2012 is over and as is the custom for many of us, we look back and judge how the past 12 months fit into our lives. As the proprietor of a movie website, perhaps it's my job to step up and count the losses publically with you, to offer my opinion (for whatever it's worth) about how the year in film stacked up in my expectations.
I see many other sites and movie writers present their top 10 lists of movies. Myself, I'm not deluded enough to believe that I've seen enough movies to make an informed judgment about what movies are "the best". Maybe, one year when I've watched more than 40 or 50, I can offer my list of such.
Instead, I present to you today my thoughts on what I felt were my most disappointing events in movies from 2012. These items aren't necessarily a film in particular; they could be a newsworthy item, a moment, someone's career in Hollywood and so on, as long as it relates to the movie experience.
Of course, your own list will be unique to yourself and the films that you watched in 2012. Bear that in mind as you read my list, and that it was assembled from my own personal tastes and perspective.
So in reverse order, here we go:
10. Dredd bombs
Superhero movies have proven to be all the rage these days, but none of that magic helped Dredd when it came out last September. Even though this second movie adaptation of 2000 AD’s Judge Dredd proved to be a lot more faithful to the source material than the dreadful 1995 Stallone flick, the moviecould only make $30 million dollars at the box office. Prospects for a follow-up featuring Karl Urban seem pretty bleak now.
Madonna gave it her best shot writing and directing a movie about the scandalous love affair between Wallis Simpson and the once King of England, Edward. The knives came out when W.E. was released in February and audiences stayed away (the movie earned less than $1 million domestically.) Chances are that the material girl will stay away from the siren’s call of Hollywood and stick to her day job.
8. The success of The Amazing Spider-Man
Begrudging success? Sure, I'll take a shot: the $262 million dollar domestic gross of Marc Webb’s Spidey reboot has cemented that we’ll see more of the same thing again (and possibly again, and again x3.) When Marvel Comics is taking chances and putting some fun in their Amazing Spider-Man
comics (a new guy wearing the costume, exiting Peter Parker), Sony Pictures is serving up more of the same story we just saw a decade ago. Less CG and more practical action effects is certainly welcome, and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone have good chemistry together, but 10 years from now will the 2012 Spider-Man
movie be remembered as well as the other ones? We need more change and less of the same old things. Why not introduce Miles Morales as the movie Spider-Man, or make the events of Spider-Island into a movie? Shake up the general public's concept of Spider-Man! We've done 4 movies that are the same adventure, more or less, so let's see something different.
7. The ending of Savages
Oliver Stone may have took a creative gamble when he decided to halt his first ending to Savages and back up time by 10 minutes, then retell the film’s climactic moments in a daring “what if this happened” scenario. The problem is that it didn’t work. The audience (and myself) watching Savages were ripped right out of the story. I haven’t heard that many audible moans and cries of “This is bullshit!” since the lights came up at the end of The Matrix Revolutions.
6. Kevin James
Even though it’s been only 3 years since the bizarre success Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the public shine with Kevin James has worn off with movie-goers. Here Comes the Boom didn’t do the same kind of business as Mall Cop, and 2011’s The Dilemma and Zookeeper didn’t do much either. Without wanting to commit to a Paul Blart 2, James decided to stick with his pal Adam Sandler and lend his voice to Hotel Transylvania and work on the upcoming not wanted sequel, Grown Ups 2. He needs to find a way to make himself unique on screen and fast, or else he’ll be sitting down at the David Spade and Rob Schneider table soon.
5. Tired Tim Burton (Dark Shadows, Frankenweenie)
Tim Burton needs an intervention. Tim, once upon a time it was a new thing to show us heroes that had goth fetishes, or a movie that starred Johnny Depp and Helena Bonhan Carter together, or feature Danny Elfman music that we didn’t instantly recognize as Danny Elfman music. That stuff doesn’t work anymore. You need to go out past your comfort zone and find new ground to play on. You’ve got a great imagination but you’re playing it safe, and it’s not working anymore. Find a great original screenplay and make it happen, then go hang out with Johnny and Helena in your off-time.
4. Tired Adam Sandler comedies (That’s My Boy)
Adam Sandler is about five years past his intervention moment. He seems to be a great friend in real life, and it’s shitty of me to rag on him for giving his pals jobs, but creatively Sandler is producing nothing of value. Compare the last five Adam Sandler movies to the last five movies that Will Ferrell pumped out, and there’s a world of difference.
Sandler’s got the muscle to get movies made, but he doesn’t seem to have the spark to put himself out there on a ledge. Does the world need one more movie where he plays a wealthy man-child with a hot wife that suffers along with his zany antics?
3. Star Wars 1 in 3D
As far as I'm concerned the 3D bandwagon is over and done with. Unfortunately the $40+ million dollars in ticket sales mean that we’ll have to suffer through the marketing of 3D versions of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Addicts usually don’t quit their drug of choice until after they try to kick their habit a few times. If you know a Star Wars fan that needs an intervention, reach out and try to rescue them from the dark side.
2. Taylor Kitsch
I’ve got nothing against the dude but 2012 was the kiss of death to this poor guy. John Carter was considered a bomb before the end of its first weekend, and nobody seemed to be friendly to the Battleship movie even before the news of its stinkitude reached Rotten Tomatoes. I can just see Kitsch’s agent around June, thinking to himself, “Well, at least we’ve got Oliver Stone in our corner to save the year.”
I hope that the studios recognize that things were out of his control and just had the misfortune of starring in three back-to-back box office duds. Actually, when I write it up like that, it does sound pretty bad for the guy.
It shows my true interest in cinema by making Ridley Scott’s return to science fiction my number one choice for 2012’s biggest disappointment, but it’s the truth. The guy that gave us Alien
and Blade Runner
, who stayed away from the genre for 30 years, and now wanted to tell us how the big skeleton creature came to be found on the surface of that moon all those years ago? Every card-carrying geek was an instant sign-up for that ship to sail.
The biggest problem with Prometheus lies with its storytelling. The sets, most of the acting, the atmosphere, the design are all great and live up to the hype; it’s the characters’ dumb actions that plaque the plot. And in hindsight Prometheus would have worked much better if it bore no connection with Alien’s universe, and the Engineers weren’t related in appearance or history to the Space Jockeys. What was gained by having Prometheus be a prequel to Alien? How much money was earned by flashing us a quick appearance of an Alien-looking monster at the very end of the show? Zero, I tell you.
William Shakespeare once wrote in his play Macbeth about life: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” It’s far too much to call Scott and his collaborators idiots, for they aren’t at all, but as a film from the director of such great sci-fi works Prometheus certainly signified nothing. Alas, the chain of Alien weighed down Scott’s film and sank it into the murky depths of failure.
And now it's your turn. What did you dislike the most about the year in film for 2012?