Top Ten Most Disappointing Movies of 2012

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#9
Damsels in Distress

Carrie MacLemore, Analeigh Tipton, Megalyn Echikunwoke and Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress
Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

Damsels in Distress wasn’t on my list of most anticipated films in 2012 because it was on my list of most anticipated films in 2011 (see here). I wrote about my anticipation for it again at the midway mark in 2011 and again before seeing it at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival where it placed #2. Then I saw it.

I’d been introduced to writer/director Whit Stillman through first seeing The Last Days of Disco and loved it. I then watched Metropolitan and was hooked. His knack for dialogue is fascinating, his characters engaging and his casting of Greta Gerwig in Damsels seemed perfect. Yet, the film just sort of sits there, reveling in Stillman’s wit, but saying absolutely nothing.

My disappointment stems from the fact this was the director’s first film in 13 years and my thought was “This is the best he could come up with?” In my review I suggested it may be a film I need to return to once again, but I simply haven’t found the desire.

SNIPPET FROM MY REVIEW: (read the full review here)

For the most part the film works and offers plenty of laughs, and while I have my qualms I have a feeling it’s a film I may need to see again. I enjoy Stillman’s ability to turn a phrase and he’s found a perfect batch of actors to fit his narrative style, with Gerwig in particular standing out once again. But while this film goes down easy it doesn’t go down as expected, perhaps I was unwilling to adjust to a film I expected to be a tinge more serious and for that reason alone I am anxious to give it a second chance.

#8
Savages

Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively and Aaron Johnson in Savages
Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively and Aaron Johnson in Savages
Photo: Universal Pictures

PLACE ON MY MOST ANTICIPATED LIST: #31

I really thought Oliver Stone‘s Savages was going to be good. It wasn’t the leads that caught my attention as I couldn’t really care less about Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch or Aaron Johnson, but the villains being played by Demian Bichir and Benicio del Toro, both of which are ordered around by Salma Hayek as the leader of a Mexican drug cartel, sounded juicy. Then Lively goes and says, “I have orgasms, he has wargasms,” inside the first five minutes and as if her voice over wasn’t enough, lines like this took me immediately out of the movie to the point it hardly mattered what came next.

The worst defeat this film suffers is that both it and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 pull the same sleight of hand in the third act and the Twilight film actually does it better. Ouch, that has got to hurt.

SNIPPET FROM MY REVIEW: (read the full review here)

Savages is less than average all around. The characters are paper thin, the plot is tired and the execution is amateur at best. And my god, someone, please put out a required mandate that says voice over narration must go, along with the phrase that opens with “They say…” I don’t care what “they say” because guess what, it’s not as profound as you think your trumped up phrase actually is.

#7
Flight

Denzel Washington in Flight
Denzel Washington in Flight
Photo: Paramount Pictures

My anticipation for Robert ZemeckisFlight came along late in the year. The story of an airline pilot crash landing a commercial flight and saving most everyone aboard only to later learn he had a problem with alcoholism was intriguing. The fact Denzel Washington played said pilot was even more intriguing, as was the fact Zemeckis was finally putting away his motion capture toys and rejoining the real world of storytelling.

Then, while watching, the crash sequence was one of the most intense sequences put on film this year. The first hour of Flight is excellent only to be completely derailed by a monotonous second and third act of drinking, drinking and more drinking while various peripheral characters are introduced and abandoned before the ending, which could have gone so many different ways. That tacked on finale with Denzel’s son put it over the top.

SNIPPET FROM MY REVIEW: (read the full review here)

Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) is an alcoholic. How do I know? Because throughout the duration of Robert Zemeckis‘ new film Flight there is hardly a scene that goes by where he doesn’t have a drink in his hand or isn’t slurring his words and falling over with a lit cigarette dangling from his fingers. Some may describe this as a reality of alcoholism, I call it redundant and boring. Yes, Washington is fantastic in this role, as he is in most every character he inhabits, but the repetitive nature of this film and its obvious outcome alleviates all suspense and/or drama once the opening and truly thrilling moments have passed.

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