2011 is barely out of the oven and I'm already filled with dread. Could it be the fact I've spent the entire year so far coughing up chunks of green lung tissue? That I've finally despaired of ever finding a writing gig that doesn't involve "Lady Gaga sex tape" Google alerts? Or that we never got to say a proper farewell to Simon Cowell?
Or is it that I know it's as inevitable as a Philadelphia Eagles collapse in the playoffs that the coming year will once again bring a slew of terrible movies. Sure, they'll gross hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to people convinced they need to spend $14 a ticket to watch a robot turn into a car in 3-D IMAX, but in the meantime you're the one who just spent good beer money for a 90-minute lobotomy.
Will there be a few niblets of quality scattered among the cinematic offal? Probably. But that's not what I'm here for. Having reviewed movies for...several years, I have a keen ability to separate the bad movies from the good. Call it a "sixth sense," though more like ESP and not at all like that Bruce Willis movie I totally saw the twist to ten minutes into, but which my wife will claim I didn't get until we were walking out to the parking lot.
Here then are your preemptive worst movies of 2011. You're welcome.
Cars 2 -- June 24 The first Cars was easily Pixar's weakest film (and yes, I remember A Bug's Life), thanks to a lame plot, overabundance of fart jokes, and Larry the Cable Guy. This time around, Lightning McQueen and Mater travel overseas for a "James Bond style" adventure. Maybe Mater will opine about how stinky and cowardly the French are.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon -- July 1
No Megan Fox (replaced by Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) means more Shia LaBeouf cowering in a doorway while giant robots whale on each other. Michael Bay's transformation into solid gold Homer is almost complete.
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never -- February 11
When I first heard the title, I assumed it was a remake of "unofficial" 007 movie Never Say Never Again (itself a remake, of sorts, of Thunderball). Bad as that sounded, this will be infinitely worse.
Midnight in Paris -- May
Another year, another Cannes Film Festival, another Woody Allen comedy, only now it appears he's having to settle for Wes Anderson's cast-offs (Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson). In other news, Scarlett Johansson has been replaced in the creepy way-too-young-for-him muse category by Rachel McAdams.
On the Road
What Jack Kerouac did with his 1957 novel was set a framework for every other book/song/movie about hitting the bricks that's come out since, from Dylan to Easy Rider to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to "Hungry Heart." Given the number of excellent road movies already out there, why move forward with a perfunctory hack job with a bunch of fresh-faced pretty people (Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart), who will almost by definition be the opposite of what the book described?
Whatever, this is still my favorite "road" movie.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 -- November 18
"Gee Pete, you're sure picking on a lot of movies aimed at young people. Weren't you young once?" Yes I was, and I was as stupid as everybody else. That I can empathize with the younger folk doesn't change the fact that the Twilight movies (and books) are garbage of such foul potency they would cripple a smog monster.
Thor -- May 6
Here's an idea: Let's take this character -- a venerable player in the Marvel Universe, though a decidedly second-tier one -- he's a Norse god who can go toe-to-toe with Superman, and make a movie about him that appears to focus entirely on the Asgardian's daddy issues. Truly, this is the superhero a nation of whiny malcontents such as ours deserves.
Sucker Punch -- March 25
Zack Snyder finally gives the ladies the 300 treatment. The end result will be equally as brainless, though undoubtedly spectacular to look at.
Season of the Witch/Drive Angry/Trespass
They all star Nicolas Cage. Not Raising Arizona/Leaving Las Vegas Nicolas Cage, but National Treasure/Wicker Man remake Nicolas Cage. Pick one.
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The Thing -- October 14
I know what John Carpenter's 1982 horror masterpiece lacked: girls. Included solely to keep things from getting too awkward, I guess. I can't wait to see how this prequel explains the presence of a bunch of Americans on a Norwegian research base, what happens to Mary Elizabeth Winstead's character, and why we should feel even a shred of suspense when we know exactly how the whole thing ends.