The Worst Movies of 2011

Yesterday, I posted my list of the best movies of 2011.

Now, it’s time for the worst. My list will be a little different than most critics. You won’t see an Adam Sandler movie on my list. Why? Because Adam Sandler makes and markets his movies as exactly what they are… Stupid, mindless entertainment. Show me the critic or movie-goer that walks out of “Jack & Jill” and says, “I’m so disappointed by the movie where Adam Sandler dresses in drag as his own sister” and I’ll show you someone who’s not paying attention. For critics, movies like “Jack & Jill” are low hanging fruit.

So, I’m targeting the movies that tried to be more and failed. You may disagree and if you do, I hope you’ll let me know.

Here’s my list, in no particular order.

“DRIVE” – I was really looking forward to this movie. I’m a big fan of Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks and the trailer made it look like an exciting heist movie, with a similar tone to one of my favorite all-time movies “Heat.” So, what went wrong? It’s boring! Long stretches with no dialogue. Long stretches with shots lingering on Gosling’s face. Long stretches of over-the-top violence. What it amounts to is: One Long Stretch.

“WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?” – The answer is zero, which is the amount of times you should see this Anna Faris bomb.

“FOOTLOOSE” – Seriously? What’s the point? The original was much better. A lot of critics loved it. I’m not one of them…

“MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE” – Everyone was buzzing about this movie after it hit the festival circuit and for good reason. Elizabeth Olsen (the sister of the Olsen twins) and John Hawkes are both great in the film. And to be honest, the movie had me for 99% of it’s running time. And then…the ending. I’ve never turned on a movie as quickly as I turned on “Martha Marcy May Marlene.” It’s like the movie just stopped. No pay-off. I actually called the publicist after the screening to make sure they didn’t forget to show us the end of the film. Unfortunately, they didn’t forget. That’s really how it ended.

“TOWER HEIST” – Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, all actors I respect. The biggest problem I had with this movie is that there wasn’t enough Eddie Murphy. He was close to doing something great with his role. It was kind of a return to the Murphy of the 1980s. Unfortunately, the movie spiraled out of control quickly and went from bing mildly funny to completely ridiculous.

“J. EDGAR” – Clint Eastwood and Leonardo DiCaprio team up for one of the worst movies of the year. DiCaprio’s impression of Hoover was pathetic and the movie was boring. Before seeing the movie, I actually had it as a sure bet for my top 10, instead you’re reading about it on my Worst Of list…

“TRESPASS” – Holy crap was this a stinker. It was trying to be “Panic Room,” but it wasn’t. Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage are a long way away from their Oscar winning pasts…

“THE SITTER”/”THE CHANGE-UP” – I’m a big Jonah Hill fan. Fat or skinny, I think Jonah Hill is funny. Same goes for Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds (not the fat or skinny part, just that they’re funny). But their respective movies, “The Sitter” and “The Change-Up” were very disappointing. Here’s the key to a good comedy: It needs to be funny.

Which of these movies is the absolute worst of the year? All of them…


The Best Movies of 2011

It’s time to take stock in the past year and in this case, the year in movies.  The annual ritual of best and worst lists by movie critics is probably tough for your average citizen to relate to. After all, even Oscar front-runners like “The Artist,” won’t be available to 90% of the country until it hits DVD and On-Demand. So, my list is more of a “favorites” lists, the movies that I enjoyed the most. They may not be the most technically sound or the most critically lauded, but they’re movies I’ll watch again and again for years to come. So, here goes… Let me know what you think I’ve left off or what you think I should’ve.

10. The Interrupters – A powerful documentary about so-called Violence Interrupters on the south side of Chicago. As usual, the best documentary of the year didn’t even make the short list for the Oscars.

9. The Descendants – Simply put, some of George Clooney’s best work. Featuring a star turning performance from young Shailene Woodley and solid work from director Alexander Payne. I’ve heard from some that Clooney plays the entire movie on one note. I disagree…

8. Crazy, Stupid, Love – Will this make many best of the year lists? Nope. So why does it make mine? Because it was the most enjoyable film of the year for me. Ryan Gosling is a revelation. We all knew he could act and that he’s good-looking, but he’s funny too. It’s almost unfair. Also strong performances from Emma Stone, Steve Carell and Julianne Moore.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – The final chapter in one of the greatest film franchises of all time. Enough said…

6. 50/50 – This movie was coined a “cancer comedy,” but I prefer to think of it as just a really good movie about a really tough subject. Joseph Gordon Levitt is heartbreaking as a young man battling a form of spinal cancer and Seth Rogen is the perfect comic relief. Sometimes life is unfair and if we didn’t laugh we’d cry. See this movie and you’ll do a little of both.

5. The Help – A movie that should be shown in high schools, just to show kids what race relations were really like not that long ago. Strong performances all around. You’ll learn something and you’ll be entertained.

4. Warrior – Absolutely overlooked and probably hurt by the fact that it came out the year after “The Fighter.” Nick Nolte and Tom Hardy are both Oscar worthy. In a different year, it coulda been a contender. It’s about so much more than mixed martial arts. Both heartbreaking and inspirational. If you haven’t seen it, check it out and thank me later.

3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – A fitting prequel to a great film franchise. James Franco may be the lead, but Andy Serkis is the star. Amazing special effects and a solid script make this movie an extremely enjoyable film.

2. Young Adult – From the director and writer of “Juno,” Charlize Theron shines as Mavis, a writer struggling with her past in small town Minnesota. She’s an alcoholic who goes back home to try to rekindle her romance with her high school boyfriend, who happens to be married with a child. That doesn’t stop Mavis. The script is strong and its a step in the right direction for screenwriter Diablo Cody.

1. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – David Fincher’s adaptation of the wildly popular book and a remake of the 2009 film from Denmark. I think this one outdoes the original. Nobody creates mood like Fincher. It’s tough to watch (extremely violent and graphic), but worth it.

Honorable mention: My Week with Marilyn, Moneyball, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Bridesmaids, The Muppets, Hugo, Source Code, The Adjustment Bureau, The Adventures of Tintin, War Horse

My interview with Steven Spielberg and a big personal announcement…

Steven Spielberg sat down with WCL movie critic David Plummer to discuss his new animated movie,

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My interview with Young Adult director Jason Reitman


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My interview with Young Adult screenwriter Diablo Cody

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My interview with Young Adult star Patton Oswalt

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My interview with Oscar winning actress Charlize Theron


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My interviews with Colin Firth and Gary Oldman

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My interview with Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley

Martin Scorsese’s new movie, “Hugo,” opens in theaters on Wednesday and WCL producer and movie critic, David Plummer, sat down with one of the movie’s stars, Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley.

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Affleck and Damon back to Boston…

This instantly became one of my most anticipated movies. Affleck and Damon to team up for Whitey Bulger biopic.