Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
There was an abundance of crap which came out of Hollywood this past year, and surprisingly a high number that were unfortunately quite popular in the Indie world, so suffice to say it was hard to pick just ten for this list. On a personal note, before I begin I realize that because a majority of the movies on my list are comedies, I may come under heavy scrutiny and deemed as a critic who doesn’t like to laugh. But it’s quite the opposite. The reason that these comedies are on my list to begin with, are primarily because when I watch a comedy, I expect to laugh. So, without further ado, here is my Top 10 (or Bottom 10 as it were) list of the Worst Films of 2012:
10. One for the Money: What happens when Gerard Butler won’t sign on as the love interest in your terribly written romantic comedy? Simple, you hire a guy who looks just like Butler, who is also as equally bad of an actor. Suffice to say, I hated “One for the Money” the first time when it was called “The Bounty Hunter”. This “beloved” Janet Evanovich “girls can be bounty hunters too” novel, which was horribly adapted for the big screen by the writing team of Stacy Sherman, Karen Ray and Lix Brixius and directed in an edit first ask questions later fashion by Julie Anne Robinson (The Last Song) is a pathetic reminder of how, 9 out of 10 times, a big budget January release date probably equates to a bad film. While on paper “One for the Money” does have potential as a romantic comedy, one of its biggest problems is how (about five minutes in) there seemed to be tons of back-story that while severely germane to the plot and the events throughout, is never addressed, giving viewers the feeling as if they had walked into the theater mid-movie. “One for the Money” not only is a poorly constructed waste of genre, and the worst romantic comedy of the year, it may also serve to be the proverbial nail in Katherine Heigl’s coffin, damning her to an eternity of making these poorly made “chick flicks” that aren’t even Lifetime quality.
9. Joyful Noise: “Weekend at Dolly’s” would have been a more fitting title. Dolly Parton is dead right? If not, then she sure fooled me because in “Joyful Noise” she had all the charisma and mannerisms of a corpse. This truest definition of the ill-advised black/white buddy comedy (the film also stars Queen Latifah) with a script containing lines such as “God didn’t make plastic surgeons so they could starve!”, follows the characters of G.G. Sparrow and Vi Rose Hill as they jockey for position of the lead in their church choir. And as one may have initially thought, watching Latifah and Parton try to one-up each other for 90 minutes is as bad as it sounds. So, if you are religious and missed this movie, you should get on your knees and thank God every day that you did. Ok, so even though “Joyful Noise” is nothing but (harmless) fluff (or the film equivalent of a purity ring) and filled with enough poorly written God-talk to give Tyler Perry a run for his money, how can anyone take the wholesome /overall “holy message” this film is attempting to put forth seriously when Parton is standing there looking like the kid from “Mask”?
8. Battleship: In a year that was supposed to see Taylor Kitsch breakout as a leading male actor in Hollywood, this was by far his worst film of 2012. You heard me, “Battleship” was worse than “JOHN CARTER”! Inspired by the Hasbro board game, “Battleship” tells the story of Naval games which are interrupted by an alien invasion. And so, the Navy must save the day. While that already sounds unwatchable, I did buy a ticket to see “Battle LA” in 2011, which is basically the same movie, but with Marines. And like “Battle LA”, this is nothing more than a loud and rather pointless recruitment video. Aside from the insufferable Battleship board game lingo, awful acting and ending that if it had happened in the first ten minutes, would have totally nullified the entire film, the absurdity of this production is not so much laughable, as it is rather boring to sit through. In short, “Battleship” is not at all entertaining, even if you’re in the mood to see a bad film.
7. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2: Now we come to the only movie on this list that made me laugh. The second part of the final Twilight film, takes place after the birth of Renesmee, where Bella and Edward must go on a good-will tour, asking for the help of other vampire friends in order to protect their daughter from the evil heads of the Vatican…I mean, the Volturi. But obnoxiously this quickly turns into a twisted episode of The Munsters: mommy and daddy are vampires and the daughter is dating a werewolf. And it’s taken further into the stratosphere of ridiculousness with scenes containing a baby being burned alive, about a dozen corny jokes, the worst special effects of the year, an ending that mimics the last episode of Dallas (I know, timely reference) and an overwhelming and very unsettling air of pedophilia surrounding the Jacob and Renesmee storyline (no matter how hard Twilight fans try to deny it). And yet, “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is the most well received of the lot. But why? In fact, the only defense of this movie that I seem to be hearing is the “B movie defense”. This defense being that the point of this movie was to look awful, contain terrible story structure and totally alienate everyone in the audience not wearing a Rob Pattinson t-shirt…therefore, stating that this is a good movie, because it knows it bad. How that makes sense, I have no idea. The simple fact is that this movie was so hard to sit though that I wish somebody in the theater had popped my head off about ten minutes in.
6. Red Dawn: Did you know that this mess of a remake actually sat on the shelf for a couple of years partly because of MGM’s financial troubles and partly because MGM wanted to distribute “Red Dawn” in China, so the filmmakers had to go back and change the previously Chinese bad guys into North Korean bad guys? If you’ve never seen the rather overrated original, “Red Dawn” tells the story of…wait, you know what? This movie is so forgettable and really should have never been made, that I don’t even want to dignify “Red Dawn” with a synopsis. Let’s just say the “Red Dawn” remake was awful and should never be talked about again, and leave it at that.
5. A Thousand Words: Basically a rip off of “Liar Liar”, just this time the main character is black and can’t talk…oh, yeah, and it’s not funny at all. When a tree shows up in the middle of an annoying man’s yard (annoying man played by Eddie Murphy) and begins to shed its leaves with every word the man speaks, he instantly makes the connection that this tree must be magically controlling his fate, and once the leaves have all fallen he will die. Now Murphy must go through this whole movie pantomiming, making stupid faces and overacting to get his point across, until he learns some grade school life lesson about sharing or something. And if this premise isn’t bad enough, in addition to the whole leaves falling plot, it becomes apparent that Murphy can also now feel what the tree can feel (example: when squirrels run up the tree, he squirms incessantly, and when the tree gets watered, he sweats). The fact is, this entire movie seems like a bad joke on Murphy. After a string of horribly unfunny movies where Murphy talks, someone in Hollywood thought that maybe Murphy would find some success if he were put into a movie where he says the smallest amount of dialogue possible. And the verdict is, that didn’t seem to work either.
4. Beasts of the Southern Wild: As the deformed film lovechild of “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Gummo”, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” seems like (and I hate to say this) one of those movies that critics will say they “absolutely loved” in order to avoid criticism. Here’s a close-up of a living bird/dog/chicken/cow/horse, and now here’s a close-up of a dead bird/dog/chicken/cow/horse…oh, how profound! OK, so maybe “Beasts of the Southern Wild” wasn’t as annoying as “A Thousand Words”, but its overwhelming disappointment factor solidifies it in its spot at #4. Telling the Katrina-esque story of a man and his daughter living in extreme poverty in a Delta-community nicknamed The Bathtub, “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is clearly the most overhyped film of 2012, as MOST critics claim this to be a visual masterpiece and I, for the life of me, cannot understand why. I feel like this is “Bridesmaids” all over again. The shaky camera does nothing for the viewing audience other than become an increasingly annoying reminder of why this method garners such negative reactions and the CGI which interspersed throughout this film, lends nothing to what could have been a rather sweet, low-budget tale of a little girl coming to grips with life and death in the midst of a collapsing world. Here’s the thing, sometimes when people see an Art House film, they tend to put on their critic-glasses and analyze a film to death. And sometimes these same glasses blind them to what is really going on on-screen (i.e. the egregious lack of narrative). Funny thing is, when hearing people attempt to defend this film, you’ll hear a lot of existential tap dancing about how the colors and increasingly outlandish sequences made them feel something profound, but what you won’t get is real criticism. I just can’t believe that critics are recommending people see this film at the expense of the movie going public. The silver lining here is, if you are a non-critic who hasn’t seen “Beasts of the Southern Wild” yet, I am clearly doing you a favor by attempting to deter you from this ambitiously unwatchable movie.
3.That’s My Boy: In a theater full of Adam Sandler fans, no one can hear you scream. The plot surrounds a jerk named Donny, whose claim to fame was getting his teacher pregnant while in middle school. Haha, child molestation is so funny! After growing up, wasting all of his money and becoming estranged with his son (Andy Samberg) Donny hatches a plan to reunite with his (now rich) son just days before his son’s wedding. Though this isn’t as stupid of a premise as “Jack and Jill” (but not many are) “That’s my Boy” is more of the same, with Sandler and his buddies taking a super thin premise (more befitting a ten minute SNL skit) and stretching it out into a two hour movie and pummeling the audience with countless cameos throughout, in lieu of content. And while I pray that one day Sandler will stop making films (if this is the type of film he wants to make) I will go out on a limb and say that he will keep on pumping out these crappy movies as long as millions of devoted Sandler-philes will pay 10 dollars for mediocre entertainment. But hey, what would a Worst List be without an Adam Sandler movie?
2. Killer Joe: Last year’s “Human Centipede 2” literally made me vomit and while the dark “comedy” “Killer Joe” isn’t as bad as that, it still contains the most vomit inducing scene of 2012..along with being the most self indulgent movie of the year. The plot follows a young man who is deep in debt with “some very bad people” and decides, with the help of his father, sister and his step-mother to hire a hitman, by the name of Killer Joe Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughey) to kill his mother so he can collect the insurance money. But, all you really need to know about “Killer Joe” is that this is yet another William Friedkin/ Tracy Letts collaboration that’s sole purpose is to elicit a visceral response, not to tell a coherent story. True, some audiences may laugh, some may be repulsed (as I was), some may say they enjoyed themselves and secretly were repulsed, and some may have acted liked they wanted to puke and secretly enjoyed themselves, but at the end of it all, the storyline is so muddied by Letts and Friedkin’s own form of visually explicit big screen self gratification, that nobody in the audience will care about any kind of halfwit plot that Letts is attempting to construct. “Killer Joe” is shock-centric style filmmaking, with sequences of brutality and misogyny lifted onto a pedestal, coinciding with head-scratchingly elongated scenes of zero substance. What Friedkin and Letts have created with “Killer Joe” is a film that does what it wants, when it wants to, at the expense of its audience. It’s these woeful filmmaking decisions, among many others (I’m specifically talking about the disturbingly absurd fried chicken scene, which everyone planning to see this film has probably heard about by now) that absolutely ruined any chance for “Killer Joe” as a watchable film. And the kicker is, critics have proclaimed how this Matthew McConaughey performance spells a new chapter in a career that had previously been on life support, and he’s not even that good here.
1.The Devil Inside: The first movie to come out in 2012, and the worst movie to come out of 2012. Along with the worst ending I’ve ever seen. A critic I very much respect, Mark Kermode stated that if this is the movie the Vatican didn’t want you to see, then presumably it’s only because they want you to spend your money on a good film. The story follows an American woman by the name of Maria Rossi, who allegedly killed a bunch of people during an exorcism gone wrong (don’t they always?) in 1989. She is subsequently locked away in a mental hospital (in Italy for some reason). And for some reason, years later, her grown daughter Isabella wishes to visit her (with a cameraman mind you) and question her crazy mother about what really happened that night in 1989. Though the trailers promise audiences an entertaining horror movie full of scares and terrifying images, due to a grocery list of outstanding flaws, including an awful script, this film attempts to become far deeper than simply a B movie horror flick by inserting psychological dialogues having to do with mental health disorders as the modern Catholic Church’s alternative to possession, which does nothing but slow the film down to a crawl (at times). The script also does its part to take away from any scary moments the film would have had. Any time there was a genuine build up to a scare, one of the characters would say something utterly outlandish or begin singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and create a state of unintentional goofiness that worked to negate any and all scares. The acting also hinders this movie greatly. The phrase “can’t act his/her way out of a paper bag” cannot be used enough in this case, but that is to be expected out of a low-budget film of this nature. Furthermore, if there were any dust particles of entertainment value floating aimlessly throughout this film, they were overshadowed by some inexcusably shaky camerawork which was so bad that while watching the film I realized (beyond a shadow of a doubt) that “The Devil Inside” stood alone as the worst visual experience I have ever had watching a hand held faux-documentary. The phrase “Can’t direct his way out of a paper bag” can also be thrown around quite liberally here, as the director of this amateurish endeavor shows his lack of skills early and often. There are some scenes where the camera (mid-sentence) cuts to inconceivable shots of the side of a forehead and others (when cameras are installed in a car) that look as if everybody’s mouths and body movements were inexplicably sped up post-production. But all the bad acting, lazy camerawork, sloppy dialogue and the fact that the first hour of this “horror film” contains a debilitatingly slow build up, with no actual scares in it, already makes “The Devil Inside” one of the worst movies of the year…and that’s without the ending. A slap in the face ending, which cannot be forgiven, consisting of a climax where the screen goes black and a message flashes upon it which reads: For more information about this case, go to www.mariarossi.com (or something to that effect). To me this is the equivalent to watching a Discovery Channel show and being told “for more information on tigers, consult your local library”. In short, while it works for said Discovery Channel show, what did I just pay for?! Did I really just pay $11 to see a movie that contains, not an actual ending, but a climax which results in a website where I am to continue to seek out an ending that the director refused to show in theaters?! I don’t know about you, but when I pay for a movie, I expect to see an entire movie! To quote the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, “Worst ending ever!”
Just missed my list: The Watch, Red Tails, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter , The Innkeepers, The Lucky One, Bachelorette, John Carter, The Man with the Iron Fists