Looking Back: FirstShowing Collectively Picks the Worst Films of 2012
by Ethan Anderton
December 21, 2012
Though this year has been chock full of some absolutely great films (everyone at FirstShowing is having a problem locking down their favorite films of 2012), that doesn't mean there weren't some bad apples among the bunch. Rather than individually choosing our least favorite 2012 films, myself, Alex Billington, Ben Pearson, Jeremy Kirk and Tim Buel got together and figured out which films we collectively deemed as the Worst Films of 2012. Some of these appeared in my editorial defending Cloud Atlas as being far from one of the worst films of the year, but others were so bad that I just forgot about them. Check out our picks!
Here's our collectively chosen list of 10 movies that we believe were some of the worst of 2012. Each writer submitted a list of their least favorite films, and we finalized this set of them that we felt were just awful.
#10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Despite a catchy concept playing off the hype surrounding this year's fascination with Abraham Lincoln, this movie was a huge mess from start to finish. The script the worst part about it, untidy and problematic. The story kept jumping forward in time without any care or concern for the characters. The rest of the movie just wasn't that good either. The action scenes were overly flashy and hardly entertaining, especially when they were supposed to be the big payoff. Nothing worked, it wasn't very entertaining, and even the performances were mediocre. An unfortunate blunder of storytelling that will be, and already has been, quickly forgotten.
#9. Alex Cross
At least Matthew Fox got it. What should have been a crazy, balls-to-the-wall, almost comedic turn for the Alex Cross series - This film is a reboot for the character after Morgan Freeman played him in Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider - took itself way too seriously for anyone to enjoy themselves. Even Fox starts to look bored after his crazy eyes grow tired. He wanted them to make the Alex Cross movie we deserved, especially with Tyler Perry taking the role over, since he's at least a halfway decent actor. Rob Cohen, unfortunately, wanted big and loud but serious and dramatic. It was enough to make the audience pass out.
#8. Red Tails
Maybe we shouldn't be expecting much out of George Lucas as a producer since his career has a director has taken a sharp nosedive ever since the first Star Wars prequel in 1999. But this was a film that Lucas had been wanting to make for decades, and letting director Anthony Hemingway take the reigns made us think this could turn into an outstanding war drama. However, the result was a cheesy film empty of any real heart. Not even Lucas doing reshoots of the film himself saved what could have been a successful high profile chronicle of some of the bravest men to ever take to the skies to defend the United States. Top Gun can fly circles around this film, and it's not even based on an inspiring true story.
#7. Red Dawn
Since this unnecessary 80's action remake sat on the shelf for nearly three years, it's no surprise that it arrived rather unceremoniously despite a Thanksgiving weekend opening. Boasting what was a cast of largely unknown stars at the time like Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson (both talents who had their stars rise in the years this film was completed and awaiting release), the film is a miserable remake with weak villains, the most generic script ever written, and is almost the epitome of bad remakes of films from the 80s. Plus, the ending was just about the weakest conclusion to an action film I've seen in years.
#6. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
We probably should have guessed earlier that Neveldine & Taylor weren't going to escape the doom of the CG-fest that was 2007's Ghost Rider. We just still had such high hopes thanks to Crank, which remains a recent, action favorite. Nicolas Cage winding up the crazy once again was sure to be found, but the level of boredom Spirit of Vengeance sank to was shocking. Thanks, shaky cam. Thanks, fast in-and-out zooming. Thanks, lack of care in every shot that made us feel we were watching a high school video production. But Ghost Rider is a cool looking superhero, so the el cheapo sequels are sure to continue. Can we at least try to include an interesting story next time?
#5. The Three Stooges
This really was the year for films that were in development for years to fall flat on their face. From Red Tails to Red Dawn, there seems to be a lot of wasted time getting these films off the ground, but this one takes the cake. In an attempt to revive the classic comedy trio of Moe, Larry and Curly, directing duo and siblings Bobby and Peter Farrelly failed to recognize that Jackass and YouTube already have the market cornered with stupid slapstick moments, and artificial use of such comedy just doesn't work anymore. Even though Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos put their whole heart into some stellar impressions of the classic comedians, the movie was worse than a poke to the eyes.
#4. That's My Boy
Adam Sandler is in an endless war against movie lovers worldwide. He consistently delivers lackluster and obnoxious performances, quite literally just cashing a paycheck to fund his next outing with his usual motley crew. That's My Boy is insulting and just plain stupid. Sandler parades around the screen, portraying his usual obnoxious man-child self and worst of all, dragging the usually charming Andy Samberg down with him. The film attempts to insert some heart and soul into its vulgarity, however this attempt comes across as superficial and lazy when the R-rated crudity takes center stage. Another reason this film resonates so poorly is its overall mean spirit. It rarely changes from its agenda to punish its main characters and its audience with gross out humor and offensive content (for the sake of being offensive). You might be hard pressed to find a film that is more of a middle finger to the comedy genre this year, despite this film coming from the writer/director of the decent Sex Drive. The moral of the story is, stay away from Adam Sandler joints until he pairs up with Paul Thomas Anderson again.
Battleship was so bad it made John Carter look like The Godfather. This is a movie based on a board game, and it doesn't even use "you sunk my battleship!" as a line of dialogue, which is practically the only thing people expected from it. Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, and Rihanna were all atrocious in it, but as bad as they were, most of the ill will should fall on the script, director Peter Berg's ugly shot selections, and the fact that this movie took itself far too seriously. The aliens' motivations made no sense, the physics were questionable at best, and the whole thing was like a Transformers ripoff that had half the skill and none of the charisma of Bay's films. Battleship is by far the dumbest blockbuster of the year. Bonus: this movie also wins the award for the most pointless post-credits sequence in the history of film.
#2. Piranha 3DD
There's a reason this was at the top of my list of films that were far worse than Cloud Atlas, and that's because this is undoubtedly one of the worst films ever made, not just in 2012, but ever. While the first films was a solid tongue in cheek parody and tribute to the original mocking of Jaws, this one dispatches with any cleverness in the favor of boobs, blood and no script. I don't even know how enough dialogue and story points were shot to edit this into a vaguely cohesive film. Evidence of that can be seen in the film's one hour and fifteen minute runtime accompanied by a ten minute credit sequence of terrible deleted scenes.
#1. Wrath of the Titans
When word came out in 2010 that a new take on classic 80's film Clash of the Titans was being made, film geeks were skeptical but interested in revitalized effects and updated action sequences. Instead they were presented with a vacant, bland and overall wasteful remake that was instantly forgotten. This year's sequel Wrath of the Titans also raised some hopeful eyebrows as Jonathan Liebesman, hot off of Battle: Los Angeles, hopped into the director's chair to hopefully breathe life into the series. Unfortunately his touch is barely recognizable in the final product which is essentially a wooden scripted and CGI ridden mess. The film failed to improve any of the elements of the first and even made some of the flaws more noticeable, especially the chaotic "storyline" and silly acting. All in all, Wrath of the Titans was a painful revisit to a world that we never wanted to really experience in the first place.
Dishonorable Mentions: Lockout, The Raven, Dark Shadows, Savages, One for the Money, What to Expect When You're Expecting, The Devil Inside, Paranormal Activity 4, Chasing Mavericks, Resident Evil: Retribution, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Nature Calls, Playing for Keeps, Taken 2, Here Comes the Boom.
So there you have it. The piles of excrement that are our least favorite films of 2012. However, the good news is that our lists looking back at the best films of the year are coming next week, and it's been hard to figure out our absolute favorites. Next week we'll have a few lists looking at our personal favorite films of the year, the best films in the comedy and horror genre, and the best motion picture scores, so stay tuned. Our own Alex Billington, Ben Pearson, and Golden Briefcase hosts Jeremy Kirk and Tim Buel contributed to this article. So what did you think were the worst films of 2012? Did we miss any? Sound off below!