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I try not to see bad films... Unfortunately it sometimes happens to the best of us... Here are the atrocities that I've suffered through, hopefully to save you from the same. 

The Worst Ten - 2001

10. Atlantis – Yikes, this was a mess. I must not have the proper sensibility for kiddie flicks, because they often tend to strike me as loud and obnoxious. (I don’t think I really liked one since like… Babe 2?) Atlantis, which was some sort of attempt by Disney to pull in those hep teens, was even louder and more obnoxious than the average kid’s movie. Although there might be something to be said about me not being the ideal target audience for these films, tons of adults seem to dig them well enough… and who can blame them. The way this stuff is sold, you’d think it was tailor made for every man, woman, and child ever to walk the earth. It’s cast of ethnically and sexually diverse cast was obvious attempt to make sure no one in the audience felt their point of view was underrepresented. ‘cept me I guess… 

9. The Price of Milk – Proof that a low budget film that gains distribution is not automatically a good one, The Price of Milk took whimsy to levels that were absolutely nauseating. Thankfully ten months or so dulls the edges off of a bad movie like this, so I only vaguely remember this was about a woman who wanted to get a quilt from some midget Aborigines, or was it about elves that come and steal people’s shoes, or was it about a dairy farmer who grew too depressed to milk his cows… Actually, I think might have tried to incorporate all of those… or something… Who cares? 

8. Amelie – With its robotic non-performances and its eerily winsome tone, Jeunet’s film was probably the year’s most overrated wreck. A French version of last year’s miserable Pay it Forward, Amelie didn’t even have that film’s courage (which backfired spectacularly there, but at least they tried). A supposed treatise that preaches opening up to the world, the film seems most likable at its most insular, and it’s portrayal of an idealized fantasy of France seems at odds with its theme. That the heroine ends up as disassociated from the world at the end of the film as at the start seemed to bother no one. Even Jeunet’s filmmaking is lax here. Relying far too heavily on voiceover narration, the film slides between overload and boredom, never hitting a groove. 

7. Spy Kids – At least in most bad films I can doze off. Spy Kids, with its own incessant loudness combined with the gaggle of noisy children around me while I watched it, denied me that respite. As a huge fan of Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk ‘Till Dawn, I actually had something resembling hope that this film wouldn’t suck. Unfortunately, the film only had a garish and crude version of the energy that made Rodriguez’s other films work. … and my God that boy Spy Kid was hideous! 

6. Someone Like You – Sorry Ms. Judd, but the good will I’ve been giving you since your beautiful work in Ruby in Paradise has officially worn off. This flimsy excuse for a movie trots out a handful of cliches, hoping a few will stick, but they don’t. The movie suggests men are as dumb as cows with a straight face, and the men it offers up (Greg Kinnear and Hugh Jackman) don’t do much to refute it. Even Ellen Barkin feels castrated here, her sexiness suppressed, which probably sets some sort of record for a movie’s waste of resources. 

5. A Knight’s Tale – They promised Heath would rock me, but I felt decidedly un-rocked. Maybe they meant he was as charismatic as a rock, which would make sense. In any case, this film, with it’s dopey anachronistic music and its unending scene with Paul Bettany’s ass (which will now apparently be gracing the next von Trier film, Ugh!) caused me almost physical pain. As much as Gladiator winning a Best Picture Oscar irked me, I can thank Brian Helgeland for showing me how much worse it could have been. 

4. The Son’s Room – Nanni Morietti’s Palm D’Or-winning trite-fest's American release has been delayed to 2002, but its Cannes nod and its probable Foreign Film Oscar nomination make it an affront to my sensibilities this year. Its skewed perception of what supposedly makes a happy family life (it seems here to be a blissful plainness), the intrusive score, and it’s need to make us giggle at the problems of a group of psychiatric patients make the film’s eventual begs for empathy feel incredibly wrong. Everything feet so damn phony here that I had more sympathy for my fellow audience members, some who were indeed in tears, than for anyone on screen. 

3. America’s Sweethearts - In a horrible year for romantic comedies, (notable exceptions Va Savoir & Sidewalks of New York) this one hit the bottom of the barrel. Completely lacking any substance, America’s Sweethearts asked us to laugh at celebrities behaving badly. The film feels like the work of a group of people who have grown completely detached from the world that the rest of us live in. It’s attempts to make the masses laugh (a dog chewing on crotches, Julia Roberts in a fat suit) feel embarrassing, and John Cusack plays such an unlikable jerk that the suggestion that we’re supposed to be happy when Julia snags him is revolting. A purported expose of the movie industry, it’s neither romantic, nor funny since it’s too damn busy showing us how self-aware it is. Hopelessly smug. 

2. Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back – So, in a bit of audience-hating worthy of Woody Allen’s Stardust Memories, Kevin Smith decides he’s going to tell all of us losers on the internet how misguided we are because we care about movies, and think our opinions matter. Since Smith is the same guy who runs a website that acts as a forum to these opinions, one can only assume his playa hating is supposed to be ironic in some way… Kinda like how Smith called P.T. Anderson a jerk for making a big-budget studio film so personal when he made Magnolia, then promptly turned around and turned out this piece of self-referential crud. It all might be worth something if, like Smith’s best films, all of the profanity, blow-jobaphobia, and idol worship actually meant something or managed to be funny, but it doesn’t accomplish either. If this was to be the year’s biggest masturbatory wank-off, at least it should have shown some tits. Worst. Movie. Ever. 

1. Made – I didn’t really hate Made all that much. John Favreau is fairly likeable actor, and Famke Jansen is really decent here, but due to a severe acting miscalculation by Vince Vaughn, this is the closest thing to unwatchable that I’ve seen all year. Words cannot express the revulsion that I felt toward his character here, so I won’t even try to describe it. Consider yourself warned that this is no Swingers

- Jeremy Heilman