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The 52 Worst Films of the 2000s

Movies You Aught Not Watch: Seven Pounds

Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000-2009.

“Seven Pounds”
Rated PG-13
2008

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.

Seven lessons from 2008’s “Seven Pounds.”

1)   Texting while driving is bad. You could kill someone or, in Will Smith’s case, career momentum with a terminal-illness romance as awful as “Autumn in New York.”

2)   No black actor, regardless of acclaim or popularity, can ever transcend the Mythical Black Man motif. By virtue of gentle blackness, Smith’s Ben:

Encourages an elderly woman to speak with him about her abuse.

Befriends a vegetarian Great Dane (the film’s only good actor).

Enters someone’s private hospital room in the dead of night.

Makes a superhuman recovery from a bone-marrow transplant.

Fixes overnight a printing press that’s been broken for five decades.

3) Congenital heart failure can’t be that bad. After all, Emily’s (Rosario Dawson) cosmetics-counter glow brightens as she approaches death.

4)  Said illness will not keep Ben from, quoting Rod Tidwell, shoplifting the pootie.

5)   Milquetoast dweebs don’t suit Smith. The insulting, shadowy-thriller secrecy surrounding Ben’s planned suicide robs Smith of his natural forcefulness.

6)   M. Night Shyamalan didn’t concoct the Zeroes’ worst ending. To atone for an accident in which he killed seven people (including his wife), Ben intends to donate his organs to those in need. Too bad the jellyfish — yes, the jellyfish — with which he kills himself would essentially render organs toxic.

7)   There are cruel people deemed unworthy of one of Ben’s gifts. You’ll wish Smith had found you unworthy of the “gift” of a two-hour kick to the stomach.

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27 Responses to “Movies You Aught Not Watch: Seven Pounds”

  1. [...] critics gave this movie a bad review. Nick Rogers claims, “No black actor, regardless of acclaim or popularity, can ever transcend the Mythical [...]

  2. David says:

    The 5 examples you give for the Mythical Black Man motif you set up could just as well have been Owen Wilson, Keanu Reeves or a ton of other white actors. So, basically, what the fuck are you on about?

  3. Chad Cowgill says:

    I saw this movie just because I like Smith and wanted to know the ‘secret’ that it alludes to. I thought it was good. Maybe because these kinds of dramas are not my usual thing and so it was different for me. I thought it was original and unique. It kept me watching so I did not lose interest. Sure it attempted to make you feel emotional and I think it did it more than most movies (all movies try to make you feel emotional in some way). So I would have to remove from the movies not to watch list.

  4. Chi Sherman says:

    I haven’t seen this movie and likely won’t (there was already little chance I would watch it, but the review helps seal the deal :)). I also feel I get a pass on the whole illness/romance genre because I have willingly watched "Autumn in New York" (in the theatre!) and "Sweet November." Clearly there is something wrong with my decision-making abilities. ;) Thanks for the humor and levelheadedness, Nick! :)

  5. Bella says:

    This review is the biggest load of crap. I dont know why the race of the actor is relevant. In short you are a moron.

  6. Nick Rogers says:

    Mike: Thanks for your interest in my work. Although we disagreed about this particular movie, I always say that I’m glad that you enjoyed it if you paid money for it.

    Rebecca: I’m not sure I take very seriously a criticism that I’m "hiding" behind a computer screen from someone who chose not to attach a last name to her comment. But here’s me, Nick Rogers, telling you that I don’t think you’re narrow-minded. Thanks for your interest in my work.

    Natano: I hope you don’t use the phrase "cock suck" in your essay. The professor might not take too kindly to that. Thanks for your interest in my work.

    Melissa: Thanks for bringing some level-headed discourse about the beauty of disagreement to this thread. I truly appreciate it, as well as your thoughtful comments. Thanks for reading.

    David: I certainly hope you’re not suggesting I’m racist merely because I point out that not even Will Smith — the most creatively and financially successful black actor in the world — can escape playing black characters who lack complexity beyond being a feel-good archetype. If you are, well, I don’t even know to respond to that other than to say you have massively misread my critique.

  7. David says:

    Obviously Nick doesn’t know whats going on, since a persons color means the difference of something to him.

  8. Antron says:

    Not understanding the criticizm of this film. Me and my wife felt the film had a great message!

  9. jackie says:

    All I can say is WOW to this review….. This is the most degrading review I have seen period. This movie was awesome, and FOR HIM TO BE BLACK, he’s getting very well paid to so called ACT BADLY….. #thatisall

  10. Melissa says:

    Like several others here, I too liked this movie. I think one of the things that makes it hard for some to like it is an inability to suspend disbelief. It’s a movie, and movies are always full of things that just aren’t possible. I actually have a friend who hates Avatar. I know – How Could That Be?!? His overly logical Scientist mind can’t suspend his disbelief in floating mountains and genetic compatibility between such vastly different species (and several other fantastical points which I can’t remember at this moment). I guess I just liked the underlying themes of pain, pennance, redemption, and taking responsibility for your actions. And despite the fact that the organs would be toxic, I actually give kudos to whoever came up with the idea of suicide by jellyfish. Why? Because it’s different.

    And please don’t attack the critics (or each other for that matter). It’s their job to write their opinions. We all have different opinions on things, and we will disagree, but that’s no excuse or reason to go about calling others foul names and degrading terms. There are many movies out there that were critically acclaimed that I thought were complete and utter schlock, and movies that critics detested (like this one) that I thought were beautiful and worthy to watch. Neither side is right or wrong, it’s all just a matter of personal tastes.

  11. Brenda Randall says:

    Although this movie was bewildering and hard to follow at times, I admire Ben (played by Will Smith) for trying to right the wrong he had done.

  12. Natano says:

    the whole movie is about sacrifice and without those that sacrificed something the world wouldnt be as good today… the movie was awesome, im actually in the middle of doing an essay on it… get another job you cock suck

  13. Rebecca says:

    I wasn’t going to comment because I think at the end of all this, you have very little clue what your talking about, and so do the people that have left negative comments about this film. I adored this film, as soon as I finished watching it (years ago) I could not stop telling people how amazing it it, I have just completed an essay discussing Vladimir Propp’s characters as functions based on this film, does that mean i’m narrow minded because I didn’t point out these pathetic excuses that have ‘apparently’ made this film not worth watching?
    By all means stick with your opinions Nick, but if you want to drag up meaningless details that the wonders of this film (its both heart breaking coated with a happy feeling) really blow them them out the water.

    You try creating a film such as Muccino, or even try writing something as amazing as Neiporte, because I can guarantee you can not. Don’t give up the day job, your not doing it well but who cares, you obviously enjoy slating other masters work, hiding behind a computer screen.

  14. Kevin Colbert says:

    I had such high expectations for this movie. It was one of those films that had an interesting title and the previews were just vague enough to keep me wondering about the plot, but grab me at the same time. Needless to say, Epic fail. Probably looked great on paper and was quickly lost in direction.

  15. Mike B says:

    I didn’t know this much criticism existed toward this movie. My family watched it together and enjoyed the hope and the message it gave, even though it was a bit preposterous.

  16. Nick Rogers says:

    Brandon: Thanks for your interest in my work. As Joe says above, we like details and well-reasoned arguments rather than blind – and, in this case, profane – insults. And if life is suicide by jellyfish, that’s a life I’ve never known anyone to have.

  17. Brandon says:

    Nick, your review is absolutely horrible.You know nothing. Thats life you dumb fuck. How d critics get these jobs, always terrible reviews

  18. Rachel says:

    This review seems alittle picky, things like the womans makeup and how he died are just details. They may stop the film being the best it can be but they dont detract from the story and they don’t seem enough in themselves to label the film as not worth watching.

  19. Joe Shearer says:

    Ra’ad, are you trolling, or do you have something meaningful to offer?

    That you clearly disagree with Nick is fine, but what makes his opinion invalid, while yours presumably is not? And how do you see fit to speak for "the public," assuming you are part of it while Nick somehow is not?

    We like details and well-reasoned argument rather than blind insults. Bring them on, and we can talk.

  20. Ra'ad says:

    Your opinion is invalid, your career, clearly, baseless.
    You do not reflect the perception of the public, as is a critic’s duty. You fail, sir.

  21. Nick Rogers says:

    Alyssa: Sometimes we just like what we like, and even critics can occasionally have a hard time verbalizing that. And, as someone who’s agreed to donate organs in the event of my death, I can’t argue with that aspect of "Seven Pounds," but, like you, I felt that the moral fell flat on its face. Thanks for your comments, and thanks for reading!

    Anne: For me, this was the rare terrible film in which the lead performance was not also bad. Smith does what is asked of him in this movie; I just feel that what’s asked of him didn’t suit him at all, and he just seemed disengaged from the role in a way I’ve never sensed from him. See above for my thoughts about the story’s moral. And yes, I’m eager to see Will Smith again soon … just preferably in a movie I more greatly enjoy. Thanks for your comments, and thanks for reading!

  22. Anne Peckinpaugh says:

    I was not opposed to this movie. I’ve seen better. I’ve seen much worse. Will Smith is always nice to watch..right? It had a moral story, which is better than most stories…so…keep working Will. It helped get me through a 26 hour flight to Malaysia…so giddy up!

  23. Alyssa says:

    I actually walked out of the theater liking "Seven Pounds". The group I went with hated it. They explained their reasons for hating it, but were not as detailed as you were in this review Nick. I agree with all of your points. I could not explain my reason for liking it. I guess I saw through to the moral of the story they were trying to portray (though it ultimately fell flat on its face).

  24. Nick Rogers says:

    Michael: Thanks for the compliment, and thanks for reading! I still like Will Smith and will eagerly anticipate what he does next, but this was just such a colossal misfire. In a way, I’m glad he’s taken some time off afterward.

  25. Michael Donley says:

    Nick, this is a great review. For some reason, most people will not come out and say this movie sucked (even though they know it did)!

  26. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nick Rogers, The Film Yap. The Film Yap said: In 7 days, God created the world. And in 7 seconds, I shattered mine. http://bit.ly/9NaRlS #worstfilmsofthedecade #moviesyouaughtnotwatch [...]