October has come to an end, and that can only mean one thing – it’s time for Peter Travers to break out the scum bucket. Even though this month has featured a handful of great pictures, including 12 Years a Slave, Captain Phillips and Gravity, Hollywood produced no shortage of dreck, starting with the pure “paycheck crap” that is Insidious 2.
The disappointment continues with All Is Bright, which stars Paul Rudd and Paul Giamatti as French-Canadians who come to New York to sell Christmas trees, but not even two of Travers’ favorite actors can save a film with absolutely no script. Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody makes her directorial debut with Paradise, a movie with a half-decent concept – a religious girl gets scarred in a plane crash and heads to Vegas for some good old fashioned sinning – that nevertheless falls flat on its face.
CBGB does a cruel, awful job of doing justice to the famed punk club on New York City’s Lower East Side, but not even Alan Rickman can inject some life into his performance as the club’s founder Hilly Kristal. As Travers says, “watching c-rated, bad TV and movie stars lip-syncing to classic punk? No, no, no.” Hollywood drains the JFK assassination dry in Parkland, and in Escape Plan, Sylvester Stallone breaks out of a prison and gets into a fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has mind numbing lines like, “You punch like a vegetarian.”
At number three is the new, miserable adaptation of Romeo and Juliet courtesy of Downton Abbey scribe Julian Fellowes, who takes to re-writing Shakespeare whenever he feels the original falls short. Absolutely nothing works in the near shot-for-shot remake of Brian De Palma’s classic, Carrie. Travers even admits it should be number one, but not even a crappy Carrie could out-stink the fiasco, Runner Runner, a movie about online gambling that stars Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. “You know what they do in this movie?” asks Travers. “Nothing. They are both flat and awful, and you look at this movie and the only thing to do is run as fast as you can from it.”