This is a list of the ten worst offenders from my list. At least, I think these are the worst. I've tried ordering them based on how much hate I get when I defend them, number 1 being the one I feel most alone on.
So, without further ado... Here's the list.
10) Knight and Day (2010)
This feels like the kind of movie Cary Grant would have made 50 years ago, probably with a lot less shooting and killing, though. It's an absolutely hilarious and charming romantic-spy-action-thriller. The main selling point is the irresistible chemistry between Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. They are just magical together! Diaz is not the usual ditzy blond, Cruise is not the usual faultless hero (it's clear that he's more than a little nuts), and together they elevate the film far beyond its station.
Just ignore the MacGuffinistic (is that a word?) new energy source plot and the dubious depiction of the inner workings of CIA, don't expect a Bourne movie, focus on the love story, and you will succumb to its charm.
9) The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)
I never read the comic book this was based on, so I had no preconceived notions of what it should look like or how the characters should behave. Perhaps that's why I instantly fell in love with the film version of this universe.
The film is visually dynamic (no one wold disagree with that, surely), and even though the casting is terribly uneven - either Sean Connery is out of place, or everyone else is - I still enjoy this rip-roaring, old-fashioned adventure story in a modern packaging. And they did Jekyll & Hyde as a practical effect! Brilliant!
8) Hard Rain (1998)
Renowned cinematographer Mikael Salomon decided to hang up his light-meter and turn to directing. This, only his second feature film, was such a massive failure that he would spend the next 15 years (and counting) languishing in TV hell, directing random episodes of random shows, and a couple of high-profile miniseries - the kind you always forget to watch. Consequently this is Salomon's finest hour in the director's chair.
Hard Rain is a decent enough B-movie, with plenty of OTT performances, a suitably ridiculous plot, and some quite striking visuals. It looks and feels like a massive undertaking. These days disaster movies are always about destroying the entire world, and you never believe anything they put up on the screen anymore. Perhaps that's why I keep returning to Hard Rain. It pre-dates today's heavy CGI use, so the scenes comes across as very real. You walk away from the this feeling soaked to the bone, and with a big smile on your face. If you're me, anyway.
7) Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001)
I'll be the first to admit that the "photo-real computer animation" looks about as real as South Park, and that the whole pseudo-religious-new-age-nonsense about gathering spirits is so utterly stupid that I wouldn't wipe my rear with it, if it was printed out on paper, but never mind that.
Aki (voiced by the beautiful Ming-Na) is a likably heroine (even if she doesn't look real), whose mission is a pleasure to follow (even if it is a bit nutty), and I love the sense of doom for mankind that lurks around every corner.
The visuals here are nothing short of stunning. The hardware and the environments are perfectly animated, so it's only the characters' stiff faces you have to get over. Combined with Elliot Goldenthal's brilliant score, this is one pretty damn epic science fiction movie.
6) Crossroads (2002)
Yes, yes, yes, I know. It's a Britney Spears movie, but remember, it's from her good period. Back when she couldn't be stopped, no matter how many times you punched her, and before she turned into a white trash cliché. It also features Zoe Saldana, before she turned blue, and Justin Long, before he was everywhere.
Crossroads is essentially a road movie, where we follow three girls - Spears, Zladana and Taryn Manning - childhood friends who reconnect on the brink of adulthood. They take a cross-country trip to find themselves and do girlie things, like singing into a hairbrush. No-no, I promise you it's quite irresistible.
5) WiseGirls (2002)
Unsurprisingly billed as "a Mariah Carey movie", this is actually Mira Sorvino's movie, and to some extend Melora Walters'. It's a fairly gritty gangster story, where we follow a woman who gets a job at an Italian restaurant in New York, which turns out to be owned by the mob. And then she gets into some serious trouble.
It's not a chick flick, and although it's not Goodfellas either, it's closer to that style than the casting of Carey would have you believe. Actually it's got a few quite gruesome and intense moments.
Directed by David Anspaugh - of Rudy (1993) and Hoosiers (1986) fame - WiseGirls is a descent little drama that gives a solid lead role to Sorvino, whom I've always loved, and she takes full advantage of this, delivering an effective, heartfelt performance.
4) 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)
Everyone seems to agree that Peter Hyams' follow-up is inferior to 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and everyone is wrong.
2001 is a film about space exploration and mankind's first encounter with an alien intelligence, directed by Stanley Kubrick who has no interest in either space exploration, mankind or alien intelligence. 2010 is a better film on almost every level, except when it comes to pretentiousness and boring pointless scenes. Kubrick still wins in those categories.
2010 is full of lovely designs, magnificent visual effects and a fascinating plot! Unlike Kubrick Hyams actually wants to tell us a story, with characters we can relate to, which makes all the difference. And if you love the books, the film is the only one that captures the spirit of Arthur C. Clark's stories.
3) Legion (2010)
The basic plot "we're up shit creek on a diner in the middle of nowhere" feels very familiar, but when you add angels and demons fighting a bloody battle for mankind, then you've really got something! A mercurial mix old and new, thematically similar to The Prophecy (1995) (and - full disclosure, my own film), but much more elaborate. Turning the dim-witted idea of religion into something usable - the basis for an action oriented horror apocalypse movie - is an honorable mission, and the only way to make a satisfying film about heaven and hell.
Legion features some gruesome demonic moments, and scores extra points for committing fearlessly to its core concept, even as it is taken to an almost ridiculous extreme. Plus any film that gives a job to both Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid is alright in my book.
2) Red Planet (2000)
Another space movie! Another space exploration movie even. Those are the best kind, aren't they? Okay so the basic concept "let's make breathable air on Mars and move there" is slightly wonky, but no matter. Red Planet is hardcore, unapologetic science fiction. It's got a dangerous, almost suicidal mission, survival on a foreign planet, and the whole thing is topped off with just a hint of a love story. Val Kilmer is surprisingly likable and low-key as the robot-wrangler and heroic lead, while Carrie-Anne Moss giver her character just the right mix of sexy bossiness and maternal instincts.
I'm sure that other Mars film - Brian De Palma's awful Mission to Mars - is to blame for the giant crosshairs on this film's back. If De Palma hadn't ruined everything, Red Planet would undoubtedly have been a blockbuster of extraterrestrial proportions.
1) Surviving Christmas (2004)
This is the perfect Christmas film, there I said it. The look on James Gandolfini's face is ME for the entire duration of December. The absurd dynamic that develops, when Ben Affleck's overeager executive buys a family to relive his childhood Christmas, is completely in sync with the absurd nature of the real-life Christmas rituals we're all forced to got through.
It makes fun of the hypocrisy of Christmas, ridicules the pitiful fools who take it too serious, and yet somehow brings it all around and manages to leave you with a nice dose of Christmas mood, free of the yokes of materialism and forced gift-giving. What's not to love?
This list was inspired by my friend Alexander's admission that he loves The Village! Yes, the M. Night Schamalama abomination - the one with the Shed That Shall Not Be Named! Can you believe it?! Well, as he pointed out, we've all got a list of titles we love that everyone else hates. Before I can make fun of other people's lists, it seems only fair that I should publish my own. So here it is, for all to see.
Feel free to trash me in the comments below, but know this: Only comments from those who volunteer a title from their own list will be published.