Our 10 Worst Films of 2011

Alex: Man, did I see a lot of shit this year. And, unlike Aaron, I don’t go see movies knowing I’m not going to like them (with the exception, this year, of Transformers). I only see movies I’m at least curious about, even if I suspect they’re going to fail. So I’m surprised every year when I have an easy time filling a Ten Worst list — though as I write that, I can hear many friends and loved ones snickering at the sentiment. (I rather have a reputation, you see, for hating everything.)

Anyway, here are ten movies I especially hated. A word about my #1 choice: There’s no satisfaction in putting it at the top of the list. That it’s the worst movie of 2011 is both obvious and beside the point. Super is a film that can only be described as the product of a non-functioning personality. At the Iras we do the Dramamine award (for the movie that makes you sick) and the Sominex award (for the movie that puts you to sleep). This one deserves an award all its own: Thorazine. I watched it thinking, “Well, this is incompetent and sadistic storytelling, and thoroughly boring filmmaking, but never mind about any of that stuff — the guy who made this movie needs help.”

  1. Super
  2. Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  3. Le Havre
  4. Bridesmaids
  5. Melancholia
  6. Beginners
  7. The Iron Lady
  8. The Help
  9. The Human Centipede 2
  10. 50-50
  11. Albert Nobbs

Aaron: I happen to think Super is really good, so consider me a “non-functioning personality” (whatever the fuck that means… what the fuck does that mean, Alex? I feel like that’s some of that linguistic gymnastics that you like to do that really doesn’t mean anything but sounds really powerful. Congratulations, Alex. You’re good at insults that convey no meaning.).

Also – I enjoy going to movies whether they’re good or not and don’t seek out bad movies knowing I’m not going to like them. That would be sociopathic. You think bad movies are all bad (because of terrible reviewers?) and should be regarded as such without seeing them. I see all movies as having a chance of being good, so I see them.

Here’s my list (with some links to my own review blog):

1) The Help
2) Sarah’s Key
3) Rise of the Planet of the Apes
4) Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D
5) Miral
6) Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1
7) Super 8
8) The Roommate
9) Margaret
10) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Alex: Oh come on. You saw Bad Teacher. You saw 30 Minutes or Less. You saw the Arthur remake. You can’t tell me you had any sort of hope for any of these movies. What characterizes your 10-worst list is disappointment — yes, I can see how any of those ten movies might have seemed interesting, or at least worth checking out, from the outside, only to reveal themselves as the disingenuous shit-shows they really are. (Although I liked Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close — which is also my favorite porn title of the year.)

And I take it as a love bite that you accuse me of “linguistic gymnastics.” That you think I’m capable of composing nifty phrases that don’t actually mean anything is sort of flattering — I should get a job as a Republican speechwriter.

But Super is like Psycho if the entire movie was from Norman Bates’s point of view and if it had basically a happy ending. Have a look at the IMDB profile of James Gunn, the writer-director of Super. The profile, complete with its totally boring bits of trivia (“Choreographed the sex scenes for Tromeo and Juliet.” — Oh! Cool! I’ve always wondered who choreographed those sex scenes!), was almost certainly written by the man himself. (He was married to Jenna Fischer??) Truly, this person is a sociopath.

Aaron: Jesus, Alex, it must be really hard to live in a world filled with such liberals and their snarky senses of humor. I’m sorry you didn’t get the joke.

Yes – Gunn comes from Troma Studios – have you ever seen any of their films? The Toxic Avenger? Is that sociopathic? It’s called sarcasm, son, and you should know it when you see it.  (And what’s so bad about Psycho from Bates’ point of view? Maybe it’s a bit banal but it sounds like it could be good.) Super is a send-up of dumb superhero movies. It’s hilarious. I’m sorry it doesn’t have the sensibilities of a great film like Mission Impossible 15, but it didn’t have the budget for such luxury.

I see some movies that I expect will be stinkers, but I certainly don’t avoid movies because some asshole critic tells me it’s bad (knowing that most of those critics wouldn’t see or appreciate half the films I like). Rise of the Planet of the Apes got a bunch of positive reviews and was on a ton of Top Ten lists and I thought it was godawful, so what do you do with that one? Was I seeing it because I thought it would be terrible? Maybe you shouldn’t speak for me, dear.

There were three films I was honestly disappointed with in 2011, McQueen’s Shame, Morris’ Tabloid and James’ The Interrupters. None of them are on my worst list because they’re not really terrible, merely beneath the level they should be based on the talent of their creators. My worst list is filled with terrible and offensive garbage with no redeeming qualities. All middlebrow, fake-smart and sentimental. Sure I was disappointed that I had to sit through them, but that’s about it.

Alex: And while I’m not speaking for you, baby doll, I’ll thank you not to speak for me. I didn’t say the critics help me pre-judge anything. I pre-judge things all on my own, thank you.

If you take the humans out of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you have a great movie.

And I’m with you on Shame. What a stuuuuuuuuuupid movie.

Although Michael Fassbender is in heated competition with Thomas Dekker (of Kaboom fame) for Best Penis of 2011.

You know what it is, Aaron? You’ve spoiled me. I’ll never see as many movies as you do in a year, honey, and I lean on you to alert me when something that looks like total trash turns out to be worth seeing. (Even though you’re often wrong, as in the case of Super and Hesher, but that’s okay, we’re none of us perfect.)

A LOT would be wrong with Psycho if it were all from Norman’s point of view, and if the movie asked us to feel everything he felt, to desire everything he desired. Hell, The Iron Lady is entirely from dear old Maggie’s point of view, and therein lies its disingenuousness and political irresponsibility.

Yes, poopsie-kins, I’ve seen The Toxic Avenger, I know the Troma aesthetic, and Super ain’t it. Super is solipsistic male misogyny that fetishizes violence and hates the world and all people. (Actually, maybe that’s too much praise; I’m not sure other people register inside this guy’s psychosis.)

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About Aaron & Alex

We're two highly opinionated, movie-going, liberal, cynical, (single) New York Jews who like to bitch about movies.
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