10. This Means War
The title might mean that, but this movie means nothing. Reese Witherspoon, who, when looking at her current resume, is the great sadomasochist of our time, plays Lauren, the dumbest female character of the year. She is being fought over by FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy).
Also, their in the CIA. That’s the premise, and now you can probably fill in the rest yourself. Save your $10.
9. Rock of Ages
No movie was more inert, dreary and lifeless this year – in other words, it didn’t rock at all. The plot (which actually has very little in common with the show it’s based on) mixes together strands of Footloose and Burlesque. Sherrie (Julianne Hough), just a small town girl and Drew (Diego Boneta), just a city boy, meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.
The two young leads are insufferable and talentless, but I guess their job – trying to hold the movie together – is a futile one. They are holding cardboard together with paper. And the supporting cast is laughable, with one role dumber than the next. You know something is off when a role played by Alec Baldwin should have gone to Stephen Baldwin, and when Catherine Zeta-Jones has less energy here than in Ocean’s Twelve. Oh, and also, Tom Cruise sings into Malin Åkerman’s anus.
8. Taken 2
Let me risk offending some people by divulging my dislike for the surprise hit and much-cherished original film, but compared to the sequel its cinema du jour. On a vacation with his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) and daughter (Maggie Grace), Liam Neeson's ex-CIA op, Bryan Mills, is kidnapped and held captive in Istanbul by murderous Albanians.
Director Olivier Megaton (the stupidest fake name for a director) shoots and edits close-proximity physical action that’s worse than blurry distortion. In short, this is another one of those sequels that seems to make perfect sense to the people who made it, but to no one else. In any event, I give this film a very high recommendation for all insomniacs.
7. The Lucky One
U.S. Marine Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) returns from Iraq, with the one thing he credits with keeping him alive – a photograph he found of a woman he doesn't even know.
There’s nothing overly horrible or deadly about Scott Hicks’ adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel per se, it’s just compulsively generic. It follows every teen-aimed romantic drama cliché – even those that were contrived in 1972 – as though they were Holy Scripture. From the ridiculous premise to the male-body worship to the evil ex-husband to the kooky mother/best friend. I have seen whole films that felt shorter than the last half-hour of this one.
6. Alex Cross
A disastrous attempt to revive a blockbuster publishing franchise, James Patterson’s Alex Cross crime novels, starring Tyler Perry. The result is bonkers.
Everyone (not just Perry) is miscast, the plot is pitiable, the dialogue risible. Most of the actors look bored, if not altogether ill-at-ease with the material presented to them. But they had it easy, it was me who had to sit and watch them.
5. Red Dawn
Ha ha! This was a joke, right?
4. Fun Size
A film that is no fun for the whole family! At any size. It’s the obligatory story of a young high school senior named Wren (Victoria Justice), who gets invited to the biggest Halloween party around – by the cool-kid who’s throwing it. But her mother assigned her to babysit her baby brother. Whatever will she do?
I don't dictate all high school (or middle school) comedies to contain brilliant and eloquent future masterminds of the nation. But I am appreciative when the movie at least concocts something interesting for them to do, or expresses identification with their real natures. The characters in Fun Size are shadows of shadows, thinned from innumerably better, even faintly better, movies. There was no purpose to make this movie, and no purpose to see it.
3. A Little Bit of Heaven
A Little Bit of Heaven is one of those movies that’s about a bunch supposedly everyday people yet they seem to lack any kind of human characteristics we recognize – such as the ability to walk and talk and think.
Kate Hudson stars as a carefree young woman who falls in love with her doctor after she's diagnosed with colon cancer. Oh, by the way, this is a comedy. For me, it was a little bit of hell. But I might have been the only person who saw it….so that’s good.
2. That’s My Boy
Uncouth, distasteful, mean-spirited and most belligerent of all: not funny. The most offensive film of the year was without a doubt That’s My Boy. While still in his teens, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent up until Todd's 18th birthday. Now, after not seeing each other for years, Todd's world comes crashing down on the eve of his wedding when an uninvited Donny suddenly shows up.
To clarify, there is nothing wrong with making comedy out of forbidden topics. But comedy must be part of that equation. Merely presenting horrendous circumstances — fat strippers, dumb prostitutes, horny old people — is not, alone, funny. One would think after this many years that Mr Sandler and his associates would understand this. Did I mention the movie is 116 minutes long?
1. Playing for Keeps
If, as the old proverb goes, a camel is a horse designed by committee, then Playing for Keeps was designed by the camel. A former soccer player (Gerard Butler) agrees to coach his son's soccer team in an attempt to become a better father, yet still finds time to bed an array of beautiful soccer-moms.
It’s hard to believe a movie like 300 can allow an actor to coast through fame for this long. Not that I mean to blame all the loathsomeness of my No. 1 Worst Film of 2012 on one actor, and his choices. Every actor in Playing for Keeps (which includes such high talents as Uma Thurman, Dennis Quaid, Judy Greer and Catherine Zeta-Jones…..again) should fire their agents for having recommended this horrid, risible script. I have chosen Playing for Keeps as my top bottom film not because it’s as offensive as That’s My Boy or as artistically evil as Red Dawn or as aggressively stupid as This Means War, it’s just astonishingly inept. My jaw was consistently on the floor throughout this movie, never quite believing the abundance of simple, easy mistakes made by every department from every angle. It is a film of utter incompetence, pure and simple.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Act of Valor
The Devil Inside
Hit and Run
The Hunger Games
One for the Money
One for the Money
Peace, Love and Misunderstanding