UTF AWARDS PART ONE: The JOHN CARTER Award

 

UTF Awards

Hello all, it’s time for the first segment of the UTF Awards! And we’re going to start off in kind of an unusual direction here today.

We love ya, buddy.
We love ya, buddy.

Remember that film that everyone proclaimed to be just the worst, and while it was immensely flawed as hell, it wasn’t actually bad on a Twilight or Battlefield Earth or X-Men Origins level, just suffering from a terrible PR campaign?

Last year, that movie was John Carter of Mars, based on a series of novels that literally inspired almost all of modern science fiction, which sounds like a surefire way for box-office success. Immensely flawed film, terrible direction, but with good acting and some ideas that made you realize with the right tweaks, the movie would be nothing short of fantastic. Taylor Kitsch, in particular, was the best part of the film, and although he crashed his career hard by being the best parts about two more shitty films after that, Battleship and Savages, he was still my personal pick for Batman because of John Carter alone. If Affleck ever leaves, Chris Nolan and Co. should look back at Kitsch.

This year, as it turns out, we’ve got another film that did the exact same thing, except with a much more high-profile cast, and a proven director. While Andrew Stanton had bitten off more than he could chew, he was also an animation director (Finding Nemo and WALL-E), who had no experience with live action whatsoever. This year’s John Carter Award goes to a film almost identical in its failures to Mr. Stanton’s film in every way. It’s also a Disney movie.

 

The Lone Ranger

lone-ranger-sweeps-banner[1]I’d like to start off with this disclaimer: in no way am I saying that The Lone Ranger is a good movie. It has a weird supernatural plot that doesn’t even fit with the rest of the film, it deliberately pokes fun at people with physical deformities in its villain Butch Cavendish, who has a cleft lip. I mean, c’mon Disney, you’ve never made people villains because they were ugly stereotypes before!

Look at these sexy bastards.
Look at these sexy bastards.

Not to mention it portrays Native Americans as bumbling dumbasses who can’t even properly survive on their own. Not to mention that it contains what is easily the laziest and worst performance of Johnny Depp since Dark Shadows, and the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean before that.

That being said, it wins the John Carter Award because out of all the crappy films this year, which we will roast later on this week (tomorrow actually, but you didn’t hear that from me), it’s the only one of them with a shred, or even a glimmer, of creative potential. The rest of the crappy films we’re going to take down tomorrow have nothing even closely resembling substance, but this one does. Sort of.

It’s in the kickass final sequence, and how Armie Hammer makes a pretty damn good John Reid. It’s how if the plot didn’t have so many interruptions, and Tonto was played by an actual Native American actor, the film would be amazing. Because seriously, I don’t care how famous Johnny Depp is, he’s miscast. Tonto was never quirky, he was a serious badass.

So that’s why The Lone Ranger is our winner. It’s the one crappy movie this year that could’ve been more.

However, we’re going to talk about some other movies that people didn’t like this year. None of these bombed or got terrible ratings, but there was a lot of backlash for each of them.

Pain & Gain

There's always a bigger man when it comes to growth hormone.
There’s always a bigger man when it comes to growth hormone.
I find it as strange as you: defending a Michael Bay movie. But thinking objectively, Mr. Bay is actually quite a good director, as long as the screenplay is also good. Alas, before Pain & Gain, Michael Bay’s other good film is everyone’s second favorite Sean Connery film, ironically named The Rock. And that one happens to be quite good as well, and both star Ed Harris.
Simply put, Bay found the most ridiculously absurd true story he could find and made a movie about them. And people despised the end result. But I’m one of the defenders, because it’s hilarious, and refuses to glorify its twisted serial killer protagonists.
In fact, you gotta wonder why more movies don’t have dumbass antiheroes like these guys, because they’re folks manipulated by Hollywood’s dreams, completely convinced that the size of their muscles will make up for their lack of brainpower. They just keep screwing up, and it’s a miracle they weren’t caught immediately after they started their crime spree. Martin Scorsese may have done a better job at portraying decadence with The Wolf of Wall Street, but this one’s pretty darn great too.

Pacific Rim

Oh yeahhhhh.
Oh yeahhhhh.

Pacific Rim was initially thought as a box office bomb thanks to losing to Worst Comedy of 2013 Grown Ups 2 at the theaters. But over time, thanks to critical praise and international markets, it’s actually one of the biggest original hits of the year. However, it’s also suffered from extreme backlash.

Nobody is saying that Pacific Rim is the most intelligent of films, but it’s essentially everything Transformers should’ve been, the ultimate in popcorn entertainment this year. All it wants to do is give you a good time. People complained since they were expecting a masterpiece, and not a B-movie cheesefest. Considering that Guillermo Del Toro is known for B-movie cheesefests (and this is my personal favorite film of his now), and is probably the best at it that we’ve got right now, I’m not sure what the problem is.

Tomorrow’s segment should arrive tomorrow. And tomorrow, we shall be naming…the worst movies of 2013! Stay tuned!

 

 

Author
Palmer Rubin is a filmmaker. But he's also a journalist, and while he's making his movies, he's also writing about pop culture and stuff on everyone's favorite website. He's a lucky boy, he is.