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Gleiberman: The Worst Movies of the Year

Gleiberman's picks for the worst movies of 2012

1. John Carter
Rated PG-13
Taylor Kitsch, in flowy locks that make him look like a lame mellow rock star from 1974, plays John Carter, the original superhero — which means that he now comes off as the most generic, blah, and predictable superhero. Stuck in this dud of a role, Kitsch seems to be trying to save the planet Mars by lapsing into Derek Zoolander's poses. The movie itself is a coma-inducing disaster of arid pulp storytelling and CGI overkill.

2. 2016: Obama's America
Rated PG
To call Dinesh D'Souza's ugly and fraudulent election-season propaganda film ''right-wing'' would be to give it too much credit, since the movie's point of view (Barack Obama is a secret anticolonial radical! Whose hidden agenda is to please his upstart Kenyan father!) isn't so much conservative as insane. The film was a major documentary hit, and for a while its ghastly success seemed to portend the possibility of an Obama defeat. Now, though, 2016: Obama's America can stand as a definitive document of far-right hatred going over the cliff.

3. House at the End of the Street
Rated PG-13
It's tempting to write off bad horror films as trivial. Yet this one, in which a misfit kid with a secret dungeon romances a shell-shocked Jennifer Lawrence, deserves a place on the scroll of shame. It's bottom of the blood barrel, maybe because it's trying to be Psycho and Twilight at once.

4. Rust and Bone
Rated R
If this French tale of a sea-world performer (Marion Cotillard) whose legs get chomped off by a killer whale had been made in Hollywood, it would have been shamefully sappy — and therefore infinitely preferable to director Jacques Audiard's punishingly austere ramble. There are endless shots of the heroine's naked leg stumps, and Cotillard flails and mood-swings from scene to scene, but in an insult to the disabled, there is never anything to the character but her hellacious injury.

5. Tyler Perry's Madea's Witness Protection
Rated PG-13
I'm no Tyler Perry basher, but his rattletrap soap operas have finally jumped the shark. Perry seems to have lost all his joy in playing that trash-talking grouch mama Madea, and the plot — a bunch of white folks have to hide out from the law in Madea's house! — suggests nothing so much as a rejected sitcom pilot from 1982.

Originally posted Dec 21, 2012 Published in issue #1239-1240 Dec 28, 2012 Order article reprints
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