Saturday, December 29, 2012

Worst Movies of 2011

If you visited last year at this time, then you know that I'm running about a year behind on my year end movie lists. In other words, while everyone else is giving their thoughts on 2012 in cinema, I'm hitting you with what I thought about 2011. The fact is, I've finally seen almost all of the movies I've wanted to from that calendar year. Today, I'll start on the downside with last year's worse. Tomorrow, I'll fill you in on what I thought was '11's best. Finally, on New Year's Eve I will give you a "so far" assessment of the 2012 movies I've seen. With no further adieu, here are...

2011's Worst Movies

Allegedly, Our Idiot Brother is a comedy. However, very little of it is funny. Instead, we just roll our eyes in disbelief at how stupid this man is, wonder if he has some undiagnosed disability. Slogging through the movie is made all the more tedious because we can easily tell what this is all leading to.

Robots transform, fight, knock over skyscrapers and blow stuff up. Once again, this goes on for a way too long two and a half hours. I will say that this is a step up, though. The Fallen made me want to gouge out my own eyes with a spoon and puncture both eardrums with an icepick. This one merely made me want to bang my head on a hard surface. Here’s to progress!

It’s clearly meant to have us bawling at the notion of sweetness and enveloped by the warmth of closure. Instead, I merely felt violated as it kept trying to touch my sensitive areas without permission.

17. Priest
Instead of developing anything at all, we’re merely hurried off from one action sequence to the next. The overall effect is we feel like we’ve just watched someone else play a video game for an hour while they tell us their other controller is broken. To make matters worse, one of their “better” friends comes over and starts using it with no problems. I like playing video games. I don’t like watching other people play them.

Everything is over the top, both dramatically and comedically, problems mount at an alarming speed, and there’s plenty of sermonizing. This is the director’s tried and true formula. That formula is largely influenced by the movie Soul Food. Much of his work mimics that movie’s tone and style with Madea and/or others adding extra zaniness and homespun wisdom. Here, we practically get a remake. A television set full of money seems to be the only thing missing.

How is this one on its own merit? I’ll not even dignify my own rhetorical question with a typically lengthy reply (isn’t this review too long, already?). I’ll put it like this: the story is better than any of the Step Up sequels I’ve seen (having not seen part 4, just yet), but the dancing isn’t as good. Decide accordingly.

It never grabs you. The whole thing feels more hokey than scary. It doesn’t help that this set of apparitions is comparatively impotent. They pace back and forth, hide in corners and occasionally reach for someone. Sadly, it’s painfully obvious they’ll never get there. Worse, they look like they know they’ll never get there.

Breaking Dawn – Part 1 continues the tradition of bludgeoning its audience into misery. After all, that particular emotion loves company. The Twilight Saga is nothing, if not a bunch of miserable beings trying to miserize each other to death. “Miserize”? The “Twilightverse”? Dear Lord, I’m so bored I’m making up words to entertain myself but I can’t stop watching. It’s only fitting. This series has beaten all sense, intelligence and joy out of me.

Thankfully, The Sitter clocks in under 90 minutes. It still manages to drag since it’s so predictable and just labors through cliché after cliché and bad joke after bad joke, never doing its own thing. The very few laughs to be had are spread pretty far apart. They drown in an ocean of uninspired writing that sends waves of flat punch lines crashing into us.

11. 11-11-11
(see what I did there?)
It’s derivative, repetitive and almost a sedative. Joseph, by the way, a very interesting first name and purposeful initials, goes through the normal machinations of perplexed protagonists in like situations: plenty of google, seeing the local occult specialist and the local clergy, conveniently his wheelchair bound brother. Between these sessions is when Joseph sees things. It’s usually some guy in a demon costume standing around staring at him. I’m serious.

We’re stuck with Larry Crowne as is. It wants to have something deep to say about the economy but doesn’t . It wants to be an enthralling romantic comedy, but isn’t. Larry gets not one, but two “game-winning” moments that are anti-climactic to the point of being boring. Even the plucky neighbor routine is botched.

Everything that happens plot-wise is telegraphed from the last thirty rom-coms you watched. There is the occasional laugh. The scene involving Griffin (James), Bernie the gorilla (Nolte) and a trip to T. G. I. Friday’s is the most amusing scene. Even that’s only worth a few snickers. At least Rosario Dawson is always nice to look at. Still, ogling her whenever she’s on the screen isn’t nearly enough to save this dreck. Skip it if you can. If not, you have my condolences.

Long review short: Conan is one long gory action scene with a pause for topless wenches (they’re actually listed as such in the credits), another pause for sex and a few brief pauses for talking…er…yelling and grunting. The story is told in a way that makes me believe my 12 year old nephew worked closely with the director.

This crap, thou mustn’t watcheth. I hateth this movie. Immortals is aggressively dumb without the good sense to not take itself so seriously. Nearly every action any character makes can be summed up by one word: stupid. It also breaks its own rules several times. This is noticeable mostly because the film itself makes a big deal out of these rules.

The Roommate is a watered down, stupid, PG-13 rated mess inhabited by non-descript actors giving bland performances. This assessment excludes Billy Zane as the faux-chic, ultra-sleazy fashion design instructor. He's far from bland. Then again, hasn’t Billy Zane become a warning sign that you’re watching a bad movie?


The visuals are a treat, but the pieces to the story don’t quite fit in a cohesive manner. First off, there are too many of them. A surplus of things that could’ve been discarded are kept. Conversely, we get the feeling plenty of things that should’ve been kept are thrown out. Second, none of the characters are written well enough for us to really care what happens to them. They’re just mannequins in the window striking poses appropriate for the gear they’re wearing.

Many will praise the movie for being different and for some stunning visuals. Director Terrence Malick does indeed deserve kudos for this. The same goes for the massive quantity of symbolism and the wonderful performance by Hunter McCracken as the young Jack. Still, a huge portion of the movie, while beautiful, bored me to tears. Yes, I know. People smarter than I have put it on many of their “Top 10” lists for 2011. It was even nominated for Best Picture. Maybe I just don’t get it. You’re probably right. I’m OK with that.

Certain people are lucky I’ve not yet been named Supreme Ruler of the Universe. Cataclysmic events may have erupted the very moment it came to my attention that the ever-invisible and unquestionably guilty “they” were going to make another Big Momma’s House. Without doubt “they” would be immediately banished to the farthest reaches of my jurisdiction. By “they” I mean anyone involved with any movie in the series.

As a child, my mother used to tell me “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” O…kaaaaayyy, I think I’m done here.

Chipwrecked Is Wrecked! It is EXCEPTIONALLY UNEXCEPTIONAL! It is BROMIDICALLY BLAND…DEVILISHLY DULL…MERCILESSLY MILD…PARTICULARLY PLAIN…TRAGICALLY TRITE! WithOUT question, the good Lord has placed in MY VERY HEART the perfect word to describe the ATROCITY to which I bore witness: Twee.

Dishonorable Mention:

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