Is there a word for things that are so bad, they're good? How about "Awfsome" or "Terriffible."
My wife has a ritual called "Bad Movie Sunday." This is where she flips through the local channels and finds some mind-numbingly bad movie and watches it. I think you can imagine the kind of drek that is available. Think Weekend at Bernie's or Little Nicky. Being the sophisticated cinephile that I am, this is a habit I've just never understood. Or so I thought.
I had forgotten about my love for disaster movies! Even their premises are horrible! Anyway, I picked up 2012 the other day knowing full well it would be painful to watch. Boy, was I rewarded! This one is a classic!
I have very fond memories of my youth watching cinematic masterpieces like The Poseidon Adventure, Earthquake, and The Towering Inferno. Something crazy always happens, and you never know who is going to survive to the end of the movie.
Unfortunately, modern disaster movies just don't have the same flair. Although I rank Volcano and The Day After Tomorrow pretty damn high on the So-bad-it's-good Meter, but most of the others are just plain bad. All the computer effects just don't have the same impact as a real set of an upside down cruise ship.
Anyway, back to 2012. It does a pretty good job of recapturing that classic '70's badness. Sure, it's got the crazy computer special effects, but what can you do. It also has completely ridiculous plot points and dialog, crazy cameos, over the top sentiment, and at least some suspense regarding who lives or dies.
The biggest problem with modern disaster movies is that they aim too high. Back in the day, they were satisfied to destroy a skyscraper, an airplane, or even a city. These days, they feel like they have to outdo all of that by destroying cities during the opening credits. Of course they have to destroy famous landmarks (a trait shared with monster movies of the '50's), but the number increases every time. 2012 basically destroyed the whole world! Where can they go from that?
Is 2012 a good movie? Not by a long shot. Was I entertained? Immensely! Would I recommend it? Only if you have the right attitude. With a big bucket of popcorn, some beer, and a lazy, rainy afternoon, it's a perfect combo.
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