Saturday, December 30, 2006

Year in Review: Obnoxious Performances (and other cinematic stupidities)

Despite my general malaise in regards to the movie product of 2006, I don't actually relish pointing and laughing at the bad stuff. I'd rather just move on. But since I'm a completist I gotta do that annual hall of shame thing. And some things are just too annoying to let slide.

There are stars and filmmakers who force my hand. There I sit peacefully in the movie theater and they refuse to let me enjoy myself. They suck the good air out of the room.


read the rest...
for triple dishonors in each acting category and more general stupidity at the cinema. Return and discuss. Join in the pointing and laughing.

Tags: movies, cinema, Julianne Moore, bad movies, blood diamond, film, Johnny Depp, Uma Thurman,racism, Hilary Swank, Eragon, Babel, Lindsay Lohan,x-men

41 comments:

adam k. said...

Hmmm... a lot of these I avoided, but I lot I saw and had little problem with. Like, what was so bad about Johnny Depp in Pirates? Sure he wasn't as good as last time, but then, what is? And I actually really liked Kate Bosworth's Lois Lane... didn't expect to, but I did. And even scary weird eyebrow man Simon Baker didn't really bother me... I actually found him pretty likeable until the whole Paris bit.

Hated Kevin Kline, though. He really pissed me off a lot. And I'm going nowhere near Miss Potter or Freedomland.

And lastly, don't you think it was maybe indicative of the movie's quality that United 93 was such a hard sit for you? I think you've undervalued this film all year. It's not my very favorite of the year either, but I think it's one of the best.

Arkaan said...

Nathaniel bashed Brick. My heart is breaking.

Marcus said...

Interesting read. I actually thought Hilary was the best thing in Dahlia, Fiona Shaw (LMFAO?!?!?) should be there before her.

And I've seen Miss Potter as well and we are in complete agreement of that.

But something that caught my eye here was your little comment on Fur at the very bottom about it being afraid to show "real movie star nudity" in your words. I agree to an extent but I still really liked it for it's style and I thought Nicole hit it out of the park (as did Robert and Ty). I'm still waiting to here your words on that film by the way!!

But aside for Kevin Kline and a few little things I'm in full agreement with everything here. Good job, Nat.

Nick Davis said...

Great great great read. I have a few minutes' worth of web access, and this one feature will keep me going for days! Word up on Kline, Newton, Brick, etc.

Joe R. said...

I'm almost really psyched that we disagree on more than a couple of these. Though you nailed the Freedomland stuff and now I absolutely cannot wait to see The Black Dahlia.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Firstly, what is so weird about Simon Baker's eyebrows?

I would've given my trophies to

Actress: Julianne Moore (Freedomland). Painful. Embarassing. Pathetic.

Actor: John Malkovich (Colour Me Kubrick). Painful. Embarassing. Eye-bleed.

Supporting Actress: Charlotte Rampling (Basic Instinct 2). IS SHE SERIOUS?!?

Supporting Actor: Linal Haft (Solo). Let's turn the volume down from 148,933,934,894,301 to, say, 6. Plus, HE SENT ME HATE MAIL! so I sorta hate him even more, even though he was Man-servant Warner in Moulin Rouge!

In relation to Samuel L. The funniest part in Freedomland (of which there were many) was when any character called him "Big Daddy". Cause, like... wtf?

Can't say I agree at all about Brick. it's dialogue is quite intentional and it was great to see a movie that lived in it's own world, but wasn't scifi/fantasy/animated. And, yeah, United 93 was stunning, so...

I agree with most of the rest though. Edie Falco, Julianne, Apocalypto, Halle and even though I haven't seen it, the bit about Blood Diamond is hilarious.

ricky said...

OMG marcus you are so right about Fiona Shaw. The movie is almost worth buying just so you can laugh at her. WTF was she doing?!?!?

Her scenes were just pure camp.

Kris said...

Okay, well let's see. You clearly missed the boat on Kline's performance. But "too old" for Brick? That's an interesting insult. Maybe too SLOW? I would never have chalked you up for that one, but there it is.

NATHANIEL R said...

adam k --re: United 93 maybe. maybe. but it still isn't for me. i still don't get the purpose of reliving it.

arkaan --i didn't completely bash it. I actually complimented it. i just hated the dialogue.

kris --whatever. I call it like i see it. to me the dialogue was almost unbearably pretentious but i do recognize that the director's got something. I really thought there were choice and surprisingly original beats in it as a whole. I just was so annoyed at the effort it took to obscure itself that I couldn't really dig. But I'm glad other people love it ;)

NATHANIEL R said...

oh and Fiona Shaw RULES Black Dahlia. ha ha. i've rarely seen over the top look so demented/inspired/batshit crazy. woke me right up.

Kris said...

I think Brick is far too self-aware to be considered pretentious. It's the film equivalent of a Weird Al song.

etslee said...

The most "painful" trend for me is the overuse of torture in film. What's going on? I just don't buy the "we're in war so torture is real" angle. Cases in point: Casino Royale and Pan's Labyrinth.

Anonymous said...

YES! Thank you thank you thank you! Simon Baker in Devil Wears Prada! Yes! Dreadful! Thanks for noticing. Thought it was just me. Forced me to re-evaluate the thespian skills of Matthew McConaughey, who could have phoned in the same performance and been twice as good.

Rob

Kamikaze Camel said...

Fiona Shaw's performance in The Black Dahlia is pretty much the single greatest moment of cinema in 2006. It was certainly the most entertaining.

I wish she was in it more.

omg SPIN OFF!!!!!!!

Kamikaze Camel said...

(the scary thing is, I originally wrote that as a joke, but... it's sorta true. I'll be remembering Shaw in that movie long after many of so-called "classics" of this year (The Departed, The Queen, Flags of Our Fathers etc)

amir_uk said...

Totally agree with you re: Brick, Nathaniel. Awful, awful pile of pretension. It literally had only 5 seconds worthy of being watched in its entire running time.

But I don't see what's wrong with Johnny Depp giving the same performance a he did in the first Pirates, for a sequel. He shouldn't be "adding anything new." It would seem strange if he did! Maybe it's just one of those things that we only needed to see once...

I still maintain Depp is the best of a very, very bad bunch in Globe's Actor Comedy/Musical this year.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I, personally, think it's more a case of the film not adding anything new so it was hard for Depp to particularly do much else with the role.

(nevertheless, I still quite liked the movie)

ISA said...

LMAO Fiona Shaw. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard this year watching a movie. Even Borat.

Bitch was crazy, God love her.

adam k. said...

Amir, you really think Depp was better than Sacha Baron Cohen? I didn't love Borat, but you gotta give Cohen props. He was crazy brave and insane to do what he did, and the results were pretty hilarious. I think he deserves that globe he'll be getting.

StinkyLulu said...

Fiona Shaw was pure genius.

Anonymous said...

Very funny the strip with la Connelly. I do agree: her Oscar was a bad joke ("A Beautiful Mind" is one of the worst Oscar winner film, you could prepare a test about this topic) but She was good in "Requiem for a dream".
MY WORST LIST

Worst Picture: "Lady in the Water" + "World Trade Center"
Worst Director: M. N. Shyamalan
Worst Actor: Nicolas Cage (WTC)

Dario

Anonymous said...

I've noticed Nat...What's your issue with Cate Blanchett your movie review for "Notes Of A Scandal" seemed very mild. I've noticed you nerver praise her she's one "Great Actress" working today.

NATHANIEL R said...

i praised cate blanchett a lot a year ago here and I've regretted it since.

my issue is simple: she works way too much and since Hollywood likes her she ends up in roles that are entirely unsuited to her strengths. She's such a strong actor technically (with great screen presence) that people don't even notice when she's entirely wrong for the role or performing it incorrectly. She's winning awards for Notes on a Scandal but she's terribly cast in it (aside from her beauty). Her screen persona is way too strong --you just can't understand her weakness or even her those idiotic decisions because she always reads so intelligent onscreen.

this is why she was great in the Aviator --totally playing to her strengths: presence, intelligence, power. She's much better in the Good German for the same reasons.

Bruno Packer said...

Brilliant article!

My "winners"?

Here we go.

-Worst Actor.
Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code. runner-up: Nicolas Cage in The Wicker Man.

-Worst Actress.
La Stone in Basic Instict 2.

-Worst Supporting Actor.
Kevin Spacey in Superman Returns

-Worst Supporting Actress.
Kate Bosworth in Superman Returns.

-Worst Director. Ron Howard for The Da Vinci Code.

-Worst Original Screenplay. Guillermo Arriaga for Babble.

-Worst Adapted Screenplay. (ex aqeuo) Superman Returns AND The Da Vinci Code.

Craig Hickman said...

Nate,

Thanks for picking Jennifer Connelly. That was one wretched performance.

But perhaps you didn't see The Good Shepherd, but Angelina Jolie stunk up the joint something fierce and for my money, she was certainly the runnerup here.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to the always astute Bruno Packer - OK, Stone was bad in BI2, but... wasn't that sorta the point? To me she seemed like the only person in that movie who knew what the hell they were doing!

Rob

adam k. said...

Why does everyone hate Superman Returns so much? I really really liked it.

Bruno Packer said...

Rob - You are right. She knew what she was doing..... in the first 5 minutes of the movie. But after that she gets all serious making me want to go Zzzzzz. Rampling was awful too. But I'll give you some credit for that: Audrey Tatou and Maria Bello, in that trashy horror canadian film, were
runners-up if that's a little bit of confort.

Adam - Maybe a lot of people hated it because it really stunk. People who criticized Brett Rattner for their take on X3 should be begging for his forgiveness after watching the mess Singer did.

But everyone's entitled to their opinion.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Because it was duuuuuulllll. There were, what? Two action sequences. And the big climax was him lifting a giant rock into the sky. Plus, the characters were just... nothing (especially Lois).

Plus, there's also the little fact that (for me personally) I just cannot and I refuse to suspect belief so much so that I can believe characters can't tell the difference between Supes and Clark. I'll suspend belief that there are superheroes and that there's Kryptonite and so on, but it's asking way too much to believe that nobody can tell they're the same person. It just boggles my mind.

It reminds me of how Mia Kirshner and Hilary Swank are apparently IDENTICAL in The Black Dahlia!!! (just vice versa) When, really, they look as much alike as Hilary and I do. I ain't buyin' it. Although there it was sorta funny cause. Superman Returns didn't have Scarlett Johansson screaming "HE LOOKS NOTHING LIKE SUPERMAN!!!!" I sorta wish it did.

I know it's nitpicky, but it's totally valid.

(I've always had that problem with Superman in all incarnations)

Rob, if Sharon knew what she was doing then why did she spend over half a decade trying to get this film made? Surely if she knew how silly the movie was why bother? She only embarassed herself.

amir_uk said...

Hey Adam, sure, I think Depp outclassed Cohen this year.

Yes I laughed during Borat - I admit it - but the ending dragged on and, at the end of the day, it was a mediocre film at best. What is everyone doing elevating it to "social commentary for our times" status with their trigger-happy hyperbole. We've had to live with this guy hogging Channel 4 airtime for years over here in the UK - he's not that clever, Cambridge degree or no Cambridge degree.

To me, it's just not acting - it's one-note and, ok, funny improv - but an actor that does not make. Depp did this year exactly what he did in the first Pirates - for which he won awards, plaudits and praise galore. Why not actually give him the Globe he missed out on (rightfully so in favour of Murray it has to be said) this time round?

I know Cohen will win, but it's worth a try. If he ends up with an Oscar nom, I may cry. It's not acting! We're talking about a different craft here - Oscar, leave that 5th slot for Mr. Gosling please (and don't you dare double-dip DiCaprio!)...

NATHANIEL R said...

amir --there'll be no double dipping for Leo. It's against Oscar rules to have two nominations in the same category (in acting)

and i don't think that Depp was doing the same thing in Pirates two that he was on Pirates one. It felt so empty to me this time. There were almost no jokes... and he was hilarious the first time.

Russ said...

Thank goodness you dishonored Simon "Eyebrows" Baker in Prada. I nearly forgot how much I despised him in that.

And your description of She Who Must Not Be Named who "reemerges annually at awards season like an evil sorceress/phoenix" gave me a nice big laugh this morning. As did your J. Conn graphic from Blood Diamond.

Looking forward to your noms Nathaniel.

adam k. said...

Yikes, okay, Superman was nowhere near as bad as X3. I fully admit that the reason I liked it so much was most likely the 3D/IMAX experience, but it was still a decent movie, unlike X3.

Was I the only one caught up in the human drama of it? It didn't feel like there needed to be more action... at least when the action there was was in 3D on a giant screen. I just really clicked with Singer's interpretation of it. And the Clark/Superman resemblance is just something you have to accept; it has always been there in Superman
things.

It just amazes me how much vitriol is spewed over this movie. I really didn't expect to like it that much but I actually liked Bosworth, I liked the villains, and I really liked Routh and the kid. Maybe I was just in a good mood or something...

Russ said...

Adam: For what it's worth, I too enjoyed Superman Returns...and often find myself having to defend that opinion whenever I express it. I mean, sure it's flawed (particularly the final act), but I thought for the greater part of the film, it was beautifully handled by Singer and Co.

Craig said...

I have this thing about movies now. This maybe wrong. This maybe right. Whatever. The reality is that with a movie like Brick or The Puffy Chair I've gotten to a point where if I smell the wiff of indiewood saying that it's the best movie ever, and that it will be 'profound" (add Babel to that list because I am going to piss off some by saying I hated 21 Grams) then I am not going to like it. I want things that are good because as a story they move me. These films have a long history of my filmgoing to compete with- I mean Dog Day Afternoon, One Flew Over the Cuckkoos Nest, and even movies like Terminator and more recently City of God- kind of competition. When I hear that a movie is going to really be incredible to watch- it better be incredible, and I have learned lately to just be disappointed because its all a lot of hype. Sad musings of a film goer. Don't get me wrong- there are some good movies and some okay movies- but great movies this year? Not many.

filmfan said...

"Yes, SHE'S GOOD AT THIS STUFF and obviously drawn to fictional women with these issues but she's worked this terrain so many times now she's fast approaching self parody. That would be a sorry fate for one of the great screen actresses."
this is the description of one of the three worst performances of the year??!? (it was the film experience freedomland review)

come on- Julianne Moore is much better than you think she is in "Freedomland".

Julianne's performance in Freedomland is maybe not her best but its not THAT bad! it's certainly not one of the worst performances of the year!
If you hadn't seen Julianne in The Forgotten, The Hours or,e.g. "A map of the world", maybe you would've been thrilled about her performance in "Freedomland". She's moving, compelling and notable - until the end we don't know the truth about her sun because she acts so complex and subtle. I don't think it's over-acting, I think she gives a moving portrait of a mother who isn't very intelligent but cant get over and can't accept what she did to her sun, a mother who tries to to forget about her fault.
The film itself isn't good, thats right, but Moore makes the best of it.
JULIANNE MOORE IN FREEDOMLAND:
CERTAINLY NO CINEMATIC SHAME!

"it's still falling?"
No, I don't think her career is still falling. There's no need to worry about her career (maybe aside ""Laws of Attraction") - best examples:
"The Prize Winner of Defiance; Ohio" (Golden Satellite Award Nomination as Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture)
"The Children Of Men" (prizewinning, the critics are thrilled)
her acclaimed broadway debut "The Vertical Hour"

and for the future:
"I'm Not There" by "Far From Heaven" director Todd Haynes
AND: "SAVAGE GRACE" which is shot and will be showed at the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL (10 september 2007) , at the SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL (23 september 2007) and the AFI FILMFESTIVAL (13 november 2007).
"Savage Grace" will start in november 2007 in the USA.
Julianne's part in "Savage Grace" sounds oscar-baity.


She won't disappoint us.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I would have been fine with Superman Returns as a more dramatic human drama type of movie if they'd fixed thing such as the actors. It didn't pop with any of them except Parker Posey. I don't remember any dialogue being particularly memorable either except that one line Posey has when Lex's plan doesn't work.

And again, what is so weird about Simon Baker's eyebrows? Am I just looking at the wrong pictures?

NATHANIEL R said...

glenn, it's not "pictures" it's the movie picture of Devil --his eyebrows are fine otherwise. but there's somethin' wrong with them in this movie.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Oh... I'll have to pop the DVD in and take a look.

filmfan said...

JULIANNE MOORE


"I'm Not There" by "Far From Heaven" director Todd Haynes
AND: "SAVAGE GRACE" which is shot and will be showed at the TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL (10 september 2007) , at the SAN SEBASTIAN FILM FESTIVAL (23 september 2007) and the AFI FILMFESTIVAL (13 november 2007)!!!
"Savage Grace" will start in november 2007 in the USA.
Julianne's part in "Savage Grace" sounds oscar-worthy.

She won't disappoint us.

( I already wrote that at "Worst performances of the year". by the way -if you haven't read that:

JULIANNE MOORE IN FREEDOMLAND IS NO CINEMATIC SHAME!!! )

filmfan said...

"Yes, SHE'S GOOD AT THIS STUFF and obviously drawn to fictional women with these issues but she's worked this terrain so many times now she's fast approaching self parody. That would be a sorry fate for one of the great screen actresses."
this is the description of one of the three worst performances of the year??!? (it was the film experience freedomland review)

come on- Julianne Moore is much better than you think she is in "Freedomland".

Julianne's performance in Freedomland is maybe not her best but its not THAT bad! it's certainly not one of the worst performances of the year!
If you hadn't seen Julianne in The Forgotten, The Hours or,e.g. "A map of the world", maybe you would've been thrilled about her performance in "Freedomland". She's moving, compelling and notable - until the end we don't know the truth about her sun because she acts so complex and subtle. I don't think it's over-acting, I think she gives a moving portrait of a mother who isn't very intelligent but cant get over and can't accept what she did to her sun, a mother who tries to to forget about her fault.
The film itself isn't good, thats right, but Moore makes the best of it.

JULIANNE MOORE IN FREEDOMLAND:
CERTAINLY NO CINEMATIC SHAME!