Fifteen Forgettable Features From First Months!

As we ready for The Dilemma and No Strings Attached, here are some other January movies you don't remember.
2010 - Extraordinary Measures

When I saw the first Mummy I thought, hey, this movie, while not perfect, is the first flick in a long time to tap into the Indiana Jones vibe.

In 2010, Harrison Ford and Brended Fraser teamed up for a film that. . . nobody saw.

Part of the problem, maybe, was that instead of looking for lost, charmed treasure, they watched little kids die of horrible diseases. Yeah, that's really not as much fun.
2009 - Inkheart

Oh no, more Brenden Fraser! We don't mean to pick on the guy (we actually like him) but we can't say much in defense of the movie Inkheart.

What looked like a potential return to worlds like Narnia or Middle Earth was more like a trip to The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising. Fault could lay with the Inkheart books, however, which cribs a bit from Woody Allen's short story "The Kugelmass Episode," or any random episode of Gumby.
2008 - Mad Money

Diane Keaton, Katie Holmes and Queen Latifah are "having the crime of their lives!"

Let me tell you a quick Mad Money story:

It is late 2007. We at UGO are neck-deep in the quite successful viral campaign for Matt Reeves' Cloverfield, one of the few memorable January films that, at that time, still didn't have a name. We receive a strange box with no return address. We open it to find some sort of mini safe with shredded fake money inside stamped with the date "1-18-08."

We spring to action, hypothesizing how this cash box is connected to the forthcoming J.J. Abrams-produced mystery project. Moments after publishing what we're sure is an exclusive ready to set the Internet on fire, we recognize we're holding a promotional gewgaw for a different film opening on Jan 18 - Mad Money.
2007 - Catch and Release

Syndey Bristow and Seth Bullock join forces to look sad at a lake house.

When the most memorable part of a movie is Kevin Smith (!) as an actor (!!) you know the calendar reads January.
2006 - Annapolis

We probably owe Annapolis some thanks. No doubt it is forgettable, by-the-numbers dross like this that inspired post-Freaks and Geeks and Spider-Man James Franco to become the renaissance man/living performance art piece that he is today.

Annapolis, which never met a boxing or military cliche it didn't like, also wins some points for including both Vicellous Reon Shannon and Chi McBride - keep that in your hip pocket for the next time you're playing the Kevin Bacon game.
2005 - Racing Stripes

You know who the kids can't get enough of? Dustin Hoffman. I mean Billy Bathgate? Forget about it!

So when he's providing the voice of a wisecracking barnyard animal, the magic is bound to happen.

Racing Stripes, a decent enough kids movie, did reasonably well business, but failed to provide the momentum needed to support the all-Zebra racing league that Vince McMahon created after the release of the picture.
2004 - Torque

We now take you inside the mind of a coke-fueled studio executive.

"The Fast and the Furious movies are making a mint! What else out there goes fast? Planes? No, too fast. Sleds? No, not fast enough. Motorcycles! Genius! Get me that Martin Henderson kid in the lead and we've got a picture that can't fail!!!"
2003 - National Security

This is one that should have been good. Hoping to reprise his success with 1999's Blue Streak, Martin Lawrence appears once again as a kinda-sorta cop prone to comic foibles. Cast opposite Steve Zahn and under the steady direction of the frequently good Dennis Dugan, this movie had the base elements for. . .well, if not greatness, then at least quality lulz. (Did we have lulz back in 2003?)

Sadly, it didn't connect (not even an emotional death scene from Timothy Busfield could save it) and Martin hasn't really hit a home run since.
2002 - Impostor

In 1995 writer Scott Rosenberg and director Gary Fleder collaborated on the independently produced feature Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead and were dubbed, by some, to be major new voices in American cinema.

In 2002 they reteamed on Impostor, an adaptation of an early Philip K. Dick story, and it landed with a thud. It's always nice to look back at Madeleine Stowe in her prime years, but other than that there's not much to recommend here.
2001 - Sugar & Spice

Bank-robbing cheerleaders. How could this go wrong?

Even with all those pom-poms, nobody saw (and few remember) this dud from 2001. Not even cameos from Kurt Loder or Jerry Springer could save it.
2000 - Isn't She Great?

The pairing of Bette Midler/Nathan Lane movie, with 2011 glasses on, sounds like 90+ minutes of pure torture, but back in 2000 this wasn't quite the case.

Lane was still a That Guy whose only lead was in the very entertaining Mouse Hunt. Midler was still in the process of morphing into your grandmother, so some of her early, great work was still in recent memory. Director Andrew Bergman, who began his career as a writer on classics like Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws and Fletch had was on a roll behind the camera with The Freshman and Striptease. The supporting cast had lots of familiar faces (David Hyde Pierce, John Larroquette, John Cleese, heck, Paul Benedict), and the book on which Isn't She Great was based is actually fantastic. (For some reason, I read it.)

The end result, however, was a catastrophic January stillborn. Andrew Bergman hasn't worked since.
1999 - Gloria

After putzing up Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique with a tone-deaf remake in 1996, Sharon Stone struck again. This time she took John Cassavetes most "normal" film and blanched it of all the life and color that makes the original worth watching.

There's enough blame to go around on this forgettable picture, so let's not ease up on the once great director, Sidney Lumet. The late 1990s were not good to him. Gloria was a follow-up to Critical Care, a film I'm sure you've never seen, and kept him out of the features business until the Vin Diesel vehicle Find Me Guilty in 2006. Thank God the octogenarian made Before The Devil Knows You're Dead in 2007. If he stops working now, he'll insure his remarkable career (Fail-Safe, Serpico, Network, Dog Day Afternoon, The Pawnbroker, The Verdict - and that's just off the top of my head) will end on a high note.
1998 - Hard Rain

Don't steal!

And if you are going to steal, don't steal. . .IN THE RAIN!

This movie, Mikael Salomon's first and only theatrically released feature, was one of the biggest flops of 1998.

(Here's a little inside info - Brian De Palma's brilliant 1998 film Snake Eyes, which I love, was originally going to end with a big hurricaine sequence, but producers were aware of the Christian Slater vehicle being filmed at the same time. Most of the hurricaine story elemets got cut out, but you'll notice trace elements next time you see it. And you should watch Snake Eyes at least once a year.)
1997 - Fierce Creatures

A Fish Called Wanda is what douchebag publicists like to call a four-quadrant picture. It means "everyone will like it." It made a boatload of money, got Kevin Kline an Oscar and inspired Monty Python fandom for a new generation. (I can attest to that last bit personally.)

There were rumblings of a sequel for years, but nothing came of it. The four leads (John Cleese, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and Jaime Lee Curtis) returned playing the same character types, but this time something was missing: comedy. Eight years of waiting and they dump this garbage in our lap in January.
1996 - Eye For An Eye

John Schlesinger, whose career began with paradigm-shifting pictures like Billy Liar and Midnight Cowboy, turned in this "Gidget goes vigilante" picture as his penultimate theatrically released feature.

I can't lie - I completely forgot this piece of January junk existed before I started research on this project.