Sitting in the Dark With Strangers 2010: Part One

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sitting in the dark with strangers

I go to the movie theatre a lot. E. works at the fabulous art cinema here in town, and hooks me up from time to time. Also, I use a lot of the free tickets studios send to the store, although those are rarely for movies that are any good. The preview tix are normally for movies that need good buzz before they come out, or for movies that are “nerd-friendly” and desperately hope to appeal to the store’s demographic.

Anyway, I get to see movies for free a lot of the time, and for the most part enjoy it immensely. There’s been some movies that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise and enjoyed a lot as a result. These films, on the other hand, are the bottom 7 of the 37 I watched this year, and were for the most part pretty shitty.

A few notes:

– I’m not going to give you synopses of each film, there are many places in this fine internet that do so. I do not think that most of these are obscure, maybe a few, though. Also, the apostrophe key on my keyboard is being strange, so my diction may be a little stilted and formal. I am working on this problem, and should return to using contractions and slang shortly.

– I’m counting some movies that had a theatrical release in North America as being “from 2010”, even though they were made in different years.

– I’m also counting a few movies I caught on DVD but were released theatrically in 2010. I’m just crazy like that. Sometimes this is due to limited releases (or no releases) in my hometown.

– Spoiler Warnings are in effect, but you probably should have guessed that by now.

37. Macgruber (saw for free from work) : As I went to to get the link for this film, I was astounded to see that it’s currently rocking a 5.5 out of 10. This movie is fucking garbage and anyone who likes it has bad taste. I was pretty sure of this fact going in, so we thought ahead and snuck in mickeys of Fireball whiskey and Peach schnapps in with us, but even in a half-drunken state this movie bored me to tears. We had to go eat ribs afterwards so we could feel feelings again.

36. The Expendables (saw for free from work) : This film also has a shockingly high score at For the life of me, I can’t understand why people like this non-movie. It had so much potential, and then it pissed it all away in a torrent of terrible editing, shakycam bullshit, “acting”, poor lighting, and for me, the worst offense, being completely bloodless. Compare the laughable “gunfight” near the end with scenes from movies like Rambo or District 9, and you’ll see how visceral and exciting this film could have been if it’d only grown a pair of balls. Even while I watched the film, I was forgetting earlier parts of it as they didn’t do anything at all for me.

Quick! What was your favorite fight scene in this movie? The only lasting image I can think of when I ask this question of myself is “umm, maybe when that guy’s head gets kicked backwards and his neck snaps?” That’s fucking bullshit considering the calibre of guys they had for this movie. Compare that to this: . That six minute fight scene from The Protector had more excitement than the entirety of The Forgettables.

35. Bitch Slap (saw for free because my roommate rented it): I don’t think this movie had a wide release, but it came out in 2010 according to wikipedia and imdb. This film was laudable for having much more action in it than our number 36 entry, and for how it tried to evoke the feeling of a Russ Meyer film like Faster, Pussycat Kill! Kill! or Motor Psycho. And by that I mean it had a lot of cleavage in it. And that was kind of fun. On a related subject, 17-year old me would like to extend a much-belated thank you to the sadly now deceased Drive-In Classics channel (it was turned into the Sundance Channel in February, because Corus Entertainment apparently hates fun). The marathons DIC ran of Russ Meyer films made me a better person.

34. The Last Airbender (saw for free from work): Cannot think of much to say about this boring movie. I don’t have access to the rage a fan of the TV show would be able to bring to bear upon this film, as I have only seen parts of it (E. was watching it during days while I was at work, so I would always come home to the tense and dramatic season ends. Apparently this show is really funny?). The 3D was terrible (when Aang went to the ghost dimension or whatever, it looks like he is talking to a magic donkey rather than a dragon or whatever it was supposed to be) and it was very boring. Lots of other people out there can tell you more reasons why it is bad.

33. The Crazies (saw for free from work): Another one where I don’t have too many reasons to say why I didn’t like it. The Metro Cinema showed the original Romero version as one of the “Dedfest” screenings, and I think I liked that one better. The Vietnam-era pessimism and truly depressing ending really did it for me, and the remake seemed a little flat, I feel. This one is low on the list because I saw a lot more movies that were better, not because this one was bad in any way. It is always nice to see Timothy Olyphant, too.

32. Red (saw for free from work): Here is another one where there is not a lot wrong with a movie, but neither is there much right. I like the part where John Malkovich baseball-bats a grenade back at a guy, that was cool. Still, the movie is, in my opinion, probably better than the comic that inspired it, but not by much. I will make sure to hand in my geek card at work tomorrow for uttering such heresy.

31. I’m Still Here (saw for free from work): In retrospect, I cannot really think how they should have marketed this movie. Most (if not all) of the criticism of this film centers on the wishy, then washy, marketing campaign of Is Joaquin Phoenix Crazy Or Not, but seriously, how were they supposed to do it? I saw it just before the news broke, and am actually really curious to see what people thought of it once the secret was out. As for the movie itself, I suppose I enjoyed watching it more than I would have enjoyed watching the Dead Michael Jackson movie, which is also a crass tie-in concerning a controversial white musician struggling with mental illness, right?

Well, that does it for the shittiest of the movies I saw this year. I would list off a couple more, but I have actually become too angry while thinking about the stupid movies I felt a need to subject myself to for whatever reason. Post your angry, hate-filled screeds about why The Expendables was great in the comments section if you must.

The Author

Matt Bowes is a self-proclaimed cultural commentator/arbiter of good taste from Edmonton, Alberta. He enjoys movies and books, and writes about them sometimes at

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Sitting in the Dark With Strangers 2012: Part One | this nerding life

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