Is there any doubt what movie critics picked as the worst film of 2009?
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There were so many, many worthy candidates, but Vulture, New York magazine’s must-read entertainment blog, has come up with a wonderfully all-inclusive look at the critics’ picks for the worst films of 2009. Vulture managed to survey 43 of America’s still-employed film critics, who -- being pesky, contrarian film critics -- offered a variety of wildly idiosyncratic responses to the poll, meaning that more critics named ‘Avatar’ than ‘Couple’s Retreat’ or ‘2012' as the worst film of the year.
In fact, a surprising number of critics took aim at some of the most exalted Oscar candidates, eager to bring them back down to planet Earth. So while the Chicago Sun-Times Scanner blog’s Jim Emerson was bashing ‘Avatar,’ calling it ‘the only Jim Cameron movie I consider a total failure,’ Moving Image Source’s Dennis Lim (who often writes for my newspaper) dumped on ‘Up in the Air,’ saying it had ‘maybe not the worst filmmaking, but definitely the worst politics’ of the year.
The Village Voice’s J Hoberman offered a list of the most overrated films of the year, which was top-heavy with Oscar best picture candidates, including ‘Up in the Air,’ ‘Crazy Heart,’ ‘An Education,’ ‘Precious’ and ‘A Serious Man.’ Nathan Lee from Film Comment shredded the otherwise critically beloved '(500) Days of Summer,’ calling it ’95 minutes of agony.’ And Karina Longworth, the LA Weekly’s new film critic, signaling that she may be even more airily condescending than many of her predecessors, scoffed at the experience of watching ‘A Very Serious Movie, covering your face with your hands in the hopes that none of the Very Serious Critics seated all around you will see that you are laughing in mockery at something they seem to be taking Very Seriously.’ (Movies she thought unworthy of being Taken Seriously included ‘Precious,’ ‘Public Enemies,’ ‘The Lovely Bones’ and ‘Capitalism: A Love Story.’)
But enough about the preliminaries. What were the critics’ picks for the year’s worst films? Vulture never got around to actually adding up all of the critics’ choices (and for good reason, since many of the critics’ film selections were described as most overrated or most disappointing as well as simply or purely lousy). So I went through the lists and -- using my middle-school calculus skills -- did my best to come up with the best possible informal accounting of the results. So here’s a look at the worst films of 2009. I don’t think you’ll be surprised at all by the winner, but if you think the critics left out a truly deserving movie, please share your own selections with us.
Click through for the list...
10) (tie) ‘Jennifer’s Body’ and ‘Paper Heart’
9) ‘Away We Go’
7) ‘The Lovely Bones’
5) ‘Old Dogs’
4) ‘GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra’
3) ‘The Ugly Truth’
2) ‘All About Steve’
1) ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’
Photos, from left: Megan Fox in ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,’ credit: Jaimie Trueblood / Paramount Pictures; Daniel Day-Lewis in ‘Nine,’ credit: David James / The Weinstein Co.; Gerard Butler in ‘The Ugly Truth,’ credit: Saeed Adyani / Columbia Pictures