Critics Pick the Best and Worst Films of 2008

Tomatometer critics chime in on which films they loved (and hated) this year!

Critics hate bad movies just as much as you do. The difference is, they can tell the world why. (And there's always a little more sizzle when one deeply, truly, reviles a film.) See who hated Speed Racer, who had to sit through The Hottie & The Nottie, and how Ben Stein captured the wrong kind of attention from one of America's favorite critics!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (63% Tomatometer)
The Boy in the Striped PajamasBeing so British that the Nazis danced to English music hall tunes and called each other "leftenant" just made it tone deaf kitsch. Turning the Holocaust into an SS family tragedy made it moral imbecility of the lowest order.

-- Bob Strauss, L.A. Daily News

College (6% Tomatometer)
CollegeThere were more inept films in 2008 -- Strange Wilderness and Nobel Son leap to mind -- but no film seemed more contemptuous of humanity as a whole, and young people and women specifically, than this grimy "comedy" about three high school seniors who spend a weekend getting hazed by fraternity brothers. That a woman directed this disgusting mess is disappointing; that a movie this wretched could get a nationwide release is depressing.

-- Alonso Duralde, (Read Alonso's full list here)

Postal (8% Tomatometer)
PostalDirector Uwe Boll actually revels in being reviled, so it's somewhat anticlimactic to dub his latest video game adaptation the year's worst. But Postal is bad even by Boll standards -- it's barely based on the video game of the same name, instead aiming to be some kind of grab bag satire of current events, pop culture and everything else that floats through Boll's twisted, overeducated imagination (he allegedly holds a doctorate in literature). If it weren't so boring and would be inconceivably offensive. Sign the petition:

-- Wade Major, Box Office Magazine

The Hottie & The Nottie (5% Tomatometer)
Hottie and the NottieChoices for the worst movie of the year are a cinematic cesspool of flotsam and jetsam including instant IQ-reducers like Over Her Dead Body, Seed, You Don't Mess With the Zohan and The Hottie & The Nottie. Funny how one of my favorite movies has Paris Hilton in it, as does (predictably) the worst. The Hottie & The Nottie is a awfully-acted, stupidly-scripted, direly directed splash of swill that only makes me appreciate the good ones that much more. I'd rather splash pure bleach in my eyes than see it again.

-- Staci Layne Wilson, Fi Weekly

Repo! The Genetic Opera (30% Tomatometer)
Repo! The Genetic OperaThe worst movie of 2008 is the Paris Hilton starring cult, rock, horror film, Repo: The Genetic Opera, which is violent, disgusting and downright vile. The best part of this movie was the credits which meant I got to go home and pretend the whole thing never happened...

-- Ben Lyons, At the Movies

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull earns the #1 spot because it ranks as the most disappointing movie in years. How could Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford wait 20 years for the right script to make Indy 4 and end up with this? Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is predictable, unimaginative, derivative of its predecessors - not celebratory - and - I can't believe I'm saying this - incomprehensible.

-- Ben Mankiewicz, At the Movies

Baghead (77% Tomatometer)
BagheadBeing one's own editor allows a person to be very selective about what they see. Baghead is the worst of the films I saw this year, not just because did not see as many films in 2008 as I normally would, but because of how much better it could have been but wasn't. Even at a mere 84 minutes, it was still an hour too long, with some of the worst acting from allegedly professional thespians, lazy camerawork and an all-around lack of enthusiasm from everyone involved.

-- Edward Havens, Film Jerk

The Love Guru (14% Tomatometer)
The Love GuruIt was probably around the time that Oscar-winning, classically-trained actor Sir Ben Kingsley, playing a guru with a name that is a crude joke about solitary sex, dunks a mop in a bucket of urine for his acolytes to use in a sort of pee-soaked dodge ball game, that I began to feel confident I was watching the worst film of the year. To be truly, epically bad a movie must waste the talents and severely tarnish the reputations of highly respected and previously reliable performers. Add in constant but never funny body-part and bodily-function jokes, an uninteresting story, and a character whose only job seems to be to do what the audience doesn't and laugh at the star and you can actually feel brain cells melt as you watch.

-- Nell Minow, (See Nell's Top 10 list here)

Towelhead (47% Tomatometer)
TowelheadAs its openly racist title implies Towelhead is an exploitation movie that wears its shock value on its guilty sleeve. It is the most disgusting, ethically reprehensible, and irresponsible film to come out of the 21st century's first decade. As Roger Ebert said of the film Dirty Love, this movie "wasn't written and directed; it was committed."

-- Cole Smithey, (Read Cole's full list here)

Speed Racer (36% Tomatometer)
Speed RacerBecause we all expected so much more and they spitefully let us all down. Even the children! It's an ugly cartoon with squandered money and talent by the once highly-respected Wachowski Brothers. Was the true purpose to make a movie no one would see? The cast is crucified by cruel camera work. And I hated the fat kid brother and especially the chimp, who the mom liked more than her children.

-- Victoria Alexander,

ExpelledA defense of "intelligent design" and an attack on Darwinians that could be used as a case study of irrational reasoning. But such a doc would be fair enough, just like some of Michael Moore's stretchers, if it didn't try to link modern evolution scientists with Hitler and the Holocaust. Hosted by Ben Stein, who should be ashamed of himself. I wrote a blog about it, which so far has attracted 940 comments, some of them longer than the entry, very few giving a good impression of the defenders of ID.

-- Roger Ebert, (Read Roger's Best of 2008 list here)


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