Lisa Marie Picks The 16 Worst Films Of 2012

Let’s be honest: 2012 sucked.  In fact, and I can say this because I’m secretly a history nerd, 2012 was the worst year since 1934.  Who needs a zombie apocalypse when you’ve got 2012?

At the same time, it was also a strangely bland year for the movies.  Just as there weren’t any massively brilliant films, there weren’t that many huge disasters.  Instead, it was a year that celebrated blandness.  Fortunately, for me and my love of making lists, there were still just enough remarkably bad films for me to make out my annual worst of the year list.  Yay!

Listed in descending order, here are my picks for the worst of 2012.*

16) The Paperboy

15) Seeking a Friend For The End Of The World

14) Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

13) The Raven

12) The Trouble With Bliss

11) Savages

10) A Thousand Words

9) 96 Minutes

8) Haywire

7) Dead Season

6) This Means War

5) Rock of Ages

4) Project X

3) The Devil Inside

2) The Wicker Tree

And my pick for both the worst film of 2012 and perhaps one of the worst films ever made…

1) Branded

Tomorrow, I’ll be continuing my look back at 2012 with my picks for the 10 best songs of the year.


* Needless to say, these picks reflect my opinion and my opinion alone and do not necessarily represent the views of the other writers here at the Shattered Lens.  Hopefully, some of them will post their own lists.

A Dissapointing One Night Stand: Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (dir by Lorene Scafaria)

As a film, Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is kinda like this cute guy that I once sat behind in a creative writing class.  He talked so passionately about his writing that it made it even more disappointing when he finally showed me what he had written and it turned out to be the blandest rip-off of Kerouac that I had ever read.  Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World has such a  great trailer and such a great cast that it’s impossible not to be disappointed even more than usual that the actual film is mediocre.

The opening scene of Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World finds Dodge (Steve Carell) and his wife parked off the side of the road, listening to a news report informing them that, in 20 days, a gigantic asteroid named Matilda is going to crash into the Earth and end existence as we know it.  Dodge responds to the news by saying that he thinks that he missed their exit on the highway.  His wife responds by silently getting out of the car and running away into the night, never to be seen again.  It’s a brilliant opening and it filled me with false hope for the rest of the film.

Anyway, Dodge continues to go about his life even as the countdown to end of it commences.  He goes to work, he goes to a depressing dinner party, and occasionally, he stops moving long enough to watch another random person commit suicide in front of him.  Yes, Dodge is pretty depressed but luckily, there’s a manic pixie dream girl (Kiera Knightley) living in the apartment below him.  When rioting breaks out, he and Knightley escape to the countryside where they search for both Dodge’s high school girlfriend and an airplane to allow Knightley to fly back to England and see her parents.  Along the way, they fall in love and the entire film pretty much falls apart.

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is at its best during the first fourth of the film when the emphasis is on dark humor and the absurdity of the situation that Dodge has found himself in.  Unfortunately, once Carell and Knightley leave the city and find themselves traveling through the most prosaic countryside imaginable, the film seems to be unsure of just what exactly it wants to be.  The mix of dark humor and uplifting message is an awkward one and the end result is an uneven film that, ultimately, is just too bland to suggest that we should care that the world’s going to end.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to truly forgive Steve Carell for leaving The Office and turning my favorite TV show into The Ed Helms Show.  However, when I blink enough times that I can actually look at things from a perspective beyond my own selfish concerns, I can see that Carell made the right decision.  Steve Carell is a film star and that’s proven by the fact that, even when he’s appearing in a mediocre film, he’s still compelling to watch.  As uneven as Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is, Carell gives an excellent performance.  I think the secret to Steve Carell’s on-screen charisma is that he’s got the saddest eyes in the movies.  There’s a sense of real sadness and regret to every character that Steve Carell has ever played and, as a result, he can make the weakest of material seem poignant.  As disappointing as Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is, it remains watchable and that’s almost totally due to Steve Carell.

It’s Time For The Annual Self-Important Post About The Year In Film So Far

For the entire past week, something has been nagging at me.  I knew that there was something that I needed to do but I couldn’t remember what it was.  Earlier today, however, I was reading the latest critical blathering about the state of cinema over at AwardsDaily.  As usual, that site’s editors were whining about the fact that the Social Network didn’t win best picture and also the fact that my generation is apparently the “WORST.  GENERATION.  EVER” and blah blah blah. 

Fortunately, however, reading that  post reminded me of what I had forgotten: We are now at the halfway mark as far as 2012 is concerned.  This is the time of year that self-important film critics (both online and elsewhere) tell their readers what type of year it’s been so far. 

So, without further ado — what type of year has 2012 been so far?

(By the way, you can also check out my thoughts from July of 2011 and July 2010 as well.)

(Also, please understand that the act of me posting this in no way guarantees that I won’t change my mind several times within the next hour.)

Best Film Of The Year (So Far): Cabin In The Woods. Compared to both 2010 and 2011, this has been a pretty slow year so far.  There really hasn’t been a Hanna or an Exit Through The Gift Shop type of film so far.  Instead, there’s been a handful of nice surprises, quite a few pleasant but somewhat forgettable films, and then quite a few films that i wish were forgettable.  Cabin In The Woods, however, was a nice little valentine to horror fans like me and it’s a film that actually gets even better with repeat viewings.  Runners up include Bernie, Damsels in Distress, Brave, The Hunger Games, Safety Not Guaranteed, Moonrise Kingdom, For Greater Glory, Jeff, Who Lives At Home, and the Avengers.

Best Male Performance Of The Year (So Far): Jack Black in Bernie.  Runners up include Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man and Jason Segal in Jeff, Who Lives At Home.

Best Female Performance of the Year (So Far): Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games.  Seriously, just try to imagine that film with someone else in the lead role.  Runners up include Susan Sarandon in Jeff, Who Lives At Home, Aubrey Plaza in Safety Not Guaranteed, and Greta Gerwig in Damsels in Distress.

Best Voice-Over Performance Of The Year (So Far): Kelly MacDonald in Brave.

Best Ending Of The Year (So Far): A 3-way tie between The Cabin In The Woods, Safety Not Guaranteed, and Jeff, Who Lives At Home.

Best Horror Film Of The Year (So Far): The Cabin In The Woods

Most Underrated Film Of The Year (So Far): The Five-Year Engagement, a sweet and funny movie that was just a tad bit too long.

Best Bad Film of the Year: Battleship.  Yes, the movie represented some of the worst impulses of big-budget filmmaking but I had a lot of fun watching it and Alexander Skarsgard was to die for in that white Navy uniform.

Worst Film Of The Year (So Far): The Wicker Tree.  I could make an argument for both Rock of Ages and The Devil Inside here but no…just no.  As the Trash Film Guru put it, “BURN THE WICKER TREE!”

Biggest Example Of A Missed Opportunity For This Year (So Far): Seeking a Friend For The End of the World.  A great performance from Steve Carrel can’t save a film that has no idea what it wants to be.

The Get Over It Already Award For The First Half of 2012: The Devil Inside, for being the most tedious example of a “found footage” horror film yet.  Coming in second: Rock of Ages, for reminding me that my parents had terrible taste in music.

The Trailer That Has Most Outgrown Its Welcome: The Perks of Being a Wall Flower.  “Be aggressive…passive aggressive…” Okay, shut up, already.

The Cameron/Fincher Bandwagon Trophy (Awarded To The Upcoming Film That, Regardless Of Quality, Will Probably Be So Violently Embraced By People Online That You’ll Be Putting Your Life In Danger If You Dare Offer Up The Slightest Amount Of Criticism): The Dark Knight Rises

The Ebert Award (Awarded to the upcoming film that will probably get  positive reviews based on the film’s political context as opposed to the film itself): Zero Dark Thirty

The Sasha Award (Awarded To The Film That I Am Predicting Will Be The Most Overrated Of The Year): Lincoln.

The Roland Emmerich/Rod Lurie Award For The Film That I’m Predicting Will Be The Worst Of 2012: Honestly, it’s really hard to imagine a worse film than The Wicker Tree (though, to be honest, Rock of Ages comes pretty close). 

Films I’m Looking Forward To Seeing In The Future (An incomplete list): On The Road, Lawless, The Dark Knight Rises, Cosmopolis, Django Unchained, The Hobbit, The Great Gatsby, and especially The Master and Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina.

And there you have it.  2012 hasn’t been a great year so far but there’s still a lot of time left.

Unless, of course, the Mayans were correct.

Poll: Which Films Are You Most Looking Forward To Seeing June?

On the last day of each month, we ask you which films you’re most looking forward to seeing in the months ahead.  According to our last poll, for most of you, the month of May will be all about seeing The Avengers and Moonrise Kingdom.  Thank you to everyone who voted.

So, which films are you most excited about seeing in June?  As usual, you can vote for up to four films.