2008 Calvin Awards: Worst Picture

February 20, 2008

And the Academy Award for best knife fight goes to...

As a wise philosopher once said, it's necessary for there to be things that suck, so that we are able to know what rules. So in one sense, we should thank these ten films, which we voted as the ten worst films of the year. Then again, they did suck.

In first place was a familiar face – Joel Schumacher's The Number 23. Based on a meme from the early days of the Internet that says that you can find that two-digit prime number in a shocking number of incidents and events, it starred Jim Carrey as a man who discovers a book about this very theory that eerily seems to parallel his life. The only proper response to this is to descend into homicidal madness. It's just like the Shining, except if the hotel was replaced by an abstract numerological concept. Yeah, I'm scared too. It was a solid winner of this category, taking it by... gasp! 17 points. Somebody hold me.

Second spot went to Ghost Rider, our pick for worst comic-based movie of the year, which can is often hotly contested. Ridiculous CGI effects take some of the blame for the badness of the film, but then so does the decision to even make a film where your star is represented by a flaming skull for any important scenes. Ridiculous plotting, even for a comic book film, finished the job of sucking away any interest we might have had in just watching for the eye candy.

Following closely behind is the second comic movie of this list, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Now, the first Fantastic Four movie was a lifeless failure of a film that made being a superhero look like it had all the excitement of a committee meeting (except for Johnny Storm – I'll give them him), so we probably shouldn't have been expecting too much from this, except that they had the Surfer, one of the coolest characters in all of the comic world. Even his addition couldn't save the fundamentally misguided approach to these films that bored anyone over the age of eight to tears.

The trifecta of awful comic-book films concludes with Spider-Man 3 in fourth place, a position I think few if any of us would have predicted at the start of the year. The first two Spider-Man films were among the best action films ever created, so what went wrong? Apparently, Sam Raimi decided that Spider-Man should take a cue from the '60s Batman TV series and dance more. He then took one of the comic's most powerful villains and turned its major power into changing people into jerks. Even the previously alive action scenes had very little zip to them. Personally, I think Raimi was trying to get fired.


On some level, you have to admire the creators of Epic Movie. They saw successful films out there in the theaters and the rise of amateur video and thought, "hey, ideas are hard. I bet we can get people to pay for a bunch of pale imitations of a lot of movies at once!" And then they convinced someone to pay them to do this. Much the same as Date Movie, Epic Movie plays to the "I get jokes" crowd, recreating movie scenes around a threadbare plot, saving money by leaving out the talent and wit. Really, I'm not sure this counts as a movie.

Sixth place went to Wild Hogs, an astoundingly popular comedy about middle-aged suburban bikers that would have killed the destroyed the dignity of its cast if any of them other than Bill Macy still had any left. Personally, I like my mid-life crisis films with a little less gay panic... no, wait. I don't like them at all.

Seventh and eighth spots were a tie between two odious horror films, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem and Dead Silence. When not setting the record for "most times a word in its title was mispronounced by its target audience", AvP:R tried to thing of new and inventive ways to blow up aliens (and predators!) good. Apparently they thought of shooting them and called it a day. Dead Silence, on the other hand, attempted to scare us with a film about evil ventriloquist dummies... well, okay, those are actually kind of creepy. But really, director James Wan should be Constitutionally barred from dealing with actors, since he's second only to Uwe Boll in producing career-worst work out of otherwise capable performers.

Transformers sits in ninth place, a testament to Michael Bay and his craptacular ability to ruin everything he touches. Admittedly, there were some fairly effective moments of action in this film, but Bay wasn't able to help himself, and had to include some character moments. Unfortunately, this meant that Bay based this summer tentpole around the idea of a boy bonding with his first car – that happens to be a robot. That's also not to mention trying to convince us that Megan Fox was a human female. With her performance, I was operating under the assumption that she was just another robot waiting to transform.

Smokin' Aces tied with it for the ninth spot – a thoroughly ugly film about a passel of hitmen trying to take out a mob informant played by Jeremy Piven. About eight years too late to cash in on Tarantino-esque violence, it had at least one fatal flaw – don't have the audience root for the death of the character that's supposed to be kept alive. (Reagen Sulewski/BOP)

Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Album
Breakthrough Performance
Best Cast
Best Director
Best DVD
Best Overlooked Film
Best Picture
Best Scene
Best Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
Best Video Game
Worst Performance
Worst Picture
Top 10
Position Film Total Points
1 The Number 23 53
2 Ghost Rider' 36
3 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer 34
4 Spider-Man 3 23
5 Epic Movie 19
6 Wild Hogs 17
7(tie) Aliens vs, Predator: Requiem 15
7(tie) Dead Silence 15
9(tie) Transformers 14
9(tie) Smokin' Aces 14



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