Say what you will about worst of lists, but the fact of the matter is that with the wealth of opinions out there both top and bottom picks can be quite different. When I sit down to make my own list I have to avoid making choices based off what would make people respond better to my picks and more towards arranging them in the order at which they entertained me the most. I do not enjoy trying to arrange movies in a list of what I hate because I try very hard to find something to enjoy in everything I see and sometimes I end up enjoying things other people would put low on their totem pole. You won’t see any obscure straight to DVD picks here because there’s no point in sifting through titles most people will ignore anyway unless it was very good in which case it could get a shout out in the best of list even if it doesn’t make the top ten.
Below are my choices for wide theatrical releases that I have enjoyed the least throughout the year that was 2011. Keep in mind there are a handful of titles I have not had the chance to check out or don’t plan on checking out do to time restraints or interest. You may not agree with my choices which I more than anticipate and I encourage discussion, but keep it civil.
10. Green Lantern – The superhero movie starring Ryan Reynolds earns its spot here for being the most disappointing of the hero movies this year and just disappointing overall. The actors mostly sleepwalk through with the exception of Mark Strong, the story is all over the place and the side plot involving Peter Sarsgaard is bizarre and pointless. If not for an interesting visual approach this could have landed much lower- even with the uninspired design of the Lantern’s power and shaky effects here and there the film has a decent look. Given the budget though, this should have been so much more than it is.
9. Season of the Witch – Nic Cage has had an intriguing career. He has award worthy performances and others that border on strange and insane. I loved his performance in BAD LIEUTENANT recently but this is not Cage on his A game. If the film embraced the craziness at the end of the film it may have avoided being included here but the timeline of the film is unintentionally funny at times and tonally all over the place. The effects are cheesy and Ron Perlman is a lot of fun which made it hard to come to terms with the film being as bad as it was.
8. Zookeeper – I like Kevin James. It’s hard to admit that when his presence remains unseen in a movie that doesn’t get completely dumped on by critics and other moviegoers. I enjoyed him in THE DILEMMA but even that film has a lot of problems. In all honesty ZOOKEEPER did make me laugh- but not enough to make me overlook what I look for in movies I want to watch over and over or recognize as an actual “good” film. This movie lacks originality in its premise and is uninspired when it comes to the voice actors and execution. Some of the animals were funny, but in the end family entertainment begs for better products than this even if it does hide some decent laughs.
7. The Smurfs – After finally sitting down to watch this I now know without a doubt that if not for the success of ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS this movie would probably never have happened. It imitates the style of that movie around every corner and that’s not really a good thing. The little blue dudes are cute yes and do serve as great fodder for nostalgia for anyone who grew up with them, but mixing them in to the real world was a fatal mistake. The mischief and set ups are tired and overdone and the effects of when the real people touch or interact with a Smurf are terrible. The animation before they enter the real world is cartoonish but at least it was enjoyable. If we must have a sequel, keep it out of reality.
6. New Year’s Eve – One of the only reasons this one is not lower on the list is solely because I expected absolutely nothing out of it- which can be said for any movie on the list that isn’t at the number one spot. Don’t be fooled, NEW YEAR’S EVE is not a good movie, but there were a few moments and aspects of some of the stories that made me laugh or entertained me so I have to give the film a little bit of credit, but not too much.
5. Jack and Jill – I hated the trailer for this movie. I thought it was a joke- like one of the movies from FUNNY PEOPLE the movie where Sandler mocks his career in dumb movies. When the tragic truth dawned on me I knew I’d have to see it for myself. This IS one of those dumb movies Sandler poked fun at himself for doing in a movie like FUNNY PEOPLE- that doesn’t make this comedy genius. There is too much sophomoric humor and not enough clever dialogue and jokes between characters. Sandler is annoying when he does that over the top voice he uses when he plays his own twin sister- to a painful extent. Pacino is hilarious and even more so when him and Sandler are basically joking about the terrible product they are watching. Sandler fans like me are dying for a return to form and this isn’t it.
4. The Rite – A wasted performance by Anthony Hopkins is about all there is to remember in regards to THE RITE. This film got more kudos from me after initially watching it than it would have had the events had time to sit in my brain and then almost completely disappear less than a day or two after seeing it. I do however remember that the main actor in the film is the second coming of Keanu Reeves, should any aspiring filmmakers be planning their movie around a hollow shell of an actor with no personality.
3. I Don’t Know How She Does It – If nothing else I blame this movie for the endless amount of “I don’t know why she does it” jokes from countless other reviews and blurbs from other people that hate it. I usually endure these movies because as a husband my wife is often powerless to the call of a romantic comedy or dramedy- it doesn’t happen often given out differentiating tastes but we both walked out taking very little away from this mostly pointless movie.
2. Your Highness – I love comedy, I loved all the stars, but I don’t usually care for movies set in the medieval times. The setting in this case presents the only interesting aspect of the film with the trippy visuals and non-human characters. The idea of a midlevel stoner comedy sounded hilarious and I was stunned to silence as I laughed far less than I thought I would. YOUR HIGHNESS is a misfire in almost every direction and the stuff that does hit a target misses the funny bone by an embarrassing distance.
1. Sucker Punch – If I was much younger- I’m talking adolescent age- this movie would be the best thing ever created. In fact after I watched it all the way through once, every time after that would be one frame every few minutes or so as I paused my way through every key scene of a girl flipping around half naked. From my perspective now, sure the girls are very attractive and sexy in the movie, but beyond that this movie gave me nothing but a headache. Given all the truly uninspired movies listed above I really did expect more from Zack Snyder and when I walk by this movie at a retail store I consider burning my copies of WATCHMEN and DAWN OF THE DEAD. I don’t want to give up on Snyder just yet though- fingers crossed that his SUPERMAN film brings the goods.