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And the worst film of 2008 was ...

POSTED: December 31, 2008 6:27 p.m.

Each year, the movies hit thrilling peaks that remind us how powerful the cinema can be, but they also hit shamefully bad valleys that urge us to demand a refund. We'll get to the peaks next week, but first let's take a walk of shame through the valleys of 2008.

A note: These are films that had funding and talented people involved. I'm not going to beat dead horses by slamming the worst B-movies of the year. These are movies that had every opportunity to be good.

SPOILER WARNING: Endings are ruined below, so read at your own risk.

10. ‘Drillbit Taylor'

Judd Apatow and company take a big misstep on this one. They've given us a helluva lot to laugh at in recent years, but none of it comes from "Drillbit Taylor."

9. ‘How to Lose Friends and Alienate People'

Wouldn't you love to see Simon Pegg and Jeff Bridges work together in a good comedy? Me, too.

8. ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull'

Seriously, aliens? So many people waited so, so long for another Indy Jones. Then they are handed a film with terrible cgi effects and an ending so absurd it makes the earlier scene when Indy escapes a nuclear bomb test by hiding in a refrigerator seem plausible. Devoted fans deserve better.

7. ‘Fly Me to the Moon'

I'm torn on this one. It has inspired a fascination with space in my 3-year old, which is great. The sequences recreating the Apollo 11 moon landing are stunning. But after the Eagle lands, the story veers off into a Cold War subplot about Russian flies trying to sabotage the astronauts' re-entry. And that's just the beginning of the story problems. Apologies to my son.

6. ‘Four Christmases'

Hands down the biggest waste of talent all year. And you're only allowed one vomit gag per film!

5. ‘Charlie Bartlett'

This is the tarnish on Robert Downey Jr.'s comeback year. A comedy featuring prescription drug abuse among teens had better have a strong message and big laughs. This movie has neither.

4. ‘Jumper'

Characters leaping through time and space while fighting should be a lot of fun. But the hero in "Jumper" is a spoiled brat we don't care about, and the villain is Samuel Jackson with a bad hairdo. And even though this one flopped, the sequel is already in pre-production?!

3. ‘Speed Racer'

Now we know what it would look like if you put about 100 packs of crayons into a washing machine.

2. ‘The Happening'

This embarrassingly bad thriller uses up the remaining credibility M. Night Shyamalan earned with "The Sixth Sense." However, if you enjoy mocking bad movies, this is a must rent.

1. ‘Strange Wilderness'

It's a stoner comedy, so my expectations were low going in. But this is a film that doesn't even try. The final scene becomes an outtake. It's criminal and insulting that the cast and crew think people should pay for this. As bad as the others on the list are, this one is easily the worst of 2008.

Jeff Marker is a media studies professor at Gainesville State College.



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