I saw a LOT of movies this year. Many of them were good. Some were...not.
2012 was a fantastic year for films. Out of the 116 or so films I saw this year, 94 were at the very least tolerable. I'm also an easy sell. That being said, there were movies even I didn't like.
And I liked The Devil Inside.
5. Alex Cross
Release date: October 19th
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 12%
I was really, really excited for the Alex Cross reboot. I've read a handful of the books by James Patterson and nearly shat myself when Idris Elba signed on to play one of literature's biggest badasses. Then, I nearly had a breakdown when he was replaced with Tyler Perry. Eventually, I came to terms with it and even looked forward to it. When I finally saw the film, the last day my theater had it, I had no hope. All my coworkers who saw it told me it was terribad. I threw caution to the wind, sat down in the nearly empty theater, and prepared for the worst. Alex Cross did not disappoint. Tyler Perry wasn't bad, but Matthew Fox's overacting was absolutely abominable. I originally had this film lower on the list, but I realized it was mostly my disappointment talking. Out of all the films on this list, this was the only one I was really looking forward to, and when I looked deep inside myself, I realized I really should've known better.
4. Taken 2
Release date: October 5th
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 21%
Before the film came out, a lot of people I know argued that Taken 2 had zero point. I, on the other hand, stuck by it. I thought the concept was genius. How many movies feature invincible death machines murdering thugs like some sort of all-you-can-kill buffett? Theoretically, all those thugs have families in-universe. They could all have girlfriends or wives or mothers waiting at home, perhaps bouncing little Thug Jr. on their knee or preparing a nice family meal. They could all have fathers with tickets to the big game or plans for a big fishing trip that weekend. Suddenly, their world is shattered just because their loved one chose the wrong career path. So what if these people decided, “Hey, screw that murdering son-of-a-bitch, Let's do to him what he did to us.” I thought it was a pretty great idea.
Turns out it wasn't. You can see my list of grievances in the review, but tl;dr: it sucked. It was about thirty times less bad-ass than the first one, they used not one but two songs from the Drive soundtrack and that stupid Internet Explorer commercial, and it had the most anti-climatic final battle ever. So, to all those people who said it didn't need to exist? My bad. You were right.
And speaking of films that didn't need to exist...
3. Red Dawn
Release date: November 21st
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 11%
Between the MGM bankruptcy hullabaloo and needing to appease our Chinese overlords by replacing them as the antagonists with the North Koreans, Red Dawn was a mess. It had a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth, a pre-Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson, some relatively attractive leading ladies, and a post-Drake and Josh Josh Peck, but what could've been a mediocre remake became an exercise in endurance for me. I completely lost faith when I realized not only were the Chinese flags sloppily CGI-ed to North Korean ones, but they dubbed over the Chinese language with North Korean. Obviously, leaving the original dialogue would be even worse, but I completely missed what they were saying on account of being utterly bewildered that they dubbed over another language with another language. Oftentimes, I'll joke that the best part of this movie or that movie was the credits. This time, it was 100% true.
Also, nobody on the site reviewed this movie. And we reviewed both installments of Breaking Dawn. That's saying something.
Release date: March 30th
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 26%
I figured this movie couldn't be nearly as bad as the first one. I was right, but only just so. It was still an underdeveloped piece of crap. I couldn't tell you anything about any of the characters, the plot and the action were forgettable, and all the monsters they slapped on the theater standees were only marginally less disappointing than the kraken in the first film. I hated this movie a lot, and I'm sure I'll hate the inevitable third one just as much.
1. The Cold Light of Day
Release date: September 7th
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 6%
Watching this film was the cinematic equivalent of being the third segment of a human centipede. It took three great actors (Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, and Henry Cavill) and wasted their talent. I have never so badly wondered why a film existed (at least in 2012). It was senselessly bad, and made me not want to live on this planet anymore.
There will always be bad films, and all you can do is hope that there will be more good ones in a year than bad ones. 2012 was a fantastic year for films, and there were far more good, or at least far more palatable, films than bad ones. It will be hard to top the terribleness of Cold Light of Day in 2013, but I'm excited to see what awful cinema this year has in store.
Review Companion: An analysis of theatre and cinema in Alejandro Iñárritu's Birdman
4:00 PM on 10.22.2014