We all have movies we're looking forward in 2013 (tomorrow's Daily List will elaborate) but don't let your excitement blind you from the crap you need to avoid. If you head to the theater and discover the film you've been anticipating is sold out, do not fall back on any of these.
9. After Earth.
We haven't heard much from M. Night Shyamalan since the shambling disaster that was 2010's The Last Airbender, but he's back with a vengeance with After Earth, a movie about Will Smith welcoming Jaden Smith to a post-apocalyptic Earth after their ship crashes, and then there are monsters. This is not to be confused with Oblivion, the movie where Tom Cruise crashes his iDildo on a post-apocalyptic Earth, and then there are monsters.
How could anyone get them confused?
Smith (Will) stars as General Cypher Raige, which is the name of an actual character that somehow made it through multiple drafts of a screenplay, pre-production and months of filming and editing without anyone pointing out that it sounds like the name of a supervillain from the pages of a sixth grader's math-book doodles. Jaden Smith plays Kitai Raige, Cypher's son. Get it? Because Jaden is Will's son, and because they often fight sabre-toothed tigers together, it will add a layer of realism to the acting.
There have been some complaints about nepotism at work in After Earth, but - while they're not unfounded - Jaden has proven himself to be a competent actor and I don't think it's fair to assume he'll be otherwise here. We should be more concerned about the fact that it's an M. Night sci-fi movie starring a character named Cypher Raige.
The trailer looks okay, but if you're like me you'll have spent the whole time trying to guess what the big, stupid twist will be. Possibilities: it was all a training simulation, Earth hasn't really been abandoned, the real monster is man, the Raiges are robots, etc.
8. The Hangover Part III.
The Hangover, a fun and surprisingly sweet comedy, was one of 2009's most pleasant surprises. But because Hollywood can't have a pleasant surprise without cashing in on a sequel that ruins whatever made the original a nice change in the first place, 2011's The Hangover Part II was cruel, pointlessly raunchy and just not very funny. But it made, like, all the money, and now that we've finally gotten over being disappointed in it - recovered from the hangover, you could say - The Hangover Part III is being released.
We don't want to spoil anything, but the word on the street is that Ken Jeong is going to do something wacky in this one.
The Hangover Part III: Mo' Hangovers, Mo' Problems totally isn't going to be the lazy cash in that Part II was, though, because this time instead of having to piece together the events of an insane, drunken bachelor party in order to find a missing friend, the gang will have to piece together the events of an insane, drunken road trip in order to find a missing friend. See? Bold and innovative.
While expectations are low, to put it generously, The Hangover Part III: Boy, Are They Hungover! will probably still struggle to meet them. Second sequels to comedies are generally atrocious: The Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Goldmember are good examples, and I have a feeling that The Hangover Part III: Back in Hangovering will join them in infamy. At least there's a fan campaign to get Ric Flair a cameo. That would be fun, right?
7. The Host.
Film critics, traumatised boyfriends and women with taste alike celebrated the end of Twilight movies in 2012. Never again will a moody vampire and a moody werewolf smolder at a moody girl while she moodily smolders back at them, at least until the franchise is inevitably rebooted and/or re-released in Enhanced 3D Smoldervision in a couple years.
But just when you thought it was safe to go back in the theater, an adaptation of Stephanie Meyer's lesser known, slightly less terrible sci-fi novel The Host is hitting the silver screen to ruin yet another date night.
To be fair, the fact that the heroine smacks someone and then jumps through a window is already enough to put her leagues ahead of the cardboard cut-out that is Bella Swan. And there's gunplay! And spaceships! And evil aliens! And it stars Saoirse Ronan and is directed by Andrew Niccol, both of whom have sci-fi cred! Hey, it might not be half-bad!
Except no. Don't let the sci-fi trappings fool you - The Host is still a terrible love story, except this time the love triangle has an alien parasite instead of a half-naked werewolf. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a love story, but when it comes from the author of Twilight, your alarm bell should be ringing. Anyone who goes into this expecting a sci-fi action adventure is instead getting The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but Then One Unsnatches Her Body Because Luuuuuuv. You've been warned.