For every "Best of" list, you can bet there's going to be a "Worst of" counterpart. For instance, right on the heels of this year's Oscar nomination list comes the Golden Raspberry Foundation's Razzie award list, with nominations for worst actress, worst actor, worst picture and so on. I agree that some of those movies should never have seen the light of day -- Land of the Lost, get lost! -- but one man's meat is another man's poison, and there are many times when critics and I don't see eye to eye. I have to admit I've watched and enjoyed more than a few movies that have made it onto one or more "Worst of 2009" lists floating around in cyberspace. Here are five of them:
1) Angels and Demons
The Da Vinci Code was one of those books that I just couldn't put down (as in, I read it in the shower with one arm outstretched, holding the book, and the other arm awkwardly soaping my body), and I enjoyed everything they were able to cram into the movie. I yearned to immerse myself in more of Professor Langdon's adventures, so how could I not watch Angels and Demons? True, all that rushing around the Eternal City looking for clues, trying to prevent murders felt like a rehash of the original movie, but I pretended the first movie had never happened (and strictly speaking, it never had, since Angels and Demons is actually a prequel to the Da Vinci Code), so I still managed to enjoy all the thrills and chills.
2) Marley and Me
I'm not a dog lover, I don't think fart jokes are funny, I think Jennifer Aniston movies are silly, and I can't look at Owen Wilson's nose without wincing and wondering why he doesn't get it fixed. So why in the world did I find myself glued to my seat, unable even to go to the bathroom? When Marley, the main characters' big, dumb, stinky, loyal, lovable dog, finally kicked the bucket after 15 years of living with them, I wept like he was my own kids' dog (and we don't even have a dog).
3) The Ugly Truth
Critics trashed this movie because they say it's nothing but a string of romantic cliches, but I say that's what makes it so much fun to watch. Independent feminist who secretly just wants a man? Cynical, misogynist ladies man finally falling for the one woman who won't have him? Mutual hatred masking mutual attraction? A couple falling in love without even having sex first? It's like the Mills and Boon romances I swooned over when I was a teenager! I wasn't looking for anything too serious anyway, so I really enjoyed reliving my girlish notions of love and cheering when the boy got the girl. In fact, the only thing I didn't enjoy was Scottish Gerard Butler faking an American accent.
4) Whatever Works
I was completely shocked to see that Yahoo critics gave this movie a C+. I suppose it's because no one in the audience could stand the main character, a bad-tempered, self-centered, social misfit named Boris Yellnikoff who makes Oscar the Grouch look sweet. He's constantly complaining about having to share the same universe with a bunch of idiots (i.e. the rest of humanity) and insulting everyone he comes in contact with, yet somehow he ends up happy and fulfilled, with all his old friends, a bunch of new ones and a girlfriend to boot. I loved watching Larry David star as Boris -- this role is almost identical to the one he plays on his TV series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, which always leaves Alfie and me in stitches. Maybe the real reason people don't like it is that the insights into human character sometimes hit a little too close to home -- come on, admit it, aren't there times that you feel just like Boris, except you're just too scared/diplomatic/socially conditioned to admit it?
5) Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers 2 actually leads this year's Razzie contenders, with 7 nominations, but it was also a huge moneymaker so someone must have enjoyed it. I'm siding with the majority and thumbing my nose up at the critics. Yes, they put in every kind of action scene imaginable. Yes, the whole thing was absurd. But how is Transformers 2 any more absurd than, say, Sandra Bullock's breakout movie, 1994's Speed? At least in Transformers 2 it's pretty clear that we're in fantasy land. Anyway, it's not about the storyline anyway, it's about the eye candy. Stick to enjoying the eye candy -- both robotic (love, love, love that sound the Transformers make when they transform!) and human (I'm not a teenage male but even I think Megan Fox is hot) -- and you'll have a grand time with this movie!
Okay, maybe these movies won't win any Oscars. Truthfully, I knew that even while I was enjoying them. I guess I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to movies; it's rare that I find a movie so bad that I will walk out of a movie theatre right in the middle of it. But anyone can make the best out of a bad movie -- just suspend disbelief and lower your expectations. The babysitter is paid for, there's a perfectly good bucket of popcorn on my lap, so why not make an effort? At the very least, you can have fun trashing the movie while you watch it.