Here are Ten Movies I Had the Misfortune of Seeing This Year
2012 was such a great year for film that it was several months before I had seen enough truly badmovies to make a worst-of-list. But fear not, dear readers, because they were there, like festering blisters, rearing their ugly heads as they do every year. The good news is that out of 83 films I saw this year, only 12 were really bad enough to make this list of 10 (you escaped by the skin of your teeth, Judd Apatow!). The bad news is that I still had to watch these ten movies. But that’s okay, because my suffering through these films may ensure that you never have to.
One caveat: there were plenty of obvious stinkers that I knew better than to even bother with. I didn’t see Battleship, The Raven, 2016: Obama’s America, Last Ounce of Courage, or any number of other obviously terrible movies. This list represents the dregs of what I did see this year.
So here are my ten turds of twenty-twelve:
10. American Reunion
American Reunion betrays everything that made the original American Pie trilogy great, and should have been another one of the disposable direct-to-video spin-offs with a different cast (except for Eugene Levy, who will apparently appear in anything these days). It’s like an American Pie fan film made by someone who doesn’t understand anything about the characters. The original three movies were all about coming-of-age, growing up, and making difficult life transitions. Each film saw the characters progressing through a new stage of life, coming out as better people in the end than they were at the start, not only within the individual films, but throughout the entire trilogy. Even perennial man-child Stiffler had learned how to be an adult by the end of American Wedding. But American Reunion is just a big fat reset button on all the characters, emphasizing in the broadest strokes possible a less-than-cursory understanding of what makes them tick as stereotypes, and completely missing everything that made them special to begin with. I want to wipe this movie out of existence. The only reason it’s not #1 on my list for sheer offensiveness is because at the very least it (intentionally) made me laugh, which is more than I can say for any of these other movies.
Overlong, over-indulgent, and overstuffed, Flight is a masturbatory mess of a movie, and even preachier than the #1 movie on this list. At least that movie doesn’t try too terribly to proselytize you, which is more than I can say for this calamity. Flight is the most compelling evidence I’ve seen for why Robert Zemeckis has spent the last decade making motion-capture films instead of live-action.
This is a movie I had high hopes for. But Dredd turned out to be dreddfully boring, both as a movie and as a sci-fi comic book adaptation; so much so that even though I’ve never seen the much-maligned Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd movie from the 90’s, I can’t imagine it being any worse than this. At the very least I would hope it wouldn’t be duller than dirt, which is more than I can say for this movie. It’s basically a sci-fi remake of The Raid, but with none of the ass-kicking awesomeness. Pass.
7. Resident Evil: Retribution
The fifth Resident Evil movie should have been a slam-dunk for writer-director Paul W.S. Anderson, following up the best Resident Evil film since the original. Instead, it succumbs to the worst in video-game filmmaking and isn’t so much a movie as it is watching Anderson play a videogame and not sharing the controller with you. One of my biggest disappointments of the year.
6. Sound of My Voice
Sound of My Voice sounds a lot like a wet fart in the wind. Or maybe crickets. The movie has one compelling and intriguing character (the “sound of” whose “voice” is what the title refers to), but we spend far too little time with her in favour of our two completely uninteresting main characters, whose story we don’t care about because we don’t care about them. Sound of My Voice could be a good movie if it didn’t completely bury the lead.
5. Beyond the Black Rainbow
Beyond the Black Rainbow feels about as long as a trip beyond an actual black rainbow would take. I have to give director Panos Cosmatos credit for creating something incredibly strange that also manages to be incredibly dull. It meanders along like it has all the time in the world and it feels like it takes all the time in the world to get anywhere. And once it gets there, you have no idea where it’s even gotten to.
Deadfall feels like it were written by a high-school freshman creative writing student. Whereas Miami Connection, another movie that feels like it could have been written by a child, has a childlike sense of wonder that propels it into something great, Deadfall is just stupid.
3. Bad Ass
This is one I caught on Netflix instant, and somehow managed not to shut off halfway through, but only so I could include it on this list. Bad Ass is not badass in the slightest. It’s amateur hour all around, not just with high-school level writing, like Deadfall, but also with high-school level directing and acting. There’s not much else to say about this clunker other than this is the dark side of the digital democratization of filmmaking.
2. The House at the End of the Street
This should have been called The House That Puts You to Sleep. Interminably long and terminally boring, the only thing that kept this from being a Lifetime movie-of-the-week is star Jennifer Lawrence, who I’m sure regrets making this film. She starred in House before she even got her big break in 2010’s Winter’s Bone (It’s been sitting on the shelf that long), before joining the cast of the wonderful X-Men: First Class in 2011, and finally becoming a movie star in 2012 with The Hunger Games. House at the End of the Street is a safe-for-tweens “horror” film that isn’t remotely scary in the least (seriously; I’ve seen episodes of Goosebumps that were scarier than this movie). If I had seen this on Netflix I would have shut it off within half an hour. Avoid at all costs.
1. Blue Like Jazz
I really wanted to like Blue Like Jazz, and I could tell that the filmmakers really wanted to make a great movie. Unfortunately, neither of us got what we wanted. Blue Like Jazz is the greatest failure of the year, failing spectacularly on nearly every level. As a Christian movie that is trying very hard not to be a Christian movie, it fails completely and totally. It fails at not being preachy (the film is very much preachy, albeit unintentionally so) and it fails to serve The Gospel, simply by being bad art. As an independent film, it fails to distinguish itself in any positive way, and stumbles blindly into nearly every predictable and stereotypical indie pitfall. As an artistic endeavor, it fails with flying colours. As a narrative, it fails to create any memorable characters or to make us care about them in any way. It fails to deliver any sense of verisimilitude or honesty. It fails to live up to the talents of director Steve Taylor, who would do better to go back to his day job as a C. It fails to even exist in the same ballpark as the paradigm-changing book upon which it was based. During parts of the movie, it fails to even make any sense at all. Blue Like Jazz is simply an EPIC FAIL on all counts.
So, there you have it, ZekeFans: The worst movies I saw this year. I hope you fared better than the likes of these.