It’s time once again to let you know just how low I go when it comes to the pictures. In 2013, these are the depths I went to bring you an entertaining viewpoint from some pure and utter crap.
10. AFTER EARTH
M. Night Shymalan must have found a monkey’s paw with about a dozen fingers on it, because despite 7 years and 4 films worth of failure, studios keep giving the old boy a chance at delivering another chin scratching blockbuster. This time, he had some Big Willie Style in his corner with now one but TWO hit making Smiths. Will Smith after a long hiatus made a decent return to popcorn fun with last summer’s MEN IN BLACK 3 and his little boy whom he named after his wife, Jaden somehow made a hit out of a remake of THE KARATE KID, so they were both in good standing with audiences before Night got to them and now who knows what will happen to them. Let me see what I can remember from last May. So there is a future world where animals smell fear and Jaden is a huge pussy just because he watched his sister get killed by a cgi tiger while he was kept safe in a glass no smell bubble. WHAT A WIMP. His father is an emotionless war hero and takes his son back to the polluted garbage Earth to find a something or maybe they crash land because Will Smith ends up stuck in the ship for the whole movie while Jaden squeaks through the adventure of the After Earth, learning not to give off fear smell so he can kill the fight beasts. Even with everything I just said, the movie still manages to be miraculously boring. Leaving so much goof potential on the table. Night has also forgotten to write dialogue that human beings can say. It’s kind of funny that this whole thing was designed to be a franchise with movies, tv and a book series to lull children around the world to sleep so their parents could have a moment to think a single thought for once in their now miserable lives. Oh, well parents. Gonna have to lean on Ritalin for just a little bit longer.
9. ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW
A film that was secretly filmed in not just Disneyland but also Walt Disney World theme parks, filmed so well that it looked like they got full permission to do so with the shots they managed to get but in the hurry to seem like little sneaky petes, they forgot to write a story so they very likely just made everything up as the cameras rolled because the result was an incomprehensible embarrassment that wasn’t much more entertaining than some 8th grader’s first cam corder snuff film. Made much more frustrating by the missed opportunity of making a movie in the most famous amusement parks in the world with any sort of interesting thing about it, and the realization that probably nobody will ever get this chance again.
8. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
I guess it’s a lot to ask for five movies in a row to be good, but I’m not entirely sure it’s the fault of franchise fatigue. Having watched the first Christmas classic recently, it’s so disheartening to see Bruce Willis at his prime and see the one that stars in seven movies a year now. I think a lot of it has to do with Bruno’s complete lack of interest in being the wise cracking everyman anymore. The John McClane in this movie is visiting his son in Russia (cinematically, and scientifically, the most boring country in the world) and he gets caught in yet another terrorist scheme but this time, the McClane boys get to battle it out together, and sometimes THEY BATTLE THEMSELVES, TOO. But really, even the fish out of water element they could have done here wouldn’t have been able to save it. McClane stayed in America and whoever Willis was playing in this movie wasn’t even a cool grandpa.
Not even as entertaining as Jay Jay The Jetplane, the preschool targeted cartoon that used to air on TLC that kept the lonely hour of 4am not so lonely for this dude. Set in the world of Cars, but something Pixar had no interest in making, we FINALLY get to see what all the planes were up to while Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater were hogging the spotlight. The main plane is voiced by Dane (!) Cook and is a crop duster but in his heart, just wants to race. Stacey Keach plays the old veteran racer that got his friends killed or something and vowed never to race again so they didn’t even bother changing the CARS storyline too dramatically. The rest of the voice cast includes Teri Hatcher, a cameo from the Top Gun cast members that aren’t Tom Cruise and Sinbad himself. So I can appreciate how this is a bizarro version of CARS from a nether universe where all Pixar movies were direct to video but I live in this dimension where it’s a piece of crap.
6. ENDER’S GAME
No more adapting teen fiction please. It’s getting much to painful to care about the allegory of fighting aliens with lasers and how it relates to getting hair on your parts. This one suffers from STUDIO 60itus though in that it hypes itself and the characters so much that the result can’t not be a hilarious joke. Also, seeing a bunch of doughy pre-pubescent faces in IMAX is not ideal.
5. WARM BODIES
I’m not even sure this is even an interesting idea, this girl falling in love with a zombie thing. Sure she can fall in love with a vampire, by stretch a mummy and maybe even a frankenstien. But zombies are pushing it. And I still don’t see why zombies are that interesting anyway. But to America, they are, and that’s why we get WARMS BODIES. Once in awhile, a comedy comes along and you’ve sat there for at least 15 to 20 minutes and you realized that you haven’t laughed once. Not because you’re being a snob, but because the movie literally hasn’t attempted to make a joke or introduce a funny situation once. I call it DARK SHADOWS syndrome because funny trailers mixed with this 15 to 20 minute lag can lead to some very dangerous follow through that will include naps, checking of watches and wondering if you just leave now, maybe you can catch some SEINFELD reruns before bed.
Having just rewatched RISE OF THE GUARDIANS, THE CROODS and recollecting how shocking it was that future FRANCES HA writer, Noah Baumbach made the third MADAGASCAR movie decent, it’s a real shame what TURBO does to us. A fucking snail that just wants to race and gets drowned in some Fast and Furious juice and gets a magic shell that makes him go fast. Fine, I can’t wait for the dramatic arc to make me weep. Ryan Reynolds snail, ok, I guess. And then they let the snail compete in the Indy 500, okay I’m pretty sure this is against some sort of rule. You at least need a car to race in the car race, right? Do we really blame the villain race car driver for not wanting to lose to a FUCKING SNAIL? Dreamworks partnership with China probably lead to a lot of smooth transition when making KUNG FU PANDA, but the handling of Mexicans and their fascination with the big metal vroom vrooms was pretty surprising for a cartoon. Also, they ape CARS even harder than PLANES for the final act. I guess we can spot Dreamworks a mulligan every once in awhile.
3. THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
Ben Stiller desperately wants to be taken seriously and he kind of ruined this movie in order to further this agenda. Original take is an ordinary guy who gets lost in his daydreams and that has the potential for many cool action set pieces with an array of comedic talent. But in this, he changed it to a guy that day dreams for a bit and then goes on an actual adventure in search of a picture from a dick photographer that can’t follow layout protocol. I get that Mitty finally got to live the adventures he always had in his head, but playing soccer with a bunch of brown people and skateboarding down a mountain is pretentious insurance commercial bullshit. Kristen Wiig gets to play the girl he pines for, and even though Walter does all that stuff for her, her feelings for him stay pretty much the same. What a waste of a lady. And every song that has shown up in an inspiring cellphone ad shows up in this because Stiller hasn’t heard a song since creating the REALITY BITES soundtrack. Long and unfunny and I never want us to speak of this again.
2. FREE BIRDS
We’ve been having quite a few years with animation lately. It’s often been surpassing the live action movies for action, humor and story. Doing what can’t be done in the real world but still being seen as a kiddie venue. FREE BIRDS does animation no favors and highlights just how much crap has the opportunity to be made after a few successes in the medium. The story is of a turkey that gets pardoned by the President and then recruited by these turkey renegades to go back in time and stop Thanksgiving from ever including turkey. First of all, I am not behind this endeavor at all, and b, why are you trying to ruin Thanksgiving, FREE BIRDS? Why are you taking advantage of the lack of Thanksgiving themed movies and fooling me into seeing you? Why are you wasting Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson’s time when they could be voicing Dreamworks non-mexican characters? Why did the marketing make such a big deal out of this being the first movie Chuck E. Cheese deemed acceptable enough to feature their pizza in? Hey, guess what food replaced turkey in the new Thanksgiving timeline? Fuck you, FREE BIRDS.
1. A HAUNTED HOUSE
Luckily for me, the first movie I saw of 2013 was the worst, getting that over with right quick. Marlon Wayans, wanting to keep his family’s once powerful strangle hold on parodying scary movies, set off on his own to create this mostly parody of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. Along the way, he also gave it to most of Screen Gems January releases of the last few years (Actually, JANUARY MOVIE would be a pretty good parody if you’re me and two other people). It wasn’t long into this movie that I realized I was in for a doozy and to it’s credit, it did make me laugh exactly once, but when I witnessed a full 3 minutes of Marlon Wayans fucking a stuffed animal I knew in my heart that this movie, first out of the gate, was the worst thing I will see this year.
Coming next: The top 25 in all of its glory. Stay Tuned