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2001 movies: Reviewer Paul Tatara's 10 worst

By Paul Tatara
CNN Reviewer

(CNN) -- It's unfortunate that we have to stop at 10.

"Freddy Got Fingered"

Directed by Tom Green
Starring Tom Green, Rip Torn and Julie Hagerty
(20th Century Fox)

Take a bow, 20th Century Fox, and don't forget to flush. It's debatable whether this one should be allowed in the countdown at all, since it's so obviously geared to be offensive. But Green -- whose favorite gag is to shout uninteresting phrases while confused people stare at him -- is too talentless to convey knowing idiocy. Highlights include Tom severing an umbilical cord with his teeth, and, later, protecting himself with the private parts of a sexually aroused elephant. Irony fans will also appreciate the brevity of Drew Barrymore's cameo.


Directed by Gregory Poirier
Starring Jerry O'Connell, Jake Busey and Shannon Elizabeth
(Columbia Pictures)

The hits just keep on coming in "Tomcats," an alleged comedy based on the piggishness of apparently mentally ill male homo sapiens. One character has a cancerous testicle surgically removed, then it gets kicked down a hospital corridor and eaten by a doctor. Another guy enjoys the sensation of having sex with a teen-age girl while she vomits from a car window. Grown men with their own offices found this material amusing enough to film.

"Say it Isn't So"

Directed by J.B. Rogers
Starring Chris Klein, Heather Graham and Sally Field
(20th Century Fox)

Just a good old-fashioned incest comedy with forays into ear disfigurement, amputee humiliation and stroke-victim abuse. There's also a naked breast presentation for any wayward aesthetes in the audience, and one character sticks his arm up a cow's rear-end. Field, for her part, can finally relax. We no longer like her. We really no longer like her.

"American Pie 2"

TEST 2001 movies: Tales of Two Pauls
Click on each link to see our two CNN reviewers' favorites and least favorites from the year in films.
Paul Clinton's best of 2001
Paul Clinton's worst of 2001
Paul Tatara's best of 2001
Paul Tatara's worst of 2001

Directed by J.B. Rogers
Starring Jason Biggs, Chris Klein, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Sean William Scott and Shannon Elizabeth
(MCA/Universal Pictures)

Man, Rogers needs to take a vacation: He also directed "Say it Isn't So!" This time he offers up lesbian ogling, rubber sex toys, one guy peeing on another guy's head and a would-be masturbation session that ends with Biggs super-gluing his penis to his own hand. No word yet on whether Rogers' next film will feature an amputee stroke victim who gets super-glued to a sex toy. But it seems likely.

"Million Dollar Hotel"

Directed by Wim Wenders
Starring Mel Gibson, Jeremy Davies, Tim Roth and Milla Jovovich
(Lions Gate)

Wenders is one of those previously coherent cult directors who's reached the point at which he thinks he's accomplishing something by horsing around with his friends. This one is a sci-fi-like contraption that has something to do with a murder at a hotel in which all the occupants are mental patients. Incredibly, Gibson produced the movie, then told the press he thinks it stinks! It's tempting to say that's always a bad sign, but no one's ever done it before.

"The Caveman's Valentine"

Directed by Kasi Lemmons
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Colm Feore and Ann Magnuson
(MCA/Universal Pictures)

Whereas Lemmons' 1997 directorial debut, "Eve's Bayou," was a lovely, understated little picture, "The Caveman's Valentine" is just a mess. Jackson plays a schizophrenic ex-concert pianist/homeless man who battles the voices in his head while solving a murder. God only knows what Lemmons was thinking, but this script could have been written by a junior high schooler, and her visuals are especially clunky. There's even a bizarre scene in which vacuousness is signified by people standing around drinking Lime Rickys. Nearly unwatchable ... but maybe next time.

"What's the Worst That Could Happen?"

Directed by Sam Weisman
Starring Martin Lawrence, Danny DeVito and John Leguizamo

Heavy-lidded Lawrence seems about as bored as he can get in this tedious, underwritten revenge comedy, as if it's a burden for him to even show up and rake in several million smackers. If he's that disenchanted with the gig, maybe he should pass the baton to someone who cares. America will find the courage to live without "Big Mama's House II."

"Sweet November"

Directed by Pat O'Connor
Starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron
(Warner Bros.)

Any movie in which a dying person dons a rainbow-colored fright wig is in serious trouble. But if it also stars Keanu Reeves, well, welcome to the 10-worst list. In "Sweet November," Reeves is supposed to be a brilliant advertising executive who has his life changed by a brief affair with leggy, down-sliding Theron. Given the performances, you'd think Reeves was the one succumbing. If they ever remake "2001: A Space Odyssey," he should play the monolith.

"Domestic Disturbance"

Directed by Harold Becker
Starring John Travolta, Vince Vaughn and Steve Buscemi
(Paramount Pictures)

There's not an ounce of inspiration in this rote, murderous stepfather picture; you half expect the actors to punch time cards after each scene. Travolta is the Good Dad who does battle with Vaughn, the Bad Dad. It's never explained, though, how a person can produce and star in "Battlefield Earth," and still be considered "good."


Directed by Ridley Scott
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman and Ray Liotta

Expensively mounted garbage. This sequel to "The Silence of the Lambs" dresses slasher mentality in technically proficient clothing, which leads to the glorious moment when an Oscar-winning actor eats Ray Liotta's brains. No tension, no rhythm and no sense of purpose ... unless you count helping "Faces of Death" fans feel more evolved. Scott somehow never notices that Hopkins is playing a murderous cannibal, so he treats the character like a superhero. He even wears a cape.




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