By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Well, here we sit, on the threshold of Oscar season. For the next six weeks, we movie buffs will be comparing, contrasting, and celebrating the year’s best movie work on theatre screens.
But first, how about a glance back at the movie industry’s low points, the worst cinematic journeys of the calendar year?
In short, these are the ten hours of my life I most vociferously want back.
Here, then, in descending order (hey, is there any other possible order for this?) and before we scour them off the bottom of our brainpans, are the Very Worst Movies of 2012.
5. High School
Here’s a bottom-of-the-barrel bro-mantic stoner comedy that puts the “high” in high school and the “low” in low-grade.
The plot? Two seniors need to get their classmates high enough to fail a collective drug test, thus covering their own marijuana-marinating tracks. So they hold a bake sale and try to get the whole student body baked.
The model seems to be Superbad, but unlike that entertaining romp, this one is a lot more bad than super, going up in smoke as its promising premise is reduced to rubble early on and the pace remains lethargic throughout.
And with no directorial hand on the reins, actors like Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, and Michael Chiklis flail about as if phoning it in to different movies.
Showing different kinds of people getting inadvertently stoned is usually a cheap but easy laugh. But this baked turkey easily sets the school record for just how quickly it goes to pot.
To paraphrase the song: Bye bye, Miss American Pie,/ Meant this sequel to be equal, but the sequel was dry.
This lamentable fourth slice of American Pie, the worst installment of the quartet by far, takes us to a high school reunion with characters from the class of 1999 whom we’ve followed from high school to college to marriage and to the early-thirty-something beyond.
But it’s so lifeless, it suggests that it’s time for the series to be put out of its misery (as opposed to ours), perhaps in something like American Euthanasia.
The contemptibly lazy makers seem to feel that all they need do is round up a posse of familiar faces and their creative work is done. With loyal and forgiving fans as the target audience, why bother with a plot?
So it’s an invitation to hang out for a stretch, rehash the collective past, and then head home -– just like at an actual reunion. Maybe if there were at least a modicum of ambition or a few laughs, it wouldn’t matter that this class reunion has no class.
Following Grown-Ups and Jack and Jill, this alleged comedy -– which couldn’t be more aggressively tasteless and unfunny — completes producer, star, and sometimes writer Adam Sandler’s unintentional trilogy of atrocious, amateurish, truly detestable comedies in three years.
This time Sandler plays a man-child — his specialty — for the umpteenth time, employing a chalk-on-the-blackboard voice for no discernible reason. He shows up at the wedding of his hedge-fund-manager son, whom he hasn’t seen in years, because he’s having serious money trouble.
The mean-spirited, raunchy-for-the-sake-of-raunchy, equal-opportunity-offensive script allows and encourages the cast to embarrass themselves in a lewd and lowbrow lark, two hours of comedy that feels like a five-hour root canal procedure.
The original title — “I Hate You, Dad” -– more closely captures the emotion exiting viewers will find themselves trying to shake off.
2. The Paperboy
Director Lee Daniels’ last film was Precious, which now seems a fluke because this Southern-fried gothic is so specious.
It’s a self-consciously sensationalistic thriller about self-destructive characters set in swampy Florida that completely self-destructs, wasting the considerable talents of Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, and John Cusack –- for all of whom we find ourselves feeling embarrassed and sorry. Call your agents, folks: this is a quartet of characters whom we regret having spent any time with.
Daniels’ incoherent, infuriating, and inane offering about sex, race, and murder seems interested in nothing other than shock value, but there’s no sense of emotional truth to help make all the outrageousness and depravity on display seem purposeful.
We don’t just want this shapeless and pointless exploitation melodrama to end, we want to wash it away in the shower and expunge it from our memory.
Nothing could be more distasteful than The Paperboy, right? Wrong.
It wouldn’t be fair of me to call this adaptation of a television series the worst movie ever made, because I haven’t seen every movie ever made. But it sure seems that way while suffering through it.
This nonsensical and incoherent romp is about two guys given a billion bucks by a sinister corporation to make a movie. But they squander it on an unreleasable film and then try to raise it again by rehabbing a dying mall.
There isn’t a laugh, a smile, or an idea to be found.
Lowbrow comedy is miles higher than the brand on display here. Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis, John C. Reilly, and Jeff Goldblum pop in and play down to the bottom-swimming level set by this execrable hodgepodge, which is never for a moment amusing, edgy, charming, or even vaguely clever.
You will, unless you’re a glutton for punishment, either loathe or hate this movie, which is worth approximately a billion dollars less than the one described in the title.
So much for 2012. Now let’s see what 2013 has got in store!