We generally try not to let our hipster cynicism and pessimism override us here at Show and Tell, but there's no way around the truth of hindsight. Now that it's September, and the official Summer movie season is over, we know: The tentpole Summer movies of 2011 sucked, and sucked hard.
In an effort to prove to you, internet, that this is a cold, hard, objective fact, here were the six worst offenders:
The Help The Plot: Read To Kill a Mockingbird. Hit yourself in the head until you're brain damaged. What you remember is basically The Help.
Some girl wants to be popular, so she lies about losing her virginity to schoolmates, but instead of getting the "good attention," she becomes an infamous harlot. So to distract everybody she decides to talk to some black people.
The Problem: The movie is fine. It's not spectacular in any way, shape, or form, but if Emma Stone wrote a movie called, I Hate Tim Davids, He's Too Fat, I'd go and see it and love it just because it would mean she's speaking words out loud with her scratchy-perfect voice and inherently spectacular comic timing.
Here's the rub,
Dear Hollywood, I get that there were a few white people that helped in the Civil Rights movement along the way. It is very nice that they demonstrated that there are plenty of white people that are reasonable and decent human beings. Can we maybe make one or two movies that aren't about them? Wait, this chick isn't even real? She's made up? This whole thing is made up? You're inventing white people to save downtrodden African-Americans now? Seriously, what the fuck? I don't want to see a movie about the King's March on Washington centered around the white hot dog vendor who worked the streets that day and gave the people free hot dog fuel for their protest (please don't greenlight that idea now).
I don't want to watch the rise of Jesse Owens through the eyes of his white buddy played by Anton Yelchin.
Just give me a movie where black people save themselves by expressing their deep communal strength while engaging in arduous struggle. You know, kind of like what actually happened. Love, Tim.
Fright Night The Plot: Anton Yelchin (speak of the devil), who has a silly name, thinks his neighbor is a vampire, but really he's just Colin Farrel, playing himself. Dr. Who has turned into Chriss Angel and tries to help King Silly Name. McLovin' is in there somewhere and his voice is squeaky. None of it really makes any sense or gels together, and everyone is a douchebag. Marti Noxon proves that she really is the reason everyone hated the 6th season of Buffy, and Chris Gillespie directs, so I assume the female lead is a RealDoll. "Imogen Poots" is fucking hilarious to say aloud, and thus she is Queen Silly Name.
The Problem: It's all so useless. The original Fright Night is a kickass little meta-movie that commented and homaged the Hammer Horror that came before while presenting a nice little story of a dude terrified of losing his virginity. This one is about Colin Ferrel being a guy who wears Affliction shirts for a little bit and wants to bang some kid's mom but instead turns into a computer-generated monster sometimes. My friend Chad was really interested in seeing this movie. His name is Chad.
Cowboys and Aliens The Plot: A buffoonish British bandit, once the leader a group of a boorish gang of buffoons, loses his memory and bad east coast accent simultaneously, turning him into a stoic, moralistic, collected, highly effective killing machine with a cool wrist-gun. It confuses Harrison Ford. Olivia Wilde is an alien. Spoiler. They all fight aliens together. Spoiler.
The Problems: Orci and Kurtzman are ancient Pagan gods sent to modern times to cause mischief by subverting our national culture with their writing. They use their powers of hypnosis to continue getting high-profile screenwriting jobs. The two can only be stopped or killed by channeling the power of a falling meteor through an ancient artifact hidden at the top of the pyramids of Egypt, which is why they conspired together to let Michael Bay loose on the pyramids for Transformers 2. Nothing can stop them now.
It's called Cowboys and Aliens, and it's not even remotely fun. The Western template they seem to have gone with was less Rio Bravo and more Unforgiven. Daniel Craig can't decide what movie he's in on a day-to-day basis. Olivia Wilde's character is useless, and then idiotic. The aliens have guns and then forget they have guns. The cowboys hatch a genius plan to ride into a valley and fight the aliens hand-to-hand (and die). The aliens have interstellar space travel but no discernible culture or set of ethics. There's no reason this movie is about cowboys other than "they can't use cell phones to call in the army." It's really long and poorly paced. Sam Rockwell doesn't dance. Super 8 The Plot: Eliott's mom dies, but he's a very strong and well-adjusted kid who seems to have accepted that random tragedies happen and deep sadness eventually fades. Some kind of primal alien that was being tortured by the government escapes from a train that crashes for 20 minutes and starts killing and eating the people of Eliot's small town, mostly innocents, while trying to rebuild his ship. Eliott and his friends make zombie movies that are better structured than the movie he's in. Eliott's dad is so sad that he can't connect with his son and doesn't understand the movie-making, and wants to send his son to Baseball camp. He jumps headfirst into his work, trying to save the town.
Eliott's girlfriend, who is strong and has a lot in common with the monster, and thus should've been the main character but isn't because teenage girls don't get to be the main character of nostalgia-wank summer blockbusters, gets alien abducted, so Elliot goes to save her. His dad is trying to save the town and get to the bottom of everything going on and goes off to do that. Elliott saves the girl but the monster eats the other two innocent hostages. He grabs Elliott and Elliot comforts the monster, who is angry he was captured and tortured for years, by telling him that "Bad things happen."
The monster floats away and it's supposed to be like end of ET but you keep remembering that ET healed things and made arts and crafts and this monster mercilessly killed innocent people because he was so angry. Elliot lets go of his mom's locket, even though he wasn't overtly attached to her. In the process of saving the town Elliot's dad finds his son and they reunite even though his dad wasn't even looking for him.
Nothing is revealed. No one changes.
The Problems: Read the plot.
Cars 2 The Plot: Larry the Cable Guy is a tow-truck. He laughs at different cultures.
The Problem: Pixar is a studio so capable of doing effective, original work with incredible creativity and an understanding of the depth and complexity of human emotion that it from the outside it feels effortless. So they made a sequel to their shittiest movie that's kind of long, needlessly violent, cruel, racist and overall shittier in order to make some of that fat stack licensing money. Toys, toys, toys, bitches.
Steve Jobs gotta eat.
The problem is that Pixar made a bad movie, and watching it, you get the feeling they knew they were making a bad movie, and they just didn't care. Cars 2 is therefore an honorary member of the Shrek franchise.
Pirates of the Caribbean 19: Oh Who the Fuck Cares You guys ever notice that when you say the names of the Pirates movies you say "Caribbean" different? You put the emphasis on a different syllable than when you say it alone. Try it, I'll wait.
That was less of a waste of time than writing in, making, acting in, or watching Pirates of the Caribbean 4.
The Plot: Johnny Depp is bored and flails like a drunk person. Disney is still worried about the Jack-is-Gay thing so they give him a girlfriend who does something plot-related. I didn't really understand this movie. There's a fountain of youth and I hope no one drank from it because that means we'll get even more Pirates movies. Blackbeard has a killer boat and they go into his cave but there's no skulls that light up and buzz at you, nor does it smell like taco meat, which I think is a blooper.
The Problem: It's really long and no one wants to be there. It's shot like the DP fell asleep and Rob Marshall wanted to practice shooting an episode of Dateline NBC. It's really quite long. Even Keith Richards looks bored. The action is shot like Batman Begins but none of them are ninja bats. I sat through more than 3 hours of this movie and didn't remember it existed until I was looking up Summer movies to write this article. I'm going to set up an internet petition to buy Johnny Depp a pony so he can just kill it and beat it and we don't have to suffer through this shit anymore.
Priest: Wait, that came out? I didn't even notice.
Hangover 2: Escapes listing because even though it's the exact same movie as the first in the worst way, audiences still laugh. Culturally bankrupt, but still sometimes somewhat funny. Like Twitter.
Transformers 3 is not listed here because it transcends the useless artform of "cinema." Maybe if we do a list of "Our Favorite Summer Hate Crimes."