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Weekly Alibi No Refunds

By Devin D. O'Leary

JANUARY 4, 1999:  Next week, Weekly Alibi will be ushering in the new year by naming our Top Ten lists in a variety of categories. This week, though, the film section has decided to get a little jump on things by issuing its Five Worst list. Although Hollywood and the rest of the moviemaking world did produce some wonderful films this year, they didn't disappoint in the crappy film category either. Here, then, is our best of the worst. Nothing like a little ill will and sarcastic carping to end the year on, eh?


The Avengers

It seemed like a good idea, really it did. Swanky superspies battling evil Sean Connery to save the world. Ralph Fiennes in a bowler. Uma Thurman in a leather cat suit. How could it have gone so horribly wrong? Near as I can tell, somebody dropped all the film cans on the editing room floor and ended up splicing them together in random order. There isn't a single scene in this movie that makes an ounce of sense. The so-called sexual banter between Fiennes and Thurman is ridiculous. Connery just looks embarrassed throughout the entire film. And what the hell is up with those giant teddy bears?


Desperate Measures

Michael Keaton--who hasn't done a good film since, um ... the Reagan years, I think--chews up every ounce of scenery in this preposterous "thriller," leaving barely enough room for Andy Garcia to overact. If the set-up isn't silly enough (good cop Garcia springs serial killer Keaton from jail, so he can donate bone marrow to Garcia's sickly son) and the plot twists aren't dumb enough (when Keaton escapes--big surprise there--Garcia constantly protects him from the advancing SWAT teams, endangering dozens), then I'm sure the happy ending will do you in. (Keaton ends up having a change of heart and donating the bone marrow anyway).


Great Expectations

Dickens? He can't sue, he's dead. That's as good an explanation as any as to why someone made this downright sacrilegious updating of the British author's classic melodrama. Ethan Hawke (neck and neck with Keanu Reeves for Tinseltown's woodenest poster boy) stars as Finn, a poor Gulf Coast fisherman turned famous New York artist who spends his entire life chasing after bitchy, manipulative, insensitive Gwyneth Paltrow. Why? No idea. Every character in this film appears to be getting their motivations beamed in from Saturn. Anne Bancroft is especially weird as dotty Miss Dinsmoor, who seems to spend the entire movie channeling the spirit of Norma Desmond from Sunset Boulevard.


Holy Man

Eddie Murphy must have sworn off being funny for Lent, because he sure turned in a couple dry white toast performances this year with Holy Man and Dr. Dolittle. Although Dr. Dolittle never rises above fart, butt and other anal retentive jokes, at least it has a sense of humor. Holy Man never even tries to tell a joke. Murphy is weirdly miscast as some kind of new age guru who goes to work for a home shopping network. Is this a parody of religion or consumerism? The answer is neither. Murphy's character never spouts more than a couple Hallmark card homilies, and the so-called commercial parodies aren't one-tenth as funny as watching Ron Popiel try and sell spray-on hair on late night infomercials.

Ringmaster

Why would any self-respecting white trash viewer go through the trouble of getting up off their well-dimpled couch and forking over six hard-earned welfare bucks just to see a fake (or should I say more fake) version of what they get on TV for free every weeknight. The answer is, they wouldn't. Oh sure, you get to see Jerry Springer sing a country music song, but does that really constitute entertainment?


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