*10. Intruders (Millennium) – Last year at Toronto, I complimented Clive Owen on his choice in movies and the fact he tended to do fairly decent projects and then I saw Intruders from 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, a laughably bad supernatural thriller featuring a ghost called “Hollow Face” and a weird dual narrative that was made more confusing by the fact that one part was in Spanish and the other wasn’t. Probably the only good thing I can say about this movie is that it has absolutely needless and gratuitous nudity by Carice Van Houten, but surely there must be a better reason to see any movie.
9. 4:44 Last Days on Earth (IFC Films) – I’m a big fan of Willem Dafoe and there was a time I liked the work of director Abel Ferrara, but anyone who needs proof that he’s completely lost his mind need only try to sit through this “end of the world” movie that has Dafoe and Ferrara regular (girlfriend? muse?) Shanyn Leigh spending their (you guessed it) last day on earth talking and having sex. And Ferrara made a movie about it and there’s nothing more to say about it. Yawn.
8. Jesus Henry Christ (EOne Films) – A movie first seen at Tribeca Film Festival 2011 and one of the worst movies I saw there only got onto this list because it was so bad that we couldn’t ignore it even though it’s likely that no one outside festival audiences ever see it. It’s another movie about a kid looking for his true self, in this case 10-year-old Henry James Herman, a child raised by his single mother who goes looking for his biological father. They were played by Toni Collette and Michael Sheen who I generally like, but they couldn’t do much to save this badly-written film. The results at worst were bland and at best forgettable, but not enough not to get a mention in this list.
7. About Cherry (IFC Films) – What would any year’s Terrible 25 be without a movie by the sweetheart of this annual column, the Farrah Fawcett poster girl of bad movies, Heather Graham? In the unsexiest movie about the sex industry ever made, Ashley Hinshaw plays a girl who gets drawn further and further into porn by boyfriends and influential women like Graham’s character and another whacked out character played by James Franco. Oh, yeah, and Slumdog Millionaire‘s Dev Patel is also in the movie.
6. Keyhole (Monterey Media) – I’ve had my ups and downs with Winnipeg’s Guy Maddin, but this one was definitely one of his downs, a nearly unwatchable crime noir starring Isabella Rosselini (of course), Jason Patric and saddest of all, Kevin McDonald from “The Kids in the Hall.” Listen, we’ll be the first to admit that Maddin is an acquired taste, but after the fun he brought to Brand Upon the Brain and My Winnipeg, this was a disappointing step backwards.
5. The Paperboy (Millennium) – Speaking of ups and downs, director Lee Daniels managed to get off my sh*t list with Precious a couple years back, but now he’s right back on it with this awful Southern crime thriller, which had Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Efron after he gets stung by a sting ray and emulating oral sex to John Cusack’s Death Row convict. And she was nominated for a Golden Globe for this? Seriously? Matthew McConaughey definitely brought all he could to his role as an investigator in a plot that fell somewhere between A Time to Kill and The Help without being anywhere as good as either. The whole thing mainly suffered from Daniels’ penchant towards the sensibilities of John Waters and Melvyn Van Peebles which makes the movie unwatchable at times. In other words, there are very few to no redeeming qualities to this movie whatsoever and if Nicole Kidman actually manages to schmooze her way to an Oscar nomination, I’m going to lose whatever respect I have left for the Academy.
4. Blue Like Jazz (Roadside Attractions) – When I heard that the book by Donald Miller on which this movie was based sold 1.5 million copies and was on the New York Times Best Seller list for 43 weeks, I was like, “Oh, interesting, this could be a cool movie.” But no, in fact, there was nothing “cool” about this story of a Texas teen, played by Marshall Allman–an actor who I don’t think will ever get more work–who goes to a “progressive” college in Portland. From there, the movie turns into a silly National Lampoon comedy, which left me scratching my head how this was a movie based on a popular “Christian” book. Either way, the movie somehow opened in 136 theaters and quickly tanked, so I doubt anyone will ever see it.
*3. Beneath the Darkness (Image Entertainment) – Since this was the first movie I saw this year, I’m sort of glad I wrote a review so I could remember how bad it was. Essentially, Dennis Quaid played a creepy mortician who may be responsible for a number of disappearances in town and things go downhill from there. The producer/writer of the movie died before the movie was made and we consider him quite lucky to not have to sit through what they did to his work.
2. Red Hook Summer (Variance Films) – Another movie from January, but in this case, Spike Lee’s return to Brooklyn premiered at the Sundance Film Festival which I then called “one of the worst movies to ever premiere at Sundance.” If you don’t believe me, just check out the last line in this Page Six report in the New York Post! Essentially, it involved a teenager from Atlanta spending the summer with his grandfather in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The best scenes were the ones with Clark Peters sermonizing but they went on forever, as did the movie, and the younger inexperienced actors were so bad that any time spent with them really dragged the movie down. Oh and then there was Spike Lee’s famed character Mookie, from “Do the Right Thing” and other classic movies, showing up from time to time carrying a pizza box you know, just to help remind us of all the great movies Lee used to make. While the above comments may have gotten me forever banned from ever covering another Spike Lee movie (which is a shame, because he still makes great docs and I’m looking forward to Old Boy), that’s just going to have to be something I live with. Quentin Tarantino is a much better filmmaker anyway.
And the absolutely worst movie of 2012 was…
The Dark Knight Rises!!!
Kidding, kidding. Please don’t kill me it actually was
1. Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (Magnet/Magnolia) – I will admit to never having seen Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s Adult Swim show “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” and going by this “movie” — and I use that term loosely because this just seemed to be 90 minutes of clowning around with very little plot or anything that resembles a real movie — I will never make any sort of effort to watch it. This was a grueling 90 minutes of unfunny gags about how the guys squander a billion dollars they’re given to make a movie (which is ridiculous enough as it is) and end up taking a job at a shopping mall to make back that billion dollars. I was sent an online screener of this and I could barely get through ten minutes of it, but I kept pushing through watching 15 to 20 minutes at a time, hating everything about it and all the stupid moronic humor, even the appearances by the likes of Will Forte, John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis who seemed to have shown up and improvised badly. Like with Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters a bunch of years back, it was pretty obvious the humor by these two jerks was not for me and while they sort of made up for this by appearing in Rick Alverson’s The Comedy, which wasn’t nearly as awful, the idea someone might give these dopes even a dollar to make a movie just baffled the mind. So good on Spike Lee for at least not making the worst movie of the year or the worst movie to premiere at this year’s Sundance (which this also did).
And that’s really it for 2012… And as always, here’s hoping that 2013 is better!