The Not-So-Top Films of 2012

By Lauren DuBois,
The movies that didn't quite work for 2012

Film has been entertaining audiences since the Lumiere Brothers screened the first motion picture in 1895. As the years have passed, motion picture technology has improved, the numbers of films released has increased significantly and the production budgets for most films have skyrocketed. However, this doesn’t mean that every film produced is successful, or even that good, and 2012 was no exception to a year with several flops. Here’s the top ten films that were either flops, critically panned, or considered awful by audiences…or even, just plain awful. Period.

10. Wanderlust: (Jennifer Aniston, Paul Rudd, Malin Akerman and Justin Theroux; February 24th; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $24 million).

Though Wanderlust did have a big talent cast, it suffered from a fairly mild script and as a result, was rarely funny, making it a bit of a dud. I’ve said before that I think Jennifer Aniston either needs to officially retire from acting, or at the very least fire her agent, or whoever helps her choose scripts, because more often than not in her post-Friends years, she’s picked far too many duds. Since her hit show ended in 2004, she’s been in several films, but for every Marley and Me and Horrible Bosses, she has a string of un-funny and completely un-romantic flops. Rudd also suffers here, because he’s a genuinely hilarious actor who manages to brighten up the screen in everything he appears in, but this movie manages to bring him down a peg.

9. One for the Money: (Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara and Daniel Sunjata; January 27th; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $36 million).

Another movie with a bad script that features an actress who can’t seem to pick anything that makes her look good, this one gets the added benefit of said actress exhibiting some of her worst acting abilities to date. The movie was supposed to be the first translated to the big-screen from Janet Evanovich’s best-selling crime series about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, but it’s a safe bet that none of her other novels will make it there after this one failed so badly. Heigl hasn’t had a real solid hit that got love from both critics and audiences since Knocked Up, and has only had lukewarm reception from both since. She can add this flop to her less-than-stellar resume, and she has an awful “New Joy-sie” accent that makes her seem not only talent-less, but stupid.

8. This Means War: (Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy; February 17th; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $157 million).

This rom-com about two CIA agents and best friends fighting over the same woman could have been great because of its three likable stars, but somewhere along the way it lost any ability and chance it had. Whether the loss happened somewhere in the bad writing, overall concept, or inability for the movie to decide whether it was a rom-com or an action flick is hard to say, but for whatever the reason, the movie is nowhere near as entertaining as its potential stardom would suggest.

7. Chernobyl Diaries: (Jesse McCartney, Jonathon Sadowski and Olivia Dudley; May 24th; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $36 million).

Despite an effort to try out something different with a premise that could have been mildly interesting, like most horror movies these days, the ability to actually be original falls short, as does the suspense that’s needed to keep the audience enthralled by it. Especially disappointing since it came from the same guy who created the uber-successful Paranormal Activity franchise.

6. Resident Evil: Retribution: (Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez; September 14th; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $222 million).

Predictable, cynical, and just plain lazy. Also, full of a whole lot of moments that make the audience, no matter how familiar they are with the first four installments in the franchise, say ‘HUH? What’s going on?”

5. The Apparition: (Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton; August 24th; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $6 million).

A major flop, this film is not at all scary or dramatic, and once again, un-original. This horror film was so bad that it lost over $20 million, recouping only $6 million of its $27 million dollar production budget, one which of course had to include skimpy lingerie for its female star to prance around in. Overall, the film is most likely to produce feelings of exhaustion than it does feelings of fear.

4. John Carter: (Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe; March 9th; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $283 million).

Though it looks a little thrilling, the film about a Confederate soldier from the Civil War who travels to Mars for a civil war there, is unevenly paced, and doesn’t really make much sense. Disney suffered a major loss, getting a domestic gross of only $73 million on a $300 million dollar budget, beating the studio’s previous major flop for major losses, Mars needs Moms.

3. Red Dawn: (Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson; November 21st; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $44 million).

A remake of a 1984 film that didn’t need to be remade. While it manages to pay tribute to the original by having the same amount of poor characterization and general logic, it takes being bad to a new level by not adding a healthy dose of original topicality, which at least the original had because of its appropriateness to the Cold War era. Now? Not so much. Maybe rebooting it and reworking it to be a more modern threat (which, granted North Korea is a little bit of one, but not one of the major ones yet) would have made it a little bit better, or at least less bad than the original.

2. That’s My Boy: (Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester; June 15th; Total Worldwide Gross to date: $58 million).

If you like statutory rape, incest, masturbating to photos of old women, sex with old women, vomit, defecation, and Vanilla Ice, and find them all uproariously funny topics, especially all rolled together, then you loved this movie. If you’re like the majority of people though, and don’t find all, if any, of these topics funny, then you hated this movie, a new low in a long string of Adam Sandler flops. Does anyone else remember the comic ingenuity of Sandler’s 90s hits including Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, and Big Daddy, or even the early 2000s winners like Mr. Deeds, 50 First Dates, etc.? Lately everything has just gone horribly down the toilet, leaving the very stains in the bowl that his flops find so funny, but this one tops them all, forcing everything back up the pipes, causing that toilet to then overflow and leave its metaphorical crap all over the bathroom floor.

1.A Thousand Words: (Eddie Murphy, Cliff Curtis, Kerry Washington; March 9th; Total Worldwide Gross to Date: $20 million).

The only film this year that got zero (yes, that’s right ZERO) positive reviews, and was universally panned by every single professional film critic—and didn’t fare much better with audiences. Eddie Murphy has fallen so far from his days of comic ingenuity, with credits including Coming to America and Daddy Day Care to his name, and has instead settled for the Meet Dave, Norbit, and A Thousand Words sets. This hits a new level of awful for his career, because a poor reception here caused its UK release to be canceled completely.



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