Horrible! Overlooked! Best!

The Year in Film 2008: A Guardian critic counts down his hours in the dark


1. Over Her Dead Body (Jeff Lowell, USA) Paul Rudd can redeem anything. Or so I thought.

2. Be Kind Rewind (Michel Gondry, USA) When the cause of whimsy and movie-love requires making every character onscreen a grating comedy 'tard, you gotta wonder: what made this Gondry joint better than Rob Schneider?

3. American Teen (Nanette Burstein, USA) Manipulated à la reality TV trash, Burstein's "documentary" pushed the envelope in terms of stage-managing alleged truth. That envelope would've best stayed sealed.

4. The Hottie and the Nottie (Tom Putnam, USA) A Pygmalion comedy so atrocious that Paris Hilton wasn't the worst thing about it.

5. Six Sex Scenes and a Murder (Julie Rubio, USA) Local enterprise to be applauded. Lame sub-Skinemax results, not so much.

6. Hell Ride (Larry Bishop, USA) The Tarantino-produced missing third panel of Grindhouse (2007), this retro biker flick unfortunately forgot to be satirical. Or fun.

7. Filth and Wisdom (Madonna, UK) Madge's directorial debut — so loutish and inept Guy Ritchie could use it as custody-battle evidence.

8. Diary of the Dead (George A. Romero, USA) The worst movie by the sole great director on this list. It was Friday the 13th (1980) meets The Blair Witch Project (1999) — which is just so tired, not to mention beneath him.

9. The Fall (Tarsem Singh, India/UK/USA, 2006) Or, Around the World in 80 Pretentious Ways. A luxury coffee-table photography tome morphed into pointless faux-narrative cinema.

10. Chapter 27 (JP Schaefer, USA/Canada) John Lennon's assassin, Mark David Chapman, was a disconnected, unattractive, incoherent mutterer. Jared Leto gained 67 pounds to faithfully reproduce this profoundly boring slob. In the movie, Lindsay Lohan befriends him. No wonder she's a lesbian now.

11. The Happening (M. Night Shyamalan, USA/India) Not the worst Shyamalan. But then again, everything he's done since 1999's The Sixth Sense has rated among its year's worst, no?

12. Surfer, Dude (SR Bindler, USA) This laugh-free comedy proved it's possible to render 90 minutes of Matthew McConaughey in board shorts into a hard-off.

13. Synecdoche, NY (Charlie Kaufman, USA) What's like a prostate exam minus the health benefits? The extent to which writer-director Kaufman rams head up ass in this neurotic, pseudo-intellectual wankfest. Its stellar cast walked the plank into elaborate meaninglessness.

14. Australia (Baz Luhrmann, Australia/USA) Possibly the most expensive insufferable movie ever made. Can a continent sue for defamation?

15. Valkyrie (Bryan Singer, USA/Germany) Not even surprisingly decent talk-show Elvis impressions can save you this time, Tom Cruise.

16. The Spirit (Frank Miller, USA) The Dork Knight. Least super hero ever.

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