Feature Blogs

What Went Wrong In 2003?


Bad movies. Almost every week for the past three years I’ve thrown in a remark like “it’s been a bad year for movies”. I’ve been thinking about this statement and whether it holds true or whether it’s an easy throw away line I rely on too much.


If you don’t already know, every film receives a grading from A+ to C-. It’s a nine point scale with only a select number of films reaching the very top and the very bottom. There have been some good films in 2003 – no question there. But I think what really does stand out is how bad the “bad” films really are. Already this year I’ve dished the C- grade to 13 films. That’s a record and we’re still 3 months from the end of the year. I don’t think I’m being harsh. It’s just there are so many ghastly awful films circulating. These films seem to be acting like a vortex and they’re pulling a lot of other films down with them.


So to set a benchmark, I thought I’d look back at the C- films which have littered our screens since 1996. In order from the very worst to the “least” worst (if that’s possible) we have…


1996 (7 films)

The Crow: City Of Angels, Homeward Bound 2, Vampire In Brooklyn, Jingle All The Way, Sunset Park, Dead Man, Screamers


1997 (7 films)

The Stupids, Thinner, A Very Brady Sequel, High School High, Fire Down Below, A Life Less Ordinary, Diana And Me


1998 (9 films)

Tarzan & The Lost City, The Avengers, Spiceworld, The Second Jungle Book, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Hope Floats, Money Talks, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Lost In Space


1999 (9 films)

Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Entrapment, Jawbreaker, Urban Legend, Inspector Gadget, The Mod Squad, Dead Man On Campus, The Astronaut’s Wife, The Mummy


2000 (8 films)

Kevin & Perry Go Large, Down To You, Urban Legends: Final Cut, Boys & Girls, Mission To Mars, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Next Best Thing, The Nutty Professor 2



2001 (11 films)

Glitter, Ghosts Of Mars, Head Over Heels, Freddie Got Fingered, Crocodile Dundee In L.A., Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2, Dungeons & Dragons, The Forsaken, Scary Movie 2, Heartbreakers, Dude Where’s My Car?


2002 (8 films)

Blurred, Long Time Dead, Crossroads, Swept Away, Collateral Damage, Showtime, Halloween: Resurrection, D-Tox


2003 (13 films)

Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever, Tomb Raider 2, The Lizzy McGuire Movie, Half Past Dead, The Master Of Disguise, Anger Management, Trapped, Horseplay, Final Destination 2, Legally Blonde 2, The Real Cancun, The Four Feathers, Hollywood Homicide.


Looking back there, you’d have to say that 1999 was probably the worst of the bunch (apart from 2003 of course). The horror of the 2003 releases surpasses anything from the past 8 years and I’d be surprised if anything prior to that was any worse.


So when I say that it is a bad year for movies, you better believe it.


For a final laugh, let’s talk about Tomb Raider 2. I didn’t publish my review although it is available at my website (www.thefilmpie.com). My disgust for the film cannot compare with one of my favourite critics, Mr Cranky. You can see his full review at www.mrcranky.com but here’s some hilarious extracts. The form of the review is a letter to the CEO of Paramount Pictures…


“I just witnessed the recent cinematic effort of your studio titled "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life" and would like to convey my reaction to this film with the following missive: I have never come closer to tearing my own penis off and throwing it at the screen while watching a movie. I'm really being serious here. You may already know me as somebody apt to threaten damage to his own genitals, but all those other times were strictly in jest. I was just kidding all those times before because I knew that most juveniles find genital mutilation incredibly funny and that I would benefit immensely from all the Google searches utilizing the word "penis."”


“Ms. Lansing, I sat through at least the last hour of this abomination in a frightening mental fog. I had no idea what was going on at all, nor did I care. Lara was grabbing and jumping onto things we'd never seen before, things that were just materializing in front of her. One second, she was riding up an elevator in a hotel, the next second she was on the roof and heading up another elevator at a construction site. It was all just a bit confusing.”


“I'm just curious as to how exactly you do business at your studio. Do you flip coins to see who writes the screenplays and directs the movies? Do you pull people off the street at random? Is the screenwriter's name, Dean Georgaris, an actual person or is that lab monkey #427? Really, if this guy is a real human being, I'd suggest you experiment with different mammals. They couldn't do any worse. The amazing thing about this screenplay, and I am absolutely not joking here, is that you could pull anybody off the street and they could easily write a screenplay this bad. Next time, just pick a homeless person to write the screenplay, feed him lunch, and you'll save yourself a ton of money and nobody will be the wiser.”


“And speaking of bad, you do realize that director Jan de Bont is already responsible for one of the worst sequels of all time, "Speed 2," right? Guess what? Now he's responsible for two of the worst sequels of all time. Jan couldn't direct himself out of an empty parking lot. I mean, why don't you see if this guy can successfully bring you a cup of coffee without spilling it all over the carpet before you give him another movie to direct? Seriously, see if he can do a good job cleaning your office toilet or something. Since it's pretty obvious to me that at least a few people in your company couldn't differentiate between competence and horse shit, I feel it's necessary to point out a couple of things.”