The other day I posted my top 10 favorite movies of 2011 list and so, in the interest of symmetry, today I present to you the opposite side of that coin--the dark and smelly side of that coin: The top 10 worst films of 2011. And believe me, while I may have had some difficulty filling out the Best of list, this one practically wrote itself. You can find my previous lists here and here.
The rules here are easy. Often times when you see these lists it's yet another film snob contest to see who can find the worst, most embarrassing, most under-funded and awful films out there, the ones that were made with unreasonable goals and delusional beliefs for terrible reasons by really untalented people with zero chance of ever exceeding at anything except maybe being unwatchably bad. They then drag these films up out of their much deserved obscurity, hold them up to the harsh light of day in all their wretched and slimy glory and then they point and laugh at the poor wretches like a bunch of jerks.
I don't do that.
You see, bad films are made all the time by people who will never realize they should be doing something else with their lives. This is the dark side of the dream. This is why American Idol can do two full hours of screeching freaks desperate to humiliate themselves in front of millions. It isn't worth pointing them out. It's too easy, because they were never going to be good in the first place. They had no chance. They were never in the running, so they're not a consideration. That being said, I also do not include films like Jack and Jill, or Dylan Dog, or Zookeeper. I mean... come on. So, no, this list is about the criminally bad, the films that could have afforded to take the time and the extra effort needed to ensure a good product. Especially at the cost. In the end, that's what this list is really about: the films that cost way too much to suck this hard.
So, here we go...
The Top Ten Worst Films of 2011 as chosen by me, Jonathan Hansen
10. Transformers 3: Take that, you cocksuckers!
You may have noticed that a few years ago I rated Transformers 2 as the worst movie of the year and that this year, I have rated Transformers 3 as only the 10th worst movie of the year. How can this be, you ask? Well, that is due to a very marked and noticeable improvement between this film and the last one. That's right, kids, I'll freely admit it: Transformers 3 is better than Transformers 2. That being said, however, it still sucked balls.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean 4: Up yours, Universe!
This one is just crazy pants. It's so bad, I sometimes forget it exists, which at the amount of money it cost to make this wretched thing is unforgivable. It's not even good enough to be bad. The fourth movie in a series that cost millions to make and is based on an amusement park ride, isn't even good at being a piece of shit. Plus, it's got Melonhead Penelope Cruz in it wearing a giant fucking pirate hat that must have taken at least three Disney owned Chinese villages to make--given it's massive size--and yet, it still isn't able to really suck. Johnny Depp is a drunk pirate, for God's sake! Again! Why is this still happening? Who are you people that go to this shit? What the fuck is wrong with you? And then... and then--I can just hear you--you all come out of the theatre afterwards and are like: "Uh-hur... that movie sucked."
8. The Green Hornet
Make no mistake. This movie is bad. The problem is, and the reason it's on this list, is that it isn't bad due to Michel Gondry or Seth Rogan or even the character of the Green Hornet. No, this movie sucks because it was very obviously destroyed by idiot studio interference. Now, word around the campfire is: Sony was expecting something more like Iron Man and were shocked to discover that when shown the dailies, Michel Gondry, the crazy french artsy director guy, and, the internationally famous fat guy stoner, Seth Rogan had instead delivered a superhero comedy... How dumb and out of touch do you have to be to be shocked by that? Didn't they hire these people? You don't hire a house painter to paint your car and then get mad about the results. So, as a result, the film was torn up and turned into a barely coherent mess of something that might once have been cool. Pity.
7. Conan the Barbarian
Wow. I did not know they made movies like this anymore. I mean, direct to DVD, sure, but for real? Like to put in a movie theater and shit? Where regular people can just go and see it? That's insane. It's like the cast and crew of the Barbarian Brothers movie got put in suspended animation during the wrap party and then 30 years later were unfrozen and given a real budget and no supervision. P. U.! Didn't anyone read this script? Ever? This one stinks and not even funny stinks. And the worst part is, you can tell everyone just thought they were the most awesome ever while making this film. Like they were parading around, filming, just thinking they were King Awesome of Awesome town, ruler of the land of Awesomeness. And... they just aren't.
6. Red State
Oh look, it's Kevin Smith working well outside of his comfort zone... how terrible and completely underwhelming...
5. I am Number Four
This movie was like puke on film. The only reason it's not the number one worst film this year is because I have a bigger beef with the other films. Otherwise, make no mistake, this is a completely 100% vanilla bland, awful, forgettable, craptastic, stupid, terrible movie made with real money, studio support and industry connections. It's a really bad, poorly thought out, failed TV show pilot for the WB that is suffering from delusions of grandeur. The fact that people spent millions of dollars on this should result in all of them receiving prison terms. It's so completely uninteresting and mediocre, it's offensive that a group of people so lacking in talent got paid so well to showcase their inability to the world. No one involved with this film deserves any kind of fame. It's so awful, but let's be clear, this isn't MST-awful, it's just bland bad. It's uninspired. Terrible.
4. Green Lantern
These last four movies are not bad films, per se, not like some of the others on this list. In fact, all four films could be said to be very good when it comes to certain aspects, but yet, they all have one giant glaring and unforgivable flaw that completely ruins them. And in the case of Green Lantern it is simple to see that flaw: This movie is boring. BORING. How does that happen? How do you make a film about a hot shot pilot who is given a magical wish ring by a dying alien and then becomes a part of a space police force called the Green Lanterns boring? The funny part is, whoever made the trailers completely understood what was cool about the film, something the creators of the film couldn't quite grasp: It's a space opera super hero story starring a guy whose can use his ring to make a green light version of whatever he can imagine. And it is soooo boring, people. I am telling you. BORING. I'm sure there are supernerds out there (Pre-New 52 DC fans...) who can go on about the minutiae, but all that shit is secondary to the fact that this film is a cinematic sleeping pill.
3. Hobo with a Shotgun
This film commits the most heinous film crime possible to my mind and that is: Trying to pretend that intentional camp has any value at all. Films that are intentionally campy/gonzo/schlocky are like non-racist skinheads, they don't actually exist to anyone outside the immediate circle of involvement. You see, Hobo with a Shotgun is nothing but a big in-joke that is funnier in the abstract. The reality of trying to be a terrible, so-bad-it's-funny type of movie (like the one that I posted about a few days ago called The Carrier) on purpose is a different matter all together. See, the Carrier is a terrible film. It's terrible because it was the 80s and the film had no money and no real talent to speak of, but everybody involved tried, they tried REALLY hard. They tried their stupid little untalented hearts out. Which makes it hilarious and insane and a joy to watch. Those types of films are great. They're an experience to share with friends. They're a secret language, a private club. They're a good time, because they're SINCERE. Unfortunately, there are buttholes out there who don't get that those very same jokes AREN'T FUNNY when they're done on purpose, that it's just a waist of time. It's like the difference between the documentaries Trekkies and Trekkies 2. Trekkies features a lot of good hearted geeks and weird-os who genuinely love what they love and are unashamed to share that love with you. It's sincere and great. Trekkies 2 (with a few exceptions) is mostly full of ironic Star Trek themed Hipster bar bands and other smug, worthless douchebags. This film is Trekkies 2.
2. Super 8
This film is the perfect example of two powerful Hollywood figures not having the restraining hand of editorial when they most need one. The story is (admitted by JJ Abrams in the special features) a mash up of two ideas. One, the blind with nostalgia love that he and Spielberg share about how they both used to gather their friends and make amateur movies with their super 8 cameras when they were kids and 2. a vague idea about a secret government train hauling a monster and then crashing. The mash up does not work. Ok, so these kids are making a zombie movie in the mid 80s (the best part of the film) and they witness the just mentioned train crash. After that we get an awkward smushing of E.T. and Cloverfield that can't quiet figure out it's tone or what it wants to say or how. Themes are brought up and then dropped. The monster is a monster and yet the music plays sympathetically. The resolution to the main boy's feelings about the death of his mother is that he loses his last piece of her to the monster that has been eating the town? And how exactly was the town drunk responsible for the mom's death? You can actually see the moment where Abrams and Spielberg lost their balls and backed out on that idea. This is a beautifully shot, amazing looking film that visually could have sprung straight out of that early 80's Spielberg catalog that we all love. And the kids are great, especially the younger Fanning girl (she's way better than everything in this film), but ultimately, the film makes no sense and fails because it not only has no idea what it wants to be, but it half-assedly tries to be several things at once. This film, more than anything, needed a good strong rewrite and a critical eye who was willing to tell these guys "No". Huge failure.
1. Sucker Punch
You know, before this film came out, I couldn't figure out why the hell that was the title.
Now I know. God help me, now I know.
This movie suffers from everything the last three films on this list suffered from, only more so. It's a terrible idea that should have been put through more rewrites, helmed by a Director who needed a constraining hand more than anything, and ultimately when it all comes down to it... it was boring as hell. How is that possible? It looked so bad ass. It's like everything you want all poured together (okay, maybe not you, but me, certainly), but no. It's a lie. A boring, boring lie. But how? How does this become boring:
Fucking A right, we were unprepared. Good Lord, how could we be? It was astounding how bad this film was. Astounding. During the build-up for the movie's release, I often said: "This will either be the coolest thing ever or the stupidest." And yeah, it was the stupidest. How stupid? How bad? This film is so God awful that interference from the Studio actually made it better! That's right. Better. Those of you who suffered through this, did you know that besides every thing else that was terrible that went on in this film, there were also full on dance scenes that someone somewhere saw and went: "Oh no, no. We can't have that. No." Oh yeah, it's true. We have no idea how bad, how interminable this film could have been. Ugh. Awful. Sucker Punch is right.
I didn't see this film, but... Come on... a 4% on Rotten Tomatoes? Although, I guess you could say that the best part of this film is that at least we can now rest easy, having irrefutable proof that Taylor Lautner's career will be done once the last Twilight film comes out.
Well, at least 2012 is a new year.