Last year we had the First Annual OTB Awards in which we dished up steaming plates of justice to some of the dregs of the year. This year, we’re doing the same but we’re not sticking to the same categories, oh no, we’re boldly going in search of terrible cinema.
So sit back, relax and pour youself a glass of bile as we take a look back at some of this year’s cinematic crimes.
We should be immune to this by now but sometimes the Hollywood hype machine just draws us in and we get all excited. Sometimes, that’s well founded. Such was the case with Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and Nicholas Winding Refn’s Drive both of whose trailers had us hopping in our seats like little children and were expected lybrilliant when we saw them in their entirety. But there were a few which we thought had such potential, such promise and turned out to be less than stellar.
All of those had potential to be great movies. Sucker Punch‘s trailer in particular had schoolgirls fighting giant ninjas, blowing up robots and killing Nazis – a schoolboy’s wet dream. But unfortunately Zack Snyder’s movie was the other kind of wet dream – the one where you wake up in the middle of the night and don’t tell your mum about. Completely misguided from start to finish, it actually made me quite angry.
Cowboys And Aliens looked like it could be great. Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig fighting aliens in a western setting? Yes please. Bear in mind that we’re talking about respectively Han Solo/Indiana Jones and James Bond. It should’ve been amazing; instead it was a po-faced boring waste of time.
Rubber looked like it’d be an indie classic. The trailer shows a rubber tyre achieve sentience, develop telekinesis and then a murderous instinct as it runs amok in a small town. It looked delightfully bonkers. But while it should be applauded for trying something different, it was never as exciting or compelling as the trailer made out.
Drive Angry 3D looked excessively, gleefully stupid. It’s a film in which a man escapes Hell in a Dodge Charger and another character uses a human femur bone as a walking stick. It should have been good times crazy; instead it was just by-the-numbers crap.
And the winner is…
Sucker Punch – a feeble attempt at a movie which caused one of the biggest collective sighs of the year.
Some people say that you shouldn’t be too harsh on child actors as they are after all just children. I say balls to that, they deserve a bollocking same as everyone else. I mean, it’s not as if children are incapable of acting – Elle Fanning put in one of the best performances of the year from child or adult in Super 8 this year and the rest of the child cast are absolutely superb. That’s why there’s no excuse for this lot.
The Contenders: Frankie and George McLaren (Hereafter), Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter), Most Of The Harry Potter Cast (Harry Potter)
Frankie and George McLaren weren’t so much acting as reading in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter and then only at a remedial level. But Hereafter is so universally appalling, that their acting is only the cherry on top of the trifle of awful. Bonnie Wright as Ginny Weasley on the other hand could have been out-acted by a deckchair and has the added crime of being in seven movies. Mind you, that’s not to say the rest of the Potter child cast are up to much scratch either. Accio acting lessons.
And the winner is…
Ginny Weasley. Call it a lifetime achievement award for terrible acting. Possibly the only one of this list that could be outdone by her award statuette.
The Contenders: Anne Hathaway (One Day), Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class). Sam Worthington (The Debt)
There’s been nothing so crashingly awful as Keanu Reeves’ accent in Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Nic Cage’s attempt at an Italian accent in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin or even Russell Crowe’s scattergun accent blitz from Robin Hood last year. But there’s still been some pretty bad clangers. Offenders include Anne Hathaway’s pointless northern accent in David Nicholls’ One Day which wasn’t so much terrible as just absent half the time; Michael Fassbender’s weird lapse into his native Irish tongue in the second half of X-Men First Class and Sam Worthington’s “attempt” at an Israeli lilt in The Debt.
And the winner is…
Sam Worthington. “G’day mate, we’re from Mossad”. The Debt was pretty rubbish anyway and a waste of good talent (Jessica Chastain, Tom Wilkinson, Helen Mirren) but Worthington’s Australian-Israeli accent was continuously distracting. Well, it distracted us from his terrible acting anyway, so maybe that is a blessing.
Have a brief listen here:
There’s almost nothing more irritating than preachy platititudinous rubbish. That was exemplified last year with the naseating Eat, Pray, Love which was about as comfortable as trying to swallow the entire self-help section of your local Waterstones. On a similar level this year are Hereafter, a horribly schmaltzy and manipulative piece of crap that had the temerity to riff on both the tsunami and the 7/7 tube bombings; The Way, in which Martin Sheen went on a pilgrimage for his dead son which wore out its welcome after about 35 seconds and New Year’s Eve, which does its best to convince you that New Year’s Eve is actually a meaningful time of year while cramming product placement for Sherlock Holmes 2 down your face hole.
And the winner is…
Hereafter. Utterly repellant, manipulative, mawkish, nonsensical crap that makes your skin crawl. Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood should be hit on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. No. Bad movie stars.
Nothing takes you out of a movie faster than realising it’s a shiny vehicle for piggybacking advertising. Egregious previous offenders include every film Michael Bay’s ever made, most of Adam Sandler’s back catalogue, Spider-Man and Richard Gervais’s ill-fated The Invention Of Lying.
There were numerous offenders this year from Transformers 3 which was more like a two and a half hour commerical to New Year’s Eve, which not only plugged no less than 45 brands but also its studio’s own movies so shamelessly, you start to wonder if Hollywood is eventually going to descend into a gigantic circle jerk.
And The Winner Is…
Zookeeper, which had the temerity to include a scene in which Nick Nolte (as a gorilla) exclaimed “Just tell me one thing. Is TGI Fridays as amazing as everyone says it is?” before cutting to him and Kevin James frolicking about its shiny countertops. Bleurgh.
This award goes to the person that’s contributed the most to the defilement of our precious cinema screens; that continuing festering boil on the flawless skin of silver-screen’s peachy buttocks. To be considered, the offender has to have committed multiple crimes against cinema.
Adam Sandler needs to be stopped. He used to be funny about 20 years ago but since then he’s mutated into lowest-common-denominator cack. To make matters worse, he’s not only acting in them, he’s also producing them too through his Happy Madison production company. The formula’s pretty simple if you’re Sandler.
1) Commission a scatalogical comedy so unfunny that people will swallow their own tongues just for something to do.
2) Call your “hilarious” celebrity mates – speed dial Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Vince Vaughn and David Spade.
3) Make sure it’s set somewhere exotic like Hawaii so you can spend time in the surf
4) Call every company known to man and set up the most invasive product placement you can for your movie.
He’s responsible for Just Go With It – a dreadful comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and Zookeeper, a film in which Nick Nolte plays a gorilla who actually says the line, “Is TGI Fridays as amazing as I’ve heard?”, after which they proceed to go there to have fun for 10 minutes. Absolutely abominable. I still haven’t forgiven him for Grown Ups at the end of last year either.
Cage meanwhile is much more variable these days. When he’s bad, he’s really bad, but when he’s good he’s great. So occasionally you get such gems as Adaptation or Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans. Not this year though. Instead he’s delivered such turkeys as Drive Angry 3D (not mental enough, grammatically incorrect), Justice (obvious, pointless and also not mental enough), Trespass (lame) and Seasons Of The Witch (annoyingly po-faced).
And the winner is…
Adam Sandler by a long chalk. He’s got Jack & Jill coming out next year too, a film in which he plays both characters. A new low? We’ll see.
But wait, there’s goodness to be found out there! Check out The OTB Awards: The Good for the best of the year. Or if you want a straight talking list of the good movies of 2011, check out OTB’s Best Films Of The Year.