Tuesday, January 8, 2013

10 Worst Films of 2012

I have seen 69 movies released in 2012.  That will round up to an even 70 when I finally see Zero Dark Thirty on Friday, but I doubt that a Kathryn Bigelow movie will have the dubious honor of making my bottom ten movies.

This has been a great year for movies.  There have been several films released this year that have a positive lasting impact on me.  These are the ten that made a negative impact or a no impact at all.  Worst of what I've seen this year.

Runner-Ups: Rock of Ages and Dark Shadows
There are a number of bad movies from 2012 that had one or two really good qualities to save them from my bottom ten.  One is Rock of Ages, the saving grace was Tom Cruise's performance.  Cruise is back in Frank TJ Mackie territory as he is terrifying, sexy and complex.  The rest of the movie lacked his energy and depth, as a musical Rock of Ages did not work.

The other bad movie with good qualities was Dark Shadows.  I am not a huge fan of Tim Burton, but I did appreciate the production design.  The movie looked unique and memorable, even if everything else was forgettable.  Barnabus Collins was a terrible lead.  He lacked any flaws or relatable qualities, I always find it frustrating whenever a main character is loved by every other character just because he is the lead.  Also an unfortunate waste of Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Moretz's time.

10. Haywire
This is the one that I should maybe rank higher.  It is not a bad movie, it is just the one I remember the least.  I remember leaving the theatre asking why Steven Sodebergh chose this script.  He is a prolific director who certainly has options.  I am pretty sure I slept through portions of this movie.  It just never excited me and did not have much worth remembering.  I like Gina Carano, she had the physicality of an action star.  I would just have liked to have been introduced to her in a better vehicle.

9. John Carter
We continue on the forgettable path here.  This movie seems to be like Adventures of Tintin, diehard fans of the source material defends it but the characters don't gain new audiences.  Taylor Kitsch's Batman/James Franco voice bothered me.  Some outdated themes such as the intelligent, action girl in distress and a white man saving a different looking race troubled me.  The movie was all exposition and setting up more movies I don't want to see.  The thing that I remembered the most about this movie is that this Civil War veteran knew the names of all the planets.  THAT was the most ridiculous thing about the movie to me.

8. Men in Black 3
I am in the minority, I like Men in Black 2.  Not as good as the original, but it was fun seeing the old characters again.  This one lacked any good supporting characters, which was what made the first two so much fun.  Michael Stuhlbarg's turtle-like alien was the only fun new addition to the cast, but he definitely wears out his welcome.  Props to Josh Brolin for elevating the material, but only he can do so much.  Most of the visuals are forgettable, other than Boris' upside down teeth which was a creative touch.  For me the most disappointing part of the movie was the Will Smith completely phoned in this performance.  Even when he is in I, Robot or Hancock Will Smith is dependable, but there was only one scene where he shined.  It was disappointing to see one of my favorite celebrities be so unexciting after four years away from the silver screen.  Also this movie had me screaming, "No Hollywood, not every black person is related!"

7. Battleship
People hated this movie without seeing it.  People seemed angry that there was a movie based on a board game (serious that was all the criticism I heard or read).  But there is so much more wrong with the movie.  There is no geography in the action scenes, the design of the aliens is generic and the leading character is an unlikable jerk (Taylor Kitsch for the second time on this list).  These are several mistakes that Hollywood keeps making.  I enjoyed Jesse Plemmons' comic relief and found Rihanna's acting debut to be interesting.  But that's about it for the good parts, I could go on for a while about the uncomfortable parts but they would only make sense if you saw this terrible movie.

6. The Watch
I saw this at the cheap seats thinking, there is no way this could be as bad as people were saying.  Of course it was, what was I thinking?  Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn demonstrate that they are more interested in a paycheck than entertaining audiences (seriously they aren't funny).  Jonah Hill, Rosemarie DeWitt and Richard Ayode kind of try (I think, can't really remember).  But Will Forte is the only one who ever makes comedy.  The movie feels like it had a lot of executive meddling, this feels like a bunch of stuff that a Fox exec wanted.  No redeemable qualities, don't watch The Watch.

5. Savages
This is the movie that should not have been this bad.  Like seriously, they had to have put a lot of effort into consciously making it this bad.  Blake Lively provides the most intrusive narration ever, there is plenty of excessive unearned violence and another terrible lead Taylor Kitsch performance (Third time on this list!  Plus he was Gambit in Wolverine: Origins, his leading man career is over).  The highlight of the movie is the ending.  I don't want to give it away, because it had my friend and I laughing uncontrollably.  There is just no way to describe the ending of this movie.  Also it has the worst line in movie history: "I have orgasms, he has wargasms."

4. That's My Boy
I admire Adam Sandler.  He is a talented performer, prolific producer and seems to attract talented people to his movies.  Which is why it is always painful to see him put together bad movies.  This is the worst type of Adam Sandler movie, one where everybody loves him for no real reason.  It comes across as an ego trip.  This is one of the most uncomfortable movies I've ever scene and I have laughed and enjoyed some terrible things.  The movie starts with the main character having sex with a teacher at age 13 (seriously, three more years and it may have been an acceptable joke).  To make him seem like the hero they have to resort to other characters having incest to make him seem likable.  This was supposed to be Andy Samberg's big break and while I am not a huge fan of his, he deserves better than this.  Everyone, especially the audience does.

3. The Lorax
How Ba-a-a-ad could this movie be?  To be on the positive side it isn't the Cat in the Hat movie.  But to be on the negative it isn't the book.  Not even close.  It lacks the heart, characterization, subtlety and impact of one of Seuss's greatest works.  Instead of making the audience think this movie attacks generic big business and generic crowds of people (the kind that sings about a new parking lot).  The problems in this movie are problems dreamed up by a corporation, not real world problems.  It all comes across as unnecessarily condescending, which is the most un-Seusslike quality that I can think of.  The celebrity voice actors are miscast and the backgrounds and characters are unappealing to look at.  The noses and hairstyles are not what Theodore Geisel would have ever drawn.  And what was the point of the marshmallow scene?

2. Total Recall
I did not see the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie before this version, so I don't compare it to that.  Len "worst director of the year" Wiseman's version is bad enough to stand on its own as a terrible movie.  There is no pacing whatsoever in this movie.  It just goes from one forgettable, big budget action scene to another without a moments break.  There are a lot of lens flares and quick editing in the movie.  The opening scene is so disorienting that it should have earned a warning for people with epilepsy.  Kate Beckinsale is the only actor that is believable in her role.  Jessica Biel comes across too precious and is not natural.  And while I like Colin Farrell he did not possess the range to portray a frustrated blue-collar man and the best spy ever.  Also how many times can we hear him joke that Kate Beckinsale is his wife.  There are good themes in the story, but it does not even come close to meeting that potential. 

1. Snow White and the Huntsman
This is the movie I want to avoid the most.  The one I have the least fond memories of.  The one that I was the most frustrated by.  It was uninteresting, unmemorable and just plain bad.  It provides no reason to make a simple fairy tale so convoluted.  The camera work is shaky and distracting and the movie drags from one scene I didn't care about to another.  Most of the people that seem to like this movie mistake it for a feminist statement, because, you know it is Snow White with a sword.  But we deserve better lead female characters, this Snow White has no characterization whatsoever.  I really hated this movie.

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