As much as I enjoy the thrill of going to the movies, there comes a time when a stinker passes by that makes you truly appreciate good filmmaking. Some movies can be completely forgettable, but there are others so terrible that they can cause a traumatic experience. These are not even close to movies that are so bad they’re good, they are just plain awful. Allowing myself to give any movie a chance, I had the pleasure of seeing some of the most wretchedly deplorable flicks of last year. Check out the worst movies of 2012 after the break.
Before we begin, here is a list of dishonorable mentions: Save the Date, Wanderlust, Silent House, Haywire, The Possession, Liberal Arts, Premium Rush, The House at the End of the Street, Wrath of the Titans, The Tall Man, Hypothermia, The Woman in Black, Taken 2, The Campaign, Snow White and the Huntsman, ATM, The Five-Year Engagement, and Step Up Revolution.
10: Friends with Kids (Jennifer Westfeldt)
Synopsis: Two best friends decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic, so they can avoid the toll kids can take on romantic relationships.
Just thinking about the ending of this movie upsets me on many levels. I was on board up to two-thirds of the way through and then it began to spiral out of control. The actors do a fine job making the film relatable to some degree, but out of nowhere it becomes so unbelievable that it’s hard to bear. The inconceivable dialogue irks the hell out of me too. Friends with Kids felt very grounded until the later half of the film when it decided to go off the rails with horribly written character motivations. This movie can be summed up as simple as “white people problems.”
9: Take this Waltz (Sarah Polley)
Synopsis: A happily married woman falls for the artist who lives across the street.
My interest in Take this Waltz was very high due to the fact that Seth Rogen would be out of his comedic comfort zone, co-starring with Michelle Williams. Both actors perform admirably, but the inexplicable lack of depth kills any chance for this story to survive. I couldn’t root for either Rogen or Williams’ character. Take this Waltz wants you to relate to Williams’ character and feel for her dilemma, but I hated her character. And unfortunately this movie wasn’t about Seth Rogen; and I found his arc a little more worthwhile. And the guy that intervenes between the two of them is also completely empty. This movie is very uninspiring from start to finish.
8: The Apparition (Todd Lincoln)
Synopsis: A couple is haunted by a supernatural presence that is unleashed during a college experiment.
I was sold on The Apparition based on the spooky trailers, the eerie poster, and Ashley Greene. There’s something about Ms. Greene that keeps me hoping she can grow beyond her Twilight roots further than Kristen Stewart. Of course, I was let down by how unhinged and unstructured The Apparition turned out to be. Rules are loosely broken and the story progresses very poorly. By the time The Apparition is ready for the big finale you’re forced to accept anything willy nilly; and you can’t have that in a horror. There needs to be a baseline of expectations that you can hold onto in order for the scares to work, otherwise nothing is going to make sense and The Apparition fails to establish this. First time feature film director and writer Todd Lincoln did an OK job paving a path for the story, but needed to leave the writing to someone else.
7: Bachelorette (Leslye Headland)
Synopsis: Three friends are asked to be bridesmaids at a wedding of a woman they used to ridicule back in high school.
Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott, and James Marsden, how could this possibly go wrong? By having an absolute pile of crap for a screenplay; that’s how. Sure the hype on Bridesmaids was still fresh, and the premise of Bachelorette sounded intriguing at the time, but once the absurdity began it was like watching a plane crash into a train wreck causing a 50-car pile up during a hurricane in a snow storm. Absolutely nothing felt remotely realistic or relatable. The cartoonish characters are so despicable to each other that it’s impossible to find a glimmer of hope that will progress the story or provide anything of value. With such a great cast, it’s sad to see that very little of the comedy works as they fire off joke after joke hoping something will land.
6: The Collection (Marcus Dustan)
Synopsis: A man who escapes from the vicious grips of the serial killer known as “The Collector” is blackmailed to rescue an innocent girl from the killer’s booby-trapped warehouse.
I really dug The Collector, and the trailer for The Collection looked like it would amp up the intensity level and bring a new menace to the horror genre. WRONG. So utterly wrong. Excessive gore is splattered on the screen without any rhyme or reason at the beginning and then the movie turns into some kind of horror fun house. There is minimal plot to this snooze fest that calls itself a horror movie. And it goes on forever digging its feet in the ground. The characters are bland and the villain is a faceless lunatic with no motive. In some cases that can make sense, but why go through all of the trouble to create such elaborate traps and kidnap people without justification?
5: Playing For Keeps (Gabriele Muccino)
Synopsis: A former sports star who’s fallen on hard times starts coaching his son’s soccer team as a way to get his life together. His attempts to become an adult are met with challenges from the attractive soccer moms who pursue him at every turn.
From the trailer you are meant to see an innocently cute father-son story, but what it doesn’t tell you is how ridiculously screwball the entire movie really is. Hit with extremely animated and over-the-top eye-rolling gags, none of the physical comedy sticks while the emotional beats fall incredibly flat. You don’t know which plot thread to follow because interwoven between the father-son story Gerard Butler is thrown into a romantic comedy out of left field while he also has to come to find a place in the world as a successful adult. It’s like Jingle All the Way but far less entertaining because there is no heart seen anywhere.
4: Fun Size (Josh Schwartz)
Synopsis: Wren’s Halloween plans go awry when she’s made to babysit her brother, who disappears into a sea of trick-or-treaters. With her best friend and two nerds at her side, she needs to find her brother before her mom finds out he’s missing.
I had the highest hopes for Fun Size because it looked like a strange version of Hocus Pocus meets Mean Girls. I figured the movie would have an adult edge with teenage emotional angst, but I was led astray. What we are given in Fun Size is just another wacky, immature teen comedy with little to no stakes while we move from set-piece to set-piece hammering home teenage tropes we’ve all seen before. Victoria Justice does the best she can with whats she’s given, but the direction by Josh Schwartz and the horribly written screenplay is a disaster. This is Josh Schwart’s directorial debut too. He’s most notable for writing episodes of Gossip Girl, The O.C., and Chuck, and that’s where he should ahve stayed.
3: Red Dawn (Dan Bradley)
Synopsis: A group of teenagers look to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers.
Many remakes are completely unnecessary, but Red Dawn is an insult to the original and totally out of place. Sure we want to root for the Americans to take back their home, but we are never given an ounce of clarity as to why the
Chinese North Koreans invade or what their intentions are. Instead we just have a bunch of misfits on a revenge mission while they randomly stop at a Subway that is some how operational during the invasion. The Wolverines are meant to instill a sense of patriotism while enduring this film, but all of the members of this group are so uninteresting that every minute they are screen becomes far less demanding of your time. With such a very weak narrative and nothing to grab a hold of, Red Dawn is one movie that takes pleasure in the viewers suffering.
2: Mirror Mirror (Tarsem Singh)
Synopsis: An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright.
As visually incredible as Mirror Mirror may be, that does not make up for how lackadaisical and inherently goofy it is. Now goofy can work on many levels for certain movies, but that’s only if the movie knows what it is. Singh directs Mirror Mirror right into the ground with terrible acting from secondary characters while strange tonal shifts are made constantly from silly to serious and beyond. Julia Roberts chews up every scene so hard that it is too much for the movie to handle. Lily Collins plays the lovely Snow White, but she can’t hold a scene on her own, never demanding your attention or focus. Mirror Mirror is highly unwatchable and a sinking ship for the fairy tale genre.
1: The Watch (Akiva Schaffer)
Synopsis: Four men who form a neighborhood watch group as a way to get out of their day-to-day family routines find themselves defending the Earth from an alien invasion.
If only we could take back those precious moments of our lives when we waste them with such garbage. I always tell myself that we need to see the bad films in order to appreciate the good ones, but The Watch is the epitome of that reasoning. From the director of Hot Rod, I expected a lot more out of Akiva Schaffer than this. The movie runs on a snails pace and lacks any sort of enjoyment or appeal. The Watch takes itself way too seriously to try and earn a giggle. The actors are complete bores and make the movie very difficult to endure. I think everyone is poorly cast and the chemistry between each of them is never felt. Nothing works in this film and the infusion of product placement is practically embarrassing for the brands themselves. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to my worst enemy.
*Note: I did not see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 or That’s My Boy.
All plot synopses can be found on IMDb.com