Commentary: My Most Disappointing Movies. - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
31Dec/102

Commentary: My Most Disappointing Movies.

Today is New Year’s Eve, the holiday that is typically the most disappointing day of the year.  Everyone goes out expecting the time of their lives and usually what ends up happening is that you spend more time trying to have fun than doing things that would actually be fun.  In honor of this disappointing holiday, I am going to list the five movies that were the biggest disappointments to me.

These movies are not the worst films I had ever seen, or possibly not even bad at all.  These films are ones in which I had very high expectations of and in the end product did not come close to what I had imagined.

5. The Black Dahlia - Loved the book this movie was adapted from and couldn’t wait to see this film.  It had a good cast and was directed by Brian DePalma, who might have had some bad movies but still could direct like few people ever could.  I also loved LA Confidential, which came from the same author so I had high hopes for this movie.  My hopes crashed and burned while watching the film.  One of the main components of the story was that the character played by Hillary Swank was supposed to look almost identical to the murder victim played by Mia Kirshner.  Now take a moment and quickly look at pictures of both of those actresses, I will wait.

Yeah, they don’t really have a striking resemble, do they.  The movie really doesn’t try to make them look similar either; they just keep repeating that they do and praying that you fall for it.  Yet, no one does and it just makes people very confused on why everyone says they do when it is every evident that they could not look any more different.  Appearance aside, Hillary Swank was also woefully miscast in this film and does not have the chops to play the femme fatale.  She was not sexy or dangerous and that pretty much ruins the film right there, which is a shame because Aaron Eckhart gave his all to make a good film. While it is not a good film at all, I do recommend everyone watch it, just to marvel at one of the weirdest and worst dinner party scenes that I have ever witnessed.

Isn't that cute, Hillary Swank is trying to play a femme fatale. 

4. The Punisher - This isn’t one film but a string of huge disappointments and frustrating movies starring Marvel’s most violent vigilante, the Punisher.  No one has ever blamed the Punisher for having a difficult back-story to adapt.  He is pretty much Charles Bronson in a skull T-shirt getting revenge on the criminals that killed his family and anyone else breaking the law.  Yet, filmmakers cannot make a good Punisher film.  The first one was made in the late 80’s, in a time where no comic character was given much respect and the movie was a movie that is only watchable at 2AM on cable.  It is cheesy, low budget and not well made.  In 2004, after other Marvel franchises started making huge money, another shot was made at making a Punisher film.  This time Thomas Jane was Frank Castle and the movie was actually a really enjoyable film, it just shouldn’t have been called the Punisher because other than his name and a quick appearance by the skull T-shirt, there was not much that it had to do with the comic. Finally, a 3rd shot was attempted 4 years later called Punisher: War Zone, and the less said about that film the better.  I appreciate what director Lexi Alexander was going for and Ray Stevenson as the Punisher was a great casting choice, but holy hell I don’t know what happened in that movie.  Dominic West, who was great in my favorite show of all time, The Wire, was playing the villain as if he stepped off the set of a Looney Tunes film, the film seemed to be shot in neon colors and the film would go from serious to cartoony and back again so much it gave me a headache.  With how horrible, War Zone did at the theatre, I doubt we will see anyone trying again anytime soon and that is a shame because I think there could be a good action movie hiding in there somewhere.

Is that Sean Penn? Who cares, he will disappear from the movie in 5 seconds never to be seen again.

3. The Thin Red Line- This was before I had ever seen a Terrence Malick film so I didn’t know what I was in for.  All I knew at the time was Saving Private Ryan was a great film, I loved WWII movies and later in the year of 1998, a critically beloved director was making a pacific themed WWII film starring John Travolta, George Clooney, Nick Nolte, John Cusack and tons of other huge and respected stars.  The movie came out, was nominated for tons of awards and had critics stepping over each other to heap praise on it so when I finally was able to watch it I was expecting something monumentally great.  I don’t think I have seen a film that I have hated more.  There was no plot, characters appeared and disappeared without any rhyme or reason, the director was more interested in framing pretty pictures that creating a narrative drive and it was just so pretensions I was grinding my teeth the whole time I watched it.  The film was about 3 hours long, to me if felt like 12.

2. The Village­ - Remember a time when M. Night Shyamalan was supposed to be the next Spielberg?  When his movies were seen as things to look forward to and not dread or ridicule?  For about 5 years, Shyamalan could do no wrong.  People were blown away by The Sixth Sense (me being one of them); Unbreakable has its big fans (again, I include myself in this group) and Signs made huge amounts of money.  Everything changed for him when the Village was released.  I was working at a theatre at the time and many of us working at the cinema watched the employee screening that night waiting to be amazed again.  We thought we would be terrified, or taken for a ride or something cool, we didn’t expect to see one of the worst performances ever put on film thanks to Adrian Brody, nor did we expect a “twist ending” that makes no sense and makes the characters actually seem dumber than could be imagined.  I was a big fan of Shymalan back in the day, but The Village changed those feelings and has the distinct advantage of a being the movie that made me the angriest when leaving the theatre.

1. Smoking Aces - I LOVED Narc, Joe Carnahan’s tour de force crime thriller.  I thought it was written, acted and directed flawlessly.  I love movies with a lot of violence and cool gunplay.  When I heard that Carnahan was making a film that combined his directing skill to a movie that was a 90-minute excuse to show people firing guns, I got really excited.  The problem I had with this movie was not the shallow story; I was expecting that in this type of film.  The problem was not the over the top acting by the cast because again this was expected.  The problem with the film was that is was just so DULL!  The gunfights were not staged with any kind of flair or tension and just kind of started and stopped with no build up.  The movie wasn’t cool, it wasn’t a badass film and it wasn’t fun.  I was hoping the film would live in my DVD collection next to Robert Rodriguez and John Woo films, but instead I left the theatre very depressed because of all the opportunities missed and a film that not only did not live up to my expectations but fell so below it that it went subterranean.

Chris Pine, the one bright point of the film.

Have a disappointing New Year! Or, well, not.

Posted by Ryan

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I still cannot believe The Expendables is not on this list…

  2. I kind of liked the Expendables, it wasn’t as great as I would have hoped but there were parts I liked.


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