And the Oscar goes to… never mind

And the Oscar goes to... never mind

James Bickford

Photos courtesy of Lionsgate Entertainment, Open Road Films and Warner Brother’s Entertainment

On the heels of what might be the best year in film since 2007, everyone is buzzing about all the great movies they have seen or still want to see from this year’s Oscar nominees. With a saturation of good films out there, the award scene is as crowded as it has ever been. Considering all this focus on brilliant cinematic creations, perhaps this is the perfect time to take a moment to remember that, yes, we are still dealing with Hollywood, and dear Lord there were some abysmal offerings recently.

Good movies are good. Bad movies can be fun. Stuart Beattie’s I, Frankenstein is so awful it falls into neither of the aforementioned categories. With a well-deserved 5% on rottentomatoes.com, it should come as no surprise that this movie not only sucks, but it sucks in the worst way of all: it is utterly boring. The only reason I stayed awake through the incoherent storyline and monotone acting was because they obviously fired their sound editor and replaced him with a deaf orangutan; when the “action” got quiet I couldn’t make out a word anyone said, but when it got loud the volume intensity was like that of a war crime. The one thing they did right was work in a deep subtext of the relationship between man and nature by hiring a cast that was actually made of wood.

Have you ever hated children? As a concept, I mean. Have you truly despised the very existence of the small creatures who have almost half of all media marketed towards them? I never did. Until I saw Peter Lepeniotis’s The Nut Job. It is one of the rare breeds of film with no likable characters at all and its “heist” premise falls completely flat. The animation is the worst I’ve seen in a long time, with nobody looking or moving in a way that could ever be described as “organic”. The jokes are the same three jokes we’ve heard from Over The Hedge (2006) and the like a thousand times before. The only redeeming thing is its running time – only an hour and twenty minutes. Even with that short duration, the movie drags, stubbornly refusing to offer any entertainment to an audience over the age of two. In fact, those poor two-year-olds are losing brain cells faster than if they subsisted on a diet of lobotomies and hard liquor.

Finally, we have Grudge Match, a movie I wanted to like as I did The Family earlier in this year. Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro continue to beat their legacies to a bloody pulp, seemingly determined to undermine the decades of great work they have done as actors in this affront to sports movies. By distilling every overused cliché and running them further into the ground, as well as sprinkling in every predictable joke they could think up, this schlock-fest might as well be enjoyed by sadists who like seeing two respected actors engage in the most embarrassingly bad fight scene I’ve seen. Peter Segal is credited as the director, but I assume that he was comatose during filming because there is no coherent direction and there was clearly nobody behind the scenes to tell these actors what in the world they were doing. At several points during the film, DeNiro actually looks confused, as though he thought for a second that he was in Goodfellas (1990) or Godfather II (1974). But that passes as the living legend continues to humiliate himself and disappoint his fans. I go easy on Stallone because I have learned to expect this from him. God have mercy on their careers.