While a lot of critics, including ourselves, have been boasting that 2007 was a great year for movies, it certainly was not without its share of stinkers. And while, perhaps, there weren’t as many cinematic atrocities this year, the ones that did make it to the silver screen seemed to be worse than in years past. It was as though filmmakers were taking the terrible ideas of 2000-2006 and actively trying to make them worse: Norbit was seven steps down from Big Momma’s House, Delta Farce was more agonizingly awful than Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, Balls of Fury was worse than one of those one-joke comedies because it didn’t even have the one joke, and, somehow, filmmakers managed to even make torture porn more deplorable.
And in celebration of those celluloid cesspools, we here at Pajiba present you with the Golden Pajibas: The 10 Worst Films of 2007.
10. Norbit: You know what I say? Each time a black man puts on a gender-reversing fat suit, it just gets better and better. Add a few flatulence jokes and mountains of cellulite, and you’ve got yourself a $35 million opening weekend. Guaranteed. Fucking hell. What is it about dimpled flesh, Ebonics, and jokes recycled more than Seventh Generation baby wipes that America finds so fascinating? Jesus Christ on a gravy train. There was nothing redeeming about Norbit, from the lazy, racist, overplayed mockery of Asian accents, to the unending fat jokes, to the Jerry Blake levels of misogyny. But, what’d you expect from Eddie Murphy? In a 25-year movie career, Murphy hasn’t even tried to make a socially redeeming film. All that supposed talent, all that box-office power, and all that goddamn clout, and what has Eddie Murphy done with it besides make fat jokes and exploit African-American stereotypes? There was a time when it felt like satire, but it doesn’t anymore. Now, he’s just an embarrassment, a cancerous fuck who doesn’t give a shit about anything but the fat of his wallet. Even worse, he’s not funny anymore. He’s a lazy actor who makes lazy movies — he’s no better than the irredeemable, loathsome characters he plays. A few years ago, Dave Chappelle said he quit his show because he realized that white people weren’t laughing with him, they were laughing at him. The difference between Chappelle and Murphy is that Murphy knows they’re laughing at him, but he doesn’t give a shit, just as long as he gets paid. — Dustin Rowles
9. D-War: Now that most of the hue and cry over the tasteless Swiftian slander in my original review has died down, I hope everyone will be able to see what point I was trying to make. I don’t mean this as an apologia or qualification, since you’ll either find morbid humor funny or you won’t, but the infamous remark had nothing to do with anything other than evoking a sentiment — this movie about magical Korean reptile warriors and the dumb crackers who act as their facsimile was so bad it sent me on a drunken shame-spiral of Gibsonian proportions. The fact that director Shim Yung-rae has been intentionally trying to recreate the cheesy monster films à la Toho Studios does little to temper the sheer stupidity on display here. A humorless depiction of one idiot trying to fight off cyborg iguana-ninjas is never going to be anything other than relentlessly dumb, but D-War, the perfect antithesis of The Host, couldn’t even manage to be fun in any engaging sense; the movie is thoroughly humiliating to both the crew and viewers. If you’re drunk, stoned, and bored and happen to catch this flick on its predetermined 4:00 AM Sci-Fi Channel timeslot, don’t even watch it then. — Phillip Stephens
8. Evening: Novel-to-screen adaptations typically fail in cases of much too literal application of the subject matter, or a failure to include the nourishing marrow within the bones of a book. After a box-office disaster such as Evening, movie studios undoubtedly wring their well-financed hands over what exactly went wrong. This practice would be totally fucking unnecessary if anyone present had actually read Susan Minot’s novel before greenlighting the screenplay. A good movie never came out of a William Faulkner novel, and such intricate works of overabundant self-consciousness should be left undisturbed. Similarly, Evening is one of those books that never belonged on the big screen; not even an awe-inspiring cast of capable actresses — Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Natasha Richardson, Toni Collette, Glenn Close, Mamie Gummer, and (even) Claire Danes — could bolster the project. Not even a decent performance by the conventionally handsome Patrick Wilson or a convincing turn by the drunk-on-arrival Hugh Dancy as a Fitzgeraldian stock cha-racter could make this film less than insufferable. The result is a failed attempt to adapt a book composed almost entirely of morphine-induced unquoted dialogue and stream of consciousness bullshit. Not many audience members want to embroil themselves with an overwrought story of the deathbed rantings of a matriarch who doesn’t appreciate those who care for her as much as some some 50-year-old one night stand with a major prick. Furthermore, the appearance of Meryl Streep as a shameless deus ex machina is about as believable as telling us that Claire Danes actually had sex. It ain’t happening. — Agent Bedhead
7. Delta Farce: Bizarrely, the thought of Larry the Cable guy has always caused some compensatory yearnings for Jim Carrey’s inadequately sociopathic loon in The Cable Guy. This white-trash-out-of-trailer-park comedy aspires to be nothing more than a Stripes subordinate for the redneck who thinks that bed, beer, and a blonde are the most important goals in life. As Army Reservists who think they’re in Iraq, Larry and his two best buddies (a career litigation plaintiff and a part-time wang flasher) introduce the Mexican desert to the lowest common denominator of American men — racist, misogynistic, and homophobic. After peeing in Sgt. Kilgore’s canteen and consistently mistaking Mexican people for Iraqi citizens by repeating the same joke — “Are you a Turd or a Shitite?” — these idiots finally figure out that tacos and tequila aren’t served in Fallujah. By that time, Larry is already working his mojo on the local ladies, who, naturally, cannot resist him. So, after Larry was jilted by his Denise Richardseque girlfriend, he finds solace by bagging the hottest senorita around. One wonders how many times the phrase, “Don’t ask, don’t tell” can be crammed into 90 minutes, and the answer is far too many. As a two-year veteran of this list, the good news is that Delta Farce brought in about half of the ticket sales as Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector did last year. Yet since Larry’s Witless Protection film is pending, I guess we’ll probably see him on this list next year as well. — AB
6. Balls of Fury: Balls of Fury featured the divine “talents” of one Dan Fogler, the most obnoxious, loathsome piece of tub Hollywood has ever shat out of its gangrenous rectum. To say he’s a low-rent Jack Black would be a disservice to cockroach infested, crime-ridden Section 8 housing. Where did this ass stain come from? Broadway? He won a goddamn Tony award? For serious? For what? Best dramatic performance by a fuckstick? God, I hate him. He’s an embarrassment to the Def Leppard T-shirt he wears in the film. Is there a way to DeFoglerize movies? To edit him out and replace him with a giant dungheap? I’m telling you: That man is a waste of carbon. I’d suggest wiping your ass with the film stock if it weren’t such a goddamn insult to toilet paper. And the movie was terrible; an inept script executed with all the skill of a drunken firing squad aiming shotguns with all the propulsive power of a wet fart. You may not die watching Balls of Fury, but you’ll wish you had. The only saving grace is that, like the trauma of childbirth, I thankfully forgot most of what I witnessed seconds after leaving the theater. Thank fucking God for shock. — DR
5. DOA: Dead or Alive: As if we needed another one, Dead or Alive was for video game enthusiasts what Drumline was for band geeks — a brutal and disturbing reminder about how no one should make movies about these people or their hobby. Video-game logic already defies most attempts at linear thought, but any pretense that serves as an excuse to get bikini-clad sluts to kickbox the hell out of each other is probably doomed from the start. Maybe on paper it seems like the premise for fighting games — that super-powered, scantily clad warriors like to beat each other up — would make for an interesting production outside of softcore, but it doesn’t at all. This boner-launching fodder for 13-year-olds comes across as exactly that; there’s little for the rest of us to be entertained by and even less to care about, even if we can manage to forgive the plot its underwear model ninjitsu. Perhaps fans of the original series would be momentarily delighted should they stumble across this film and think they’ve accidentally popped their game CD in the DVD player with magical results, but even they won’t want to stick around for the pants-on-the-head retarded theatrics displayed therein, even as they discover that the near-nude karate cooze isn’t doing what the controller tells her to. — PS
4. I Know Who Killed Me: Hell, I’m not even sure what this film was about, unless the ending of Lindsay Lohan’s career is a theme willingly explored by filmmakers hoping to throw away millions of dollars. This film was perhaps the most sinister piece of crap that I’ve witnessed onscreen because the story, such as it was, presented absolutely no moral complexity or parabolic statement. All this film offered up, besides ass, was a literal application of the “torture porn” label when filmmakers infused copious gore within alternating scenes of torture and sex. Lohan’s character, Aubrey, lives an idyllic suburban existence with her parents until, one day, she is kidnapped, tortured, and slowly cut apart by a psycho killer. Aubrey seemingly escapes and surfaces at a hospital with her life but minus a few limbs. She doesn’t remember being tortured but says that, while working as a stripper, her fingers inexplicably bled heavily and fell off. Naturally, she tried to sew her digits back on because that’s what survivors do, dammit. She also believes her name is Dakota, so we have a case of mistaken identity. Or a PTSD diagnosis. Or maybe it’s all just torture-porn-gone-wild masquerading as divine intervention. Whatever. This film was best summarized from within (how meta!) by the Christ-like figure who simply uttered, “People get cut. That’s life.” This horror flick does not offer suspense, but it does inadvertently provoke much uneasy laughter. Now, I know how the audience of Dane Cook’s recent seven-hour comedy marathon must have felt. — AB
3. Good Luck Chuck: You might have thought that there was no way to top the unholy alliance of Dane Cook and Jessica Simpson in last year’s Employee of the Month, but then came Good Luck Chuck, pairing the Douche-tongued lothario with Jessica Alba’s ass (It’s squishy. It’s cute! Yes! It walks downstairs, alone and in pairs, and it makes that slinkity sound. It’s ass! It’s ass! A marvelous ass! Everyone knows it’s Al-ba! ) and throwing in the aforementioned human cum stain (Dan Fogler) — who masturbates into grapefruits — for good measure. Marketed as an offbeat, cutesy romantic comedy, audiences were in for quite a surprise when they realized that Chuck was a humanity defying gross-out comedy that featured Fogler contemplating fart-sucking and musing about the taste of penguin excrement. Featuring the Caucasian version of Norbit’s Rasputinia, only with chronic back acne, Chuck actually managed to outmatch Norbit in terms of mean-spirited comedy, but unlike Eddie Murphy’s movie, the folks behind Chuck sincerely hoped that you’d forget all about the lousy script, the dreadful acting, and the hilariously unfunny jokes if they just provided enough of Jessica Alba’s ass to draw your blood away from your brain and into your erection. — DR
2. Bratz: The Movie As the parent of a 7-year old girl who usually leaves a film by qualifying it as “the second-best movie ever,” I can vouch for the ease with which kids are entertained. Successful children’s movies usually involve simple stories that lead their protagonists (kids, toys, animals) on journeys (moral, emotional, or physical) of a fantastic nature. Maybe some kids dance and sing their way through life, or a daughter transforms the life of a father who never knew she existed. Sometimes, a penguin travels to Hawaii and learns to surf, or perhaps some chipmunks find overnight stardom while simultaneously ingesting each other’s feces for the greater good. For bonus points, just add gadgets or magical powers. At these flicks, parents just want kids to sit down, shut the hell up, and not leave the theater in a more corrupted state than when they entered. In contrast to all these things, the live-action Bratz is based upon ubiquitously slutty dolls, who make Barbie look like a total prude and have a sociopathic passion for fashion. This mind-numbing waste of celluloid and silicone focuses on the importance of achieving individuality through really super-cute outfits, the right shade of lipgloss, and daddy’s credit cards. Lessons taught include the following: Black girls can dance; Asians babes are smart; Hispanic chicas have mariachi bands in their kitchens; and all problems can be solved by a talent show, a food fight, or a new pair of shoes. As a participant, Jon Voight and his prosthetic nose look embarrassed, as they should be. — AB
1. Captivity: Captivity was a new low for what’s already the lowest form of cinematic entertainment. It is the nadir of the subgenre’s short existence. It was everything (everything) that is despicable and vile and offensive about torture porn distilled into 90 minutes of loathsome opprobrium. It was repellent. Horrid. And thoroughly unpleasant. And I wouldn’t wish the experience of watching it upon anybody. Captivity was a cinematic cesspool where only sick fucking degenerates can get their rocks off, and it’s about as useful as second-hand toilet paper — only, it stinks a whole helluva lot more. And worse than the scene featuring a woman showered with acid, worse than a scene featuring a torturer pull a man’s teeth out with pliers, and worse than the blended smoothie of human organs was the sick fucking joke at the end of this movie: The whole goddamn series of torturous events was staged — one sick, motherfucking nauseatingly twisted form of date rape. The torturerer killed the captive’s dog, he made her eat human organs, and he made her endure days of physical and psychological torture so that he could wear her down and have consensual sex with her while his brother and co-conspirator watched. And Roland Joffe — the twice-Oscar nominated director — tries to pass off date rape and misogyny as a form of entertainment. In the three years of this site’s existence, I have never seen a movie that was as morally deplorable, as motherfucking hateful as Captivity was, and the only redeeming aspect to this entire movie was that, at least, it bombed at the box-office, signaling the death knell of torture porn. — DR