Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Worst Movies of 2012

If the Good movies this year were very Good, then the Bad movies were all the more horrible for being measured against them. My best film pick from last year might have struggled to make the top five this year, but last year's worst movie (Tron Legacy) would be hard pressed to make my list at all this time round. Worst of all, in most of these cases, I have nobody to blame except myself. One movie a week may seem like a fair amount, but it's not so much that you can't avoid obvious disasters, and so movies which were clearly never going to be good (Battleship, Atlas Shrugged 2) by and large went unseen by me over the course of the year. For one reason or another, I chose to see every one of the films below, believing they had a chance of being at least halfway decent, and was rewarded for my patience, time and trust, with some of the worst cinematic experiences I have ever had.

10 Sleepwalk with Me: Indie crap at its finest. Sleepwalk with me is a slow, languid film made as a vanity project by a comedian whose association with this movie is way too personal for his own good. Mike Birbiglia might be a talented comic, I don't know, but he cannot make a film to save his life, and his attempts to be 'different' by ripping off 90s genre films that did work (High Fidelity, for instance) only prove that he doesn't know what the hell he is doing. There is no reason to care about anything that happens in this film, with the result that nobody does.

9 Taken 2: How fitting that Liam Neeson should appear on both my best and worst lists while playing what amounts to the same character. The original Taken was nothing special, but it was at least more interesting than this painfully generic 'kill the bad guys who threaten mah womens!' film, the sort of which Neeson has made many times before, and better. A promising premise and several interesting sequences early in the movie turn out to be purely accidental, as this movie has nothing whatsoever to tell us beyond the fact that Liam Neeson can kill people as long as he has enough stunt doubles. I passed up Looper to see this movie. Not my best decision of the year.

8 The Raven: One of the worst things I've ever seen John Cusack in, and given that I saw Room 1408, that's saying something. But Cusack ultimately isn't the problem here. The problem is that The Raven is an insufferably boring film, made by people who apparently have not seen another movie since 1957, believing that the concept of a killer who taunts his pursuers is somehow a new and unexplored one. Buttressed by outright embarrassing performances from most of its secondary actors and a plot that works only if you don't think about it, the Raven was a complete waste of time. Quoth the Raven: 'Piss off'.

7 Farewell my Queen: This movie was so boring I suspected it was a practical joke. Taking a piece of history filled with dramatic events and persons, Farewell my Queen manages deftly to fill the screen with exactly none of them, relying instead upon long, pregnant looks between various members of royalty and their servants, until the next title card swoops in to tell us briefly what is happening in other, more interesting films. I could have fallen asleep at the opening credits, awoken two hours later, and told you exactly the same amount of information about the contents of this film, and given how wretchedly uninteresting the entire proceeding was, I'm rather surprised I didn't. It's movies like this that give French cinema a bad name here in the States, as I honestly could not blame someone who, upon seeing this movie, swore off that country's films forever.

6 Prometheus: What a waste this movie was. What a waste of talent and concept and for that matter, film stock. An extended trailer for another film that will almost certainly not be made (I hope), Prometheus was supposed to add something to our understanding of the Alien series, a series desperately in need of some class and skill. Instead it left me in awe of just how far the mighty Ridley Scott has fallen in recent years. I defended Kingdom of Heaven and even Robin Hood, but there is no defending this self-indulgent piece of garbage. Many movies I saw this year were bad, and some were (obviously) objectively worse. But damn few managed to piss me off the way Prometheus did.

5 Dark Shadows: Where do you even begin with a movie like this? Dark Shadows is one of those films that doesn't just fail, but fails on every individual level of filmmaking in which it is possible to fail. The acting is wooden and terrible, the script is truncated and clunky, the music is overblown and intrusive, the story is trite and absurd, and not one of the elements of the film works together in any useable way. If Tim Burton never makes another one of his 'whimsical' romps through pop culture with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, it will be way too soon.

4 The Amazing Spiderman: This movie can kiss my ass. I've seen bad movies before, even bad superhero movies, but I've never seen a movie as personally insulting to my sensibilities as both a nerd and a film fan than this one. Not only does nothing work in this film, but the elements were arranged, purposefully, in such a way as innovation, creativity, and fun were physical impossibilities. From the lazy CGI to the throwaway plot to the bullshit flag-waving hoo-rah crap that I'm still angry about, this movie was a slap in the face to the entire fanbase of either the first movie series, the comic books, or the very concept of Spiderman, and the people who made it should be drowned in a septic tank.

3 The Odd Life of Timothy Green: Among other things, this film is proof of the inhumanity of man. A perfect stranger told me to see this film when I, in perfect innocence, asked her what I should see. In addition to thus proving that Century theaters employs psychopaths, this film taught me such valuable lessons as "Jennifer Gardner can't act", "Peter Hedges lost his mind sometime in the late 90s", and "movies that look like they would kill Wifred Brimley should probably be avoided". Seriously, I'm no enemy to sentimental films, but this movie can send you into diabetic shock with a ten minute viewing. Pro tip for future filmmakers: If your movie would cause Frank Capra to ask for more violence and T&A, you may want to rethink your life choices.

2 To Rome with Love: Five months later, and the daze has not yet worn off. To Rome With Love is one of the most epochal disasters I have ever borne witness to, a collapse that invites parallels to the 1968 Phillies or the Fall of Constantinople. Woody Allen has made spectacular films in the past, but this movie plays like the work of his arch-enemies, a plot to smear his good name and destroy his reputation. Every one of the four narratives this movie contains is not merely bad but unwatchably bad, irrespective of the brilliant actors and gorgeous scenery that surrounds them, while Woody himself turns in the single most aggravating performance I have ever seen any actor give. This movie was the sort of catastrophe that ends careers, even those as storied as Allen's, and if he does manage to get another movie made, I sense I shall have a hard time convincing anyone to see it, myself included.

1 Red Tails: This movie did what the Star Wars Prequels could not, ending George Lucas' career as a filmmaker once and for all. To be perfectly honest I look back now, some 12 months after seeing Red Tails, in awe of the achievement of having made it. This was a movie so bad that I could have written a doctoral thesis on all the myriad ways in which it failed, and still not plumb the furthest depths of its decrepitude. Incompetently written, shot, acted, scored, edited, mixed, and even released (dumping a movie out in January is a clear sign of failure, guys), this film would have been grotesquely offensive had it not been so clearly too stupid to ascribe malice to (or for that matter, thought). I said a year ago that it would take me a long time to recover from the catastrophic train wreck that was Red Tails. I still have not. And that is why despite all the terrible films and insulting stupidities I subjected myself to last year, Red Tails holds the position it was seemingly fated to hold from the beginning, atop my list of the year's worst films.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The General's Post Summer 2018 Roundup

Let's get back into the swing of things, shall we? The General's Post Summer 2018 Roundup Ant-Man and the Wasp Alternate Ti...