Every year, there are movies that we just really want to see, that promise to be explosive or intriguing or captivating. Or just plain fun. And every year, there are movies that you expected great things from that just fail to deliver. They may not be terrible, but they weren’t as good as you were hoping or knew that they could be; they may be movies that you didn’t expect to be great but should have been decent – but were just plain bad. These are those movies: the most disappointing movies of 2008.
Note that “disappointing” is different from “bad” or “worst.” Some of the movies on this list are just plain bad (The Happening), and most of them aren’t that great, but there are a few on here that I would watch again – they just simply didn’t live up to expectations. The higher up the list they are, though, the more they disappointed.
Without further ado…
- The Happening
Easily one of the worst movies of 2008, The Happening also showed promise. Sure, M. Night Shyamalan has been making progressively worse movies every year, but aside from Lady in the Water, his movies haven’t been disastrous. This one, starring the typically fun Mark Wahlberg, looked to get Shyamalan back on track – at the very least, The Happening had to be better than Lady in the Water. Right?
Wrong, biotchs! The Happening is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It is laughably bad. The writing is terrible. The acting is terrible. The direction is terrible. And our print of the movie even revealed the boom mike much of the time, which at least had my friends and I rolling in our seats giggling. Without that poor boom mike, I don’t know if we could have been able to sit through this disaster. And I’d been looking forward to it.
Yes, The Happening is the most disappointing movie of 2008 – and the worst.
- The X-Files: I Want to Believe
I am a huge X-Files fan. Yes, the last couple seasons weren’t so great, but the first several were awesome. In fact, I’d say the series is one of the best to ever grace the small screen. While some people didn’t like the first X-Files movie, I thought it was pretty damn good – and compared to its sequel, it’s Schindler’s List.
I was pumped for the sequel. Sure, the previews weren’t that great and the title I Want to Believe is absolutely terrible, but this is X-Files. How bad can it be? The producers had also promised that this would be a stand alone picture, promising to be a scarier, less confusing film.
Unfortunately, The X-Files: I Want to Believe is more of a drama than a horror flick. The producers got so caught up with the characters of Mulder and Scully that they forgot to give fans (because, let’s face it: no one else showed up) a compelling story. The movie is pretty boring, isn’t scary and, most importantly, does not feel like The X-Files. There isn’t much at all of a supernatural slant to the movie, so… what the hell is the point? What a letdown.
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Many people will surely be putting this one at the top of their list. In hindsight, I was mildly entertained. It had enough Indiana Jones moments, and overall it was fun to see Harrison Ford back in one of his trademark roles. Still… the only reason Indiana Jones 4 is not in the #1 spot is that the movie trailers, from the beginning, suggested that there was just something slightly off about the picture, which dampened my expectations from the beginning. After all, could such a movie, even if it were directed by Steven Spielberg, be as good as the first three? The odds were against it before it ever hit theaters.
Nevertheless, expectations were still high, and Spielberg, George Lucas and Ford did not truly deliver. There was the “nuking the fridge,” scene, which killed it for a lot of audience members right then and there. Then there was the stupid-looking crystal skull, which looked goofy as hell. Don’t forget the jungle-swinging scene, full of dancing monkeys and Tarzan-like goofiness. Oh, and the killer ants. An uninteresting performance by Karen Allen. And, most importantly, aliens and spaceships, which begs the question, What the f**k was Spielberg thinking?
Ultimately, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull could have been a lot worse – but it could have so easily been a lot better.
You can never expect too much from a Will Ferrell movie, but you still expect to laugh. With Ferrell starring as the owner of a horrific and cheesy 70′s semi-pro basketball team, it looked like a gimme that Semi-Pro would follow in the vein of Anchorman and Blades of Glory. Unfortunately, the movie is amazingly unfunny. Boring even. All of the good parts are shown in the previews, and the rest is just a complete and utter waste of time. Truly disappointing.
Not a bad movie by any means, Blindness is the perfect example of expectations run amok. Fernando Meirelles is the director of City of Gods and The Constant Gardener, two visually stimulating and superbly done films. Logic would dictate that Blindness, about a contagion of blindness that sweeps the globe, would follow this trend. I was expecting this to be an Oscar contender and a legitimate thriller.
Again, Blindness isn’t a bad movie – it just isn’t anywhere as good as it could have been. The picture is poorly directed and edited at times, and goes in a few directions that I wouldn’t have taken it. It picks up near the end, but other than that… rather disappointing.
George Clooney and Jim from “The Office” star in this throwback football film could have been an instant classic. Clooney is always funny, and the previews made the picture out to be a goofy dramedy about the beginning of the NFL. Unfortunately, Leatherheads isn’t nearly as funny as it thinks it is, gets bogged down in a rather disappointing legal storyline about a war hero who isn’t quite what he appears to be, and just feels overly long. All in all, it’s pretty boring.
I like modern westerns. When done right, they can be gritty, entertaining and exciting. When I saw that Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris were starring in an old-fashioned western about two lawmen who take on a large group of thugs in a small plains town, I was excited. Directed by Ed Harris, Appaloosa couldn’t possibly be bad. When it opened, it received positive reviews, which only drove my expectations higher.
Unfortunately, Appaloosa is rather dull, has inconsistent pacing and lacks the proper shootout it so desperately needed. In his attempt to make an old-fashioned-looking movie, Harris made Appaloosa old fashioned – and that’s not a good thing.
The movie was still OK, but not the entertaining western I expected.
- Quantum of Solace
After the absolutely amazing Casino Royale, expectations were high for this James Bond sequel. While the movie did deliver with lots and lots of action, it was missing the character development and complexities of its predecessor. The new director, not accustomed to action films, didn’t quite get it at times, and thus Quantum of Solace came off as feeling a bit empty.
Upon second viewing, though, I liked it much more than at first… but still, it could have been a lot better.
- Son of Rambow
I went with one of my buddies to go see this one. No, it’s not another Rambo sequel; it’s a comedy about a couple of boys in Britain who set out to make their own homemade Rambo film. The previews were funny and cute, and this looked like a winner.
Instead, Son of Rambow is one of the most boring movies I’ve seen in a long time. It has its moments, but many of these moments are shown in the previews. Otherwise, the picture just lacked the charisma and entertainment value I was expecting.
- The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
OK, in reality, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of this movie. The second Mummy movie was awful, with an overly cheesy approach and terrible special effects. But I did have moderate expectations for the movie. God-awful director Stephen Sommers was out, replaced by Rob Cohen. Imotep the mummy, who had been the villain for the last two movies, was gone, replaced by Jet Li. Egypt was replaced for China. And Brendan Fraser was returning. This one had the promise to be moderately entertaining, but…
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is cheesy, stupid and boring. The characters – and actors – seemed disinterested, as if they were dragged back to the picture through some blackmail deal that Rachel Weisz somehow managed to avoid (smart girl). Maria Bello turns in a terrible performance, and Cohen can’t decide whether Fraser or his on-screen son is the star of the show. Oh, and when yetis show up to act look like football players, all chances of success go right out the window.