In what’s been an otherwise tremendous year for movies, 2012 still brought us quite a few stinkers nevertheless. One general question film critics are asked is how they feel when ripping a movie apart. It may sound mean-spirited and arrogant to criticize a movie that a lot of people invested their time and money into. Anybody that has endured the 10 movies listed below however can understand that such criticisms are justified.
10. Piranha 3DD: 2010’s “Piranha 3D” was dumb, but at least it was well made, had a lively cast, and knew what it wanted to be. “Piranha 3DD” is even dumber, but has nothing going for it other than some mildly amusing cameos from Christopher Lloyd and David Hasselhoff. There are lines in this movie that are about as subtle as something you’d hear in a porno. “Lets take our clothes off and go swimming.” Other lines feel like they’re more fitting for a flat-out satire than a self-aware horror flick. “Josh cut off his penis because something came out of my vagina!” “Piranha 3DD” can never decide what note it wants to hit, resulting in an uneven, poorly passed, embarrassing excuse for a movie lacking any dread or fun. To give the filmmakers credit though, they probably set the record for most scenes in which a fish attacks somebody’s genitalia.
9. Chernobyl Diaries: I’ve seen some dim-witted characters in my time, but few have been as insultingly idiotic as the simpletons in “Chernobyl Diaries.” A group of young adults on vacation in Europe are approached by a guide that offers to take them on a tour of Pripyat, an abandoned city with radiation so high it can kill a person over a couple days. The bonehead patrol naturally thinks it would be a brilliant idea to go to a deserted, radioactive city with a strange man they know nothing about. If a stranger offered them candy they’d probably leap at the chance to climb into his van. Naturally, these cretins become stranded in the city and their countless brainless decisions lead to one calamity after another. But does the film at least have any inspired twists or scares in the midst of all the stupidity? Nope, it’s about as startling as somebody jumping out and saying, “Boo!”
8. John Carter: This was one of the year’s most colossal money losers and the end product certainly shows why. Not even the “Transformers” crowd could get on board with this flashy and corny blockbuster chock-full of bland characters, overblown visuals, lackluster 3D, and a story that makes next to no sense. Granted, “John Carter” does derive its inspiration from a very influential science fiction novel and Andrew Stanton obviously directed the movie with a lot of passion. But that just goes to show that the most promising source material and the most capable filmmakers can sometimes produce the biggest bombs.
7. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2: Stephanie Meyer’s asinine chronicle of lame vampires, talking CGI werewolves, and the single worst female protagonist in all of fiction finally came to end this year in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.” It’s actually kind of sad that I’ll never get to rip on another “Twilight” movie again…almost. As we’ve come to expect, the performances are still adequate at best, the characters lack any substance, the effects are cheesy, the narrative goes nowhere, and the dialog would make a canceled ABC soap opera laugh. If that all wasn’t enough, the movie put a nail in the coffin of this idiotic series with one of the dumbest twist endings in cinematic history.
6. One For The Money: Katherine Heigl has easily become the most annoying actress alive, brashly showboating in one half-witted movie after another for the past five years. Heigl fully lived up to expectations in “One For the Money” in which she plays the most unrealistic bounty hunter ever. “One For the Money” is too dark to be a lighthearted comedy, too awkward to be sexy, too convoluted to be interesting, and too boring to be entertaining. On top of all that, what’s the great Debbie Reynolds doing in this tripe? Come on, Debbie, you were in “Singin’ in the Rain” for God’s sake! Heck, even those Disney Channel “Halloweentown” movies were more worthy of your talent than this.
5. The Devil Inside: From “The Blair Witch Project,” to “Cloverfield,” to “Quarantine,” to the four “Paranormal Activity” pictures, the found footage trend has become the most overused gimmick in modern movies. The worst of all these handheld camera films is undoubtedly “The Devil Inside,” which opened number one at the box office its opening weekend and unsurprisingly fell off the charts at a rapid rate. Fernanda Andrade sleepwalks through her role as Isabella, a documentary filmmaker trying to learn more about her mother, who was allegedly possessed by a demon. Andrade is so painfully emotionless here that the camera often shoots around her so the audience won’t notice the full extent of her horrendous acting. Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth aren’t much better as two priests that attend a school for exorcism. That’s right, exorcism is such a common dilemma that we had to dedicate a school to studying it. So stupid! Assuming that you actually manage to endure this prosperous, poorly made schlock all the way through, be prepared for a totally rushed, anticlimactic ending that dares the audience not to laugh.
4. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: Why does this movie exist? Can somebody please explain? Maybe I could understand if Marvel wanted to completely revamp the “Ghost Rider” franchise. But what warped individual actually thought that people would want to see a sequel to the 2007 Nicolas Cage stinker? Not even Idris Elba can save this watered down follow-up from shoddy special effects, lazy action, and Cage’s unintentionally hilarious facial expressions. Where the first “Ghost Rider” was bad, at least it felt like an actual movie. There’s nothing remotely cinematic about “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” though. It’s more in the league of that 1990 strait-to-video “Captain America” movie or the 1994 “Fantastic Four” movie that never got an official release.
3. The Babymakers: No matter how unpromising the subject matter might seem, just about any premise can work with the right people involved. Take “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” for example. Yet, it’s hard to imagine even the most talented filmmakers pulling off “The Babymakers,” a film all about a sperm bank heist. The movie exhausts every tired, crude masturbation joke in the book and not a single one gets a laugh. Seeing a man spill several containers of semen on the ground and slip in the sea of male essence isn’t funny. Even the “Jackass” guys have more taste and wit than that. The usually delightful Olivia Munn and Paul Schneider appear lost in their roles as Director Jay Chandraskhar struggles to strike a balance between being raunchy, charming, and funny all at once. The end result is an atrocity so uneven and wretched that it will make a vasectomy seem like paradise.
2. That’s My Boy: While “That’s My Boy” isn’t as bad as Adam Sandler’s previous film, “Jack and Jill,” that’s like saying a solitary shot to the head is better than multiple shots to the head. What a bleak, mean-spirited, tasteless alleged comedy this is, hitting the audience over the head with lamebrain jokes regarding child molestation and sex with old ladies. Then just when you think “That’s My Boy” can’t get any more coarse, it completely jumps the shark with a vomit-inducing twist regarding incest. The fact that this garbage actually tries to incorporate sentimental moments in the midst of all the vulgarity only makes the film more despicable. Unlike so many other Adam Sandler movies, “That’s My Boy” was thankfully a box office dud. This could mean that audiences are finally starting to wise up about Sandler’s comedies. Of course it’s also possible that the R rating alienated the target audience of twelve-year-olds, the only demographic that could possibly find this material funny.
1. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie: The antics of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are supposedly intended to be bad. While that may be true, just because an entertainment aspires to be bad doesn’t make it good or ironically comical. In the case of “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie,” the intentionally god-awful humor results in the most miserable experience I’ve had at the movies all year. To even acknowledge this thing as a movie feels incorrect. It’s more like a series of horrifically unfunny YouTube clips sloppily edited together by socially inept rejects from another planet. Tim and Eric bring together a variety of gifted comedic actors for their big screen debut, including Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, John C. Reilly, Will Forte, and Jeff Goldblum. They’re all at their absolute worst in the single biggest waste of talent since “Year One.” If you find jokes about genitalia piercings, old ladies getting their fingers chopped off, and children defecating on a grown man to be hilarious, “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” should be right up your alley. Personally, I can’t imagine anyone taking pleasure in this excruciating mess without being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a lobotomy.
Now that the worst films are out of the way, stay tuned for the best movies of 2012 next week.
• Ahwatukee native and Desert Vista graduate Nick Spake is a student at Arizona State University. He has been working as a film critic for five years, reviewing movies on his website, NICKPICKSFLICKS.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.