The Glass is Half Empty: The Worst Movies of 2010 (So Far)

Yesterday, when I listed the five best movies of the year so far, I also said that this year has been incredibly bad for movies overall. So here we are, with a look at the worst. For the five singled out here, I’ve probably left out a dozen (or more!). Just think of it this way: I saw these movies so you didn’t have to. That’ll make both of us feel better. Read on, for the worst of the worst (so far)…

Cop Out‘ (Kevin Smith, USA) – This is a movie for which the phrase “career nadir” was devised. Warner Bros., in all its infinite wisdom, thought that it’d be a good idea to hire Kevin Smith, a director who barely moves the camera, to direct a high octane action comedy. The results, predictably, are awful. Smith is a talented writer and less-than-talented director. All of his shortcomings are amplified and intensified by the fact that this script is so lousy. When Sean William-Scott, playing a petty thief, is the best part of your movie (that also stars people like Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan), well, you know you’ve got problems. This movie is so bad that for the last half hour or so, I stood at the back of the theater alone, so that I would be sure to leave the second it was over. Embarassing.

Clash of the Titans‘ (Louis Letterier, USA) – You know what’s a really good way to run the 3-D craze straight into the ground? With muddy, last-minute 3-D conversions, like the kind that took place for ‘Clash of the Titans.’ The movie is utterly awful to begin with. It has a choppy narrative that seems to have been revised numerous times, on the fly, during different stages of production and editing. Why, for instance, would you hire so many big name actors to play the gods and then not show them at all? Anyway, a bad movie became a worse movie when, after the success of ‘Avatar,’ the studio (again: Warner Bros.) decided to turn it into 3-D. The results are absolute trash. A movie like ‘Alice in Wonderland‘ wasn’t shot in 3-D, but at least had a 3-D technician on-set and had 3-D in mind when the shots were composed. For ‘Clash of the Titans,’ nobody even considered 3-D until months after the film was completed. The results are shaky, unfocused blobs that show marginal depth but not much else. (And the paper-thin plotting certainly doesn’t help matters.) I’m no fan of 3-D, and even less of a fan when it’s executed like this.

‘Killers’ (Robert Luketic, USA) – Just. The. Worst.

A Nightmare on Elm Street‘ (Samuel Bayer, USA) – To me, it says something when a director viewed as a music video prodigy back in the early 1990s, responsible for zeitgeist-capturing moments like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” doesn’t direct his first feature-length film until 2010. It probably means he’s a disagreeable jerk or a talentless hack, or probably both. That’s certainly the case with Bayer, who constantly clashed on-set with producer Michael Bay. Bay may not exactly be Antonioni, but he at least knows what makes for sturdy popcorn entertainment. Trust me, brother, this ain’t it. A cast full of no-name, mumbly young actors can’t convince us that the tepid dream sequences and telegraphed scares are anything more than the crassest of commercial cash-ins. Why they would choose to rejuvenate a franchise that even in its lesser sequels was defined by its creativity in the most humdrum way imaginable is just beyond dumb. Kind of like the movie that resulted.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘ / ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire (Niel Arden Oplev, Daniel Alfredson, Germany, Sweden, Denmark) – Just so you don’t think I reserve my vitriol for slickly produced Hollywood movies, I can also bash crummy European movies just as easily. The fact that these movies (and books) are worldwide phenomenons makes things even more baffling. People that compare them to the ‘Silence of the Lambs’ are just out-and-out high. Melodrama meets pulp thriller mechanics in an ungodly collision of European art house and American supsense. The results are less than the sum of their parts.


  1. Mike Attebery

    Sorry, Drew. Don’t agree with you at all on ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ and ‘The Girl Who Played With Fire.’ Books and movies are brilliant.

    • Yeah, I can understand not liking the ‘Girl Who’ movies. But to say that they’re the worst of the year — worse than The Last Airbender — well, that’s just bonkers. 🙂

  2. While I do agree with some of this list I feel that a particularly bad movie was not on this list: Furry Vengeance. Also, what about “The Last Airbender”?

  3. DieHard

    I’d have to say that Clash Of The Titans could be the worst movie of more than just this year so far. It seems this is a year of downgraded CGI and projects that are just thrown together. Wolfman was pretty bad with horrid CGI/makeup and A Nightmare On Elm Street was a huge disappointment as the original is a classic. The right actor to play Freddy, the wrong everything else.

    Honestly, there are very few movies I would even consider watching in the theater this year and most of the ones I’ve actually enjoyed are ones I didn’t hear too much about until I rented them or they are the type you wait to rent anyways.

  4. I’m just gonna pop in here and say that I actually enjoyed ‘Clash of the Titans.’ I didn’t see it in 3D so that wasn’t a problem. I also went in expecting far worse, since the reviews were so dismal. It was stupid, yeah, but fun. 🙂

  5. First of all, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was released in 2009 (at least internationally), and it would make my list as one of the BEST films I’ve seen this year. You’re WAY off with this one (and Roger Ebert and many others agree).

    Secondly, I’d add Eclipse as one of the worst films of 2010. I liked Twilight and New Moon, but Eclipse was a poorly-directed, unemotional snooze.

    • See I thought the complete opposite, Eclipse was the first in the series to offer me great visuals, above par acting and some decent action to go along with the love triangle crap. New Moon is one of the worst movies I’ve EVER seen, pretty much put me to sleep with all the overacting melodrama that is reserved for day time soap operas, Eclipse was like a breath of fresh air compared to the first two films….

      I really cant think of anything that was extremely bad this year, there were movies that disappointed me yes, like Clash of the Titans and Nightmare on Elm Street, I was HOPING for better but was still quite entertained (I love Haley as Freddy) and I’m still a sucker for Greek Mythology no matter what it is, I’ll have to think about what I saw harder 😉

  6. Don

    agree and do feel last airbender and edge of darkness should be added to the list but as for the comments in this post, you’ve got to be on crack if you think Valentine’s Day or Eclipse are worse than the above listed (and this coming from a guy who despises the Twilight saga to no end)

    oh and that Girl with Dragon Tattoo that played with fire, absolutely dreadful both the books and movies

  7. coologuy1957

    as far as sh**ty action movies are concerned:

    Prince of Persia >>> Clash of the Titans >>>>>> The Last Airbender

    PoP was fine – good action and effects – good summer movie

    CotT was boring, ruined a classic, and I didn’t even see it in 3D so no points off there even though everyone apparently hated it in 3D

    TLA was the worst movie I’ve see all year – the worst I’ve seen in a long time. After watching the Avatar TLA cartoons I don’t know how MNS could screw it up so bad. I just watched Signs again a few nights ago and forgot how much I loved it. The man can do pacing and shots and dialogue and funny moments even. So what happened? Who knows… I just hope after The Last Airbender and The Happening that it never happens again….

  8. Hastor

    I have to go with Last Airbemder too. Rushed 3D even worse that Titans and they even pronounce a main character name wrong. Though to those thinking it may be the last MNS movie, sorry the public are idiots. I work retail where the toys and video games from the movie are sold and we can’t keep them in stock. The same customers that get pissed about our NASCAR section not being bigger keep telling me it is the best movie in years. I hear it many times a day. I really need to move.