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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best (and Worst) Movies of 2012 Awards: Part 1 - The Bad

I still have a few reviews to get to, but first, a look back at 2012 in film. I have decided to take a slightly different approach to last year and will be looking at some of the year's best and most noteworthy films through an awards format - albeit one that suits my needs, rather than the other way around. 

As always, the only films that qualify are those released to South African cinemas in 2012 so, sorry my trans-Atlantic readers, no Lincoln, Argo or The Perks of Being a Wallflower here.

For a list of all films released in SA in 2012, check out this link.

On with the show with 2012's worst films...

Worst Film of 2012

Adam Sandler didn't just release his worst film in 2012, he released his worst film and before we could get over the horrors of that monstrosity, he went ahead and followed it with something even worse. Jack and Jill was an irredeemably awful "comedy" that featured precisely zero laughs but two Adam Sandlers - one of which was Sandler in drag as his own sister, who spends the entire film fighting off the sexual advances of Al freakin' Pacino, playing himself. Yes. Seriously. But Jack and Jill wasn't even the worst Adam Sandler film of the year. No, that "honour" belongs to That's My Boy, which is every bit as unfunny as Jack and Jill, but is far more hateful as it once again tries to show us just how irresistible this "full retard" version of Adam Sandler is to women everywhere - even at the tender age of 13 - by having the only woman who is rightly repulsed by him, turn out to be an incestuous, gold-digging harpy. Sandler has never been more skin-crawlingly repulsive. Where's Rob Schneider when you need him?

Worst performance of 2012

Adam Sandler as his own sister in Jack and Jill. 'nuff said. 

Worst This-is-Not-a-Movie-It's-an-Infomercial Non-Film of 2012

Think Like A Man wasn't just a glorified commercial for Steve Harvey's self-help book, it was one that ended up calling that very same book a pointless waste of time. Well, Steve, I ain't gonna argue. Also, special mention has to go to What To Expect When You're Expecting as even further proof that self-help books do not make good movies.

Worst This-is-Not-a-Movie-It's-a-Glorified-Youtube-Video Non-Film of 2012:

Project X would probably be the worst film of the year if Adam Sandler had taken the year off. Or if it was an actual film. Instead, it's a voyeuristic, misogynistic and utterly pointless found-footage film about a rather unbelievable party that gets horribly out of hand. I would be offended by it, if I wasn't so bloody bored.

Worst This-is-Not-a-Movie-It's-A-Glorified-Recruitment-Video Non-Film of 2012

 Act of Valor tries for authenticity by using real life Navy SEALS to play the heroes of its own story, but the result was one of the least convincing action movie in ages. This was, of course, made all the worse by the fact that its overly simplistic, rah-rah jingoism effectively turned it into a duplicitous recruitment video for the US Navy.

Worst Wait-Michael-Bay-Didn't-Direct-This? Blockbuster of 2012

Battleship wasn't just a film version of a clearly unfilmable, old fashioned board game, it was one that looked to Michael Bay's awful Transformers for inspiration. It disn't have any of Bay's more objectionable qualities, but that only made it all the more tooth-grindingly dull.

Most Unnecessary Sequel of 2012

Unsurprisingly, the year had a number of unnecessary sequels, but none more so than the grizzly Paranormal Activity 4, which also has the honour of being my worst horror film of the year as well - though, I have to point out that I didn't see The Devil Inside, which seems to be widely regarded as 2012's worst horror film by far, so take that with a pinch of salt. The first Paranormal Activity sequel was pointless, but the existence of this latest utterly boring, shameless mining of a long dead property is simply bewildering. Special mention must also go to the latest installment of the consistently awful Underworld franchise. And, of course, to the next film...

Worst video game film of 2012

Resident Evil: Retribution is a brilliant exercise in examining exactly why video game storytelling doesn't translate into even halfway decent cinema by being the equivalent of watching someone else play a video game for an hour and half.  Like the Underworld films, it's just astonishing how the formula of violent monster film plus definite eye-candy (well, for us straight boys anyway) doesn't equal anything but relentless dullness.

Most Disappointing Film of 2012

Considering how most of this year's eagerly anticipated films actually lived up to their hype, this category is actually a surprisingly difficult one to fill. Ridley Scott's disappointing Prometheus seems like the obvious choice but, to be honest, it's still too interesting to truly earn its place here. I'm going to go for something a bit off the beaten path instead. After the brilliantly awful Piranha 3D, I was hoping for more guilty, shlocky fun with Piranha 3DD but it was simply awful instead. Also, who knew that having The Hoff in a self-deprecating cameo would be this boring?

Worst "Art Film" of 2012

Margaret took something like 6 years to come out because no one could figure out how to distill its endless-hours of footage into something usable. They still haven't.

Most Pointless Remake of 2012

Total Recall isn't so much terrible as it is a dull and uninspired reinvention that does nothing with Philip K Dick's source story and fails miserably to live up to the trashy fun of the '90s Arnie film. It has a solid cast and was reasonably well put together, it just didn't need to exist. The same, of course, can be said about David Fincher's utterly pointless remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, as well.

OK, that's enough of the bad. Despite what a couple of months in the middle there might have suggested, 2012 was actually a rather good year for movies. Watch this space for my best of 2012 awards, coming very soon.

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