The 10 Worst Films Of 2012

Screen Shot 2012 12 13 at 9.26.18 PM 572x360 The 10 Worst Films Of 2012

Earlier this week, I published my countdown of the Top 10 Films of 2012. As I said then, this has been a really great year for film, filled top to bottom with creative and memorable cinematic efforts. But that does not mean there weren’t plenty of stinkers in the mix as well, and I am sad to say I saw many if not most of them. Like its Top 10 counterpart, this Worst 10 Films of 2012 list was made from a competitive field; I hated more than enough movies this year to make a thoroughly bitter and resentful retrospective on the year in crap, one without room to spare for perennial Worst 10 favorites like Twilight.

Keep in mind, as always, that these choices reflect only my tastes and opinions. I say that in the hopes that it will prevent at least a few of the pieces of hate mail I expect to receive for my number 5 choice.

In any case, the countdown to the worst of the worst begins on the next page, and clicking on the title of each movie will take you to my original review (or pertinent feature article) of the film. Several links will take you away from We Got This Covered to my personal blog, where my work was published before I joined the staff of this website.

Enjoy, and here’s hoping there is less garbage to suffer through in 2013.

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10. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

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You know what I love about fishing? Subtlety. 

It is a quiet sport, one based on patience and discipline; it requires both nuance of craft and stillness of mind, which is precisely why fishing is such an attractive activity to many. With a rod in one’s hand, in a boat or in waders, where else can one find such mental peace and clarity?

Not in Lasse Hallström’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, for starters. A story about a real-life effort to introduce salmon fishing to the harsh conditions of the Yemen river, the film claims to have a love and understanding of fishing, but it is an impostor, for it has not a subtle bone in its spectacularly stupid body. Every plot point is loudly telegraphed, every character trait shouted at the camera, every message or theme delivered in monologue, every second of music obvious and manipulative, every piece of development outlined with small, easily digestible phrases, and so on and so on.

Combined with flat characters, terrible comedic interludes, and a number of reprehensibly ill-advised plot contrivances, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen displays startlingly naked contempt for the audience’s intellect. The film fishes not with grace and precision, but with dynamite, and the results are proportionally disastrous. Like a salmon scared away by a group of loud, drunken buffoons, it’s best to keep swimming until one finds something better.

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9. Lola Versus 

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The fragmented title Lola Versus practically invites snarky writers like me to complete the phrase with a summation of our criticisms. Indeed, the longer title Lola Versus the Writing seems apt, for while the main character struggles with love, sex, friendship, identity, and more, her fiercest antagonist is undoubtedly the horrendous script she’s been saddled with. A script that, by the end of the film, made me loath Lola and every single person in her frustrating mess of a life, despite fine performances from Greta Gerwig and others. Lola Versus is a downright annoying film, a shrill and self-satisfied mess of a movie that starts on decent foundations, only to spiral further and further down a rabbit hole of bad jokes, lifeless quips, flaccid romantic intrigue, and irritatingly dumb character decisions. There is potential here, but most of it goes unrealized in a sea of frustrations that make Lola Versus one of 2012’s most exasperating movies.

8. Ice Age: Continental Drift

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There have been far worse children’s films than Ice Age: Continental Drift, even this year, but few that make me so depressed about Hollywood’s utter contempt for young moviegoers. If Ice Age – a franchise that started with a genuine artistic vision and nothing but respect for its audience – can fall this far, can become this lazy, pandering, and blatantly commercial, then what reason is there to hope that anyone in this business will ever start viewing children as anything other than stupid, oblivious money-printing machines? Continental Drift has nothing to offer children or their parents but a bland story, recycled character beats, bored humor, and inflated 3D ticket prices. No lessons, no insight, no substance whatsoever. The most a child could possibly gain from watching this film is a few cheap chuckles aimed at a goofy squirrel. I believe filmmakers must aim higher. I believe children deserve so much more.

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7. House at the End of the Street

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A thoroughly awful and unpleasant horror film, one that attempts to affect its unlucky audience by trading in abuse, sadism, and general human misery. House at the End of the Street bears neither a hint of intelligence nor a smattering of subtext to justify its ugly, cynical nature, while the horrendous script, amateurish production, and wildly unappealing characters prevent any single moment from shining through as entertaining. At its very best, the film is tolerable. At its worst, it is offensive, a nasty experience that brutalizes the audience without an ounce of substance. The lone silver lining? Jennifer Lawrence, now star of one of Hollywood’s biggest film franchises and a frontrunner for this year’s Best Actress Oscar, is far too famous and respected to ever star in drivel like this again. Good for her. She, like the rest of us, deserves better than House at the End of the Street.

6. The Words

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For much of its runtime, The Words plays like the cinematic equivalent of the notice every college syllabus contains about plagiarism. The one that says copying someone else’s work is an unspeakably wicked crime, one that should never be performed under any circumstances and will irreparably shatter one’s life, career, and mental health. Even if the point is a fair one, the film, like the syllabus message, relates this concept with such staggering ineptitude, such dreadfully poor writing and overblown, arrogant, repellently self-important melodrama, that one finds oneself thinking plagiarized content, of any sort, would undoubtedly be more compelling than this wretched material one has been handed.

Or to put it in less figurative terms: The Words is an absolutely terrible movie from top to bottom, one so bad it compelled me to write a seven-page long review just to express my incredulity. The film is certainly not worth that level of attention, but what can I say? I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment.

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5. Prometheus

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I have said my peace on this one, in a podcast, a big feature article, and another podcast. There is little need to abuse the film any more. I will just say that I was, initially, dazzled by certain elements Prometheus seemed to offer, but diving deeper into the film only reveals greater and greater flaws, and due to the film’s absolutely horrendous narrative construction, subsequent viewings are painful experiences. The more I watch and think about Prometheus, the more I realize this is not just a disappointing effort, but an absolutely terrible film, one that is, after three ill-advised viewings, unwatchably bad. 

4. Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos

Fullmetal Alchemist Movie 2 The Sacred Star of Milos The 10 Worst Films Of 2012

Hiromu Arakawa’s Fullmetal Alchemist is one of my absolute favorite stories of all time, but The Sacred Star of Milos, the latest film based on the anime adaptation, is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad train-wreck, a giant middle finger to devoted fans of Arakawa’s work and one of the more thoroughly painful cinematic experiences of 2012.

The film has many problems – the animation is atrociously lazy on every possible level, just for starters – but the core issue is that Milos is, in essence, one-hundred uninterrupted minutes of exposition. Of characters explaining, in excruciatingly precise detail, every single minute facet of the story, most of it entirely irrelevant because even with such mountains of exposition, the plot still makes precious little sense. The ‘story,’ such as it is, involves three nations, a town, and a great big valley, but figuring out where all the characters fit in, who they work for, or what they’re trying to accomplish is a fool’s errand, because what may be true one minute could be entirely false once the next plot contrivance arrives. The new characters, of which there are many, are wildly inconsistent, and the old characters we know and love are barely featured. In the last act, the film’s last vestiges of coherency are torn asunder by a number of twists that make so little sense it is a wonder they do not rupture tears in the space-time continuum.

I have never before seen a movie that was both largely incomprehensible and fetishistically devoted to clarifying its own story. Usually, it’s one or the other. With Milos, it’s both, and at the very least, you have to give the movie props for establishing a brand new level of anime awfulness.

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3. The Lorax

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Even though I saw two worse films this year, no movie has made me quite as sad these past six months as The Lorax. Dr. Seuss’ book is one of the greatest works ever written for children, a beautifully bleak, thoroughly solemn environmental parable that respects the intelligence of its young audience on every level. But Universal’s The Lorax is easily one of the worst children’s films ever made, for it ignores or mocks everything that mattered to Dr. Seuss. Instead of a serious, down-to-earth fable, it is a broad, pandering comedy, filled wall-to-wall with terrible jokes, endless slapstick, pop culture references, horrifyingly awful musical numbers, and long, complicated car chases.

Yes, you read that right. The Lorax now includes car chases. Several of them.

It is rare that a movie outrages me on a fundamental level, but to my mind, this hollow, studio-manufactured desecration of The Lorax is a frightening distillation of everything that is wrong with Hollywood, and more than earns its high spot on this list. 

2. That’s My Boy

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That’s My Boy isn’t just another awful Adam Sandler comedy, but one of the most actively disgusting films in recent memory. The film asks us to laugh at situations any sane human would find horrific, and desires our sympathy for detestable characters, all without having anything intelligent, meaningful, or the least bit redeeming to say about its subject matter. Shocking the audience may be one of the cornerstones of intelligent comedy, but offending without insight or reason is the bedrock of lowbrow humor. That’s My Boy falls several cavernous steps beneath lowbrow. It may, in fact, establish the bottom of the comedy barrel for several generations to come.

This is a thoroughly misanthropic film, one that hates the sane and demented characters alike; it hates subtle comedy and intelligent subtext; it hates the idea of healthy sexual relations, and it hates laughs that arise organically from the characters; it really hates minorities, fat people, and women, but above all else, it hates the audience, and shows it by delivering nothing but repulsive drivel.

Fair enough, for I hate it right back.

And the worst movie of 2012 is…

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1. The Watch

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Much as I despise That’s My Boy, no film in 2012 tested my patience quite as much as The Watch, a soulless alien invasion comedy that has literally nothing of interest or value to offer the audience, save an overwhelming amount of product placement. It has no well defined characters, quality performances, amusing humor, or actual story to speak of, but it does feature lots and lots of thinly veiled commercials for Costco, 3D TVs, expensive massage chairs, Budweiser beer, and other products I will boycott vigorously until my dying day for their appearance in this irredeemable act of cinematic treachery.

Every single solitary thing about The Watch is either bad, lazy, or both, and watching it is akin to seeing time stand still, staring helplessly into the void as the world around you slows. Even now, months after seeing the film, I so detest this wretched, callous act of unrepentant commercialism that when thoughts of things I love – like friends, or family, or pleasant midday strolls, or small adorable kittens – cross paths with memories of The Watch, those happy thoughts are deeply tainted, perhaps forever, stained with the aching remnants of darkness this so-called ‘comedy’ has wrought upon my now-fractured psyche.

Which is, of course, the long way of saying The Watch is the worst film of 2012.

And now that I have warned you of it one last time, excuse me while I go bang my ahead against the wall in hopes that my memories of the film will be permanently erased.

What movies did you hate most in 2012? What did you think of these ten films? Which movies would you have included on the list? Would you like to fling more mud at me for disliking Prometheus, even though it’s only an expression of my personal opinion and in no way impinges your enjoyment of the film? Commence the stoning!

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  • Alex Lowe

    The Letter would have to be tops on my list. It wasn’t only the worst film I saw this year, but maybe the worst I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t believe it was supposed to be a mystery & suspense movie, considering there was nothing remotely suspenseful about it. I’m a big James Franco fan, but that was the first movie in a long time that I almost couldn’t finish.

  • Chad

    I second The Lorax. What a bland movie.

    The only other one I’ve seen is Prometheus, which is actually the last film I saw in theatres. I enjoyed it, so I wouldn’t put it on a worst of list myself. To each their own, though.

    I’m slightly interested in House at the End of the Street, but it’s only something I’d watch for free on TMN at 2am in the morning.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kserenyi Kenneth Serenyi

    Is there still a link to the podcasts on this site? I see the links to the prometheus podcasts but are there still links to the other shows? :)

    • Matt

      Should be up on the menu now

  • The Perfect Pun

    jesus, grow a pair and get off your high horse
    Let’s imagine a hypothetic scenario, the theme of the the movie is meant to be exactly what your complaining about.

    Acting something out that you’re complaining about as an act of criticism. Well gee that sounds an awful lot like sarcasm. Well shit.

  • Aoi

    Looper’s overated. Almost an hour of boring cliche story about a single mom a n a hole boy in a farm setting going nowhere.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.d.stokes.3 Anthony Donovan Stokes

      Let’s not call it overrated it’s better than most scifi lol there’s a difference between something being overrated and just not liking it or it being not for you

      • Pinto

        Unfortunately better than most scifi doesn’t mean much considering the quality of most scifis…

      • Pinto

        Unfortunately better than most scifi doesn’t mean much considering the quality of most scifis…

      • Pinto

        Unfortunately better than most scifi doesn’t mean much considering the quality of most scifis…

        • http://awkwardmoviereviews.wordpress.com/ Anthony Donovan Stokes

          Well you’re talking about American cinema there is excellent foreign scifi but regardless of comparisons to other movies, it’s pretty damn good, and at the worst it’s solid. I appreciate the fact that the sci fi takes a back seat to the characters

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003454522374 Jacques Jones

    Was I the only one who thought Continental Drift was awesome? But in all seriousness, I knew The Watch was going to be unspeakably awful, and I second your opinion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/roshanjg1 Roshan Jacob George

    although i agree with most of your selections ,i dont think prometheus belongs here.

  • austin

    I have only seen Prometheus on this list and I agree that it Definitely belongs here, it’s one of the worst science fiction movies I have ever seen. I had high hopes before watching it and after I did I was pretty pissed…

  • Sam

    Lola Versus was so terrible. After seeing the trailer, I was so excited to see it! Then it sucked.

  • Is that your job, seriously?

    Ok so out of all the crap movies with budgets of less then £100000 he has chosen these. Are you sure these are the worst movies, or are they the most disappointing to you. You sound like a you should get of your high horse, stop being such a dick.

  • http://twitter.com/WesleyUnruh Wesley Unruh

    No way does Prometheus belong on this list. I thought it was pretty good. It actually has a fairly high rating of 72% positive reviews on rotten tomatoes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Lack/100000619690152 Jonathan Lack

      Most of those people haven’t watched it twice. Just a guess. Gets much, much, much worse the more you watch it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-Sheridan-Gilbert/1603361359 Max Sheridan Gilbert

    #1 should be The Devil Inside.

  • Josh

    Jesus Christ, man. Get off your damn high horse. This shouldn’t be ‘The 10 Worst Films of 2012′. It should be ‘My 10 Least Favorite Films of 2012.’

    Some of these movies were good. The Watch was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while. It wasn’t the fact that you put the movies on your list, it was that you spoke so poorly about them.

    “Even now, months after seeing the film, I so detest this wretched, callous act of unrepentant commercialism that when thoughts of things I love – like friends, or family, or pleasant midday strolls, or small adorable kittens – cross paths with memories of The Watch, those happy thoughts are deeply tainted, perhaps forever, stained with the aching remnants of darkness this so-called ‘comedy’ has wrought upon my now-fractured psyche.”

    You gotta be kidding me…
    I’d like to see you make a movie, and then say that ANY of these movies belong on this list.

    • http://twitter.com/lewismouths Her

      Seriously an opinion piece needs to highlight it’s an opinion piece?

  • someone with taste

    Prometheus, the lorax, the watch, my boy, all excellent fucking movies, you’re a fucking dickhead with no sense to speak of so why don’t you go back under that rock you’ve been living under and spare the world the drivel that spills out your fucking mouth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-William-Claxton/1430575253 George William Claxton

    “Prometheus” was, indeed, a horrible film. The movie had poor writing, inept directing and acting that was phoned in (probably from a bar). It was a waste of film.

  • http://viewster.com/ Viewster

    This list can be replenished

  • wee nat nat

    aww for gods sakes! you cant say a movie is the worst because everyone has their own taste in movies, some like sci-fi while others don’t… some prefer comedy to horror! you get the idea? although i didn’t like the lorax, thats not to say its the worst film… thats because its not my kind of film, kapeesh?! >:(

  • Chazz

    These are all big budget movies. Tone it down a little and pick some movies that suck and you don’t seem to have personal vendettas against. How about some actual terrible films from 2012, like Stolen? This list sucks,

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fanfan-Serber/1442338005 Fanfan Serber

    I thought The Words was not so bad!

  • Yo

    Look at all these douchelords getting so mad. Keep going guys, you’re funnier than That’s My Boy.

  • http://twitter.com/rachelekolb Rachel Kolb

    Prometheus made the list and not Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2? Really?….No, seriously, that baffles me.

  • gumgum619

    yupp I saw house at the end of the street with some of my friends, it sucked soo bad

  • shannon

    Thats my boy wasn’t the best movie I’ve seen but i thought it was pretty good wouldn’t have been on my list I also liked the lorax I went with my brother and i thought it was a good kids movie but it was nothing like dr. suess which made me a bit upset

  • Forrest_Bondurant

    Prometheus doesn’t belong here, period.
    You probably already hated it, before you even saw it….

    Too bad Critics like you always seem to think they’re the only ones with the right opinion.

    • JB

      The job of a critic is to share their opinion with the world. That’s the point.

    • JB

      The job of a critic is to share their opinion with the world. That’s the point.

  • Poopsy Poopington

    LOL should have been on here.

  • Mars R

    I LOVE that people are so stupid that they demand the author apologize for what he clearly states is an OPINION piece in a big disclaimer description. There is something very very wrong with people who get so violently angry about another person having a differing opinion on a movie. I liked Ice Age but am i red faced and ranting and flinging insults because he thought it was subpar? No. Big movies will make a ridiculous amount of money despite people not loving them and the actors will continue to make millions. One review doesn’t change that. Grow up. Also…thanks for including Prometheus. One of the worst movies ever and made zero sense. I couldnt even finish it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lalorocks69 Eduardo Morales Ocampo

    Of course prometheus should not be here…. It leaves you with the intrigue of what could happen next, and make you imagine if that could be the reality, by the way it has some good effects…

  • http://twitter.com/Cinesnatch Cinesnatch

    Wow, I’ve seen two of your “lists” now and they both are very short-sighted. Prometheus was a mess and many fans felt let down, but was it completely unforgivable? Not really if you consider how spectacular the production design was. But, apparently, you don’t think about the separate parts of a film offering redeeming qualities to the project. Salmon Fishing was a chore to sit through, but Kristin Scott Thomas brought the movie to life every time she stepped on screen. And, yeah, Lola Versus didn’t have a lot of fans, but Greta Gerwig is still enjoyable to watch. You might want to put down your phone that’s distracting you and actually watch a movie before you judge it.

  • Dumb Article

    This is the worst ‘worst of’ list i have ever seen in my life. Hope the writer didnt get any money for this.

    • d

      After reading it again i think the title of this article should be. Movies I had unrealistic expectations for in 2012.

  • Maria Paramythatzou

    If you love films, you go watch them and you take with you that which you enjoyed. Yes, Prometheus had many scenes that could not possibly be realistic for its genre and most of the aforementioned movies have only been generated for the sake of money making underestimating at multiple points the viewer’s intelligence, but still, most were fun.
    If you are in a bad mood, all movies are bad. It is all a matter of expectation.
    It is time you started watching non-Hollywood productions to open your movie-horizon and be shocked at the vast range of movie-quality out there.
    Just saying :-)

  • the man

    are you kidding with me the watch really i saw the movie and i say it`s one of the top ten movies of 2012

  • the man

    are you kidding with me the watch really i saw the movie and i say it`s one of the top ten movies of 2012

  • Scoob

    The Watch and That’s My Boy are hilarious movies, these are just your crappy opinions on movies

  • susielyn

    Since I have only heard of one of the movies you speak of, (that being “That’s My Boy) you probably aren’t the only one with these movies on a “crap” list. And since I don’t find anything funny about Adam Sandler, I will have to agree with your list. And since Sandler isn’t seen much anymore, I assume that a lot of people don’t find him funny either.

  • susielyn

    Since I have only heard of one of the movies you speak of, (that being “That’s My Boy) you probably aren’t the only one with these movies on a “crap” list. And since I don’t find anything funny about Adam Sandler, I will have to agree with your list. And since Sandler isn’t seen much anymore, I assume that a lot of people don’t find him funny either.

  • David Fullam

    I would switch one and two, but all top 3 are dead to rights.

  • FayYanique

    You are allowed to have an opinion and to express it, but to me it feels like you wrote this article to piss people off and get a lot of comments. Your intention is to get people’s blood boiling. Why else would you write that last paragrahp? It’s a little bit negative… Hey, if that is what get’s you going, who are we to judge right? You have to right to do it, as you would probably point out? The good thing is, hopefully you are starting a conversation about the quality of movies and people come bearing arguments, which is always a good thing..