I have seen some fantastic films this year and it has been a very strong year, overall. Though I try and see everything, I don’t readily go out of my way to see films that I don’t believe I enjoy in some capacity. That’s why it is a shame that these ten came along and slipped through. Behold my 10 Worst Films of 2012.
10. To Rome With Love – The worst film I have seen to date from Woody Allen. None of the film’s four overlong vignettes are funny or engaging enough to warrant sitting through this tedious mess. It lacks ALL of the charm, wit or humour of Woody’s last film, Midnight in Paris. This plodding bore features haphazardly cut together dual-stories that make no sense whatsoever in time and as a result the film’s location is made defunct. Woody’s onscreen action was unbelievably irritating. Benigni’s too. A not-unexpected disappointment considering the reception, though I held some hope.
9. Killer Elite is a pointless, disposable action vehicle, which features a never-ending stream of nonsensical and poorly staged action sequences, an abundance of genre clichés, woeful dialogue, unlikeable and unconvincing characters, flimsy motivations, a bloated running time (it drags terribly near the end, and actually has several false endings), an emotionless romantic subplot, and one of the worst screen beards of all time (owned by Dominic Purcell). This is a ‘Jason Statham action film’ – now it’s own sub-genre – but it is so bad that it makes The Mechanic, an infrequently entertaining shoot-em-up, look like a masterpiece. I don’t know what prompted Clive Owen, above all, to choose this role – but it is a stupefying film experience I wanted to immediately forget.
8. Iron Sky – In the last moments of WWII, a secret Nazi space program evaded destruction by fleeing to the Dark Side of the Moon. During 70 years of utter secrecy, the Nazis construct a gigantic Swastika-shaped space fortress. Come 2018, with Sarah Palin running the United States of America and sending astronauts, one being James Washington (Christopher Kirby), to the moon to promote her campaign, the elite moon-dwelling super power hungry for revenge, are awoken. It sounds ridiculous, but it could have been fun, in a Mel Brooks-satire sort of way. For a film that tries so hard to poke fun at Nazis, space wars, American politics and everything in between, it is embarrassingly and frustratingly unfunny. Yes, it is unashamedly B-grade and never for a minute serious, but honestly, it is beyond words. Some of the effects were very decent, and there is great use of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, but that’s about it.
7. Mental can be given some credit for a few strong performances – Toni Collette, Lily Sullivan and Liev Schreiber are all very good – and for having no boundaries at all. Unfortunately, this vile attempt at a comedy, which involves escalating cringe-worthy jokes about date rape, race, sexuality and mental illness, proved to be disgusting, obnoxious, irritating, offensive and very rarely funny. The balance in this department is woefully askew. I spent most of the overlong experience wincing and wanting it to end. It is also the Return of the King of Australian comedies, offering up about three false endings and features a growling Anthony LaPaglia (a despicable character and a dreadful performance), Shreiber rambling about sharks (probably the only funny part), Kerry Fox scrubbing her driveway with a toothbrush and Collette farting into a lighter to ignite a set of dolls. Yes, it stinks.
6. Bait 3D is not fun enough to be one of those entertaining bad movies, and not scary enough to be the terrifying shark tale it sometime attempts to be. Why did we need this film anyway? Shark Night and The Reef were released last year. Sharks in a supermarket? Now there’s an idea. The universally bad cast is given rotten characters and dialogue, and the film is not only ridiculously melodramatic but technically inept – poor CGI and the obnoxious addition of 3D.
5. The Lucky One is the seventh of Nicholas Sparks’ novels to be adapted to screen. While these other adaptations have proven to be very popular commercially, the critical reception has been less than positive. The Lucky One is no exception, lacking in dramatic weight and convincing characters. It is dull, poorly scripted, and predictable, fueled by a premise that goes nowhere. The stagnant drama meanders badly because there isn’t a driving force in the story. When the tension hits its peak in the third act it is all undone by a preposterous climax. Very little about the story was cinematic – except maybe the involvement of Efron (who does his best) – and it might be the awful source material, but this was rubbish across the board.
4. American Reunion - The main problem with American Reunion is that it is extremely lazy. The filmmakers seem to be content with relying purely on nostalgia to fuel this film – hoping that simply having the gang back together is enough to scrape by, despite only supplying scarcely intermittent laughs. The jokes and the comedic set pieces are lame and obnoxious, the treatment of women in this film is nothing short of disgraceful, the performances (from everyone, except Seann William Scott and Eugene Levy, really) are laughably poor, the film is timed terribly, labouring under dull conversations between the characters which attempt to infuse some life lessons and heart into the story, but instead only fuel one’s growing impatience. American: Reunion tries to appeal to the audience of males who were once teenagers and hired out American Pie in secret and hoped that their parents wouldn’t catch them watching it. Sadly, I fear that audience has now outgrown the idiocy of this dwindling franchise.
3. Breaking Dawn Part 2 - I didn’t so much as hate Breaking Dawn Part 2, though the fact that it is more dreadful than its predecessor evokes stunned disbelief, but found it a near-insufferable bore. Even when the climactic battle does come (after 100 minutes of nothing at all interesting happening), what follows is sure to disappoint anyone unacquainted with the novels. This was the least satisfying of my Twilight experiences by a substantial margin, and if you have seen them you know that’s saying something. Even following the box office success of the franchise the visual effects are still woeful and the trio of stars seem to have gotten worse. There is no justification, beyond money, to split this final book into two films. I am just thankful this toxic franchise is now over.
2. Piranha 3DD – So bad. While Piranha 3D had everything that this vile film possesses – a bunch of naked big-breasted women, loads of gratuitous gore, obnoxious 3D additions and piranhas appearing and killing people in every way possible, it was aware of what it was trying to be from the beginning and offered up some laughs amid the bloody mayhem. At least it also possessed some scope, utilized multiple locations, and offered some genuine scares. This is abhorrent, unwatchable trash. So bad that it was assigned straight-to-DVD status.
1. Safe – The second Jason Statham film to appear on this list. He plays his usual five-o-clock-shadowed ex-something (a cop/boxer as I recall) who ends up having to protect a young Asian girl who possesses the number combination to a safe that has something in it that everyone – triads, dirty cops and other scumbags – desperately want. We don’t know what it is for most of the film, and I think it ultimately possesses a key to unlock something else. Probably the worst plot of any film I saw this year. The action is relentless and brutal, but not at all original and so unfocused it was nauseating. The desire to leave a cinema was never so strong.
So there you have it, my 2012 film experiences I desperately want to forget.
Andrew Buckle - follow Andy on Twitter here: @buckle22