The 10 Most Disappointing Movies of 2009

The Most Disappointing Movies of 2009Each year, there are good movies and there are bad movies. And then there are the movies that claw at your soul, that could and should have been good but just… aren’t. These movies often fall onto “most anticipated” lists and have plenty of healthy (or unhealthy) buzz surrounding them. Audiences are dying to see them due to a catchy trailer or great cast, but when they do… something has gone horribly wrong.

The list below – the most disappointing movies of 2009 – is not intended to describe the worst movies of the year. In many cases, there were worse movies. No, these are the ones that left me cursing the director for ruining a good thing.

Here are the top ten most disappointing movies of 2009:

10. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

One should never expect too much from a Matthew McConaughey romantic comedy, as they rarely meet expectations. And to be frank, the previews never made Ghosts of Girlfriends Past look all that good. But the concept had huge potential, simply due to its title and concept. A sleazeball of a man is taken into the past, present and future a la A Christmas Carol to see the women whose lives he has destroyed? That’s pretty unique, and is ripe for good comedy. Instead, director Mark S. Waters and the screenwriters made a surprisingly plain and cliche romantic comedy. Way to be unoriginal.

9. The Haunting in Connecticut

Though the movie, from the outset, looked like a rip-off of The Amityville Horror, it still looked pretty damn freaky. It also starred Virginia Madsen, who brings instant credibility to any project she’s in (well, I’m changing my mind about that now). A haunted house story, when done right, can be extremely effective, but within about thirty seconds, starting with Madsen’s opening narrative, I knew that The Haunting in Connecticut was not going to fall into that category. You would think Hollywood would have figured out how to consistently make good haunted house movies by now, but this one is boring, cheap and poorly acted.

8. The Unborn

Odette Yustman became the latest It girl after her starring role in Cloverfield (of course, most people overlook the fact that she was only in the movie for about 10 minutes), so it was only a matter of time before the gorgeous young actress found her way into a horror movie as the lead. The Unborn looked surprisingly good – after all, the movie poster featured Yustman in her underwear, and the movie was about a scary dead child. Dead children make for good horror movies. But no… The Unborn was just like many other bad horror movies, a barrage of visual effects and not much else. Overall, even for a horror movie, it drastically failed to live up to expectations.

7. Amelia

Mira Nair + Hilary Swank = Oscar gold, right? Right? Wrong. The visually stimulating director and Oscar love child (and excellent actress) should have made a dynamic drama about the infamous pilot (who, oddly enough, has not been put to film very frequently), but instead the movie is a bland, fact-by-fact biopic. The movie fails to get underneath Amelia Earhart’s skin, and explains away her motivations to fly as, “Just because.” The movie was a waste of time – at least Swank turns in a fine performance.

6. Duplicity

The romantic comedic thriller starring Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson looked great based on the previews, and for good reason: the movie is full of great dialogue exchanges and soundbites. It’s no real surprise: Duplicity is from the director of Michael Clayton and the writer of State of Play and the Bourne movies. But what was the surprise was that Duplicity lacked synergy; as good as its individual scenes were, few of them clicked into something that felt complete. The movie was boring at times, and some of the best exchanges were shown in the trailers. Furthermore, the ending is woefully lacking. Duplicity is by no means the worst movie of the year, but it was a huge disappointment.

5. Nine

From the outset, Nine was a candidate for Best Picture. After all, Rob Marshall directed Chicago to an Oscar just a few years ago, and this one has an even better cast, including Daniel Day-Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Marion Cotillard and more. Unfortunately, the movie is a huge disappointment. While by no means a disaster, it is dull and essentially plotless. To make it worse, most of the musical numbers aren’t very good – the songs are uninspiring and the sequences flat. Nine, all around, is a huge waste of talent and potential.

4. G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

To be clear, I never expected G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra to be good. Few people did. But it earns a place on this list simply because G.I. Joe is such an easy franchise to make well, and Paramount Pictures did everything in their power to kill it years before it was released to theaters. It doesn’t take a genius to know that Stephen Sommers would make a cheesy movie with bad dialogue and embarrassing special effects – and yet Paramount gave this franchise, which could have been a bad-ass, gritty militaristic action movie, to him nonetheless. G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra is just as bad as it looked in the trailers, and that’s a real shame.

3. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Michael Bay could buy a small country with the amount of money he stole from moviegoers this summer, as the Transformers sequel made over $400 million in the United States. Too bad the movie sucked big time. I thoroughly enjoyed the first Transformers, even if it was too long and Shia LeBouf talked way too much. Sadly, Bay and his writers didn’t make improvements in these areas – the sequel is ridiculously long, and the writers added new, even more annoying characters to the mix. Full of plot holes and heroes and villains that all look the same, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a cluttered mess so immense even Megan Fox’s cleavage couldn’t save it.

2. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Nipping at Terminator‘s heels is X-Men Origins: Wolverine, another disaster of a big-budget action movie. Following the third X-Men movie, which was not that good at all, I figured the powers that be would have learned their lesson and put some effort into making something of quality. Hugh Jackman was returning, and Gambit was finally a character. It looked pretty good. But boy, was it bad. On top of a rushed, chaotic and poorly written story, Wolverine boasted terribly cheesy special effects that were laughably bad at times. Even Jackman couldn’t save this one.

1. Terminator Salvation

This was an easy one. Every year, a few blockbusters are bound to disappoint – it’s simply statistics. But Terminator? Why, oh why, did Terminator have to be among them? When McG was originally announced to have signed on as director, I was appalled; this was the guy who did Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, one of the worst movies ever made. But then Christian Bale signed on to play John Conner, hot off The Dark Knight. And the marketing department unleashed some absolutely sick movie trailers, which made me think that McG might have actually pulled it off. But as its release date approached, the bad buzz began to circulate… I was prepared for a weak, mindless action movie – not ideal for a continuation of the Terminator franchise, but better than nothing – but I wasn’t prepared for the travesty that was this movie. Bad acting, terrible direction and a silly plot make Terminator Salvation the most disappointing movie of 2009.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Top 10 Movie Lists