This was truly a banner year for terrible movies, with most of the worst directors in Hollywood coming out. Schumacher! Emmerich! Bay! Snyder! Marshall! Several films from Adam Sandler’s Straight-to-Video Quality Films LLC!
But I was interested to see several critics in the New York survey mentioned Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. About 15 seconds into the first time I saw the preview it was clear that it was going to be a major threat to be the Academy’s middlebrow doorstop of choice. And that was before I knew it had been directed by Stephen Daldry, the homeless man’s Lasse Hallström and the most obvious choice to produce the kind of kitschy “serious” films that simulate content without having any. It’s based on a prominent bad novel using one horrible historical event as a backdrop, and also invokes two other horrible historical events while telling you nothing you didn’t already know about any of them or about anything else. It has an annoying precocious kid, who encounters Noble African-Americans. It has Tom Hanks. I mean talk about your Oscar bait. So did it get nominated? Oh, yes, and I can’t imagaine anyone thinks this is surprising. Has anyone seen it? Could anything be as bad as it looks?