Didn’t actually see Yogi Bear, to tell the truth. My baby niece wanted to see it for weeks and her happiness is more important than mine, so as soon as we got the chance, I took her to the theater. We bought the popcorn. We sat down. We lasted five minutes. Yogi Bear made his first failed attempt to steal a picnic basket. The CGI team made their first failed attempt to make that convincing. Then human stars Tom Cavanagh and T.J. Miller showed up to talk about something that nobody could care about, and my niece decided it was time to go. Something you need to know about this kid: She’s very patient. She made it all the way through Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Pussy Galore, even though she didn’t like that one either. Like her uncle, she doesn’t take walk-outs lightly.
To the makers of Yogi Bear, I say: it’s not a good sign when your target audience chooses your movie as the first walk-out in a life that hopefully won’t include many. But in all fairness, I cannot review this movie because I only saw the first five minutes.
I did see some other crap this year though. A couple of them were with my niece, which always makes bad news easier to take, a couple were press screenings, and I think one was even on a date, but the rest of them I had to endure alone.
Here are the lamest of the bunch, in order of how unwilling I would be to see them a second time (the higher the rank, the harder I’d fight):
10. Date Night
Steve Carell and Tina Fey are two of the smartest and most warm-hearted comedy minds on the planet right now. Teaming them up onscreen should have been something memorable. This wasn’t.
Worst Scene: I think James Franco (127 Hours) and Mila Kunis (Black Swan) were in one scene of this movie. I think. I don’t remember. Two talented stars from two of the most memorable movies of the year, and somehow I don’t even remember exactly what the hell they were doing in this movie. Of course I could say the same about Steve Carell & Tina Fey, come to think of it.
Did I review it? Yes, and I was far too nice about it. Here’s how I ended it: “I certainly wouldn’t care to see a sequel to this movie, but the pairing of these two stars almost demands a rematch, preferably in material that is somewhat more biting.”
9. The Tooth Fairy
Remember when Ashley Judd had a cool career going? Now she’s relegated to playing the hot mom in a movie that’s about Dwayne Johnson as a hockey player who is pressed into service as a tooth fairy. This should be Sandra Bullock’s career. Life’s not fair. Ashley knows it, if Sandra doesn’t.
Worst Scene: A six-inch-tall Billy Crystal in old-age makeup (hardly necessary at this point) rising a hockey puck through the end credits.
Did I review it? Hell no. Life’s not only unfair, but it’s short too.
A bunch of movie clichés hole up in a roadside diner when an army of vengeful angels begin a war against mankind. It’s a dull movie without a single original thought, and its creators probably don’t even understand why.
Worst Scene: Tyrese Gibson, on a rooftop overlooking an oncoming apocalypse, suddenly reminisces about his childhood. The monologue really begins with this: “When I was a shorty…”
Did I review it? Yeah. I even noted that I had fun at the screening, but no way would I ever go back.
Dwayne Johnson could be the kind of badass action star that action movies could use. When he got tired of his fans asking him to be one, he chose to make this. Turns out it’s even less cinematically valuable than The Tooth Fairy.
Worst Scene: “GARYYYYYYYYY!!!!!” (The man formerly known as “The Rock,” emoting over his brother being killed by thieves.)
Did I review it? Yes. Maybe I expected too much from a man whose previous stage name comes from the title of a Michael Bay movie.
6. Cats & Dogs: The Revenge Of Kitty Galore
First of all: “revenge”? Who knew Kitty Galore existed, let alone cared about its plans for revenge?
This movie is depressing because people went to see it. Not a huge amount of people, but more than zero. This movie is so bad that its anti-cat agenda annoyed me, and I’m normally simpatico with those politics.
Worst Scene: These opening credits. No worse than the rest of the movie, so I guess you could say it sets the stage perfectly.
Did I review it? Yeah, and somehow this happened: “Would this movie be any better if the pigeon voiced by Katt Williams was running around saying the N-word? Well, it couldn’t have been any worse.”
5. Robin Hood
This movie reminds me of a great Patton Oswalt routine about how disappointing the Star Wars prequels were, because they fixated on the less-exciting origins of iconic characters. Let’s take another example: How would you like a story about Superman where he doesn’t put on the Superman costume and fly until the last few minutes? Actually, I hear that’s what Smallville’s about. Sounds pretty lame to me personally, but if you like Smallville, maybe you’ll like Robin Hood.
As for me, this has to be considered a waste of time and talent. Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe have both made many better movies, and none that can be called boring. Until now. It’s a Robin Hood movie without the swashbuckling. Also, the topic of legendary actor Max Von Sydow’s morning wood comes up. (No pun intended.)
Worst Scene: I’d like to say that it’s the final scene, but it’s probably the scene where Prince John’s mother walks in on him while he’s in bed with a chick, and he… ugh… read my review if you dare.
Did I review it? Sad to say…
It may be time to separate Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. There are actually a couple of cool things in this movie, but none of them are Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter. And frankly, Tim Burton is a bad match to this material. At best, he brings nothing new to the story visually. And the script is bad.
Worst Scene: It pains me too much to have to call a Tim Burton movie one of the worst of the year, without having to think back to specific scenes. I don’t want to dwell here anymore. Let’s move on.
Did I review it? Yes, with sadness in my heart.
3. Grown Ups
Adam Sandler can be very funny and Chris Rock can be amazingly hilarious. But then they hooked up with Kevin James and everybody’s worst tendencies came up to the forefront. People flocked to see it anyway, which is never a good feeling. I once warned people that if they didn’t reward Adam Sandler for taking risks (and succeeding) with Punch-Drunk Love and Funny People, that he’d take the wrong message. I just never knew how wrong it could get.
Worst Scene: Whichever one is the one where Kevin James enters the movie.
Did I review it? Yes, and I’d do it again.
2. Cop Out
Kevin Smith can do so much better. Yes, I still believe that he can. It would be hard to do much worse than this. I think we’ve scraped the bottom here, so there’s nowhere to go but up. To be fair, I laughed once during Cop Out. So it narrowly misses that number-one spot.
Worst Scene: It’s a toss-up. You really could choose any at random. I’ll just go with the hideous scene where Tracy & Bruce take their Latina informant to a Mexican restaurant so the maitre’d can interpret her hilariously foreign utterings.
Did I review it? Violently.
A superhero parody that takes place in the “real world,” with outdated pop-culture references, urine-colored cinematography, and temp tracks in place of an actual score. Before I saw it, I had heard it was good. Believe it or not, I wanted to like it. (I always want to like anything I spend two hours of my life doing.) But it’s not good, no, not at all. And there are so many people who would disagree, which is always the part that bewilders. I wrote a very long justification as to my opinion on this failure, but at this point it really shouldn’t be up to me to explain why this movie was bad. It’s up to those who liked it to explain why it was any good. Then please teach me how to fly a space shuttle, because I think we’d have better success with that.
Worst Scene: I can’t believe that anyone thought this was cool. If you did, good for you I guess. I hope you enjoyed your first movie ever.
Did I review it? I did. It was an epic study in disappointment. Luckily I’m getting this list out of the way before I do my best-of list, which happily, is overflowing with positivity.