As the year draws to a close, here's my list of mankind's worst cinematic atrocities of all time, updated for the new year.
10. Witless Protection (2008)
9. Redline (2007)
Larry the Cable Guy returns for another comic misadventure as a small town sheriff who unwittingly gets involved in a high profile FBI case in Lionsgate’s new comedy, Witless Protection. During a... Larry the Cable Guy returns for another comic misadventure as a small town sheriff who unwittingly gets involved in a high profile FBI case in Lionsgate’s new comedy, Witless Protection. During a routine day spent patrolling his small town, Larry witnesses a beautiful, high-class woman, Madeleine, being held against her will by four mysterious, black-suited men. Recognizing the opportunity to save the day, Larry “kidnaps” her, only to learn that Madeleine is actually a key witness in a high-stakes Chicago crime case and her captors are FBI agents assigned to protect her. Madeleine is furious. But Larry, who rightly suspects the agents are crooked and Madeleine is in danger, forces her on a harebrained trip to Chicago to solve the case himself. Together, the hilariously mismatched duo must grapple with angry FBI agents, quack doctors and Chicago high society in his funniest, most unpredictable adventure yet.
8. 3 Strikes (2000)
REDLINE, starring Nathan Phillips, Nadia Bjorlin, Angus Macfadyen. This action-thriller is about love amidst greed, speed and primal desires. A gorgeous young automobile fanatic and front to the... REDLINE, starring Nathan Phillips, Nadia Bjorlin, Angus Macfadyen. This action-thriller is about love amidst greed, speed and primal desires. A gorgeous young automobile fanatic and front to the hottest unsigned band on the West coast finds herself caught up in illegal drag-racing competitions organized for the pleasure of a bunch of bored billionaires. --© Chicago Pictures
7. Strange Wilderness (2008)
This action-packed comedy follows a two time criminal (Hooks) who is already in trouble with the law. Threatened with serving a life sentence if he's convicted a third time, he commits to going straight and narrow. It isn't long before trouble finds him once again when an acquaintance of his shoots at a police officer. Mistaken for his accomplice, he must fight for survival while thinking of a way to prove his innocence. Music producer -- and co-writer of the sleeper hit Friday -- Pooh's debut as a director is fast, fresh, and filled with laughs.
6. Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 (2004)
Steve Zahn leads a ragtag crew of wasted nature documentarians deep into the Ecuadorian forest on a quest for the legendary Bigfoot. Constantly being rousted for their drunken ineptitude and ill-informed voiceover narrations, the boys need a break to boost their ratings and Bigfoot might be it; all they have to do is remember to load the camera and not get eaten (especially by a certain turkey). Allen Covert, SUPERBAD's Jonah Hill, Justin Long, and Kevin Heffernan are the crew. Harry Hamlin is a rival bigfoot tracker. Ashley Scott (INTO THE BLUE) provides the ubiquitous foxy babe interest. Ernest Borgnine, Robert Patrick, and Joe Don Baker show up in bit parts. A sort of low-rent LIFE AQUATIC, WILDERNESS is such a fall-down farce that viewers might forget they're not cracking jokes while watching ANIMAL PLANET with their cronies instead of seeing a real movie, but maybe that's a good thing. Former SNL scribe Fred Wolf (JOE DIRT) directs, keeping it as ramshackle and rough around the edges as the law will allow. STRANGE WILDERNESS may not be pretty, but it earns a load of laughs through its sheer mullet-headed recklessness.
5. National Lampoon's Gold Diggers (2004)
Baby Geniuses 2: Superbabies is the sequel to Baby Geniuses starring Kathleen Turner and Christopher Lloyd, whose characters secretly worked to crack the code to “baby talk,” a highly sophisticated language that allows babies to communicate their innate knowledge of the secrets of the universe. In Baby Geniuses 2: Superbabies, the adventure continues with a new generation of talking toddlers. This time, the baby geniuses find themselves at the center of a nefarious scheme led by powerful media mogul Bill Biscane (Jon Voight). Joining the babies in their battle against evil is a legendary baby named Kahuna (Leo, Myles and Gerry Fitzgerald). Part ultra-cool spy, part superhero, Kahuna joins babies Archie (Michael & Max Iles), Finkleman (Jordan & Jared Scheideman), Alex (Joshua & Maxwell Lockhart) and Rosita (Keana & Maia Bastidas) in a race against time to stop the villainous Biscane from using his state-of-the-art satellite system to control the minds of the world’s population. -- © Sony Pictures Entertainment
4. King's Ransom (2005)
National Lampoon's Gold Diggers explores the misadventures of two completely incompetent con men, who, in desperation, turn their attention to the art of gold digging. First time director Gary Preisler directs the cast of Will Friedle (BOY MEETS WORLD), Chris Owen (AMERICAN PIE 1 and 2), Nikki Ziering (AMERICAN WEDDING), Louise Lasser (REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) and Renee Taylor (THE NANNY, ALFIE). Cal (Friedle) and Lenny (Owen) are two con men who dream of the fabled “good life” that includes big bucks, cool parties, fast cars and hot women, especially dream girl Charlene (Ziering). After a string of failed robbery attempts including a purse snatching that goes terribly wrong, Cal and Lenny turn to gold digging. Their scheme is to marry the aging and inseparable Mundt sisters, Doris (Lasser) and Betty (Taylor), who the boys met after unsuccessfully trying to mug them. While courting the women in hopes of inheriting their Beverly Hills estate, Cal and Lenny learn that the sisters' apparent fortune came from their father's innovative use of a sausage casing back in the 20s, which resulted in the world's first condom. Unbeknownst to Cal and Lenny, the Mundt sisters have lost their condom fortune, are now destitute, and are only marrying the guys so that they can knock off their young suitors and collect on their new, generous life insurance policies. Within weeks the couples are wed, culminating in an absurdly comical honeymoon night. Once the honeymoon is over, and Cal and Lenny come out from hiding, they find themselves in a living hell. Betty and Doris are in much better shape, with much stronger libidos, than they could have ever imagined. In short, the sisters won't be dying any time soon. If they are ever going to inherit the estate and wind up with the life they've so badly dreamed of, the guys will have to speed up the Mundt sisters' natural aging process. The sisters, using their new copy of “Murder for Dummies”, need to get rid of the guys before Cal and Lenny realize that they have once again been duped. After a series of mangled murder attempts, Cal and Lenny, Betty and Doris wind up getting exactly what they had hoped for; LOVE, SEX, MONEY AND HAPPINESS – just not in the way they expected. In the end, after a series of unexpected developments, the now wealthy Cal spends a glorious night with his dream girl Charlene. With a roaring fireplace, a bearskin rug, his dream girl and a mansion, Cal has everything he's dreamed of, while Charlene quietly begins to make her own gold digging plans for Cal's newly acquired fortune.
3. Pinocchio (2002)
Anthony Anderson sheds his usual sidekick status, heading up the ensemble cast as Malcolm King, a boorish, egomaniacal billionaire who owns a huge, equally tasteless marketing firm in Chicago. The cocky businessman is quickly established as the kind of character audiences love to hate, insulting underlings with glee and emitting crass vulgarities whenever he opens his mouth. His lovable secretary Miss Gladys (Loretta Devine) tries to keep him in line, while his uber-ditz of an administrative assistant, Peaches (Regina King, SCARY MOVIE), keeps him satisfied. Kellita Smith (THE BERNIE MAC SHOW) plays Malcolm's gold-digging wife, who is sleeping with her hunky, though stuttering, pool boy (Roger Cross) while seeking a hefty divorce settlement. The cast is rounded out by Angela (Nicole Ari Parker, SOUL FOOD), the temporary VP who is passed up for the job in favor of the boss's mistress, and Corey (Jay Mohr, LAST COMIC STANDING), a loser who lives in his grandmother's basement; his gang banger sister intimidates him into taking part in criminal activities. Resentments toward King abound, and soon everyone gets the same idea: kidnap Malcolm, take him for all he's worth, and teach him a valuable lesson. Even the big man himself decides to orchestrate his own kidnapping, in order to throw a wrench in the plans of his wife's lawyer. A cacophony of mistaken identities, misunderstandings, and general mayhem ensues, during which time the supporting cast is given a chance to shine; in particular, Jay Mohr deftly handles a violent run-in with a fast food worker with hilarious results. Donald Faison (SCRUBS) and Charlie Murphy (CHAPPELLE'S SHOW) also turn in stellar performances, as a randy parking attendant and a growling ex-con on the down low.
2. One Missed Call (2008)
Roberto Benigni (LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL) brings Carlo Collodi's classic children's story to life in this big budget live-action adaptation. Gepetto (Carlo Guiffre), a humble toy maker, fashions a marionette out of a log that has miraculously appeared on his doorstep. After wishing upon a star that his creation, Pinocchio (Benigni), would come to life, Gepetto's wish is granted by the beautiful Blue Fairy (Nicoletta Braschi). The only condition is that Pinocchio must prove his valor, and be completely honest at all times, in order to become a real boy. Unfortunately, this isn't easy for the enthusiastic puppet, who seems to find trouble everywhere he turns. After a long, tumultuous journey, in which Pinocchio is accosted by two corrupt thieves, turned into a donkey, and swallowed by a shark, Pinocchio is reunited with his father, setting up a final challenge that will prove once and for all if Pinocchio has the heart to become a real boy. Benigni's follow-up to the Oscar-winning LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL is a crowd-pleasing fantasy film, featuring beautiful cinematography from Dante Spinotti (HEAT, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL). The American release boasts the voices of actors Breckin Meyer, Glenn Close, and John Cleese.
1. Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002)
In the tradition of THE RING, THE GRUDGE, DARK WATER, and PULSE, ONE MISSED CALL is yet another moody Japanese ghost story to be adapted for American screens. Originally made by cult director Takashi Miike in 2003 from Yasushi Akimoto's novel CHAKUSHIN ARI, this American version retains the elements that are sure to please J-Horror fans--jerky apparitions, ghostly children, desperate messages from beyond the grave, possessed electronic devices, and strong female characters. While this remake, which is the debut English-language film from French director Eric Valette, dispenses with some of the freakiness of Miike's version, the creepiness remains. Shannon Sossamon is Beth, a developmental psychology student who has plenty of cause for concern after her friend Leann (Azura Skye) receives a panicked cell phone message from herself days in the future. After Leann falls in front of a train at the same date and time on the message, Beth suspects that she may be next. Beth's fear seems even more justified after her friend Taylor (Ana Claudia Talancon) befalls a similar fate as her phone message is being investigated by a reality TV host (Ray Wise) who specializes in unexplained phenomena. With the help of police chief Jack Andrews (Ed Byrnes), Beth discovers a link between the calls and a deceased mother and daughter. A slow burning ghost tale, ONE MISSED CALL establishes a mood of creepiness before the opening credits and sustains it right through to the conclusion. Instead of major shocks or gore, we're given subtle glimpses of ghostly figures or slightly distorted faces that are effective in creating unease. Sossamon makes a pleasing heroine, and the always excellent Wise makes the most of his small role. Almost old-fashioned in its restraint, the film is a good candidate for family viewing--and spooky enough to give all but the most jaded horror fan goose bumps
In the mystifying opening sequence of BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER, a double kidnapping takes place on a rainy night in Vancouver with a minimal amount of wasted time and a maximum amount of violence.... In the mystifying opening sequence of BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER, a double kidnapping takes place on a rainy night in Vancouver with a minimal amount of wasted time and a maximum amount of violence. A little boy is picked up at the airport by his mother (Talisa Soto), whose car is stopped minutes later by thugs who steal the boy and say they're taking him to his father. Rounding the corner, the thugs see a car explode in front of them, and a dump truck smashes into a wall of other cars, spraying fire. A hooded martial arts expert takes out the thugs with some impressive kicks and swirls, then grabs the boy and leaves. Secret agent Sever (Lucy Liu) is the kidnapper here, an angry, heavily armed nut who literally goes ballistic for unknown reasons. Using automatic weapons and other highly explosive artillery, she annihilates at least a hundred policeman in the next scene, outside a shopping mall. A retired secret agent, Ecks (Antonio Banderas), is the only man who can stop her, and when he does--temporarily--the two join forces against the real culprit, Robert Gant (Gregg Henry). Gant has crafted a dangerous assassination weapon that triggers death at the push of a button once it is injected into its victim's bloodstream. And that weapon is living inside the little boy. To save him, and stop the weapon from being used again, Ecks and Sever must get Gant. BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER is a super-violent nonstop action extravaganza with a high-octane musical score by Don Davis. It is directed by Kaos.
Yup. B:EvsS remains throned. But don't let me have all the fun. Why don't we all celebrate the tail-end of 2009 by throwing out our top-ten worst movie lists?