Film

OMG - The 20 Worst Films of 2008

Director: Kenny Ortega Film: High School Musical 3: Senior Year Studio: Walt Disney Pictures Cast: Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel, Corbin Bleu, Monique Coleman Website: http://disney.go.com/disneypictures/highschoolmusical3/ MPAA rating: PG First date: 2008 US Release Date: 2008-10-17 Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/h/hsm3poster.jpg

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List number: 10

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Kenny Ortega

How is one of the year's worst films also one of its guiltiest pleasures? Easy, when it's Kenny Ortega's third dip into the adolescent sing-along angst that is High School Musical 3: Senior Year (like the trailer says, "nice title"). This Andy Hardy throwback, complete with "let's put on a show" storyboarding, walks the fine line between camp and crap so flawlessly that it's hard to decide if it's atrocious or addictive. One things for sure, Ortega sure knows how to handle a cinematic song and dance. The musical numbers here are winners. It's the cardboard cutout characterization and rampant formulaic clichés that kill its chances at fully succeeding. Bill Gibron

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Director: Phyllida Lloyd Film: Mamma Mia! Studio: Universal Pictures Cast: Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgård Website: http://www.mammamiamovie.com/ MPAA rating: PG-13 First date: 2008 Distributor: Universal US Release Date: 2008-07-18 (General release) UK Release Date: 2008-07-11 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/m/mammamiateaserposter.jpg

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List number: 9

Mamma Mia!

Phyllida Lloyd

The frantic, sweaty Mamma Mia isn’t really a movie per se; it’s more like a communal hot flash that was osmotically captured on celluloid. As a “musical", it’s an utter failure: The “choreography” is crude and graceless, and much of the “singing” is off-key. (Stop me before I use more air quotes.) Pierce Brosnan’s rendition of “S.O.S” will make you laugh, cry, or possibly wet your pants -- and not in the good way. Director Phyllida Lloyd largely wastes the talented cast and juicy pop songs at her disposal, though she does elicit one hell of a rhythmic gymnastic routine from Meryl Streep and a sequined red scarf. As my friend Ian so brilliantly put it, “It looks like they filmed this entire movie in one take -- one outtake". A sad day for dignity all-around. Marisa Carroll

Mamma Mia!

Director: Gregory Hoblit Film: Untraceable Studio: Screen Gems Cast: Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Perla Haney-Jardine, Billy Burke, Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt Website: http://www.killwithme.com/ MPAA rating: R Trailer: http://www.movieweb.com/movies/film/53/4453/videos/?s=trailers First date: 2008 US Release Date: 2008-01-25 (General release) UK Release Date: 2008-02-29 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/u/untraceable-poster.jpg

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List number: 8

Untraceable

Gregory Hoblit

Weren't the movies done with serial killers? Lately and fortunately, Hollywood's post-Silence of the Lambs vogue for brainy homicidal maniacs seemed to have mostly transferred itself to the world of hour-long broadcast TV dramas. But this dreary, insulting slab of FBI-serial killer hokum (hint: the bad guy is smarter than you think) is a helpful reminder of what happens when genres are extended well past their expiration date. Chris Barsanti

Untraceable

Director: Michael Patrick King Film: Sex and the City Studio: New Line Cinema Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Chris Noth, David Eigenberg, Evan Handler, Jason Lewis, Jennifer Hudson Website: http://www.sexandthecitymovie.com/ MPAA rating: R First date: 2008 US Release Date: 2008-05-30 (General release) UK Release Date: 2008-05-30 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/s/sex-and-the-city-movie-poster.jpg

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List number: 7

Sex and the City: The Movie

Michael Patrick King

If you're a certified fan of this droning diva drivel, perhaps it would be best to turn away now. This is not going to be pretty. Never before has one carefully considered marketing opportunity celebrated such horrendously inappropriate behavior as unapologetic materialism, extroverted sluttiness, and borderline old Hollywood racist (Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson as Sarah Jessica Parkers's…servant???). Blatant in its belief of baubles, bangles, and bright shiny beads (not to mention booty calls and a blatant disregard for humanity), it's an affront to everything female. With nary a joke in its inert script and far too much plotting for a puff piece (clocking it two hours and 25 minutes!!!), this was less a reunion and more like torture. Feminists and cougars should sue. Bill Gibron

Sex and the City

Director: Chris Carter Film: The X-Files: I Want to Believe Studio: Fox Cast: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Amanda Peet, Xzibit, Billy Connolly Website: http://www.xfiles.com/ MPAA rating: PG-13 First date: 2008 US Release Date: 2008-07-25 (General release) UK Release Date: 2008-08-01 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/x/x-files-i-want-poster.jpg

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List number: 6

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Chris Carter

Charmless, tedious, and, most damningly, completely incurious, the X-Files: I Want to Believe is as thorough a betrayal of a beloved cult series and its core audience as one is ever likely to witness. Deliberately, almost mockingly, either ignoring or inverting all the strengths of the series, the film is stillborn of a complete lack of necessity, defiantly confounding fans and newbies alike with a listless plot which goes exactly nowhere, slowly, and brings exactly nothing new to the equation. If we reference back to one of the show’s watchwords and mantras -- “Trust No One” -- we find that we have no one but ourselves to blame if we ever believed that series creator Chris Carter would restore the goodwill he seemed so adamant on destroying during the series’ waning years. I believe no more. Jake Meaney

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

Director: Marc Forster Film: Quantum of Solace Studio: MGM Cast: Daniel Craig, Mathieu Amalric, Olga Kurylenko, Gemma Arterton, Judi Dench, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini Website: http://www.007.com/ MPAA rating: PG-13 First date: 2008 US Release Date: 2008-11-14 (General release) UK Release Date: 2008-10-31 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/blog_art/q/quantumsolaceposter.jpg

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List number: 5

Quantum of Solace

Marc Forster

Just when we were thought we were out, they pull us back in. Having decided with Casino Royale to make an actual movie instead of a feature-length product placement ad and travelogue, the James Bond filmmaking juggernaut pulled a bait-and-switch with their second Daniel Craig installment, right when we were starting to care again. Little more than a tiresome Bourne knockoff with some impressive foreign scenery, Quantum of Solace resoundingly returns the series to its disappointing roots, where it seems likely to stay. Chris Barsanti

Quantum of Solace

Director: Steven Spielberg Film: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Studio: Paramount Pictures Cast: Harrison Ford, Shia LaBeouf, Cate Blanchett, Karen Allen, Ray Winstone, John Hurt, Jim Broadbent, Ian McDiarmid Website: http://www.indianajones.com/site/index.html MPAA rating: PG-13 First date: 2008 US Release Date: 2008-05-22 (General release) UK Release Date: 2008-05-22 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/k/kingdomofthecrystalskull.jpg

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List number: 4

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg’s name might be on the director’s chair, but Indy IV bears all the unfortunate hallmarks of late-period George Lucas: excessive CGI that destroys any sense of atmosphere, lame attempts at humor (unless you actually wanted to see Shia LaBeouf getting hit in the crotch with a tree branch in the middle of a swordfight), and endless expository dialogue that drags on for scene after scene. Even worse, despite Harrison Ford’s age (65), Indy is able to win fistfights with ease and survive a nuclear explosion without having a scratch on him. What could have been a moving look at loss and aging has been reduced to a low-stakes action film with a generic superman at its center. It’s time for us to stop giving George Lucas our hard-earned cash every time he makes a movie that has nothing going for it except the Pavlovian trigger of nostalgia. Jack Rodgers

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Director: Diane English Film: The Women Studio: Picturehouse Cast: Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett Smith, Debra Messing, Eva Mendes, Debi Mazar, Carrie Fisher, Bette Midler, Candice Bergen MPAA rating: PG-13 Trailer: http://www.picturehouse.com/titles/women.php First date: 2008 Length: 114 US Release Date: 2008-09-12 (General release) UK Release Date: 2008-09-12 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/w/women_ver2.jpg

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List number: 3

The Women

Diane English

When the highlight of a comedy is Meg Ryan wantonly chewing a stick of butter, you know you’re in trouble. The 2008 incarnation of The Women has none of the catty wit or verve of the 1939 version. Although the cast is packed with actresses who have done sharp comedic work elsewhere -- including Ryan, Annette Benning, Candace Bergen, and Debra Messing -- director Diane English’s thuddingly slow pacing sabotages any hope for humor. English attempts to spin the classic bitchfest into a tale of self-actualization, but she confuses empowerment with entitlement: At its heart, the movie is a narcissistic fantasy about a middle-aged woman’s desire to be worshiped by her teenage daughter and financially supported by her rich mother. Who needs men, indeed. Marisa Carroll

The Women

Director: Jon Avnet Film: 88 Minutes Studio: Columbia Pictures Cast: Al Pacino, Alicia Witt, Leelee Sobieski, Amy Brenneman, William Forsythe, Deborah Kara Unger, Benjamin McKenzie, Neal McDonough Website: http://www.88minutes-lefilm.com/ MPAA rating: R Trailer: http://www.movieweb.com/movies/film/29/4329/videos/?s=trailers First date: 2007 US Release Date: 2008-04-18 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/8/88-minutes-poster.jpg

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List number: 2

88 Minutes

Jon Avnet

Al Pacino has clocked plenty of time in bad movies; few actors with a career this storied haven't. But 88 Minutes is a special kind of misfire: Pacino mismatches the weariness he used so well in Insomnia and People I Know with the trashy material of Two for the Money or The Recruit, so that this cable-ready serial-killer sleaze isn't even afforded a generous helping of Pacino ham on the side. What's scarier: that Pacino could find the time to make the worst movie of his career, or that he'd see fit to follow it up with another movie (Righteous Kill) from the same damn director? Jesse Hassenger

88 Minutes

Director: M. Night Shyamalan Film: The Happening Studio: Fox Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel. John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, Betty Buckley Website: http://www.thehappeningmovie.com/ MPAA rating: R First date: 2008 Distributor: Fox US Release Date: 2008-06-13 (General release) UK Release Date: 2008-06-13 (General release) Image: http://images.popmatters.com/film_art/t/thehappening1_large.jpg

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List number: 1

The Happening

M Night Shyamalan

The eerie trailers indicated the promise of redemption for writer/director M. Night Shayamalan, but the final cut of The Happening should have been re-titled "The Crappening". Once heralded as the 21st century Hitchcock, Shayamalan fell far off the mark of such prior laurels as The Sixth Sense and Signs. The Happening belly flopped with seismic force as an ecological cautionary tale that seemed more like a horror-tinged re-telling of An Inconvenient Truth with a flashlight under its chin than an intelligently rendered suspense film. In fact, The Happening attempted to be too intellectual, more concerned with squeaking out Shayamalan's signature plot twist-n'-reveal than fleshing out its characters or their blandly impersonal personal relationships. Lana Cooper

The Happening

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