The Divine Sunshine of 2009 was a fine wine marred by that Flu of Swine, defaulting credit lines and many an opine over mine beer stein.
Don't worry, I have no intention of rhyming this whole thing like a deranged post-millennium Dr. Seuss!
There have been great surprises (or, at least, things that sucked less than they could have) and startling debuts, but then again, we're still being marred by a gaggle of Bad Horror Remakes! I did get my Friday the 13th and Halloween reviews, not to mention the Christmas Turkey and Thanksgiving Turkey all in on time! On the other hand, for the last quarter of this year, that's just about all that was posted!
Taking the good with the bad and the indifferent we're looking at the ass-end of this decade with hopefully a better viewpoint than any given ASS END of anything! Sometimes it seems that the bigger your heart and smile, the bigger your disappointment when things don't work quite as well as clearly should when everything has been going your way...
The good news is that WorldsGreatestCritic.com is still around, still anything but corporate and still unique among the gaggle of online review schlock hoisters. The bad news is that I now have a veritable ARMY of independent film directors who would love to see me decapitated for still failing to review their films after all their hard work.
So in the spirit of freeing me up to get to their warp-asylumed BRAIN CHILDREN, let's waste no more time and get right to the CRUD FEST known as...
The Bottom 9 of 2009!
- Halloween II:
It never ceases to amaze me how cult success in one area of the arts seems to automatically translate to the persistent attitude that an artist can do no wrong in any genre they try.
Take Rob Zombie for example (please). Ol' Robaroo built a great career for himself with edgy and humorous horror-type songs amplified by his garish (and often hilarious) scary artwork and a hell of a collection of samples from Classic Horror flicks! He famously had his first attempt as a writer/ director denied release and subsequently shelved, building its legend until its putrid waste-of-time was finally poured out across the Silver Screens all over the place. By then it seemed that Horror Fans just couldn't say a cross word about the man, so suddenly he's a "Director". If I had a nickel for every person who said to me how pleasantly surprised they were that his second film was a good, good movie, I could probably finance his third entry. Folks, it wasn't any good. It was a derivative rip-off hardly worth distributing (watch the movies he "borrowed" from if you must, but forget his condensed version). Neither film qualified him to remake Halloween!
Somehow, that's just what happened next. I have to give him credit, though... at least this one was an acknowledged remake, not yet another "HOMAGE"! Against his better judgment (and the wishes of critics everywhere), somehow Robo-Rob's next film was a sequel to said remake in the form of the boring and boorish Halloween II!
And, yes, yet again, kids everywhere are talking about how cool the film was. I'm not sure just when Cool was redefined to "Inconsistent", "Laughable", "Incomplete" and "Time-Wasting", but clearly that's part of it. The rest is the standard Startle-Cut rehash interspersed with some admittedly fantastic nudity, plenty of blood and dimly lit frames.
Good news, kids, that's all it takes to make a horror flick these days. Now we can ALL be directors... and if we find cult success with that, let's put out an album! Shit MARBLE, man!
- Readers who just don't "Get It":
Call me Butter, 'cause I'm on a ROLL!
I am loathe to have to point this out one more time, folks, but WorldsGreatestCritic.com is a COMEDY WEBSITE. Esoteric and often obscure, yes, but taking this site too seriously is like believing that every letter to Penthouse Forum is 100% true and factual (even the ones that end with "It was all just a dream... OR WAS IT?")!
With every year the readership gets larger, which means there seem to be more people who have no idea what to make of this site. Some of the most amazing emails I've ever received came in around Halloween of this year, mostly surrounding all those crazy Michael Myers reviews. One dimwitted reader pointed out that all the Halloween sequels sucked and, thus, I was a moron. Naturally, this confused me, considering the fact that I have filled the last several Halloween Days making fun of those same Halloween sequels... so wouldn't that make us like-minded and, thus, both morons?
Another timely missive came from yet another brainless buffoon who wanted to illustrate my lack of taste and vision by informing me just how much Halloween III sucked. Yes, Halloween III, the film that received Two Stars out of Five, the one I referred to as "Crappy Shalloween" and elaborated with "It all culminates in an ending that is almost as predictable as it is unbelievable. It takes a special somethin'-somethin' to manage to be both expected and hard to believe." Clearly some readers have difficulty with both blatant insults and sarcastic irony.
Now, folks, I don't mind being quoted, provided I'm credited, but I must say my favorite missed point of the year comes from an actual Wikipedia Article about the Video Nasty Madhouse which quoted possibly the only good thing I said about that damned movie as evidence that my review "praises the film"!
Folks, admitting something isn't as bad as it could have been is HARDLY praise on this or any other planet. What's next? Am I going to be accused of anti-Semitism for my Nazi-Bashing review of Inglourious Basterds? The mind boggles!
- Kanye "Ima let you Finish" West:
Rarely does a star get quite so full of himself that he not only does something incredibly rude, but also hands over Comedy Gold on a Golden Platter to just about anybody out there.
After South Park's successful mockery of Mr. "Hottest MC in the Game" (in the episode "Fishsticks"), I didn't think the man could look any sillier (especially once outed as a "Gay Fish"). Leave it to truth to be a Pinewood Derby-load stranger than fiction, because Kanye clowned his way into looking even sillier.
So impressed was West with Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (a song consisting of approximately three lyrics repeated somewhere around eight... hundred... million... times) that the second another song won "Best Female Video" at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, the Kanyenator stormed the stage, snatched the microphone from the victorious Taylor Swift and spewed out an impromptu diatribe about how Swift's "You Belong With Me" was inferior to his preferred choice, saying "Yo, Taylor... I'm really happy for you, Ima let you finish... but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.... One of the best videos of all time!"
As Taylor's smile turned to a frown and Beyonce went from shocked to embarrassed the crowd went from cheers to boos and Smilin' Kanye West went from boggarting the Mic to flipping off the audience (and ain't nobody "put a ring on" that bird). If only Kan'tye East had waited a few stupid minutes later, he would have seen Beyonce win the (Gender-Free) "Video of the Year". Alas, he had been kicked out of the ceremony by that time. To her infinite credit, the lovely Ms. Knowles needed no force to hand her microphone over to Taylor to allow her to finish her acceptance speech. I guess you missed that, too, huh, Kay-Dub?
After that, celebrities, bloggers, feuding rappers and moguls alike poured out their derision on Kanye's opinionated head and even President Barack Obama called him a "Jackass"!
While it's hard to imagine Kanye West looking like too much more of a douche than he did in 2009, I can hand him this... his ill-advised and uncalled for interruption did lead to "one of the best Internet Memes of all time.... One of the best Internet Memes of all time!"
To be honest, I wasn't sure whether to put him on the Worst list for being such an incredible little Butthole or on the Best list for inspiring this great nation to share such raucous laughter from East to... well... WEST! Now, Kanye, you gay fish, I have to ask... did you email me around Halloween of this year? Just asking!
- Friday the 13th (the Remake):
What in the world could be as bad (or worse) of a thing to happen to Horror Remakes than Rob Zombie? How about Michael Bay? At least Rob is trying... Bay and his army of dipshits at Platinum Dunes seem to be on a one-company mission to soil the memories of one classic horror series at a time. When the originals were good, these ass bags seem to be on a mission to make them horrible. When they were bad in the first place, Bay of Blood and his stooges seem intent on making them even worse.
This, of course, brings us to their latest pile of offense, Friday the 13th, the Remake! As if "reimagining" the Transformers saga (which only failed to appear on this list because I refused to watch the fucking thing) wasn't enough travesty for one year, the team who brought us the snooze fest that was the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake set about to pay minor lip service to the original 1980 Friday the 13th and rip off just about every one that came after it for a disconnected, distended and disoriented new vision rife with unintentional laughs and minimal scares.
Fortunately for anyone who has to sit through this foul Friday film fetish fest, the zero-charisma lead-heads at Splatinum Dooms did pack the film with some excellent... and I do mean EXCELLENT... nudity, which not only helped me stay in my seat, but actually gave me the against-my-better-judgment wherewithal to buy the damned thing on Blu Ray when it came out. I'm sweating just thinking about it. Speaking of which, folks, it's not as if making a decent Horror Remake is impossible. Look at this same year's My Bloody Valentine 3-D, which not only worked much better than this weekend snooze fest but had an equally compelling naked romp across the silver screen (in all three dimensions, no less).
You sickos have the budget and the raw materials and stranger things have been proven to work... so I have to ask... do you just hate horror films, guys? Maybe you hate films in general? Holy crap! The next forlorn film in their crosshairs, very sadly, just happens to be A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010), which, no doubt, will be ruined with great efficiency, just as we've come to expect from Mikey and his usual gang of parasitic pissants.
- The Last Remake on the Left:
I guess if Whoreywood is scraping the bottom of the filmic barrel enough to remake The Stepfather, someone was bound to get to The Last House on the Left as soon as humanly possible!
And get-to-it, someone most assuredly did. Surprisingly and strikingly, 2009's The Last House on the Left was among the most faithful remakes to come out of the this recent stain in the short-pants of cinema. This, however, is hardly a good thing, considering the original rather sucked creamed corn through a cheese grater! Truth be told, the remake is actually marginally better than the original. That said, it still sucks! I've seen better movies starring the homeless.
I would go on, but I quite simply have no more interest in doing so. If you want to see a good version of this same stolen story, please check out the excellent 1960 classic Jungfrukällan. If you still prefer the remake of the rip-off, you're on the wrong website, podnuh!
- Drag me to Hell:
Look, folks, I realize that I'm decidedly in the minority on this one and the fact that I've not only given this one a bad review but also labeled it as one of the Bottom 9 of '09 is probably as surprising to you as it is to me. But, hey, if you don't want surprises, go visit Ebert's website. He's a better writer than I am, yes, but I've got better hair!
Sam Raimi, along with his friends and family, has made a history (and legend) for himself of creating funny and adept horror films that are often as hilarious as they are deeply chilling. The buzz around Drag me to Hell as well as most of the reviews and fan responses indicated that this one was right up there with the best of Raimi's Evil Dead series.
Well, as Costello once said to Abbott, "One of us is NUTS!" I'm only praying it's me, because up until this past May I was prepared to give any one of the Raimi Brothers one of my Kidneys whether they needed one or NOT! After this silly symphony of a terror tale was released, I'm still wondering what in the name of God happened! The film would have us believe that an otherwise good and decent person can be damned to perdition for doing her job when just about everyone else around her is a complete asshole. Then when the final insult approaches, it not only happens anyway, but is also supposed to be kind of funny.
Yep, virtually everybody else loved the damned thing, but drag me to hell if I didn't find it to be in remarkably bad taste.
Michael Jackson's Death's Fallout's Fallout's Fallout's Fallout's Fallout's Fallout:
On June 25th of this year, singer, dancer, songwriter, entertainer, accused child molester, Jesus-Juice connoisseur, collector and plastic surgery aficionado Michael Joseph Jackson died due to a supposedly accidental overdose of pain medications administered by his personal physician (who is, at the time of this writing, under investigation for homicide).
The man had talent and the unprecedented outpouring of emotion from his legion of fans was proof that he truly had become a legend and "The King of Pop", as he called himself.
But that's not what I'm here to write about.
Immediately after he died the press was all over the man (after all, why should a little thing like sluffing off this mortal coil change a little thing like that). ALMOST immediately after the negative reactions started popping up reminding everyone (as if we needed reminding) that ol' Emm-Jay was accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor, that he may not have fathered his children, that he... well, you know all the other rumors.
But I'm not writing about that crap either.
Almost immediately after THAT, when the media frenzy became a firestorm, the fire-sale began and the same news outlets shifted from reporting about Jacko to reporting about the reports about Jacko... because the stories had become the story.
Now we're getting warmer.
I think what finally broke it for me was when an NPR commentator did a long, drawn out story, complete with quotes, sound bytes, drawn conclusions, personal information and ironically detailed data about every long, drawn out story, quote, sound byte, conclusion, personal information and detail. He played portions of Mikey's daughter's impassioned speech at the man's funeral to prove his point that the media needed to stop playing portions of Mikey's daughter's impassioned speech at the man's funeral. And it went on and on like that... and the guy wasn't even trying to make a sarcastic joke about the media. Like all the rest, he was as officious, sanctimonious and self-important as every other commentator who was cashing in on Jackson's death by bitching about the cash-ins on Jackson's death.
Shut the eff-you-see-kay UP, pal! You're RIGHT in line, you idiot.
I'd go on, but then I'd be even more guilty of the same damned thing. I'd hate to become an entry on my own SHIT list. Look, folks, the difference between my dumb ass and their dumb asses is that at least I'm not missing my own point. And that I've got significantly better hair than they do! And a cooler tattoo. And nicer abs. And the bluest eyes you've ever seen.
And... and modesty. I could go on for HOURS about my modesty!
- When Pigs Fly? Well... SWINE FLU!:
What, am I scraping the bottom of the barrel for the WORST list by putting a "Virus" on the list? OOOH, Edgy! Kneumsi thinks Pandemics suck! Finally someone had the courage to say what we were all thinking!
But, no... "H1N1" isn't the subject of this 8th entry on "The Shit List". I'm still talking about idiots and jerks.
Kids... Call it H1N1, Swine Flu or El-Sneezo-Del-Puerco... is it but the name that is an enemy? It is a Genetic Blend, not just a Swine Flu! What's Swine Flu? It is nor Pig, nor Hog, nor pork, nor boar, nor any ungulate belonging to a gland.
O, be some other name! What's in a name? That which we call Swine Flu by any other name would cause a sneeze! So Swine Flu would, were it not Swine Flu called retain that weird infection which it owes without that title! Swine Flu, doff thy name! And for that name which is no part of thee take H1N1!
The Pandemic that fascinated the media was actually a genetic mix of pig, bird and human flu that was contracted by and passed between human beings, not between Hogs and people. In fact, the closest thing to that idea is quite the contrary... a Canadian Farmer passed on the virus to his flock of piggies. Still, the name "Swine Flu" seemed to be the only name that anybody wanted to call the stupid Influenza strain. Look, not that it's not important or anything, but when an alternative name was requested by organizations such as the WHO, the suggested terminology was "H1N1".
H1N1? I realize that's the technical term for this Influenza A Virus and all, but we're talking about changing media attention and that's hardly catchy, man! H1N1! It sounds like something from Star Wars! "I am C3PO, Human Cyborg Relations and this is my counterpart, R2-D2... and this is our former college roommate... H1N1!"
Still, the worst you can pin on the CDC or the WHO or any of these other groups was thinking a bit too much of human intelligence and believing people might actually pay attention to reality instead of the simple word "Swine". Over a dozen countries banned pork imports even after these organizations (and many others worldwide) affirmed the fact that pork products were safe to eat. As a commodity, pork and pork products tanked, tanked and then TANKED. Even in the United States, people just weren't making the (dis)connection.
The government of Egypt planned to slaughter every pig in the entire country, not for food, but to annihilate them. Over 30,000 hogs were killed (Norway "only" slaughtered like 500) without any evidence of any kind of infection. Because pigs aren't owned by Muslims in Egypt, but by Christians, naturally "FOUL!" was cried and accusations that this was an attack on Christians were bandied about like an infected badminton birdie. North Korea banned Pork products because of the name and even the Philippines halted any imports of pig products. In Iraq, Boars at the Baghdad Zoo were slaughtered because they made people nervous and Boar hunting was outlawed nationwide. I have to wonder about that in a big way. Can't you picture someone saying "Dude, you look terrible... have you been to the zoo?"
Among all nations, Japan seemed to be the one nation who looked at things logically and lucidly, inspecting pigs, but informing all citizens that they could feel free to Munch on Hog all they wanted to (after all, cooking pork DOES kill germs!). Folks, H1N1 is a big deal... maybe not the instantly lethal strain that panic-pushers suggested it was at first, but a big deal nonetheless. The very idea that a nickname could lead to such a bizarre redirection of resources to useless, cruel and unnecessary directions is so ridiculous that the combined calculating abilities of C3PO, R2D2 and H1N1 himself could never make sense of it.
- Casting for Dollars (Art? What Art?):
Hollywood Studios have done some truly weird-ass things to attempt to make money at that Silver Shrine we call the Box Office, especially when it comes to putting the wrong people in the wrong roles (both in front of and behind the camera).
Though the damage was done months before its release, 2009's Watchmen was a prime example of this practice, from the placement of the director (seemingly because he directed the super-silly 300), to the hiring of the costumers from 1997's Batman & Robin in a superhero movie that was intended to be taken seriously (yes, rubber nipples were on the costumes), to the laughable miscasting of the atrocious (and ironically named Matthew Goode) the examples kept roll, roll, rolling along.
In 2009, the ante was upped to a degree that even Superheroes might fear. From bad ideas for unnecessary remakes to bankable but completely wrong hiring of talent for films that should be handled as works of art, not vehicles for green.
I nearly had a cardiac arrest the day that Dick City was announced as the director of the new Dune (a project he has since, thankfully, backed out of). A rumored Supergirl reboot project was said to have an eye toward Taylor Swift to don the little red skirt. Not a bad idea, given her look, but I wonder if Kanye would storm the set and inform her how much better Beyonce might look in the costume. The presence of Geoff Johns on the script can't quite remove the SHAZAM! shock of the rumor that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is rumored to be the first choice to star in an upcoming Captain Marvel movie! Of course I can see that slightly better than I can imagine goofy Ryan Reynolds wielding a power ring in the now-in-production Green Lantern flick! Dudes and chicks, on what planet does the casting of that guy from Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place as the Emerald Gladiator with the ultimate weapon in the galaxy on his finger warrant a "YES!!!"? Because it's not in Sector 2814!
Though it's not as bad as the concept of Berg on Dune, the very idea that anyone involved in Batman & Robin is still working still shocks me. Especially when it comes to Superhero flicks. Just when you thought the Fantastic Four flicks couldn't get any sillier, BM n' Rubbin' scribe Akiva Goldsman has been hired to write and reboot the FF Franchise. If you think that's unnecessary, how about the fact that Beverly Hills Cop is being remade... with Brett Ratner at the helm?
Yeah, these are some weird ideas, made more for money than for art (by a hell of a long shot). I must say, though that the only thing I can imagine worse than someone incompetent adapting Dune is the idea of some flash-over-substance director taking on Isaac Asimov's Foundation. Shockingly, this very thing has been announced in 2009 as 2012 director (and Disaster Master) Roland Emmerich has been given the reigns to employ all the CGI he can to destroy Trantor as tiny little ships barely escape with their hulls intact. Ever read the books? Well that didn't happen in any of them, but I'd be willing to bet that with or without the presence of Saving Primate Ryan writer Robert Rodat, old Rollo is going to demand that such a disaster take place. Did he even read the damned thing or did someone say "It's about the fall of the Galactic Empire!" and he immediately thought "DI$A$STER FILM!!!"?
Oh, 2009... The Horror... The Horror. My only fear is that these trends seem to be escalating, year by year. Who knows, by the ACTUAL year 2012, we could be discussing the remake of Gone with the Wind starring Megan Fox and Steve Carell (with a special appearance by Jackie Chan) from a script by David S. Goyer, produced by Joel Silver and Michael Bay and directed by McG! You scoff now... just wait!
Mentions??? You folks may be wondering where the G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, The Stepfather, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Saw VI and The Unborn are. Yeah... didn't watch 'em. Didn't want to. Couldn't bring myself to do it.
Unless Kanye grabs my Laptop and says that Beyonce writes the best movie reviews of all time... the best movie reviews of ALL TIME... I'll See you in the next reel!
9 of 2009!