Albert’s 2013 Anti-Awards

scared audience

I’m a firm believer in the idea that one can learn something from any movie, no matter how bad- even if it’s a single camera angle or a lightning technique or a clever use of color scheme. Sometimes, though, it’s more worthwhile to use a particularly bad movie as an example of ‘how not to do it.’ This list is dedicated to those films. I’ve got five awards to give out this year, and they’ll go to five movies that deserve a little recognition for being the worst of the worst. At the very least though, they’ll serve as great examples of what to avoid in the future, and as long as we learn a little something, are they ever really a waste? With that being said, let’s get to it!

The Barrel-Biter Award for Most Vigorous Suicide of a Franchise

This award is given to a movie that effectively ends my interest in a franchise due to its utter awfulness. We had a lot of strong contenders this year from Iron Man 3 to Fast & Furious 6 to Star Trek: Into Darkness. One film, however, rose to the occasion and practically ensured that nothing less than the infinite power of Christ could get me back into theaters for the next installment. I’m speaking of none other than the fifth entry in the Die Hard series, A Good Day to Die Hard. An uninspired slog from beginning to end, this film rightfully deserves its spot on this list.

The Cyanide Flavored Lollipop Award for Surprisingly Terrible Film

This award was a little more difficult for me to give out. The fact of the matter is that once you become familiar with the directors, actors, and writers in the industry, it’s not too difficult to guess which movies will end up being big messes. Basically, this award goes to a film that runs contrary to my finely-tuned expectations and surprises me in a bad way. The final decision came down to three films- those being You’re Next, The Fifth Estate, and Carrie. Ultimately, I decided on the latter, as Chloë Grace Mortez’s impressive filmography and director Kimberly Pierce’s own experience and past work concerning gender politics and sexual orientation (Boys Don’t Cry, 1999) might have yielded better results under different circumstances. The 2013 adaptation of Carrie is altogether too safe, uninspired, and really just dull.

The Cyanide Flavored Cyanide Award for Unsurprisingly Terrible Film

Now, this award almost had too many contenders to deal with. Where to start, really? I could name any one of about a hundred sequels that came out this year, each one more unnecessary and insipid than the last. When I first began to consider possible recipients for this award, movies like Grown Ups 2, Thor: The Dark World, The Smurfs 2, The Hangover: Part III, and a host of other samey titles immediately came to mind. Then, I started to remember some of the more truly awful films that were released this year that weren’t part of a larger franchise. The relatively recent Paranoia and Getaway were particularly fresh and unpleasant memories. But then I remembered the big one. I soon decided that the only film that I could possibly give this award to was the spiritual successor to the Twilight Saga, Stephanie Meyer’s The Host. I knew- we all knew, really- what to expect from dark recesses of Meyer’s mind, and, suffice it to say, The Host entirely met those expectations.

The Albert Cantu Lifetime Achievement Award for Biggest Disappointment

I was a little excited to give out this award, not only because it bears my name, but also because its recipient was one of the few movies that evoked real anger from me over the past year. Now I’d like to see it put in its place. This award goes to a film that succeeded in building up my expectations with great trailers and positive buzz, only to smash them back down to the ground when the actual movie was released. We’re all probably thinking the same thing here, so I’ll go ahead and say it: I feel a little betrayed by Zack Snyder at this point. The trailers for his summer blockbuster, Man of Steel, were nothing short of astounding, so to have the final product end up being pretty lame was kind of a rude awakening. Once again, we’ve learned that Hollywood is a cruel mistress who is never to be trusted.

The Haemolacria Award for Worst Film of 2013

And now, the big one. This award goes to a movie released during the past year that was so bad, so appallingly terrible, that it’s a wonder I didn’t start weeping blood during my screening. This award’s recipient stands as an example of everything that’s wrong with the film industry. It surpasses Evil Dead’s mediocre kind of bad as well as The Host’s more humorous kind of bad. It shoots past the aggressively bad Paranoia and zooms straight on towards the downright offensive. The recipient of this award managed to turn an epic thrill-ride into a tortuous three hour journey into tedium and failure. Likewise, the frenetic, unfocused action and the inane plot contributed to the film being almost physically painful to sit through. I’ll never get those three hours of my life back, and for that reason, I’ll never forgive The Lone Ranger.

Red 2: Rampant Cinemania Episode 12


This Week: Albert Cantu and Andrew King

Show Notes:

Grown Ups 2: 1:07 – 3:32

The Mummy: 3:32 – 5:19

The Kings of Summer: 5:19 – 8:07

Red 2 Review: 8:07 – 31:45

A very special episode with just Albert and I discussing the merits of Red 2, and the trend of unnecessary sequels.

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Audible link:

Grown Ups 2 Review


In a moment of weakness, I actually paid money to see Grown Ups 2, knowing full well what was in store for me.  As the credits rolled, I walked straight out of my showing of Grown Ups and into the first half of Pacific Rim, just to get that metaphorical taste out of my mouth. With that vitriolic opening out of the way, let’s take a closer look at Adam Sandler’s latest charade.

Directed by the incorrigible Dennis Dugan, the man shackled by the neck to the Happy Madison production company and responsible for the vast majority of Sandler flicks within the last 10 years, Grown Ups 2 is frankly exactly what you’d expect. Written by Sandler himself, it’s full of the whiney man-child shtick that we’ve seen since 1995. Perhaps more discouraging, a surprising amount of the comedy relies on fart jokes. I wish I was making that up. A word of advice to comedy writers: when you start to incorporate fart jokes into your movies, it’s time to take a step back from the writing desk and reevaluate your life.

The film stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and David Spade as they come to terms with their own children becoming young adults. Grown Ups 2 is kind of a depressing movie, not because of its content, but because it strikes me as a last ditch effort of a group of washed up comedians to stay relevant. We’ve got Sandler, who’s spent his career trying to recapture his pre-1998 glory days; James, who’s popularity was in a downward spiral even at the height of King of Queens; Spade, who’s relevance dropped to nil after Chris Farley died; and Rock, who arguably has the most comedic talent of the group but seems determined not to put it to use. I will say, however, that the one bright spot was Taylor Lautner’s cameo appearance as Andy the frat boy. My guess is that’s he’s just glad to have a job after the whole Twilight Saga debacle and his enthusiasm translates to his on-screen performance.

I can’t think of a single person who thought that the extremely forgettable 2010 Grown Ups deserved a sequel. Not only that, but the story was decidedly wrapped up at the end of that film, and to expand upon it in a bland, directionless mass like this is a disservice to both the actors and the audience. I know there were some people (not me) who thought that This is the End was fantastic, and I can appreciate that, but frankly, I can’t even recommend this movie to those folks. The film is an uninspired mess that seems to exist only to capitalize on the lukewarm success of the original.

Apart from that, there’s simply not a lot to say about a movie like this. You had probably decided whether or not you wanted to see Grown Ups 2 when you saw the first trailer, and I’m here to validate those who opted not to: You didn’t miss anything. Adam Sandler’s career is slowly and steadily going down the drain, and it’s kind of a sad thing to watch. I suppose there’s nothing to do at this point except wait until the next dead-on-arrival Happy Madison flick and, with shame and embarrassment, quietly avert our gaze.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5