For better or worse, the summer movie season kicks off this weekend with the release of Iron Man 2 (which I believe is a Black Sabbath documentary).
It's the time of year when temperatures rise and IQs drop as folks looking for relief from the sweltering heat seek shelter in air-conditioned theaters, where they can put their brains in neutral and enjoy movies about giant robots, or dinosaurs, or...giant robot dinosaurs.
It's also the time of year when we see the most "blockbusters" released. The term used to refer to those movies that broke the $100 million mark at the box office. Nowadays, however, your typical IMAX release can top that on a normal Tuesday afternoon. Even worse, when trying to compile this list, it presented me with an almost unmanageable number of films. I could easily have done a list of 50, but nobody wants that, so I narrowed my selection down to films that have made more than $300 million in domestic receipts.
This unfortunately eliminated all of the Twilight movies from consideration. C'est la guerre.
And so, to commemorate the final summer season of the "'aughts" (or the first one of the "'teens, whatever), here are the five worst "blockbusters" of the last ten years.
The Passion of the Christ (2004) -- $370,270,943
Verbal Kint said the greatest trick the Devil pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And the greatest trick an anti-Semitic movie director with a sadomasochistic streak ever pulled was convincing legions of god-fearing churchgoers to bring their kids to what was essentially a two-hour snuff film. Kudos, Mel.
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) -- $310,675,583
I'm not sure how it was possible for this to be worse than The Phantom Menace, except to theorize that: in spite of the fact people's expectations had been lowered dramatically by the first prequel, this one still managed to tunnel beneath them. I hope that huge pile of money George Lucas sleeps on gives him a rash.
Spider-Man 3 (2007) -- $336,530,303
In retrospect, this shouldn't have come as a surprise. The third film in a series based on a comic book is almost always the worst (Superman 3, X-Men: The Last Stand), and Sam Raimi didn't disappoint, giving us emo Peter Parker and some of crappiest action sequences ever committed to film.
That reminds me, hope you're not looking forward to that third Batman movie.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) -- $317,557,891
I'll be the first to admit, the Harry Potter series has gotten better with age, and that's largely because the main three actors have mostly matured into decent actors (the jury's still out on that Grint kid). In the first movie though, I'm pretty sure Chris Columbus' sole directorial instruction was, "Okay...now look REALLY AMAZED."
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) -- $402,076,689
The first movie made specifically for idiots who also happen to suffer from short-term memory disorder, RotF was my first experience with what it must be like to have too many synapses firing at the same time. Never before had audiences so efficiently been bored, annoyed, nauseated, and ripped-off by one movie at the same time. And don't get me started on the "jive" Autobots.