2012 was a great year for film. This actually made it kind of difficult for me to make this list. Not because there weren't very many bad films this year, because there were, there were a ton, in fact. No, this list was difficult mostly due to the fact that very little this year really stood out from the feculent slurry of mediocrity that seemed to mark the average film. More so than usual, a lot of this year's crap seemed to be actively engaged in a contest with each other to see who could be the least memorable.
So this list? A little difficult.
Also, it needs to be said that I avoided a lot of obviously bad films. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? Ah, yeah... I was dumb enough to read the crappy book. I learned my lesson. The new Red Dawn? The latest Ghost Rider? Why would anyone go to those films? Seriously? You might as well throw your money directly into the toilet. That's My Boy? Come on, man. Come on. Taken 2? No, I don't believe I'll let you take me to anywhere, thank you very much. So these won't be on my list. Would they be had I actually bothered to see them? Probably. Duh.
So with that, this is my own personal "worst" list. What does "worst" mean in this context? Well, you can define it however you want. It could mean: "most disappointing". It could mean: "most disliked". It could just mean "bad". I guess it doesn't really matter, in the end, however you define it, they all come out the same: They're "the worst".
Top Ten Worst Films of 2012
10. Dark Knight Rises
What? The third film in Christopher Nolan's beloved Bat franchise? Am I sure? Yes. Good Lord, yes, I am sure. I did not like this movie. I did not like it for a myriad of reasons too exhaustive to go into that I don't really care about that much and honestly just add up to the fact that I just didn't like this movie. In a nutshell: There's barely any Batman in this Batman film. Heath Ledger's death obviously derailed Nolan's original plans. It is also obvious that Nolan would have rather been making a cop movie with Joe Levitt (understandable). The sound mix on Bane's voice was awful. The whole "class war" thing was inane. Batman looks silly in daylight. I just can't believe the SEC wouldn't just null Bane's trades made during the raid on Wall Street. The Pit Prison was stupid. They have Batman broken and recover TWICE? In the same movie? Batman's whole goal is to some day finish his war and then retire? What? I have so many problems with this film. Wholly and completely disappointing.
It deserves this spot.
9. The Campaign
Usually the Will Ferrell formula works somewhat. He takes a job, adds a haircut, and riffs. Talladega Nights? Hilarious. Anchorman? It's kind of a big deal. Even when it doesn't totally work (Blades of Glory), it still kind of works a little bit, usually. Usually. This film? I was actually a little excited. Ferrell and Galifanakis are two really funny guys who can riff like crazy, and they're being set loose into an arena where you rarely have to bother even making up ridiculous stupid shit, because it happens every day in politics. But the end result? No heart. No comedy. Unwatchable.
8. The FP
Usually I avoid including movies like this, movies that have very little resources or talent available, movies that pretty much have zero chance of being actually good. In fact, with home made films like this, the best you can hope for usually is a nugget of talent and ability that a little support and some resources might be able to nurture into something. So I usually don't bother putting films like this on my worst lists, because a crappy film made by generally untalented people with no real resources turning out to be bad? Duh, y'know? However, this film was a special case, because to me, this film represents the darkside of the democratization of film. This movie, the story of a dark future where rival gangs face each other in Dance Dance Revolution Video Game fights, ends up seeming like nothing but an in-joke taken too far. I'm sure it was really, really funny when the group of them were all at their house on a boring night, drunk, making up funny WWE type names and outfits and then dance battling on DDR for shits and giggles, but on film? It's horrendous.
7. Total Recall
There are so many films that could have stood in this spot this year. Battleship, Wrath of the Titans, Resident Evil: Retribution, on and on. Soulless, unwanted, CGI explode-fest garbage. So many. But Total Recall is the worst of a terrible bunch. Dumb, loud, boring, nonsense. The type of film with some gobblety-goop ending of noise and computer graphics that you're not even paying attention to by the time it rolls around. It's the classic type of nu-cinema from the last decade or two seemingly made for people who have no discerning opinion about film. Supposedly this version sticks more closer to the original Phillip K. Dick short story than the classic Schwarzenegger/Verhoeven one, but who cares? The film is a complete and total waste of time, and I saw it for free in the comfort of my own home. It's just dumb. And for a movie so packed with action set-pieces, special effects, stunts and shoot-outs, it is completely unremarkable or memorable. How the hell does Len Wiseman keeping getting work?
6. Killer Joe
I hadn't even heard of this film until it started appearing on people's best of lists. I thought to myself: "Self, you like McConaughey and Gina Gershon, right?" Sure, I do. So I checked it out. About 10 minutes in, after listening to the dialogue, I had a realization: "Oh no," I thought, "This is based off a play, isn't it?"
Sure enough, it was based off a play.
The lesson? Sometimes plays shouldn't be movies.
5. Snow White and the Huntsman
I fell for this movie's trick. When I first heard about it, it was just a new Kirsten Stewart movie and I wasn't interested. Why would I be? She's awful. Then I heard that it was an action-y adaptation of the Snow White story and I really wasn't interested. Why would I be? That idea is awful. But then I saw the trailer and some of the fantasy imagery, the inclusion of the guy who played Thor throwing axes? I was confused. Could this movie turn out to be okay? I mean, sure, no matter what Kristen Stewart would still be in it, tucking her hair behind her ears, chewing on her bottom lip, and just... sucking all the good out of everything, but what if the rest is kind of fun? It looked fun. It looked kind of cool. So I watched it. And it was dull, so, so dull. So dull. What a boring movie. I was actually shocked at how boring the film was. So boring. Also, Kirsten Stewart was awful.
4. Seven Psychopaths
I don't get this movie. Some people looooove it and I just don't get why. I can see what they were attempting to do, the whole switch-a-roo of expectations of the type of movie it is, fine, but when they announced exactly how the movie was going to end early on in the film, I groaned out loud. I was like: "Please, no," but... yep, that's exactly what they then went and did. And it just didn't work for me. Too much meta-self-awareness is a bad thing, man. I loved In Bruges, in fact, if you haven't seen that film, I highly recommend it. Highly. But this? The Director's next film? I did not like it. I don't think it worked at all. Too much self awareness is a bad thing.
3. Amazing Spider-man
What a mess. What a failure. A complete misunderstanding of Peter Parker as a character. A complete screw up of maybe (outside of the Waynes) the most famous death of a superhero's (surrogate) parent. A completely unnecessary reboot of a superhero's origin with a side effect of screwing up the character's story. And to make this abysmal failure even more "amazing", they decided to include a story from the comic books that even the comic books themselves have silently distanced themselves from: Peter's parents were secret agents/super scientists on the run. What? You'd never heard that before? You know why? Because it's dumb. It's pointless. And best forgotten. THEN? Then, at the eleventh hour, the geniuses behind this mess of a film realized how stupid a story line it was, so they cut it out of the film. The problem with that? They didn't have enough time or didn't realize that cutting pieces out of the story without adjusting the scenes around those cuts, is a little like cutting stains out of a dirty blanket instead of washing it. All you get is a blanket full of holes that no longer works, which is exactly what happened to this film. The most interesting part of this film? They actually included a lot of the cut scenes as extras on the DVD, just to show off how hodge-podge and hacked up the film was. It's crazy. The only upside of the film? Emma Stone.
2. Dark Shadows
Tim Burton is awful. He makes awful films. Sure, sure, the new Frankenweenie is cute with some clever little classic horror movie nods, but cute and clever in no way makes up for this awful... awful... AWFUL... film. It's just ugly and obnoxious and stupid. There is nothing good here. Tim Burton should take a break and ask himself if he even enjoys making movies anymore. I don't think he does. In fact, after seeing this film, I think he actively hates movies.
I really wanted to like this film. I really did. But I just can't. It's terrible. It's beautiful to look at, absolutely beautiful, but it's a terrible film. Michael Fassbinder is fantastic, as always, he sells David the Android so well, but the movie? Terrible. Terrible and dumb. So dumb. Woof. Remember the guy and the alien snake? The guys that got lost? So dumb. The whole problem lies in the script. Well, and some of the directing too. So disappointing. So, so, so disappointing. Beautiful. But Good Lord, so disappointing. What a shame.
So there you go! Thoughts? Responses? Did I miss any?
Tune in tomorrow for my Best of List,