Switch Style

LYT gets a percentage if you buy something on Amazon by clicking through here!

2005 in film: The not-best (Updated)

I don’t generally do a “worst of” list, as it seems to me pretty glaringly obvious that movies like THE PERFECT MAN and CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2 need no further kicking. I had to sit through them, but you didn’t.

Suffice it to say that it’s always best to avoid movies in which one of the following is a lead: Martin Lawrence, Hilary Duff, Eugene Levy, Queen Latifah, Jamie Kennedy, Jennifer Aniston, Winnie the Pooh, anyone named Wayans (It doesn’t matter that individually, some of these names have done decent stuff in the past – movies that STAR them nowadays all suck). To this fairly well-known list, 2005 brought another worthy addition — Tyler Perry, whose gospel/drag comedy pantos have a rabid following onstage, but I’ll be damned if I can understand why. Black audiences seem to have a soft spot for men dressing up as fat old women (see also Martin Lawrence). Anyway, the trailer for Perry’s new movie is out, and it looks exactly the same as DIARY OF A MAD BLACK WOMAN, which ranks as one of my least pleasant cinematic experiences of the year.

I do like to note the most overrated movies of the year, though. These are some.

GROSSLY OVERRATED

Good Night, and Good Luck. Sometimes conservatives are right – critics will praise a movie purely because it agrees with their politics (see also The Contender). I could not bear the fucking smooth jazz that permeates this film, so it already had a strike against it. But I also don’t really see the drama. The movie never really implies that Edward R. Murrow is any danger of losing his job for criticizing McCarthy; demoted, perhaps, but not fired. And this idea that it’s oh so relevant today — look, it’s true that many major TV reporters have no balls, but do you honestly believe that if, say, Brian Williams were to criticize George W. Bush, his job would be in any danger whatsoever? The Dixie Chicks lost some airplay because of what they said, but they still made the cover of major magazines, and they still make a living singing. McCarthy made sure that lefty screenwriters COULD NEVER WORK AGAIN. Not the same thing.

Also I’m not a big David Strathairn fan.

Hustle and Flow. I’ll be the first to say the songs deserve Oscar nominations, but I really didn’t need to see a movie that’s all about the recording of those songs. Give me 8 MILE any day.

Crash. This movie bothers me more and more when I hear that people like offpat and my mom are watching it in England thinking it’s an honest representation of Los Angeles. To quote Dave White, “Were you on the fence about racism before you saw it?”

The 40-Year Old Virgin. And not just for the obvious close-to-home reasons. The more I think about it, the more I thoroughly dislike the fact that it celebrates abstinence before marriage.

MILDLY OVERRATED

Batman Begins. So close, and yet…Christopher Nolan cannot direct fight sequences, and Katie Holmes’ character is so wrong. Other than that, bravo, but those niggling things keep me from loving it.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The story’s just too familiar, and feels like it’s very consciously hitting all the beats. The kids couldn’t have gone into ONE room where nothing bad happened, just to throw us off a bit?

Kung-Fu Hustle. The kid with the runny nose, and the bit with kids pissing on another kid, are just so unpleasant that they keep me from loving the film the way I should.

High Tension (French-language, unrated version). “The twist” is a cheat that doesn’t really work unless you accept the whole movie as a lie. Other than that, it was cool.

Brokeback Mountain/Capote. Both well-made films, yet unlike a lot of reviewers, I didn’t make an emotional connection to either.

The Aristocrats. Funny as hell, yes. But as a film? The sound is worse than my car radio, and the cinematography would be shameful in a home movie, let alone a feature. Shoulda been a Comedy Central “Secret Stash” original, or maybe a Showtime special.

Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic. Don’t know quite what went wrong for me here; maybe too many reviewers spoiled the best jokes (but what can you do when you have to write 800 words about a concert film?). I like Sarah Silverman’s stuff normally, but here, most of the songs fell flat, and the comedy after a while was just repetitive to me. Yeah, yeah, nigger, chink, using racist words is so fuckin’ edgy, we get it. Move along.

Highly rated movies I haven’t seen yet: The Constant Gardener, Munich, Murderball, Cache, The Squid and the Whale.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
Be Sociable, Share!

30 comments to 2005 in film: The not-best (Updated)

  • Ben Boyer

    “Boxing Helena” is the best film of 2005. Seriously, what ever became of Jennifer Lynch?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • ReJeKt

    I finally saw good night and good luck, and just as i thought, that’s real jazz she’s singing, not “smooth jazz.” If you can’t tell the difference, don’t pretend to. George Clooney’s mom used to sing it for a living, so I think he would know.

    [LYT response: I can tell a difference between GNGL soundtrack and Miles Davis, or the Metropolis soundtrack, or the sax stuff belted out by Bill Pullman in Lost Highway, not that I'm a massive fan of any of it. Perhaps the wording I used is wrong -- looking at the Amazon reviews, I see that "smoky" is apparently the accepted one -- but you can't tell me it's all qualitatively the same. How'd you like the movie overall -- agree with most critics that it's the year's best, or agree with me that it's overrated?

    Note: I respond within comments on the older entries because it's easier]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • ReJeKt

    It’s definately no “Guilty by Suspicion” but it’s better than a lot of what I saw last year, althought us civilians miss a lot. If anything, it was too short.
    The soundtrack was thematically and chronologically on par, as well as just being good stuff. Being a different style is not the same as being a different quality.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Neel

    I came across this site while looking for information about Jennifer Lynch. Her first and, as far as I know, only film, “Boxing Helena” was exhilerating to me, but I’ve read some vicious – and unconvincing – critism of it. I guess the controversy you speak of raged at a time when I was travelling around, seeing and hearing little media. I picked up a video tape of “Helena” a couple of years ago for peanuts. LOVE it. Love it love it love it.(Someone posted a comment about this film on your site on Jan. 3, 2006.)

    As an aside, I saw “Yes” a film both written (in imabic pentameter) and directed by Sally Potter. I wonder if this film is one you or your readers saw or liked. It’s very much to my taste, anyway.

    So many films. So little time. Especially lately, with such great offerings as: “The Squid and The Whale”, “Thumbsucker”, and “You, Me, and Everybody We Know”, or am I comparatively out of date, or out of step?

    By the way, I couldn’t be bothered seeing “30 yr Old Virgin”. No way. Somewhere the line has to be drawn. Sorry you don’t seem to dig “South Park” though – the best, darn, most reassuringly disrespectful poke-em-in-the-eye material – not forgetting or disrespecting “The Simpsons” – (but then, I like to see religion and the military made fun of. It gives me hope). “Charley and the Chocolate Factory”, “Capote” and “Brokeback Mountain” were all good, but then, everything Ang Lee has done, excepting “The Hulk” of course, has been worth seeing. Hell, even “The Hulk” was OK at the drive-in in Enderby, B.C..

    I’d watch Philip Seymore Hoffman buy his groceries: the man is amazing, (as in “Magnolia” and “Happiness”). “The Aristocrats”?; A mere light snack, but I’d been warned by reviewers in advance of the fact, so I didn’t feel cheated. I think “Crash” was a pretty mediocre film, also. The original “Crash” by David Cronenberg had just about the best opening credits ever. After that, the film lost me, so I bought the book. Thought it would explain the connection in some heads between severe bodily injury and sexual arrousal, but naw. I’m still in the dark. Anyway, I digress and digress. – Jennifer Lynch, where ever you are? – thanks for “Boxing Helena”!

    PS. About the “cop out” of J. Lynch’s film being a dream in the end; I think I accepted and even delighted in it as an underlining of the pschological basis for the film’s action. It was so much a work of the mind, a reverie, an indulgance. It was an exploration of the limits of human will, when exercised in fantasy, without the encumbrances of reality to step in and halt the action, and without any person involved refusing to react, and thereby spoiling the fun. Even when events seem to conspire against the perpetrator, these accidents felt “fixed” as if the same mind were the author of his or her own opposition, which, in dreams and fiction, must always be the case. That’s what makes fantasy romance so unsatisfying however great your imagination: you, the dreamer, must supply as well as answer any objections for the object of your fantasy. Without road blocks, it wouldn’t feel real. But every close call fails to spoil the dreamer’s daring adventure! You can’t lose! Strange as it may seem, I found perfect, this revelation in the end that we have been party to the workings of an uninhibited imagination, …and no harm done. No blood spilt. She will dance the watusee again.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  • Anonymous

    bituminous mulberry betwixt enjoin?lemons …

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)