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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 94 - Race the Sun (1996)

Race the Sun is a film with a sanctimonious environmental message (It’s  not the only one of those on my list either) about a group of teens, under the guidance of a new teacher, who enter a solar-powered car in a science fair.  They then proceed to compete in a solar-powered race.  That’s it.  That’s all there is to this waste of a movie.

The screenplay is bad, the greatly overrated Halle Berry is bad, the “teens” are bad (most are played by guys in their late twenties, which is weird... and kind of 80’s, and there's Casey Affleck, which is funny in a sad sort of way), it’s all just bad.  The message of environmental responsibility is lost amidst a horde of product placement and heavy-handed and hammy dialogue.  All I can say is at least something HAPPENED in Birdemic.  This is a stale, boring movie that doesn’t really move, it hangs there, dragging and is constantly snagged in a net of melodrama between the various characters in the already weak story.  Even the "race" scenes are boring and are conventionally filmed.

This movie is mostly forgotten.  Hell, I almost forgot about adding it to this list.  It is a boring, silly movie with a laundry list of bad actors.  Steve Zhan, Eliza Dushku and John Belushi’s embarrassment of a brother join Halle Berry and they all work together to drag this weak material down even further (assuming that’s even possible).  Still, the absolute worst thing about Race the Sun is the film’s tone.  It has a bright, fluffy exterior but is filled with such an aggressive environmental message that it is almost punching you in the face so that you’ll catch it.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with an environmental message, but the way it comes across in this film is pretty condescending and fact that this message is secondary to the film’s attempt to sell cool products (most of which are now defunct, btw) to teens just sort of makes Race the Sun offensive.

I do want to take a minute to piss off a bunch of people and say that I just don’t get Halle Berry.  I don’t.  She’s beautiful.  There’s no denying that.  Still, she is incapable of carrying a movie.  She lacks the on-screen personality to hold an engaging character and while she won an Oscar for Monster’s Ball, she didn’t have a great deal of competition as 2001 was one of the weakest years for films on record (Go ahead, besides Ghost World and Fellowship of the Ring, find the great films from 2001 that you still remember and would still watch today).  It’s right there with 1987 and 1992.  Her performance in this film is one of the worst of her career as her disinterest in this role radiates from the screen in every line of dialogue and to this day I would call her role in Monster's Ball "okay" and cannot figure out why she would've received the Best Actress Oscar putting her name next to Hepburn and Davis, I just don't see it. Not at all.

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