Digital Polyphony

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2011 Worst/Disappointing Films

Posted on January 4, 2012 at 12:55 AM



I don't go out of my way to see a lot of "bad" movies. So movies like Jack and Jill or The Smurfs I don't bother seeing because the consensus is I probably won't like them. In other words, I can only see so much, and when something is bad I tend to not waste my time and try to steer towards something good. That always isn't the case, though.

The Hangover 2: I initially had Hangover 2 sitting in my Most Disappointing list below, but then I remembered I didn't have that high of hopes for it in the first place. How can you hope to re-create the original? Its concept is hard to carry over to a sequel now that the originality of its structure and concept is gone. Well, you can't, as this movie proved. Mean spirited and far too dark for a broad comedy, Hangover 2 is just one bad experience after another with flat comedic scenes and just awfulness ranging from gunshots and death to fingers cut off. It's not funny, it's not enjoyable. It's just awful. To nobody's surprise, though, the third one is already in the works.

The Green Hornet: This action-comedy is average on action and low on comedy. It's a by-the-numbers superhero flick that just missed the mark in every aspect. Considering the people involved, it should have at least been passable as a capable action comedy, but even the take seems shoved down our throats.

Season of the Witch: Miscast is the first thing that comes to mind on this one. Nic Cage just sleepwalks through it. No sense of style or drama, poor special effects and a sluggish, boring script. Cage is very hit and miss, this was a major miss (Drive Angry, though, was a slight hit for me and made up for it)

The Art of Getting By: With an undeserved notion of self-importance, this little art-house flick is a forced romance movie that ends up not achieving anything other than blandness and false notions of "love." Unlike other smaller romance and drama movies, such as Like Crazy or Beginners, this one just comes across as fake and with an unlikeable lead character to boot.

Tower Heist: Probably my second least favorite movie of the year (these aren't in any particular order, but this one is probably right behind The Hangover 2). It had maybe one or two moments of actual comedy, but's insufferable. I had to really, really force myself to finish this one off. With a lazy script, uninspired directing and cheap performances that seem well below some of the talent, this might be Ratner's worst movie to date, and that's saying a lot.

Rubber: This one made the rounds in art house theaters and can probably be seen now online if you're interested, but I loathed this movie. It's one of the most pretentious pieces of cinema I've ever seen. You know, one of those movies that likes to remind you it's a movie and really really smart. It's not smart, it's so full of itself that it can't be. Once you get past the absurd concept, it has nothing going for it.

Shark Night 3D: To me, this is a movie that should have been direct to DVD. Screw the 3D gimmick, screw trying to suck out money from moviegoers, this one is just a half-assed endeavor through and through. Still, at least I finished it, unlike another horror movie (see below)




Most Disappointing

These movies are the ones that really could have been good. Hell, probably should have been, but for one reason or another ended up far worse than expected. Maybe not horribly awful movies, but certainly disappointing.

Green Lantern: How did this end up so poorly? I still can't quite figure it out. I suppose it's entertaining in some aspects, but it's so formulaic and uninspired that you can't help but wish that the writers, actors, producers and directors just dropped it all and went back to the drawing board. Even worse is that the superior Thor came out the same year, also dealing with similar story arcs, a large scope and a big focus on the fantastical than the practical...and that one succeeded making this one look even worse by comparison (not that it needed it).

J. Edgar: The pedigree of those involved should have made this an intriguing biopic. Instead we get a hammy, matter-of-fact biopic with no sense of drama or panache. We do get some pretty awful make-up effects, though. Pedigree doesn't equal success. And unconvincing makeup is just as bad. It's even worse when you see it done right, such as in The Iron Lady, where aging seems natural. It was a big distraction, but it was also a phoned-in effort by Eastwood who is usually top-notch and by DiCaprio who really hams it up.

Cowboys and Aliens: I am still dumbfounded just how poor this one ended up. It's not awful, but there's nothing here that you can call great either. When the head of the studio admits it to being a mediocre, failure of a movie, you know you have problems. Favreau took a hit on this one.

Battle: LA: The idea is most certainly there. A docu-style, in your face realistic alien invasion movie. "Sure" I said. Sounds kind of cool. Well, they delivered on that style but nothing else. An awful script, uninventive action scenes and just blandness all around is what we ended up with.

Movies I Didn't Finish

This is probably worse than being "worst" or "disappointing." I least I sat through those movies.

W.E.:  For thirty minutes, I was really despising this film. Eventually, I just turned it off. Madonna's heavy-handed movie about the "greatest love story ever" shows that, sometimes, passion projects aren't always the best thing.

Apollo 18: Conceptually, I was absolutely on board with the movie before it came out. Hell, hype for the thing was all over the place. Yet, when watching it, nothing really seems to work. The tension feels forced, the idea of it being "found footage" an aspect that is gone quickly as it tries to work like a documentary at the same time making it all feel tampered with. I watched a good hour before calling it quits on this one.

Creature: "Surely the reviews aren't that bad," I thought. Sometimes people just want something to pick on. was bad, and my tolerance for this movie only lasted 30 minutes. Really one of the worst movies I had seen in years, and I didn't even see all of it.

Red Riding Hood: I didn't seek this one out. I just stumbled across it on the television a week ago. "Alright," I said as the opening title screens started up. "Let's do this." I quickly flipped away after 20 minutes. Maybe it's because I don't like Amanda Seyfried all that much. Should I give this or any of these movies another chance?

Movies I Kinda Liked But Apparently Not Many Others Did

None of these are great or even good movies, but to a degree I was entertained at least.

Sucker Punch: Now don't get me wrong, it's not a great movie. It's an awful story and tries to do too much, but from a visual catharsis standpoint, there's no other movie that looks and sounds quite like it. I have a lot of respect for imaginative aspects of film and new ideas put on the screen and this movie had that, even if it mishandled most of the other stuff.

Fright Night: To me, these guys were having a lot of fun with this movie. It was a solid little horror flick. Unnecessary? Yes, but at least done right unlike, say, Straw Dogs.

Hobo With a Shotgun: My guilty pleasure movie of 2011. It's trash cinema at its finest. Or worst. Whatever. It's what Machete tried to be but didn't quite hit the mark. This one did, for better or worse. It's a niche film that most won't enjoy, but I certainly did.


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