Ten Movie Trends The Decade Didn't Need

Sometimes it seems like Hollywood hates us

By Drew Magary
|  Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009  |  Updated 12:26 PM PDT
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Ten Movie Trends The Decade Didn't Need

Lionsgate

Tobin Bell is back as the Jigsaw Killer this week in Saw VI. Is it a flashback or is it real?

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I was going to write a list of the ten worst movies of the decade, but I quickly realized that I almost certainly haven't seen them. Say what you will about movie critics, but they do serve one useful purpose.

They watch "Battlefield Earth" so that you don't have to. I never saw that movie. No one I know ever saw that movie. Did it even happen? I'm not certain. So it's hard for a layperson such as myself to compile a 10 worst movies list for the 2000's because I spent much of the decade doing my best to NOT go see terrible movies. HOWEVER, that isn't going to stop me from voicing my concern about some of the more alarming overall trends in moviemaking over that time span.

Let's face it, the odds of you watching a good movie these days are pretty low. To make a movie that's good, you need good acting, good writing, and good direction. And you have to get approval from 4,000 people at the studio. All that has to happen simultaneously for your movie to not suck. It's an impossible task, and it's been made even more difficult by the following ten horrible trends in filmmaking this century:

1. Torture Porn

Look no further than Roger Ebert’s review of the 2005 movie "Chaos"  to sum up the state of modern horror films:

By the end of the film, they will have raped and murdered the girls, not always in that order, nor does the bloodshed stop there. The violence is sadistic, graphic, savage and heartless. Much of the action involves the girls weeping and pleading for their lives. When the film pauses for dialogue, it is often racist.

Now, I'm all for movie violence. It's one of the great American inventions. But I'm not wild about movies that forsake the idea of, you know, an actual plot in favor of showing women getting raped and killed for 80 minutes. If that's something that interests you, you should probably not be around children while unsupervised.

2. The Desecration Of The Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker Legacy

Once upon a time, Jerry Zucker and company made spoof movies like "Airplane" and "The Naked Gun" that were funny, and looked like they were produced in a time span of longer than three minutes. They have now given way to the team of Seltzer-Friedberg? Unfamiliar with their work? Allow Maddox's Vague Genre Movie spoof to bring you up to speed. It's quite a winning recipe. Take bad actors, then re-enact scenes from recent movies in no particular order. Then add a Carmen Electra cameo. BOOM! Comedy gold. Even David Zucker himself directed a "Scary Movie" sequel this decade. Et tu, sir?

3. Product Placement Taken to new lows in 2005's

The Island, which featured an establishing shot of an Aquafina bottle, and Austin Powers in "Goldmember," which was a 90-minute Mini commercial. Dude, I paid to go this movie. THERE WERE 30 MINUTES OF ADS AT THE BEGINNING. It's one thing to have a product in the background because you need real product in the background. It's another to divert the film for the sole purpose of showcasing a Mercury Mariner.

4. Actors Playing Unlikable People In Unwatchable Indie Oscar Bait

Someone recommended to me that I watch "Half Nelson" with Ryan Gosling, because Gosling is so good in it. I want to smack that person in the face with a table saw. Here's the plot of "Half Nelson": a teacher smokes crack, kinda hits on a student he befriends, and keeps smoking crack. That's the plot. It could have been told in five minutes. But noooo, I have to sit there and watch Gosling play a jackass because that's a brave thing to do. Brutal.

5. Film Critics Refusing To Completely Trash New Tyler Perry Films Because They Don't Want To Be Accused Of Racism

Funny how those F's for Perry became B-minuses so very quickly over the years. What's the matter, Entertainment Weekly? Too scared to say what you really think? Admit it: those movies are wretched. You know it.

6. The Continued Descents Of Robert De Niro And Al Pacino

Fourteen years ago, these two paired up for "Heat," and it was a big deal. This year, they teamed up for "Righteous Kill," a movie that shouldn't have even qualified for direct-to-DVD status. It's fair to say now that De Niro is a BAD actor. Not formerly great. Not a legend. Just a really terrible actor with no range at all.

7. The End Of Medium-Sized Movies

It's not worth a studio's time to make a movie for $30 or $40 million anymore. Every movie is now made for either $150 million and force-fed as a hit to the marketplace, or they are made for NOTHING. As a result, you have studios making less movies every year, and being so heavily invested in those few movies that they are micromanaged into nothing.

8. The Return Of The Musical

Damn you, "Chicago." Damn you to Hell.

9. George Lucas Putting The Finishing Touches On Ruining My Childhood By Explaining That Darth Vader Got That Way Because He Didn't Get A Promotion

Way to plumb the depths of evil there, George. Tune in next week, when Darth gets frustrated with Monster.com because the listings are always from the same anonymous profiling agency. THEY DON'T HAVE A REAL JOB!

10. From Justin To Kelly

I don't need to see that train wreck to know it was probably the worst film of the decade, and perhaps beyond. Honorable mention to Jane Fonda's return to film and Russell Crowe getting fat. Yours in the comments.

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