2011 was an exceptionally terrible year for movies. Here are the lowest of the low points, flicks so bad they make a good cure for the will to live…
Boy, am I glad the year is over. I seriously got my ass kicked by 2011. But you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing. Shitty life experiences, like lousy ex-girlfriends, give you a proper perspective on the good things in life. So in a way, I am grateful for having watched so many terrible movies. For one, it means I am blessed enough to be able to indulge so extensively and freely in my life’s passion. More importantly, bad movies make the good or great ones so much more precious.
Make no mistake, however. I am not about to wax all sentimental about the following motion pictures. They deserve to be on this list because they are either poorly conceived, poorly written, poorly acted, or poorly directed, or all of the above. There was certainly no shortage of crap to choose from this year. I had a pretty tough time selecting just 10 movies for the “Worst Of” list. In the end, I based my final decision on pure gut response. These movies aren’t just poorly made. These movies pissed me off. Here they are, in order of mild annoyance to full-on ‘Hulk Smash’ rage…
THE GREEN HORNET
Many critics and fanboys attacked “Green Lantern” for being the worst superhero movie of the year. Nope. This one is. It’s simply a misfire on every level. And the genius that thought Jay “Blank Stare” Chou was a worthy successor for the role originally filled by Bruce Lee ought to be fired.
There’s no reason for this to exist other than director John Lasseter’s unchecked ego. Making a sequel to Pixar’s weakest film was never going to be a good idea. They managed to top it with an even worse idea: make annoying sidekick Mater the star. As breathtaking as the animation is, it just isn’t enough to hide the tired gags and boring plot.
THE HANGOVER 2
The first film was lightning in a bottle. A sequel would only have worked if the filmmakers tried something fresh. Instead they just moved the setting to Bangkok and upped the depravity. Everything else is a cheap imitation. The most grievous offence is that the likable characters of the original are all written as unlikable jerks this time round.
10. IN TIME
Between this and “Friends With Benefits”, by now it should be clear that Justin Timberlake simply is not cut out to be a leading man. He’s actually alright in smaller supporting roles, like “The Social Network”. But there, director David Fincher used him perfectly, playing off his smug boyband persona to the role’s advantage. Here, as a gritty heroic type, it just doesn’t work. To be fair, Timberlake is the least of the film’s problems. The plot tries to be clever and profound but collapses under the weight of its own ambitions and pretensions. And more frustratingly, it never quite knows what it wants to be: ageism satire, commentary on the plight of the blue-collar working class, Bonnie & Clyde-style heist romancer? It tries to be a little of everything and ends up being nothing.
The premise of a futuristic order of warrior-priests who hunt vampires held lots of potential. Then how come this turned out to be such a dull, derivative dud? Blame Scott Stewart’s amateurish direction. Paul Bettany puts in a committed performance but he’s ice-skating uphill, as everything else around him, including a terribly unconvincing turn by Karl Urban as the main baddie, negates his efforts. The laughable CGI monsters look like they’re first draft animatics from “I Am Legend”. The production design is plain lazy, mashing up Old West motifs with post-apocalyptic “chic”. The entire project just screams half-baked. The filmmakers need to go to confession for committing this mortal sin to celluloid.
I think I liked Taylor Lautner better when he was in “Twilight”. And played by a cartoony CGI wolf instead. Because that cartoony CGI wolf was infinitely more entertaining than watching Coma Boy inflict his special brand of retarded blankness in this “action” movie. Lautner’s repertoire of facial expressions consists of a reeeeally determined look, like he’s trying hard not to breathe through his mouth, and a confused look, like he’s trying hard to figure out why he can’t see his own ears. The title is apt, though. It abducted my patience, and my hard-earned money, and much of my IQ. Shame on classy actors like Alfred Molina and Sigourney Weaver for signing on for this pathetic Bourne rip-off.
This should be in the Top 5 based solely on the sheer horror that is Nicolas Cage’s hair. What’s with this man? Is he intentionally going for the Gay Klingon look? Why is he shouting so much in this movie? I have no idea. Perhaps director Joel Schumacher thought it made for riveting drama. Hell, no. It just makes for very tedious viewing. Granted, there is one revelation at the end that resonates with current global credit crisis woes, but one poignant moment isn’t enough to salvage this horrendously scripted mess.
6. SHARK NIGHT 3D
Talk about unfulfilled promise. This started out with the potential to be a deliciously nasty, exploitative B-Grader (which does have a place in this world, okay). Man-eating sharks. Hot girls in minimal to no clothing. From the guys responsible for “Final Destination”. It could’ve been this year’s “Piranha 3D”, a movie that made zero apologies for its gonzo nature and was therefore fun as heck. Sadly, “Shark Night 3D” turned out to be a toothless disappointment on all counts. The T&A is completely lacking, the kills are boring, the gore is next to non-existent, and even the much-vaunted 3D is murky and shoddily rendered. Even as a timewaster, this is a real waste of time.
5. APOLLO 18
Found footage as a sub-genre has hit its lowest point. Its cheap, homemade aesthetic has led to a lot of utterly lazy “filmmaking” (and I’m using that term loosely here). I’m looking at you specifically, “Apollo 18”. While the notion of astronauts finding something terrifying on the moon is interesting, director Gonzalo López-Gallego simply does not have the script, the actors or even the slightest clue what he’s doing. And that supposedly terrifying thing? Turns out they’re alien rocks. With legs. No, really.
4. JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN
Rowan Atkinson plays Mr. Bean playing a bumbling secret agent! Instant win, right? Evidently so, because this here’s the sequel. Except everything that wasn’t funny the first time round has been made twice as unfunny. More Atkinson pulling a straight face while saying/doing idiotic things, and more people falling down/getting hit in the nuts. Endlessly. I don’t know about you, but personally I despise this sort of humour. And that’s saying a lot, coming from a guy who loves The Three Stooges.
3. THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Ah, what “Worst Of” list would be complete without Paul W. S. Anderson? This year the esteemed “director” falls two spots to Number 3. Tsk, tsk. Your grades are slipping, Paul. Though I must say it’s not for lack of trying. The usual rip-off-every-movie-you-can-think-of approach is still alive and well in this masterpiece of the moronic. This time, Anderson goes one step further by ripping HIMSELF off, referencing stunts from his rubbish “Resident Evil” flicks. Then there is Logan Lerman, who delivers quite possibly the most irritating performance I’ve seen in ages. Listening to his D’Artagnan with an American accent is an auditory torture on par with getting stabbed repeatedly in the eardrums by Justin Bieber, while he recites the screenplay from “Twilight: Breaking Dawn”. (Yes!! I managed to squeeze in a “Twilight” mention twice on this list, without even having to put it on my list! Woohoo!!)
2. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES
You’d think that getting rid of the extraneous players (eg: Orlando and Keira), and focusing on Johnny Depp would make this fourth instalment more lively and less bloated than the last two films. Not so. In fact, it’s way worse. For one, it proved that Jack Sparrow was never meant to be the main character, much less the hero. Sparrow was always better off as the wild card, the unpredictable element that kept everyone guessing and who made everyone’s life miserable. Here, he’s become predictable and therefore stripped of all mystique. Cap’n Jack’s been completely neutered. That in itself already makes the movie a failure. Then add truly nonsensical plot contrivances, plus plodding, clumsily staged action sequences and you have the 2nd worst movie of the year.
1. TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON
But there can be only one. And the rottenest of the rotten is none other than Michael Bay’s ode to excessive excess. Frankly, this steaming pile of garbage deserves to occupy every spot on this list. In my foolish optimism, I chose to believe Bay couldn’t possibly make a worse movie than “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen”. D’oh! Twelve bucks and 154 minutes of my life, gone forever. I very seldom say this because I do not relish being negative, but: I hate this movie. With a passion. It represents everything that is wrong with Hollywood’s attitude towards filmmaking today. “Transformers 3” is cynical, joyless, and totally devoid of any respect for the audience. It treats you as if you are stupid and yet it wants your money. On the bright side… Nah, sorry, can’t think of anything.
Coming up next: Top 10 Best Films Of 2011! For more movie reviews check this out.