2005: The Bottom 10

December 28, 2005
A thought by James Berardinelli

Bottom 10 lists are curious things. They're more fun to read than to produce. (Doing so requires the critic to peruse titles of which he/she would prefer not to be reminded.) They are often used to promote a critic's "message," with some Bottom 10s containing not the worst films, but the most disappointing, or ones that were most badly conceived, or something else. Finally, these lists are constrained by what the critic has seen, and many of us are apt to avoid titles that could have a prominent position.

My view of a Bottom 10 list is simple: the ten films I liked least of all those I saw in 2005. I do not make statements. As is my tradition, I present these in reverse order of badness, so that #1 (the worst) appears last.

#10: Into the Blue - Eye candy that could threaten brain damage. One could argue that the sight of Jessica Alba in a bikini for 2/3 of the running length is worth the pain, but I'd rather stare at a picture. Nothing is worth enduring a plot this dumb and acting this bad.

#9: Hide and Seek - Proof that more than a good cast (Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning) is needed to make a good movie. For improvement, all this production needed was a new script. Hide and Seek was one of a number of really bad 2005 horror films.

#8: Doom - Movies based on video games don't get much worse than this. With this kind of thing as a demonstration of the value of games to critics like Roger Ebert, no wonder he thinks gaming is a waste of time. Watching something like this certainly is.

#7: White Noise - 2005's worst supernatural horror film. It makes no sense whatsoever, causing one to wonder if it went into production without a completed script. One of the great mysteries of the movie is how the producers acquired the services of Michael Keaton. Is he that hard up for cash?

#6: Just Friends - How bad can romantic comedies get? Here's a good example. It's a tedious bore, filled with jokes that don't work, actors who don't act, and romance creepier than that between a brother and a sister. I suppose it's passable as a date movie, provided you keep your attention firmly on your companion and not on the screen.

#5: Bewitched - It takes a really bad movie for me to make a statement like "they raped the TV show." This movie manages to elevate the quality of a lackluster TV series to Olympian heights by comparison. It also makes me question how funny Will Ferrell actually is. "Uneven" is probably the best word I can arrive at for his talents.

#4: Miss Congeniality 2 - WHY?????

#3: Dukes of Hazzard - Just when I was ready to crown Betwitched as the worst big screen TV adaptation, along comes The Dukes of Hazzard, an astoundingly bad motion picture experience that had me considering walking out nearly every other minute. Some will tout Jessica Simpson as a reason to see the film, but she looks... well... plastic. At least I got an offbeat review out of this one.

#2: Devil's Rejects, The - Offensive, pretentious, and sickening. Those three categories, in combination, do not make for a good horror/thriller. I found The Devil's Rejects to be almost unwatchable. I know it has a small cult following but, judging by e-mails sent to me from card-carrying members, I wouldn't want to meet any of them in person.

#1: A Hole in My Heart - Most people didn't get a chance to see this film, because it opened only in limited U.S. release and hasn't yet seen the light of day on DVD (and hopefully never will). I don't often use the word "hate" to describe a movie, but it applies here. When the film's high point is one character vomiting into the mouth of another, you know you're in trouble. If I ever put myself through the torture of coming up with an all-time Worst 10 list, A Hole in My Heart would make the cut. I'm more stingy about handing out zero-star ratings than I am four-star ratings, but this movie is deserving.

Now, on to better things...