Monday 14 September 2009

The Bride Wars Challenge

Back in January, the film critic Mark Kermode announced on his excellent Radio 5 Live slot that if there were ten films released in 2009 that are worse than Bride Wars, the woeful wedding ‘comedy’ starring Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson, then he would give up film criticism and get a proper job.

The reaction from fans has been surprising – as Mark says, “it’s always as if some of you actually want me to go.” Therefore, at the start of September, Mark boldly repeated his promise and listed four films – Transformers 2, Marley & Me, Dance Flick and Charles Dickens’ England – that have made it onto his list. He has also requested suggestions for films that are worse than Bride Wars, which again has resulted in loads of nominees on his blog.

However, opinion about films is always a matter of personal taste – I really, really hated Borat, for instance (I walked out of the cinema), whilst some deluded people think it’s a masterpiece of comedy – so one of Mark's blog comments offers what seem like some useful ground rules, which I’ve reworded as follows:
  • The movie must promote something morally offensive – Bride Wars' objectification and demeaning of successful women is the standard to measure against.

  • The movie must be hypocritical – the one thing in the defence of films like GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is that they offer exactly what they promised.

  • The movie must be popular enough to be recognisable by the general populace. There's nothing appalling about a young and inexperienced director making a low-budget indie film that sucks. It's when millions of dollars flow through some unfunny rom-com that it's annoying.

  • The movie must misuse talent that could be used elsewhere. (Anne Hathaway, excellent in Rachel Getting Married, awful in Bride Wars).

  • The movie must not be unintentionally funny, like the accents in GI Joe or Angels vs Demons that are worth the admission fee alone
In order to establish a baseline against which to measure, I reluctantly decided to rent Bride Wars on DVD from Lovefilm and to watch it all the way through – and it is really is quite staggeringly bad. But the problem is that I haven’t seen any of the other four films that Mark Kermode has chosen as worse than this particular cinematic disaster – and I’m not wasting more good money to do so.

So I welcome suggestions too, based on the criteria above. My own offerings, all seen (or at least partially seen) on DVD or Sky, include:

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans
Criminal waste of the talents of both Michael Sheen (wonderful in The Damned United) and Bill Nighy

A sub-standard rip-off of M Night Shymalan – who’d have thought such a thing would be possible?

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Criminal waste of the talents of Leiv Schreiber, Danny Huston and possibly Huge Action Hugh Jackman.

On the principle of never judging a film I haven't seen, I can only assume that Fired Up and My Best Friend’s Girl, which looks like a particular pile of sexist crap from its trailer and more evidence that Kate Hudson should fire her agent, should probably be counted along with Lesbian Vampire Killers, for which I pity poor Paul McGann – Withnail & I seems like a sadly distant memory. Has anyone seen these films?

If you spot Mark Kermode down at the Southampton Job Centre Plus, tell him we're all really sorry...


HarpyMarx said...

I couldn't bring myself to see Borat 'cos it looked so offensive and also it didn't appeal to me. So am pleased that someone else hated it. I know I shouldn't judge the film without seeing it but I just know I will get bloody annoyed.

Brave man to have watched Bride Wars.

Oh, what the hell was Paul McGann thinking when he starred in that misogynistic and homophobic Lesbian Vampire Killers. That was the pits....

I really loathe those frat boy films, utterly dumb, sexist, unimaginative pap! Grrr...

Though Mark Kermode truly rocks with his analysis.

Oh yeah, that bloody let down (and I admit I was looking forward to it) Terminator Salvation. Sucked! Sucked! Sucked! Ans sucked!!

HarpyMarx said...

PS: Forgot this film, how could I forget it, must have repressed it tho' I did review it.....

En la ciudad de Sylvia (In the City of Sylvia)

Hated it. It just romanticised stalking. Majority of male crtitics liked it, one called it a 'love story'.. Mmm. Not what I would describe as a 'love story'.

Anonymous said...

Following the rules stated, Transformers 2 isn't a bad film. I rather liked it - not as much as 1 but it is a kids film and should be judged as such.

For your list though (except they aren't all 2009 releases) you can add on anything made by rape apologists Penelope Cruz and Pedro Almodovar. Especially Volver. I have just dumped my whole lot of films.

Up sucks - saw it yesterday and still raging over paying money to see and having to watch it all as I was with the kids. (Doesn't suck as much as Cars though, which is the worst film I have ever had to sit through the whole way with the kids).

Slumdog Millionaire last year was the worst movie of the year. I was so angry watching it that at one point I had to go out for a fag - and couldn't leave because it was a date :(

Anonymous said...

I did leave The Holiday though - and luckily the date at the time didn't mind on that one as it was sooooooooooooo bad.

Kevin said...

Dear God, you paid to see The Holiday?!

Anonymous said...

Lol. Actually I didn't, the date did. But in my defence - I live in a one cinema, one screen town :)

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