Here’s a look at the worst of what I saw at the movies this year. The usual disclaimer for this list is that I don’t see every movie, and I’ve spent the last couple of months trying to see all the supposedly best movies of the year, and not so much time seeking out the worst.
Therefore, there were many reputedly awful films that I did not have a chance to see, including but not limited to: “Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II,” “John Carter,” “Battleship,” “Atlas Shrugged: Part II,” “That’s My Boy,” “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “Hancock,” “Alex Cross,” “A Thousand Words,” “Playing For Keeps,” “2016: Obama’s America” and, of course, “The Innocence of Muslims.”
At any rate, here’s the worst of the worst of what I did see:
1. “Rock of Ages” Quite possibly the worst movie musical of all time, “Rock of Ages” consists of actors who can’t sing singing subpar songs poorly, all as part of a terrible story with no stakes. I don’t walk out on movies, but this was the closest I’ve come in a long time.
2. “God Bless America” Bobcat Goldthwait’s mass-murder fantasia was pretty reprehensible for two reasons: It took shots at the easiest, most fish-in-a-barrel targets imaginable, and, uh, it was a movie released in 2012 in which a psychopath gunned down dozens of people, including several in a movie theater. Had it been scheduled for just a few months later, “God Bless America” would likely have remained on the shelf forever.
3. “Bully” This insulting, Oscar-grubbing documentary was both filmed utterly incompetently, and took a hot-button subject and gave it no insight whatsoever. Skip this and spend 90 minutes watching “It Gets Better” videos instead.
4. “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Another movie built around the flawed notion that Kristen Stewart is the most desired, sought-after being in the universe. Also features the year’s worst line: “I’d rather die today than live another day of this death!”
5. “This Means War.” One of the creepier love triangle scenarios ever, in which Reese Witherspoon falls in love with best friends Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, who are both CIA agents and take turns using high-tech equipment to spy on her. This one lost me even before a final action scene that blatantly plagiarized “True Lies.”
6. “The Watch.” This bottom-feeding comedy was “Attack the Block,” only with suburban dads and no creativity whatsoever, including perhaps the least convincing “aliens” I’ve ever seen. There’s no bad-movie cliche this one doesn’t grab hold of, up to and including dorky suburbanites walking in slow motion to gangsta rap.
7. “The Words” This Bradley Cooper misfire, in which he plays a literary sensation who’s actually a plagiarist, may be the worst movie ever made about literature, even if it weren’t ruined by a stakes-destroying framing device.
8. “Dark Shadows” Yet another Tim Burton third-generation remake, this time stuffing in enough plot for three movies and trying to do way too many things and doing none of them well. Just because an old TV show had vampires, doesn’t mean there has to be a remake.
9. “The Three Stooges” This one was in development for decades, with dozens of actors attached at various times, and it ultimately went into production with a terrible script and a cast in which Sean Hayes was the biggest name among the stooges. There’s a reason the original Stooges always made short films.
10. “Tim and Eric’s Billion-Dollar Movie” They say you either “get” Tim and Eric or you don’t. I think you know which side I’m on.
Most overrated: “The Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Master,” “Looper,” “Life of Pi,” “Killer Joe”