The Year in Review: The Ten Worst Films of 2011
Next week, two (relatively) major awards associations announce their nominees. One of those organizations is the Razzies, a group of people devoted to calling out some of the worst films many of us had to endure from the past year.
In that same spirit, I've compiled my list of what I feel were the ten absolute worst movies from 2011. Truthfully, this was a hard thing to do, as there were quite a few bombs from last year. Also included (though not given much detail) are my picks for the worst actor, actress, poster and trailer from 2011, in addition to the most overrated film.
And the list reads like so. . .
#10. I MELT WITH YOU
In the film, four middle-aged men spend the better part of the movie on drugs. Watching this incredibly unstable drama (which later switches genres on us and becomes a sort of half-hearted thriller), you can't help but wonder if the director was strung out himself. Were we to judge the film on its first half alone, I doubt it would have even made this list. Sure, early on, you can tell this probably won't be anything too memorable, but at least, at that point, it's not about to collapse in on itself. By the time we reach the second half, however, the movie is so all over the place, you feel as if you might actually be higher than the characters, thanks in large part to the chaotic, incoherent editing (think Oliver Stone's U-Turn). The actors are typically okay (although Thomas Jane and Jeremy Piven have a few instances where they veer into the melodramatic), but in the end, there isn't much to salvage. It's probably not a great sign when you find yourself smiling once you've come to the tragic end, for no other reason than to be done torturing yourself.
#9. HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL
From the uninspired animation to Patrick Warburton's dry, bored voiceover performance, everything about this completely unnecessary sequel feels cheap and lazy. It's the worst kind of kids movie. The target audience is unlikely to understand a lot of the references, and their parents won't be too entertained by the unfunny jokes and gags masquerading as clever quips. The ending hints at a possible sequel, but here's hoping the dismal box office numbers and savage critic reviews kill that idea before it goes any further.
#8. THE HANGOVER PART II
While I wasn't the biggest fan of the original Hangover, at least that film was watchable, had some memorable moments and, at the end of the day, was anchored by an original script. Its sequel, however, doesn't fare so well. Amazingly, it manages to waste the entire 102-minute time length with not one single funny incident. You can tell that the filmmakers were desperate to try and squeeze a few laughs out of you at certain moments, particularly when it comes to Zach Galifianakis's character. Ultimately, though, he's not given anything to say or do that justifies your spending any amount of money on this. The entire appeal of the first Hangover was how it took a simplistic idea and developed it. There's nothing new or original here. The next time the guys pass out and end up on the roof, they should probably just stay there.
#7. SHARK NIGHT 3D
Just because you make a movie for the sole purpose of exploiting 3D doesn't mean you should skip that step where you actually write a screenplay. Gory as it was, at least 2010's Piranha was entertaining. This is just stupid. The cast clearly includes no one with a SAG card, and the special effects (if you even want to call them that) play out as if they were created by a child that's only just learned how to work a computer. Still, the worst is saved for last. The rap music video with the cast at the end may actually dwarf the movie's huge shortcomings.
#6. SUCKER PUNCH
It was inevitable, but it finally happened. After several years of repeatedly imploring style over substance, writer/director Zack Snyder finally churned out something that's, frankly, kind of awful. Save for Oscar Isaac as the major villain, there's not a lot to recommend. Emily Browning is so stiff and uninteresting as the lead, she could have just as easily been played by a mannequin. The soundtrack often overwhelms each scene, though that probably shouldn't matter much, since the film's plot is pretty nonsensical anyway. "You Will Be Unprepared" acts as the film's tagline. "You Will NOT Be Entertained" is much more accurate.
#5. THE UNDEFEATED
Anybody hoping to learn something new about former Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin will be disappointed. In fact, anybody hoping to take away anything even remotely coherent should prepare for a letdown. Despite what the trailers and synopses suggest, The Undefeated is really about why Alaska is the best state on Earth, Ronald Reagan, old Alaskan politics, Ronald Reagan, and, occasionally, that lady John McCain picked as his running mate for the 2008 Presidential Election. Director Stephen K. Bannon's film has to be one of the most unfocused, poorly realized documentaries of all time. The movie relies too much on bad reenactments (to make up for the serious lack of stock footage). At one point, perhaps to appease the interviewee who's obsessed with him, Bannon introduces footage of Reagan at a conference. It'd be effective if it connected in some way to Palin, or Alaska, or even anything moderately relevant. But it doesn't. He just adds it for the sake of adding it. The Atlantic's film critic Robert Levin said it best when he suggested that Bannon may want to consider film school before embarking on another aimless outing that goes nowhere.
Oh, God, where to begin? First, the story is dumb. I mean, yes, we all know every high school goth chic has the power to curse you, but the way other things unfold here just doesn't make sense. For example, how is Lindy's dad talked into allowing some random guy to keep his daughter? Why is Vanessa Hudgens's character attracted to some rich jerk who proudly exclaims that he should be the school's president because he has money and isn't ugly? While Hudgens is surprisingly likable, the other principal actors (Alex Pettyfer and Mary-Kate Olsen) are laughably bad. Additionally, you can't help but feel embarrassed for respectable actors like Peter Krause and Lisa Gay Hamilton, making the most of what they can with a script that should have been burned as it soon as it was completed.
#3. JACK AND JILL
How Adam Sandler is legally allowed to make movies in this country (and even earn money for them) is beyond me. But when you know you're going to earn back your budget no matter what, why even bother to put any effort into your work? I'm convinced that this was everyone's thinking when they put this garbage together. First off, shockingly, this isn't funny. Not even close. In fact, you get the sense that nobody really cared if an audience would like this or not. Unless you think hearing someone mistake movie names is hilarious, or seeing an even more obnoxious Sandler in drag appeals to you in some way, you won't like this. If any of that does sound inviting to you, keep that to yourself. Secondly, and more importantly, annoying as two Adam Sandlers are to watch, the real tragedy here is the level of talent he's able to lure into his clutches. Why, Al Pacino? You can make any film with any director you want, and you choose this? Why, Johnny Depp? Between this, Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist, I'm starting to think you actually LIKE making terrible movies.
#2. LOVE, WEDDING, MARRIAGE
If this completely forgettable romantic comedy is any indication, Dermot Mulroney may want to retire early from directing. Starring Mandy Moore as the worst marriage counselor I've ever seen and Twilight's Kellan Lutz as a wooden blonde guy who takes off his shirt and makes crappy videos, Love, Wedding, Marriage is the kind of movie that's so bad, it actually makes you angry. There's absolutely nothing appealing about it. The aforementioned leads are unrealistic, the supporting actors (Michael Weston and Jessica Szohr) are unbelievably aggravating, and the movie star veterans (James Brolin and Jane Seymour), appropriately, look embarrassed to even be in this thing. Still, that doesn't stop either one of them from engaging in some horrific overacting. Even for die hard romantics, there has to be a limit to how much stupid you can take before you start losing brain cells.
#1. BUCKY LARSON: BORN TO BE A STAR
One of the first things you'll learn as an aspiring film, television or stage writer is there's a difference between a story and a skit. What's really bad about Bucky Larson isn't just that it's obviously unfit to be a full-length feature film; it's not even equipped (no pun intended) for the sketch comedy life. Adam Sandler may not physically appear here, but his trademarked unfunny fingerprints are all over the script. In fairness, we should probably know what kind of a movie we're in for when, barely five minutes into it, we see a man happily stand by as a goat licks peanut butter off of his genitals. It's a shame that some of the actors have to waste their talents on this tripe, particularly Christina Ricci, who's sweet waitress Kathy is the only bright spot in this crapfest. It's a nice bit of justification, then, that the film's inability to draw a crowd saw it pulled from theaters after only two weeks.
- Zack Snyder ("Sucker Punch")
- Mark Pellington ("I Melt With You")
- Tom Brady ("Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star")
- Dermot Mulroney ("Love, Wedding, Marriage")
- Dennis Dugan ("Jack and Jill")
- Alex Pettyfer ("Beastly")
- Adam Sandler ("Jack and Jill")
- Kellan Lutz ("Love, Wedding, Marriage")
- Nick Swardson ("Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star")
- Jason Momoa ("Conan the Barbarian")
- Mandy Moore ("Love, Wedding, Marriage")
- Emily Browning ("Sucker Punch")
- Hayden Paniettere ("Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil")
- Miranda July ("The Future")
- Natalie Portman ("No Strings Attached")
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Ioan Gruffudd ("Sanctum")
- Adam Sandler ("Zookeeper")
- Michael Weston ("Love, Wedding, Marriage")
- Jay Chaou ("The Green Hornet")
- Zac Efron ("New Year's Eve")
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Mary-Kate Olsen ("Beastly")
- Maya Rudolph ("Zookeeper")
- Jessica Szohr ("Love, Wedding, Marriage")
- Mamie Gummer ("The Ward")
- Jane Seymour ("Love, Wedding, Marriage")
- "Love, Wedding, Marriage"
- "Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star"
- "Jack and Jill"
- "The Hangover: Part II"
My picks for the TEN BEST FILMS OF 2011.
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