How pathetic was 2000 at the multiplex? So pathetic that "Battlefield Earth" was only the third worst movie of the year. I mean, at least there was some popcorn-throwing entertainment value in watching a giant, dreadlocked John Travolta devour scenery and demolish his career in a sci-fi bomb so bad it rivals "Plan 9 From Outer Space."
There was nothing even remotely redeemable about the two pictures with the dubious distinction of being so putrid they beat out that deserving, higher-profile competitor.
The worst movie of 2000 was "Loser," a teen romantic comedy so shrill it proves beyond a reasonable doubt the once ingeniously observant teen flick director Amy Heckerling ("Clueless," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High") has lost her touch. It beats out the rest of the field mainly because on top of being unwatchable, it was a huge disappointment.
Also worse than "Battlefield Earth" was "Urban Legends 2: The Final Cut," the least scary, least creative horror movie of all time, which actually had the bald-faced audacity to compare itself to Hitchcock.
Here they are with the rest of a batch of stinkers so vast I had to categorize them...
|Teaching teenage girls to settle for emotionally superficial schmucks|
Besides the lower-your-standards message of "Loser," there was...
"Whatever It Takes": A "Cyrano de Bergerac" redo about a pretty high schooler who apparently can't find a beau because her IQ is larger than her bra size.
"Down To You": Talentless Freddie Prinze, Jr. talks to the camera incessantly about wanting to revive a prefabricated, paper doll romance with Julia Stiles. Like being cornered at a party by some sad, drunk guy whose girlfriend has just dumped him.
"Battlefield Earth": Enough said.
"X": Anime clichés run rampant in yet another mock-intellectual 'toon import from Japan in which the world must be saved from fantastically-rendered destruction by a brooding young hero with eyes the size of saucers.
"Reindeer Games": John Frankenheimer ("Ronin") directed this dime-a-dozen, action-suspense thriller hybrid which completely unravels as it reveal the double-crosses of an ex-con (Ben Affleck) mixed up in a doomed casino robbery. But any bozo with a couple music videos under his belt could have cranked out a better action movie from equally crappy material (see "Charlie's Angels").
"Vertical Limit": Supposedly a high-altitude adventure about a climber trying to rescue his sister from the face of K2 during a storm. But the soundstage "mountains" and the far-fetched subplots (nitroglycerine?!?) are so pathetic you don't even have to own a pair of hiking boots to find them laughable.
|Chick flicks from hell|
"Beautiful": A sappy, pandering, overly sincere, paint-by-numbers feel-good movie about a repellantly shallow, absurdly determined wannabe beauty queen (Minnie Driver) who takes 15 years to learn a trite Sunday school lesson about how there are more important things in life than being pretty.
"Passion of Mind": The utterly uncompelling Demi Moore is torn between parallel lives and milksop boyfriends in this obtuse, insincere, romantic-psychological switcheroo -- but not until the last 15 minutes of the movie. For the first five reels even she doesn't care whether she's really a single Manhattan career gal who dreams she's a lovelorn French widow or a widow who dreams of a life as a big city career gal.
|Crappy pics for little kids|
"The Little Vampire": A quick, sloppy production of a throwaway script about a little boy (Jonathan Lipnicki) who befriends a family of bloodsuckers and helps them recover a magic amulet. Pungent collective apathy wafts off the screen from the cast and crew.
"Thomas and the Magic Railroad": A depressing failed attempt to ride the coattails of pop phenomenon kiddie TV shows that have cashed in at the box office (e.g. "Pokemon"). Little more than a tediously protracted and befuddled episode of "Shining Time Station," from which it was spawn.
|Scary -- NOT!|
The aforementioned "Urban Legends 2," wasn't the only one...
"Bless the Child": Re-enforcing their B-list status, Kim Basinger and Jimmy Smits star in this laughably gothic second-coming chiller, which commandeers Catholic dogma as a jumping-off point to half-witted, high-gloss horror.
"The Skulls": Unintentional giggles dominate this thriller about a pre-law Yale student (Joshua Jackson) so shallow and ambitious that he's willing to throw over his best friend and his girlfriend just to be accepted in an underground campus club of power-hungry blue bloods.
"Shadow Hours": A worthless, weak-willed, rehab reprobate (Balthazar Getty) inexplicably abandons stability with his gorgeous, loyal wife (Rebecca Gayheart) for a hellish trip through a graphically depicted S&M underworld in this bottom-feeder spawn of "Seven."
"The Watcher": Keanu Reeves may very well be the least convincing, least frightening serial killer in the history of the psycho genre as a supposedly brilliant whack job who dances to headbanger music while strangling lonely young girls with piano wire.
"Eye of the Beholder": That isn't a title, it's a warning label. It's anybody's guess what's going on in this erotic thriller/mystery/failed cerebral art film starring Ashley Judd as an esoteric murderess and Ewan McGregor as her high-tech stalker/guardian.
|Funny -- NOT!|
"Screwed": Saturday Night Live alum Norm MacDonald (a funny guy but a lousy actor) plays a brow-beaten chauffeur who plots to ransom the treasured lapdog of his harping dowager employer. Devoid of humor, nearly plotless and dull, dull, dull.
"Nutty Professor II: The Klumps": Dumpster-diving for its endless supply of boorishly crude penis jokes, denture jokes, anal bestiality jokes and other cheap laughs for simple people, this sequel limps through a contrived plot about a youth formula gone wrong and asks us to believe Janet Jackson as a genetic physicist!
"Whipped": Purporting to be a female empowerment sex farce, this frat boy fantasy is populated by vapid runway models and girls nicknamed "Heidi the Hoover" who happily go home two at a time with overconfident Melvins in leather pants and pleasure them all night long.
"Little Nicky": Adam Sandler spends this entire movie with his face screwed up in a hit-by-a-shovel grimace and speaking in a childish, raspy voice as the retarded son of Satan who lurches around like a hunch of Notre Dame jack-in-the-box trying to save the world from his two evil brothers.
"Duets": A trio of converging road trip tales follow karaoke singers on cross-country treks to The Big Competition finale, where trite, ham-fisted life lessons are laid on thick in this train wreck of grating performances, narrative miscalculations and cinematic ineptitude.
"What Planet Are You From?": Looking to fundamentally unlikable, abusive men and pathetically needy, bitchy women for laughs, this drudging, deadpan, sci-fi sex farce stars Garry Shandling as a romantically inept alien fitted with a loudly motorized prosthetic penis and packed off to Earth by his neutered, all-male race to impregnate an earth female.
|Pretentious "independent" balderdash|
"Deterrence": A howlingly bad cold war remnant that tries to recreate the tension of a nuclear stand-off by giving Saddam Hussien's son a secret, world-wide arsenal and pitting him against a bellicose American president (Kevin Pollak). Pretentious, ludicrous, unskilled, cheap-looking and about a decade too late to be effectively suspenseful.
"Chuck & Buck": Boring, obtuse, wildly irritating art film about a slow-witted gay stalker who follows a childhood friend to L.A.
"Stardom": The rise-and-fall of a fictional supermodel is the topic of this abrasively over-conceptualized yet blandly under-realized documentary-style satire-drama.
Hey, here's hoping for a more tolerable 2001!
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.