Dishonorable mentions to Super 8, Priest, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Immortals for being poor big studio movies. The rest deserve to be singled out:
10. THE EAGLE
Boring and incompetent. Pretty basic failure.
9. SEASON OF THE WITCH
I am the world’s biggest Nicolas Cage defender, and there is just nothing to appreciate in this. Just a miserable, generic but not even fun bad medieval swordplay bore.
8. MARS NEEDS MOMS
I am glad this movie exists, because it forced Zemeckis to admit nobody wants to see these mocap movies. Now he didn’t even have a Jim Carrey or Tom Hanks to hedge his bets.
Everyone gave this a pass. They said it was okay, good action. But it’s not good action, and it’s not okay. It’s not another Taken. Taken was a solid genre piece about a guy who’s not a good father, but when your daughter gets kidnapped he’s the guy you want to go murder all the bad guys. Unknown is aggressively stupid and the action is boring or incomprehensible. I don’t care about January Jones’ performance. I care that it requires characters to be idiots to set up banal fights and chases.
6. I AM NUMBER FOUR
This is the CGI equivalent of an Ed Wood movie. People mimicking throwing each other, silly energy blasts added in post, villains with goofy makeup and all the actors acting like they’re creating a serious mythology here. Teresa Palmer’s the only one who gets it. They should have just made the Number Six movie. They could call it Number Six’s Great Adventure.
5. SOMETHING BORROWED
A hateful, hateful movie even by the standards of bad romantic comedy values. Kate Hudson thinks she’s in on the joke because she’s playing against type, but I don’t think she really gets how dangerous her character is. I mean, she practically forces her friend to drink and sleep with a stranger. Assuming the adaptation was faithful to the book, it turns out the authors are formulaic hacks just like Hollywood screenwriters.
4. CARS 2
The sequel to everybody’s least favorite Pixar film became the company’s first true failure. Well, artistically speaking. I’m sure we’ll still have to take our kids to see Cars 3. The thing is, there was a good Cars 2 that could have been made, but at every step of the story the wrong creative choice was made.
3. RED RIDING HOOD
Everything everyone else said about this is true.
2. NEW YEAR’S EVE
This may not be the very worst movie of the year, but I bet if I watched the worst movie of the year after New Year’s Eve it would seem a little bit better. This is just full of contempt for the audience. Everything they think is cute should make you want to slap them, if you the viewer are indeed a person of strong moral character. I’m glad it’s not Jon Bon Jovi’s final performance.
1. I MELT WITH YOU
Well, I didn’t hate any movie this year more than I Melt With You, but I love how much I hate it. It disagrees with my worldview and is aggressively pretentious about it. If you’re going to go for it, then go all the way off the rails. This movie revels in failure and giving up on life, with arthouse techniques that push it into the realms of bad taste (footage of the Challenger explosion? Hello!).
But seriously, if you’re an I Melt With You fan (a Melter?) or Team Unknown, let’s discuss further on Twitter @FredTopel.