All of my first series of reviews have all been positive, so I thought I should take this week’s top 5 list in a more critical direction. Therefore, this week, I’ve chosen to present my “Top 5 Most Disappointing Movies of All Time”. This list was determined simply: expectation vs observation; how high my expectations were for the film and how badly they were dashed to pieces.
- Gone With The Wind
That’s right: the #6 film on AFI’s 100 Years - 100 Movies list is my pick for the most disappointing film I’ve ever seen (it’s also my wife’s favorite movie ever, so it’s a bit of a point of contention for us). Now, I am happy to admit that the the scenery and costumes are marvelously beautiful, brilliantly detailed, and equally impressive for sheer scope and scale, but I would say that that is beside the point. The point is that there is not a single likable character in the entire damn movie, all four hours of it; and the worst one of them is the star of the thing, Scarlett O’Hara. There isn’t a redeemable character in the entire story, making it one of the most painful viewing experiences with a film.
- American Beauty
Winner of 5 Academy Awards in 2000, and everything I just said about the characters in “Gone With The Wind” goes double for the characters in “American Beauty”. In this film, these people are not only horrible people, but they do horrible things to each other (not on the level of “Very Bad Things”, but close). That, combined with the horrible performances of Annette Benning and Wes Bentley, and the uncharacteristically deadpan performance by Allison Janney, made this the first (and only) film that I had ever wished I’d walked out of in the theaters (and I’ve seen every Transformers movie in the theater). The only redeeming quality to this film was Kevin Spacey’s performance (and yes, I do not count Mena Suvari’s tits as a redeeming quality of this film). This movie was enough to put me off Sam Mendes until “Skyfall”.
- Superman Returns
So, after the success of “X-Men” and “X2”, Bryan Singer chooses to ignore all crimes against my generation committed by George Lucas through all of his “reinventing” of the “Star Wars” saga, and, instead of sticking with the house that Xavier built, he says to himself, “I know, I’ll reinvent the Superman franchise of the 70’s and 80’s as though I was making a sequel to follow ‘Superman II’ and ignore ‘III’ and ‘IV’, and I’ll get the writers of ‘Urban Legends: Bloody Mary’ to write it!” I just want to shake him and say, “Don’t you see! Not only did you screw up Superman, but you left ‘X-Men’ in the hands of Brett Ratner, who screwed that up as well! You’ve successfully f---ed up two comic book franchises in the same year!”
At least he made one right move in getting Kevin Spacey to play Lex Luthor.
- The Mist
When Frank Darabont and Stephen King get together, you get “Shawshank Redemption”, you get “Green Mile”, you get movie gold. “The Mist” seems like it would be exactly that. However, there are two kinds of Stephen King stories: the ones which are more original, and the ones that are derivative. “The Mist” is absolutely the latter of the two, complete with retreads of a number his old themes: the group of people trapped by an external, otherworldly threat; the degeneration of the survivors into a mob when faced with the impossible; the rising up of a corrupt religious zealot; an unseen threat that disappointingly turns out to be an incredibly bizarre yet imaginative monster. Yet, as derivative as it is, it had potential to take on those themes in an original way, like “Dreamcatcher” or “Secret Window”. But then there was that ending; that painful, brutal ending. I don’t mind when everyone dies at the end; I love “Hamlet”. But this ending was painful and brutal in a way that was beyond excessive; not in a violent or gory way, but in a heart-wrenching way, even more so than “Million Dollar Baby”. It just ruined the entire movie for me.
- Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace
My disappointment in this film is explainable simply in three points: midichlorians; Jar Jar Binks; Jake Lloyd. I know these are the points that have been complained about by every fanboy since the film’s premiere, but there’s a reason: these were the biggest mistakes in the entire “Star Wars” saga (with the exception of Greedo shooting first). Now, that’s not to say that “Episode I” doesn’t have it’s finer points, like Samuel L Jackson or Liam Neeson or Ray Park, but two of those three get killed off by the end of the movie. Yet Jar Jar Binks comes back, and is, eventually, the hapless toadie that is responsible for the creation of the Empire and the fall of the Republic. So, J.J. Abrams, if you are reading this (and I hope you are, ‘cause that would be cool), take note: please don’t make the same mistakes George made.
A generation of fanboys is depending on you.
You’re our only hope.