Of all the lists I make each year, this one is probably my favorite. It started out as a bit of a joke between a friend and myself but after a moment of consideration I decided it wasn’t the worst idea I’d ever had. I have made mention in the past that I pride myself on my ability to avoid truly awful movies. I’ll deliberately watch a bad movie from time to time just to mix things up (see: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and occasionally a movie catches me off guard with its awfulness (see: Trouble with the Curve) but for the most part, I steer clear of the junk that crowds the yearly movie calendar. The good part about this is that I am able to keep my sanity but on the other hand my “worst of the year” list is usually fairly weak. With that in mind, two years ago I started writing this column, a collection of the worst movies I didn’t see in a given year, all of which are truly putrid and deserve to be treated as such. In making this list, I exclude the following three film genres for various reasons:
1.) Horror movies. Since I have no love for the genre as a whole, I feel it is unfair to judge these movies so harshly when even a “good” horror movie probably wouldn’t resonate with me. 2.) Limited release films. Excluding these films helps whittle down the list a bit and forces me to focus on the studio-backed films that most of my readers are acquainted with. 3.) Nicholas Cage movies. This is a new exclusion but one I felt necessary given that Mr. Cage has clearly lost his mind (and he wasn’t the most sane personality in the first place) and his film choices have become downright depressing.
So with those exclusions in mind (and with the understanding that the ten worst movies I did see this year will be coming your way tomorrow) please enjoy the Ten Worst Movies I Didn’t See in 2012.
10. Joyful Noise – Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer Rotten Tomatoes score: 34% Domestic Gross: $30.9M Razzie Nominations: none Let’s start this list off with a film that clearly wasn’t aimed at me but appeared to be incredibly awful regardless. When I saw the trailer for the first time I felt like I could feel the rest of the men in the audience going through a mental checklist. “Queen Latifah: check. Dolly Parton: check. Musical: check. Jokes about menopause: check. Oh sweet goodness this is the worst thing ever!!!” No thanks.
9. Here Comes the Boom – Kevin James, Salma Hayek, Henry Winkler Rotten Tomatoes score: 38% Domestic Gross: $44.1M Razzie Nominations: none I’ll admit up front that I was unquestionably biased against this movie from the very beginning. It has almost the exact same base plot as 2011’s Warrior, one of my favorite films ever, only it’s watered down into a middling, played-out mess. But maybe more importantly, I feel I need to put it out there to the rest of America: Kevin James is not funny. AT ALL. Nothing he has ever done, from King of Queens right on down to this knock-off of a good movie, has been any funnier than your run of the mill episode of Two and a Half Men, which is just about the lowest form of comedy in my opinion. Stop buying into this guy’s brand of crap, people.
8. The Guilt Trip – Seth Rogen, Barbra Streisand Rotten Tomatoes score: 38% Domestic Gross: $31.8M Razzie Nominations: 1 For starters, I’m not a big fan of Rogen. I think he can be great in the right circumstances but like most of the group of young comedy stars he has made himself a part of (Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, James Franco, etc.) I consider him to be VERY hit or miss. Putting him in a movie with Barbra Streisand (who received the film’s only Razzie nomination) is a surefire way to keep me away. I’ve heard that there is a softer, sweet side to The Guilt Trip but if this is the case then the marketing campaign did nothing to put that out there as I was completely turned off the very first time I saw that awful trailer.
7. The Lucky One – Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner Rotten Tomatoes score: 20% Domestic Gross: $60.4M Razzie Nominations: none There will probably come a day when I exclude films based on the books of Nicolas Sparks from this list. It’s just too easy. But for now, let me just saw that The Lucky One is particularly offensive because, judging by the trailers of these respective films, it is just a hybrid of The Notebook and Dear John. BECAUSE WE DIDN’T GET ENOUGH OF THIS IN EITHER OF THOSE MOVIES.
6. Playing For Keeps – Gerard Butler, Jessica Biel, Dennis Quaid Rotten Tomatoes score: 4% Domestic Gross: $12.8M Razzie Nominations: 1 Let’s just be honest: Gerard Butler has made some horrible films. The man who just a few years ago seemed like an appealing leading man for both men and women with his turns in Phantom of the Opera and 300 (spawning one of the greatest bits Saturday Night Live has come up with in years), Butler has followed up those successes with some of the worst credits a man could possibly add his name to. This may be the one that finally does him in. Almost no one saw this movie and the reaction by those who did has been nothing short of scathing. Butler has a few projects in the offing but if any of those fare as poorly as Playing for Keeps, he may find himself a regular on a bad TV procedural very soon.
5. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 – Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, Taylor Lautner Rotten Tomatoes score: 48% Domestic Gross: $289.3M Razzie Nominations: 10 My favorite part about the release of this film is that for a short period of time it held a “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes which allowed proponents of the series to smugly say things like, “See? These movies are good! (Or at least not that bad!)” But when you read those early reviews, every single one basically noted that in comparison to the four other films in the series, this one wasn’t the worst. So kudos to the “film”makers who have attached their names to this series over the years! Your final, epic conclusion “wasn’t as bad” as the previous films! What an achievement! Worst long-running film franchise EVER.
4. That’s My Boy – Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester Rotten Tomatoes score: 21% Domestic Gross: $36.9M Razzie Nominations: 8 The only good thing about That’s My Boy is that it lost a healthy chunk of money. That’s always been the rub with Adam Sandler movies: Yes, they’re bloody awful but people keep going to see them so there’s no real incentive for him to change his stripes. Well, this one flopped miserably, something we can all cheer for. Beyond that fact, however, there’s nothing good that anyone can say about Sandler’s career right now. He seems to be on the warpath to make every adult who spent any time as a youth enjoying his films feel very, very foolish. Hi, my name is Brian, and I used to like Adam Sandler movies.
3. A Thousand Words – Eddie Murphy, Kerry Washington, Cliff Curtis Rotten Tomatoes score: 0% Domestic Gross: $18.4M Razzie Nominations: 3 Of the two films that spent years collecting dust on a shelf, Red Dawn is the one that drew the most boisterous reaction but for my money it was A Thousand Words that truly deserved the hate. Shot in 2008, this may very well be remembered as the film that effectively ended Eddie Murphy’s career. Sure, he’s been heading down that path for a while now and there’s always a chance that someone will throw him a bone that turns into something big but even for Murphy apologists (of which there are many, who still hold on to and proclaim his greatness, which I would suggest he threw away over 20 years ago), this movie was a disaster. It’s bad enough that the film got released four years after its completion but it’s much worse that Murphy agreed to do the movie in the first place.
2. One For the Money – Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, John Leguizamo Rotten Tomatoes score: 2% Domestic Gross: $26.4M Razzie Nominations: 1 When I saw the trailer for One For the Money for the first time, I literally thought it was a TV movie, like something that would show up on Lifetime on Super Bowl Sunday to provide the womenfolk with an alternative. I’ve been up front about my great dislike for Heigl (her name being attached to a movie is probably the quickest, most immediate “out” for me of anyone in Hollywood outside of John Travolta) but even for her, this is BAD. Even worse, the ad campaign behind it played out with a smugness unbefitting of such a miserable film, as if the suits behind the movie thought, “Oh, EVERY woman will love Katherine Heigl as a bounty hunter!” and went about business as if this was an absolute truth. Once again, however, Heigl proves to be a completely unlikeable, unbankable “star” who makes truly horrible movies. At least she’s consistent.
1. The Movies of Tyler Perry Alex Cross, Madea’s Witness Protection, Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds Rotten Tomatoes scores: 12%, 21%, and 32% Domestic Gross: $25.8M, $65.6M, and $35.1M Total Razzie Nominations: 5 Where to begin? I guess I should note right off the top that I am not the target market for the films of Tyler Perry so perhaps it’s unfair that I judge them in the first place. Once we’ve bypassed that caveat, let me then denote that regardless of the target market, the various heaps of garbage that Tyler Perry repeatedly attaches his name to are so brutally and unrelentingly appalling that they could be used by the CIA as a means of torture. One day locked in a cell with Madea’s Witness Protection playing on loop would break any man, hardened terrorist or otherwise.
But here’s my favorite part about this collection of junk: On the opening weekend of Alex Cross, I went to the theater for a repeat viewing of Argo. As a MoviePass owner, I can see any movie I want for free at any time, provided it is not in 3D and there are tickets available. On this particular night, however, Argo was sold out and I had to choose another movie. The only film I hadn’t seen that was available this night was Alex Cross…so I decided to go home. I was already at the theater with a card that allowed me to see the movie for free and I chose, instead, to drive home in the rain. That’s a powerful brand of awful right there and serves as plenty of reason not only for Tyler Perry’s collected works to take the top spot this year but for us as a nation to band together and bring this man’s reign of terror to an end.