Gone to the beavers

Way more bad than good movies in 2011 so far

How’d that puppet get hold of a beaver?

How’d that puppet get hold of a beaver?

This movie year is off to a terrible, unholy start. Here we are a little past the halfway point, and the bad movies far outweigh the good.

To put things in perspective, last year at this time, I had no problem picking 10 films rated “very good” or “excellent” on our film popcorn scale (see p. 26). This year, that’s not the case.

So I am reversing protocol. I am starting with the 10 worst films so far, and ending with five that I liked. Sure, one of them blew my mind out of the theater and into the parking lot, stunning a hobo, but that great movie doesn’t have many fellow movie friends this year.

The 10 worst

Much of this trash is already available for home video. Do yourself a favor and avoid at all costs.

1. The Beaver: I sat watching this one, mouth agape, wondering how anybody could praise it (and quite a few have). Jodie Foster directs Mel Gibson in one of the most misguided, ridiculous and flat-out moronic movies I’ve ever seen. Gibson should do everybody a favor and shove that stupid beaver puppet right up his ass.

Well, I guess a beaver up Gibson’s ass wouldn’t really do anybody any favors, but it would be funny to hear about. Gibson walking around with a beaver puppet sticking out of his ass, cursing at his ex-girlfriends and pouring tequila over his head. They should’ve put that in the movie.

2. Mr. Popper’s Penguins: Jim Carrey inherits a bunch of penguins and becomes a better person because the penguins defecate all over his apartment and his kids think they are funny.

3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon: If they had cut this thing in half, told Shia LaBeouf to go screw, and gave Michael Bay his methadone, this might’ve been worth watching. As it stands, it’s the usual Bay travesty.

4. Cars 2: It turns out that Pixar is capable of making a movie as supremely bad as most of their movies are supremely good. Nothing but a big, glimmering piece of shit meant to hypnotize your kid into wanting a Mater truck for Christmas. One of the more shocking misfires of recent years.

5. Sucker Punch: Zack Snyder writes and directs, rather than just adapting and directing somebody else’s stuff, which he has a good, solid proven record of (Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen). Zack … do not write your own movies. Stick to the visual greatness, for which you have significant aptitude.

6. Battle Los Angeles: Goes hand-in-hand with Michael Bay’s above offering on how not to make an alien-invasion movie.

7. Red Riding Hood: Worst werewolf movie since Jason Bateman took over for Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf Too. (It still pisses me off that they used “Too” instead of “Two” or simply the number 2 in that film’s title.) Amanda Seyfried’s googly eyes give me bigger nightmares than the monsters in this movie.

8. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son: Eleven years ago, Martin Lawrence first donned the fat suit and achieved cinematic box-office glory. Even though he’s made some money, I’m thinking he curses that day vigorously while he cashes those huge paychecks. It’s a confusing, conflicted life that Martin Lawrence must lead.

9. No Strings Attached: Natalie Portman, hot off her Oscar glory, slums with Ashton Kutcher in a sex farce from director Ivan Reitman, who stopped being funny a billion years ago.

10. Season of the Witch: Nicolas Cage, in his 132nd movie in the last three years, mopes and mumbles while carrying a sword and wearing a wig. This is the man who played H.I. McDunnough. Let us raise a glass to the great man we once knew, and not this clown.

The five best

As for the good, I wholly appreciate the following.

1. The Tree of Life: So far this year, no movie comes close to the brilliance and bravery of director Terrence Malick’s latest. A masterpiece.

2. Rango: OK, Johnny Depp did a good job voicing the lizard in this eye-popping CGI treat, but he’s still a whore!

3. Source Code: Duncan Jones—son of David Bowie … it’s true!—follows up his brilliant Moon with this nearly as brilliant sci-fi stunner. Jake Gyllenhaal is absolutely dreamy in this one. Just sayin’.

4. Bridesmaids: Half a year over, and Kristen Wiig’s hilarious and heartwarming turn is still the best work by an actress.

5. Hanna: I’d give second place in the actress category to Saoirse Ronan as a psycho kid with ratty hair who is the perfect killing machine.

This 2011 sucker needs to rally, and rally fast.