#1: Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie
Yes, this movie was also at Sundance 2012, and no other movie on this list or any list in years past more deserves the top (bottom) spot on my worst list than this one. This was gross, stupid, and horribly unfunny. And apparently, the joke about Tim and Eric is that this stuff is SUPPOSED to be gross, stupid, and unfunny, and people find THAT hilariously funny. It’s “anti-comedy,” I’m told, which somehow is supposed to make it funny. I readily admit, without shame, that I don’t “get it.” I’ve read many descriptions of why it’s supposed to be funny, and I STILL don’t get it. If you are one of those oh-so-hip people who do get it, maybe you can explain it to me? Oh wait, I bet you can’t. Enjoy your smugness.
#2: Hello, I Must Be Going
My bottom two worst movies of the year were both at Sundance 2012. A thirty-something woman, whose husband recently walked out on her, moves back in with her parents, who really don’t want her there. The woman, who mopes around the house all day (no, her name isn’t Bella Swan – this is a different movie) and takes photographs of things (hey, she’s an artist!) has an affair with a much younger man (groan) who for some reason I never understood becomes enthralled with her and he teaches her (get it???? he’s a younger guy who teaches the older woman) about love, or something. I strongly suspect that this script was written by a computer, which synthesized the plot and clichés used in all the other romantic dramas that have been at Sundance (except for the good ones) and came up with this junk. After the 100th obvious, annoying, crappy cliché, we had enough of this movie and walked out. How this formulaic drivel got into Sundance I’ll never know.
#3: Act of Valor
The trailer announces that this movie “stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs,” is “inspired by true events,” and that the “weapons and tactics we see are real.” Unfortunately, having these ingredients doesn’t add up to a good movie. The acting is so bad that it’s impossible to become absorbed into or engaged with the movie and characters; it’s painfully obvious nearly every minute that they are on screen that while these men may be great warriors and among the best of our nation’s military, they aren’t actors. Maybe this is why Jesse Ventura’s acting career (beyond the WWF, if you consider that acting) never took off?
#4: Mirror Mirror
I don’t have anything nice to say about this stupid-ass movie. At all. Its lowlights: Julia Roberts hamming it up as the “Evil Queen.” Annoying sound effects, record-scratch laugh cues are the “lowlights” of this nearly two-hour-long crapfest. At least the trailer – which made the movie look pretty awful and idotic – didn’t lie.
#5: Friends With Kids
Another movie with a great cast (including Adam Scott, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig) that was completely wasted. The characters, who are roughly supposed to be my age, were not relatable to me in any way. Nothing in this movie seemed particularly insightful or accurate. Felt like a self-indulgent passion project that was financed because the lead actress (Jennifer Westfeldt), who was also the writer and director, is the long-time girlfriend of Jon Hamm. Must be nice to have that kind of clout; too bad it was completely wasted on this movie.
#6: Take This Waltz
I really wanted to like this movie. A lot of critics that I respect sure did. I like Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman, and while I dislike Michelle Williams, I respect her as an actress and I think she generally makes interesting choices that have resulted in some very good (or at least “interesting”) movies. But essentially, the idea of the movie – that people who leave their spouses when they become infatuated with someone else will eventually get bored of the new person, too – got kind of lost for me because I wasn’t engaged with the characters on any level. Shouldn’t I feel some sympathy or affinity for the main character if a movie like this is going to work? I didn’t. And I can’t see how anyone else would, either.
#7: Men In Black 3
I probably shouldn’t have rented this movie in the first place. I didn’t like the first two movies. I’m not amused by dumb aliens that are basically the comedic equivalent of Jar Jar Binks. MIB:3 is more of the same. I have been more entertained by episodes of The Teletubbies. Each time I saw another one stupid alien doing something ridiculous, I felt a number of my brain cells dying. But even getting past that, the story itself was lazy and insipid.
I envision the genesis of this movie thusly: Will Smith takes a quick break from taking his daily, hour-long bath in a Jacuzzi tub filled with diamonds to summon his children.
WILL: Jayden, Willow, I’m sick of bathing in diamonds every day. I need some rubies and emeralds, too. I also hear that sapphires are good for the skin.
JAYDEN AND WILLOW: What should we do?
WILL: Write the script for Men In Black: 3.
JAYDEN AND WILLOW: But we don’t know the first thing about writing movie scripts, Daddy!
WILL: That’s okay, just write the first thing that comes to your minds. It doesn’t matter what this movie is about. The public will see it, regardless. It’s gonna make half a billon, guaranteed. Get to work!
JAYDEN AND WILLOW: What does this word mean — “work”?
The plot was ridiculous, the script filled with nonsensical crap that made me just smack my head at the idiocy, repeatedly. If it wasn’t for Josh Brolin’s amusing, dead-on impersonation of Tommy Lee Jones (who appears briefly in the movie as Tommy Lee Jones – oops, I meant “K”), this would have appeared higher on my worst list.
#8: This Means War
This year, my “worst” list is well-populated with really likeable (and sometimes even good) actors in really bad movies. Here’s another example: Chris Pine (the new Captain Kirk himself) and Tom Hardy (he was great as Bane, but he was even better in “Lawless”) star as two opposing CIA agents (or something) who, for some reason, fall in love with Reese Witherspensen (oops, I meant Witherspoon). Why they fell in love with Ms. Witherspoon’s character is not easily discernible from the plot. Which is one of the movie’s many flaws. Another being that I can’t suspend my disbelief long enough to conceal my outrage at the two supposedly likeable protagonists burning through millions of our tax dollars by using CIA technology and equipment to win the heart of the girl. These two deserved long prison sentences, and not to “get the girl.”
#9: Playing for Keeps
For a movie with such a likeable cast, this one was a huge disappointment. I really, really like Gerard Butler, but he has made some terrible choices lately in picking his projects. A cloying, artificially sappy story populated with ridiculous characters (of particular note, Dennis Quaid’s antagonist was well in to the so-bad-it’s-almost-good territory). In a year that saw so many well-written characters and stories experiencing true and relatable emotions, this one sticks out like a sore thumb.
#10: Snow White and the Huntsman
The “better” of this year’s terrible Snow White movies (the other one appears higher on my worst list). Who did the casting? Kristen Stewart as the supposedly “beautiful” Snow White was easily upstaged by Charlize Theron’s Evil Queen. At least Ms. Stewart was able to showcase her “I’m very determined because I’m angry and about to go into battle” face, as a preview to what we could expect to see more of in Breaking Dawn Pt. 2. The story was ridiculous and boring, but this movie is saved from being higher on my worst of the year list by having really great visuals.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
to Rome With Love
Robot and Frank