By Simon Miraudo
December 17, 2012
With 2012 coming to a close, it's time to reflect on the year's cinematic treats, and then crowbar each work of art into a numerical position on a comparative chart. Comedies versus dramas! Thrills versus chills! The great versus the very good! This is the business we list-makers have chosen. Come, shoulder the burden.
You gotta take the bad with the good. In fact, there can only be good if there is also bad (you know, duality and all that). There have been many fine films released in 2012. However, to truly appreciate the magical moments from Life of Pi, the hilarity of 21 Jump Street, the heartbreak of Amour, the thrills of The Dark Knight Rises, or the erotic delights of Magic Mike, one must similarly endure the tedium of On the Road, the frightlessness of Paranormal Activity 4, the unoriginality of Total Recall, and the Dame Edna cameo in Kath and Kimderella. Here are my picks for the ten worst films of 2012. Remember, if you disagree, no biggie. I know a lot of you hated Margaret. We can still be buds!
Seth MacFarlane is a talented vocal performer, and I'm sure he'll do a great job as Oscars host. He is not a very good filmmaker. This flick only inspired a couple of mild chuckles (one of which was during a spoof of a scene from Flying High, itself already a spoof of Saturday Night Fever). Tired, plodding, and really, really lame, it coasted on the presumed hilarity of a swearing, bong-smoking teddy bear, who was really about as cutting edge and rebellious as Poochie from The Simpsons. It went on to gross $500 million.
We all sniggered at the name, but director Timur Bekmambetov treated the subject of Honest Abe hacking away at the undead with severe solemnity. As if that were the appropriate response. Neither deadpan nor ironic enough to actually be funny, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’s lone achievement is that it is dumber than its title.
I wrote in April that Peter Berg's board game adaptation Battleship was an early contender for the "eye-rollingest film of the year." Months later, reflecting on its bevy of inane sequences, it might have indeed held onto that crown. To quote Liz Lemon, "I wanna roll my eyes right now, but the doctor said if I keep doing it my ocular muscles might spasm and eject my eyeballs."
7. Taken 2
A lazy retread that never comes close to being as resourceful or brutal as the original. It presumes we won’t notice two songs cribbed from Drive – how dare they?! – or that the gore has been significantly toned down to secure a lighter classification. We'd almost forgive the above, as well as the pervasive xenophobia, if it featured more sequences in which Liam Neeson sassily told his bros "not to go there." Alas, it did not.
6. Rock of Ages
If movies were graded on the enthusiasm of its cast alone, it would be tough to give Rock of Ages anything less than an 'A'. If movies were graded highly for featuring scenes in which Tom Cruise sings into a woman's anus, or where Bryan Cranston gets whipped by a dominatrix, Rock of Ages would also excel. Obviously, this was the strangest, most tone-deaf movie-watching experience of the year. The moment where a baboon urinates on Oscar-nominee Paul Giamatti's feet for an inordinate amount of time best explains the sensation.
Soon you'll get to see Zero Dark Thirty, a movie made with near-unprecedented access to classified CIA information. A worrying collaboration? Definitely, though the final product is thoughtful, complex, and far from a jingoistic, pro-American propaganda tool. The same can't be said of Act of Valour, a NAVY-commissioned actioner designed to recruit young men. It's biggest sin is casting real SEALs. Heroes they may be; actors they ain't.
Paul Fenech brought his TV show Housos to the big screen, and I suppose he should be commended for producing an unapologetically nauseating, politically incorrect, endlessly energetic adaptation. That doesn't mean I have to like it. Do people really find this stuff funny?
3. Project X
I had hoped Project X would have a happy ending, but then all the characters didn’t burn to death in a house fire. It dares you to find it offensive; however, no one could possibly mistake it for a dangerous, provocative, or hip movie-of-the-moment, excluding perhaps any viewer who also considers LMFAO music videos among the wittiest and most subversive works of art around.
2. Bait 3D
In what kind of a sick world does a shark movie allow the majority of its cast to walk away unchomped? That’d be the world of Kimble Rendall‘s Bait 3D, where almost all genre promises are broken, accents are in a constant state of flux, and everyone is the absolute worst. This 'sharks in a supermarket' flick made headlines for its impressive box office success in China. Locally, it tanked.
Is it unfair to pile on Twilight as it completes its "victory" lap? The fifth and final instalment of the saga was a mega-hit, and superfans might say it farewelled their beloved characters in fine fashion. Even still, how could I let the most frustrating, emotionally vapid, stupidly stakes-free blockbuster of the year walk away unscathed just because I've used up all my favourite criticisms in four prior reviews. That it was impotent, anti-feminist, and wildly boring was to be expected. That it teased us with a potentially awesome (and grave!) ending was actually a pleasant surprise, if a short-lived one. The rug is torn out from under us - the final insult - ensuring that it has the emotional weight and impact of an episode of Entourage. And what in the world was going on with that CGI Renesmee?!