Depending on your point of view, movie critics have the best or the worst job imaginable. They get paid to sit around and watch movies all day. That may seem like a cushy job, until you realize that they have to watch all the bad movies, as well as the good ones.
When a movie fails to inspire the best in a professional reviewer, the results can sometimes be far more entertaining than the movie itself. Consider the following assessments of some of the silver screen’s offerings:
Armageddon — Phil Plait, the “Bad Astronomer” — Armageddon got some astronomy right. For example, there is an asteroid in the movie, and asteroids do indeed exist.”
One Missed Call — Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe — “The kid in front of me spent most of the movie playing Tetris on his phone. I didn’t care enough about the movie to ask him to stop, or to find a cooler game.”
Sex and the City 2 — Lindy West, thestranger.com — “I entered the theatre in the bloom of youth and emerged with a family of field mice living in my long, white moustache.”
Bright — Jordan Hoffman — Vanity Fair — “While I had the misfortune to see Bright in a theater, most people will simply press ‘play’ out of curiosity on their Roku remote. I am willing to concede that this might elevate the experience a little … the ability to take a quick trip to the kitchen or restroom after shouting ‘no, don’t pause it’ to your partner on the couch will be liberating.”
The Village — Mick LaSalle — San Francisco Chronicle — “M. Night Shyamalan has nothing to say, but he’s going to keep right on saying it until people make him stop.”
Gotti — Johnny Oleksinski — New York Post — “I’d rather wake up next to a severed horse head than ever watch Gotti again. The worst movie of the year so far, the long-awaited biopic about the Gambino crime boss’ rise from made man to top dog took four directors, 44 producers and eight years to make. It shows. The finished product belongs in a cement bucket at the bottom of the river.”
Mamma Mia! — Stephen Pollard — The Spectator — “Absolute cack: appallingly written, witlessly directed and sung as if by mice being tortured. It makes Teletubbies look like The Iliad in comparison.”
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith — Anthony Lane — The New Yorker — “[It] marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones … but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion.”
Mr. Magoo — Roger Ebert — “Mr. Magoo is transcendently bad. It soars above ordinary badness as the eagle outreaches the fly. There is not a laugh in it. Not one. I counted. I wonder if there could have been any laughs in it. This is a one-joke movie without the joke.”
The Bonfire of the Vanities — Joel Siegel — ABC TV — “A misfire of inanities. This is a failure of epic proportions. You’ve got to be a genius to make a movie this bad.”
Garfield — Sean O’Connell — Filmcritic.com — “It’s marginally better than The Cat in the Hat, though that’s like saying suffocation is mildly more amusing than drowning.”
The Other Woman — Linda Holmes — NPR — “I know what you’re thinking … ‘Enough beating around the bush. Just tell us whether you liked it.’ Consider this, which I will say in terms this movie would understand, if you were on an airplane, The Other Woman might not be preferable to simply staring into your empty airsick bag, but it has enough nicely executed physical comedy that in the event you become ill, it is definitely preferable to staring into your occupied airsick bag.”
The Good Thief — Marc Savlov — The Austin Chronicle — “[Nick] Nolte looks as though he died five years ago and nobody bothered to tell him, and he runs (or staggers) with the tatty grace of the walking dead.”
Last Rites — Roger Ebert — “Many films are bad. Only a few declare themselves the work of people deficient in taste, judgment, reason, tact, morality and common sense. Was there no one connected with this project who read the screenplay, considered the story, evaluated the proposed film and vomited?”
Avatar — Philip Martin — The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette — “Built to make money but hardly worthy of serious examination. Avatar isn’t only critic-proof, it resists serious criticism. You might as well analyze a beach ball.”
Bride Wars — Mark Kermode — The Observer — “If there are ten films worse than Bride Wars this year, I quit … Everyone will tell you it’s a chick flick. Only in the sense that if you ground it up and fed it to battery hens it might be better served than running it through a projector.”
Superbabies — Nathan Rabin — AV Club — “At its best/worst, Superbabies‘ hallucinatory idiocy inspires open-mouthed horror at what happens when an ill-conceived premise leads to even more jaw-droppingly misguided execution.”
Battlefield Earth — Desson Howe — The Washington Post — “Battlefield Earth saves its scariest moment for the end: a virtual guarantee that there will be a sequel.”
The Village — Mick LaSalle — SFGate — “[M. Night Shyamalan] directs [The Village] as if he’d written it (which he did), and not a single friend dared tell him the truth.”
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