2007 Calvin Awards: Worst Picture

February 13, 2007

BOP's siege of Boll Castle is going well.

Year after year, we head to the movies with the hopes of experiencing brilliance. Failing that, we'd like to be entertained. If that's out of reach, we'd like to not feel like we wasted our time. Some films throw under even that. This year these films not only sucked up our time and money, they gave us that sick pit in the stomach feeling, like we just supported evil. The ten films on this list below all made art worse this year, and it's time they received their just deserts.

Topping our list this year is BloodRayne, the latest cinematic travesty from Uwe Boll. Boll managed to sully further the bad name of videogame adaptations with this film, taking the Nazi-killing, half-human, half-vampire Rayne and throwing her into Middle Ages Europe. Of course, if a scene change was the only problem, we wouldn't be talking. No, we're in different territory, as Boll managed to take that bad premise and add his typical ham-fisted and stilted dialogue, incompetent action sequences and acting performances that left us wondering when the real actors were arriving.

This was the year that theaters got wise to Mr. Boll, with many of them the film at the last minute. Honestly, a blank screen for two hours would have been an improvement. Dr. Boll was forced to take out his frustration by challenging a bunch of nerds to a boxing match. Note to clueless German guy: I'm sure that made you feel all tough, but that won't make you a better filmmaker.

We had a lot of hopes for Kurt Wimmer after watching the underrated and little-seen film Equilibrium, which introduced us to the sorta-goofy but visually spectacular idea of gunkata. Wimmer tried to expand that idea with Ultraviolet, but produced just an incoherent mess. Like Bloodrayne, this was a variation on a vampire movie, but set in a fascist future world that looked like a Gap ad. I've always had my suspicions about them.

Anyway, Wimmer took his gunkata idea and needlessly mixed it up with some nonsense about swords and inter-dimensional space, then cranked the whole thing up to 11. For good measure, he then had the gall to say he was inspired by John Cassavetes's Gloria, adding an annoying little brat into the middle of the action. Add on a nonsensical plot twist at the end that rendered the previous action in the movie irrelevant and we're talking about a colossal waste of celluloid. Honestly, I'd just like to see a moratorium on effects-laden vampire films.

It's always sad to see a brilliant filmmaker go off the deep end. In the case of M. Night Shyamalan, I think we've seen him go headlong across what's known as the Costner Horizon, a point at which a film-maker's ego becomes so dense that nothing can escape. Lady in the Water, the third place finisher in our Worst Picture category for movies released 2006 was pitched as a bedtime story that he wrote for his kids, but really it was a giant F.U. for anyone that dared to criticize the brilliance that was M. Night, most especially film critics. There was even a book released prior to the film's release letting us know just how much of an iconoclast he was for continuing after Disney passed on the film.

The ridiculous story lost us right about the time he tried to get us to accept creatures named Scrunts and Tartutics, as well as M. Night himself as a future savior of mankind (though his writing, of course). It's a film that bemoans the lack of wonder in the world, which is ironic, since Lady in the Water makes us wonder how anyone could have possibly thought this would work as a film. This is two flops in a row, M. Night. You can't afford a third.

Fourth spot goes to Date Movie, one of the lowest points in the history of parody. Apparently, no one told the makers of this film that you can't parody comedy, at least not unless you're funnier than the people that made the movies you're making fun of. When that's the basis of your entire movie, you have some minor script problems. Enter the bodily function and fat suit jokes! Personally, I'd give these guys a PhD in Mathematics for discovering that there's something below the lowest common denominator. Do you get jokes? Are you troubled by the complicated plots of shows like King of Queens and Reba? Then Date Movie just may be for you. Pardon me while I go weep for society.

Fifth place goes to The Da Vinci Code, one of this summer's most hyped and anticipated films. Based on the Dan Brown book that I think it is now illegal to not have read, it brought his verb-adjective-noun prose to the silver screen in the service of a plot that was equal parts nonsensical and overwrought. Even an all-star cast and crew, including Ron Howard (you shouldn't have cut out the talking pie, Ronnie), Ian McKellen, Audrey Tautou and Tom Hanks's hairstylist couldn't save this one.

Running Scared came in for sixth spot. Mistake number one was trying to pass off California golden boy Paul Walker as a New Jersey mobster...no, wait. Mistake number one was hiring Paul Walker, but I digress. Directed to within an inch of its life, this gruesome and noisy film was like Sin City without the charm, moral ambiguity, acting talent or style. Other than that, it was great. Just try not to laugh when the hockey puck of death comes out.

Seventh spot features a tie between two horror films. The remake of the horror classic The Wicker Man featured Nicolas Cage at his hammy best/worst, with the Cage screamy face in full effect. Cage alone could have sunk this movie, but it took some real "what in Sam Hill were they thinking" scenes (two words: bear suit) to really make into one of the year's worst. And honestly, it committed the real worst crime of a horror film – it was just plain boring.

Hostel is not the worst offender in the new realm of sadistic splatter horror, it is merely the latest. After bringing us the truly awful and pointless Cabin Fever, Eli Roth decided to take his blood and gore fest international. Existing only to see how many fake body parts he could cut off on screen and how much fake blood he could use up, Hostel was a repugnant, pointless film who best explanation for existing was that it was financed by local American tourism boards to keep people at home.

Another pointless remake of a horror film is ninth. The Omen seemed to have been made for the sole point of being released on June 6th (6/6/06, get it?). Filled with shock cuts and portentous editing, it inspired more yawns than scares. And really, the son of the Devil seems so passé these days, no?

Finally, we wrap up this list of the damned with Click, Adam Sandler's latest. In the hands of Sandler and his best buddy director Frank Coraci, they took what might have been a brilliant premise about a remote control for life and turned it into A Wonderful Life with frat-boy jokes. We already know life is precious, Adam, and wasting two hours of our lives with this sure didn't help.

Top 10
Position Film Total Points
1 Bloodrayne 46
2 Ultraviolet 42
3 Lady in the Water 33
4 Date Movie 28
5 The Da Vinci Code 23
6 Running Scared 20
7(tie) The Wicker Man 17
7(tie) Hostel 17
9 The Omen 14
10 Click 13

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