Sunday, December 30, 2012

F This Movie! - The Overrated, the Underrated and the Ugly of 2012

Patrick and JB return for their annual show on the year's movies that you should have seen, might have seen and must never see.

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    5. Amored
    4. Splice
    3. Hot Tub Time Machine
    2. Frozen
    1. Daybreakers

    5. TIE: Book of Eli/Unstoppable
    4. Inside Job
    3. Kick-Ass
    2. Howl
    1. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

    OVERRATED '10:


    5. Tron Legacy
    4. Iron Man 2
    3. The Kids Are All Right
    2. Grown-Ups
    1. Black Swan

    5. Date Night
    4. The Ghost Writer
    3. Winter's Bone
    2. Toy Story 3
    1. The Kids Are All Right

    UGLY '10:

    Alice in Wonderland
    JB: Yogi Bear



    5. The Woman
    4. Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
    3. The Adjustment Bureau
    2. Winnie the Pooh
    1. Sucker Punch

    5. Margin Call
    4. Source Code
    3. We Bought a Zoo
    2. Cedar Rapids
    1. Sucker Punch

    OVERRATED '11:


    5. The Muppets
    4. Tree of Life
    3. Melancholia
    2. Fright Night '11
    1. Crazy Stupid Love

    4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
    3. Tree of Life
    2. The Artist
    1. Bridesmaids

    UGLY '11:

    Runners up: Dream House, Anonymous, Water for Elephants

    Patrick: TIE: Jack & Jill/Bucky Larson
    Runners up: I Am No. 4, Sanctum, Battle: Los Angeles, The Smurfs

  2. Fun show. I missed most of the movies you guys had on your underrated list so I'm looking forward to catching up on the likes of Casa De Mi Padre, John Carter etc.

    Here are my underrated, overrated and worst of 2012:

    Underrated: Killing Them Softly, The Guilt Trip, Jack Reacher, That's My Boy, Cloud Atlas

    Overrated: Brave, Frankenweenie, Lincoln, Cabin in the Woods, Holy Motors

    Worst: Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, The Dictator, To Rome With Love, Hitchcock, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Hobbit, Les Miserables, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Celeste and Jesse Forever, Amazing Spiderman

  3. Adam, I have to agree with you on Guilt Trip and Jack Reacher. I saw both this past weekend and both were far better than I was expecting. I think the studio is mis-marketing Reacher, and Rogan and Streisand had real chemistry together. Two pleasant surprises to round out the year.

    1. I finally saw Jack Reacher today. I thought it was pretty great. Really dug it.

    2. I was going to see "Jack Reacher" today but the alarm clock didn't go off in time. Is it above or below "John Carter's" threshold in the 'fun action' department (as in 'John Carter is a fun movie, it was worth the 2 hrs. and $10')?

    3. If they make a Jack Reacher sequel they need to explore what's going on at that auto parts store. How could it be "the" auto parts store when it has no customers? There's something shady going on there and I don't think Reacher got to the bottom of it!

  4. glad you guys dug 'Killing Them Softly'. I really thought it was great. And yea, the card game heist is incredibly tense. I did have a small problem with all the political undertones (if you can call them undertones). I say small because, if i didnt think brad pitt's monologue at the end was great, i would've hated all that political stuff. But it almost feels built up so brad pitt can deliver that monologue. Maybe it could've been done more subtly but whatever.

  5. I love underrated lists. Now I have a list of movies to watch for the next couple days/weeks. Cheers.

    Oh, and im also probably going to cave and watch Dark Shadows. I know,I know, but I have an attraction to poorly made films because they tell us so much more about film making (IMO) than good ones. Its easier to see how its done when you can see the puppets strings, even when the strings are worn and frayed and the puppeteer keeps vomiting over his creation.

    1. Ok, just watched it and, yes, I should have listened to you JB. I will never doubt you again.
      Not funny enough and didnt play up the fish out of water aspects enough to be a comedy.
      Not dark or weird enough to be a fantasy.
      Not focused enough to be about the characters.
      But ultimately it was just kinda dull and boring.

    2. Everyone should listen to me ALWAYS. The bright side is that you will not see a worse film in all of 2013!

    3. Morale of the story: If JB or Patrick tell you to not watch a movie (or not to click the link of a Roger Ebert review in which he gives a major spoiler for a good movie he hates in the very first paragraph), do as Edgar Wright does: DON'T.

  6. I keep telling people, just see John Carter of Mars and ignore the weird groupthink on it. It;'s a very solid, enjoyable fantasy film that was one of the better action films of the year. (Plus points for a moment involving Carter describing sailing that's, no lie, almost heartbreaking.)

  7. Underrated: I gotta go with John Carter as well. I agree with Joseph that it’s a solid fantasy flick where the money is definitely on the screen. Taylor Kitsch even impressed me as an action lead & this is coming from someone who thought he was awful as Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. How EW could name Carter worst movie of 2012 when there were so many obvious choices is insane.

    Overrated: I liked most of The Amazing Spiderman but it shouldn’t have made that much money. Garfield & Stone are a big time improvement over McGuire & Dunst & the effects (except for The CGI Lizard) were great. The big problem is the last hour where the movie falls off the rails with The Lizard’s masterplan, the lousy CGI Lizard effects, the convenient cranes, & the unnecessary death of a character. I hope Sony gives Garfield & Stone a better story & villain next time.

    Ugly: I didn’t see Battleship yet, so I have to give this to Lockout. Guy Pearce is really trying his best to give an 80’s sarcastic action type hero performance but even he can’t save this incompetent mess. The stupid script, poorly directly action scenes, & Maggie Grace doesn’t know what type of movie she’s in. The quick chase sequence with Pearce on his hi-tech cycle features even worst CGI effects than what was used in the motorcycle/helicopter chase sequences in Ultraviolet. They are below PS2 quality.

    I can live with JB saying he thought The Dark Knight Rises was overrated because it’s a mess. I can’t live with the real reasons Patrick Bromley doesn’t like TDKR. I went back to the F This Movie TDKR podcast & Patrick was mostly complaining about how Batman was on the wrong side of the Occupy Wall Street 99% vs 1% battle. UGH! I thought Bane’s Neutron bomb was going to kill everyone in Gotham no matter how much $$$ they had. Patrick also mentioned how TDKR should’ve showed more of how awful the rich people of Gotham were in order for Bane’s speeches to have more credibility. Clearly, Patrick didn’t like TDKR because it disagreed with his political preferences. Remember kids: Rich people are EVIL.

    1. Ok, a couple of things. Lockout was a big disappointment. I can't quite call it the worst of the year, because I still think the movie is worth seeing just for the Guy Pearce performance, which is so great it deserves a much better movie. He almost singlehandedly saves it.

      Now, The Dark Knight Rises. I don't want to have a political argument, but you're also mischaracterizing my views of the movie. I did say that I thought Nolan was on the "wrong" side of the Occupy Movement, not only because I don't agree with the 1% but also because I've always seen Batman as the hero of the everyman, not the hero of rich people. I think the movie confuses that issue a little bit, and I thought it could have done a better job of clarifying.

      But to suggest that's the "real" reason I did not like the movie -- ESPECIALLY after re-listening to the 90 minute podcast in which I lay out A WHOLE BUNCH OF REASONS why I think the movie is a mess -- it reductive and unfair. Those comments were observations made in passing. The problems with the movie are entirely story and character based, a point I made over and over on the podcast. Don't try to make me out to be something I'm not, please.

  8. JB: The (possible) reasons for the difference between the reactions to "The Hobbit" and "John Carter"...

    "The Hobbit" was made by Peter Jackson (person) - "John Carter" was made by Disney (corporation).

    The trailers and ads for "The Hobbit" makes it look like the LOTR trilogy which people enjoyed - the trailers and ads make "John Carter" look like "SW: Attack Of The Clones".

    "The Hobbit" features not only actors from the original trilogy but the leads from the BBC series "Sherlock" which probably brought some people who wouldn't have normally seen a fantasy movie - "John Carter" stars....who?

    And to quote a review I saw, Lucas and Spielberg had "mined" (or "raided") everything they could from these "John Carter Of Mars" stories to use in their movies years ago so there wasn't anything there that people hadn't seen.

    None of these may be fair but....

    Patrick: I think that after all we posted back and forth on this site about "Prometheus" you have to admit that the term "pointless" CAN apply to a movie very easily. :-)

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful response, Kathy. I believe you are correct on all counts.

    2. It reminds me of my gut reaction to people saying that HG Wells was the greatest science fiction writer. To which I say, "No. Jules Verne was the greatest science fiction writer because his wonders were based on real science." He's being forgotten because his "wonders" are now everyday.

      "John Carter Of Mars" suffers from the same thing.

  9. Alright, I shouldn’t have said that political preferences were the real reasons for your overrated opinion of TDKR. I admit there were other main reasons why you didn’t think it worked. I still think some critics allow their political views to influence their reviews. Roger Ebert’s 3 Star review of The Day After Tomorrow being a big example. As a right winger, I admit I just hate or can’t stand certain movies because of my political views (Bourne Ultimatum, Machete, Avatar).

    TDKR does have its flaws & plot holes. (I hated how the stock market to Batpod chase scene went from day to night in 10 minutes. I expect that type of sloppiness from Brett Ratner & not from Nolan. Alfred’s anti-Batman attitude after being so pro-Batman in the 1st two movies made little sense.) I guess I was still angry that in another post you lobbed TDKR with other 3rd sequel disasters like X-Men: The Last Stand, Spiderman 3, & Blade Trinity. I can’t even see how even the worst critic of TDKR can put it in the same wretched class as Spiderman 3. I change the channel whenever Spiderman 3 comes on. SM3 should be the true definition of a mess of a movie.

    I’m on the side that really liked TDKR because of Hardy, Bale, Hathaway, & Gordon-Levitt really bringing their A-Game to their roles. The opening plane hijacking sequence, Hathaway easily being the best Catwoman, Bane being a dominating & charismatic presence almost every second (up until his lame exit), & the finale with The Bat(plane) also make me overlook its flaws.

    We agree to disagree on this one.

    1. I have no problem agreeing to disagree, as long as we're being honest and accurate what it is we disagree about. I'm with you that there's a lot to like about TDKR -- you named a bunch of them. Where we land on how those things add up appears to be different, which is totally fine.

      I didn't meant to suggest in a past post that TDKR is as much of a mess as Spider-Man 3 (though certain parallels could be drawn, in my opinion). I enjoy TDKR more than SM3. All I was saying in that post is that there has yet to be a "Part 3" in a comic book movie series that has stuck the landing; traditionally, the first one has the setup, the second one is great and the third one is a mess. If you really dig TDKR, I see how you could think that doesn't apply.

      Maybe Iron Man 3 will be different. It will have to be, since Iron Man 2 was the kind of mess usually reserved for the third movie.

    2. I think for those of us who were disappointed in TDKR it came down to what was mentioned in this episode, which was how you really can tell that this is not what it was intended to be. It just feels like a movie in which the people who made it didn't have their heart in it. It's not a bad movie, but when everything Christopher Nolan directs has been so sharp, this last Batman movie didn't have his stamp on it. But you know, it all comes down to personal taste, which leads me to....
      Amazing Spider-Man, of which I am one of those people you guys said who love it. To be fair, it's not a great movie and it definitely has third act problems, but for me the appeal comes in the casting and the tone. Raimi is great at horror and campy stuff, but I think his Spider-Man movies were really silly. I remember posting about rewatching Raimi's first Spider-Man movie and being taken aback at how corny it was. The Green Goblin actually lures Spider-Man into a burning building by dressing as an old lady. Willem Defoe chews the scenery like a community theater headliner. And it's all FINE, but I get the distinct impression Raimi didn't read a Spider-Man comic past 1966. Spider-Man has moved on, and I think that the tone and the new movie reflects the Spider-Man of the last decade or so, which is also the one I've spent the most time reading. I think Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are oozing with charisma, and I really liked Sally Field and Martin Sheen as Aunt May and Uncle Ben. They're likable and not cartoony old people talking about their joint pain and baking pies. Also, I love that The Amazing Spider-Man never does what I expect it to. By the end of the movie (SPOILERS), everyone in Peter's life knows he's Spider-Man. Aunt May does, Gwen does, Gwen's dad does, even Doctor Connors. Most other movies would have milked that for all they could. I also love that even the end of the movie does what I don't expect by leading me to believe that Peter will not stay away from Gwen and will actually pursue being happy instead of being all noble and tortured. That's why I enjoyed the new one. I don't hate the Raimi trilogy, but I do think there's room for both. While I want movies outside of superhero franchises, I like the idea of looking forward to a new installment every couple of years. It reminds me of old serials. But again, that's just me. I'm often grumpy, cynical, and pessimistic, particularly about things that I hold sacred. All the more reason that my affection for this movie completely surprises me. Wait until next week, when I talk about The Hobbit.

    3. HHH, you say so much here that rings true for me. There IS room for both Spider-Man movies, because there is room for many different interpretations of the character. I didn't mind ASM's interpretation of Peter Parker (even if it's not my favorite); it was all the other stuff that let me down. But you're absolutely right, which is why I didn't understand it when fans of the new one (not you) had to come out and immediately dismiss the Raimi movies. There is room for both.

      I like what you said about Raimi not reading a Spider-Man comic after teh '60s, because that's exactly what his movies felt like (the first two, anyway). And it makes sense that, as a more contemporary reader of the book, the new version would be more in line with how you see that character. It's like what Mike always says about Doctor Who -- your favorite Doctor is usually your first Doctor. There are people who prefer Burton's Batman to Christopher Nolan's, probably because they got into the comic during the '80s and the days of Frank Miller. I'm sure there are some people who like the version on the TV show, because they were reading the comic during the days of Bat-Mite.

      I would be more than fine with a new Spider-Man every couple of years, and they can all be from different directors and have totally different tones for all I care. I just don't want a studio or a filmmaker believing that we have to start back at zero EVERY TIME, because it was that kind of thinking that, for me, hobbled Amazing Spider-Man in a lot of ways.

      I enjoy our talks.

    4. "I'm sure there are some people who like the version on the TV show, because they were reading the comic during the days of Bat-Mite."

      You say that like it's a bad thing. :-p

    5. Patrick, that's exactly how I feel. You get what I'm saying. You're speaking my language. You're smelling what The Rock is cooking. There's room for it all. Just like I have space on my shelf for the Adam West Batman, Tim Burton's Batman, and Christopher Nolan's Batman. But I do have my favorite. Mike's right, too, your first Doctor is almost always your favorite. I'm glad I was able to convey why I enjoyed Amazing Spider-Man. I also agree that we don't need to spend half the movie retelling the origin every time we take that character back out for a spin.
      Also, I would LOVE if the new Batman movie in a few years features Bat-Mite. I say the more different, the better. Bat-Hombre, Bat-Hound. In fact, that may be the best direction to take.

    6. I would insist that Bat-Mite be played by that talented actor who played Blarp in the Lost in Space remake. He doesn't get enough work, and the role seems tailor made for him.

  10. This is 40 could have been worse.


    1. could have been at a midnight showing in Aurora, CO...

  11. OK, based on what I've seen so far from 2012 (and what I know I'll see, which won't alter my rankings).

    John Carter
    (nowhere near as bad as we've been led to believe and, at moments, just a rousing old-fashioned boy's adventure; this year's "Heaven's Gate," except the main casualty wasn't the Disney studio but its chief)

    Men in Black III (all the bad publicity and documented production trouble almost covered-up the fact this was a fun and enjoyable summer movie, not as good as the original but John Carter-sized leaps better than the sequel)

    Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (a movie without an audience dumped in the middle of summer that's neither horrible or excellent, it's just its own peculiar beast of a take on a relatively-new genre that's already been done to death)

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt ("Dark Knight Rises," "Premium Rush," "Looper" and "Lincoln"... JGR was the best thing about three of these movies, and that ain't easy).


    Zero Dark Thirty
    (a fine and decent military techno-thriller that thinks and acts like its better than similar movies that have covered similar terrain; it's no "Act of Valor" or "Safe House," but it's also not the 2nd coming of "The Hurt Locker" Columbia, Bigelow and most critics would have you believe)

    The Master (Paul T. Anderson does another nihilistic, hard-to-sit-and-enjoy dramatic movie, and he shot it in 70mm because... he could)

    The Dark Knight Rises/Cabin in the Woods (the hype and audience reactions were in inverse proportions to what the movies offered)

    Prometheus (shut the face up about life and God, just admit you're an "Alien" franchise reboot and get it over with).


    4:44 Last Day on Earth
    (just because it had a budget of $25 doesn't excuse Abel Ferrara's meandering, quasi-philosophical and totally unengaging method to mimic "Another Earth" in the middle of a could-care-less-its-the-end Gotham)

    The Man with the Iron Fists (if you thought Russell Crowe embarrassed himself in "Les Miserables," think again; and worse, he's the best part about this misguided and miscast attempt by RZA and Eli Roth to replicate the "Kill Bill" genre tribute thingie)

    Chronicle (the gimmick of having cameras recording every event from a 3rd person ruins it, along with some weak acting and an ending where you almost can't tell what's going on)

  12. Enjoyed the podcast as always guys and thanks for pointing me in the right direction - I had not seen many of your underrateds. I did see John Carter and like pretty much everyone here it seems (so we must be right!) I thought it was fine - I'd watch it again even. And anyone that says it was the WORST movie of the year is just being a bandwagoning asshole. Were people out to get Andrew Stanton or something?

    And regarding The Dark Knight Rises, I'll preface by saying I thought it seemed a total mess and I was very disappointed after the first time I watched it, but for some reason on the second viewing I found myself digging it a lot more. It seemed less about being on the wrong side of the 99%/1% issue, Catwoman bothered me less, Bane's voice bothered me less, the reveal at the end bothered me a BIT less - it's still no TDK but I just wanted to throw this out to someone who may have only watched it once - check it out again and you may find you like it more. The same can probably be said of a lot of movies people go into with ridiculously high expectations.

    I was going to razz Patrick about Snow White and the Huntsman but realized that probably wasn't fair as I hadn't seen the whole movie yet (because I was too bored to finish it the first time I tried) but I would like to comment on Charlize Theron - has she ever really been a good actress? I thought she was but then she was one of the worst things about Prometheus and I thought she was pretty awful in what I saw of her in this Snow White movie, and then I realized I was having a hard time thinking of anything other than Monster where I'd say she gave a really great performance (and even that deserves some of the derision it gets about the ugly makeup doing most of the work). Is she just another (REALLY) pretty face?

    1. Re: The Dark Knight Rises - I rewatched it about a month ago and had a similar experience. I spent a minute or two talking about it on a recent podcast (don't remember which), but I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would. It's not a better movie -- all the problems are still all the problems -- but I liked watching it. I'll revisit it more than a lot of other movies that are just as messy, I suspect.

      I fully recognize that I'm going out on a limb every time I champion Snow White and the Huntsman. It's very imperfect, and it's not for everyone. I think I might try to write something about it soon, so that instead of saying "it's about more than you think!" over and over, I can just actually talk about what I think it's actually about.

      I never really thought about Charlize Theron that way, actually. I think she goes back and forth in SWatH between being really good and really, actively horrible. She was good in Monster. I thought she was really good in Young Adult. I might be out?

  13. As far as my reaction towards Casa De Mi Padre goes, if it was not for Paranormal Activity 4, it would easily be the biggest pile of bull I have seen in years. I have to admit that Spanish is my first language and I am somewhat well verse with Mexican telenovelas, so maybe my viewing experience was somewhat going against what the creative team behind the film were striving for. Nevertheless, it was a painful viewing experience; it was so painful to watch. At best, it would probably worked as a short Youtube sketch, and even in that scenario, I reckon it would still would not have been a pleasant viewing experience. Seriously, I hate this film!