Worst Films of 2012

I usually include my five least favorite films of the year at the bottom of my top 10 list but seeing as I will not be able to compile my top ten list this year until after January 10 (due to not having the opportunity to screen Zero Dark Thirty until then). For this reason I am going ahead with publishing them separately this year. I feel out of the loop slightly as most critics have already put forth their top 10 lists but these are the drawbacks of living in a small market where you don’t get The Silver Linings Playbook until Christmas Day. In clearing that up, I don’t like to seek out movies that I think will be horrible, or even bad. I try to look for redeeming qualities in each and every film I screen, and these are the few this year I just couldn’t really get over in seeing them as anything more than bad, or irritating or disappointing. There is most certainly a trend here as well. Only one of the films on this quick list is outside the genre of action. I didn’t get around to seeing many of the obvious choices such as The Apparition, Alex Cross, The Devil Inside or Piranha 3DD and I won't get ridiculous and make a list of movies that weren't everything I wanted them to be. Most films falling into that category were still decent films even if they didn't meet my personal expectations. Still, these five films, even with my sub par expectations, failed to be anything more than crud.

   5. Battleship

There were some that looked over Battleship as nothing more than fun, all over-the-top extravaganza and no brain, but it wasn't even fun for me, it was simply degrading. That would have to be the best word for it. Though I haven't revisited the film since seeing it the first time all I can remember thinking as I watched the horrible acting unfold was how could a studio really think they could get away with something like this? Even the most casual of cinema-goers seemed to pick up on their scheme here. There was no way a film adapted from a board game that gave no plausible plot to be extracted could turn out to be anything more than a money grab no matter how spectacular the special effects looked. Studios need to learn that to try to manipulate will never pay off, that it is the unexpected surprises (Pirates of the Caribbean) that will more times than not turn into your series-starters rather than the ones they seem to be banking on. Battleship only sunk Taylor Kitsch's career further in the wrong direction as well despite John Carter receiving more hate for its lack of box office return. I would rather watch John Carter over and over again before having to sit through Battleship again though. My full review here.

4. Red Dawn

Red Dawn is just bad. There is no way around it. Why there was felt a need to remake the original 1984 film starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen is beyond me but why this film sat on the shelf for over two years is easily explained if you watch even the first scene of this ridiculous movie. Sure, the studio can say it was held back to wait on the release of The Avengers so as to take advantage of the exposure Chris Hemsworth would receive and hopefully attract a bigger box office or there is also the argument that the original villains in the film were the Chinese but the studio changed it to North Korea so as not to displease anyone with the international release. All of this is irrelevant because no matter what was changed, who was starring in this first time director and long time stunt coordinator Dan Bradley doesn't have the skill to tell a coherent story or elicit anything but laughable performances from his cast. In my original review of the film I say, "The Wolverines as they are so cheesily called would become extinct very quickly. I can only hope the individual person sitting in the crowd watching this agrees with me rather than the collective group of young people believing this to be anything other than pure fiction." That the film carried on for as long as it has in theaters is a real concern and overhearing teenage boys applaud for this while dissing Lincoln is also upsetting while at the same time revealing while crap like this exists in the first place. My full review here.

3. Take This Waltz

Take This Waltz is the odd man out on this list. Never in a million years would I have expected to dislike a little indie charmer that stars Seth Rogen and Michelle Williams to boot. I really like Rogen and to his defense, he is the only agreeable thing about this movie. Still, I don't think I've ever seen Michelle Williams in anything where I didn't appreciate her work or find some type of sympathy or connection to her character, but I couldn't stand her leading lady, Margot in this Sarah Polley directed film. The film is trying so hard to be  a dissection of love and explore the conditions of such a complex emotion that in the end we are given such a narrow, cynical view of the topic that it is off-putting to anyone who's had it worse than Margot (and trust me, it wouldn't take much) and has bounced back. More than anything Margot comes off as a whiny, spoiled woman who hasn't matured enough to get over temptation or realize that what goes around comes around. It is inevitable that what happens between her and Lou (Rogen) will again happen to her and Daniel (Luke Kirby) who she so easily has an affair with while her husband does nothing wrong and commits no such need for Margot to feel alienated or unloved. It is a tough one to get through as well, slow in its pacing and flat out boring in its execution. The appeal of the cast may trick you into checking this out, but trust me when I say you are missing nothing but a bad experience. My full review here.

2. Taken 2

There will inevitably be a Taken 3 and whenever that sad excuse for making a ridiculous amount of money does come along it will likely be even more unnecessary and hopefully not as successful as this horrible sequel. It is hard to call anything Liam Nesson decides to do a complete waste of time, but the guy is now in two films in my bottom five (despite his bit part in Battleship being mostly forgotten). Neither of these will hurt his career or his legacy for that matter because for every bad movie he decides to be in he also puts out something like The Grey that makes you realize how commanding the man is. What hurt the most about Taken 2 though was how much brainless fun the first film was. It was an unexpected hit no doubt and has afforded Neeson ample opportunity that he would never have received otherwise, but to tarnish that films reputation by linking this hack job with it is just disgraceful. The plot is literally completely recycled from the first film with the minor adjustment of the wife being kidnapped rather than the daughter. Even more outlandish than that though is the fact the script asks us to believe these guys seeking revenge could believe they can detain Brian Mills for an extended amount of time without him escaping. Neeson is literally tied up for the first half of the film. If you're going to make a worthy sequel to an adrenaline rush of a film as the first Taken was than at least give your hero the opportunity to do his thing. My full review here.    

1. The Cold Light of Day

It might say something that three out of the five pictures included in this article feature a well known actor (or soon to be well known) toting a gun. each of them are equally brainless action films that don't have the fun factor to make up for their stupidity. Their is no sense of sarcasm in their execution, in fact most of them are trying to be dead serious which makes them all the more hilarious. The Cold Light of Day is the worst offender to this line of thought. You may not have even heard of the film as it was quietly released the first weekend of September aka the month where movies go to die. I originally had high hopes for September after the slate of films that came out during that month in 2011. In the end we did receive The Master, End of Watch and Looper this year, but I was hoping to really enjoy The Cold Light of Day if not for anything else than to get a glimpse at our up and coming Superman Henry Cavill. There were also good signs in that Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver had important roles and Willis otherwise was has had a fine year. Instead this delayed film ended up being nothing more than the epitome of generic. To give you a sense of how bad this film truly is my original review contained the sentence, "It's like serving crap to someone who's never had chocolate and telling them it's chocolate." Need more reason than that to avoid this mess? My full review here.

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