Most Overrated Performances of 2009

12/31/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Matt Popkin

Move aside, Tom Hanks! Your role as Robert Langdon, Bible mystery-solver extraordinaire, is now irrelevant in more ways than one. Not only will you not find yourself on the list below (it’s hard to be overrated when your performance gets panned), but I also have discovered a cipher not even your notable skills would’ve been able to crack. Yes, that’s right. I’ve discovered the true Lost Symbol--a pattern so dastardly, it may threaten entertainment as we know it.

You, dear reader, can call it the Overrated Performances of 2009.

Leonard Nimoy in “Star Trek”

Maybe I just don’t get it because I had friends growing up that weren’t imaginary, but when Leonard Nimoy appeared on screen in the new "Star Trek" film, I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream and I sure didn’t understand why he was there in the first place.

Putting Nimoy onscreen to reprise his role as the original Spock demanded manipulating the space-time continuum to an extent even J.J. Abrams of “Lost” fame should’ve known better than to attempt. I found myself hoping that the Spock-to-Spock conversation would cause the universe to fold over on itself, putting me out my misery.

Furthermore, if you give cameos to Nimoy and Tyler Perry, who’s best known for cross-dressing as an old black lady in his Madea series, you should’ve given the audience what they really wanted--an appearance by the man himself, William Shatner.

Speaking of actors who love themselves just a little too much…

Bradley Cooper in “The Hangover”

When I think of Bradley Cooper’s career so far, all that comes to mind is a buzzing-mosquito level of annoyance. His constant smirk, developed in an effort to replicate the exact look you’d just love to wipe off someone’s face, seems to be the extent of Cooper’s acting ability.

At least in “The Hangover,” this was hidden by the breakout performances from Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms. Try to remember one thing Bradley Cooper said or did that made you laugh. He definitely didn’t endear himself to the audience in any way, shape or form. He didn’t even truly make me despise him. I just wanted him off the screen. All the time.

Somehow though, Cooper wasn’t involved in the most agonizing moment on film in 2009. That would be the fault of…

Judd Apatow in “Funny People”

It’s hard being funny. Judd Apatow should know. His series, “Freaks and Geeks," got canceled after only one season. His movies, “The 40-Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up,” haven’t got the credit they deserved for recreating and disguising the romantic comedy into something guys could enjoy. “Funny People” was different though. By some, it was hailed as his masterpiece, finally perfecting the balance between juvenile humor and the touching message hidden underneath.

There are many things to take from “Funny People”--most notably, what might be Adam Sandler’s definitive performance of his career--but Apatow blew what could’ve been his best moment. By the time his real-life family, cast as Sandler’s love interest and her children, appears on screen, Apatow has passed the point of no return. The mind-boggling decision to show the nation a videotape of his daughter singing “Memories” from the musical, “Cats,” is something I will never understand. Apatow’s attempt to hold up his family as the Holy Grail backfires since most of the audience empathizes with Sandler’s reaction to the video, finding themselves bored out of their minds as well.

Judd, buddy, next time you want to make a self-serving film, you should wait until the twilight of your career. For example, just look at…

Woody Allen and Larry David in “Whatever Works”

Finally! An answer to the age-old question of when it comes to old neurotic Jews, how much is too much. There was nothing original in this re-hashing of every single trope, joke or situation Woody Allen has ever used. And yes, I know it was an old script from the '70s, but not even Larry David, who would be funny filling out his taxes, could save the movie from its laughless script.

But that wasn’t even the worst thing Allen did in 2009. That would be defending the last member of our list. Drum roll please. The crown for Most Overrated Performer of 2009 goes to…

Roman Polanski

Chris Rock said it best: “He made good movies, THIRTY YEARS AGO. Even Johnnie Cochran don't [sic] have the nerve to go, 'Well, did you see O.J. play against New England?;”

Despite Rock forgetting about Polanski's excellent, 2002 film “The Pianist,” which one him an Academy Award, there’s merit to his comparison. Still, that hasn’t stopped notable filmmakers such as Allen and Martin Scorsese from defending Polanski, a man who, in 1978, pleaded guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old and then fled the United States to escape imprisonment. Now facing extradition, all sorts of Hollywood types are coming to Polanski’s defense. Super-producer Harvey Weinstein issued a statement, saying, “We are calling every filmmaker we can to help fix this terrible situation.”

No, Harvey. A terrible situation is not Polanski being brought back to the United States to serve time for a crime he committed. A terrible situation is taking advantage of a 13-year-old girl and then getting away with it for 30 years. It does not matter how many great films Polanski makes or how many Academy Awards he wins. He will still be a fugitive until he serves his time.

So congratulations, Roman Polanski! Even though you didn’t direct a film this year, you are still my most Overrated Person/Place/Thing of 2009. Here’s to hoping you don’t retain that title in 2010.

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  1. Anonymous said...

    this was fun and funny. Laughed - even when it hurt.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Who is this guy Popkin and where did he come from?
    We need more of this kind of wit in the movies in 2010.

  3. Admin said...

    Matt is our new writer--and he kills.

    Enough said.


  4. Leshy said...

    You're not this angry in real life are you?
    Anyway, I agree with Polanski, Cooper and not having seen Whatever Works, I'd take your word for it.
    Although with Shatner, the writer's did have an explanation for not including him on the Star Trek commentaries. (I'm a Trekster so maybe I'm just defending my love of the show).
    I kind of agree with your point on Apatow, but he's been including his wife and kids most of his movies now, and frankly I don't care. To me that doesn't mean it's an overrated performance, it just means I don't give a shit.

    Looking forward to more from you though.