Thursday, January 3, 2013

Disappointments of 2012: Javi Edition!

This year was strangely mediocre year if we take a look back at the majority of the major releases out there. I'm not saying it was a bad year at the movies at all, if you check out my upcoming Top Ten list, it is full of amazing movies. My biggest disappointments of the year range from blockbuster wanna-be's to Sundance/Oscar darlings. I almost find these movies fascinating because they could have been something great, but just didn't get there. The pattern I found myself in was seeing movies that had either no sympathetic characters, or that I just didn't connect emotionally to the characters. What's good is that I don't have that many this year!  My 2011 disappointments can be found here and check out my 2012 picks below:

Marc Webb directed one of my favorite movies in the past decade. Here he directed what can only be called a good movie that was neutered by the studio system. It had the potential, but then the studio allegedly messed with the script to stretch out certain plot points over to the sequels. What sucks is that I like the actors and their performances so much better than even the Raimi originals (they haven't aged too well), but the more I thought about it, the more I hated the actual final product. I still have to give Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone for bringing such a unique energy and nuances to two characters we know so well.
Lest the Internet eat me alive, I do have to preface this entry a little bit. Similar to the Master, I can understand why people connected with this movie and why it's ranking so high in so many end of the year lists. But for me, just like with THE MASTER, there was very little to no connection for me with the characters or what happens to them. With non-actor Dwight Henry, and his performance that consisted of just yelling, I was annoyed a lot of the time. The community, while they're a colorful cast, just seemed so vaguely defined to me. The story itself was cutsey but the introduction and subsequent use of the Aurochs felt like a weird element that had no pay off for me. Unfortunately, I think that the beauty of the cinematography, the set design, and even the skill of lead actress, Quvenzhane Wallis, was just not enough to make care about their story. I saw so many people being so overjoyed by it, but I'm not sure if it was the very naive and child like nature of the film, but I just couldn't get into it,  and that sort of bummed me out a little

This one hurt the most for me. I love Paul Thomas Anderson. I love all of his movies including that Adam Sandler one. Hell, he's the reason Jonesy and I became friends and inspired this blog. But with 2012's THE MASTER, I found myself not being at all engaged. by the movie. I know that Joaquin Phoneix is supposed to be doing amazing work here, but having seen I'M STILL HERE, it just felt like he was continuing to play his douche bag persona from that movie. It was definitely a beautiful movie that showcased what could be considered a rather toxic relationship between two men.  But as I mentioned before, there was nothing for me to connect to. Neither Freddie Quell or Lancaster Dodd (Phillip Seymour Huffman) pulled me in like says, Daniel Plainview or Eli Sunday. What's crazy is that even people that say that they liked it have claimed to not "getting it" either. I hope that maybe with some repeat viewing,s I might find meaning in this movie, but as it stands it felt disspapointing.

I have no clue why I was told to watch this movie, but this one was the one movie that I just ended up not liking at all. Maybe it was the hype around the movie, maybe it's my current mood and the stuff I'm going through, but I just downright did not like this movie. My friends told me the writer, Mike Birbiglia, is a contributor to This American Life and a stand up comedian. I'm sure he's OK with those jobs, but as a movie wirter, this was a total failure for me.  The main character comes off as a total man-child. Sure he's pursuing his dreams, but he does it in such a way that it makes him look like an asshole. He's a 30-something with a gorgeous girlfriend and just now he's acting like commitment and moving in with his girlfriend is the biggest and freakiest thing ever. To quote my sister after she saw this movie, "Get over yourself, dude." I might go into a bigger discussion about this movie later on, but suffice to say, I did not like it.
I am an unabashedly huge fan of the STEP UP series. However, this entry into the franchise was not only boring, but it was insanely non-sensical. I get that with each entry the dance numbers need to get crazier and crazier. The movie deals with the dance group trying to stop a corporate buyout of their neighborhood. They're also super poor and money is definitely a problem, and yet somehow the dance numbers become so elaborate that you have to take a loan out to be able to pull it off. The main characters themselves are pretty reprehensible most of the time and it's crazy that the 3D in this movie wasn't as good as STEP UP 3D's. Ultimately, what hurts the movie the most is the fact that there's a very limited amount of Moose in it.

That's it for me. I'm actually pretty glad that my disappointments this ear were mostly movie that had some good intentions but just felt short. Look for Jonesy's next and our upcoming Top Ten of 2012 lists as well.

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