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The Best and Worst Films of Spring 2012

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

If the first four months of this year are any indication, 2012 will be marked by significant highs and a whole lotta lows. Nothing in between. No pure middling movies or mere mediocrity. In fact, going over the list of films released between January and April, it seems like Hollywood has got a handle on turning out either gems, or junk. Nothing sort of stuck in the center. We critics complain all the time about the seemingly static creative aplomb applied throughout Tinsel Town. We argue that for every great effort, there’s dozens of disappointing ones. But whether it was Haywire or Mirror, Mirror, the phenom known as The Hunger Games or the recent Jason Statham vehicle Safe, most Spring releases were decent. The duds, on the other hand, were like flaming love letters from Satan himself.


Though we’ve already mentioned a few of our honorary entries, there are a few more worth considering. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie might not have been everyone’s cup of crude tea, but it sure made us laugh. Similarly, Steve Harvey’s self-help tome Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, tapped into the mainstream market in a way Tyler Perry could only wish to navigate. On the other side of the cinematic situation, crap like American Reunion, The Lucky One, and The Three Stooges proved that going back to a recognizable source time and time again only leads to one thing - disappointment at the box office. So with Summer about to start officially and the annual battle for ticket sales supremacy underway, here are our choices for the best and worst of the new year. So far, so bad/good.
  
The Worst


#5: ATM


Like Saw, or the recent direct to DVD Die, this three-letter horror romp revels in the last spent cache of creepshow torture porn. Three investment brokers with too much time on their hands and too little common sense stop off at a bank machine so they can get some quick cash. They end up being trapped and tortured by an unseen figure with an even more elusive motive. In the end, the killer makes it look like our hero was responsible for all that happened. Why? Who cares… clearly no one writing the script or directing this junk did.


 
#4: One for the Money


Karma is a witch, isn’t it, Katherine. This, and other abhorrent career moves that you’ve made as of late are obviously fates way of showing you just how silly it was to berate your breakthrough role in Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up. Hoping to create a franchise based on the bounty hunter character of Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich’s novels, the fading star instead crafted a fiasco, a humorless mess that does both the genre and bail jumping a massive disservice. While it probably won’t quell her continued pursuit of commercial relevance, this disaster should indicate where her future lies… in direct to DVD releases.


 
#3: A Thousand Words


Okay, so this Eddie Murphy affront has been languishing on the shelf for a while (it was made back in 2008), which means no one but the clause in his contract had faith in a full blown theatrical release. The biggest mistake here is taking the comic’s rapid fire voice away, turning him into a major league mugging machine for nearly 90 minutes. Even the sledgehammered lessons about appreciating life and watching one’s words gets lost in endless homages to Mantan Moreland. While it can’t possibly have considered itself racist, the end result is more trial than Tyler Perry.


 
#2: The Devil Inside


Oh brother. Another found footage film purporting to be “the truth” behind demonic possession. This time around, a young woman whose mother is held captive in a Vatican insane asylum grabs a cameraman and decides to play homemade detective. What she discovers is a secret cabal against exorcism…and two practicing priests who will show her the truth. Then they decide to ‘rescue’ mom. What we wind up with is silly shaky-cam chaos followed by one or two scenes of scary movie mandates. Believe it or not, this was worse than The Last Exorcism, if that’s possible.


 
#1: Project X

We warned you. We said this would be the most dangerous movie released in 2012, and you scoffed at the sheer chutzpah of the comment… and then this happened. And then this. And this. You see, no matter the fictionalized approach or homage to teen comedies past, a movie that lays out the very foundation of how to have an illegal rave and basically get away with it is bound to inspire some imitators. That the studio and the movie’s makers have yet to be sued is confusing, though it’s only a matter of time before someone drops the legal bombshell. Besides, the film was terrible, an indulgent bit of stupidity that clearly sent the wrong message.


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