2012: A Year at the Movies, Part 1
It’s not easy limiting a “Best of” movie list to ten slots, especially when there have been at least 20 very good movies in 2012. Listing off the bad ones is an easier task–it blows off steam, too. That doesn’t mean there weren’t enough to choose from. Sure, “Beneath the Darkness,” a would-be thriller with Dennis Quaid going cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, was bad, but nobody saw it. The Adam Sandler comedy “That’s My Boy” was more lazy and mediocre than truly loathsome like “Jack and Jill,” so it didn’t quite make it. Same goes for “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie,” which at least opened with a hilarious faux-infomercial with Jeff Goldblum. And yes, Katherine Heigl keeps hoping nobody will notice that she’s made another stinker with “One for the Money.” So, reliving each nightmarish turkey in my mind, here are the 10 absolute worst movies of 2012.
Bottom of 2012
10. Silent Hill: Revelation – It takes a dreary, senseless sequel like “Silent Hill: Revelation” to put into perspective just how underappreciated the first “Silent Hill” was. The biggest scare? A Pop-Tart popping out of a toaster. A third trip to the videogame-inspired town isn’t necessary at this point.
9. A Thousand Words – In what doesn’t even sound feasible on paper, a very verbal comedian like Murphy, whose mouth is his best asset, is forced to keep his trap shut and mime for most of “A Thousand Words.” That’s as wise of a move had someone forced Ludwig van Beethoven to play masterful music with stumps for hands. Give this simplistic, hopelessly flat inanity the silent treatment.
8. Bel Ami – More like “Dull Liaisons.” No one–not Robert Pattison, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, or Kristin Scott Thomas–can light this film’s fire. It’s neither lurid, interesting, or fun enough to make an impression as a trashy soap or literary adaptation. We’ll never know what might have come of “Bel Ami” with a less vapid leading man and a juicier script.
7. A Little Bit of Heaven – “A Little Bit of Heaven” wouldn’t sound like a bummer of a movie about colon cancer. That’s because the title refers to Peter Dinklage as a dwarf prostitute (don’t ask). Kate Hudson’s character gets diagnosed with Movie Land cancer, which comes with a hunky doctor, Macy Gray on the soundtrack, a shopping day of splurging, and Whoopi Goldberg as God. No, really, Whoopi plays God. Incurable.
6. Jack and Diane – Make Edward Cullen a lipstick lesbian with werewolf tendencies and change Bella Swan into an androgynous, hipster lesbian, and you’ll get an idea of what “Jack and Diane” is about. This romantic drama with allegorical and horror-movie trappings thinks it has more on its mind than it really does. Juno Temple and Elvis Presley’s granddaughter deserve better.
5. The Apparition – No one should be surprised if “The Apparition” turns out to have been released by chimps. It’s a useless, chill-free, oh-so-dull “spooker” that’s also a wimpy, dumbed-down exercise in how not to get the skin crawling. There was potential for a “Paranormal Activity” piggybacker, but the scares never quite get there.
4. Alex Cross – It should’ve been Tyler Perry’s time to prove himself and convince us that he could be a leading man or even an action star. After “Alex Cross,” it’s not happening. This boring, worthless prequel to James Patterson’s Alex Cross character is so inept that it can’t be taken seriously but isn’t even bad enough to have fun with. Still, it varies from standard-issue TV movie to incompetent hack work, so that’s bad enough.
3. Cosmopolis – What gives, David Cronenberg? Last year it was “A Dangerous Method”–an underwhelming chore–and now it’s “Cosmopolis,” which is a stultifyingly tedious endurance test. It’d be fun to criticize Robert Pattison’s performance here, but he does the best any actor could with this empty, one-note material. Far too pretentious for its own good.
2. The Wicker Tree – The 1973 cult film “The Wicker Man” definitely didn’t need a belated follow-up, especially one as amateurish and curious as “The Wicker Tree.” Not darkly amusing, not disturbing, not shocking, and not good at all. Nicolas Cage prancing around in a bear costume and cold-cocking women in the laughable 2006 remake of “The Wicker Man” was at least fun.
1. Nature Calls – You probably never heard of it and based on its placement, there’s a reason for that. “Nature Calls” is calling to be pissed on: it’s lazy, flat, condescending, baffling, mean-spirited, obnoxious, and unfunny. Patton Oswalt and Johnny Knoxville are talented but completely wasted in terrible material. Going for a hike and falling onto a hill of fire ants would be a much more pleasurable experience than sitting through this carcass.