We've seen the dirtiest and eFilmCritic's Criticwatch has laid out the full year in quotes. But what were the dumbest things to appear in film ads and commercials in 2009? Other than a recommendation for Old Dogs, of course. What puns made you smack your head or lines that you couldn't believe someone would say, let alone get repeated? Here are fifteen to get you started that topped my list.
15. "He's still a thriller." (Michael Jackson's This Is It) - Richard Corliss
- We'll ignore one of the biggest news stories of the year that suggested Mr. Jackson is "still" anything and just focus on the incredibly lame pun cooked up by Time magazine's chief critic. A more discerning follower of the singer's career over the year might have chosen his follow-up album to describe what he was over the past few decades. But to each his own. Too soon?
14. "Locked and loaded for funny." (Paul Blart: Mall Cop) – Todd Hill, Newhouse Syndicate
- Something we learned from both mall cop films of 2009 (the other being the far superior Observe & Report) is that this security force isn't allowed to carry guns. So Paul Blart couldn't be "locked" or "loaded" for anything, let alone "funny."
13 (tie). "Nine is a ten!" - Larry King - & - "Nine looks like a million." (Nine) - Gene Shalit
- Do we blame Spinal Tap for this particular wit of escalating numerical value when a clear ceiling has been established? Was someone on the junket for Blake Edwards' 10 and beat Nigel Tufnel to the punch? Nine is actually a thirty-seven at the moment. That's the current rating at Rotten Tomatoes making King & Shalit's hyperbolic recommendations all the more suspect and silly.
12. "Hugh Jackman is electrifying, delivering a star-turning performance." (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) – Paul Fischer
- Star-turning, huh? We're talking about the same Hugh Jackman that has already been the male lead in The Prestige, The Fountain, Van Helsing and Australia, to name just a few. The same guy who just hosted the Oscars a couple months prior. And I'm forgetting something here. Oh, what is it? Oh right, the guy who has already played Wolverine THREE TIMES PRIOR to this film! The guy who ORIGINated the role on film back in 2001 for which he was nominated for Most Promising Actor by the Chicago Film Critics Association. The guy who was named Male STAR of the Year by ShoWest in 2006? Precisely how, Paul, does this fourth go-round with the character in the worst of the series turn his star in a more favorable direction?
11. "...nearly the perfect action movie." (Outlander) - Guy Haley, Death Ray Magazine
- So what does the Mount Rushmore of action movies look like in your head? If you could only pick four and call them the perfect sculptures of action/adventure entertainment, what would they be? Raiders of the Lost Ark and Die Hard certainly come to mind. Throw one of the first two Terminator films on the pile and you won't get much of an argument. Do you go with a Lord of the Rings or a John Woo for the fourth spot? We haven't discussed anything from Mad Max, James Bond, Jason Bourne, Martin Riggs, Jack Ryan, Jack Sparrow or Robocop yet either. Does Guy Haley consider any of those films as close to perfect as the incomprehensible Jim Caviezel vs. the Moorwen flick? Do you know what film he's even referring to?
10. "Titanic entertainment." (Avatar) - Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
- How does your copy editor not take off their glove and smack you across the face for such a line? Does that make The Lovely Bones "King Kong entertainment?" Or make Inglourious Basterds "death proof?" Hey kids, we're going to see A Christmas Carol cause I heard it was "Beowulfesque"
9 (tie). "This is what romantic chemistry looks like." (New In Town) - Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel - & - "This is what a funny, sexy romantic comedy should be!" (He's Just Not That Into You) – Clay Smith
- So all those years of recommending Say Anything, The American President, Jerry Maguire, Titanic and Love Actually were all for naught? Renee Zellweger and Tom Cruise we should look away, but pair her with Harry Connick Jr. and it's a match? I couldn't say it any better than my colleague, Peter Sobczynski, who said about Connick from New In Town, "he further dilutes any chance of romance by going through the entire movie looking and acting like Jack Torrance after about a month at the Overlook Hotel. Even when Connick actually played a deranged serial killer in 'Copycat,' he didn't come across nearly as creepy as he does here with his unshaven mug and bizarre leer."
8. Kristen Stewart is one of the most promising actresses of her generation." (The Twilight Saga: New Moon) - Brooks Barnes, The New York Times
- And you're saying this based on her work in the Twilight series? That's not even taken from a review. It's from a profile piece done on Miss Stewart. That didn't stop the marketers from using it on the ads. I suppose if closing your eyes, nodding your head back and forth, biting your lip and playing with your hair is the mark of promise then Mia Wasikowska (the upcoming Alice In Wonderland), Jennifer Lawrence (The Burning Plain), Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) and the two Emmas (Roberts & Watson) should begin taking notes on the intricacies of playing a boorish drama queen like Bella Swan.
7. "...enough thrills to start a theme park." (Fifty Dead Men Walking) - John Anderson, Variety
- Because when you think theme park, you think of the Irish Republican Army. Hey kids, we're going to IRALAND. You can ride the eggs on the Easter Rising or take the plunge down Guerilla Mountain.
6. "Take your BFF, Take your frenemies." (Bride Wars) – Manny de la Rosa, NBC-TV/Palm Springs
- Just shut up, Manny!
5. "Visually striking sci-fi/horror epic Mutant Chronicles...is ultimately an entertaining, ambitious feature no doubt meant to be the first in an ongoing film franchise." (The Mutant Chronicles) – Fangoria
- When Fangoria's Chris Alexander wrote these words after a screening at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival last November, he probably didn't foresee the domestic gross at a paltry $6,820 come its April release. He should have been surprised it got any kind of release at all, let alone become the beginning of a franchise. Poor Kerry Conran hasn't been able to get anything made since Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow in 2004, and that film preceded both Sin City and now this murky, unwatchable junk.
4. "Destined to be the surprise hit of the summer!" (Bandslam) – Jim Ferguson
- Oh really, Jim? How early in advance did you make that prediction? Which junket did those words part from your lips? Or were they pre-written and you agreed to throw your name on it? $5,210,988 was the total haul, finishing 13th on its opening weekend. Post Grad, The Collector and My Life In Ruins performed better this summer and not one of them had the 2000+ plus screens that Bandslam did. There have been at least a dozen films that outgrossed this (not badly reviewed) teen music romp in 2009 that never had a release that reached 1000 screens. The only thing destined, Mr. Ferguson, is you never being hired to be a box office expert.
3. "This generation's Star Wars." (Star Trek) - Kirk Montgomery, KNBC
- I'm always a little fuzzy on precisely where generational lines are drawn, but are we not just a few years removed from a little film called Revenge of the Sith? Did a whole new crop of Trekkers get spawned in June 2005? Does that make Casino Royale that generation's Bourne Identity? At least the 3 or 4 year olds I could understand not getting upset with Orci & Kurtzman retarding one of the great friendships in all of fiction by having Old Spock tell New Spock he better be nice to New Kirk because they are supposed to be best buds. The excuse of the old generation of Trekkies has yet to be discovered. The bottom line is that whether you carry a lightsaber or a phaser, this generation's Star Wars and the next generation's Star Wars will always be STAR WARS.
2. "I'll take Henry Jaglom's movies over Jonathan Demme's any day of the week!" (Irene In Time) - Scott Foundas, Village Voice
- Last Summer in the Hamptons vs. Melvin and Howard? Going Shopping vs. Something Wild? Déjà Vu vs. Married to the Mob? Hollywood Dreams vs. Philadelphia? Festival in Cannes vs. Neil Young: Heart of Gold? Eating vs. The Silence of the Lambs? Irene In Time vs. Rachel Getting Married? National Lampoon's Movie Madness vs. Caged Heat? When Demme made Stop Making Sense, who knew it was about Mr. Foundas?
- On one of the first pages of my paperback novelization of Steven Spielberg's classic UFO tale, it spells out the various levels rather clearly. A Close Encounter of the First Kind is sighting. The Second Kind is physical evidence. The Third Kind is contact. It stopped there, never revealing a Fourth Kind. Probably because the film was called Close Encounters of the Third Kind. This breakdown was something I learned at the age of five. Cut to 2009 and in case you didn't know that the proverbial Fourth Kind was "abduction", a movie came along with "actress Milla Jovovich" to make you aware. Then, in case you were too dim to make the connection that "The Fourth Kind" refers to that of a "Close Encounter", Larry King is there to fill in the gap. The context of his recommendation is what baffles the mind though. Saying "THIS is Close Encounters of The Fourth Kind" is like saying "THIS is Assault On Precinct 14" or "And you thought United 92 was terrifying." Too bad the puffy interviewer/non-film critic/Mr. "Nine is a Ten!" couldn't get his name into other films at the end of the year. We could have had him on 2012 - "A Space Odyssey and The Year We Made Contact can't compare to this" or on that thriller of a concert documentary - "Never has there been a more terrifying portrayal of Pennywise than there is by Michael Jackson. THIS is It!"