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Time Magazine Names ‘Cloud Atlas’ The Worst Movie Of 2012; ‘John Carter’ Comes In Second Place

Time Magazine Names 'Cloud Atlas' The Worst Movie Of 2012; 'John Carter' Comes In Second Place

Well, you can’t have the best of the year without the worst, and while Cahiers Du Cinema got the ball rolling on the top films of the year, Time Magazine has dropped their rundown of the worst. And topping it all? The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer‘s “Cloud Atlas.”

To be certain, the movie was divisive, and even among The Playlist there were wildly differing opinions. Meanwhile, a European distributor said last month that maybe the movie was too smart for American audiences. But the new-agey, we’re-all-connected motif didn’t jibe with Mary Pols, who wrote that the conceit of the film was so much like “bong-fueled conversations I had in college that I almost ordered a Domino’s pizza afterward.” She also thought for all the razzle dazzle, it was a “bloated fantasia of special effects and makeup wizardry.” Ouch.

Check out her best of the worst below, and as always, let us know what you think in the comments section.

Time Magazine’s Worst Films Of 2012

10. One For The Money (review)
9. The Odd Life Of Timothy Green 
8. What To Expect When You’re Expecting 
7. Alex Cross (review)
6. The Lorax (review)
5. This Means War (review)
4. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (review)
3. Hyde Park On Hudson (review)
2. John Carter (review)
1. Cloud Atlas (review)

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I don't think Cloud Atlas is about reincarnation actually. That's an oversimplification. It's about the fact that all humans, in all time periods, are human – you *might as well be* a reincarnation of someone who lived before, because the same stories of cruelty and kindness have played out between humans forever. The movie is also about how the strong constantly prey on the weak (notice the constant allusions to cannibalism in all the plot lines) but that people can transcend that, and that's what the movie is about in my opinion. I loved it, not because it's "deep" (it's a pretty standard message) but because I found it moving and engaging. I can understand why some people might not enjoy it, but I think it's seriously underrated and probably one of those movies that will get a lot more respect in the future.


A lot of Americans are just too stupid to understand this film. They are WAY too stupif to sit down and watch a 3 hours movie CAREFULLY. Cloud Atlas is an underrated masterpiece. Not many movies transport such depth and power and emotions in such a big scale.

Zen Master

I definitely agree with Time Magazine! 2 years had passed already and I still couldn't exactly identify with the characters stories and plots.. It is so confusing and messed up, Wondering what had made me actually bothered watching this bs movie in my whole life. Up until now I am hugely disgraced, having wasted my money for such a crap that truly deserves a finger! If I can only travel in time I would have just purchase a non-linear story pc game in which I have a total control and satisfaction of whats going to happen from the beginning until the end of each and every of the characters.


Oh, yes- this movie is probably only for smart people, not everyone can catch the underlying message it gives.

Chuck S.

I thought Cloud Atlas was marvelous, vast and beautiful. And it doesn't surprise me at all that many people didn't like it. As I watched it it struck me that it was going to be one of those films people either love or hate.

No I'm not going to resort to the modern day motif of "if you didn't like it you must be an idiot"–nothing sounds more idiotic than that. Tastes vary, and that's fine. I found the interwoven storyline of Cloud Atlas to be rather easy to follow, I believe I picked up on the symbols and links scattered throughout the film, and I would enjoy seeing it again sometime to see what I missed the first time.

So some critic had outlandishly harsh words for it? Like I care about that. If Ms. Pols had a creative bone in her body she'd be making films instead of criticizing them. I think my favorite part of Cloud Atlas is when a critic was thrown off a balcony to his death.


I found the movie awful because it was so painfully obvious that almost all the scenarios that where played out where stolen from much greater works of fiction.
My reactions for the most time was: where have I seen this before? Oh that's right, in a much more superior movie or book, or both.
I don't understand what people mean when they say it's original. I understand works of fiction will have to lend a bit here and there, but this massively overrated picture steals so obviously it makes me cringe. Easy examples: Soylent Green, Blade Runner, 1984, Metropolis, Logan's Run. The low point of the movie with the elderly breaking out of the evil institution actually quoted Soylent Green, but it was unrelated to the obvious theft later on in the movie.

It's a while since I saw it in theaters but I counted so many plot lines stolen from other works.
My last questions go to those who thinks people who didn't like the movie aren't smart enough to get it, do you have a remotely basic knowledge of important works of fiction? Particularly science fiction?

ben thin

Sorry, dumb movie watchers, this movie is only for the smart and awaken people.


Cloud Atlas worst of 2012? It was easily up there with Silver Lining Playbook and Django Unchained!!!!!!!! Just like 2001:A Space Oddessy and Blade Runner, all of you will be proven wrong! Roger Ebert gave it four stars


I m so sorry for you guys, you just dont understan this original new type of story narative movie!
Shame guys, but dont worry, check the Shrek series :)

Mike Chambers

Cloud Atlas was pretty awful. If you want an artsy flick that does stories through different time periods properly, check out The Fountain. It blows Atlas away.

Alaska Screenwriter

Best movie I've ever seen and I write scripts. Those of you who liked and enjoy this film, check out Cloud Atlas Changed My Life: The Group, for people who want to discuss the themes and concepts in this film in depth. See you there.


To be honest I started to watch Cloud Atlas then turned it off after about half an hour as so far all i'd see was someone die every few minuets, the next day i tried again and was blown away, as soon as you get past the first hour or so the plot begins to thicken, personally i found it easy to keep up with the story line and I more or less ignored he reincarnation thing and enjoyed the stories for what they were, the only part of the film i didn't enjoy was the meat factory scene as i found it kind of disturbing… but really people it wasn't that hard to follow and only a good film can get a 10 min standing ovation. thumbs up from me

Johnny Gold

Half the people who hate this movie admitted to watching Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. That immediately discredits their opinion. The real reason people don't like this movie is either they're too stupid or don't like anything that challenges their close minded view of reality. People say they don't like it because they don't feel a connection with the characters because it kept switching to different characters in different timelines. This proves that you don't understand the movie because they are the same characters in each timeline just born under different circumstances. I don't think I'm smart for understanding Cloud Atlas, but you should feel pretty stupid for not understanding it. Best movie I ever saw.

Haram Harry

I liked the film but my problem with it was the dialog was mostly uninteresting (my opinion) and I still struggle with UK accents. So without making any excuses, it turned on the subtitles.


Criminally underrated, this movie perhaps was too much for 85% of all americans who want instant satisfaction and don't want to think when they are at the movies, they want everything wrapped up and explained at the end, they don't see past what's on screen and take anything out.

Art R

Cloud Atlas was a brilliant film! Still think about this film even now!!!


On reflection, this film was brilliant.


I don't think this was the worst movie of 2012, but I came away without loving it. First of all, I didn't care enough about any of the characters because jumping between the storylines meant just when I was getting emotionally invested in a particular character's predicament, the scene abruptly ended. The only exception was the black slave who I wanted to escape the cruel life he left behind when he stowed away on the ship. Watching the credits, I see this movie was adapted from a book which probably explains why it would have worked in written form when you could absorb yourself in detailed descriptions of each of these worlds but it seemed to be lost on the silver screen. Nice try, but a thumbs down from me.


I always find it amusing when people say that the reason you didn't enjoy the movie was because you're not smart enough. Someone's enjoyment or lack thereof of a movie makes for a pretty lousy IQ test, methinks.

The theme of this movie is not complicated. We're all connected. Okay, we all know that, it's not exactly a new concept. So intelligence has nothing to do with it. Why then are people so polarized about this movie?

The answer is simply that some people are turned off to movies with multiple storylines that quickly cut back and forth. Some people just tune out after a while and start thinking about the project they have to finish tomorrow and how they have to reschedule their dentist appointment. Some people need time to get to know the characters so that they can actually care about them.

The reason I gave up on this movie is because I didn't care about any of the characters, and it simply became a waste of my valuable time. Art is subjective and all that, but there still has to be some structure, there are still some rules you can't break. The most important thing in any film is that you have to get the audience to understand and care about the characters first. If you don't do that, you'll end up with a polarizing film. Some will hang tough and grit through it for the payoff at the end. Others will throw in the towel and go do something else.

Just an ordinary guy

I don't get what's up with all those people? The movie was brilliant and it was really, REALLY EASY to follow. You've got to be really ignorant to not be able to follow the story. Beside it's one of the best movies ever made. Watch it again. You'll really see how deep the movie is.


I completed this movie today. I am an atheist. I do not believe in reincarnation. I felt moved watching this movie. I loved how the stories were interwoven. I want to know more about the world of Nea So Copros.


This is BY FAR the worst movie I've ever seen. I lost three hours of my life and about 50 i.q. points watching this trash. And let's not disparage the American population by saying we are not smart enough for it…I have a graduate degree and could not even follow it.


This was one of my favorite movies I have ever seen… I suppose people who didn't get it are pretty close minded.. The movie is about in a nutshell….. How your actions in one life make a ripple effect to your next lives.. If you don't believe is stuff like that then I would assume this is why you don't get it.. It's about reincarnation sometimes not the same person but a different body, and everyone is bound to a soul mate.


Here's cloud atlas for you, you sit back on a lazyboy, I'll open up a 1000 piece puzzle box and hurl the contents at you, there you go, cloud atlas.


anyone who thinks this blog is true….'

can go **** himself/herself.

cloud atlas is literally the best movie ever. I dont think it is to smart for america…. IM 12 YEARS OLD!


I invested the full lengths time of the movie watching it trying to like it and find what compels people to enjoy this movie. It must have went over my head because I do not understand anything in this movie and I do not know why these characters lives align with one another. I can not connect one dot to the next. Absolutely confusing, I believe that complex movies with smart twists are fine but this movie is just so painfully convoluted beyond reasonable and rational thought that I am capable of.


I just spent 2 1/2 hr watching this horrible movie. Everybody who said they liked it is trying to be so brilliant and say the understand it. The story line leaves you so disconnected . You are constantly trying to figure out what is going on that it leaves you tired by the time this mess is done. It's a bomb.


It's a sad day in American cinema when a movie like cloud atlas can flop but iron man 3 is a blockbuster.


Just shows how the true essence of this great movie cannot be understood by our society. Seems like the stupid ones dominate the world soon. Sad.


Mary Pols needs to be thrown off a skyscraper.


Yeah, makes you wander who paid for that ranking. I would think Time would be over the today's sponsorship ass liking behaviour. Maybe, just maybe worst movies lists should be made by people knowing the film business, and not just by paid-per-piece grocery felietonists?
Have you not seen "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2"


What a horrible movie. There is no there there. I'm glad I only paid $5.00 thru on-demand to watch this crap and not the price of a theater ticket.


Hahaha. Cloud Atlas totally blows. One of the worst movies I've ever seen. Tom Hanks, you sir, should be ashamed of yourself.


Cloud Atlas cannot be on the list !!
I can hate a movie, but I still can tell it's good or bad.

Antimari Pols

Well, seems like Mary Pols had too many bong-fueled conversations in college, as if it's even possible.

Lily Underwood

Worst movie of the year? This from the magazine who named Hitler and Stalin as their "person of the year." Hahahahahaaaaa…


Mary Pols is a fucking idiot. How is someone this obtuse writing for TIME?


So you're telling me Cloud Atlas was worse than Battleship…. Are you fucking high?

Carlos Guimarães

Sorry guys, but just can't stop laughing. Cloud Atlas?! Really? Maybe not one of the best but still a really good film, taken from an outstanding novel almost impossible to translate to the big screen. And they did it. The simple fact of mixing it with the other movies on that list it's a sin, offensive and ingorant. Christ…


Do yourself a favor and read the book first or be prepared to leave the movie with much anger. This movie is a hodgepodge of back and forth that will leave the unprepared in want of a refund.


Time Magazine needs to redo this list. Cloud Atlas the worst movie than Adam Sandler "Thats My Boy", Eddie Murphy "A Thousand Words", Brad Pitt "Killing Me Softely", "The Dictator", that bs "Piranha in 3DD", and Spike Lee "Red Hook Summer". These movies should replace "The Lomax", "Alex Cross" "Hyde Park on Hudson" on the list. Someone must be drinking or smoking some bad stuff.


Its a shame these lists put people off seeing these films because some are really not that bad at all. We've all enjoyed films at some point that had bad reviews. Its subjective. These lists usually target big films that had big expectations so theyre not really the worst films at all. Many low budget obscure films stank worse Im sure.


This is typical baiting to drives sales. Name a movie that has passion on both sides and watch fuel the fire. If they named a movie that everyone thought was bad, people would go oh yeah, that was pretty bad and then move on.

I personally thought Cloud Atlas was pretty good. It was very ambitious and for the most part, pulled it off. The make-up was a bit distracting. But the story was very moving and epic.

Warren Bonesteel

This is one of the best movies of the year. The only problem it has is in asking people to think for themselves, instead of offering mindless entertainment.

If people don't like this one, I have to sincerely wonder about their sanity, if not their IQ.


I don't really get it. Cloud Atlas is like best movie of 2012, but also it seems like another masterpiece that comes out only once a few or several years. Maybe it's the problem that critics too much compare to standards?


Cloud Atlas is definitely one of the worst movies of 2012. Trying to make white people look Korean and the worse is trying to make the Asian girl look latina and white. The make up ws so obvious.


And where is Breaking down part2??


In terms of expectations, I can see why Cloud Atlas & John Carter would head her list of worst films. Cloud Atlas just wasn't about anything worthwhile that I could make out. And I couldn't understand the dialogue half of the time. It would have been better as a mural.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. I'm sure the film appealed to pot smokers in Washington and Colorado states but if you saw it stone cold sober, like I did, you probably were behind me when I made a beeline for the door. I stuck it out as far as the train sequence then I got the heck out of Dodge.


I think "Cloud atlas" is the best movie I've ever seen.


Many truly ambitious, unique films generate effusive praise and derisive howls in equal measure, and that's the case here. I saw Cloud Atlas, and though I wouldn't call it "great," I was definitely interested and admire what they were trying to do. I think it's the kind of movie that will become more appreciated over time. It's an odd movie; one that must've been a bitch to market, but then that's not an insult. Certainly not a "crowd pleaser."

That said, to put it on a "worst" list is unfathomable. The technical expertise and performances (Jim Broadbent in particular) alone should keep it off those lists. Putting it on this list says much more about the reviewer than the film itself.


I hated Cloud Atlas, but to rank worse than Lincoln Vampire Slayer and This Means War seems like a mistake. Apparently this guy didn't see The Cold Light of Day or Jack and Diane or Thin Ice or The Dictator


WHAT!!!! Cloud Atlas was one the of the best films of the year! This is the most idiotic list…boycotting Time. Complete idiots. Mary Pols…biggest freaking idiot.


Please fire Kevin Jagernauth. He wouldn't know a good film if it took him wildly in the night. What an idiotic list. This guy needs to be blacklisted and never be able to find work again. He should be collecting carts at Wal-Mart.

Paul Allen

This Cloud Atlas? 93% rating from audiences on RT:
8.2 / 10 on IMDB:

This is just click-bait ,no? I'm basically never visiting this site again. And I'm going to seek out this movie.


That's ridiculous. "Cloud Atlas" is obviously one of the best films of the year, not the worst.
I haven't seen any of the others on this list, because they all looked like they would suck at first glance.

Jeff Rittenour

ARE YOU KIDDING!? Get John Carter and ESPECIALLY Abe Lincoln OFF this list. Bunch of 'tards. People are such sheep. Let's all hate on john carter cuz it lost money…oh yeah that definitely means the movie sucks. I saw WAY worse SHIT than John Carter this year…How about a little piece of crap starring BATMAN? Yeah THAT movie was a long boring pile of shite…not John Carter. baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa


no one will ever take time mag seriously ever again. buffoons.


Mary Pols to The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer: 'Yeah, take that for having ambition, bitches!' You can hate the film, sure, but to call a film that is at least trying for something the worst of the year is a cheap call. Olli and Aaron have both created good lists for films that are super-cynical and more deserving of scorn than a film that's very much aiming to create a dialogue with its audience. Can someone explain what 'Rock of Ages' was trying to do?

Jimmy K

What about 'Dark Shadows,' 'The Rum Diary' and 'The Hunger Games'? All dire and a waste of time, talent and money.


Whoa, just a minute Time Magazine! The Lorax was a fantastic film and one of my favorites. I didn't even have to get to the bottom of this list to know it was bogus. This is just another example of film critics being completely out of touch with average movie goers. I'm not sure what they expect from a film, but obviously it isn't what the rest of us are looking for. I don't know how an intelligent and heart-warming children's movie made it as #6 on the worst films of the year list, but I can you that Time Magazine is now #1 on my shit list.


I will never read another Time Magazine movie review again. As a huge fan of the book I naturally loved the movie, but this is just stupid… So now I don't read the New York Times reviews because of their terrible reviews and Time Magazine.


This list begs the question — how many movies did writer/reviewer Mary Pols and her team of half-wits actually sit through this year? I'm looking forward to Bill Murray in Hyde Park on Hudson (the very same film advertised before this page). Cloud Atlas was unusual, and is its own thing, but I never found it boring. I've heard only good things about The Lorax. And even John Carter despite its under-wealming box office and the moronic decision to drop "Mars" from the title tends to be liked by people who get around to seeing it. Putting the Vampire Hunter flick on this list suggests that those on Time's panel are clueless to the kind of movie it celebrates. But having Cloud Atlas on this list – let alone at number one – is a symptom of something wrong with your team. Clean house, Time.


Horrible just horrible choice. Yes obvi Cloud Atlas is flawed but THE SINGLE worst of the year? No fucking way!!!!! I wouldn't even put it in the top 10 w/ some of the films listed by other comments here, gimi a fuckin break wow. Ugh so pissed. Oh HEY TIME MAG, your writer/reviewer Mary Pols, u ma'am have LOST ALL YOUR CREDIBILITY. *shakes head* just ridiculous


Naming „Cloud Atlas“ the worst film of the year is simply laughable. And putting the admittedly mediocre “John Carter” on 2 is just as laughable.
Where are “Taken 2” or “SnowWhite and the huntsman” or "Battleship" or "Twilight” on that list? No, I can`t take that list seriously, not for a second.


This is a ridiculous choice that was obviously intended to provoke reaction. So here's mine: shock value reviews only succeed in making the people who write them look foolish. "Cloud Atlas" wasn't perfect, but anyone can see it's vastly superior to some of the genuinely terrible shit that came out this year, like "Rock of Ages" or "Battleship." Idiotic ranking on Mary Pols' part.


Cloud Atlas? Really? Even if you didn't like it, it's far from the worst movie of the year. At the very least it offers something new and different and isn't boring. This is a horrible choice.

Yeah, well, fortunately for you, not too many people I know read your little Time Magazine, or whatever it's called.


This list could basically be called "easy targets". Also, basically anyone listing Cloud Atlas as the worst of the year is a jackass.
Also, any worst of the year list that doesn't include Ruby Sparks is invalid.


Cloud Atlas is absolutely the worst movie of the year and I applaud them for having the balls to say it.


Yes it was confusing at first…but everything comes together in the end. There was not a dry eye in the movie theater. Everyone I've talked to either loved it or hated it.

Cloud Atlas was a great movie. I'm not sure why people don't take the time to think anymore. They would rather have everything in plain English. It was a masterpiece in my opinion.


Everyone here is right in that Cloud Atlas is not the worst movie of the year. The Dark Knight Rises is!!!


CA does at times look "bong-fueled"– and that by itself isn't fatal — but there was just enough to keep me engaged. There are other films I couldn't wait to end and some aren't even on her list. But she has her points.


Especially when you have film such as; A Thousand Words, Rock of Ages, Dark Shadows, The Watch, That's My Boy, The Apparition, LOL, Paranormal Activity 4, Ghost Rider 2, The Dictator, The Devil Inside, The Woman In Black, Chernobyl Diaries, Battleship, Silent House, The Three Stoogers, Red Tails, Tim&Eric, Madea, not even on the list, even if Cloud Atlas was bad(which it's not) shouldnt be before any of those films or even on the list, calling Cloud Atlas the worst film of the year is a down right JOKE!!!!!!! Hate me for saying that but i'm alittle pissed off now!

Aaron Cotham

It's a slap in my face because Cloud Atlas is my favorite film this year, I don't get why Cloud Atlas and The Lorax are on this list to be honest!!! But whatever doesn't change my opinion I still love and adore Could Atlas


What's wrong with something being like a bong-fueled conversation?


To put Cloud Atlas before "This Means War" and "What to Expect When You're Expecting"- scratch that.. to put "Cloud Atlas" before any of these films as the worst of the year is absurd. But in accordance to Pols' "bong-filled college discussion" comment, what else have the Wachowski's offered? And when thinking of this, consider each of their films and the demographic that goes with them.

second, "Cloud Atlas" is based off of a very admirable book. Is the book fueled by the same Pols-esque stoner stigma?

third, this movie was very smart. I agree that it is maybe too smart for an american audience. In 2012, America sees Transformers 7 as great sci-fi. Or District 9 (Not a bad film, but a best picture nominee? really? mindless fun and nice to look at, at most). For something like "Cloud Atlas" to come around, with big names like Hanks and Berry, maybe Pols was expecting something more mainstream.


I disagree with this list for the most part (there were WAY worse movies this year), but I especially think 'The Lorax' doesn't belong on this list. It's really not so bad for a Seuss adaptation, and it's a fun movie for kids (who ARE the target demographic–don't take it so seriously, Time!) And the animation was great!


I can't believe this…is this a joke?


I'm totally agree with Time: 'Cloud Atlas' is the 'Atlas Shrugged' of this year. Worst than 'The Room'.

Cody B

What in the hell are they talking about?! John Carter and Cloud Atlas the two worst movies of the year?! Those are two of the BEST movies of the year!

Katie Walsh

WTF Time. John Carter was infinitely worse than Cloud Atlas (WHICH SHOULDNT BE ON THIS LIST IN THE FIRST PLACE).

Daniel Delago

'Cloud Atlas' is a complicated but brilliant film. It was too intellectual for many to comprehend including Time Magazine. It will be on my Top Ten list of 2012. It was the most daring and ambitious film of the year. Kudos to the Wachowskis for their vision. It is one of those films that will be appreciated more over time.


The Watch, That's My Boy, Total Recall, Ghost Rider 2, A Thousand Words, The Apparition, and Paranormal Activity 4, and you pick Cloud Atlas?


nice list. i disliked all of these movies (except haven't see 'hyde park on hudson'…..ouch). i thought 'cloud atlas' was a complete mess but couldn't include it on a "worst" list due to pure ambition.


You gotta love people like this; who could possibly take them seriously? Even if Cloud Atlas was a bad movie (which it isn't), it would be far from the worst film of the year. Did you see The Dictator? That's My Boy? Saying Atlas is worst than those films is just laughable.


Yeah, this is pretty bad. Way to knock down some easy targets Time.


Time Magazine needs to watch more bad movies.

I Use My Brain & So Should You

This is and will continue to be, one of the best films of all time. -Cloud Atlas

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