To come out and say that this list is strictly about the worst that 2008 had to offer would be coming out a little bit too strong if you ask me, but negativity is often what attracts people to sites like these, so allow to simply say: To the films I will be mentioning here, I will try to be cruel, but fair – if that’s even possible. With that said, let’s start off with:
The Biggest Disappointment of 2008:
Burn After Reading: To be clear, for something to be a big disappointment it has to have set expectations very high and delivered something of far less quality than what was promised. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a bad film. Burn After Reading certainly had its moments, but it failed to deliver the same level of quality as the Coen brothers’ other recent films. With a cast of such raw talent, and with the men who redefined the nature of the classic American film at the helm, this should have/could have been a masterpiece. Instead what I wound up watching was a jumbled mess of stripped down obtuse messaged filmmaking. Brad Pitt was amusing, but all of the characters in this film were horrible, horrible people and I just can’t get settled into things if I can’t sympathise with anyone.
Worst Use of an Existing Franchise:
Quantum of Solace: There wasn’t exactly a lot of competition in this category this year. The few sequels there were were either irrelevant (like Madagascar 2) or deftly handled (like The Dark Knight). Quantum f Solace was a special Bond film because it was the first of the entire series to be an actual bonafide sequel to its predecessor – while all the other Bond films are self-contained and can stand on their own. QOS picked up about 5 minutes after Casino Royale left off – and from then on, never stopped relying on story elements from the previous film. As far as I’m concerned it’s a corruption of the series. QOS also suffered from nauseatingly bad editing as it attempted to parody the style of the Bourne films and only managed to enrage Bond fans and cinephiles in general.
Worst Film of 2008:
Max Payne: This is a tricky category, because I’m sure there were actually worse films than this (The Happening, I’m looking in your direction). What I think sets Max Payne apart was that it was able to draw on some genuinely strong source material and instead delivered a terribly ham-fisted and derivative storyline. At no point during this film was I in any way confused about where things were going – the film was so predictable in fact, that it was even more obvious where some plot holes had been left gaping wide open. Ludacris’ scenes are a great example of dangling plotlines that never got resolved, although the films raw predictability made it easy to guess what would have happened if those scenes had actually played out for the audience. I don’t know what happened, I think Mark Wahlberg got a lot of bad advice from his agent this year and took leading roles that were just all wrong no matter how good they looked on paper. I think his best performance this year was as himself talking to a donkey opposite Andy Samberg on SNL.
That oughta do it for the scum. Stay tuned for the honourable mentions.