It will probably come as no shock to you that I am fairly proud of Mamo. Actually you would not be far out of line to describe me as obscenely, rapturously in love with our little food-baby, who is turning seven years old this summer - ! - which, in podcast years, is close to four hundred and fifty. These things do not last, be they non-monetized web enterprises, or agreements between friends, or attempts to put on a serialized production of any great length, or some combination of the three. As has been described ad nauseum on the show and off, we - Mr. Price and myself - did not enter into the Mamo verbal contract with a specific end-date in mind… but we certainly did not have infinity in mind, either. We thought we’d get, perhaps, sixty shows out of the thing. I did sixty shows of moviesTO back in the day, and the effort damn near killed me. For that show, sixty felt like enough, and a round number, and a full body of work. Mamo recently quadrupled that watermark, and like The Simpsons, is unlikely to stop before death or irrelevance, or both.
Such things aren’t quantifiable, of course. But with the Oscars closing in on us, formally putting a close on the “best of 2011” conversation, I’ve been thinking more and more about my selection for the worst film of the year. In my year-end blog, I called 2011 a stationkeeping year. 2009 and 2010 were notable because the cream of their crops were some genuinely awe-inspiring, genre-challenging work (I mean, at this time last year, the conversation was about movies like The Social Network, Black Swan and True Grit, all examples of the kind of filmmaking for which I would readily kill right now, in the midst of all these conversations about The Descendents, The Artist, and even Hugo). The most innovative and challenging film of 2011, Bellflower, has slipped quietly into the wayside, and the remainder of the year was marked for me by a kind of “safe baseball,” of the type catalogued (safely) in Moneyball: get players into scoring position, and forget about the home runs.
For the worst film of 2011, I named Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, but here I was being coy. It’s hardly the worst film of the year, though it could probably take that crown in better years of cinema. Mostly, I just wanted to pound on Rob Marshall again (and again), because I enjoy doing that nearly as much as I despise his directorial toolkit. But to a larger degree, it was because I didn’t want to open up the box on how really awful 2011 was capable of being, in all the end-of-year rush and general not-caring-ness. But by my belated count, there were five films in 2011 that were not only significantly worse than Stranger Tides, but are contenders for my list of the worst films of all time. They were, from best to worst (with links to my reviews):