Retrospect: 10 Worst Films of 2011
While 2011 was a year of some really great movies, there were also a great many very poor ones, and several awful ones. I kind of have a soft spot for bad movies, and I generally watch them in the hope that I can find something bad enough that I can laugh at, or at the very last rant about it to let off some steam. Some of these fell into both categories, but all of them were extremely bad movies. As with the year’s best, there were several 0f the alleged worst that I either did not get a chance to see, or refused to give my money to, including Jack & Jill (Adam Sandler plays himself and his sister), Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star (a small-town dork becomes a porn star), Shark Night (a PG-13 summer-vacation-shark-attack movie), Dream House (a horror film that everyone involved refuses to advocate), and The Smurfs. Unfortunately, there were still plenty bad ones I did see, and here are the 10 that made me the angriest.
10. Battle: Los Angeles
A great, moody trailer gave way to a soulless, headache-inducing, and rather stupid action movie. Battle: LA might have a couple of moments of interesting action, but the rest of the movie is not at all interesting. The aliens, like always, want to take our resources, leading to the military getting their asses handed to them by the dozen until a small crew of six dudes manages to outsmart them. It’s so formulaic one could attempt to outline the entire movie before seeing it and have a pretty damn good chance of guessing everything correctly. The abrupt ending makes the entire movie basically pointless.
9. I Am Number Four
Twilight romance meets CW-style high school drama. With aliens that have powers. Doesn’t that sound awesome? If you answered “yes”, we are no longer friends.
8. Atlas Shrugged, Part 1
This excruciatingly boring adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel about making yourself rich and everyone else can go to hell is only the first of a trilogy, a revelation that makes the movie even more difficult to suffer through. Atlas Shrugged Part 1 is a bunch of sharply-dressed people sitting in nice-looking offices and clubs talking about corporate-sounding things. It’s not the least bit interesting, and while some of the actors do an all right job of acting, they can’t hold together a movie that I was getting distracted from after ten minutes.
7. Red Riding Hood
To be fair, I was entertained through some bits of Red Riding Hood, if only because this is one of the stupidest movies to be released all year. Trying to put a dark, sexual vibe on the tale of Red Riding Hood is weird, out-of-place, forced, and a little creepy. I know that that stuff was kind of in the original, pre-children’s version, but in this case it just doesn’t work. Luckily, the script is so ridiculous that I was chuckling most of the way through, and it has its own version of Twilight‘s Edward, who is somehow even dumber here. However, there is Gary Oldman, who not only chews the scenery, but absolutely feasts on it as an outrageous werewolf-hunter villain that genuinely inspired hysterics in me as I watched him. Actually, he’s a reason to see this. The movie is terrible but totally worth the 20 minutes when Oldman shows up.
6. Season of the Witch
Poor Nicolas Cage. He’s gone from doing great movies such as Leaving Las Vegas to this terrible piece. I’d refer to Season of the Witch as a poor man’s Seventh Seal, but that would be an insult and a disservice to The Seventh Seal. Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman are clearly ready to cash their paychecks and move on, leading a cast that appears to be equally checked out. The sets are cheap and fake-looking, and the dialogue is infuriating. The highlight of it all is dead monks that get reanimated by a demon and start running on the ceiling, necessitating that their heads be cut off to be put down for good. Never again.
What a stupid movie. From the writer of the excellent revenge action flick Taken, Colombiana has absolutely nothing of what made that movie so good. The action is extremely poor, for starters. You can barely see what’s going on due to the poor camera work and it is not the least bit exciting, even bordering on stupidity (in one fight, she uses a toothbrush as a weapon and then kills someone by stabbing them with the barrel of a gun). Worse, it makes astounding leaps of logic, allowing Cataleya (Zoe Saldana) to carry out tasks with such insanely crackerjack timing that all logic flies straight out the window. And that’s probably the worst part: on top of all that absurdity, we’re also expected to buy into a very dark, serious revenge story. It’s a combination that completely falls apart and is not entertaining in the slightest.
4. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night
This adaptation of an Italian comic book is just plain bad. It shoots wildly for the genres of action, horror, and comedy, and misses all spectacularly. It’s never exciting for a second, the horror is little more than lazy over-usage of tired tropes, and the comedy is extremely irritating. The movie thinks it’s awesome and hilarious, but it was by far one of the most unpleasant experiences of the year.
3. Fading of the Cries
This little indie horror fantasy crapfest does not get a pass merely for being an independent film. The script is all over the place and literally explains nothing, the action is boring and ugly, and the acting is perhaps the worst I have seen all year, even from the two or three known actors that are in the film. I’ve already written about this movie at length over at another site, which should convey how I feel about this movie. Suffice it to say, it is a lazy, awful movie and should be completely avoided.
Zookeeper contains exactly eight seconds of comedy, which, unironically, is exactly how long it takes before Kevin James wears out his welcome. Production company Happy Madison, which was responsible for last year’s worst movie Grown Ups, delivers another completely idiotic stinker, this time with talking animals voiced by celebrities like Cher, Jon Favreau, Don Rickles, and Judd Apatow. The worst of these are Sylvester Stallone as a lion (which just irritates me because I love Stallone and this almost killed him for me), Nick Nolte as a gorilla who wants only to eat at TGI Friday’s (stick with me, it gets worse), and Adam Sandler as a monkey. Imagine Adam Sandler’s voice. Now imagine Adam Sandler screaming in a high-pitched, gravelly voice and that’s what his character sounds like. Adam Sandler is dead to me now. And I haven’t even seen Jack & Jill.
1. The Change-Up
The Change-Up is a miserably unfunny, extremely foul film that wastes everyone involved in it. I love everyone in the movie: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde. The problem is, they are guided by a horrible, excessively raunchy, and completely inconsequential script. None of the characters really come out of this body-swap having become better people (which is the point of the body-swap in the first place), and one could argue that they are rendered even more unpleasant as a result. In addition, the movie is so completely, graphically disgusting–the opening scene is Jason Bateman getting a jet of baby feces right in the mouth, and a pregnant woman wants to have sex even though she’s in labor–it’s more repulsive than anything else. Bateman and Reynolds completely fail at trying to act like each other. Finally, the editing and directing are abominable. The same jokes are actually funnier in the trailer. Raunchy humor is not always bad, but when it tries this hard to push my buttons, it turns into a spectacular failure.