Top 10 Film Industry Disasters of 2010
I don’t wanna brag, but 2010 was a pretty great year for me. I avoided the Freshman 15, lived to see another birthday, and escaped any potential viewings of Uwe Boll films (I’ve only seen one, and I plan to keep it that way…for now). But, unfortunately, not everyone can have an amazing life like me (if I keep saying it, maybe it’ll sound more convincing). No, 2010 was actually filled with actors, directors and other film-related concepts that totally ruined themselves. As always, there is room for a comeback for all of these people, but in some cases, 2010 may be the last legitimate year of their Hollywood careers. And I’m here to celebrate those complete failures, because capitalizing on another’s misfortune is a crucial part of the movie business. Just ask that Victoria’s Secret model who is apparently going to be ‘acting’ in Transformers 3. So here are the winners of the Julian Assange Award for Worst 2010.
Many of you may not remember this actor, but there was a time when he was basically THE guy. With roles in A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander and The DaVinci Code, the man was pretty much everywhere (fun fact: he is also the voice of Robert Downey Jr.’s computer sidekick in the Iron Man series). Then…2010. He began the year with Legion, a hilarious religion-based action thriller that featured a profane grandma climbing up walls and a zombie spider ice cream truck driver. Not quite on the same level as A Beautiful Mind, but whatever; everyone makes mistakes. But then he ended the year with The Tourist, one of the most irritating movies of the entire year. Bettany bookended 2010 with two horrible films that almost made my bottom five of the entire year. It’s not like 2011 looks any better either, as he re-teamed with his Legion director for another religion based action thriller. But this time, it has VAMPIRES! Count me out…
I’ll be the first to say it: her performance in Jonah Hex is not that bad. Considering the almost incoherent direction and the laughable runtime, she is one of the movie’s lesser problems. That being said, 2010 basically proved that her star has died. Her act was that she was a sexy lady, but even a role as a prostitute couldn’t bring in audiences. Plus, in the ultimate insult, she was replaced in Transformers 3 with the aforementioned Victoria’s Secret model. And not even one of the famous ones that married Tom Brady. Her IMDB page doesn’t suggest that she has much else in the works, so it’s looks like it’s going to be WWE movies and sleazy magazine covers from now on, Megan Fox. So much for being the next Angelina Jolie.
Yeah, I suppose when your career goes to shambles for a second time, this time involving a recorded phone message that more or less portrays you as a raving lunatic who hates women, you’re guaranteed a spot on this list. Remember when he was believable in a movie called What Women Want? Yeah, that’s done. The only reason he’s not higher is because his lone movie, Edge of Darkness, wasn’t half bad, and he has The Beaver coming out this year, which despite its really strange premise, is supposed to be a great script. Things are looking up, Mel…but then they’ll probably go back down. Not trying to be pessimistic or anything, but I’m pretty good at recognizing patterns.
Question: Will Jennifer Aniston ever do a good movie? First, there was The Bounty Hunter, proof that having the director of Hitch is no longer something you want to advertise (he was behind the atrocious Fool’s Gold as well). Then, there was The Switch, which I revert you to my previous entry about the Worst Premise of 2010. She seems completely content with starring in bland and generic romantic comedies that contain neither romance nor comedy. And really, bland and generic are the nicest things you can say about most of her movies. Her next upcoming movie is (get this) a romantic comedy featuring Adam Sandler called Just Go With It. You may recognize it from its awful commercials and really stupid premise. Well, at least she’s consistent…
I know that most new movie studios need to take a while to get their bearings and get some flops out of the way. It’s not like you can start with an Avatar or The Dark Knight; you gotta get some The Back-Up Plans and Extraordinary Measures out of the way first. But they have yet to get anything resembling a hit on any level. All three of their released films (the two previously mentioned plus Faster) combined don’t even equal up to one Black Swan in terms of box office, and only The Back-Up Plan made back it’s budget (by $2 million so don’t get excited). Plus, their Twilight-knockoff, Beastly, got pushed to 2011, which can only mean the best of things.
Every year, there’s normally about fifteen movies starring actors and actresses who can’t carry a film. They normally were associated with some sort of popular television show or a side character in a hit movie, and therefore, studio execs thought they could star in their own project. And usually, they are wrong. This year, however, Buena Vista made the same bad decision with the same actress: Kristen Bell. In the beginning of the year, they released When in Rome with almost no fanfare and, therefore, no box office results. To be honest, I’m shocked that I even remember that this came out. To add insult to injury, Bell also starred in You Again, which also flopped, despite its more aggressive advertising campaign that turned away from Bell and focused on her co-star, Betty White. Sorry, that’s not adding insult to injury; that’s adding death to insult.
The Hangover was one of the biggest hits of 2009; I think everyone is aware of that by now. One of the truly surprising aspects, though, of the film’s success was the fact that the movie was powered almost completely by relatively no-name actors. Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms were not particularly well known comedians at the time, and considering how their 2010s went, they probably still aren’t now. Cooper starred in The A-Team, which largely underperformed (sad because it was one of the few good summer action movies), and the long-delayed Case 39 (he was also in Valentine’s Day, which did well but that was mainly due to the fact that almost every single person in Hollywood got at least one line in it). Galifianakis appeared in several projects, most notably Due Date, which no where near captured the magic of The Hangover, and Dinner for Schmucks, the most annoying movie of the year. Helms, surprisingly, was not in a feature film, but considering how his co-stars fared, that seems like a pretty smart decision.
At the beginning of the year, Disney appeared to have two big action movie franchises in the works. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time seemed set to become the most successful video game movie ever in terms of both box office grosses and critical response, and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice seemed like a fun Pirates of the Caribbean-esque action comedy that could be the start of another Nicolas Cage film series. However, in both films’ cases, the response was a combination of the words ‘boo’ and ‘hiss’. Prince of Persia tanked, not even breaking $100 million dollars with a $200 million budget and earning a 36% on Rotten Tomatoes (if you’re wondering, I gave it *1/2 based on one word: boring). The Sorcerer’s Apprentice fared even worse, earning only $63 million, a 43% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a place in history as Inception’s footnote. If Disney didn’t feel desperate to get Pirates 4 going before this summer started, they sure did after these two flops.
It’s not very often that you get to see the rise and fall of a particular fad or technology within a single year. Though 3D is technically still being used prominently, it has nowhere near the same amount of regard as it did when Avatar was raking in the dough for about two months straight. Nowadays, 3D is looked at as a waste of money; even good 3D movies, such as Step Up 3D and Despicable Me struggled to get people to spend the extra money for the glasses. It even seems now as though movies are trying to hide or separate themselves from their 3D gimmicks. In many cases, the ‘3D’ in the title was removed, or its use is thrown in at the end of the trailer (watch the trailer for Sucker Punch, and tell me if you think that the creators want you to know it’s in 3D). Well-respected names in the film world, such as Roger Ebert and Christopher Nolan, have also come out against the technology. There’s a good chance that the technology is too expensive to disappear completely from the world of film (or entertainment in general, for that matter), but I wouldn’t be surprised if in the upcoming year or two, we see fewer 3D movies and far less fanfare for them (except for Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, because that is going to be the Citizen Kane of our generation).
I never like to assume things, but I want to say that everyone this year had an experience like the one that follows:
You went to see a movie at your local theater. You bought the ticket, popcorn, Skittles, blah blah and finally made it to the auditorium and sat down. The annoying pre-show commercials finally ceased to make way for the slightly less annoying pre-show trailers. One trailer was for a movie about five people trapped in an elevator with the devil. It looked pretty intense and relatively interesting until the words ‘from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan’ appeared on screen. What then followed was several snickers and chuckles from the audience, as well as multiple audible groans.
Did that happen to everyone? Because that happened to me about 45 times this year, and each time, it reminded how much stock in M. Night has plummeted. I know, technically, The Last Airbender was a box office success, but let’s face it: the man’s career is just about over. No one wants to see his movies anymore, mainly because they are atrocious. The Last Airbender was one of the worst movies I saw in all of 2010, and it easily got the worst feedback for any motion picture on the year from both critics and fans alike. Critics thought it was a dark and muddled mess (which it was), and fans thought that it completely ignored its revered source material (which it did).
After the comedic disaster that was The Happening, this was the perfect movie for the one-time great writer/director to get his mojo back. The film was basically made for him anyways; all he had to do was look at the cartoon, see what it did, and replicate it with digital effects and real people. Nope; he couldn’t even do that. The man has lost touch with everything: his audience, his critics, his actors and his writing. I still think that Signs is one of the better films to come out of the past decade, so there still is hope for M. Night. A person doesn’t lose writing skills like that overnight. However, is there anybody left out there who wants to give him another chance? And can you blame them if they didn’t?