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 V.18 No.1 | January 1 - 7, 2009 

Reel World

An American Carol.   Poor Jon Voigt.
An American Carol. Poor Jon Voigt.

The 10 Worst Films of 2008

An American Carol
You know what poor, beleaguered right-wing demagogues needed this fall? A petty, liberal-bashing, slapstick parody of A Christmas Carol from the guy who made Airplane! With a cameo by Bill O'Reilly!

Fernando Meirelles really biffed it after City of God and The Constant Gardener. This rank adaptation of José Saramago’s apocalyptic novel bludgeoned viewers with its smug parable about how human beings suck and are mean.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale.   Poor Burt Reynolds.
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Poor Burt Reynolds.
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
This ridiculous documentary aped the worst habits of filmmaker Michael Moore in an utterly facile attempt to make “Intelligent Design” sound intelligent. Laughable but forgivable until shots of Ben Stein looking over the ruins of Nazi extermination camps and equating the Holocaust with Darwinian evolution. Ick.

Mister Lonely.   Poor Michael Jackson. Wait a minute, that’s not Michael Jackson.
Mister Lonely. Poor Michael Jackson. Wait a minute, that’s not Michael Jackson.
You can't fault the economics of it. This measly $500,000 film grossed more than $30 million at the box office--proving that Jesus-loving filmgoers are desperate for anything remotely Christian in nature. Too bad they were stuck with this hysterical melodrama about a fireman who undergoes a 30-day “love challenge” to save his foundering marriage. Turns out the guy didn’t need Jesus, he just needed to get off his lazy ass and do the dishes every once in a while. Even Buddhists can figure that one out.

The Happening
The thing about a happening is that something actually happens. Ten years after his breakout hit and M. Night Shyamalan is still trafficking in portentous whispered dialogue, silly interpersonal melodrama and endless shots of people looking at something that might or might not be really, really freaky. In this instance, decidedly not.

The Hottie & the Nottie
God bless the studio executive who spared filmgoers outside New York and L.A. this rancid Paris Hilton “comedy” about an allegedly sexy chick and her fugly friend, who--surprise, surprise--turns out to be good looking after a makeover.

In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
Thank you, Uwe Boll, for making this part of my job so easy every year. Burt Reynolds as a medieval king? Hilarious, man! Keep up the shitty work.

Mister Lonely
It’s not just that Harmony Korine (Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy) is bat-shit insane, it’s that his writing/directing projects have degenerated into self-indulgent, Diane Arbus-style chronicles of weirdoes, losers and possible schizophrenics. This puzzling freakshow ought to be compelling evidence at his commitment hearing.

Over Her Dead Body
One of the most prescient titles of the year, describing the conditions under which this painfully derivative Eva Longoria Parker ghost comedy would become a hit.

Witless Protection
With Bush out of the White House, can we please now declare an end to Larry the Cable Guy’s career?


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