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Unlike my Top 5 films of the year, there is no common theme that links the five worst movies of 2006. Other than they're all dreaful. They're all bad for different reasons. One makes absolutely zero sense no matter how you look at it (that would be The Lake House). Another was just a mess that clearly suffered from the makers not knowing how to even make a film (thank you Freedomland). The third worst is bad simply because the lead performance is so bad that it drags the rest of the already-poorly made film down with it (take a bow Colour Me Kubrick). The two worst movies of the year truly did reach the lowest of all the lows. In the end I gave them both F grades because they failed on every single level.
American Dreamz fails for, among other things, not even knowing it's own concept. If you're going to do a satire on both television music reality programs and politics, it's probably a good place to start by actually watching a few episodes of American Idol and, hell, even an episode or two of The West Wing. Get a mild understanding of what you're doing. Paul Weitz has even gone on the record to say he had never watched Idol before writing Dreamz so it makes sense that for some reason he thinks the entire globe is interested in AMERICAN music contests and that the season finale of the biggest-rating show on the planet would, somehow, go to air with only one ad break. Plus, ya know, the rest of the film is a hunk of junk, but it's all just so uninformed.
The worst however was Footy Legends. I find it fitting that in a year where I am going to crown and Australian movie as the very best of the year, that the very worst should also be Australian. Using every single possible cliché you can think of for the inspirational sports drama sub-genre, Footy Legends then adds a few more just for old times sake. I almost want people to see it just so they can spot them. It's a terrible movie and rightfully earns my title as the worst film of 2006.
Outside of those five titles however, there were plenty of other stinkers. How about the nigh-unwatchable Jackass Number Two? Or the insulting Another Gay Movie? I was bored silly throughout Basic Instinct 2, so much so that when it came to the Worst Actor and Worst Supporting Actor categories I decided to not include any of the men because I don't remember a single one of them. Aussie Project Greenlight winner Solo was another cliché-fest, as was The Last King of Scotland and Just My Luck. V For Vendetta and Hostel are adored by many, but not my me. They're unfocused and messy. And Trust the Man was a sexist load of garbage. The less said about others titles such as The DaVinci Code, Idlewild and Aussie documentary Raul the Terrible the better.
And the dishonours go to...
Colour Me Kubrick
The Lake House
Colour Me Kubrick
On the side of nausea-enducing sentimentality and cliche-ridden monotony, Do shows absolutely zero skill in directing actors, action or anything resembling a movie in general.
The Last King of Scotland
Turns are thoroughly interesting story into a crass and needlessly hysteric Hollywood-ised thriller. Some were taken in, I most certainly was not.
V For Vendetta
Showing no skill in directing, he mishandles the action scenes (slow motion when it shouldn't be, hyperactive cutting when we want to see more), mishandles dialogue scenes (lengthy closeups of an inatimate mask) and heavyhands the "message".
Roth creates a jumbled mess that closely resembles the riots in the film. Actors on various levels of ACTING and poorly handled plot twists with the hysterics up to 11.
Insulting every single audience member with his non-knowledge of the subject he is sending up, Weitz loses tonnes of credibility in this very unfunny satire.
Dishonourable Mentions: Alejandro Agresti can't save The Lake House, Brian Cook can't liven up the proceedings of Colour Me Kubrick, Michael Caton-Jones probably gave up after one day on Basic Instinct 2, Eli Roth misses the point on Hostel and Ron Howard must've been transfixed by Tom Hanks' hair instead of directing The DaVinci Code.
Paul Weitz for American Dreamz
Khoa Do for Footy Legends
Kevin Macdonald for The Last King of Scotland
He may have presence in his music, but considering he barely sings any decent songs in Idlewild Benjamin doesn't pass the "leading man" test.
Do is straining incredibly hard to reach the simplist of emotions. Oh! He's squishing his face up. He must be angry... or sad... or confused...
I know he's playing someone smarmy and sleazy, but my god he is sleepwalking and doing a terrible job at it.
The DaVinci Code
One word that I keep coming back to is "ridiculous" and that's exactly what this is. And, yes, the hair is terrible. Surely a new low for Hanks.
Colour Me Kubrick
An incredibly embarassing performance by Malkovich. He spends the entire movie doing a bad sendup of some tragic camp queen with the limp wrist and the boa and it's just all too much. Turn it down.
Dishonourable Mentions: I wrote in my notes that David Morrissey was bad in Basic Instinct 2, but I honestly can't for the life of me remember a single second of him or even what he looks like. Keanu Reeves gives a typically dumb performance in The Lake House while Samuel L Jackson huffs and puffs in Freedomland.
John Malkovich for Colour Me Kubrick
Anh Do for Footy Legends
André Benjamin for Idlewild
Completely unbelievable, completely wrong for the part and completely flat in all her deliveries. Did they not want to cast someone who had more personality than Brandon Routh (Superman himself)?
Marcia Gay Harden
A terribly fussy reworking of her amazing Mystic River performance. Yakking away incessantly and doing her now well-worn depressed mopey face.
Much like Malkovich in the Actor category, this is purely embarassing career-nadir work by Juli Moore. I was rendered speechless for a while by how awful it was. I'm, obviously, not so speechless anymore. It's terrible.
Basic Instinct 2
It's as if everyone knew they were making a dog of a movie yet went on with it anyway. Sharon looks bored and tired and tries to get as much miliage out of the silly dialogue as possible - "I may never come again!"
There were only four performances bad enough! I didn't see Miss Potter, Super Ex-Girlfriend or other obvious choises. And I'm giving Lindsay a free pass. Yes. And I don't care what you say. It really was a great year for women though. I was even tempted to not put Stone on there.
Julianne Moore for Freedomland
Marcia Gay Harden for American Gun
Kate Bosworth for Superman Returns
The DaVinci Code
I'm not really sure what exactly it was that Bettany was doing, but it wasn't good. Like some psycho-warped Villain 101 or something. But he's failing.
Trust the Man
He's stuck with the movie's worst character, and his dialogue is terrible, but Crudup doesn't try to make his character even into a "lovable larrikin" kind. He just makes him a pig.
Talk about A-C-T-I-N-G. Haft breaks into so many sweats in Solo purely from yelling and screaming so much. I was just wanted him to shut up!
Could Howard at lead have tried to act? Please. It's not that much to ask. Because all we're left with is a very bored man doing a lame evil schtick.
Oh god. It doesn't help that Sutherland's accept is so thick I could barely understand a word out of his mouth, but he also screams a lot and in general just acts like a deranged lunatic. Not the good kind, either.
Dishonourable Mentions: Both David Thewlis and Heathcote Williams were, my notes tell me, dreadful in Basic Instinct 2, but WHY?! I can't remember a single second of them. The Entire Male Cast of Footy Legends (mostly people who's names I don't know/care about plus Angus Sampson) infuriated me to no end. Owen Wilson just screamed a lot in Night at the Museum, while Ricky Gervaise was improvising badly (from the looks of it) in the same flick. Jonah Blechman was acting to the back row in Another Gay Movie.
Linal Haft for Solo (he sent me hate mail!)
Kiefer Sutherland for River Queen
Terrence Howard for Idlewild
Needless to day, Harden had a rough year, especially in movies with "American" in the title. So one-note it hurts, Harden's First Lady character is annoying in every aspect.
Don't Come Knocking
It's a good thing her directing career is going gang-busters because after several performances threatening it, she has finally performed what I thought impossible - She has done a performance entirely in a coma!! Way to go!!
Just My Luck
Something about this performance irritated me because I wrote her name down but so many things in that movie were so insta-forgettable that she's here due to lack of options.
Basic Instict 2
This ridiculous french lesbian role is such a throwaway that nobody could have made it work, not even the usually-ravishing Rampling.
The Devil Wears Prada
Yes, she has the worst character in the movie, but she doesn't really try very hard to make her anything more than a stock one-dimensional friend role. Being the sassy one isn't character.
Dishonourable Mentions: I considered putting Claudia Karvan in here for Footy Legends, but it's not her fault really. I also considered Gong Li for Miami Vice purely because I wish if she intends to really try and start making more films in English then she oughta get a better dialect coach. I didn't think she was that bad, but almost nobody else I know could understand her. Poor girl.
Marcia Gay Harden for American Dreamz
Sarah Polley for Don't Come Knocking
Charlotte Rampling for Basic Instict 2
If that thing was meant to look real then they did a piss-poor job of it. That thing didn't look real for a second.
I gotta tell ya, I am sick of all these multi-narrative films that don't finish what they started. This year alone we had Aussie suicide drama 2:37, the internation Babel, the seemingly-made-for-tv American Gun and the book adaptation Fast Food Nation. They all had interesting parts, but they also all had uninteresting parts. Oh, if only I were an editor. I would snip out the "uneven steven" storyline of 2:37 and expand on the Teresa Palmer storyline. Babel may've been great if it were all about Rinko's storyline. American Gun should have just followed one or two of it's four storylines and Fast Food Nation could have easily just been one film focused on illegal immigrants (the most interesting storyline). Each movie had tangents and characters that didn't help the movie to be anything other than longer. And all of them had unfinished business. All four pictures essentially dumped the third acts for most of the story strands. What happened to Brad and Cate when they got home? What happened to Teresa Palmer after that day at school? Where did Greg Kinnear go halfway through the film? How did the kids get on in American Gun. I wanted to know, but these directors didn't want to tell me. They wanted me to see the suffering and the immediate after effects but nothing else. Come on people. Lift your game!