If it is May, it must be time for year-end countdowns, right?  After my enormously successful 2009 list (hey, I got all the way down to #1 last year, I think that count as an unqualified success), I’m back again to recap the 2010 movies I watched.  I didn’t get to about fifty I wanted to, but you have to draw the line somewhere, you know?

154. Wrong Side of Town

Starting what has become an annual tradition, last year at Passover I went over to Adam’s, took down two bottles of Manichewitz (fortified only with some Passover granola and potato chips) and watched movies.  Adam, I should clarify, gets to drink quality alcohol.  After browsing through the movies streaming on Netflix, and helped a little by the fruit of the vine, we landed on this film.  Which was rather something of a mistake.  The film stars WWE wrestlers Rob Van Dam and Bautista and I think Ja Rule shows up for a scene.  Ostensibly it has some sort of plot involving a corrupt bar owner and somebody killing somebody else.  Even if I had been sober, it wouldn’t have really made much sense, I don’t think.  For a film starring a couple of wrestlers, there’s a surprising lack of action.  There’s also a surprising lack of…well, pretty much everything.  I’m really struggling to find any sort of redeeming value.  And with that, ladies and gentleman, I present my worst movie of the year.

153. MacGruber

I fell asleep watching this movie.  Twice.  I’ll admit, I was kinda excited to see MacGruber.  Not very many films are based off 20-second sketches, after all, and it tanked something fierce.  According to Box Office Mojo, the film made $5.6 million the first week it was in theaters, debuting in 2500 theaters.  $2.7 million the second week, dropping just five theaters.  $163,00 the third week, in only 177 theaters.  And that’s it.  But I learned some things.  Will Forte cannot headline a movie.  Kristen Wiig needs a lot of support to be funny.  Ryan Phillippe is only humorous in the same way Brandon Routh is humourous.  And Val Kilmer desperately needs to sign on to a Tarantino film for a career revival.

152. Life During Wartime

We covered Life During Wartime as part of our Independent Spirit chat.  To summarize, we all really really disliked it.  Every aspect of it.  Now, this film is apparently kinda sorta vaguely a sequel to Happiness, also by Todd Solondz, a movie none of us had seen.  So maybe armed with the knowledge from the first one, we would have had some concept of what was going on?  I’m skeptical.  Just a horrible film, as became apparent three minutes in and was consistently pounded into our skulls throughout.  But hey, at least I forced Brian and John to come over to my place to see it.

151. Howl

I’m very particular about shutting out all distractions when watching a movie I haven’t seen before.  Just doesn’t seem fair to rate a movie without giving it my full attention.  In the interest of full disclosure, that doesn’t hold true for two of the films on my list, Howl being one.  Because it was so readily apparent that the film was not for me, I started doing some work about twenty minutes into it.  Part of the movie actually was pretty interesting.  There’s a series of courtroom scenes from the trial to determine whether the poem was obscene.  Bob Balaban plays the judge, Jon Hamm the defense attorney and David Strathairn the prosecutor.  A series of witnesses are questioned, and if that’s all the movie was, it probably would have sat somewhere in the middle of my rankings.  But there’s a whole other half of the film, which seemed to be nothing more than James Franco reading the poem and then some animation.  And that, quite clearly, isn’t up my alley in the least.

150. Jack Goes Boating

Another Independent Spirit special, you may have seen some of our thoughts if you read our Spirit Awards chat.  The film was on my radar anyway, because I’m a huge fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman, who directed and played the main character.  The film garnered nominations for supporting actor John Ortiz and supporting actress Daphne Rubin-Vega.  Which, fine, I was probably too busy hating myself for watching the film to really take good notice of the actors.  The first screenplay nomination for Robert Glaudini is abominable, though.  Boring doesn’t even begin to describe how much nothing happened.  And the dialogue felt forced and unmemorable.  I really can’t think of any reason to recommend this movie, even if you really like Amy Ryan when she is on The Office.

149. Breaking Upwards

Ugh.  The New York hipster romantic comedy no one wanted.  OK, that’s a bit of an over-generalization.  The film is about a cutesy, uber-attached couple (co-screenwriters Daryl Wein and Zoe Lister-Jones, playing a pair that really reminds me of the couple from the version I read of Miranda July’s screenplay for her upcoming The Future) who decide they should, slowly, disentangle themselves from each other’s lives.  I thought I was cool with twee, but this one was twee up the wazoo.  And man, I just loathed the characters.  Like, a lot.  It was cool, though, seeing Andrea Martin, and blog fave Olivia Thirlby has a cameo.

148. Yogi Bear

I really wanted to like Yogi Bear.  Sure, part of me was fascinated at the horrible reviews it received (13% on Rotten Tomatoes).  But I’m a huge Tom Cavanaugh fan.  And Anna Faris can be really funny.  So I wasn’t going into the movie looking to skewer it or anything.  But wow.  It failed on nearly every conceivable level.  I did come up with two good things about it.  Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake did spot-on Yogi and Boo Boo impressions, to the point where I would have been able to recognize their voices.  And the movies is pretty short, so the pain doesn’t last too long.  Otherwise, it is tough.  I have to imagine a number of hands were involved in the final script because the story is so thin and so nonsensical.  I didn’t watch in 3D, but the visuals seemed pretty bland to me.  And a number of funny people were turned into horrible unfunny ones.  The direction to Tom Cavanaugh appeared to have been: “Stand awkwardly with your hands on your hips and take a guess as to where Yogi will be, because we have no idea.”  There’s rarely a point to Anna Faris’s character being present, and her makeup made it look like someone had punched her in the face.  I’m increasingly a fan of T.J. Miller, and he was something of a bright spot, given what little he had to work with.

147. Alice in Wonderland

I’m not entirely certain where this movie first went wrong, but it did.  And in a hurry.  I’d say I refused to believe it was  Tim Burton film, but even regardless of the fact that it starts Johnny Depp (maybe it is just me, but I think the makeup makes him look like a demented Elijah Wood) and Helena Bonham Carter, the movie undoubtedly looks and feels like a Tim Burton film.  Of course, Burton’s laughing all the way to the bank.  If you hadn’t already heard how much the movie took in worldwide, take a guess.  Nope, higher.  Nope, still higher.  That’s right, a billion dollars.  So I can sit here and talk about how bad the movie was, but hey, give the people what they want.

146. Eat, Pray, Love

As we’ll continue to find out, I’ll watch absolutely anything that’s showing on a plane.  Including this one.  Which leaves open the chance that the edited version they show misses out on some F-bombs or some nudity or something, but generally speaking, I don’t believe the airlines tend to show heavily edited films.  I’m wondering, though, if that’s not the case with the version of Eat, Pray, Love that I saw, because someone apparently took the story out of the version I saw.  The title of the film is incredibly apt, because it is literally all that friggin’ happens.  Julia Roberts goes to one place and eats.  Then she goes to another and prays.  And then she goes to another and makes the happy time with Javier Bardem.  Whee.  Richard Jenkins is pretty awesome in it, though.  And there are some fun cameos, like James Franco and Mike O’Malley.  Which, while I’m pretty angry at director Ryan Murphy for wasting so much of my life with this and Glee, I do give him a lot of credit for resurrecting Mike O’Malley’s career.

145. When in Rome

I think what upsets me the most is that I can distinctly remembering defending When in Rome.  Everyone said it looked it terrible.  And sure, the poster looked nothing like Kristen Bell, and the cast was filled with people I don’t find funny (Will Arnett, Dax Shepard, Jon Heder).  But still, I argued it was worth a shot.  I mean, look, if the premise of a girl who messes with a fountain’s mojo and therefore has weird suitors magically following her around sounds stupid to you, then there’s no way the film ever could have done anything for you.  But I was OK with that.  What I wasn’t OK with was how incredibly stupid the whole thing was.  It was like they started with the idea and did a very poor job of ad libbing the actual script.  I wonder if something counts as a comedy if there’s never any punchlines.  At least, none that I could determine.  Kristen Bell deserves better, and I’m assuming she was forced at gunpoint to star in this.  Worse, there were actually fun people who were in this movie.  Like, when couldn’t Lee Pace have taken the Josh Duhamel role instead of being in the movie for one scene?  Or figure out better ways to use Kristen Schaal, Kate Micucci, and Alexis Dzenia.  I actually like Bobby Moynihan, but when he’s the funniest part of your movie, you have a problem.

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