Thursday, December 27, 2012

Worst Of '12

Okay, it’s that time of year again where I spill out all of the movies from my mental pail and try to make some sense of my addiction to movies. This part is usually my comedic recounting of terrible garbage worth musing back and forth about and someone usually goes “Why do you even see these movies?” and I silently go “BECAUSE I OBVIOUSLY HAVE A PROBLEM”. Let’s continue the vicious cycle before I need medication. I present to you:

The Top Ten Worst Movies Of 2012


The tragic irony is that the previous two movies both made the “Best Of” list. One even topped it. I learned a lot about movies this year. Back in 08’ I was in severe denial about INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL. I needed to love it. It was so ingrained in me that if you took a microscope and looked at a sample of my blood, you’d see my red blood cells were actually wearing little tiny fedoras in anticipation. It took a year for me to finally get over such an aura as powerful as that. The first Batman film from 1989 is my first movie theater memory and kicked off a lifetime of anti-social behavior and obsessive compulsive collecting of merchandise and meaningless trivia. When THE DARK KNIGHT came out, I was fully obsessed and reached levels of hype that were impossible to satisfy. But satisfied they were! It’s still pretty watchable too. And made BATMAN BEGINS better in how the two films complimented each other. They made for a great double feature but deep in my heart I knew that they were so satisfying that any new addition to the saga would just be icing on the cake. I already got the ultimate Batman movie. I’m not greedy. But I remained super enthused and excited for this. There’s a three-point disappointment factor to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. The warning. The threat. And the point of no return.
The Warning: There’s many problems at the giddy up that THE DARK KNIGHT glow of happiness, even years later, helps you ignore. But when Anne Hathaway disguised as a maid attempts to burgle Martha Wayne’s pearls right from under Bruce’s nose, when she is discovered, Catwoman trips him up and escapes. Bruce does nothing. It’s even too much for me that Bruce even has a cane to trip up. Bruce literally does nothing. Bruce is Batman. Batman does things? Okay, we can get past this.

The Threat: The movie tries to recapture the magic of The Joker bank robbery by having Bane heist up the Gotham Stock Exchange. He shows up and using Bruce’s fingerprints (stolen by Catwoman from cracking his safe), bankrupts Wayne Enterprises. Did this really need to be a grand gesture? It seems like something a hacker could do from his bedroom. Then Batman reveals himself after 8 years of absence, to give chase and he shows up with a big EMP gun that just happens to be handy and then a big police chase happens because Batman is blamed for the death of Harvey Dent. It gets really dramatic really quickly and it feels like something that should be going on later in the movie. But the movie has other boring plans for us and for no real reason Batman whips out his flying car way too early in a situation that doesn’t really warrant it. The movie is starting to misuse its grand gestures for moments that don’t mean anything. It’s also showing us it’s hand way to early. At this point, it’s time to start worrying.

The point of no return: When Alfred flat out gives Bruce the history of Bane and his ties to the League Of Shadows, the movie has given up on letting characters figure out big info on their own and gives up on dramatic revelations that make sense or logic dictating which character knows what info. It’s the ultimate example of not knowing what to do with the story. This was one of those movies you could talk about for hours and not hit the same beats twice. It feels like a completely different movie than the first two, made by a totally different guy trying to ape Nolan. It doesn’t seem like he was emotionally invested in it since he never had the balls to make the big motions. He kept trying to have his cake and eat it too. Talia was in it, but wasn’t. Ra’s came back, but didn’t. Robin was introduced, but wasn’t. It was so half assed, and compared to the home runs of the other movies, it kind of reached back to those first two and started eating away at their relevance. Thus proving the curse of the third superhero movie is still strong. I should be much madder that this movie was so botched. But one day, I’ll be in a video store and realize there is a live action Batman movie I don’t own, and that’s where I’ll have my real fit. Like the time I did that very thing and remembered that there is a solo Wolverine movie out there, and that it’s completely terrible. Someone hold me.

The writer, Steve Koren was kind of the biggest believers in the 90’s staple “Huge comedian in huge circumstances” genre of comedy. Making Jim Carrey a God. Giving Adam Sandler a remote that controls life. This time, he scrapes the bottom of the barrel and takes away Eddie Murphy’s inability to talk. Look, Eddie Murphy is in a major downward slump. But trying to make him Buster Keaton isn’t going to help him at all. Also, these movies always kind of position the main character to be kind of a jerk or blind to the blessings of life. But all this character did was not publish a guru’s 12 page book. Eddie plays an alright guy with a family who just didn’t want to move out of his nice house. And the guru wasn’t even exacting revenge, like in THINNER. This curse was an accident. So even if Eddie did publish his book, this still would have happened to him. The guru made it so a tree grew in Murphy’s backyard. For every word he said, a leaf fell off of it. And when the tree ran out of leaves, Murphy would die. What lesson does one learn from this? Don’t talk? Not speaking to your family would probably garner resentment? He wasn’t even a fast talking salesman or liar or bad guy at all. It was filmed in 2008 and released this year. They should have kept it in a vault.

I gave BATTLESHIP every benefit of the doubt. I don’t want to live in a world where overblown movies aren’t made out of board games and starring Rihanna. The year 2012 was the year of making Taylor Kitsch a star, and he made sure at every turn to remind us why he doesn’t deserve it. If you do anything, at least see the first 20 minutes of this movie because it has the phrase “chicken burrito” in it about 5 million times and features about 5 different beginnings for the same characters that seemed to be deleted scenes left in. I do appreciate things like the navy getting their radar blinded and randomly guessing the quadrants that the aliens are in and randomly firing to miss or hit. I appreciate that Turtle from ENTOURAGE is in the movie. But Kitsch is awful and the aliens look like the lead guy from Anthrax and Liam Neeson is hardly in it and they are so scared of repeating other invasion movies that they never get the balls to do their own thing. I can’t wait for people to shadow cast this movie in 10 years as a double feature with CLUE.

7. TED
I understand that TED is like the highest grossing comedy of all time. It’s because you people are fucking retarded. We live in a generation where everyone is rewarded and everybody is so busy clamoring to tell each other how special they are but what you people really need to be told how stupid you are in the hopes that you will be shamed into having a lick of sense. Shame can be a powerful tool. My parents used a good amount of shame in my upbringing and look at the confident young gentleman you see before you. You need to be embarrassed that you liked or laughed or enjoyed this movie in anyway or recommended it to a single human being or for one second publically let it be known that you harbor positive thoughts toward a derivative, lazy, offensively patronizing mess from the most powerful force against comedy of the last 20 years. Hosting the Oscars doesn’t legitimize the dark one. It just shows you how desperate the once glamorous Oscars are to have internet ‘loids retweet and .gif about their tired award show. Stop poisoning yourselves. You want dark and edgy? Watch OBSERVE AND REPORT. And why are people so excited when characters smoke or reference weed in movies and television? Like the mentions validate the lives they decided to devote to it to create some sort of identity for themselves. What do they care? I stopped getting excited at the Ninja Turtles mentioning pizza when I was 7. And is a bear smoking weed really that outrageous or hilarious? Have people gotten their fill of old people smoking weed and rapping because I don’t think I’m ready to give that up.


A rich testament to how the 80’s was the greatest decade of entertainment and how we don’t understand it well enough to replicate it. So much of entertainment these days is regurgitated 80’s fare because we have not come up with anything better in the last 20 years and refuse to try. When we try to remake things like TOTAL RECALL we realize how yellow bellied we are and take out anything interesting because the interesting stuff is batshit insane in the best possible way. The original was about a man who had dreams of Mars when trying to use the new fangled tech of engineered memories, his past came back to claim him. The new one is about a man who dreams of the other side of Earth and uses the new fangled tech of engineered memories to try to remember. It takes out Mars. Space. Aliens. Quattos. Heads blowing up. Big fat head disguises. It keeps the three boobs because studios think we’re stupid and that’s all we remember but it doesn’t make any sense in this new version because there aren’t any other mutants or aliens in the movie. There’s just a lot of platform jumping. A LOT of platform jumping. They boil it down to a bleak silver and black looking FROGGER and Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel are the prettiest lilypads in the pond. Fuck this movie. Don’t bother remaking Verhoven unless you’ve had at least a weeklong psychiatric lockdown in your lifetime or unless you’ve seen at least three family members murdered by being punched into a vat of machine guns that shoot knives.


From the marketing visionary that brought you The Teletubbies, brings three colorful blobs on a mission. The real story of Oogieloves isn’t the man vs. nature tale of people in search of lost treasures, but that this NINETY minute film, the likes of which should really only be played at 5am on TLC or some other cable channel high in the 500s where nobody can see it, played in 3000 theaters across this nation. With billboards and bus ads and mall banners papered town and town over. Someone threw an extraordinary amount of money into this endeavor under the sole theory that if something is in movie theaters, people will see it regardless of what it is. I’ve seen countless people go to the movie theater and not decide on what they are seeing until they are in line. This probably fueled the producers’ thinking. But with a title like that, who knows what they were thinking. The movie is about three kids celebrating a pillow’s birthday and when the absent minded vacuum loses the balloons for the party, they use their magic window lady to tell them where all the balloons flew off to. Along the way, they encounter a Cloris Leachman who lives in a tree, a Chazz Palmenteri who runs a milkshake shop. A Toni Braxton who can’t get her private plane to take off because there is a balloon in the tail. A Carey Elwes obsessed with bubbles and a Christopher Lloyd/Jamie Pressley duo who live in a flying sombrero. Pixar, you’re on notice.


Here’s where I would have complained about the fact that we got 4 Twilight movies in the time it took us to get one Batman movie, but we all saw how that turned out. This is the end. The perfect streak. Twilight has made every worst list for every year one came out. My main problem with the series always was that the rest of the movies were never as entertainingly bad as the first. They all got serious and the directors actually tried to do something with them. That was no fun. This is the closest it’s come to being a bit of fun since the first one. With lines like “You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness MONSTER?!” and a cgi baby that is the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen. The whole movie ends with a battle where Dakota Fanning gets her head ripped clean off her body and who doesn’t want to see that at Thanksgiving? Twlight’s reign on stupid shitty movies that tingle the females of our lives, young and old, may be over. But do not despair. 50 SHADES OF GREY has a home on this list in 2014.

3. HIT & RUN

 Why is Dax Shepard a thing? Is he really riding PUNK’D fame this far? Maybe it’s that he’s one of those pseudo celebrities that has stayed in enough guest houses and smarmed his way to warrant his actual famous friends helping him out by putting him in movies and making vanity projects? HIT & RUN is written and directed by Dax Shepard, Dax plays a ne’er do well who is dating Kristen Bell (His real life girlfriend. What?) and he ratted out Bradley Cooper bad guy who is out of jail now and wants to kill him. And there are big muscle cars and chases involved. This was all just a reason for Dax Shepard to race cars and do his own stunts. And Kristen Bell is in the car a lot for these stunts. What the fuck is she doing? If she wants to date an idiot I am right here. I will pretend to eat vegan and like puppies, just don’t leave me. DON’T LEAVE ME. Tom Arnold is a sidekick in this movie, who mastered the art of parlaying a rubbing elbows relationship with stars into a career in the 90’s. So in a way, Dax Shepard pays tribute to him. And himself. Never watch this ever.


I am pretty sure the first one made my list years ago. Remember the first one? It’s the kind of movies that make you long for the subtle nuance of the original GHOST RIDER that this list is made for. People know the Ghost Rider movies are bad and amount to as much stimulation as your average 9 year old’s rub on tattoo. At first you’re like “What the fuck?” and then you’re like “Oh. Who let’s that happen?” The first movie is a ridiculous farce the likes of which Nicolas Cage has made a rather infamous name for himself doing but this one is a snoozer. It takes place in Europe and there’s bad guys and then GHOST RIDER! And then he befriends a mom and her son, and then he pees fire and the whole time Nicolas Cage is reciting lines from what seems to be other movies completely, because nothing he says is coherent. The irony is that they pretty much made this movie for that one lonely, long haired fat dude who runs the one remaining Magic: The Gathering game in his town and is obsessed with objects that remain in constant flame and they fire piss all over his dreams. This isn’t the movie that even he wants to see, and as my pal Sean Richardson once said about SPEED RACER, “I love it when they make movies for nobody”. 

ANCHORMAN was a revelation to a young bushy haired youth who loved comedy. Gone were the days of TOMCATS and WHIPPED as the only kind of adult humor oriented movies marketed to youths. No longer did we have to stomach another slice of AMERICAN PIE whenever we wanted yuck it up with absurd and raunchy situations. The dawning of Apatow commenced and we have it pretty fucking lucky nowadays in terms of laffs. If it wasn’t for him, all your THIS IS 40 people that whine about the arguing and bickering would be enduring whatever Jake Busey/Sass Talking Puppet Beaver private eye strip club mystery Hollywood would be churning out right now. You are all spoiled brats and need to learn how to laugh at good things. Will Ferrell seemed to be a gift from the heavens but lo, mega success does not come without it’s array of failed ideas. Now when your remake of LAND OF THE LOST tanks, I don’t think you’ve spurned too many die hard fans who were really earnestly waiting for someone to finally do that story justice. I don’t think you’ve pissed too many people off by that point. But when a risky idea goes horribly wrong, the money in charge is most likely not going to want to take chances on any more risky ideas. That is the true tragedy of CASA DE MI PADRE, an idea from the guys who made ANCHORMAN for Will Ferrell to star in a feature length movie about. Honestly, this sketch has been done about a thousand times and I don’t think any of them were that great to begin with. What Will Ferrell wanted to do here is star in a Spanish soap opera type Western completely speaking Spanish with subtitles. People don’t want to read anything for starters. But we make exceptions for those foreigners who were not as blessed as we were to be taught English and brave it to experience the story in the most natural way possible. CASA DE MI PADRE does it just for fun. I don’t know where these guys come from, but listening to Spanish is not fun or funny. In fact, when my grandparents started speaking it, it meant someone was about to receive a life changing beating. They try to play it as straight as possible, thinking that just the idea that they are in a Spanish soap opera is enough to tickle your funny bone for 90 minutes. It is shot super grainy and all washed out so it gives you a headache on top of trying to be able to READ funny. I made this comment to people I saw the movie KLOWN with. The idea of comedy with subtitles is fundamentally flawed because so much of comedy is timing. And when you’re throwing it to the audience to read at their own pace, a lot gets lost in translation. Being that there was no funny to begin with, this movie STARTS out running on fumes. The inclusion of such prestigious Spanish speaking actors like Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are too nothing too late and add nothing towards the proceedings. This movie didn’t get a wide release. It really should have never been written or even thought up. I still think of the headache I had watching the bright tan of the color palate. I normally don’t like discouraging people from making their own choices, but life really is too short for movies like this.

Now that I’ve told you what the worst is, we can finally get to the BEST. But we’ve run out of time. Tune in next week for some of the Best Movie Type Things of 2012!

- D