It’s Oscar season, which means everyone’s in a hurry to explain to you why Toy Story 3 or Inception or Winter’s Bone is the best movie of the year. But what about the awful films of 2010? The bloodcurdling sequels, the charmless rom-coms, the 3-D adventures apparently directed by someone without depth perception? Who will tell us which, of the 300-plus movies disgorged by Hollywood this year, was truly the most lousy?
Vulture, that’s who! The Vulture Critics’ Poll is the definitive survey of terribleness in film, with ballots and commentary from 50 of America’s most prominent critics, from David Edelstein to A.O. Scott, from J. Hoberman to Lisa Schwarzbaum. (But not Anthony Lane! He still won’t return our e-mails.)
So sit back, click through, and revel in our list of the ten worst movies of 2010. And when you’re done, check out the ballots, complete with awesome commentary from critics finally cutting loose on the movies that ruined their year.
Previously: Vulture’s Critics’ Poll: What’s the Worst Movie of 2009?
Vulture’s Critics’ Poll: What’s the Worst Movie of 2008?
Spoiler alert: This romance sucked. Or rather, this romance was mostly inoffensive, until — real spoiler alert! — it ended with its hero, played by Robert Pattinson, dying on September 11. “A shameless rom-tragedy concoction,” complained EW’s Lisa Schwarzbaum. “Hilariously offensive,” wrote the House Next Door’s Keith Uhlich. Close runners-up for the ten-spot included The Nutcracker 3D, Tron: Legacy, The Tourist, and The Wolfman.
Sure, you didn’t see this Brendan Fraser–starring kids’ movie, but critics did, and they took it personally. “Witless and wince-inducing,” wrote Brent Simon, head of the L.A. Film Critics Association. “It makes you want to kick the shins of its makers, and perhaps key their cars.”
It will almost certainly be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, but a very vocal minority took offense at Darren Arnonofsky’s ballet Grand Guignol. “A singularly hateful movie musical that left me depleted and despairing,” said Uhlich. And the Times’ Jeannette Catsoulis laid on the sarcasm: “If only women would loosen up, put out, and orgasm already, they’d be SO much happier.”
Tyler Perry aimed high in this awards-season release, but aside from a respectful Times review, America’s critics have hooted him off the screen. “Shamelessly terrible,” said New York’s David Edelstein. “Graceless,” wrote Yahoo’s Tim Grierson. And Moving Image Source’s Dennis Lim walloped it: “Barely a movie, and offensive on multiple levels.”
This Oscar hopeful was the dud of this fall’s prestige releases, and critics were not kind to Clint Eastwood’s latest. David Edelstein was particularly dismissive, calling the film “too lame to make a decent ghost story, too contrived to enlighten us about how to live in the shadow of death.”
You didn’t have to be a fan of Lewis Carroll to take offense at Tim Burton’s heavily CGI’d adaptation. A highlight of this year’s ballots was Philly critic Sam Adams’s anti-Alice rant, which declared of Burton: “With the exception of Robert Zemeckis, I can’t think of another director so thoroughly ruined by access to a bottomless technological toolbox.”
“Self-indulgence, thy name is Happy Madison,” wrote the AV Club’s Nathan Rabin, blaming this family-comedy misfire on Adam Sandler’s clubby production company. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea agreed: Grown Ups was “so lazy,” he wrote, “nobody bothered to write a script.”
Destined to go down in history as the moment that even die-hards gave up on M. Night Shyamalan, this muddy, ugly, sloppy 3-D adventure should be a punch line for years to come. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Mick LaSalle put it best: “A thoroughly dislikable fantasy epic featuring dull characters locked in a struggle of no importance.”
“A comedy made by once-talented people who took the big sequel money and are visibly depressed at having to make the picture,” wrote Edelstein, and other critics agreed: This is the definition of a paycheck movie. Indignation was palpable. “Fock off,” groused Schwarzbaum. The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis just called it a “piece of shit.”
The overwhelming winner, listed on fourteen different ballots and inspiring the most frothing rage of any picture in memory. Someone please Photoshop a poster featuring these quotes!
“A Manolo-hoofed monstrosity!” —Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline
“A deadly, brainless exercise in screeching self-delusion!” —Rex Reed, New York Observer
“This is why the terrorists hate us!” —Nathan Rabin, AV Club
“Shrill, racist skankitude!” —Ed Gonzalez, Slant
“This movie’s very existence lessens us all!” —Dana Stevens, Slate
“Camp’s Gotterdammerung! —David Edelstein, New York