*Disclaimer: Post contains some harsh language
I know not everyone agrees, but I personally thought 2011 was a pretty solid year for film. I think it shows in my awards since I had a lot of good things to say. But the time for good things is over. I’ve enjoyed gushing over how good Drive is for far too long. It’s time to dive into the bullshit that tainted 2011. The films that made me question if being a film critic is a hobby that I really wanted. These are my ten most hated films of last year. I also wanna clarify that this list is not the worst films, this is dedicated to the ones that pissed me off. Poor film making is one thing, but rage inducing agony is another. So without further ado:
10. The Rite
Running time: 113 minutes
Written by: Michael Petroni
Based on: “The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist” by Matt Baglio
Directed by: Mikael Hafstrom
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue, Alice Braga, and Rutger Hauer
Unlike the most of the other things in the list, there are a few good things in The Rite. There’s a creepy scene near the beginning, the cinematography is appropriate, and there’s a hilarious scene where Anthony Hopkins smacks a small child. So why is this film on the list? Because everything else is ridiculously boring. I did not care about the story at all and wasn’t invested in the main priests story of struggling with his faith. For that, I mostly blame Colin O’Donoghue, who I felt was just bland. Though none of the actors were good. As much as I love Anthony Hopkins and Rutger Hauer, they’re definitely wasting their time here. But most of all, this movie is just boring. It’s not too long, but you feel every single minute. I had to fight falling asleep pretty much throughout the film. Not as bad as some of the next entries, but still pretty bad.
Running time: 110 minutes
Written by: Peter Baynham
Based on: The 1981 film written by Steve Gordon
Directed by: Jason Winer
Starring: Russel Brand, Helen Mirren, Jennifer Garner, and Greta Gerwig
Now we’re getting into some bullshit. While Arthur is undeniabley a stupid film, I found almost all the blame for this one can be placed on star Russel Brand. Everything he tries to be he fails at. He isn’t funny, he isn’t charming, and he isn’t likable. Not once did Brand’s schtick in this film make me laugh, he just pissed me off. He’s also suppose to be kind of charming, but he’s more creepy than anything. Like the scene where he begins to win Greta Gerwig’s by MAKING JOKES ABOUT HER DEAD MOTHER! How exactly is that charming? I didn’t know girls where into the “dead parent” jokes. Worst of all is how the film tries to make you sympathize with him. Well, it’s hard to feel bad for an annoying billionaire and incompetent asshole. There’s no reason to like him at all. The film also tries to tell a simple yet humble message about valuing your loved ones over material goods. I almost gave the film credit for AT LEAST sticking to that, but they ruin that at the end by having him stay with his dream girl and keeping his fortune, thus devaluing the meaning and the entire film for that matter. And everyone lives happily ever after…except me who had to sit through this horse shit. Also, why the hell was Helen Mirren in this movie?
Running time: 109 minutes
Written by: John Garvin and Andrew Wight
Directed by: Alister Grierson
Starring: Rhys Wakefield, Richard Roxburgh, Ioan Gruffudd, Alice Parkinson, and Daniel Wyllie
This film has most of the same problems as The Rite. And unlike The Rite, there is no scene where Anthony Hopkins smacks a small child. What it does have in common is being boring as hell. All that happens is some cave divers get trapped. There’s also some poorly manufactured family drama which didn’t have the slightest bit of resonance. Also, if you’ll go back to entry number ten, you’ll noticed I described the acting as bland. Here, I don’t think the word bland quite does it justice. I prefer the moniker: shitty. I mean wow, these performances were awful. Not one of them impressed me, though I will give credit to Ioan Gruffudd for being unintentionally funny in one scene. With a film like this, that lacks any real story depth, compelling characters, or at least likable characters, would be the only way to make it work. But they really fumble the ball there. The film also looks horrible. We’re talking cheap looking, which considering the film had a budget of $30 million, I’m blaming the director and cinematographer. Sanctum: a terrible, pointless film.
7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules/Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
Running time: 100 minutes/92 minutes
Written by: Jeff Filgo, Jeff Judah, and Gabe Sachs/Megan McDonald and Kathy Waugh
Based on: The book of the same name by Jeff Kinney/The book of the same name by Megan McDonald
Directed by: David Bowers/John Schultz
Starring: Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Robert Capron, Rachael Harris, and Steve Zahn/Jordana Beatty and Heather Graham
I decided to lump these two films together because they both suffer from the same things. Both are kids films that would piss off kids, both are terribly unfunny despite trying very hard, both look cheap as hell, both have insanely stupid plots, and both have very unlikable characters. And while all these things suck hard, it’s the unlikable characters who really bring these films down. These protagonists are so despicable they make Daniel Plainview look like Jesus Christ. I said in my last year “worst of” list that Diary of a Wimpy Kid should have been retitled Diary of an Asshole after it’s asshole protagonist. He’s a self centered kid who’s obsessed with being popular (even though the point of the last film was him accepting himself and not caring about popularity). The film also loses points for being racist and having a backwards ass message. The title character of Judy Moody is also a self centered ass. She also ruins all her friends fun with what she wants. The fact that you have to spend an entire film with each of these obnoxious brats is insulting. Now for those who will say that I’m being too harsh because it’s a kid film, I have two counter-points. First is the television show Spongebob Square Pants. Spongebob isn’t deep, and it’s definitely made for kids, but it’s a show that still manages to get me laughing, sometimes really hard. Why? Because it has likable characters and genuinely funny writing. And if Spongebob is too classy for you, I’ve got something else; last year’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a bad film, but it doesn’t sink to the level of atrocity seen in Diary and Judy. Why? Because it has enough charm and humor to scrape by. It’s not good, but it didn’t leave me hating children the way Rodrick Rules and The Not Bummer Summer did.
6. Cars 2
Release date: June 24th, 2011
Running time: 106 minutes
Story by: John Lasseter, Brad Lewis, and Dan Fogelman
Screenplay by: Ben Queen
Directed by: John Lasseter
Starring: Larry the Cable Guy, Owen Wilson, Michael Caine, and Emily Mortimer
I like Pixar, but I never thought of them as perfect. They’ve made films I wasn’t crazy about, like Cars and Finding Nemo. That said, I never thought they’d sink as low as this, I mean wow. Here we have a film with a stupid plot, full of stupid characters who make insanely stupid decisions, and ridiculously bad dialogue. We have a film too violent for young kids but not exciting for anyone else and the world these cars inhabit makes no sense. And yet as bad as all these things are, it’s still not the worst thing about Cars 2. The worst thing is the sheer lack of passion that went into the film. The merchandise for these Cars movies makes billions of dollars, and it feels like this was the only reason Cars 2 was made. I may not like the first Cars, but at least it had some heart. It had something it wanted to say. Cars 2 is an empty, soulless film that does almost everything wrong. And that’s why Cars 2 is rubbing shoulders with the lacks of Judy Moody and Arthur. Pixar better redeem themselves with this year’s Brave.
Release date: May 13th, 2011
Running time: 87 minutes
Written by: Cory Goodman
Based on: The comics by Min-Woo Hyung
Directed by: Scott Stewart
Starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, and Maggie Q
Before I get into this I wanna say the animation segment at the beginning of this film was pretty cool. Of course, the fact that there is something I like about this, yet it’s still this high on the list says leagues about how bad everything else is. Here we have a stupid story brought to life by horrid performances and dialogue. Paul Bettany is giving us his best Clint Eastwood impression the whole film and it’s just said. Karl Urban, who I usually like, is also pretty goofy as the film’s main antagonist. All the other characters had no personality and the actors didn’t really try to improve that. I was at least hoping the action scenes would be fun, but they sucked hard too. All this led to a really boring film, which is pathetic considering the short run time. On top of that, the film is very derivative of better films like Blade Runner and The Matrix.
4. Sucker Punch
Release date: March 25th, 2011
Running time: 110 minutes
Written by: Zack Snyder and Steve Shibuya
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, and Vanessa Hudgens
Before Sucker Punch, Snyder was a film maker that divided film fans. Personally, I was indifferent toward him. He’d made some movies I enjoyed,but he never struck me as a major filmmaker. But in 2011, he made his mark, directing the film that pissed everybody off, from hardcore fans to the loudest critics. Sucker Punch was universally hated by everybody, and it’s easy to say why. The film is loud, stupid,and obnoxious. Perhaps worst ofall though is it has this pretension that it’s artsy. That it’s really a complex web of imagery and feelings. It’s not, it’s bullshit. It also amuses me how Snyder claims he meant the film to empowering to women, yet the film clearly exploits their sexuality. I’m sure the feminists of the world appreciate your support Zack. What probably burns me the most about the film is that I defended it before I came out. I told people they shouldn’t judge the film until they see it, and that it could be good. So when I saw the film, I felt like an asshole. But Sucker Punch isn’t here out of some vendetta from me. It’s here because it makes no sense, has horrible acting and dialogue, and a dependency on unoriginal visuals. Zack, you better get your shit together for The Man of Steel.
3. Green Lantern
Release date: June 7th, 2011
Running time: 114 minutes
Written by: Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Marc Guggenheim, and Michael Goldenberg
Based on: The character “Green Lantern”, created by John Broome and Gil Kane
Directed by: Martin Campbell
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, and Tim Robbins
Green Lantern was easily the most disappointing film of the year for me. I’d wanted another DC superhero to do well on film for awhile, and Martin Campbell was a director I had (and still do) admiration for. Little did I know he would churn out a turd of epic preportions. Ryan Reynolds plays Ryan Reynolds instead of an actual character, and most of the other actors are pretty bad. Blake Lively is your typical boring love interest and Peter Sarsgaard was just annoying. The story here is also bullshit. Hal Jordan’s inner journey is pretty boring and the evil villain at the heart of the film doesn’t feel that menacing. The plot is a mess, things that happen have no bearing on the plot and other things that would be important to the story aren’t shown. Green Lantern doesn’t even work as stupid fan thanks to same awful action scenes. And despite budget of $200 million, these effects are pretty awful. Paralax himself looked like a literal pile of shit. Oh, and the film’s central theme is ripped off from Batman Begins, one of the best comic book films of all time. While most of the comic book films this year were pretty good, Green Lantern was here to remind us just how bad they can get.
2. Larry Crowne
Release date:July 1st, 2011
Running time: 99 minutes
Written by: Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos
Directed by: Tom Hanks
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bryan Cranston, and George Takei
The world knows no fury quite like what I went through when I witnessed Tom Hanks cinematic bowel movement which they call Larry Crowne. Some pointed out I was a bit hard on Larry Crowne. They told me it was an inoffensive, cute film that isn’t bad enough to elicist massive hate. While I respect everyone’s opinion, these people are wrong. Larry Crowne sucks so hard I’ll bet it could suck a golf ball through a garden hose. The titular character is a wimpy pushover who’s only likable trait is being harmless. I don’t care if he’s a nice guy, he’s annoying god damn it! Setting an entire film around such a pathetic character was a crucial flaw. The film also has absolutely no dramatic tension as there aren’t any real obstacles to overcome, and the film’s humour is pitiful. The cast is all kinds of awful here. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Larry’s “quirky” friend. And by quirky friend, I mean annoying. Then we have Julie Roberts’ Mrs. Tainot. Mrs. Tainot is an annoying, selfish, alcoholic who hates everyone in her life and the movie wants me to sympathize with her? Fuck you. And yet the character the movie wants us to hate is her husband, played by Bryan Cranston. His worse traits are being a blogger who occasionally looks at pornography. George Takei is the ONLY thing in this film that isn’t complete dog shit.
1. Jack and Jill
Running time: 91 minutes
Written by: Ben Zook, Steve Koren, and Robert Smigel
Directed by: Dennis Dugan
Starring: Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes, and Al Pacino
I didn’t think any move this year would piss me off more than Larry Crowne, but Sandler managed to pull it off. Throughout 2011, Sandler’s Happy Madison production company brought us a series of films that I’ve come to call Adam Sandler’s Quadrilogy of Death. It started with Just Go With It, which looked horrible, but at least had a set up that could have been funny. Then there was Zookeeper, which saw Kevin James with a bunch of talking animals. So that looked like shit and I avoided it too. Things seemed they had sunk to their lowest with Nick Swardson’s star vehicle, Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star, the story of some idiot with a small dick who becomes a porn star. And while Larson may in fact be Happy Madison’s ultimate low, I didn’t see it so I don’t know. What I do know is that Adam Sandler had one more trick up his sleeve with Jack and Jill, the story of Jack and his annoying twin sister Jill.
It’s hard to know where to start with Jack and Jill. For one, it barely qualifies as a movie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a lazy, shameless cash grab. The premise was stupid enough to begin with, but when you add on the fact that this film never even attempted jokes. It never even tries in the slightest. It just shows Jack and Jill going places, and Adam Sandler makes obnoxious noises. The film drops a step lower by trying to trick the audience into thinking the movie has a heart. That’s really about family and loving people for what’s inside. Thing is, there’s nothing good about Jill. Her looks aren’t why people hate her, it’s her obnoxious personality. Plus, it’s Adam Sandler dressed like a woman. WHY THE FUCK WOULD I FEEL BAD FOR ADAM SANDLER DRESSED LIKE A WOMAN? Then there’s the movie’s racist humour, which is never funny and always offensive. There’s also the fact that the film is a blatant commercial for products such as Pepto Bismol, Coke, Sony, and Oreos, among others. I know product placement is necessary, but man this hit new levels of ass. Another big insult is the price tag this movie had. This is a film budgeted at $79 million that looks cheaper than rubber dog shit. Why such a high budget? Just so Sandler and all is stupid friends can get inflated paychecks.
By now you’re probably thinking, “Okay PG, we get it, Jack and Jill sucks,” but I’m not done. I still have yet to reach the thing that pissed me off the most. Al Pacino is a main character in this film. Al. Pacino. I want you think about this for a second. The Godfather saga, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, Heat…Jack and Jill. Al Pacino is one of the greatest actors of all time. The man is a legend, and it’s embarrassing to see him in this film. Especially when he’s given the stupidest shit to do, like dressing up like a viking and fighting a ceiling fan. Look, I’m sure Pacino didn’t give a shit about this script and was probably paid a ton of cash, so on that level I see why he did the film. But it doesn’t matter, this is Pacino we’re talking about. As a film fan, it’s embarrassing to see an actor of such a status in a film like this. He should have known better.
I debated putting Larry Crowne at number one, especially since everyone and their grandma has taken the time to shit on Jack and Jill, but at the end of the day, I can’t deny just how bad this film is. I go back to the day I saw this. Some buddies and I snuck into this after seeing something else. Now we knew it was gonna be bad, but we had no idea. Sometimes it’s fun to rip into a shit film with your friends. We thought Jack and Jill would be a similar experience. But five minutes in, we started to realize we were in for a far more depressing experience. It was such a lazy, stupid, and offensive film that it just made me tired. Tired of sitting in that theater, tired of movies, tired of life. There’s a reason I began referring to the film as Jack and Kill Myself. (Okay, the film didn’t make me suicidal, but the name stuck). Jack and Jill is a new level of bad. It caters to the lowest possible level and is there just to make some money. It is the epitome of everything wrong with the film business. And while I saw a lot of bullshit this year, nothing hit lows on the level of Jack and Jill.