2011 has not been a great year for movies as my forthcoming best of will allude there are very few films that sat above the generally good films at the top of the pile, unlike 2010 which had shutter island, inception, buried, toy story 3, social network and more. This year is more of a mess. Which is contrary to the worst movies of the year, where some of the inclusions (dishonourable mentions) are entirely based upon personal preference whereas the others in my bottom 10 could easily have been replaced by another 10 films, 2011 was bombarded by a tidal wave of terrible films. I didn’t proactively seek out bad films, so no New Year’s Eve, Trespass, Red Riding Hood, Film Socialisme, the Change-up or Adam Sandler. What we do have though is a selection of bad films and a few that are so bad that flirt with evil.
First up is Choy Lee Fut, a film which evaded the bottom 10 because it will more than likely be released in the UK with greater distribution than it was in 2011. This year it just slots into the dishonourable mention field. Why is it so bad? There are many reasons, first, it is easily the worst martial arts film I have ever seen and I am openly including Jackie (Chan) and Bruce (Lee) Exploitation films in that list. More specifically, it was badly written with a meaningless story, tonally broken, poorly choreographed and broke my love for Sammo. Melancholia’s inclusion will stump many and it’s a point of personal preference. Von Trier’s film is well acted and includes one of the most striking opening 10 minutes; however, every other second of is a perpetually and painfully misanthropic dirge making it the single most difficult film of the year. Which was his intention and frankly any film-maker who consciously does that sort of thing can go to hell and he can take his terrifically over-rated film with him. Scream 4 is a late inclusion as I finally decided where I stood with the film. When I reviewed it I stated that I couldn’t decide whether it was openly bad as a comment on the nature of horror sequels or just bad, and with hindsight I decided that such a decision was irrelevant, especially when it has one of the most moronic endings of the year and is living proof than Wes Craven no longer knows how to make a good horror film.
5. TRANSFORMERS DARK OF THE MOON (Dir. Michael Bay)
It couldn’t be a bottom list of any year without an appearance from the clown prince of crap himself – Michael Bay with transformers dark of the moon, while an improvement on the second film this still represents perfectly everything that is wrong with modern cinema – Shia LaBeouf. He is bad with a range from shouting and screaming to archetypical and offensive American stereotype, but in all seriousness the real perpetrator here is Bay. With a camera that stalks its female characters and their curves, racist characters and a non-event of a story. While to his credit he can film action sequences we don’t get to those until 90 minutes into the film, a long grueling stretch where the titular robots barely figure and we are presented with the most fatuous, sexist, racist and depressingly successful trash.
4. IMMORTALS (Dir. Tarsem Singh)
Immortals is as homoerotic as any of the other films that pillage the rich mythology of Greece. Tarsem Singh’s movie is without praise, the film has a colour palette that looks like someone relieved themselves all over the negatives. Mickey Rourke puts in a guttural performance of method eating that he would turn in before he disappeared from the acting world. The story lacks any sort of logic and it turns something as cool as the Titans into an illogical bore. Worst of all though is that it wanted to have its cake and eat it, the people who made immortals wanted it to be a 15 but to do that they had to cut certain bits which made for some of the worst editing of the year. What makes this worse is the film is very bloody even without these cuts, it truly does come across as nothing more than a victim of its own stupidity.
3.THE GREEN HORNET (Dir. Michel Gondry)
The reason it’s so bad is essentially down to studio pressure, however, we can only judge the film it became rather than the film it had the potential to be. What we got was a film helmed by one of the most visionary directors of our time than resembled the nondescript output you would expect from a studio stooge. Then there is Seth Rogen. The green hornet was always meant to be an unpleasant guy; Rogen has stretched that idea to breaking point with him being the typical slacker you get in any of his films added with the sort of ego that means Britt Reid thinks he is a gift to all women, which was agonising to watch. It does have good bits, exclusively when Jay Chou is on-screen however Rogen doesn’t want you to forget him so he muscles his way into a film that neither needs him nor can be carried by him.
2. MOTHERS DAY (Dir. Darren Lynn Bousman)
Darren Lynn Bousman has taken the gore he pedaled in the saw series (2-4) and tried to give it more meaning and depth in his dire remake of the Troma classic, mother’s day. He takes a cast of non-characters that would be commonplace in the shoddiest of all horror sequels and used them to suggest that everybody can potentially sell out their best friends, killing them in often brutal circumstances just to help themselves. Gore is used in and of itself; there is no great significance there. Then the so-called great performance of Rebecca De Mornay is nothing more than the tone used to condescend to children delivered to adults, miraculous performance right there folks. A badly told, acted and directed film used to house a poisonous subtext.
1. SUCKER PUNCH (Dir. Zack Snyder)
Here we are the big kahuna of bad films in 2011 is sucker punch by Zack Snyder. The worst thing about sucker punch is that it is supposed to be some sort of feminist subtext. The female characters are all defined by the male gaze. These are just beautiful women, rather than characters with any depth or personality beyond their stripper like stage presence. A point which is made even harder to swallow thanks to the films incredibly vocal fans stating that this is deep and us naysayer’s don’t understand it. There is nothing more to understand than Zack Snyder showing how bad a writer he is, even his usual striking images and set pieces lack drive. The soundtrack had some of the worst cover songs I have ever heard, that alone was enough have me on the edge of my seat ready to leave. Sucker Punch is the worst film of 2011, a series of lifeless set-pieces one after the other which turns so-called feminism into sexism in a conceptually blunt, painful movie.
Here’s looking forward to a better 2012 with less aggressively bad films for me to rant about and more stellar films to make the best of lists easier.