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The Worst Films Of 2012

Features
by The Playlist Staff
December 18, 2012 1:34 PM
68 Comments
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"Resident Evil: Retribution"
Every couple of years there's another new "Resident Evil" movie. And every couple of years we go see it and yawn. This year's entry was possibly the most videogame-like of the entire videogame-based franchise (this is the fifth "Resident Evil" movie – no, we can't believe it either), in the sense that it really felt like you were watching someone else toggle through levels on some home console – exploring areas, collecting items, and fighting gooey bosses. This isn't exactly the most entertaining experience you can have in the theater, and the fact that the movie ends on some bullshit cliffhanger promising further adventures of latex-clad Milla Jovovich is even more infuriating. Also, this one took place in some kind of giant underground geodesic dome. These are about the only things we can remember from "Resident Evil: Retribution;" even minor thrills of ultra-violence and rubbery monsters have been replaced with a dreadful feeling of repetition and visual effects that are better suited for a Syfy Channel original movie and not a large-scale Hollywood production. In 3D this shit is even sillier.

“Rock of Ages”
There’s a special place in movie hell for films that are not only bad, but interminably long. “Rock of Ages” should be burning for boring us with 136 minutes of bad singing, worse acting and Russell Brand. Two-plus-hours of off-key performances at the worst bridge-and-tunnel karaoke bar imaginable, but without the numbing benefits of alcohol. The film's other sins include making the ‘80s and the Sunset Strip look even worse than they were, wasting the dancing skills of both Catherine Zeta-Jones and Julianne Hough (in a freaking musical) and proving along with “Total Recall” and “John Carter” that Bryan Cranston will take on any role, regardless of his immense talent and the script’s inverse relationship to that. The script here is particularly bad but at least the actual dialogue between poorly covered songs is kept to a minimum, which is a boon to any scene with Diego Boneta. He may be pretty – even with the bad ‘80s haircut and wardrobe – but has all the charms of an empty can of Aquanet. We’d love to consider his casting as commentary on the superficiality of the decade and the hollowness of beauty, but that seems like giving director Adam Shankman far too much credit.

"Taken 2"
It doesn’t seem like it would be all that difficult to follow up 2008’s Liam Neeson-destroys-France slugfest. The original was a no-frills actioner with throwback morals that suggested we endorse this patriotic superman for saving the oldest-looking teenage daughter in history, destroying half of a foreign country in the process. The formula should have been simple as far as recreating went, but instead the only element that survives in the Olivier Megaton-directed sequel is the toothless Ugly Americanism that plays like Zucker-level parody more often than not. Xeroxing the more superficial elements of the first film was easy enough -- Neeson is still brooding and musclebound, Maggie Grace is still far-too-old -- but who made the decision to lift the action from a direct-to-DVD movie and the music from “Drive”? “Taken 2” is the worst type of Hollywood product, the listless paycheck grab that insults others who actually put effort into their films, as it generates zero suspense, features no surprises, and, somehow, has no real ending of any sort. How did this franchise go from “Death Wish 2” to “Death Wish 5” in only two installments?

"That's My Boy"
What is it about Adam Sandler that forces him to keep finding a way to lower the bar? Over the course of a big screen career that saw him (intentionally?) morph his idiot manchildren into “common man” types, he’s found unique ways to drop the standards of broad studio comedy, to the point where something like Seth MacFarlane’s “Ted” comes across as early Woody Allen in comparison. Sandler really outdid himself this time, elevating the material to an R-rating this time around, and using a punishing 114 minute runtime to tell a story about a degenerate Dad and his estranged son (Andy Samberg, as excited as a Gitmo prisoner) that revolves around rape, pedophilia and incest, giving zero laugh lines to Will Forte but leasing the spotlight to not-exactly-skilled jokesters like Tony Orlando and Vanilla Ice. You always know what you’re going to get in a Sandler film, but somehow Sandler’s embrace of the R-rating (and freer use of profanity and cruelty) makes the pandering that much more difficult to manage. It clashes perfectly with Sandler’s absolutely shameless product-whoring, not only having his character carrying Budweiser cans like an extra appendage, but attempting to re-introduce the prominent brand’s “Wazzup” catchphrase, a joke about product placement that, coincidentally, manages to move units. It says a lot about all involved that Budweiser complained about its placement in “Flight,” about an alcoholic, but had no problem carrying half the jokes in a film that glorifies the rape of a minor who can’t help but be so charming.

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68 Comments

  • SpliffClavin | January 6, 2013 11:43 AMReply

    Everything you wrote about That's My Boy is a lie.

  • Tom-Tom.. | January 2, 2013 10:57 PMReply

    I enjoyed a lot of movies in your WORST list especially This Means War...

  • Bluebird | December 28, 2012 3:56 AMReply

    ATM was implausible but entertaining for what it was. Abraham Lincoln was truly awful, but Battleship and John Carter are just easy targets and not as terrible as they're made out to be.

  • Keith Demko | December 26, 2012 11:14 AMReply

    Went through the whole entertaining list to make sure a) I hadn't seen any of these and b) you didn't try to slip in the mesmerizing Cloud Atlas at the end .. check and check .. bully

  • Hector Morales | December 26, 2012 7:29 AMReply

    Really don't know about the hate for John Carter. I found the movie quite entertaining. Probably not a masterpiece, but definitely not a bomb.

  • T. Thompson | December 22, 2012 5:05 PMReply

    The screenplay for ATM made the Black List. I read it - it works much better on paper, so the script wasn't the problem.

  • plumeofswirl | December 21, 2012 4:48 PMReply

    The number of these i've seen: zero. You know God had to add a stipulation to the job of getting paid to see movies.

  • Konstantin | December 20, 2012 11:58 PMReply

    **** ". . . the most improbably connected terrorists in the world. As they fight Al-Qaeda agents aligned with a Mexican drug cartel and the Russian mafia (a Matryoshka doll of terror!). . . " ****

    Uh, actually, there was recently a plot, in real life, in which Iranians hired the services of Mexican criminals to enter the United States and set off a bomb, allegedly to kill the Saudi Ambassador in Washington, DC.

    I don't have the energy to chastise you on printing something so naive regarding the feasibility of Russian involvement in arming & supporting terrorist players. Whoever reviewed Act of Valor here clearly doesn't know much about world affairs or geopolitical conflicts.

    So, yeah, your criticism is weak here. The plot of Act of Valor, while a fiction, really is not that far fetched, and certainly not deserving of extra scorn in this narrow-minded, judgmental hatchet job when literally almost every action movie ever made has plots that are far more ridiculous.

    **** "a feature-length recruitment commercial" ****

    Uh, this doesn't make much sense either.
    Did you happen to notice how many of the SEALs characters are killed & maimed in Act of Valor?
    Did you notice the pain their optempo causes for their families?
    Did you notice that a SEAL decides he has PID of a weapon & hostile intent and thus shoots a Mexican as the anonymous [bad?] guy lies in bed?
    The heroes of this movie struggle & suffer as much as they succeed, and they get blasted by bad guys throughout. What is appealing about this? How is this a recruitment commercial?

  • jack | December 20, 2012 7:38 PMReply

    Why were the comments from Lo deleted? You did contradict yourself. You said John Carter was underrated on your underrated list then it's "worst" on this list. You are contradicting yourselves making your lists bogus.

  • Christopher Bell | December 21, 2012 1:10 AM

    Guys, thanks so much for doing the work to make us look foolish. Thanks for fighting the good fight.

    The underrated/overrated article is very personal. You can see this by the way our names are above our individual picks. This "Worst of" list is a different beast. The "John Carter" write-ups were done by two different people.

    Also, this was all covered already.

  • Lo | December 20, 2012 7:25 PMReply

    Oh an Argo as "OVERRATED"? Yeah again your lists are full of it!

  • Lo | December 20, 2012 7:23 PMReply

    Breaking Dawn Part 2 was NOT one of the worst films in 2012! I mean seriously, your Twilight hate is beyond the pale. YOU ARE NOT CREDIBLE!! You contradicted yourself. You have 'John Carter' as a "WORST" and on your other list you have it as an "UNDERRATED!" If you don't believe me, check out your own blog here! http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/the-overrated-and-underrated-films-of-2012-20121217?page=3#blogPostHeaderPanel . WHICH IS IT?! WAS IT AN UNDERRATED MOVIE OR DID IT SUCK?!! YOU ARE NOT CREDIBLE! YOUR BLOG IS OVERRATED & IT'S THE WORST INDIE BLOG AROUND BECAUSE YOU ALL LET YOUR PERSONAL FEELINGS GET IN THE WAY. Then, you contradict yourselves. BURN YOUR LISTS!!! YOU'RE THE WORST!!!

  • Katie Walsh | December 22, 2012 9:33 AM

    Oh my god, chill out. Most of us hated John Carter and thought it was terrible (because it is, so is BD Part 2, by the way). Drew wanted to advocate for JC in his underrated piece. Is diversity of opinion among a group of writers something you can grasp?

    Also, this is John Carter we're talking about here. Please take some deep breaths and get some perspective on what is making you so upset.

  • rich | December 20, 2012 7:19 PMReply

    you left out "the master" as the most boring non interesting film of the year. way worse than "the raven" but yes, Battleship, john carter and taken 2 were awful. How did the bad guy not kill Famke at some point int he film?

  • rich | December 20, 2012 7:18 PMReply

    you left out "the master" as the most boring non interesting film of the year. way worse than "the raven" but yes, Battleship, john carter and taken 2 were awful. How did the bad guy not kill Famke at some point int he film?

  • burnsy113 | December 20, 2012 1:55 PMReply

    I saw 4 on the actual list, and 4 in the honourable mentions and I agree with all of them being bad except one. I actually liked Savages, even though i thought it could have been bettter.

  • ryjute | December 19, 2012 11:49 PMReply

    I also hated many of these films.

  • GERARD KENNELLY | December 19, 2012 11:21 PMReply

    i hate THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

    i really hate it
    what a waste of a cast
    damon .. blunt .. mackie
    the dvd cover says it's Bourne meets Inception
    yeah right !!!

  • Union | December 19, 2012 4:22 PMReply

    Thank god that Hick made this list. I've never been in a theater where so many people walked out. I stayed for a Q&A and it was the most uncomfortable 10 minutes of my career. People hated the film but he had no clue.

    When talking to others , I quickly came to the conclusion that Martini & his family are the worst pieces of sh*t to be involved in this industry.

    He made a TV series for Jennifer Lopez's company. He got sued by his own father for forgery. And he is a rumored pedophile. (If you watch Hick , which hopefully you do for free , you'll understand)

    He makes money by selling Billboard space in NoHo and gets to do things like hire Martin Scorcesse to consult produce his films but advertises it like Marty is his best friend , mentor, and financier.

  • Union | December 19, 2012 4:16 PMReply

    Thank god that Hick made this list. I've never been in a theater where so many people walked out. I stayed for a Q&A and it was the most uncomfortable 10 minutes of my career. People hated the film but he had no clue.

    When talking to others , I quickly came to the conclusion that Martini & his family are the worst pieces of sh*t to be involved in this industry.

    He made a TV series for Jennifer Lopez's company. He got sued by his own father for forgery. And he is a rumored pedophile. (If you watch Hick , which hopefully you do for free , you'll understand)

    He makes money by selling Billboard space in NoHo and gets to do things like hire Martin Scorcesse to consult produce his films but advertises it like Marty is his best friend , mentor, and financier.

  • Union | December 19, 2012 4:16 PMReply

    Thank god that Hick made this list. I've never been in a theater where so many people walked out. I stayed for a Q&A and it was the most uncomfortable 10 minutes of my career. People hated the film but he had no clue.

    When talking to others , I quickly came to the conclusion that Martini & his family are the worst pieces of sh*t to be involved in this industry.

    He made a TV series for Jennifer Lopez's company. He got sued by his own father for forgery. And he is a rumored pedophile. (If you watch Hick , which hopefully you do for free , you'll understand)

    He makes money by selling Billboard space in NoHo and gets to do things like hire Martin Scorcesse to consult produce his films but advertises it like Marty is his best friend , mentor, and financier.

  • brad | December 19, 2012 12:12 PMReply

    Somebody agree with me about The Master. That movie sucked completely. Easily one of the worst.

  • josh | January 2, 2013 2:58 PM

    Shut the fuck up the Master is not on par with these crappy movies. You guys are just too retarded to understand it

  • JD | December 20, 2012 10:05 AM

    I somewhat agree with you about The Master. Very disappointing. Apart from 2 good scenes, the rest of it was quite boring. I found Jaoquin Pheonix hard to understand & found Amy Adams dull. I was really looking forward to it because I liked all of PTAs previous films but this nearly sent me to sleep

  • Alan | December 19, 2012 3:59 AMReply

    The way 'Alex Cross' is described, it kinda sounds like the greatest film ever. Fox as a nutty killer, Burns and Perry trying to out-dull one another, lame one-liners: what's not to love? That said, I would never actually pay to see it, though.

  • Jan Austin | December 19, 2012 1:31 AMReply

    John Carter "... pleased no one" Where have you been? Sorry, but John Carter 'pleased' thousands and thousands of fans. Which probably transfer in to millions all over the world who are less vocal and not on the internet. Unfortunately, it's critics like this who have disappointed thousands but thankfully viewed the video and wished they hadn't listened to critics. A brilliant film that has caused an entire fan base all over the world to come forth. Sorry again Playlist Staff...ya got it wrong on John Carter! Go Barsoom!

  • Christopher Bell | December 21, 2012 1:12 AM

    Holy shit Lo who do I talk to to have you rightfully rewarded for your courageous act of duty you truly are a good samaritan

  • Lo | December 20, 2012 7:27 PM

    Jan, I just caught them in their own contradiction. In their "Overrated/Underrated" list, they say John Carter is a good film that was underrated. Their lists are BULL CRAP and should be avoided. I will never look at Indiewire in the same light again. They know nothing. Just journalism school hacks!

  • Alan | December 20, 2012 1:35 AM

    Yeah, Katie, but this article asserted that the film ".. pleased no one." Isn't Drew a person?

  • Marko | December 19, 2012 4:03 PM

    I think the article should have actually been entitled "Proof that the rest of the Playlist staff think that Drew Taylor has terrible tastes in movies".

  • Katie Walsh | December 19, 2012 10:06 AM

    Alan, it was Drew Taylor's underrated pick, NOT The Playlist's.

  • Alan | December 19, 2012 3:31 AM

    Yeah, that's such an odd assertion, considering it JUST made The Playlist's Most Underrated Films of the Year list.

  • MSJ | December 18, 2012 11:06 PMReply

    Here's a great article about the movie Battleship.

    http://wagthemovie.net/2012/05/17/game-of-consequences-a-review-of-battleship/

  • Zack | December 18, 2012 7:09 PMReply

    I like this way, way better than the "Over/Underrated" piece, because it's beautifully mean rather than just hipsterishly smug about all its choices.

  • Anonymous Hater | December 18, 2012 6:45 PMReply

    Did Drew Taylor cry when "John Carter" made the cut?

  • fitzcarraldont | December 18, 2012 6:14 PMReply

    Proud as a stage mom that i saw none of these

  • gert | December 18, 2012 5:18 PMReply

    Granted all lame as hell films but John Carter was a masterpiece compared to others. I didnt care for it or anything but it wasnt as bad as other titles.

  • shark | December 18, 2012 4:15 PMReply

    I know that this is a bad worst list because I'm not pissed off at a single entry on it. Largely because I could see these coming as films not worth paying for, and thus didn't. Come on, where's your sense of adventure? This is a cowardly worst list.

  • AJ | December 18, 2012 4:10 PMReply

    Seven Psychopaths, In Another Country

  • JD | December 20, 2012 10:08 AM

    I saw this film last night & it was one strange film. Odd. It was neither terrible nor great. It wanted to be quirky like In Brugee but got repitetive after a while. Wouldnt agree though that it was one of the worst film of the year

  • Alan | December 19, 2012 3:55 AM

    I don't know about "worst", but 'Seven Psychopaths' has got to be the laziest film I have seen in ... about a month (hey, it's been a lazy year for major films in general, as 'Dark Shadows', 'The Dictator' and 'Rock of Ages' seem to be in competition for who could take the least amount of content and stretch it into a film). 'Each female role is terrible, so let's just say that each female role is terrible and hope that The Playlist think this is, like, a deep reflection on contemporary film.' 'Let's make the lead character a writer, because we all know how interesting and compelling writers are ...'. (They're not, that's probably why they write about other, interesting people). And - although I like Colin Farrell (even though it's often hard to remember why, exactly) - the idea of casting the guy as a writer is mind-boggling. It's just the worst bit of flawed logic I've seen in a while: "OK, guys, Farrell was excellent in my last film, a buddy film in which Brendan Gleeson carried a lot of the weight, so let's cast Farrell as the lead. Oh and let's make him a brilliant, but damaged wordsmith ..." The minute the producer didn't slap McDonagh for that casting suggestion was possibly when the film was doomed. That, and when McDonagh offered a rambling, incoherent script that had some (the operative word is 'some') interesting ideas, and the producer didn't tell him to do a page-one rewrite.

  • ANONYMOUS HATER | December 18, 2012 8:14 PM

    SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS plays like a liberal douche who read Raymond Carver and Elmore Leonard and thought he could make a flick. Granted all adaptation ofthose authors books are douche liberal rags by left leaning filmmakers like Tarantino and Altman. KILLSHOT and THE BIG BOUNCE are still the best Leonard adaptations for my NON-TAXABLE money. Only ones that understand cinema.

  • Christopher Bell | December 18, 2012 6:40 PM

    We will fight for the latter's honor.

  • Phil | December 18, 2012 3:48 PMReply

    You might actually be alone in thinking 2012 was a pretty great year for film.

  • Phil | December 18, 2012 3:47 PMReply

    You might actually be alone in thinking 2012 was a pretty great year for film.

  • JD | December 18, 2012 3:47 PMReply

    I will contend that both 1997 and 1998 were better years for 90s cinema then 1999.

  • JD | December 18, 2012 3:47 PMReply

    I will contend that both 1997 and 1998 were better years for 90s cinema then 1999.

  • Phil | December 18, 2012 3:46 PMReply

    You might actually be alone in thinking 2012 was a pretty great year for film.

  • Phil | December 18, 2012 3:46 PMReply

    You might actually be alone in thinking 2012 was a pretty great year for film.

  • Aron Campisano | December 18, 2012 3:21 PMReply

    Come on, my Mom could have picked these. This is just a steaming pile of "Hollywood" crap movies, most of which aren't exactly striving for cinematic transcendence. Can art films do no wrong at The Playlist?! The true horrors are found there: The Paperboy was a next-level embarrassment to all involved, and the absolutely horrendous The We and the I by Michel Gondry was actually called "racist" by Cinema Scope.

    Props on Act of Valor though. Just when you thought the propaganda film was dead, this movie dares ask how many Mexican peasants must be splattered against the wall to preserve the glory of blonde-haired blue-eyed San Diego babies. WOW.

  • Marko | December 18, 2012 3:18 PMReply

    But Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter got a B+ from this site!

  • Niko | December 18, 2012 2:56 PMReply

    The Paperboy!!!!! Also, To Rome with Love, Woody's most lifeless slog.

  • Brad | December 18, 2012 2:53 PMReply

    Battleship was a funny comedy that pretty much took Michael Bay's Transformers films, removed all their issues and added a human element, and made for one of the best blockbusters of the summer. It doesn't have the ironic detachment of The Avengers, nor the downtime where people do nothing but shoot "witty" quips at each other without actually furthering plot or character development.

    The "villains" are interesting because they don't actually instigate the fight between mankind, and they're shown to have empathy, when they spare a harmless child. It's a subversive parody of nationalist, black-and-white blockbusters like the Marvel movies and Transformers. For god's sake it ends with "Fortunate Son" playing. I'm going to take a line from someone I know and say that "if this exact movie came out in 1995 you fuckers would all be saying how they don't make 'em as fun as Battleship anymore."

  • Alan | December 19, 2012 3:40 AM

    'Battleship' may not be perfect, but I am astounded by the level of hate it receives. Any film that can take the most clichéd dialogue imaginable ("I didn't sign up for this"), and then offer a reply that perfectly articulates the audience's attitude to the line ("No shit") has to at least be operating on some (not a lot, but some) brainpower. It's curious that all critics who mentioned the line didn't quote the comeback. Or maybe it isn't curious, because it's easy to mock the cliché than engage in a discussion about the self-aware reversal. I think it gets real boring when the action finally hits in the third act, but there is some 'Con Air'-style absurdist humour operating in the early part of the film, and it's easily Berg's best work since 'The Rundown' (then again, I don't much care for Berg's work, as a whole).

  • joseph | December 18, 2012 2:35 PMReply

    john carter was awesome.. sincere and pure fun. alps was the worst movie of the year.

  • 4 | December 18, 2012 2:21 PMReply

    Yes, John Carter was garbage. Trite and conventional. A retread of Attack of the Clones, basically. Badly shot, designed, written and performed, so --- "Blame marketing. Blame development hell. Blame difficult source material. Blame Bryan Cranston’s yellow yarn wig. Blame whatever you want, anyway you slice the shit pie of a movie that is “John Carter,” it is still a pie made out of shit. "

  • Dee | December 18, 2012 2:05 PMReply

    Total Recall: so bad it's featured twice!

  • Juicebox | December 18, 2012 2:04 PMReply

    "The Possession" belongs nowhere near the worst of list!

    It's a bathwater entry at best because it sounds similar to "The Apparition" which is genuinely terrible.

  • The Truth | December 18, 2012 2:01 PMReply

    Where's The Dark Knight Rises or Django Unchained?

  • Jack | December 18, 2012 2:00 PMReply

    Still don't get the hate for That's My boy. If it was Ted, it'd be praised.

  • SpliffClavin | January 6, 2013 11:47 AM

    Ted is okay. A lot of it is boring. Just Watched That's My Boy a second time last night. Showed it to my roommates. They loved it. Non stop laugh out loud laughing. The same way it was in the theater. Ted produced several small bursts of laughter and occasional chuckling.

  • Liz | December 18, 2012 6:31 PM

    What a bizarre statement. "Why does everyone hate cyanide? If it were penicillin, people would love it."

  • Swell | December 18, 2012 2:05 PM

    If it was Ted, it'd be a better movie.

  • Mijo | December 18, 2012 1:52 PMReply

    So Ted is not on the list? WTF? That movie was soooooo bad. I think the only time i laughed was when Giovanni Ribisi was dancing to that Tiffany song, and that was only because I watched the Tiffany stalker doc.

  • TheoC | December 18, 2012 1:51 PMReply

    Great list, I'm delighted I only saw John Carter from this list. You've made my evening.

  • Chris | December 18, 2012 1:50 PMReply

    Any "worst of 2012" that doesn't highlight the complete incompetence of "The Paperboy" is null and void. OK, I kid, but still. "The Paperboy" is worse than every movie you listed.

  • ali | December 19, 2012 1:54 PM

    You didn't see Madea's Witness Protection Program.

  • Aron Campisano | December 18, 2012 2:41 PM

    AMEN to that.

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