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:
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.
- 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
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
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...