Twas the stars and my Netflix queue aligned this weekend as the Hurri-Rain-Pocalypse pimp-slapped the East Coast (thanks El Nino!) and delivered to my mailbox were no less than three monumentally bad movies to pass the time as flood waters receded. One of these films was so awful, it reached that rarified pantheon where film buffs bestow upon special movies the title of “So Bad it’s Good.” In fact, I dare say, it might be the perfect “Bad Movie” and one that had me entertained and laughing for its entire 2 hour 38 minute run time. Good Citizens of Filmlandia …I give you…Roland Emmerich’s DUN-DUN-DUH 2012!
2012: Every German director has their fetish. Fritz Lang was famously obsessed with the rising power of the Third Reich and the psychology of mob rule vs. individual insanity. Uwe Boll is a wunderkind when it comes to German tax loop-holes that allow his investors to cash in every time one of his video-game adaptations bombs. Roland Emmerich has a thing for destroying monuments in his disaster films. In 2012, he takes it a step further by not only laying waste to international monuments but also natural wonders, gleeful in his painted-CGI green-screen destruction of cities, coastlines and mountain ranges.
Ah yes, it is that auteur stamp and clueless “everything and the kitchen sink” mentality of Heir Emmerich that makes 2012 the masterpiece of bad cinema that it is. Where does this rank in his hallowed canon? Well, it’s not quite as good as Independence Day where he was the first to turn The Thing that is Will Smith into a demigod and box office behemoth (who still rules the earth to this day), but it is way more entertaining than the sleep-inducing The Day After Tomorrow. Let’s face it, when it comes to uber-successful bad directors, Emmerich is the ying to Michael Bay’s yang. Emmerich is all geeked-up on crazy pseudo-science and bad CGI where Bay is fueled by technical gadgetry and pyrotechnics. Emmerich is childishly naive and optimistic where Bay is cynical and exploitative. Emmerich also possesses a sense of humor that is normally regulated to former Austrian body-builders turned California governors. Both filmmakers routinely churn out craptacular blockbusters that make insane amounts of money, but it is only Emmerich who has the power to capture our hearts…our dear, dumb, tone-deaf bleeding hearts.
Behold in 2012: Monuments collapsing! Skyscrapers toppling! The Himalayas flooding! Black people giving rousing speeches! Russian mistresses drowning! Fathers and sons crying! Marriages crumbling! Divorcees reuniting! Amanda Peet running! John Cusack being a smart-ass! Oliver Platt as a smarmy politician! Danny Glover as the President! An unnecessary “jazz musicians on a cruise ship” sub-plot! A courageous little kick-me dog scampering for its life! A little boy deciding to be a hero at the last-minute as a way to bond with dad!
What did you say? You can get all that action from a Michael “Bomb” Bay film? M. Night Shyamalan-a-ding-dong can deliver the same idiotic Hallmark-card sentimentality? Oh…but could they deliver this:
Witness in 2012 the most hilarious death scene ever involving a fat Russian billionaire trying to save his two overweight kids and the single worst last line ever written for a film. The closing scene involves a little girl telling her daddy (Cusack) after the world has been destroyed that she no longer needs to wear pull-ups at night, to which he replies, “Nice.”
So there you have it, Roland Emmerich’s parenting tip: If your child still wets the bed, the best cure is to flood the entire earth (except for Africa) and kill 6 billion people. Brilliant.
If destroying the earth isn’t your thing, how about spending 90 minutes with stupid college kids and Nazi Zombies in Sweden in Dead Snow?
The recipe here is simple: Take the plot of Leprechaun, replace titular Irish fiend with Nazi Zombies looking for their stash of gold, move the setting to Sweden, and blend with Cabin Fever…and voila! Dead Snow: A Movie as Dumb as its Title. There is some real stomach churning hardcore gore that should please genre fans and some nice photography of the Swedish mountains, but man…I always imagined a movie about Nazi Zombies would show a little bit more…life. All puns intended, this flick was dead on arrival.
And lastly we have Law Abiding Citizen, a moronic Law & Order meets Saw mash-up starring Jamie Foxx (who really needs to stop doing movies like this just for the paycheck) and Gerard Butler (in his latest desperate attempt to become a box office star). This is only worth watching if you’re a person who thinks more films should be made in Philadelphia (man, the city looks good in this) or if you enjoy watching Viola Davis act the bejesus out of any role (here she plays the no-nonsense Philly mayor). Otherwise, take a pass on this tedious, vile piece of trash.
The Official “Things the ‘Spin Learned during this Bad Movie Marathon”
- Sometimes the best way to pass the time when rain and 50-mph winds whip around outside is to watch a disaster film about the flooding of the entire earth.
- Both German film directors and German zombies have an uncanny ability to suck big time even when every fiber of your being tells you they should kick-ass because they’re German, man.
- Every movie could be made worse by simply adding a cruise ship…and perhaps the recipe for the worst movie ever made would be one that takes place on a cruise ship…in the artic…during a blizzard at sea…with Cuba Gooding Jr…and Nazis…and zombies…and lawyers. Oh, and dogs. Directed by Uwe Boll of course. Quick, is there a video game with that plot yet?
- Legal thrillers and torture-porn do not mix.
- The City of Brotherly Love should become the new Vancouver.
Written by David H. Schleicher