To those of you new to my blog and my style, I should tell you that I have been looking forward to this post for a while. Seeing all the movies and writing reviews is fun about half the time; the other half the time it is like riding an exercise bike while chewing on broken glass with cinderblocks tied to your feet. There is a lot of crap that comes out of Hollywood, and as I see it the bad movies owe me something for the time and money I wasted watching them. This is where I get some payback, and I enjoy every word of it.
This portion of the review process I like to think of as akin to clubbing baby seals, except that the seals in this case all made the conscious decision to suck and are not at all cute and helpless. Clubbing seals is a horrific crime, whereas clubbing these films could be seen as a public service. If a film doesn’t want to get clubbed it should make an effort to be at least competently made.
In reviewing this list and my top ten I can honestly say 2012 was kind of mediocre. There were no obvious stand outs in both amazing and horrible. The bell curve of movies has gotten taller, with more films hovering around the bland middle like a bunch of artists around the snack table at the worlds most boring gallery opening.
10. Won’t Back Down-The presence of dream woman Maggie Gyllenhaal and the acting of Violla Davis kept this one from dropping any further than number 10, but the time I spent trying to map out the blood vessels in the inside of my eyelids means this film earned its place here. Remember when “drama” meant that there was some kind of opposition the protagonists had to overcome? Apparently the director of this film doesn’t.
9. Joyful Noise-The dialog from this movie could be used to strip paint. If there is one thing that is worse than a trite, worthless story in a movie it’s a movie broken down into a dozen trite, worthless stories that all chew through the script like the worlds stupidest and most relentless termite infestation. Also, can Hollywood stop trying to convince us that there are massive rewards for being the worlds best choir, acapella singer, dancer, or karaoke performer? If you want to see the logical conclusion of that concept check out the Dance Dance Revolution post-apocalypse movie.
8. This Means War-As a guy who has a hard time dating women because I can’t be enough of a “bad boy” (apparently. If more women knew about my secret plan to conquer the world I think I might be seen as a little sexier) and who sees his female friends only date the biggest selection of abusive losers the human race has ever seen, this film made me laugh by basing a romance on all the worst decisions two men and a woman could ever make. The action was like a kid playing with his action figures, and if you weren’t at all creeped out by the fact that the two main guys should have about a dozen stalker restraining orders each than you must have a few of your own. I took particular pleasure in trashing this film mainly because it was directed by McG, the oil tanker spill of film making.
7. Rock of Ages-You might have noticed when I was bitching about Joyful Noise I didn’t say anything about the music and that’s because the music was actually pretty good. In this film the music is will make you want to burst your own eardrums (with a 12 gauge). Combine that with a story that only compares favorable to reading a phone book aloud and acting that (with some exceptions) ran as if the entire cast had been fasting for weeks and the only thing to eat was the scenery. Tom Cruise was entertaining, and a couple other characters were funny, but not enough to make up for the pain of listening to actors sing mashups of songs I wish had never been made in the first place. (Vitruvian Guitar Man image courtesy of the Vintage T Shirt category)
6. Girl in Progress-When I was compiling my list of films from last year I came across this one and for the life of me couldn’t remember seeing it. This is weird in that I have that special kind of memory that lets me remember scenes and the main story of almost every movie I have ever seen. I can only assume my subconsious repressed this one in order to protect me from more emotional damage. Once I read my review a lot of it came back to me, specifically how awful it was. Nothing in this film is at all appealing, and by the end you are hoping to see one or more of the actors and the director in the parking lot so you can run them over with your car. Also, if you feel like your life lacks creepiness for some reason this is the film for you.
5. One for the Money-This film progresses like a 15 year old kid trying to learn how to drive stick by himself. All jumpy starts, stops, and the smell of your transmission on fire. The script overall reads like it was a byproduct of someone testing out the “million monkeys on a million typewriters” theory. I think this is a good example of why you should never let your star be an Executive Producer unless he or she has a proven track record of well produced films.
4. Battleship-In addition to being a qualified candidate for the Stupidest Movie Concept ever, this movie could also be used as evidence in a court case for the crime of assault on Science (in any country except Italy). The problem I really had with this garbage scow of a film wasn’t so much that it sucked but that if done right it could have actually been decent. I even wrote a follow up blog post about how this film could have been made to not suck. Finally, I hate it when the fate of humanity boils down to a fist fight. MacGuffin plots suck.
3. Red Tails-Yes, I admit that tearing into George Lucas films is one of the few actual joys I have in my life, but how can I not love it when he makes it so damned easy? This thing was clunky and awkward, like a car with two flats, a radiator leak, three bad pistons, and a tank that was filled with Mad Dog instead of gasoline. However, I can’t discount the possibility that this is all some kind of mad genius retroactive marketing campaign. Do any of you think Lucas made this film purposefully horrible in hopes of making Episodes 1, 2, and 3 less craptacular in comparison? If so I say kudos to you George. Job well done.
2. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2-Yes, when I wrote the review I did say it was the best of the Twilight series (I still refuse to call it a saga). However, that is like saying losing one limb in a tree shredder is better than going in head first. Not a lot of originality putting this in my top 2, but I have to go with what I feel. Also, in addition to being an execrable story acted out by wooden marionettes and enhanced with Shrinky-dink quality CGI, this film worries me for the future of America. If millions of teenage girls think this is quality entertainment then in my retirement home I will be watching the return of Teletubbies for adults.
1. Wrath of the Titans-The only thing worse than a bad movie is a bad sequel to a bad movie, and this one scores the bullseye. The two stars I gave it were more or less pity stars, whereas the 14 black holes were each fairly earned. An action film has to really work at it to make me not care at all for any of the characters, and this film succeeds mightily! Honestly, watching this film compares fairly well to watching someone play God of War in his underwear while you suffer from the worst hangover in alcohol history.
Well, that’s my list of shame. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your support in 2012. I plan to see Zero Dark Thirty tomorrow night and review it Saturday. Tomorrow I plan to go through the rest of the movies from last year and just give joke awards to the ones that jump out at me. Feel free to comment here on my list or any of these films, but bear in mind that I can only include films that I actually saw last year. If it didn’t waste two hours of my life I don’t feel the need to dump on it. Off topic questions or suggestions can be emailed to me at email@example.com. Alternatively you join the extremely few who follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Talk to you soon.