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Movies You Aught Not Watch: 15 Minutes

by on January 13, 2010
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“Movies You Aught Not Watch” is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films from 2000 to 2009.


“15 Minutes”
Rated R
2001

What you are about to read will spoil this movie. Don’t get mad. This will spare you quite a bit of mental agony and brutally executed brain cells. You’re welcome.

The good news about 2001’s “15 Minutes”: Dying 80 minutes in proved the smartest move Robert De Niro made during his many awful Zeroes movies.

As a cop tracking a pair of killers seeking fame for their crimes, De Niro’s last stand comes duct-taped to a chair, flailing and firing a gun with his hands bound — a coincidental symbol for his last decade of acting.

The horrible, terrible, no good, very bad news about “15 Minutes”: Once De Niro dies, Edward Burns is asked to carry the movie.

An alley flasher, a pubescent paperboy, a toy with a broken squeaker. Burns’ voice sounds like all of those things, but plays none of them. No, he’s a fire marshal named Jordy Warsaw, investigating those same criminals for arson. Yes, Jordy Warsaw.

Jordy Warsaw sounds like a character Pauly Shore might play. Arguably, Shore would lend more conviction to the part. Burns looks as menacing brandishing a gun as a toddler licking a lollipop. And you’ll want to rip out his bangs to extract anything resembling emotion.

Like a TV movie with profanity and lurid violence, John Herzfeld’s film lousily, loathsomely posed as commentary on judicial flaws and shallow values. If you didn’t get it after 105 minutes, how about a “Fame” cover to hammer it home?

By the time “15 Minutes” closed with an amateurish shootout near the Statue of Liberty — where even the symbolism got sprayed by bullets — it sure felt like a poor, tired, muddled mess of a movie.

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