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My Five Worst Films Of The Year...So Far

Friday 29 June 2012, 14:58

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

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Here is the second half of my mid-term report in which I reveal the five worst films I've seen in 2012.

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Hear Mark Kermode review the week's new films every Friday from 2pm on BBC Radio 5 live. Kermode & Mayo's Film Review is also available as a free podcast to download and keep.

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    Comment number 81.

    I trend to go to the cinema to watch films I want, are assigned to see them or simply to please my dad. So these are the five worst films of the year so far:

    5. The Raven - I think the critics were a little harsh on the film, it doesn't deserve a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but it is not a good film either. It was too stylished, the story itself did not benifit from being about Edgar Allen Poe and the there was so much miscasting, particularly from John Cusack was trying out Cage Nic Cage. But it is really more of a noble failure and I think James McTeigue is capable of another good film if he finds the write script (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7l3okIqnCg)

    4. Trishna - I found Trishna to be a really bland film across the board, from directing, the acting and the visuals and it suffered from a paradox where it was too fast, skipping over many issues through montages and other times being well too slow and drawn out. It was simply boring.

    3. Battleship - I was morbiddly curious when I went to see this. I knew this film was going to be a dumb, but it was even more stupid then I could ever possibly imagine. The final 30 minutes really do need to be seen to be believed. For a $200 Million movie the special effects looked like they were from a computer game and if I didn't know better I swear Peter Berg was making a parody. I enjoyed one woman's comment in a vlog where she said she like the scene where Taylor Kitsch robbed the petrol station because he got hurt, TWICE.

    2. Project X - this is easily the most morally repugnant film of 2012, a film where it teaches that us that douchebag frat boy behaviour is not just acceptable, but encouraged and nothing matters more then high school popularity. It is a crude and vile film for the way it treats people, for a comedy it was not funny and seeing that it was using a found footage style it was way too unrealistic (e.g. two 10 year olds with tazers acting as door men). And there is a scene near the end that stupid for a number of reason. (http://playeraffinity.com/movies/movies-reviews/project-x-review.html, admittedly I was possibly too lenient when I wrote this review).

    1. Haywire - I hated this film and it is a great example of the gulf between critics and audiences some times. I was hoping for a fun B-Movie homage with lots of instance action but it was a really boring film, filled with poor acting (except for Michael Fassbender) and if it wasn't for Steven Soderbergh's name this would have been a straight-to-DVD film. The plot was paper thin, how it got compared to the Bourne Identity I do not know and it is the type of plot we have seen a million times before. 5 minutes of fights scenes does not make up for the slow, boring rubbish that happened for the rest of it and I believe that if Soderbergh had not directed this then critics would and should have been much more harsher. (http://playeraffinity.com/movies/movies-reviews/haywire-review.html).

    I know films like Jack and Jill would be awful so why would I waste my time watching it?

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    Comment number 82.

    @DrGaine hello :) In my case four of the people who left the Cosmopolis screening were teenage girls, two were women and one was a man.
    I agree conceptually it is interesting I just don't think that it worked as a whole. I was impressed by Pattinson's performance and Giamatti is always good yet still it didn't engage me enough. The play is the thing!

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    Comment number 83.

    1. wild billl, a mockney cockney gangsta film so bad i walked out after an hour and i haven't done that since erasurehead.
    2. shame, just appalling predictable,art school nonense, amercan pysco without the style or humour.
    3.a dangerous method, just plain boring.
    4. lovely molly, such a mish mash of four other films, such a rip off, i had to watch the four other films straight away.

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    Comment number 84.

    Of the 32 I've seen this year only two were real stinkers.
    Elfie Hopkins. If only they'd turned the poster into a film.
    The Cabin in the Woods. Horror fans aren't all gore hounds hungry for blood.

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    #54. Sarah Jo -- Luckily we're at pedantry central (and not just about grammar and usage). Mark said he wasn't "listening" if we "say Prometheus".

    Of course we aren't saying anything, we're typing, and presumably he's reading not listening. So that's all right then...

    And can we stop hearing (or reading) that Prometheus is somehow deep and metaphysical just because the ship is named after a mythological character and some of the passengers question the non-existence of god? The sleeve notes of Nietsche for Dummies would be deeper and more metaphysical. Prometheus as "philosophical" makes the shallow solipsism plumbed by The Matrix look like Plato.

    They probably just ran out of Joseph Conrad novels that make convincing spaceship names.... (no one in their right mind would board The Heart of Darkness)...

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    Comment number 86.

    @Joel_Cooney #77

    I couldn't agree more. A bad film is a bad film and so what? It's amusing to point the finger and play the Schadenfreude Game, but really it doesn't make a great deal of difference.

    However, whereas "Alien" brought SF films forward, "Prometheus" has done harm to the genre. There's nothing wrong with making profound films like, say, "2001 - a space odyssey", but if you are going to use those ideas, at least get it right, as "Mission to Mars" did (maybe not a great film, but fun and the crew demonstrated that they were at least trained), rather than badly wrong, like "Prometheus".

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    Comment number 87.

    Kermode says: "and if you say Prometheus, I'm not listening"

    Sarah Jo writes: "That gave me a chuckle. What's also making me chuckle is how a lot of people are ignoring it."

    Yes, we are ignoring it, because Prometheus is dreadful and Kermode is being thoroughly obnoxious in his defense of it.

    As for you SJ, you quite liked Mirror Mirror as well as Prometheus. That makes me guffaw.

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    Comment number 88.

    For the people who said "Cosmopolis", you just didn't get it.... see my review

    Worst of the year was sadly Iron Sky, which was ok but a massive disappointment which was what "Prometheus" (which I think is better and more interesting than Alien) was to most people, I was looking forward to it for years everything just fell flat for me, I laughed maybe 3 times.

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    Comment number 89.

    Dr. Kermode: 'And if you say ______________, I'm not listening.' (Title removed so as not to conflict the good Doctor).

    That's OK. You are always worth listening to whether I agree with you or not and whether you listen to us or not. I have no fear of listening to those I disagree with... and I know you don't really have that fear either. I also have no fear of not being listened to, and it looks from what has been posted earlier in this thread that I am not alone in that ;o)

    I guess myself and several others above, decided not to listen to your warning about not listening. Now you can not listen to us not listening to your not listening, or you can listen to our not listening to your not listening claim. Yes, I'm confused too - I have been all my life.

    I know you were being humorous... and I also know you were probably serious behind the humour. And I know you knew there would be a whole bunch of us going on about the certain film, just because you suggested we should not bother. We have played hook, line and sinker, into your cunning trap ;o)

    Go on. Admit it. You wanted us to mention the unmentionable film in the talkback didn't you. Stirring up the natives, you naughty fellow :o)

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' ... is the worst film I've seen this year but not necessarily the worst film of the year because there are some I'd avoid by reputation because I have a finite available resource! 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' is 'Terry & June' meets 'Keeping Up Appearances' with a nod to the worst parts of 'Slumdog Millionaire' (of which there were many) whilst failing to comprehend 'The Darjeeling Ltd' as made by ITV Drama. A more irritating, patronising, predictable, poorly characterised script is difficult to imagine. Maggie Smith's character takes the award for most implausible character transition of all time let alone in 2012!

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    1. Ted - Why even see it?

    I actually have not seen a lot of movies this year because most of them just are not worth seeing. Why did Kermode pick John Carter over Piranha 3DD as the top worst movie?

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    Comment number 92.

    I'd rather watch all 5 of your worst than the polished turd of a movie, Prometheus.

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    Comment number 93.

    I'm really surprised at the slating that Cosmopolis is getting in these comments. Cosmopolis is definately up there in the top 5 movies this year alongside MMMM. I can only suspect that people didn't get theses two films as both are clearly exceptional in many ways.
    I genuinely don't have a bottom five this year as I've just stopped watching anything that could potentially be terrible and just stuck with movies I've researched and I'm confident are a good use of my hard earned cash.

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    Comment number 94.

    I think the good doctor's confusing the 'worst film so far' with 'the most disappointing film so far'.

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    Comment number 95.

    I'm going to offer another comment in defense of John Carter. It was pretty mediocre but *worst* film of the year? Not by a long chalk. That's Kermode's chip on the shoulder from his interview with Stanton.

    The makers of JCoM obviously had a lot of passion for the film but they expected the general audience to have the same enthusiasm that they did.
    Hence why they overloaded the film with too many plotlines from the source material and the marketing which assumed audiences already knew who Carter was instead of introducing him or explaining how it inspired so much 20th Century sci-fi.

    It's certainly the biggest flop of the year but that's not the same thing as worst film.

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    Comment number 96.

    The Iron Lady ,Streep apart the rest of the film is awful missing out vital chunks of detail and wasting some great actors .
    Mind you what did i expect from the Director of Mama Mia.

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    Comment number 97.

    @rbevanx 19:43 29th Jun 2012:

    I haven't seen too many bad films this year to get worked up about, but I have to respond to the rantings of the above poster regarding Prometheus. It is absolutely typical of someone who needs everything spelled out for them in order to figure things out...

    "The two scientists who decide to get out of that tomb somehow get lost even though they have a direct comms connection to Prometheus who have a 3D intime projection of the map and know exactly where everyone are."

    There was a massive storm generating a lot of electrical interference. You get to see a bit where the comms is breaking up. Maybe that - or maybe one of a thousand possible reasons that seem to have escaped your limited imagination - could account for why someone got lost.

    "Not only that but they decide to go back to that tomb and I think one of them was smoking pot and playing with an early version of a face hugger."

    Yep. Someone was smoking: The guy with Aspergers. The one who can't deal with people. The one who says himself that he loves rocks. Just rocks. I know people like that. Maybe the tomb was warm. Who knows. Maybe the big face made it look familiar. Who knows. I'm not getting excited just because I don't know.

    The biologist - in case you missed some of the story - was almost certainly put aboard Prometheus to assist in Weyland's quest for eternal life. That was the ultimate purpose of the mission. They were expecting to meet a race of benign God-like beings. The biologist was freaked out by the environment and ensuing events (so would you be, probably), something they were certainly not expecting. But perhaps he felt he had little to fear from something that looked superficially like a serpent. There are people who love snakes and like to get up close. One even had his own series on BBC TV.

    "This is suppose to be one of the worlds best geolligist on a trillion dollar mission who has been to Harvard etc possibly and the two of them are acting like...I don't know, I would say idiot's but that would be insulting idiot's."

    You're making stuff up and seem to have forgotten that the entire premise for the film was about prolonging Weyland's life. They didn't advertise for eminent research staff. Most were recruited by a Suit. They got hold of people who knew their stuff but needed money and wouldn't ask too many questions. It wasn't a UN mission out to chart a new world. It was ALL about Weyland.

    "Now not only that but you have the Captain playing around not caring about their welfare on a climate/area they know nothing about and somehow with some of the worse dialogue I have ever heard, manages to get with Charlize Theron"

    The Captain was very concerned with the welfare of the crew and his fellow man. This was made plain on countless occasions.

    "And all that is only about 15 mins of the film. Now don't get me wrong I enjoyed it but it never goes anywhere, it has terrible dialogue and characters and flushes away logic. I totally respect why people hate it as it is a ridiculous film."

    I totally do not respect people who hate it on the grounds of it being ridiculous. It's sci-fi a fantasy. Do you squeal in disgust when Captain Kirk lands on a planet without a suit? Nah, didn't think so.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

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    Comment number 99.

    (contains spoilers)

    Mike Bell re: 97

    "I totally do not respect people who hate it on the grounds of it being ridiculous. It's sci-fi a fantasy. Do you squeal in disgust when Captain Kirk lands on a planet without a suit? Nah, didn't think so."

    That old chesnut eh? This particular straw man argument is dragged out every time someone attempts to criticize any SF/fantasy/horror story on the grounds of implausibility. The real problem isn't whether something is unrealistic or not; its how *consistent* said unreality is.

    Almost all of the above genres (lets keep to SF for now) involve maintaining a degree of suspension of disbelief; we are making an implicit deal with the filmmakers "Give me a good story and I'll willully ignore the mistakes". If we watch "Star Trek", we know that concepts such as warp speed and teleportation aren't possible in reality, but this doesn't affect one's enjoyment of the series; as long as the application of the above concepts is self-consistent throughout. If a film constantly breaks its own self-consistency rules (e.g. the notorious Time-turners in the Potter film series) it reminds the viewer of the implausibility of the story universe, thus ruining it. It becomes the cinematic equivalent of playing "Lets Pretend" with 5 year olds.

    If I take your Star Trek example, when captain Kirk lands on the planet without a suit, this is acceptable because the conventions of Star Trek allow it and we buy into that fiction. If he then starts walking off a cliff through thin air Wile E. Coyote-style, staring straight at the viewer and suddenly produces a wooden sign saying "Gulp!", before plunging down into a unfeasibly deep canyon... well do I have to spell it out?

    Bringing it back on topic, in my view there are many moments throughout "Prometheus" where the self-consistency rule is broken, or where character's incomprehensible actions can't readily be explained as mere momentary irrationality or being overcome by emotion. We can see the writer palpably bending over backwards to fit the narrative around a particular plot point, or to engineer some specific series of events. For example, Holloway's "meltdown" is only in there in order to provide grounds and an opportunity for David to poison him - there's no other reason to have the character, a professional archaeologist no less, react in the way he does. The medical machine not being programmed for females doesn't annoy me - no-one mentioning the surgical procedure afterwards does though.Those moments immediately take me as a viewer out of the universe of the film and jarringly back to reality with a big thud.

    For the avoidance of doubt in future when considering applying this line of reasoning in future: being a Fantasy film provides no more excuse for inept, lazy script-writing than there would be in your typical gritty Mike Leigh drama.

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Further to my previous comment (49.), I've just watched Iron Sky. It pains me but I'm forced to bump the execrable Battleships from my list.


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