Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: Just In Time For The Oscar Noms, Here Are The Worst Movies of 2012

Check out our slideshow of the 2013 Best Picture Oscar Nominees.

The timing of this column prevents me from commenting on the 2013 Academy Award nominations, which were announced this morning (bold predictions: Les Miserables scores more than 12 nominations, Matthew McConaughey is snubbed for Magic Mike).

Of greater relevance to our interests are the nominations for the 33rd annual Razzie awards, announced yesterday. Unsurprisngly, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 led the pack with 11 nominations. Not really a bold move, considering the franchise has been hammered by the Golden Raspberry Foundation since the first film came out. Adam Sandler also scored big, getting eight nominations for That's My Boy.

For all the critical acclaim flying around today (can you even get odds on Daniel Day-Lewis?), let's not forget 2012 had plenty of stinkers, not all of which spring immediately to mind. My bottom 10 can be found after the jump.

In no particular order, accompanied (where applicable) by quotes from my reviews. And bearing in mind I can only list movies I've actually seen (sorry, Oogieloves Big Balloon Adventure).

And no, Breaking Dawn Part 2 did not make my list. Bad as it was, it was still better than these.


You can almost see the internal studio memos scrolling across the screen. From the casting ("Rihanna will help secure the coveted 13-22 M/F demo") to the alien war machines ("Transformers: DotM $1.2bn gross suggests robot mod for all current properties") to the soundtrack ("Music should be of heavier 'rock' variant, though familiar enough to be non-threatening: suggest STP and AC/DC"), there's not a second of this movie that hasn't been tweaked to squeeze the maximum number of dollars out of people who are not yet sick of hearing "Thunderstruck."


None of this should be very surprising, of course, screenwriter John Gatins' previous works read like a top ten list of movies for people who loved Tuesdays with Morrie: Coach Carter, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (that's the actual title), Real Steel. Alcoholism remains a serious problem, but it's hard to take seriously when Zemeckis and Gatis have drenched their story in such rank sentimentalism (or, even worse, John Goodman's bizarrely comic turn as Whip's favorite coke dealer).

Playing for Keeps

I understand how romantic comedies are supposed to work -- believe me, I've seen enough of them -- but as Van Helsing said, "we have to pass through bitter waters before we reach the sweet." Even Julia Roberts presumably had to toss a few salads before getting her happily ever after in Pretty Woman. I fail to see why "George Dryer" should be any different.

Piranha 3DD The original (well, the original remake) directed by Alexandre Aja in 2010 should have been a complete disaster, but an enthusiastic cast and inspired gore somehow made the final effort, well, good (also, Kelly Brook). Last year's sequel more than fulfilled the disaster potential, in spite/because of the presence of David Hasselhoff and Gary Busey, and the return of Ving Rhames. The only upside: we elected to watch it On Demand instead of drive to an actual theater.

Taken 2

I understand the desire to secure a comfortable life for your children, which is why Neeson agreeing to star in Taken 2: And Call Me in the Morning makes sense. But one can see his regret for the decision building as the movie unfolds. It doesn't help that there's none of tension of the original, such as the disturbing imagery of strung out teenagers, or the hard stop of the 96 hours Mills has to find his daughter. The character's resignation is almost palpable: "I have to rescue my ex-wife now? *SIGH*" How 'bout a little urgency, buddy? I guarantee Hoxha and company don't have pleasant designs on Lenore.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar