YES! Weekly’s ten worst movies of 2006
An American Haunting
Even a past Oscar winner like Sissy Spacek could do nothing to benefit this dreadful movie. Taking place in Tennessee during the early part of the 19th century, An American Haunting is based on a supposedly true case of the Bell family who were terrorized by a malevolent spirit. This film comes complete with eerie forests, dimly lit rooms, dark rainy nights, creaking floors and dramatic music, all wasted on a story that doesn’t contain an ounce of suspense and is actually painfully boring to watch.
I can’t stand cheesy, saccharine romantic comedies. The idea of a film that makes fun of those very movies that I have come to loathe sounded like my cup of tea. I was horribly misled. Date Movie is far from a good farce, with many of the usual gross gags, from an enormous exploding zit to a flatulent cat. But grosser-than-gross humor is not the main flaw in this movie. Because it attempts to satirize so many romantic comedies including My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Meet the Parents, The Wedding Planner, Hitch, When Harry Met Sally (I could go on) we are completely overwhelmed. The sight gags, which might inspire a snicker or two, are drawn out well beyond their comedic value. The story comes off as if the writers – Aaron Setzer and Jason Friedberg, who contributed to the Scary Movie series – randomly pieced together as many romantic comedies as they could put their hands on and haphazardly Scotch-taped them together.
John Heder might very well have captured cult status for his turn as the quirky title character in Napoleon Dynamite, but unfortunately this up-and-comer has yet to find another role that will keep him in the mainstream for long. This film, about a baseball team that specializes in nerds and all-around oddballs, includes a cast that looks like a reunion for “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Rob Schneider, David Spade, John Lovitz and Adam Sandler. While these actors worked well together in an ensemble cast, there is simply no magic in this feature-length film. The beginning of Benchwarmers is dedicated to booger-eating and farting and the overly blatant product placements throughout make me wonder if Pizza Hut or Pepsi had a hand a creating this lackluster comedy.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
I have to admit that I am a huge fan of the horror genre, so much so that my parents sometimes wonder what demented damage these films may have inflicted on my brain. Needless to say, I have seen a great number of horror flicks and I accept that most tend to ignore story and plot and go straight for the gore, leaving the audience with very little else to work with. This picture isn’t much different, with the exception that it goes positively overboard with the slicing, dicing, torture and chainsaw attacks on two young couples trying to make their way across Texas. What we learn of Leatherfaces’s origins is nothing that we couldn’t have put together ourselves. And because this movie is a prequel, we already have a good idea how it will end. Its only redeeming quality is that it is short, running at just 84 minutes.
Employee of the Month
This movie asks its audience to suspend more disbelief than is humanly possible. Can you imagine Jessica Simpson shopping in a big-box superstore, much less working in one? Simpson plays Amy, a hot young Super Club cashier who, according to her employee file, has a tendency to fall for the employee of the month. Of course a competition ensues between two store employees for the top spot and a chance to win Amy’s heart. The movie relies heavily on slapstick, testicle references, gay jokes and foul-mouthed children and grandmothers. Dane Cook, who plays Zack, known for very animated stand-up, seems sedate in comparison and Jessica Simpson’s performance leaves us wondering if she even realizes that she is on camera.
I consider The Covenant the boy band of horror flicks. It is pretty to look at, but doesn’t offer much substance and is geared toward a pre-teen audience. The main characters are four students with secret powers that drain them of their youth. The major issue with this movie is that we simply don’t care what happens to our four heroes because they aren’t given enough character to make them seem human. The surprise entry of a fifth mysterious and much more malicious member is in no way a mystery and is easily figured out within the first 15 minutes of the movie. If you have seen The Craft then don’t waste your time because you have already seen this movie.
One of the most disappointing things about this movie is the presence of comedian Lewis Black, a man who can be offensive, loud, opinionated and foul-mouthed, which is exactly why we love him. But in Unaccompanied Minors Black’s grittiness has been shackled by a PG rating and a movie that is supposed to be family fun. The flacidity of his performance is just sad. Then there is Wilmer Valderrama from “That 70’s Show” who doesn’t have the presence to carry a movie on his own. The movie itself seems to be a cross breed of The Breakfast Club and Home Alone – an unholy union that just doesn’t work with a children’s film.
Lady In The Water
In 1999 M. Night Shamalan created The Sixth Sense, a breathtaking film that was creepy, heartrending, and ended with a twist so unexpected, so cool, that we could do nothing but stare gawk-eyed at the screen. After this phenomenal film we expect nothing less from the author. Unfortunately, Lady In The Water, does not deliver the goods. The story is a modern day fantasy completely devoid of thrills and so convoluted that we wonder if the actors themselves can follow the script. A water nymph named Story lives under a pool in a Philadelphia apartment complex with a mission to bring a message that will better the world. Her foil is a wild wolf made out of grass (yes, grass.) Originally told as bedtime story to his children, Shamalan’s tale just didn’t translate well to the big screen and many viewers left the theater scratching their heads.
The premise of this movie is so idiotic that you have to wonder what the head honchos at Universal were smoking when they decided to green-light this project. Marlon Wayans plays a pint-sized thief who masquerades as a baby for a weekend in order to retrieve a stolen diamond. We must assume that the adults who take him in are either extraordinarily visually challenged or they are just plain stupid. This movie is also heavily laden with breast, fart and groin pummeling jokes. Blame Universal, and whatever fans these moronic brothers have left.
Basic Instinct 2
In 1992 Basic Instinct gave us a thriller full of sex, suspense and more sex. The plot was so tightly spun that we just couldn’t look away, enthralled, if not a little creeped out, by Catherine Tramell’s vampish, cocaine-snorting, bisexual spirit. And of course let’s not forget the infamous leg-crossing scene where we were introduced to “Little Sharon.” Fourteen years later Basic Instinct 2 emerges promising more of the same. The problem is this movie is just the same, except we’ve already seen the good parts, no pun intended. Short of bestiality, Catherine Tramell has no surprises for us. We already know she is a murderer and we know that the body count will rise before the end of the movie. Michael Douglas had the right idea when he turned down this sequel.