Biggest disappointments of 2010

Once again I sit down to right about the films I’ll look forward to most this year and I come across Transformers 3 and there is not a single part of me that wants to see it or has any hopes for its quality. Therefore, I am reassured. Surely the worst films of the year should be easily avoided! Just look for the Michael Bay brand of disillusionment. Yet what about the ones you don’t expect? For there is no greater tragedy than hope dashed for the deprived know not what they have missed. If you go into a film expecting badness (or Bayness), you will either be confirmed correct, in which case you are happy to see your expectations met and get to write a whiny online article about it, or pleasantly surprised at something you didn’t have much hope for. But a film you have even a modest amount of hope for is more than likely going to disappoint, such is the nature of expectation (unless it’s directed by Christopher Nolan who regards expectation as foreplay to the full body pile driver his films tend to be to the system). There are almost no guarantees that a film will be good. Flops can happen at any time, to anyone! Retrospectively everyone can predict the awfulness of The Phantom Menace, but at the time, Lucas could do no wrong and no one expected what we got. Then two short years later the Wachowski brothers also prove fallible. Where are were we to turn for our sci fi?! Sure Minority report was in there somewhere, but you know how flakey Spielberg is! He’s currently making Tin Tin, War horse and Robopocalypse! (None of which better involve a CG horse!) So before I lay out the films of the next twelve months (rapidly becoming eleven months) that I am most anticipating, I feel it pertinent to compile a list of films from last year that left us sulking into our popcorn (Oh, so Salty! I ordered sweet!)

5. Green Zone

This was sold as something to hold you over until they could figure out which country Bourne should next kick ass in and frankly we did need something. The next Bond movie is stuck in some sort of development hell, the video games have been more View to a Kill than Licence to Kill and Daniel Craig is still melting! How many summers is he really going to last? So where else am I meant to get a shot of sexy espionage? Salt?! You want me to watch Salt? No! You watch Salt. So Green zone was released and the advert said “From the Director of the Bourne Supremacy AND the Bourne Ultimatum” (Anyone remember United 93? NO, not enough grav maga), starring the star of BOURNE, a critic on the posters even said “This year’s bourne!”, which they also said about Traitor incidentally, and another guy said “BOURNE GOES EPIC!”. They could not have played up the Bourne simularities more in this film’s advertising. So what did we expect? Well it seemed like Damon would be betrayed by his superiors and then go rogue, stalking his pray and saying he’s watching them, then hanging up abruptly, awesome! But no, the film focuses on the search for WMDs and key military personnel in Iraq after the war. Not only does notborune feel that he is accomplishing nothing out in the desert, but also feels that the top brass are conspiring against the progress out there. At the same time there is conflict between said brass as some feel that their efforts should be to remodel the Iraqi army as a police force to maintain order and others don’t…because…THEY’RE EVIL! Mwahaha. So Notbourne, instead of going rogue and kicking ass, joins with the rational side of the American army and tries to find compromising evidence against the evil Iraqi haters who just want to steal all the Burkas to use as padding for their massive pipes, GOD I HATE THEM! Basically, it’s a very political movie, attempting to make some points about the war and the ongoing problems in the middle east. But despite the interesting central message, the acting is standard, the characters boring, the plot slow-moving and fairly by the numbers and the directorial flares act only to startle and blind the audience. If you’re overly curious about what fireworks look like from three inches in front of your face then I’m sure the final gunfight will prove less painful on the eyes than it was for the rest of us. But I wouldn’t mind these things, the movie was basically just dull and entirely not what the advertising promised, which was Taken, not Jarhead.

4. The Last exorcism

If you never saw this, you probably remember the posters. A grainy shot of a monochrome girl with dirty hair, gore dress and strained expression either tucked into a corner on the ceiling or bent straight over backwards in a creepy spider walk style pose. You either thought “No, no more Kerry Katona reality shows” or you actually read the poster and was intrigued. The trailers extended this creepy feeling. We find out this is going to be a first person POV movie like Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity. Remember how scary those are? This’ll be awesome! Lot’s of Bone crunching and running up walls and stuff, this’ll be like Emily Rose! That was creepy! Oh and Eli Roth is involved….awesome, I guess. So we all line up to see this great horror movie of the year (For all we knew Paranormal Activity 2 was going to be another book of shadows). The first thing we note is the lack of anything supernatural. The movie is entirely ambiguous as to what’s really wrong with the girl. It seems, though, she had sex and is now feeling guilty about it which manifests as some sort of malevolent demon entity (This IS a Kerry Katona reality show!). This is all fine, we love some ambiguity here at Nerds Get Bored,  and we also like the study of the impact of Christian beliefs on the mind (especially the negative ones). The movie presents some interesting things to think about. Where it falls down is the lack of scares. The atmosphere and build up is good but feels very lifted from other horror movies, especially the music (and we can question whether or not music had a place in this style of a film), and the build up doesn’t really pay off in any kind of way. The movie starts to drag on and then we are given the ending. Now the ending to Blair Witch is iconic. That little shot of the ground, hopelessly skipping frames is terrifying in it’s emptiness. Same goes for Paranormal activity and that body flying at the camera is such a powerful jump scare that it actually made me yelp like a small girl in a confessional. The ending to this movie, however, kills the ambiguity dead. She was possessed by the Devil, she gave birth to a goat thing, which they burned (seems the devil may have had better luck birthing a son if he fucked someone not also crazy and in the middle of the most fundamentally Christian parts of the world west of Jerusalem), the girl was evil and it would have been better had the redneck father shot her like he planned. It’s an ending that renders the whole movie pointless and ruins any of the redeeming qualities this movie may have had.

3. Robin Hood

God damn it Ridley Scott. We’ve touched upon Ridley’s declining career before on this site and it’s not looking good for the Alien Prequel as his latest film completely misses the point of this classic English myth from France. Originally Robin Hood was written by merchants to sell clothes (have you ever wondered why we know so much about what the men wore? Why everyone had colours or clothing in their names?) and to do so the merchants spun a yarn of great adventure, of noble deeds done dirt cheap and heroic actions from the working man’s hero who stole from he rich and gave to the poor. This character needed to be either a cartoon fox or Errol Flynn or at the very least be supported by one of the most awesome ballads of the 1980s, swinging through the window to do battle with a ridiculously over the top villain who represents whatever problem is currently facing the populous. We’re in a  recession people! Make the king close to the bankers, have Robin steal their bonuses and every one’s happy! Instead, well it’s Kingdom of Heaven essentially. Or Gladiator, or any of these historical epics that present big burley men solving problems by shouting and charging and occasionally revolutionising warfare by remembering to use the odd shield now and then. It’s just another historical action movie and frankly, I’m warming more towards the Conan style campness of Season of the which these days. Some “realistic” swordplay (realistic in that it doesn’t look any bloody good), lots of CG arrows and people falling off walls, and a very thin plot no one cares about later and we all stumble out of the cinema wanting Kevin Costner back, at least he didn’t try an accent. Sorry to seem repetitive, but I largely blame my problems with this movie on the marketing again. Almost every scene of that theatrical trailer is at the end of the movie. Essentially the film should have been called Robin Hood begins, with Robin being handed a card at the end with sheriff of Nottingham written on it. This is entirely not what the British have in mind when they think of their incredibly camp working class hero. This is what Americans have in mind when they look at their tiny penises and imagine who their wives would probably rather be sleeping with, then go out and shout at us until we support the right to bear bows and arrows.

2. The Expendables

Well how the hell could it not be? This is a poster with more names on it than an anti Uwe Boll petition and has induced more fan boy erections that Megan Fox reading Witchblade. But what’s surprising is just how disappointing it really was. This came nowhere close to being a decent action movie, even by the standards of each individual actor (I would very much rather watch Stop or my mom will shoot, the transporter, Romeo must die, master of the universe, or the condemned than this!). Arnie’s cameo was pretty sweet, though taking six hours to film is a bit fucking precious considering he had three lines, and in that six hours were these really the best reads they got out of this fucker? No wonder Californian economic policy is all over the place with this guy mumbling through the governor’s mansion. And the language barrier is a problem. There is some major exposition being passed here between a man with half a face, a man who sounded better dubbed, and a man who started acting after he retired from a career of getting punched in the face. The action is boring or incomprehensible and it really draws attention to one star of the action movies of the 80s and 90s that didn’t come back to this movie. The squib! Before CG became the rule and not the exception actors would simulate bullet shots by strapping explosives to themselves and by the looks of some of these things getting shot by a real bullet would have been preferable. If you shot someone in a Paul Verhoven movie, that fucker got shot! Arnie could pound a bullet into someone with a 9MM and the impact would look as if he’d personally punched the round into the guys chest with his massive ham like fists. The CG gore in this movie is laughable. I have actually seen trailers for this movie, during the day, showing the shotgun death at the beginning of the movie in full detail. It looks so fake, there is no problem with it being shown during an episode of Malcolm in the Middle. And the final death would have looked more real if the dagger had been plunged into the actors armpit. Now Stallone is mumbling something about a sequel, or maybe something about cereal, I don’t fucking know, but what I do know is that I will be very reluctant to see another movie based on its star power.

1. The Tourist

Until the following December that is, when Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp faced off in a personality hiding championship in the Tourist, a movie with less charm than a Glaswegian fruit salesman. Some movies can suggest from the first minute that this is going to be a good experience and a little bit special. In this movie the very first moments of Angelina Jolie walking down a road in whilst a talentless surveillance team stare at her arse told us that this was going to be an ordeal. The movie was quite a deep psychological exploration of the lives of your average surveillance team as we discovered what it is like to spy on incredibly dull people who some fucker getting paid ten times your wage decided might be interesting to watch. The movie follows the botoxed exoskeleton onto a train where she encounters the painfully awkward and poorly written character Johnny Depp is slumming in whilst he gets away from Penelope Cruz for a few weeks (this could NOT have taken longer than that to shoot. They certainly didn’t pause for any flubbed lines). She seduces him and tries to make the FBI think that Depp is in fact her unseen boyfriend, an espionage mother fucker who stole lots of money from a nasty, nasty man who shoots people because he’s so nasty! It then transpires in the final five minutes that Depp IS the unseen boyfriend, espionage mother fucker! Now this twist would be fairly predictable were we not so desperate for it not to be the case! This is another ending that makes the film meaningless. This wasn’t the story of a bewildered American in a situation beyond his control, trying to do the best with what he could. NO! He was the suave spy all along and now they can sail off into the sunset having wasted several weeks of their time and several hours of ours. Essentially, there was no Tourist! Everyone knew what was going on the whole time. Also, why wasn’t  first line after he revealed himself “So what’s up with you being all over my cock when you didn’t know it was me? What if you’d picked someone else on the train?! If Tom Cruise had been on that train would you be in his cellar by now?” I immediately had to go see another movie after this to flush it out of my system. Luckily it was The American, which may well have affected my judgement as to its quality. Perhaps had I seen Furry Vengeance or the Tooth Fairy before The Tourist, I may have been more favourable. As it happens I will be taking a copy of Inception on my PSP to every screening to act as a chaser to some of the truly dire films that await us in 2011.

Luckily we here in England get to spend January watching all the good movies that America enjoyed last month, so there’s still time for me to submit my most anticipated movies of 2011 list without it seeming utterly ridiculous. I’m sure something Oscar related will be up soon too, so keep an eye out! Also, you’re penis. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to listen to Brian Adams.

P for Procrastinating.

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We're Nerds, and man, do we get bored. Our Twitter: @nerdsgetbored

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