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Baytor's Top 10 Go-Fuck-Yourselves of 2010


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It's a pretty well-known meme at this point that "LOL Baytor hates everything" and truth be told I do kind of have a negative view of most things that I've been reigning in over the last year or so. I've been trying to spread the word about lesser known things that just need a little more love. Now that 2011 is here, just about everybody has tossed out their "Best of 2010" movies list, and a slightly smaller group have tossed out their "Worst of 2010" I've never much cared for "worst of" lists because it's hard to quantify "worst" when companies like The Asylum exist. Still there's been a trend and a lot of names keep popping up on the same lists and while some of them aren't worthy of eternal praise (a few are far from it), others are brilliant gems that get crapped on a lot by people who just don't seem to get them at all. (How My Soul To Take made no-ones lists, yet Splice made everyone's I will never understand, likewise I don't get why I keep seeing Saw 3D but The Final Destination)

 

So here's ten movies that are, if not great, at least worth watching. I'll warn that I'm going to spoil almost all of these. In advance: Hakujin, go fuck yourself.

 

10. Survival of the Dead

Why it's Bad:Bargain basement CG that makes my eyes bleed and my soul lay in the shower singing "The Crying Game" through wracking sobs. Also the narrative is all over the fucking place, I'm not even sure who the main character is supposed to be.

 

The main reason this one comes in at number 10 is because this is the hardest of these movies to defend. There is are some terrible effects in this movie and while I understand George's understandable distaste with squibs, I wish to God he would use more of them. The other problems aren't so much problems as they are things that only make sense when viewing the movie from a certain angle.

 

George Romero realized when he made Land of the Dead that the market for straight-up zombie movies was dead. It had been done at that point and somehow he'd been locked out of the house he built whilst a bunch of young douchebags partied within. So he went back to his roots.

 

First of all, to anyone and everyone trying to compare this to Night, Day, or Dawn of the Dead. Shut up. Each one of the six zombie movies Romero has done has been a complete 180 over the previous one, each one has been filled with plot inconsistencies, campy humor, and characters that weren't exactly developed. Dawn of the Dead was a movie that just magically was really really good and it's true none of the other movies recapture that magic, but then again none of them are trying to.

 

At it's heart, Survival of the Dead is an old Hollywood western. I've explained this to many people, including the ones that are self-proclaimed film buffs. But they seem to think by "Hollywood Western" I mean "Spaghetti Western." We have the two warring factions (it's a bit tongue-in-cheek for them all to have Irish accents), the group of soldiers that come along to shake things up, and the macguffin that causes conflict (in this case: are zombies "alive".) To sum it up: It's "Zombie" by The Cranberries with actual zombies. This movie is pretty much the anti-zombie movie zombie movie and that's really why it fails to impress across the board. Personally I liked seeing Romero take things in a new direction, I can only watch people wander from place to place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland stealing canned food and watching the cocky guy hide his zombie bite "until it's too late" so many times before it gets old. This was not a perfect attempt to do something new and it's largely a victim of its own budget, but it's a step in the right direction and still worth a viewing or two.

 

 

9. A Nightmare on Elm Street

Why it's Bad: A razor-thin plot. Every single kill involves Freddy slashing, cutting, or otherwise using the claws. The dream angle is largely wasted.

 

I want to preface this by saying that I like A Nightmare On Elm Street it was the last great movie Wes Craven ever did. (Though Serpent and the Rainbow, People Under the Stairs, and Red Eye were all solid efforts.) But do you see those three complaints I made about this movie? Two of them apply for the original as well. In 7 movies and a tv series, the dream angle was never really used in a very cool way, the closest were in part 3 when the protagonists actually use the dreams to fight back and Freddy vs. Jason where they at least play with some cool filters and try and make things feel a bit more surreal. In fact the only really creative dream that was ever used (the whole floor turning into water bit) is re-used here. And the plot of the original (arguably the only good one of the series) is thin and the ending makes no fucking sense (so much so that there's not even an attempt to explain it in further sequels)

 

This movie opens up by giving us 3 stock-protagonists (broody boring guy, uninteresting blonde with big tits, and angry stupid asshole I don't care about) and kills them all, leaving us with easily the two most interesting people in this group Admittedly, there's nothing terribly special about either of them but I'm hard pressed to remember a slasher movie that actually had characters who I cared about, it's always been a case of ones I hate less than others and this movie at least picks the two I'm least excited about being killed. The script could have used a couple more drafts and the ending is "eh" but it managed to hold my interest for it's full running time, Jackie Earl Haley does for this character what Robert Englund never could have dreamed, and though not really scary it's still a hell of a lot scarier than the original. People keep talking about how it lacks the style and scares of the original but given that the original only had two stylish shots (the floor turning to water and Glen's death) and wasn't scary, I think it's more of a case of nostalgia than actual loss of quality.

 

8. Paranormal Activity 2

Why it's Bad: The movie is more of a tacked-on narrative to the first one. It tells you the origin of the demon, thus removing the mystery angle. It uses a lot of scares from the first movie.

 

This movie doesn't work at all as a narrative, except for the fact it does. As a sequel this movie kind of blows, it does all the same shit and the characters are all made important because of their relation to the characters from the first movie. But do something for me: pretend the first one doesn't exist. Look at all the moments in this movie and tell me that if this movie was made on its own with no prequel, is it not an effective and scary haunted house movie? Also, I'll take any excuse to stare at Katie Featherston's boobs.

 

7. Splice

Why it's Bad: It's a little long and gets tedious by the last 30 minutes. Why the fuck does Adrien Brody have sex with it, it literally makes no fucking sense! The movie tells you what's going to happen about halfway through then takes another 40 minutes getting there.

 

I think everybody who went to this movie expected a "science gone awry" thriller that involved a bunch of people trapped in a lab with some sort of crazy sex monster crawling around the vents systematically hate-fucking them to death until the last one fills a room with gas and says something like, "Intelligent Design This!" whilst dramatically flicking a zippo lighter and throwing it at the monster. If you want that watch either Species or DNA (they're terrible and you deserve it, you fucking Philistine)

 

Instead we get a thriller where the monster isn't even a monster. It's a movie that's about the evils of hubris, not genetics, and actively lampoons and cautions against scientist trying to be rock stars and does a million years worth of work in a few weeks. There's also a lovely sub-plot about Sarah Polly's character and how she's a monstrous hate-cunt that needs to be locked in a cage where she can't hurt anyone or anything. Of course, perhaps seeing that a thoughtful movie that portrays science as something that would be great if we didn't go fucking it up by being jerks all the time and is scary on a cerebral rather than a "cats jumping out of cupboards" level decided to give the babies their fucking monster movie at the end. Still, Splice is more good than bad, but it's also kind of longer than it needs to be. Still, a worthwhile thriller and not worthy of being on anyone's Bottom 10 of the year lists.

 

6. Piranha 3D

Why it's Bad: 2D characterization. Plot is held together with scotch tape and wishes. Post-converted 3D. Steve McQueen's grandson outdoes Leon Hendrix in shaming the family name.

 

Whatever happened to splatter films? There was a time when movies could have tons of slapstick gore effects and be great. Evil Dead, Braindead/Dead-Alive, Demons, Re-Animator all represented a lightning in a bottle that's largely gone unreproduced (with a few notable exceptions: Slither, Planet Terror, Shaun of the Dead etc). Any attempts just went to prove that the magic made by Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson would just never be seen again.

 

French director Alexander Aja has come really close. The plot's pretty weak but then again it doesn't really matter because everything else is really great. Tits and gore are pretty much the two main characters of this movie and it's in its excess that this movie really succeeds. This sophomoric rampage never fails in its charm and never fails to entertain. It's not a movie made for thinking, and that's okay because it's a big schlocky bag of fun. It also represents the only example to date of good post-converted 3D.

 

5. Iron Man 2

Why it's Bad: Gwyneth Paltrow has overcome her brief comeback in Iron Man 1 and returned to sucking at everything she does in reprising the role of Pepper Potts. The romantic sub-plot between Pepper and Tony was nice and everything but totally unnecessary. Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury continues to do nothing for me.

 

This movie has at least twice as many action scenes as the first one, a more involved story, a better villain(s), and Scarlet Johansson in a skin-tight catsuit. Yet all I hear is how there's not enough action and it's boring. I like how the story takes its time to get where it's going. I appreciate a good slow build, especially in a genre where the story is usually just a vehicle to get to the next explosion. I appreciate that Favreau has decided to flesh out his characters and craft long humorous exchanges. It's a shame he wont be doing the next one as this one just seems to be building towards something even greater.

 

4. The Book of Eli

Why it's Bad: It really could have used another action scene in the third act. Mila Kunis is the trendiest and most made-up waste-lander of all time. OF ALL TIME!

 

I'm not even going to touch on the whole "blind" thing as you either get it or you don't. It annoys the fuck out of me, though, that this movie gets lumped in with Left Behind and all kinds of other propaganda bullshit just because Eli's carrying a bible. The message of this movie is not "Hey everybody, Jehovah's the shit." It's really a message about how much ridiculous emphasis we as a people put on something as simple as a religious text. The movie has two tiers: the first is the bible as a scapegoat (the reference to how all other copies were destroyed by the people after a war apparently caused some great natural disaster that destroyed the earth represents how people seem to want to blame God for things that are their own fault) and the second is the bible as a tool to use people (Gary Oldman's character wants the one copy so he can keep it to himself and use it to make himself out to be some sort of prophet and garner even more power for himself, not unlike how many religious leaders use the bible to bend others to their will.) All Eli wants to do is print it out and give it to everybody because it's filled with words of hope and love and other things that might help a post-nuke civilization feel a little better about their station in life (I highly doubt the wastelanders are going to immediately decide that gay marriage is bad) Yes, it's a symbol of the Christian faith but it represents any religious text and in this era of Sith Lords for Popes and Fred Phelps it kind of had to be Christians. The movie, however, is no more "pro-Christian" than it is anything else. Other than an slow third act and a cliched ending this movie largely works and was one of this year's better movies (as well as one of the better post-apocalyptic movies) in my opinion. It certainly doesn't deserve any of the hate it gets.

 

3. TRON: Legacy

Why it's Bad: A weak ending. Not enough Tron. Somewhat dodgy facial restoration CG. A plot that is both rushed and somehow drags at times.

 

I'm not going to even touch on the complaints of plot inconsistencies or weird logic with how the computer world works because if you're a fan of the original it all applies to that one as well. The movie is brilliantly shot and the action scenes are fun and flashy without being overdone (if I wanted to watch The Matrix, I would watch The Matrix) and the religious overtones of the original story are explored in greater detail here to, what I felt was, great effect.

 

Furthermore, the de-aging of Jeff Bridges only really fails when he talks. The mouth movements are the only thing about Clu that look fake, otherwise it works and it's a damn sight better than that horrible airbrushing effect that was used in X-Men 3.

 

However, the ending I would have given the movie would involve Tron jumping up from his bath in the sea of data, de-rezzing Clu, and our three heroes leave the world and we don't do the whole "passing of the torch" trope I hate so much. They could have at least had an after-credits scene of Tron rising out of the "water" and teasing at the part 3 they already teased at with Cillian Murphy's character. It lives up to the first one in every way and a dumb ending doesn't kill it for me.

 

2. Let Me In

Why it's Bad: We don't see Abby's sewn up junk. Dodgy CG. Still no Zombie Hakkan.

 

Just about every single thing that was good about the Swedish version is here. The effects, while still not perfect, are better. The Hakkan killings are a lot more artfully done (particularly the second one which is actually suspenseful unlike its counterpart.) All the leads perform their parts wonderfully and though there's a character (a sheriff) that adds nothing to the plot and soaks up running time in uninteresting scenes he's still a damn sight better than the vampire-bit woman and her husband who do the same thing in a more boring way in the Swedish version. The era and the background are actually made to feel more important here where in the original it was just a setting and nothing more. Let the Right One In is a great movie 5 out of 5, but Let Me In is a 5.05 out of 5. Yeah, we don't get a shot of Abby's sewn up crotch but it almost didn't make it into the Swedish version either and even then nobody understood what it meant until people who read the book told them. This book also criminally doesn't feature Hakkan coming back as some sort of crazy zombie vampire, which is a shame but only because I know it could've had one.

 

1. The Last Exorcism

Why it's Bad: It's not. At all.

 

I won't spoil this movie so I can't really talk about it in great detail. Let's just suffice to say this movie is not what you expect and then when you've realized that it turns out to be not what you expected after you realized it wasn't what you expected and then once you've accepted that it turns out that you're wrong again. It's a well built and cerebral horror movie that's scary on several levels and doesn't let you get too comfortable with where you are in figuring out what's going on. The ending introduces a lot and when the credits roll you'll be disappointed and probably mad that it ended there, but that's not a bad thing at all. I can't recommend that people watch this movie enough.

Edited by Iambaytor
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tl;dr

 

I keed. I did read the IM2, TRON, BOE, Splice & Let Me In comments. I completely agree w/ you on the ending about TRON;LEGACY. We all stuck around after the credits hoping for such a scene of Tron rising from the water or at least having his face revealed throught he mask. I wonder though if Cillian Murphy will get his chance to show up in another film since this one didn't really set the box office on fire. *EDIT* I just saw that it made $130mil so far. Previously I thought it was still under 100. So I guess it likely will get a sequel then.*EDIT*

 

I still haven't seen the remake of Nightmare, PA2, Pirhanna3D, or Last Exorcism, and since I actually want to see those flicks, I skipped the spoiler reviews. I will likely peruse once I do see them though.

 

 

. . ..In advance: Hakujin, go fuck yourself.

Oh, you jabroni rapscallion, you. Uh, and also this...

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
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