertaining.
THE BLACK DAHLIA – Is it true? Has this film actually been nominated for an Academy Award? Apparently the camerawork is worthy of an award but no one else connected to this mess is. There is a lot of talented people here but unfortunately they left their talent at home. This film, which is supposedly about the infamous murder of what the LA press called “the Black Dahlia,” commits two cinematic sins: being boring and confusing. Atrocious performances by Hilary Swank, Aaron Eckhart, Josh Hartnett and Scarlett Johansson don’t help either. It takes way too long to get into the story and by the time it does we realize that maybe we should of just stayed home.
LITTLE MAN - There are plenty of bad comedies that are good. It’s just too easy to brand a comedy as a piece of cinematic trash. Of course there are plenty of bad comedies that are just plain bad. Take "Little Man" for instance. It’s horrendously awful. Now, if you know me at all, then you’ll realize I must sound like a hypocrite. I enjoy some of the worst movies ever. I could watch the Mary Katherine Gallagher flick "Superstar" all day long. I loved the Wayans’ brother previous effort "White Chicks." I also display all four "Scary Movie" DVDs on my movie shelf. Now, as a lover of really bad comedies, let me steer you away from attempting to watch this horrid movie. Marlon Wayans’ head on a little person’s body is funny for about .78 seconds. A brief appearance by Molly Shannon as a soccer mom driving a minivan isn’t even worth the price of a rental.
PULSE – God strike me dead if one more PG-13 rated Japanese horror film adaptation is made! Whoever thought that a goof film could be made about the Internet being a scary portal for evil spirits to come through is out of their mind. I can’t believe horror master Wes Craven is actually a credited writer of the horrid attempt at movie making. The film stars Lost’s Ian Somerhaulder and Veronica Mars’ Kristen Bell as young adults attempting to figure out the mystery Bell's friend’s strange suicide. Speaking of suicide, this film will make you run out to the hardware store and buy a rope…
FREEDOMLAND – This very bad attempt to be as socially aware as last year’s Oscar-winning “Crash” is horribly wrong-headed from the very beginning. Julianne Moore gives a terrible performance as a woman whose car is supposedly stolen by a Black man. Samuel L. Jackson plays the cop who helps her. Oh, and then she remembers her kid was in the backseat. Yes, then suddenly she remembers her kid was in the car. Oh and then they quarantine an entire poor Black community in an attempt to find the culprit. This ridiculous film makes you want to watch “Crash” just to get the bad taste out of your mouth.
MAN OF THE YEAR – This is certainly not the movie of the year by any standards. What a complete waste of Robin Williams’ manic comic style. He plays a Jon Stewart-like TV host who decides to run for president when an audience member suggests he run. Low and behold he wins, but it’s because of a computer glitch in what is supposed to be a side plot which ends up making the audience roll their eyes every other second. This wildly unbalanced attempt at satire and thriller is laughable at best. Barry Levinson should be forced to give his directing Oscar back.
MIAMI VICE – How could this film, from Michael Mann, be one of the worst films of the year? Watch it and find out. It’s all about expectations. Hot off of “Collateral” both Mann and Jamie Foxx shockingly disappoint. And yes Colin Farrel stinks too. This film which has a cool style has been sucked dry of any fun. The storyline is nearly incomprehensible. And about twenty minutes into it, you realize it’s not going to get any better.
YOU, ME & DUPREE – This movie is way too easy to make fun of, so I’ve decided to be nice. Owen Wilson becomes the third wheel to newly married Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson. Dupree as he’s named, is obnoxious but we’re supposed to feel sorry for him and like him. Of course we only like him when he’s getting hit by moving vehicles. The characters never make rational decisions which add to the frustrations. If you want your IQ to be lower, check this out.
THE BREAK-UP – Vince Vaughn has never been more annoying than he is here. We’re supposed to buy that he and Jennifer Aniston are a real couple. And they are…oh wait that didn’t work out did it? But I digress… this is supposed to be funny but it ends up being sappy and presents us with overly sadistic fights between the leads. If you can’t get enough of your best friends’ obnoxious bickering then “The Break-Up” is for you.
SCARY MOVIE 4 – I gave this film a D+ when I reviewed it. It’s a horrible movie. It makes the other films in the franchise look like Oscar winners. I’m such a huge "Scary Movie" fan that I was shocked at how poor it really is. How did David Zucker of the ZAZ team actually make this? Of course on repeat viewings (ok so sue me, I bought the DVD used) it began to grow on me, due mainly to the fact that I think Anna Faris is hysterical. (If it were up to me she would be cast in every movie ever made. I mean she’s in "Brokeback Mountain" for God’s sake!) This movie is by no means good and I can’t recommend it to anyone, but on the occasion I find myself wanting to indulge just a little. Judge for yourself.
Scroll down for my list of the Best Films of 2006!