The Doctor’s Wife (2011)
The best thing I saw all year was actually an episode of a television show. This episode of Doctor Who is funny, thrilling, sweet, and heartbreaking, and all in about 45 minutes. While I’m not sure this would make a good first episode for someone looking to get into Doctor Who, it has become an instant favorite. And I highly recommend the show. There’s a reason an episode of Doctor Who has won the Hugo award for “best dramatic presentation - short form” five times over the past six years (with a total of sixteen nominations).
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
Back when I started making these end-of-year lists, I decided that any movie I saw that was an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 would be ineligible for consideration for the bottom ten list. I made this decision mostly because it would be just too easy filling the list with the dregs of cinema that Joel, Mike, and the Bots found for me instead of using films I sought out myself. Mystery Science Theater 3000 is no more (pause for a moment of silence) but Rifftrax has come to take its place. While they make downloadable commentaries for recent big-budget blockbusters, they also continue the spirit of MST3K by unearthing really bad movies from yesteryear. This was one of those movies. Santa’s sleigh is stuck in the sand and his reindeer have flown away. So he enlists the aid of the neighborhood kids who try to pull his sleigh out of the sand using various barnyard animals while Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn look on. When everything fails, Santa says, “This reminds me of the story of Thumbelina.” So he tells the neighborhood kids the story of Thumbelina as they look on in boredom, wishing they could be doing something exciting and interesting like homework instead of listening to the old man drone on and on. The story of Thumbelina is an entire short inside this movie with its own credit sequence and is mostly a long commercial for a defunct amusement park called Pirates World. When the story is done, the Ice Cream Bunny drives up on his fire truck. Santa says, “Of course! The Ice Cream Bunny! Why didn’t I think of that?” Then everyone is happy and the movie ends. This was hands-down the worst movie I saw all year. The plot has an IQ of -3, no one can act worth a lick, and the whole thing is interminably slow. However, I deemed it ineligible since it was essentially another episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Coming up next: Movies that are fun (and not-so-fun) for the whole family.