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Must Avoid Movies of 2009

Jose Flores Jose Flores
January 1st, 2008 11:00am EST
My Bloody Valentine 3-D2009 is upon us, bringing with it all the hope that new year's usually bring. Usually, this hope is for health, happiness, and prosperity, and that is exactly how it should be. This year, however, I have an additional hope - or I should say, I had an additional hope - that Hollywood wouldn't soil our planet with films that make me wish my eyes had been burned out in some kind of electrical accident. Alas, ever the Cubs fan, I must wait for next year. Until then, I take solace in the fact that I may save you the pain of sitting through these movies.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop (Release Date: 01/16/09)
Director: Steve Carr
Starring: Kevin James, Keir O'Donnell

At first, I suppose this could seem like a pretty decent idea. After all, there is no more ridiculed "authority" profession than mall cop. They wear their little uniforms and strut around like they own the world, even though we all know the girl at the makeup counter who sprays perfume on unwilling passersby probably incapacitates more people in one day than twenty mall cops do in their career. The mall cop is a funny being, but then again so is a mime; that doesn't mean they can or should sustain a feature film. Put another way, I don't care about the mall cops when I shop, and I sure as hell don't want to pay to see them. They're funny enough in real life, for free.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop



Bonus reason to avoid: Good, smart comedy comes from character and situational development. "Seinfeld" taught us this, as did movies like Office Space and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. Good comedy does not revolve around the fact that a profession is easy to ridicule, and just by looking at the title, you can tell that's all this movie cares about.

My Bloody Valentine 3-D (Release Date: 01/16/09)
Director: Patrick Lussier
Starring: Jensen Ackles, Jaime King

Alarm bells always go off when a movie title includes "3-D." It's even more concerning when said movie's trailer actually stops showing scenes from the film, and cuts to a shot of what it will be like for an audience experiencing the 3-D. Technology is nice, but movies still revolve around a plot, and characters, and the adequate development of both. Otherwise, why do I care that some weird guy in a miner's helmet is slaughtering people with a pickax?




Bonus reason to avoid: This movie basically offers its audience two choices: Either wear ridiculous glasses and see the crap up close, or skip the glasses and get the regular dose of crap.

Two LoversTwo Lovers (Release Date: 02/13/09)
Director: James Gray
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow

I know what you're thinking: How could any movie starring Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow possibly end up on this list? Simple: Not even they can salvage a drab, uninteresting story. The plot of this movie boils down to Joaquin Phoenix choosing between two lovers, one that represents security, and one that represents excitement. That's it. There's your hour and a half. Enjoy.

Bonus reason to avoid: Usually, movies about a man "finding himself" with the help of one special woman have something else thrown into the plot, just to provide originality. Not here. This is simply a feature-length dating game, except without the funny innuendo to make it entertaining.

Old Dogs (Release Date: 11/25/09)
Director: Walt Becker
Starring: John Travolta, Robin Williams

Sometimes, I think that Hollywood's entire creative process consists of locking a group of people in a room and having them compile two lists - one of various accomplished actors, and one of increasingly ridiculous situations. Those two lists are then flown to opposite sides of the country and presented to two other sequestered groups. These groups are not freed until they decide on at least two actors that they want to pair, and a ridiculous situation they want to see on film. A couple of months later, we get Old Dogs, where John Travolta and Robin Williams play business partners who are suddenly left in charge of 7-year-old twins.

Bonus reason to avoid: Didn't Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson do this movie already?

All About Steve (Release Date: 03/06/09)
Director: Phil Traill
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Thomas Haden Church

Comedies about mismatched, unrequited, and somewhat stalkerish love are a dime a dozen. There are so many of them, in fact, that producers are constantly searching for a way to make the same old formula seem unique. This is actually not a bad thing, because the formula does have some potential. In the wrong hands, however, the formula turns into this movie, which stars Sandra Bullock as a crossword puzzle designer who follows a CNN cameraman cross-country in the hopes of convincing him that they are meant to be together.

Bonus reason to avoid: There is a reason that "crossword puzzle designer" and "CNN cameraman" have never been lead roles in a movie before. Inserting them here is not originality, it is desperation. I don't know who thought of it, but I do know that person has given up.

Jose Flores
Story by Jose Flores

Starpulse contributing writer