Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Worst Movies of 2011

So now that 2011 is quite truly dead, let's remember the year that has passed.  Last year I didn't do a 'Worst Of' countdown, though easily I could have, trust me.  But 2011 just seemed special because, man, there were a lot of shitty movies this year.  I didn't see all of them, its impossible for me to see every movie.  It was the real critics that suffered this year.  You got to admit, when you have to sit through things like "The Smurfs", and then have to write a whole review about it, that's a hard job.  That's brutal.  They don't get paid enough.  There are plenty of movies I see every year that I don't review, because it would just be too much of a pain in the ass to be entertaining while talking about such mediocrity.

I, luckily, only ever have to see and review the movies I want to.  But even then, I managed to see nine whole horrible movies that have each made me a more unhappy person, a more sad person.  However, I probably would have committed suicide if I had to see every movie.  I mean, 2011 was the year that brought us such gems as "Bucky Larson:  Born to be a Star", and "Jack and Jill"*.  We got "Alvin and the Chipmunks 3", "The Zookeeper", and "Spy Kids 4".  Ouch, man.  Hollywood, what is the matter with you?  By the way, readers, there's a pattern here:  all of these movies are stupid comedies.  2011 was the crowning year for bad awful comedies made for retards, retards both adult and child-sized.  If you're getting ready to be offended because I said 'retard', let me explain my special definition of retard for you:  if you're a person who saw the trailer for "Jack and Jill" and said to yourself 'wow, that looks like a funny movie!', then you are a retard.  You're not mentally retarded, you're creatively retarded.  You are unambitious in your choice of entertainment, you do nothing but the same old thing every day, and your empty life makes me sad.

I know the proper etiquette for any list is to include a mentally pleasing number of items like ten or twenty, but this time I only could find nine movies I really hated enough to list here.  I searched far and wide for #10, looking at such disappointments as "Priest", "Thor", "Captain America", and "Sanctum", before finally giving up.  Nine is the number you're getting:

9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - I feel bad putting this movie on this list because just about everybody on Earth whose opinions on movies I trust loved it.  Its unprecedented for me, personally.  Like, I understand the critical establishment loving "The Tree of Life"**, but I don't understand "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  I hated it, my friend hated it, we were miserable watching this thing.  I get the feeling I'm missing something here, something fundamental.  I probably would have liked this one a lot more if I hadn't read the book and spoiled the mystery, but the mystery was never all that great to begin with.  It was a mediocre book all in all, and a dreary BORING movie.  "Dragon Tattoo" is at least an hour too long, with half the movie being semi-bored characters flipping through archives and talking about minor details of a crime mystery.  There's truly horrifying rape scene, a great revenge scene, and that's about it.  Here's the real problem with "Dragon Tattoo":  David Lynch should have directed it.  He could have brought a weird playful twist to the entire film, instead of David Fincher's dead atmosphere.

Out of respect for the idea that I'm actually a blistering moron who can no longer appreciate good cinema, I'll put this at the top of the list.

8. Twilight 4 - This is more of an honorable mention than anything else.  I loved this movie, to be honest, and its going to make it onto my 'Best Of' list for being so wonderfully entertaining.  But its still a 'Twilight' movie, the acting is still all over the place, the storyline is still ridiculous.  By all regular standards of a movie, this is a disaster.  However, I've made this clear repeatedly, really bad movies can be a lot of fun, especially the ones that are hilariously awful.  And "Twilight 4" is just about perfect if you're looking for a bad movie to chuckle at.  Its the 'best worst movie', definitely the only movie on this list that I would recommend for anybody, but its still bad.  Really bad.  The worst of the worst, and I love it.

7. Another Earth - "Another Earth" is the most dreary movie of the year.  While "Dragon Tattoo" was pretty cold and had extremely unhappy characters, it at least gave me something to smile at every so often.  There is no humor at all in "Another Earth", being a sad art movie about a girl falling in love with the man whose family she killed in a hit and run.  Usually I wouldn't have seen a movie like that at all, I know to avoid miserable art films - I didn't see Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" for a reason.  But "Another Earth" promised a doppelganger story about two Earths, with the main character finally meeting her alternate universe double.  After what feels like three hours of bitter drama, that does actually happen... followed immediately by credits.  You get no further details on that plot point.  Biggest cock tease of a movie ever.  The movie I wanted to see was exactly the issue that the filmmakers had no interest in.  Why make a SciFi movie at all if you're simply going to ignore the SciFi elements?

6. Cars 2 - Okay, "Cars 2" isn't actually that bad of a movie on its own merits.  However, the clear failure of this movie is magnified infinitely thanks to "Cars 2" being the most lazy and unpleasant movie that animation masters, Pixar has ever made.  Pixar could make any movie they want, on any subject, no matter what.  They could probably get away with making a porn movie for kids at this point.  Their artistic canvas is completely unlimited.  And they made this instead.  We could have been watching the next "Toy Story 3" or the next "WALL-E", instead they created a worthless movie starring Larry the motherfucking Cable Guy for money.  Pixar betrayed us all, making exactly the kind of movie they have promised repeatedly over the years that they would never make:  a cash in.  "Cars 2" is a cash-in.  When the DreamWorks rival movie, "Kung-Fu Panda 2", a movie every bit the lazy cash-in as "Cars 2" is better in just about every way, that's sad.  That's pathetic.  I'm putting "Cars 2" on this list as a warning for Pixar.  This movie isn't simply mediocre or subpar, its a total failure.  This is a movie for retards, and Pixar should be able to do better than that.

And this movie made my Lil Bro cry at the end.  You get special hate for that.

5. In Time - "In Time" gets a special mention on this list for inspiring me to write what I suspect is my most thorough movie review yet for a film that isn't 'Twilight'.  On the surface, "In Time" is simply a mediocre SciFi thriller starring Justin Timberlake and my dearly beloved Amanda Seyfried in a wig I really liked.  But its premise turned out to be so poorly thought-out so incredibly stupid that it needs a special mention here.  Me and my friends had a good laugh just trying to figure out the premise, it was so ridiculous.  This movie was long, idiotic, and nobody nobody seemed to notice the downright embarrassing failures in basic, common sense economics.  I'm no Business Major, but even to me, nothing about this movie's premise makes any sense.  It was hilarious.  "In Time" is so stupid that the villains cannot even figure out the simplest tasks to defeat Justin Timberlake:  like hiring a security guard or giving the police walkie-talkies.

Yeah, movies like "J. Edgar" are less fun to watch and other movies on this list are less entertaining.  But "In Time" was obviously a movie that nobody gave much thought to, made all the more embarrassing because it was trying to make some kind of commentary on class warfare... and failed.  It failed bad.  Any movie that manages to be this monumentally stupid much be represented on the 'Worst Of' list.  And of course, it just wasn't a very good movie at all, being entirely mediocre with an incoherent plot.

4. Sucker Punch - Here is where the list gets really bad.  There are a few pretentious movies here, but only "Sucker Punch" managed to fool no one.  Can you believe that such a slummy fetishistic movie was actually reported by director Zack Snyder to be about female empowerment?  Cue the laughter.  "Sucker Punch" at least on the surface claims to be about the escapism fantasies of a girl trapped in either a corrupt mental asylum or a Twenties bordello.  But all of her fantasies are obviously a Frankenstein-esque patch up of nerd pandering genres like anime, video games, and god-knows what else.  These aren't the character's fantasies, they're Zack Synder's!  Worse, this movie is just plain terrible in about every way, the acting is awful, the action scenes are too ridiculous to take seriously, and the entire thing is a waste.

The worst detail, however, is the movie's entire concept.  Because every single one of the action scenes are just fantasies, you never really get any reason to care.  Even if the characters were to lose in their implausible battles against WWI zombies, it doesn't matter because none of it is real.  You're left horribly bored during the scenes that on paper sound incredibly awesome:  like big action scenes with dragons and space trains and whatever.  "Sucker Punch" is the only movie of the year that managed to be less interesting than the empty chair to my left.  This should have been a movie that I loved, or at least was entertaining in its pure silliness.  Instead, I liked the chair more.  By the way, that chair was amazing, it had this diagonal patchwork pattern of all the colors of the rainbow.  We had blues and reds and purples and greens, its was beautiful.  Zack Synder should make a movie about that chair instead of his masturbation fantasies.

3. Green Lantern - Oh boy...  You knew this one was going to make it, didn't you?  Few movies have made such a singularly negative impact on me than "Green Lantern", the single most embarrassing mess of a superhero film that I have ever seen.

"Green Lantern" is a once-in-a-lifetime film experience.  Its the only time you'll ever see a movie where every working on it, from writing to director to CG wizards to actors, did not care.  This was a movie that nobody believed in, nobody loved, and it shows.  Ryan Reynolds gives his most obnoxious performance yet as a completely unconvincing hero.  He plays an awful douchebag in what I think is supposed to be a male escapism fantasy.  Well, if Hal Jordan's life is what all men strive for, then I'm glad their dreams are ruined, because this 'Superhero' proves to be the most despicable person in his own movie.  He uses women, he crashes massively expensive fighter planes, he quits being a Superhero over and over again.  Meanwhile, the villain is a loser nerd played by a very playful Peter Sarsgaard, who is unsurprisingly the most loveable character in the movie.  Oh wait, he was the villain?  Who wrote this shit?  Aren't comic book fans mostly nerds, who is this movie trying to pander to?  Why is the other big villain, Sinestro, played by Mark Strong, the only man in this entire production who actually seems to care?

This is a movie where nothing works, not even the special effects.  Mountains of money were spent on effects that look so friggin bad.  It is a catastrophic disaster of a movie, the worst Superhero film I've ever seen.

2. Transformers 3 - Yeah, I saw it.  My only excuse is that I didn't spend money on it.  Michael Bay doesn't need a single dollar more.  I didn't review "Transformers 3" because I had no interest in ranting like a lunatic for what would probably have been seven novels worth of text.  There are no amount of words in this world that can possibly fill up the sheer volume of hatred I have for Michael Bay's Transformers series.

Most of the movies I listed above are failures.  The creators had a vision for a film, and it didn't quite work out for some reason or another.  "Green Lantern" is the greatest failure of them all this year.  But "Transformers 3" is a movie that is expertly made by a brilliant filmmaker.  It is a movie that was crafted by a master, every detail working exactly as planned.  And that's what makes Transformers so horrible.  I mentioned movies for retards earlier, well, look no further than this.  This is the top of the heap, the No. 1 retard film.  Even in "Green Lantern" I found a character or two to like, that's not the case with "Transformers 3".  There is nothing to like here, it is a movie made to be so loud, so stupid, and so explosive that all a retard can do is glaze his eyes over and clap his hands in the wonderment of it all.  But I am a person with a brain, I enjoy the art of cinema, and there is nothing to like here.

Every human character is a comic relief.  And that's bad enough.  Its a world full of mincing caricatures that do not even begin to approach real humanity or real comedy.  For a movie so full of gags, its never funny.  Only a retard could find such things humorous.  All the robots are psychopaths with no sense of morals.  Optimus Prime - the hero supposedly - ruthless executes a prisoner at the end of the movie, and the crowd is supposed to cheer.  In stark contrast a villain does the same thing twenty minutes earlier, and the crowd is supposed to boo.  For a movie so full of action scenes, it has no thrills.  Every woman is a supermodel existing only to show off sexual characteristics.  For a movie so full of hot chicks, its never arousing.  Some movies can be funny and entertaining and sexy and still have all the proper ingredients of a good story with characters you care about.  "Transformers 3" is none of those things, its nothing at all.  You're only fooling yourself if you think you like it.  If you want a fun, awesome movie that can do all those things, watch "Drive".

"Transformers 3" is a bad fast food product.  Its like eating a burger that's been in the deep fryer for two weeks.  Yeah, its greasy and salty and has all the artificial ingredients that some people would call delicious.  And guess what happens when you take a bite into it?  It sits in your stomach for a few hours, the grease boils your insides, and you puke it out.  Michael Bay isn't a storyteller, he doesn't make characters, and he can't direct anything more than a pretty shot.  He feeds on the willful ignorance of morons.  And if you enjoyed "Transformers 3", then I doubt anything I've ever said has made any sense to you.  I don't see much reason for you to keep on reading.

1. The Tree of Life - Now some people might be horrified to see what is repeatedly hailed as one of the best movies of the year on this list.  Some of them might be appalled to see "The Tree of Life" right next to the despised "Transformers 3", but these two movies belong together.  Terrence Malick and Michael Bay have more in common than either would ever care to admit.  They're both directors who in 2011 made movies that made mockeries of the concept of characters and emotions and meaningful dialog.  In the sense that "Transformers 3" was an auteur filmmaker bringing his deranged vision to the screen, it was a perfect art house film.  Neither director can be bothered to tell much of a story and the concept of following a plot seems to be nothing but an annoyance to both.  These are directors who don't like making movies, I feel, but they do enjoy explosions, montages, or pretty pictures.  You could make a movie with those elements, you can make really good movies with those elements, but if that's all you have, the movie will be an untold disaster.

Yeah, Terry Malice would never put bad high school jokes and racist characters into his movies, but neither would Michael Bay put in slow boring montages of characters growing up in his movie.  They're roughly equal in how little they speak to me.  However, Michael Bay's creation is a celebration of pure stupidity, meaning that its at least designed to keep an audience entertained.  "Tree of Life" has no such ambition.  Terry doesn't care about any other human being then himself, he can't even be bothered to try to entertain, and his film is torturous.  For being the single most boring movie ever made in the history of cinema, "The Tree of Life" is hereby crowned the Worst Movie of 2011.

But is it the Worst Movie Ever?  That's a special place in my heart.  Previously my go-to answer for the worst movie I ever saw was "Southland Tales", Richard Kelly's catastrophic 2006 arthouse epic of previously hot-button political issues and failed sketch comedy actors.  It was a movie that didn't even pretend to make sense.  But as bad as "Southland Tales" was, it was so weird in the end that it was almost kind of fun.  I have never had less fun than when I saw "The Tree of Life".  There is no movie less enjoyable.

"The Tree of Life" isn't a movie, I've made this point repeatedly.  Its very beautiful in its own way, but so is Michael Bay's Transformer series (at times).  Its a lovely series of pictures.  There are a lot of shots in this movie I really like, some of which I'd put up on a wall in my house to admire.  But that still doesn't make a movie.  And even then, the entire "experience" is two and a half hours long.  If every shot in this movie were a picture in a museum, no museum on Earth would have enough room to fill Terry's egotism.  I wish it were a photo montage, that way it would rightfully be cut down into a manageable whole.  No museum would give this man the space that the film format gives him.  How long are you supposed to sit around looking at this stuff?  This movie has one trick, very good cinematography.  Even if it was the best cinematography on the face of the Earth, it would get boring after awhile.  You can't make a movie about just one element, you need a story, you need characters.

And the special message of the movie isn't even all that deep or difficult to comprehend.  The first and last monologues give away the entire message:  there are two ways to go through life, either selfishly demand more, or selflessly accept what you have and bring joy.  The other thing is that every life is framed by the positives and negatives of your parents.  As for the entire space montage and the dinosaurs and the weirdness with Sean Penn, its all unnecessary for the movie.  Terry Malice put it in to look deep and confuse people.

You might miss that message because the monologues are in whispers, so even if you're trying to listen in its almost impossible.  Also, there's almost no dialog in the entire movie, and maybe three or four scenes, so you're entirely left disconnected from the characters.  You may not know this, but the way most human beings connect with each other is through talking.  So when the movie characters never talk, they remain strangers to you forever.  I know long scenes of characters not talking is more "artistic" or whatever, but it just makes the movie worse.

In my review, I guessed this movie was a lazy indulgence on Terry's part, because he just didn't want to make a movie.  I've since learned from none other than MovieBob himself (thanks!) and from disgruntled reports from Sean Penn that the movie actually was written and shot like a real movie.  Only later did Terry go back and chop it into little bits, mix the scenes together, and leave us with the longest continuous montage in all of history.  Sean Penn was left pissed, because his role, which originally was the main character, was cut out.  All that's left are odd shots of him looking confused.  You have to feel bad for an actor that signed onto a project to be the lead, and is left with maybe ten minutes of screentime all in all.  You also have to feel bad knowing that "The Tree of Life" could have been a real movie, maybe even a really good movie.

But that's gone forever now.  All that's left with is this:  the world's biggest turd.  There have been bad movies made, there always will be bad movies.  But you can enjoy them, if purely on the basis that its funny to see somebody fail so badly.  Bad movies are a lot of fun that way.  "The Tree of Life" did exactly what it wanted to, and the result is horrifying.  A nightmare of self-indulgence and semi-coherent poetic ramblings of the greatest scale.  The Worst Movie Ever Made.

* According to Red Letter Media, "Jack and Jill" is in fact the worst movie ever made.

** By the way, I'd like to point out the irony here.  The established sacred cows of the film discussion world all absolutely love a radical departure from the fundamentals of cinema with "The Tree of Life".  And I'm the conservative here pointing out that their Emperor has no cloths.  "The Tree of Life" isn't as advant-garde as it thinks it is if every single critic feels an obligation to love it.  Maybe the 21st century definition of art just means something that the average person on the street will instantly be unimpressed with.


  1. You actually decided to see both Transformers 3 AND Twilight 4 within the same year?!?! That takes balls of steel, man. Respect.

  2. I actually liked TF3, for the sake of amusement.

    fun fact, amusement in latin means "to not think" and thats basically what I did during TF3! I watched it for the action scenes and thats it, the only moment I stopped being amused was at the end where Opty murders Megatron in Cold Blood. like an asshole he is.

    I have a random theory TF3 will actually be a good thought provoking narrative bringing up the points on how the heroes and villains are Not So Different.
    Tree of Life, sounds like torture,

  3. @Anon: Well, this is why I don't think "Transformers 3" is good for anybody. You can find a million good action movies. Heck, I can show you a few good giant robot action movies. But they don't require you to sit through an hour and a half of stupid banter and bad jokes. And in those action movies, you actually care about the characters.

    "Transformers 3" is a movie that encourages people to not think. And that's its worst sin.

  4. Wall-E barely had any dialouge for the first half, you liked that.

  5. @Other Anon: It certainly did have dialog. Just not spoken English dialog. WALL-E immediately connects himself to the audience and his thoughts and motivations are easily understood through simple body language and little robotic beeps and boops. In fact, "WALL-E"'s script is written like a normal script with regular lines behind all of the character's expressions.

    "The Tree of Life" is extremely abstract. Instead of normal scenes where a character moves through a solid narrative (which "WALL-E" definitely has), its just odd snap-shots of a family's life. You don't ever really get to know this family, they never speak to you, its like flipping through a photo gallery of a stranger's life. And its not even an especially interesting stranger's life, just any family.

  6. Blue, (OMG HE REPLIED TO ME FANGASM, j/k) did you see it in 3D? normally I hate 3D stuff, but TF3 in 3D is just better than it has any right to be, seeing all that metal move in beautiful 3D, it was pretty good for that alone.

    and I have a false hope the ending with Opty becoming an asshole was actually an attempt at some sort of satire.

    1. addendum, In the TF series, the only characters I cared about were Ironhide and the Decepticons honestly, Ironhide was actually a decent character for how little he did, and all the decepticons with any development at all were less shallow than you seem to think. especially Megs. he has a change of heart (spark?) at the end for Primus' sake.
      and yes I am a transformers fan.