The Worst Films Of The Decade

17 December 2009 by Matt Risley

glitterMariah Carey with Max Beesley proving that all that glitters certainly isn't gold.

We've had some good times over the last ten years film-wise, but which movies will we look back at and wonder, what the hell were they thinking? Matt Risley investigates...

It's been a decade filled with technological cinematic marvels (Avatar), all conquering popcorn blockbusters (The Dark Knight, Lord of the Rings), groundbreaking foreign cinema (Amelie, Let The Right One In), and joyous, life-affirming reminders of the power of cinema (Slumdog Millionaire, Up).

But amidst all the talent, creativity and celluloid magic, the opening decade of the 21st century will also be remembered for its rather spectacular contribution to the teeth-grinding library of cinema's worst offenders.

The decade opened with a number of terrible performances, setting the tone for the wave of incompetency set to come, and aptly mirroring modern society's increasing fascination with the commodity of 'the celebrity'.

In non-fancy speak, a bunch of singers decided that because they were famous for one thing, they could probably turn their 'talents' to acting too.

Strippers Gallery - the dukes of hazzardMariah managed to make eyes - as well as ears - bleed with her atrocious vanity project Glitter (2001). Madonna then obliterated whatever goodwill she'd amassed from her Evita performance by teaming up with her husband Guy Ritchie to make Swept Away (2002), an incredibly odd romcom-cum-musical-cum-drama that betrayed every genre it attempted to dabble in.

Throw in Jessica Simpson's playing several 'redneck/stupid blonde' roles (Dukes Of Hazzard, Major Movie Star, Blonde Ambition, Employee of the Month), Usher's In The Mix (currently sitting bottom in IMDb's list of the worst films ever), Jennifer Lopez's romantic 'comedy' Gigli, and Justin Timberlake's mildly more credible (but still rubbish) performances in The Love Guru (the sound of Mike Myer's career crashing and burning) and Southland Tales (as a singing, sociopathic and near suicidal narrator in Richard Kelly's brain-fart follow up to Donnie Darko), and it's fair to say that we're just praying and hoping John & Edward don't fancy themselves as the new Wayans brothers for the 10s.

Back in 'actual actor' world, a number of promising stars managed to both kick-start and then single-handedly ruin their careers in the space of a few short years.

Strippers Gallery - i know who killed me 1Lindsay Lohan made a promising start with Freaky Friday and Mean Girls, which ultimately became little more than hazy memories after a phenomenally destructive performance in I Know Who Killed Me, which managed to set a new world record for winning the most number of Golden Raspberry Awards, ever.

Similarly, Halle Berry made Oscar history by becoming the first black female to win a Best Actress award for her performance in Monster's Ball, and then proceeded to film Die Another Day (the worst of all the Bond movies), X2 (a great movie that offered Halle little chance to shine), Gothika (even more rubbish), and the CV-soiling Catwoman (there are simply no words).

Which goes to emphasise another noughties trend: with the success of X-Men and Batman Begins, studios began falling over themselves to bring even the lamest, most obscure of superheroes to the big screen, blindly assuming that spandex=sales. The public's reaction to Fantastic Four (both 1 and 2), Hulk, Elektra, Ghost Rider and Daredevil begged to differ.

And with such obvious, snap-judgemePostal 15nt movie trends, it was only fair that the spoof made a comeback. What wasn't fair however, was the terrible, gag-free, relentless slew of "Insert Genre' Movies. Epic, Disaster, Date and Scary Movie (with a special shout out to Meet The Spartans) were a master-class in braindead, lazy scattershot joke warfare. But perhaps the biggest gag is that they're still being made.

But there are four people who deserve special mentions for their contributions to rubbish cinema this decade. Uwe Boll, a German director whose endless series of videogame adaptations have deified him in 'film turkey fan' circles - House of the Dead, Alone In The Dark, Bloodrayne and Postal truly need to be seen to be believed.

Eddie Murphy has all but qualified for his Panzer license, such is his now natural ability to tank with a number of dire, dire family comedies (Norbit, Meet Dave, Pluto Nash). M Night Shylamalan started the decade as a potential visionary (The Sixth Sense) and ended it a celluloid pariah (the law of diminishing returns ensured The Village, The Lady In The Water and - urgh - The Happening were spectacularly appalling).

And finally, there's the big man himself, Nic Cage who managed to frustrate (if you've seen Adaptation, you know he can actually act), with the big-budget, head-slappingly atrocious Next, Knowing, Bangkok Dangerous, Ghost Rider and The Wicker Man.

A new pair of Spider-Man movies, a couple of Hobbits, Spielberg and Jackson doing Tintin... the next decade should begin brightly. But somewhere, out there, is a director with a bad script and too much money. And he's bringing it to a cinema near you.