Garth Franklin’s Worst Films of 2012

Due to the lag time for various overseas film releases here in Australia, I’m a few weeks and a dozen films away from locking down my ‘Best Films of 2012’ list. That said, I’m ready to move forward with this other piece celebrating a far more ignominious honor.

I can’t write as colorful a ‘Worst Films of 2012′ list these days as used to. Why? Mainly that my tolerance for sh-t has dropped as I’ve aged, so I deliberately avoid a lot of the visibly awful films that I used to see out of some strange sense of obligation. This year I skipped the “Ghost Rider” and “Atlas Shrugged” sequels, the Three Stooges update, Lee Daniels’ much derided “The Paperboy,” and anything that involves Tyler Perry and/or Adam Sandler in any capacity. Looking back, I can safely say I enjoyed at least half the films I caught at the cinema this year – in any year that’s a good ratio.

That said, it still means there was a good six dozen or so films I saw that ranged from the decidedly average, to the poor, to the downright soul crushing. It’s time to look at the ones I personally found the worst offenders.

10. This Means War
Even though McG’s action rom-com is about two spies in love with the same girl, the only reason it isn’t higher on this list is that it can be read in an entirely different way. Looking at the film on the surface, it is the worst kind of throwaway trash. The action is incredibly dull, and the comedy is not only bland, it’s stupid. Not helping is that the leads have zero chemistry with their leading lady.

Languishing in development for years, the script has been re-written so many times that there’s no actual story left beyond the basic premise, while the dialogue has no real world connotation whatsoever. Chelsea Handler pops in and out to dispense advice about throwing one’s cooch about as often as possible and to whomsoever wants to enter her tunnel of terror. Most of these sagely zingers are directed at Reese Witherspoon who is a few years too old to get away with this unbelievably naive, single white girl routine.

The whole point is both Tom Hardy and Chris Pine’s BFF spies are supposed to be infatuated with her, which is odd as she has about as much sexual charisma as a block of asbestos. Hardy and Pine actually have far more chemistry with each other than with their co-star, their scenes brimming with enough homoerotic tension that the film can be seen from an entirely different perspective – two hetero buddies coming to terms with their love and desire for each other.

Numerous critics, even Roger Ebert, have all spoken about how the film both makes more sense and works much better from this perspective. It helps with the casting of pretty boy Pine and man’s man Hardy. Hardy is the male equivalent of Angelina Jolie – as in your own sexual orientation be damned, who wouldn’t want a go? Sadly, even with this fascinating subversive layer to soften the blow, it remains a god awful film. Pine and Witherspoon have starred in far worse, but Hardy doesn’t escape so easy. After all, this is the only real flaw on his film resume over the last four years since he broke through with “Bronson” in 2008.

HONORABLE MENTIONS
The Awakening, Bait 3D, Bel Ami, Beneath the Darkness, Intruders, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, Mirror Mirror, The Possession, The Raven, Red Lights, Resident Evil: Retribution, Seeking Justice, Underworld: Awakening, Wrath of the Titans.