January 14, 2012 by Vinnie Leduc
- Apollo 18
- Cowboys and Aliens
- The Tree of Life
- Your Highness
These movies didn’t necessarily have trailers that blew you away, but at the very least they all had potential to be much better than the actual final product. With shades of the third Transformers and Paranormal Activity in its secret man-on-the-moon-mission background, Apollo 18 tried to ride the recent trend of low-budget found footage films, but the boring sci-fi horror was grounded by its PG-13 rating and never really had liftoff. Although it had a no-holds-barred R-rating, the director of Pineapple Express, and talented headliners like freshly minted Oscar queen Natalie Portman and Oscar nominee James Franco, Your Highness wasted all of that and was the most disappointing comedy of 2011. Contagion, which boasted an even more accomplished director (Steven Soderbergh) and an ensemble cast full of Oscar winners, wasn’t bad and admittedly a good movie, but it could’ve been way scarier and thus, better. As I watched Terrence Malick’s polarizing The Tree of Life, I joined the side of haters (i.e., people too dumb to get indies?) when freaking dinosaurs showed up during a half-hour segment of The Discovery Channel. What the hell?!?
But none of these busts was as smh-inducing as our unanimous pick for biggest disappointment of 2011. Perhaps appropriately representative of the people who scoffed at the Cowboys and Aliens title, it was the sci-fi that killed what began as a decent Western. Jon Favreau has directed better movies than McG, but I left Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens feeling the way I did after McG’s Terminator Salvation: Damn, I wasted a bunch of money (and calories) on those stupid collectible Slurpee cups. “Winner”: Cowboys and Aliens
Dishonorable Mentions: Everything Must Go, Unknown