Let’s call it “The Year in Stinkers.” Though we could say that about the worst of the worst in any given year at the movies. Statistically, Hollywood has an easy time of it, making hundreds of films, of which scores are bad movies, some filmed with the best of intentions.
But was there ever a collection of four cinema seasons as fraught with cynicism as 2012?
There was Fox, milking “Taken” by unleashing “Taken Again” – or “Taken 2.” How DOES a smart, tough cookie like Liam Neeson let himself and his wife get taken, after his daughter was taken?
“I need you to FOCUS.”
Sony topped that by re-booting the “Spider-Man” franchise before the final check to Sam Raimi, Tobey and Kirsten had cleared.
And Warners one-upped them all by turning “The Hobbit” — at best, a two hour and 10 minute movie — into a toy tie-ins galore “epic” trilogy of 3D films reaching maybe eight hours in length. Hobbits, it turns out, are no longer light on their furry feet. They’re plodders. It’s a New Zealand make-work project for Peter Jackson & Co.
Fanboydom begged for an “Alien” prequel from Ridley Scott, and “Prometheus” sullied his name. Another “Bourne,” without Bourne? The world didn’t need another “Men in Black” movie, though Josh Brolin channeling Tommy Lee Jones was fun. We’re a decade past the expiration date on “American Pie,” but here was “American Reunion,” and not straight-to-video, where it belongs.
The only thing a new “Total Recall” with Colin Farrell did was make us misty-eyed for the emotive stylings of the not-late/not-great Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Terence Davies revived Terence Ratigan’s dated play, “Deep Blue Sea,” and didn’t bother to shake off the mothballs.
It wasn’t cynical of Katherine Heigl to try and break her stinker-streak with “One for the Money.” It was desperation. And it didn’t.
Is there anybody in his small circle with the guts to tell Woody Allen that he needs to get off that treadmill, that if he wants to take an Italian vacation, he doesn’t need to whip up a bad movie (“To Rome With Love”) to cover the costs?
Lee Daniels’ “Precious” felt like a fluke when it came out. Too bad Nicole Kidman didn’t realize that before humiliating herself in “The Paperboy.”
Love Karl Urban. Hated “Dredd 3D.” Hate the sin, love the sinner.
And aren’t Kate Beckinsale and Mila Jovovich’s kids through college yet? Surely that was the last justification, in our mind and theirs, for any more “Resident Evils” or “Underworlds.”
Eddie Murphy revived the “Eddie’s Over” talk with “A Thousand Words.” In which he didn’t talk. Much.
And last and least, Adam Sandler spent the year passing his fart-joke torch fellow “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Andy Samberg. “That’s My Boy” and “Hotel Transylvania” made that seem like putting your athlete’s foot in your will.