OMG, this was a stupendous year for amazingly terrible movies! What with the return of Indiana Jones, a movie version of the most ridiculous musical ever, and a big budget historical epic FROM THE STONE AGE, I barely had time to keep up with every appalling thing released this year.
In no particular order, the best worst movies I experienced this year are as follows:
I watched the trailer for this movie months ahead of its release. When it finally mammoth-stampeded into theaters, my sister and I were there on opening night. D’Leh, the protagonist, is a mysteriously Aryan man in a world full of ambiguously ethnic and indubitably evil tribal peoples; his true love, despite her lovely tan, also sports a pointed nose and sandy brown dreads. Geography and history are no obstacle for this film, as D’Leh travels across prehistoric landmasses to proto-Egypt, where exotic despots build pyramids roughly 7,000 years before the earliest pyramids had been dreamed up by Imhotep (thank you, wiki). Oh, and on the way D’Leh helps a sub-Saharan tribe invent agriculture 3,000 years ahead of schedule. What troubles me most is that other people in the theater snickered while Rachel and I giggled. I hope they didn’t think it was based on a true story.
Technicolor glittery dizzies-inducing mayhem. Glistening bods of young things, flirtations, azure waters, scando-pop and dancing. The only thing that doesn’t work is the aging and over-weight former love of my life, Colin Firth. 😦
Synecdoche, New York
Another mindfuck from film’s most famous fucker Charlie Kaufman. In league with pomo masters like Delillo, this film flinchingly, defenselessly winds through your nightmares and the impending scenes of your decay, all the while reminding you that all your shit is just an infinitesimal speck in the seething mass of human chaos and absurdity. This fact is either very comforting or very horrifying, or both. Without the whimsy of Gondry at his side, Kaufman goes all dark and there is no relenting from these 2 hours of artful, marvelous despair.
CGI Vomit (aka Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull & [same dif] The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor)
Cate Blanchett’s campy reprisal of From Russia With Love’s BDSM Russian officer is the the highlight of Indiana Jones. Besides that, even liberals can’t be that shocked by Indiana Jones’ imperial conceptions of cultural progress and anthropology, because none of his movies really take a hard look at current politics. Ancient stuff always releases ancient evil and and aids Nazis, or Bolsheviks, or some other distant, irrelevant threat. On the other hand, the third in the Mummy franchise is perhaps the most blatant anti-China propaganda I have seen in a movie. Dragon Emperor (Jet Li) dooms his enemies to hold up the Great Wall of China for all eternity. He comes back to life and so does his zombie army when benevolent sorceresses wake him up for some reason or another. Lines ensue about the Chinese people’s greed for land and resources and inherent need for authoritarian government. Politics aside, I think both of these movies should serve as the warning shot heard around the movie industry: CGI IS MAKING YOU LAZY, LAZY, LAZY. Big budget action movies used to look a lot better than these two, even if they made as little sense.
What are other worst/best movies I’m forgetting?