CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT: WORST OF 2011
By MICHAEL ARRUDA & L.L. SOARES
(THE SCENE: A majestic movie theater, filled with well-dressed guests. MICHAEL ARRUDA & L.L. SOARES sit on the stage in front of the movie screen.)
MICHAEL ARRUDA: Welcome back to the second half of our end of the year column. Last time out, L.L. and I gave you our picks for the TOP 5 BEST FILMS of 2011. Now it’s time for us to unleash our picks for the WORST 5 MOVIES OF 2011.
L.L. SOARES: For the BEST OF column, our audience was filled with personalities from the movies we saw, all hoping for a chance to be selected as one of the year’s best. Let’s see how many brave souls have stuck with us now that we’re uncovering the stinkers of the year.
(Camera pans over audience, which is still filled to capacity, and includes superheroes, apes, aliens, vampires, cowboys, assassins, and Daniel Craig, busy having a 3-way conversation with a Goth girl with a tattoo, some cowboys and aliens, and some ghosts.)
LS: Still packed? These guys are braver than I thought.
MA: I think that giant cannon you have aimed at the exit has something to do with it.
LS: You think?
MA: Let’s get this party started. You went first last time, so I’ll go first this time. Again, tonight we’re looking at our picks for the TOP 5 WORST MOVIES OF 2011. My pick for Number 5 is—(reaches into his jacket and begins to pull out an envelope. An arrow flies by his head, piercing the screen behind him. MA puts the envelope back into his jacket.)
DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT. This was one weird movie, an attempt to bring horror and comedy together that just didn’t work. Based on an Italian comic book, this bizarre tale of a private detective, played by Brandon Routh, who makes it his business to keep the peace among the city’s warring population of vampires and werewolves, wasn’t funny enough to be a successful comedy, not quirky enough to be campy, and it wasn’t scary at all. Plus it told a far-fetched story that was hard to swallow.
I also hated the title, as it makes the movie sound like a kid’s cartoon. Coming up next: DYLAN DOG AND SCOOBY DOO MEET THE SPACE GHOST! Gag!
Granted, I didn’t hate this movie, but it was so mediocre, mild, and underwhelming, there’s no way I could keep it off this list.
LS: Well, I can’t chime in here, because I didn’t see this one. Although I did hear it was pretty bad. Thanks for confirming that – so I don’t have to see it.
My Number 5 pick for Worst Movie of 2011 is PRIEST. I had to sit through the trailer like 14 times (I think the movie’s release date was delayed a few times). The trailer showed us the entire story. So, by the time I saw the movie, I already felt like I’d seen it 15 times already! And every single time —it sucked. In a future where the Vatican has taken over the world, vampires are the big threat that church-trained assassins have to take down. Based on an anime. Sponsored by Ambien. I can’t tell you how excruciating this was to sit through. Easily one of the most boring movies of 2011. I just didn’t care about any of the characters at all.
MA: I’m with you. In fact, I think I disliked PRIEST more than you did, since it’s a little closer to Stinker Number 1 on my list. So, I’ll comment more on this one in a bit.
LS: My Number 4 pick is THE ROOMMATE. Take Barbette Schroeder’s SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, cast it with younger girls and have it take place on a college campus—oh yeah, and make it as dumb as possible—stir briskly, and you have this awful, cliché attempt at a horror movie, starring TV actresses Leighton Meester from GOSSIP GIRL and Minka Kelly from the short-lived CHARLIE’S ANGELS reboot. I heard that director Christian E. Christiansen was deported back to Denmark after he made this one. (just kidding). But man, it was awful.
MA: This one didn’t bug me as much as it bugged you. I remember it being more mediocre than awful. I also remember liking the acting in this one, especially the two leads, Meester and Kelly. While you hated THE ROOMMATE, I just found it VERY average.
It narrowly missed the cut for my TOP 10 Worst Movies of 2011.
My pick for Number 4 is DREAM HOUSE starring Daniel Craig. Craig has had a notable year. We saw him in three movies this year, and all of them made our lists. COWBOYS AND ALIENS made my Top 5 Best Movies List, and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO made your Top 5 Best Movies List. But with DREAM HOUSE, he hits rock bottom. To be fair, Craig is fine in this movie, so it’s not him. It’s everything else.
LS: Yeah, right.
MA: Of course, the most notorious thing about DREAM HOUSE was its trailer, which gave away a major plot twist! This twist takes place about half-way through the movie, and since I knew about it beforehand, the first half of this movie was a complete waste of time. Nice going guys! Way to go! Give away the film’s major plot twist before the audience sees the movie!
But even without this spoiler, the film is pretty lame. Craig plays a writer who quits his position at a publishing house to write a novel and in so doing spend more time with his family. Of course, family time becomes spooky time as they seem to be visited by ghosts, but there’s a twist (which those of us who saw the trailer already knew), and what Craig learns horrifies him and changes the plot’s direction, as he seeks out not a ghost but a murderer who’s very much alive.
DREAM HOUSE is supposed to be a haunted house/ghost story, but the ghostly elements are all peripheral at best. It eventually becomes more of a psychological thriller, but it fails here too because it’s not very thrilling. David Loucka’s weak screenplay is eventually done in by an even more ridiculous and extremely convoluted ending.
DREAM HOUSE is a complete fail. I didn’t like it at all.
LS: Well, I have to agree with you there, except I hated it even more than you did. DREAM HOUSE was Number 2 on my list. So I’ll get to it later.
MA: Number 3 on my list for Worst Movies of 2011 is the awful thriller PRIEST, which you already talked about, since it was Number 5 on your list.
I can sum up what’s wrong with this one just by reviewing its plot. PRIEST takes place in an alternate world where vampires and humans have battled for centuries, but the humans have finally won the battle because they have a secret weapon: warrior priests. Nuff said. Actually, the story goes on as the vampires kidnap the niece of the most famous priest warrior, and he of course must rescue her. Blah, blah, blah.
PRIEST has a horrible story, unexciting visuals, no character development, and the icing on the cake? It was in 3D.
PRIEST was one of the more forgettable movies of the year. In fact, I’ve already forgotten about it. You should too.
LS: Dammit, I forgot that PRIEST was in 3D, so we had to even pay extra money to be bored to death!! Yeah, this one smelled so bad the projectionist had to wear a gas mask.
My Number 3 pick is a movie I was excited to see beforehand. And it was a complete letdown. I’m talking about PAUL. I was actually looking forward to this one. It stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the stars of such great indie comedies as SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ. Unfortunately Pegg’s co-writer and director on those movies, Edgar Wright, has nothing to do with PAUL. Maybe that’s why it’s so damn awful. This time around, the director is Greg Mottola (who actually directed SUPERBAD and ADVENTURELAND, so he’s not that bad!), and this one is a big mis-step for everyone involved. Pegg and Frost play two sci-fi nerds who pick up an escaped alien in their RV in the middle of the desert. The creature, named Paul, has the voice of Seth Rogan and looks like your typical gray, big-headed Roswell extraterrestrial. In theory, this sounds pretty good, but the movie itself has almost zero laughs, except for Kristen Wiig as a fundamentalist’s daughter who has a hard time accepting that there’s other intelligent life in the universe. But otherwise, you can hear the crickets. Some movies just should never have been made.
MA: I didn’t see PAUL. I forget the reason I wasn’t available to review it that weekend, but after reading your negative review, I decided to skip it altogether, or at least save it for a rental.
LS: My Number 2 pick is a movie you’ve already talked about – DREAM HOUSE. Daniel Craig lives in a house with the ghosts of his wife and daughters. Daniel Craig finds out that he used to be in a sanitarium, but he doesn’t remember it. Daniel Craig finds out everyone thinks that he killed his family. Daniel Craig solves the mystery. Meanwhile—I struggle not to nod off. This movie had a lot of twists and turns, but in the end it all amounted to a big pile of stupid. Easily the worst movie Daniel Craig has made so far.
MA: I can’t argue with you there.
My pick for the Second Worst Film of 2011, A VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS.
As much as I’ve really enjoyed the recent slate of raunchy Rated R comedies to hit the big screen in the past few years, I didn’t like this one. I have no problem with raunchiness as long as it’s funny, and that was the major problem I had with this movie: it wasn’t funny. The gags were vulgar and raunchy, but they weren’t making me laugh, and I guess the point I’m making is it wasn’t because they were vulgar and raunchy; it was because the comedy just wasn’t sharp.
I know they were going for the Cheech and Chong-style humor here, but there were far too many drug references. Again, it’s not the fact that it was a drug reference. It was that it wasn’t funny. They did the same thing with male genitalia. Every joke either ended as a drug reference or a male genitalia reference. Can’t make this joke work? Hmm. Let’s just end it with a line about getting high, or have someone say something like “Hey, is that your dick?” Lowest common denominator, bottom of the barrel writing.
And it was in 3D no less. Ugh! A VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR 3D CHRISTMAS makes coal in a stocking look pretty good!
LS: I liked the very first HAROLD AND KUMAR movie. I didn’t see the second one. And I’m sorry I saw this one. I actually like the characters, but you’re right, this one was not funny. I think I laughed twice. And the preachy “these stoners need to grow up and be responsible adults” storyline just bored the hell out of me. I don’t see a HAROLD AND KUMAR movie to see responsible adults. I see it because I want to laugh. But their 3D CHRISTMAS movie didn’t make me laugh enough.
Well, on to my Number 1 pick. And it is THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN PART 1. I know this is an obvious choice—but it really was the worst movie I saw in 2011. With no real plot (except Bella gets married, Bella gets pregnant, Bella has a baby) to speak of. Boring doesn’t begin to describe this one. And it’s so bad they had to cut it into two parts, so we’re not even done with the TWILIGHT series yet. NOOOOOOO! I was just surprised it wasn’t in 3D.
MA: My pick for the WORST MOVIE of 2011? No surprise, it’s also THE TWILIGHT SAGA– BREAKING DAWN- PART 1.
If I could just shriek right now, that would just about cover my feelings, both towards this movie and the entire series. And as you said, it’s not done yet! We have one more of these turkeys due out in 2012! Someone stop the madness!
I haven’t liked any of the TWILIGHT movies, but I may have hated this one most of all. First off, what an awful title! It takes longer to say the title than to summarize its plot! Moody girl marries bland vampire, pregnancy troubles follow. There you go folks. Let’s move on to Part 2 and hope we can add the tag line, “and everybody dies.” That would be a satisfactory ending.
LS: The ONLY satisfactory ending. Except, since most of the characters are vampires, dying wouldn’t get rid of them.
MA: THE TWILIGHT SAGA– BREAKING DAWN- PART 1 was yet another awful entry in probably the most boring movie series I’ve ever watched in my life. The first third of this movie is simply a wedding. Then it moves on to Bella’s and Edward’s honeymoon—can you stand all this excitement? —and then it finishes with Bella’s life being in danger due to complications arising from her supernatural pregnancy.
There are too many things wrong with this movie (and this series) to talk about here, but I’ll just summarize them all by saying none of the other movies on my list today even come close to the dread inspired by this horrid waste of film. I know these movies appeal to a very specific niche, and that’s fine, but would it be too much to ask to offer something— some spark of creativity, humor, horror, anything!— to make it palatable to those of us outside this niche? Because as these movies stand now, they offer nothing to the general audience of moviegoers, other than an-after viewing headache due to overwhelming boredom.
I’d rather sit through Breaking Wind than BREAKING DAWN.
LS: Well, at least we agreed on the Worst Movie of 2011. You know there are a lot of bad movies in a year when SCREAM 4 comes out, and it doesn’t make my Top 5 of the worst movies.
MA: How true that is! I really thought I’d see SCREAM 4 on your Top 5 list. It was Number 7 on my list.
LS: It was Number 6 on mine.
MA: Well, that wraps up another year of movies here at CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT. With the exception of the movies we discussed today, I’d say that, all in all, 2011 was a very good year for movies.
LS: Well, as usual, I had a Top 10 of Worst films, rather than a Top 5. So there were a lot more bad movies than just these. But I’ll list the rest of mine in a separate column .
MA: Yeah, I had more than five on my WORST list too, but I also had a whole bunch of movies that I really liked, close to 20, on my BEST OF list. That’s more than usual for me, which is why I said it was a good year for movies.
MA: Thanks everybody for joining us. We’ll see you in 2012!
(The cannon explodes, blowing a huge hole through the exit doors.)
MA (to LS): What did you do that for?
LS: I just wanted to get the New Year started with a bang!
MA: Okie-dokie. Well, folks, there you have it. Another explosive ending to a CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT column.
(Everyone in the room runs screaming through the hole to get away)
© Copyright 2011 by Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares