2012 was a fantastic year for movies with a ton of movies that were good, great and spectacular. There were dozens of worthwhile films released of just about every genre (sorry comedy) and film fans had a lot to enjoy. Unfortunately, however, all was not peaches and cream for cinema goes and this year also turned out a crop of stinkers. It was maybe a smaller crop than most years owing mostly to the real estate being taken up with quality pictures but the bad ones were still bad. As usual I offer up my list of my 10 LEAST FAVORITE movies of 2012. These are not necessarily the WORST movies of the year because I haven’t seen all the movies and even if I had my opinions will differ from yours so I am not going to make a blanket statement that my preferences mean more than anyone else’s in any way. There is often confusion on this point. That being said, because I don’t like these I don’t feel inclined to be kind about them so if your personal sense of self worth is wrapped up into the movies you like then it may be a good idea to skip this article and use the time more wisely by looking up some counselors in your area. These opinions also do not speak to my sexual preference or history nor does this mean that if a movie isn’t on here I loved it. There are varying degrees of distaste. For instance, I didn’t care much for Prometheus but it wasn’t bad enough to land it here. On the other hand, I don’t HATE all of these. Like Contraband was just sort of bland and pointless as opposed to offensively terrible. After reading the list if you want to comment or debate, please do so in the comments below and show us your list of least favorite movies. Here we go.
This crime thriller, starring Mark Whalberg and one of the more questionable accents Giovanni Ribisi has tried out, is a lot less thriller and fair amount boring. There are some fun moments here and there but the plot is cookie cutter, the pacing is uneven while leaning on the slow side and it never manages to establish any real tension. Wahlberg is solid enough but some of the other performances are roughly as cookie cutter as the plot. Tries for laughs mostly fall flat and we are left with a movie that could have been better but missed the mark altogether.
9. John Carter
What a mess this was. There were a few movies that blew great properties and squandered potential but this one was one of the worst offenders. From a poor marketing campaign to horribly mishandled direction John Carter botches the execution entirely and leaves the audience with a resounding ‘who gives a fuck?’ The effects were uneven as well with design choices that do not impress. The performances aren’t terrible but for a property with this pedigree, it deserved so much better. With as long as this was in development it is a miracle it was made at all but at the end perhaps a little more time and a little more care would have done it good.
I have never read the novel savages is based upon so I am not sure exactly where the blame for the terrible dialogue and narration should fall but someone somewhere should have pulled director Oliver Stone aside and slapped him out of whatever delusional stupor he was in that lead him to believe that ‘I had orgasms, Chon had wargasms’ or the even worse ‘Ben was a Buddhist…Chon was a baddist’ was clever writing. I am not sure who could have done such a thing without losing their job but for the sake of the movie going public, someone should have taken one for the team. I would volunteer now but the damage is already done. This is Taylor Kitsch’s second appearance on this list (sadly it is not his last) and I feel like he needs to fire his agent and do some little indy films for awhile. Blake Lively’s performance had me rooting for the bad guys and the whole affair is just a horrible mess. If it had the balls to stick with one bad ending I would at least give it credit for that but instead it Wayne’s Worlds us into two. Just a failure all the way around.
I love Steven Soderberg and as such I was really looking forward to Haywire. Sadly, however, I left the theater very disappointed. When there was action, it was great as lead Gina Carano, who is an MMA fighter, is tremendous with the fighting and action but when there wasn’t action, and that was most of the time, the movie was just terrible. The supporting cast is awesome but the problem they all have is that Carano has a REALLY hard time delivering her lines and every scene in which she has to act grinds to a halt. This wouldn’t have been a huge problem if the film was structured like an action film where the set pieces outnumber the moments where characters are driving in cars telling each other stories but as it is we get maybe 10 or 20 minutes worth of action and what feels like an eternity of terrible acting from the lead. A lot of the top of this list is about disappointment and wasted potential and Haywire exemplifies both of those things.
6. The Dictator
Comedies had a rough time last year but none more so than the Dictator (please note I did not see That’s My Boy). I am not entirely sure what the hell happened here but the result was definitely not funny. Sacha Baron Cohen is usually pretty much automatic when it comes to being funny and Larry Charles rarely disappoints but their streak of success came to a grinding halt here. I am not sure if it is because the movie was scripted as opposed to Cohen afflicting his characters on real people but there was a major disconnect here that I found pretty shocking. Decent supporting performers and awesome cameos do pretty much nothing at all to rescue the movie which drew maybe one real laugh throughout its run time. My dad gave me a copy of this because bought it and hated it. I now think maybe he hates me too and I am not sure what I did to deserve it.
5. Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance
I was foolishly optimistic about this movie prior to release. I know those expectations are really my fault given the last Ghost Rider movie and Nicholas Cage’s track record but seeing what directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor did to get some of the shots in the movie in a making of preview, I thought that it looked promising at least from a visual standpoint. And it was, as far as that went. But even with Ciaran Hines, Idris Elba, Johnny Witworth, Anthony Head and Christopher Lambert on hand for support there was nothing that was ever going to save this piece of shit. There are a handful of interesting and cool shots in the movie and the rest of it is absolutely nonsense. From Ghost Rider to pissing fire to a plot that was done much better in Drive Angry, there is nothing else redeeming about the film. Also, is it too much to ask to actually have Ghost Rider in a Ghost Rider movie? The character barely appears and when he does it is usually to dance goofily or generally not be at all like Ghost Rider. I am not sure if there is a great Ghost Rider movie to be made out there but as much as I dig the comics I kind of wish they would stop trying. It is frankly just embarrassing at this point.
4. Devil Inside
I am not a big fan of possession movies in the best of times (although I really dug the Possession this year) and Devil Inside managed to undermine even my basement low expectations. The premise is interesting in its way and seems to almost be a found footage companion piece to 2011′s The Rite but it pretty much abandons any pretense of even handed exploration right away. It is really silly to expect anything more or less from a film like this but as usual it falls back into the cliched special effects and goofy contortions to ‘prove’ to the audience that the whole possession thing is real and scary. Where it REALLY falls apart, however, is in the third act all the way up to the enormously contrived cop-out ending. I really want there to be better possession movies but as long as writers and directors keep sticking to the same old shit time and again we are just not ever going to have it. Listen guys, just because some shit worked in the Exorcist doesn’t mean it will keep working almost 40 years later.
There is a part of me that is torn about putting Battleship on this list. Not because it is good. Oh god no, never because it is good, because it is not. At all. But because it is also hilariously terrible. It is bad in a delightful way that was not at all intentional but entertains anyway. I liked this so much I saw it twice in the theater because holy crap does it double down on being completely ridiculous. Basing a movie on a board game is a dicey proposition but it CAN be done (see: Clue ) and there is a story out there that would make a movie based on Battleship compelling but this is not it. The entire movie is a goofy mishmash of much better movies from Top Gun all the way to District 9 and none of it works as intended at all. Another hit on Taylor Kitsch’s resume, Battleship is absolutely one of the worst movies of the year but also absolutely one of the most fun and entertaining. If it managed to be fun and entertaining on purpose then it would be on a whole different list.
2. Resident Evil Retribution
Resident Evil Retribution is marginally better than the last installment in the franchise on the basis of it having a semi-coherent story but it is still terrible and an affront not only to the game series it is based upon but also movies in general. There was an opportunity for the movie to put the series back on some kind of reasonable track but of course it makes a jagged right hand turn and veers even deeper into the nonsensical abyss the series has been carving for the last three installments. Also, it should be mentioned, throwing in a handful of beloved characters from the video game series is not enough to appease fans. Having any rhyme or reason for them to be there at all would be helpful at the very least but making them even vaguely noteworthy or recognizable beyond their jacket and hair cut would be even better. At this point, I think a bullet needs to be put in this series. Or better yet, nuke it from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
1. Twilight Breaking Dawn part 2
What can really be said about this terrible series at this point? This installment was better than the last at least as far as things actually happening is concerned. Also it is the last one so that is reason to rejoice in and of itself. But while the movie is a bit stronger than part 1, that does not mean it is any good at all. It is not. It is more of the same sweeping and dramatic crane shots of people walking while trying to look as serious as possible while looking like Gothic Barbie and Ken dolls by way of Abercrombie and Fitch and Hot Topic. It is more of the same wooden acting while narration tells you, in as bored and monotone away as possible that whatever is happening is exhilarating. It is more of the same pedophilia…well okay, that part is new. The resolution is absolutely undersold and a ridiculous bait and switch is foisted on the audience when it looks like it is going to break away from the book and have some balls. It is all a bunch of noise that adds up to nothing and it is impossible not to wonder why anyone bothered telling this story. I am so glad this bullshit is over and done with now.
Okay so there it is. If you want to discuss or debate then comment below with your thoughts and your list. Please stay classy and have a good time.