Top 5 Worst Movie Titles of 2011

This is the time when all film critics release their Top 10 or 5 Films of the Year list. Unfortunately, I’m not paid to visit festivals to watch motion pictures before their official release (I’m not bitter).

Instead, I thought I’d choose my Top 5 Worst Movie Titles of 2011.

(And please note: in the interest of not filling every entry with blockbusters like ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules’ and ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked’ the entire portfolio of children’s films have been omitted on compassionate grounds.)

5. We Bought A Zoo

Like ‘Jumanji’ but with more cages and financial transactions, ‘We Bought a Zoo’ is a does-what-it-says-on-the-tin movie. Since it’s a predictable choice I’ll tuck it in here at number five, kiss it on the forehead, dim the lights, and simply move on to the much, much worse.

Suggested alternatives: ‘We Bought A Zoo?’ (If you add a question mark, it instantly becomes an Ashton Kutcher vehicle and can then be immediately discredited.)

4. Mission-Impossible: Ghost Protocol

That hyphen ain’t foolin’ no one! It’s only included because ‘Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol’ would look like punctuation overkill.

Suggested alternatives: ‘Mission: Impossible: Colon: Reloaded?’ (As long as people don’t mistake the anatomical version with the punctuation mark.)

3. J. Edgar

Very similar to ‘Hugo’, it’s neither a creative nor interesting title. ‘Paul’, also. But my Dad’s named Paul and he would weep if he heard me say that.

Suggested alternatives: ‘F.B.I. Love You.’

2. Source Code

This annoyed me no end, especially as it’s a good film. When I recommended it to friends, they all heard it as ‘Sauce Code.’ Like I harboured some secret recipe for Ragu.

Suggested alternatives: ‘Remorse Code.’

1. The Adjustment Bureau

Hardly ‘Inception’, is it? “I’ve made a mistake on my tax returns. Better call The Adjustment Bureau.” Also, you may have noticed that two Matt Damon movies bookend this list; he’s had a tough year.

Suggested alternatives: ‘The A-Team.’

Side note: If you’re interested, my favourite film title of the year was ‘The Skin I Live In’ (incidentally also Ed Gein’s favourite).


“Shame”

Rolling Stone:

Fassbender’s character, Brandon, is a slave to his addiction. He’ll have sex with anyone, anywhere. The computer in his Manhattan office has gone viral with porn. When Brandon can’t find someone to screw, he hires a hooker, tries a gay bar, or just jerks off – mechanically, no heat.

Finally someone made a movie that I can relate to…


Golden Globes

Nominations have been announced this week. And it turns out Ricky Gervais is hosting the ceremony again. He’s tweeted that it’s going to be “biblical” (i.e. no one will believe a word he says.) I think we can guess the formula:

“Hi, I’m Ricky Gervais. [insert The Office pat-on-the-back reference] *drink some beer* [mention a 3D film and joke how the acting in it was one-dimensional]…”

I don’t even know why I’m blogging this news. No one cares about the Golden Globes. In terms of prestige, it’s just below a “World’s Greatest Granddad” coffee mug.

One pleasant surprise, however, is the nomination of Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Best Actor: Comedy in ’50/50.’ It was certainly a praiseworthy performance. Then again, he’s up against the formidable Cannes Best Actor winner, Jean Dujardin for ‘The Artist.’ I would make a “probably has less than a 50/50 chance of winning now” joke, but I’m clearly above that.

For the full list of nominations, check here. Or just state the obvious.


“Human Centipede II”

There is throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks, and then there is The Human Centipede II: a wall so utterly smothered in it that everything that hits the faeces-covered surface splatters off into a dense, putrid pile of narcoleptic aimlessness.

It’s a meta-narrative (Shyamalamadingdong!) about a car park attendant who’s influenced by the original movie and thus attempts to build a centipede of his own…

Now close your eyes and picture the type of person who staples people together, anus-to-mouth. Now open your eyes. Identical?

Also, how did you read my instructions to “open your eyes” if they were closed?


Most Forgettable Films of 2011

Sanctum

Ugh. We get it, James Cameron. You like water and 3D. Time to move on.

Cowboys & Aliens

Step-By-Step Guide to Getting A Movie Made Nowadays: 1) Write down two nouns on a bit of paper  2) Hand it in to Harvey Weinstein. (Seriously, I’m flying out to his home tomorrow to pitch my film: Paedophiles vs. Wombles.)

No Strings Attached

Um, Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher just having random bouts of sex? I think I’ll give that a miss. Said everyone.

Friends with Benefits

Despite being a carbon-copy of ‘No Strings Attached’, this film was touted as “the perfect date-night movie,” presumably based on the criteria of: Mila Kunis being hot, Justin ‘the trousersnake’ Timberlake being hot and the resulting sex, therefore, being hot. Personally, I recommend you skip both these boring films, and just watch the two female leads making-out in ‘Black Swan.’ Now that’s a scene I haven’t forgotten.


“New Year’s Eve”: The apocalypse starts here…

This ‘comedy’ ensemble film has already been torn to shreds by countless critics across the world due to its clichéd, inconsequential stories that are full of overly simple pratfalls and resolutions.

It’s not so much a movie as it is a challenge to your soul. I mean, it’s one thing for a movie to have a boring plot. It’s quite another to have ten boring plots, each more cliched than the next.

But here’s some people who could’ve spiced things up (and I’ve even written some cutesy, innocuous lines for them to read):

Ryan Gosling: “Anything happens in that five minutes before and after midnight and I’m yours, no matter what.”

Nicholas Cage: “If you love me, meet me here on January 22nd.”

Tang Wei: “January 22nd?”

Nicholas Cage: “Chinese New Year’s Eve…” *winks*

Dustin Hoffman: “YOU WERE SO CONCERNED ABOUT WATCHING THAT DAMN BALL DROP THAT YOU LET OUR MARRIAGE DROP!”

Gary Oldman: “I can’t see 20-20 with these new damn glasses.”

Benedict Cumberbatch: “I’d rather see 2012 with you.”


“50/50”: Worth the risk…

This new film is based on the life of screenwriter Will Reiser, and follows the repercussions of a play-it-safe, non-smoking, teetotal 27 year-old (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is diagnosed with a spinal tumour.  After receiving the news, he and his best friend (Seth Rogen) are forced to reassess their priorities and find a way of living day-to-day life in the knowledge that his survival rate is only 50/50.

Now Will Reiser calls it a “cancer comedy,” which at first may seem like a contradiction in terms – a bit like “Sky News” or “government efficiency” (Zing! That’s Satire!) – but this film delivers the dramatic and comedic goods in equal measure. It’s beautifully crafted by director Jonathan Levine, who shoots with a rather grim pallet as opposed to his previous feature (‘The Wackness’). This at first feels slightly odd and gives the film a jaunty tone, but you soon realise that it works very well as a reminder that there is an inescapable, morose undercurrent to the seam of laughter that runs parallel. In stark contrast, Joseph Gordon-Levitt gives a rather warm performance, balancing the richly comic and downright heartbreaking elements of the script perfectly. His understated and reserved performance steadily crescendos and culminates in one of the most tearfully emotive scenes of the year. And, to my surprise, Seth Rogen’s comedic schtick seems to be getting more and more efficient, too. It’s like the Jabba the Hutt of cheap jokes started working out; now his puerile misogyny lands 7 out of 10 punches instead of 7 out of 70.

The film is not flawless, however. I’m still grumpy about the fact that this is yet another movie of “male friendship” in which the inside-banter of late-20ish men is displayed as though it were some great ethnographic find – “froggy position” you say? Fascinating! The whole laddish camaraderie thing is a little off-putting, especially during a creepily rapey scene where the bros destroy an ex-girlfriend’s painting by setting it alight and then throwing axes at it while laughing, which for me can only possibly construe the message: “Fuck bitches! Men rule! ‘S’cool cuz he got cancer!” The film treads a very fine line and sometimes it falls when trying to insert the pot jokes and sex talk into the deeper morality in motion, which is inevitable for a screenplay that offers the audience insights ranging from “bitches who live with you should be REQUIRED to give you blow jobs” to “do not be ashamed of confronting the fact of a loved one’s impending death from cancer with them.”

But all in all, 50/50 is pretty successful as a character-driven comedy about potentially sensitive subject matter; while nothing surprising happens, you still want to watch scenes to their ultimate conclusion thanks to the moody aesthetics of Levine and onscreen charm of Gordon-Levitt.