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January 5, 2007 |

By Dustin Rowles | Guides | January 5, 2007 |

It makes me sad to look back on 2006 and barely be able to cull a dozen or so movies that I’m happy I saw, and only a handful that I felt were really great. Even more dispiriting was the fact that I had no trouble amassing a similar “worst-of” list with fewer than 25 entries. There were times when, upon receiving our weekly assignments, my first impulse was to tell Dustin to go fuck himself for suggesting that I should sit through The Marine. But that’s the nature of the business, and movie critics can’t afford to be selective on a professional level, regardless of how very (very) much we would like to. Every weekend someone on the Pajiba staff has to end up with the stinker, and one can either complain to no end or endure it with grim stolidity, like a platoon leader throwing himself on a grenade to save his men from harm. Besides, for a site that proudly claims to be “scathing,” bad movies offer us a time to shine.

But still, there are more than a few moments when we hate our jobs, when sitting through a half-assed genre film is infinitely more painful an experience than waxing apoplectically to an audience later. Sometimes it’s an effort not to submit that letter to Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs,” inviting him to sit in the theater with us while Marlon Wayans pretends to be a baby or Jon Heder fumbles through his lines onscreen; to experience the unique humiliation of having your time and money wasted while your dignity is assaulted, and to do so nearly every weekend.

2006 left us with plenty of pain; it was quite an effort to pare this list down to the worst of the worst. But rest assured, this is it — the 10 movies that really, really hurt, that seemed to actively hate us, to kick sand in our eyes when we were down. What did 2006 teach us? Don’t make a genre film if you don’t know what you’re doing; don’t make a comedy composed of cheap pop-culture references; don’t make a horror movie composed entirely of clichés a fourth grader knows; and if your name is Uwe Boll or Renny Harlin, just … don’t.

Pajiba readers: Welcome to the Suck. — Phillip Stephens

10. Date Movie: I’d actually successfully blocked out the trauma I experienced watching Date Movie until this damn list brought it all flooding back: Alyson Hannigan in a fat suit doing “Milkshake”; the Ebonics and a “Pimp My Ride”-style makeover; and, worst of all, the cat who takes a diarrheic shit in the family lavatory before fucking Grandma’s rotten remains at the dinner table. Gitmo is less painful. Credit the movie, however, for ill-fitting as many awkwardly constructed allusions to other movies as it did (I even seem to remember an appearance from Carmen Elektra), though it was missing one: A welcome homage to Final Destination, in which the director, those two-out-of-the-six writers of Scary Movie, and the entire cast have their heads pumped full of Silly Putty until the entire production ends in an explosive confetti of “Beetle Bailey” newsprint and brain matter. We can dream, we can dream. —Dustin Rowles

9. An American Haunting: This piece of shit should serve as a blueprint for how not to make a ghost story. From its onset, Courtney Solomon’s period piece is so boring and expositionally bankrupt that not even the formidable talents of Sissy Spacek or Donald Sutherland could make it more than terrible. But then … then, as if our boredom and apathy weren’t palpable enough, Solomon rubs the most painful of salts in our wounds: a twist ending that makes M. Night Shyamalan look like a damned genius. Twist endings are meant to shock and disturb us, to render the entire film in a different, unforeseen light. The best the Shyamalan school of endings can do is make us go “Oopsie!” but even he hasn’t stooped to the level of inanity that Solomon did here. Oh, so the girl wasn’t actually haunted by a ghost! She was so traumatized by her father’s molestation that she became telekinetic and started bitch-slapping herself. Bollocks bollocks bollocks! — PS

8. The Benchwarmers: Before all the comments to our older reviews were wiped away after the Department of Homeland Security seized our hard drives in May, my Benchwarmers review actually inspired someone from Revolution Studios to both take me to task for my critique and defend the film’s merits. I’d always assumed it was Rob Schneider, given his history with movie critics. I’ll probably never know: But the thing about Benchwarmers was that it was barely the worst Jon Heder flick of the year, only slightly worse than School for Scoundrels — Heder is destined to be his generation’s Schneider. Benchwarmers ultimately took the title of worst, however, thanks to an opening scene that introduced Heder rooting around in his nose, pulling out a booger, staring at it briefly, and then eating it. Classy. But, that’s not all. Benchwarmers also featured a fat kid farting in another kid’s face and asking him how it tasted, the gratuitous use of dwarves, and even Craig fucking Kilborn, for God’s sake. Worst of all, though, is the name Jon Lovitz gives his baseball stadium: Schmegma Field. Really? Schmegma? I remember that last time that word provoked laughter: The seventh grade. And even then, I only laughed so the dude repeating it would shut the fuck up. If only fake laughter would make Rob Schneider go away. — DR

7. Grandma’s Boy: I’m just going to pull a sample paragraph from my review here, rather than revisit the atrocity that was Grandma’s Boy again. My heart can’t take it: “How the hell am I supposed to look past the fact that the lead character (42-year-old Allen Covert) in Grandma’s Boy goes into a bathroom and jerks off to a goddamn Barbie doll … and then ejaculates all over an unsuspecting walker-in, or that a type of marijuana noted for its abilities to make you ‘shit your pants’ is discussed while a monkey performs martial arts, or even that a 20-something-year-old guy fucks Shirley Partridge/Jones after she gets into the technicalities of giving Charlie Chaplin a hand-job. Seriously, people, how fucking obtuse do you have to be to find enjoyment in a gamer-geek who tries to pick up the ladies with robot-speak? It’s not funny, and I don’t care how many short buses you rode on as a kid; it would take an unearthly amount of pot to have you believe for even a few seconds that Grandma’s Boy has more entertainment value than does a herniated disc. It’s obscenely bad. It’s Manos: The Hands of Fate without all the plot intricacies; it’s a snuff film without the snuff; it’s a goddamn alcohol-free hangover that pounds … and pounds … and pounds.” — DR

6. John Tucker Must Die: The fact is, I barely made it out of the John Tucker Must Die experience, doubling up my review of the film with my very own suicide note, deciding, in the end, that Jesse Metcalf just wasn’t worth the bullet. It was really nothing more than a tweeny skin-flick, only all the naughty bits were covered up, and the act of females kissing was treated like some goddamn erotic circus act that you’re only allowed to see if you turned in all your hard-earned Skee-Ball doubloons. It was one long exploitative cocktease; the goods were dangled, but the proverbial woman-hating carrot existed on an unreachable plane that only naïve 11-year-olds and pre-rumspringa Amish folks might find scintillating. Worst of all: Even after the three scorned women combined all three of their accumulated brain cells, John Tucker never dies. An unbelievable fucking shame, too. — DR

5. Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector: I’d somehow managed, before this film was released, to make it through 31 years of life without any knowledge of Dan Whitney. Now, of course, I wish I could retain that ignorance. A decade removed from the South personally, Larry reminded me of everything I despised about it without offering any inkling of what was so great. My review of Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, however, was one of my favorites to write, providing a eagerly anticipated opportunity to take a potshot at both Pennysltucky and the world’s worst country singer, comparing “Larry’s brand of ‘comedy’ to the dumbassery of Toby Keith — humorless, vile, and not even well intentioned,” while analogizing Larry to “the nasty, racist, homophobic mullet-wearing rednecks who trumpet the N-word whenever possible, think that gay-bashing is their birthright, wrap themselves in Jesus and the Flag to justify their bigotry and excuse both their ignorance and slovenliness, and who spent a good deal of their formative years beating the shit out of kids like me.” Thanks for the memories, Larry. — DR

4. Stay Alive: This was probably the worst horror film of the year — an unscary, unfunny romp through a story that might’ve been a middle-schooler’s idea for a good thriller. When it was revealed that the main characters — a cabal of ditsy gamers — had names like Phineas, October, Swink, and Loomis, I had to race other theatergoers outside to vomit. Frankie Muniz’s acting didn’t help matters. From the names of the characters to their backstories to their watered-down duel with a video game come to life, Stay Alive was nothing more than a horrid compilation of the worst clichés in contemporary horror handled by a cast and crew who would botch a stage production of Xanadu. As if Paul Anderson and Uwe Boll weren’t enough to convince humanity that movies and video games do not mix well, the makers of Stay Alive thought they could market a whole movie just by appealing to the gaming demographic. This pretense alone should have been a dire warning, but the movie itself was awful, too. — PS

3. BloodRayne: Speaking of Uwe Boll, no annual worst-of list would be complete without him. His latest piece (ha!), a tale of a buxom, half-vampire warrior babe who roams medieval lands in search of others to share clunky dialogue with, furthered the poor guy’s reputation as the worst working director alive. Uwe himself is a cinematic oddity: The man was clearly destined for C-level camp obscurity on a level with Joe D’Amato and Coleman Francis, and yet through some unfathomable divine intelligence the man has managed to get his ham hands on millions of dollars and occasionally even A-list actors with which to launch his celluloid abortions. Fittingly, BloodRayne is basically Deathstalker with a budget, featuring the kind of cheesy gore and sexploitation that could only be forgiven by a shoestring production and a winking eye for camp. But Uwe is dead serious, making his effort all the more tragic. Conversely, BloodRayne is a great film to drink to; among its many highlights are an unintentionally clumsy sex scene and dialogue that will have you in stitches — the writers’ pitiful concept of medieval patois has Michael Madsen delivering the already-bad lines without contractions: “My companion seems to be missing. I do not know what has become of him!” Classic. Instant classic. — PS

2. Little Man: My god, this one hurt. The worst movies to endure are bad comedies. A bad drama, horror, or other genre film will likely have enough quirks to keep your marginal interest, but when comedy falls, it falls hard. The Wayans Brothers’ Little Man was an entire film reel of fart and dick jokes so unfunny I shed tears of blood. The movie left me so dejected that I wove macabre fantasies about murdering Marlon, Shawn, and Keenan with a poleax before self-immolating while clutching the film’s negative in an effort to save mankind from this atrocity. Little Man honestly felt like it was filmed over a weekend with no second takes, using jokes left on the cutting-room floor of “Married … with Children,” jokes just crude enough to make you wince, but never enough to make you laugh. The midget-as-baby gag exhausts itself before the trailer is even over, but by the time the film arrives at its chief conceit — a barrage of crotch-assaults — Little Man has descended into unplumbed depths of stupidity from which there is no hope of escape. — PS

1. The Covenant: It takes a special kind of stupid to beat out six disturbingly-unfunny comedies, two piss-poor, cliché-trodden horror movies, and Uwe Boll to arrive at the bottom of 2006’s cesspool of incompetence, but Renny Harlin’s The Covenant has a kind of stupid so unbelievable that it shames the competition. Before the line “I’m gonna make you my we-otch!” is uttered (and henceforth destined for the annals of B-movie history), one gets the feeling that The Covenant was the pilot for a “Charmed” spinoff so bad that even the most insipid UPN producer would laugh at it. This film made the circle of being so, so awful to so-bad-it’s-funny and back again so many times I knew I was watching a masterpiece of ineptitude. But at the end of the day, after our Abercrombie castoff vanquishes the villain with a well-delivered “hadouken” to the face, the laughter produced by this turgid dreck turns to tears of mortification and the viewer’s somber reflection that it must be a cold, alienating world that could produce something so violently fatuous. — PS

The Golden Pajibas -- The Worst of 2006

Pajiba's Year in Review / Phillip Stephens & Dustin Rowles

Guides | January 5, 2007 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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