And now for the list that you’ve all been waiting for! The one where I tear down the works of people way more successful than me! The caveats here are basically the same as my best of, but honestly I think they won’t be as detrimental to this list as they were to that one. The movies I didn’t get a chance to see tended to be the better films of this year and the theater I go to ALWAYS gets the big blockbusters which are the movies people expect critics like us to tear apart anyway. True, I didn’t see much form the first part of the year (thankfully skipping over Paul Blart Mall Cop 2) but there was PLENTY of shit to go around and while I’m sure there are some glaring omissions here and there, I’m pretty sure this list is going to be a lot more of what you should be expecting from this age old tradition of shaming Hollywood’s bloat and apathy. No point in beating around the bush any longer. Let’s get started!!
Honorable Mention: The Ridiculous 6
Ah yes. No worst of the year list is incomplete without the annual update on Adam Sandler’s downward spiral into irrelevance. This one got bumped from the list because it was actually a TAD better than I expected, and it wasn’t released in theaters. Still, there’s no denying that Sandler’s brand of cinematic poison doesn’t fair all that better on the smaller screen and the prospect of sitting through three more of them fills me with dread, no matter how many smirks this movie gave me (maybe… six total). From the shameless number of cameos from actors who should know better, to the obnoxiously juvinial humor aimed squarely at Native Americans, the movie is just an exercise in hedonistic excess; self-indulgent to the point of no longer having meaning or joy. If the guy really has given up, then reviewing his movies is gonna end up just as stale and repetitive as having to sit through them, but then again I might have a bit more creative drive than that guy does so I can probably squeeze out a couple of scathing responses for whatever he does next. I hope he finds whatever it is he needs to in order to start giving a damn again because this shit is getting REAL old.
10. The Last Witch Hunter
See, this is what happens when a passion project goes BAD which is the exact OPPOSITE of Jupiter Ascending. Yeah I said it, and I’m gonna KEEP saying it! Anyway, despite Mr. Diesel not having a writing credit on this, he does have a producer credit and the character seems to be based on his actual D&D character named Melkor who is a witch hunter. Hell, even if you take that aspect away from it, it still feels like a fan boy passion project, only instead of lavishly praising and aggrandizing a fictional character, it’s instead pointed directly at the V man himself. Everything in this movie exists simply to show how badass this dude is to the detriment of everything else on screen, from the paper think characters, the sorry excuse for the story, and the baffling moments of terrible cinematography. How about this for a great idea? Film the action scenes in the dark and then have constant lightning flashes! That’s not incredibly irritating, right? Oh, and let’s make the second best actor we can con into doing this tripe have a ridiculous villain turn that makes no sense!? That would show him for agreeing to be in this crap! This movie walks with the underserved swagger of Duke Nukem and it basically ends the same way as his journey did with a whole lot of disappointment. Oh well, at least they haven’t announced a sequel for this yet (despite how hard they bait it throughout). Instead, he’s going to be in xXx 3. Wait, what? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
9. Point Break
I have not taken the intervening time since I wrote the review for Point Break 2015 to catch up on the original, but I can safely say that this movie is an appalling bastardization of the source material. I can say that mostly because I’ve been hearing OTHER people say it, but even without the original to compare it to, the movie has all the earmarks of a movie that couldn’t fimd a reason for its own existence. Seriously. Has going the grim and gritty route EVER worked out for a reboot? It didn’t work for Man of Steel, it didn’t work for the Fantastic Four, and it sure as hell didn’t work for this remake of an early Keanu Reeves vehicle WITH PATRICK SWAYZE!! Bodhi is an insufferable and contradictory prick who’s plans make no sense but I guess visionary tools aren’t supposed to be understood or else that ruins the mystique. Because the dude is such an incomprehensible shit show of fortune cookie wisdom and brotastic quips, it only makes it harder to believe that anyone would fall for his shtick and therefore makes Johnny Utah (you seriously want to use THAT name in a movie that takes itself THIS seriously?) harder and harder to root for. This movie bombed about as badly as that one guy on the scene on the mountain, so thankfully the chances of a sequel (rebootquel?) are slim to none. Question is though, what’s next? Oh, you BETTER not touch Cliffhanger god damn it!!
8. Terminator Genesis
You know what’s worse than making a reboot that has nothing to do with what made the original so memorable to begin with? Making a reboot that CONSTANTLY reminds of what the original did to make it so memorable, yet still managing to make an awful movie anyway. Terminator Genisys (you do NOT get to spell things that badly unless you’re at least as good as Quentin Tarantino!) was an experience that I can only liken to what it must have felt to see The Phantom Menace in 1999 at a point in your life where you could realize just how god awful it was. All the pieces are there and they even have some familiar faces, but none of it works. Jae Courtney proves himself to be one of the worst actors of all time and in NO WAY captures what made Kyle Reese so interesting, while Emilia Clarke is fine I guess, but is a much less interesting version of Sarah Connor. The twist that John Connor or a Terminator pretending to be John Connor is the bad guy doesn’t make sense as a twist. Oh no, this guy who looks like what her to be conceived son is actually a Terminator which if you think about it is something quite common in this franchise, so much so that one of the better ideas in Terminator 3 was that the robot sent back to protect John Connor was the one to murder John Connor because he looks like the Terminator that befriended him. And I guess he’s Steve Jobs too? I don’t fucking know, and neither did anyone making this pile of garbage. Not even Arnold Schwarzenegger’s amazing performance here can save this movie from being the worst thing to happen to this series since… well since Schwarzenegger left it I guess. Hell, I’d rather watch him do a sequel to Jingle all the Way before he does another one of these. Wait, Larry the Cable Guy already did one. Wait, seriously!?
Apparently the writer has only read one book in his entirely life and used it as the basis of this script. Unfortunately, it was NOT Peter Pan but instead was Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. Maybe the writer misread the title as Hero with One face or something because there’s no other way I can imagine someone actually writing this down and NOT thinking they are a totally unoriginal hack. Peter Pan’s Hero’s Journey is devoid of any cleverness or intriguing elements to the point that it feels like a blank canvas of a movie that someone only partially filled in with a couple of stickers and glitter paint. It may look pretty in pieces, but there is no substance or structure here to make this story the least bit compelling. Also, the white washing of the Native American tribe in an effort to NOT be offensive proves to have the exact opposite end goal. Remember kids; you don’t fix racially problematic material with erasure. At least Hugh Jackman is trying his fabulous heart out in this as Black Beard and I’d honestly like to see this kind of character in a DECENT movie, but he has nothing to work and can only elevate the material he’s been given so much. Wasteful is the name of the game here, and there’s hardly a better example of a movie guilty of that sin this year.
6. Jem and the Holograms
Oh look! ANOTHER terrible adaptation! So far we’ve seen one lousy movie that has no connection to the original and another lousy movie that had all the callbacks and references you could ask for! So what makes this one worse? Well, it certainly has very little to do with the source material, what with Jericca still being a kid rather than a young adult, her not owning Starlight Records like she should (at least half of it), and Synergy not being a supercomputer that anthropomorphized itself into a woman they can interact with, but that’s honestly an issue that they could have worked past it wasn’t for the REAL problem of the movie. No one gave a shit. Like… at all. They couldn’t even muster up a budget equal to that of the latest Paranormal Activity movie which is not enough when you’re trying to adapt Jem and the Holograms to the silver screen. I’m not saying they had to fork over fifty million dollars; they just needed enough money to faithfully recreate what fans loved about the show (while making necessary changes to make it work as feature). So the producers didn’t give a damn and showed it by providing a shoestring budget, the production company (Blumhouse) didn’t car enough to in some way evolve their filmmaking techniques so that it didn’t look just like a gritty horror film, and the director was asleep at the wheel (and got one of his friends to be the writer on this) despite having made decent movies in the past, The ONLY thing that makes this movie somewhat tolerable is that the actors were working their damnedest with the shoddy material and that the music was… okay. Other than that, this is just another disappointing example of Hollywood’s contempt for children and mainly little girls. Just slop some crap in front of them, throw in some fashionable clothing, and give some half-assed message about being yourself while also marketing the fuck out of the tie in toys. Actually, did they even bother making a toy line for this movie? Huh. Oh well, at least we have that My Little Pony movie to look forward too, right? I mean, it IS a Hasbro feature which at best have been decent, but that will be the one to change it… right?
5. Secret in Their Eyes
Talk about a total misfire! This is a disaster on the level of Heaven’s Gate or something like that. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie try so hard to be taken serious and fail so miserably at it. The mystery is poorly thought out with too many obvious clues like the fucking comic book detailing the crime, and it’s never made clear why Chiwetel Ejiofor’s character is going so far with no real reason to do so. Okay, I get that he wants to solve this case, but why is he breaking so many laws in the process? What kind of case is he expecting to build when he brings a bunch of stolen evidence to the FBI? Why did he spend over a decade pouring over mugshots to find this guy and what did he expect to do once he found him? THERE’S STILL NO EVIDENCE!! Not to mention his character is pretty damn creepy and the movie never acknowledges it. I’m not saying he had to be a straight up villain because he was crushing too hard on Nicole Kidman, but the way this subplot plays out is completely unrealistic and doesn’t fit with what we saw throughout the film! It’s just a poorly executed mess from start to finish that really does feel like a mistranslation of a much better film. I haven’t seen the original which won the foreign language Oscar in 2010, but I’m guessing that that film is way better than this and I think we owe Argentina an official apology for this shoddy imitation of one of their better recognized films. We’ll try to do better next time!
Despite Ridiculous 6 being an utter piece of shit, it ended up having its moments of cleverness and the western setting did seem to kick start Adam Sandler’s creative drive for… about five minutes. Pixels though? Yeah, this was the paycheck movie. His performance in here is categorically worse than in Ridiculous 6, and while it may have better special effects, none of them are used to any great effect so they become just background noise for the lazy humor of Adam Sandler, the obnoxious humor of Josh Gadd and Kevin James, and the occasionally decent yet mostly sad performance of Peter Dinklage. There are moments where his character works, but he is SO above this material that it ends up dragging the movie down more to see an actor as great as him slumming it in this movie. Not only that, but it’s almost obliviously hateful portrayal of its female characters feel so awfully banal here that it only goes to show just how deep sexism and misogyny is ingrained into many aspects of our society. Brow beating and negging a woman until she settles for the shlubby hero? Sure! Making a female character who’s sole purpose is to turn into a trophy for an awful nerd caricature who couldn’t possibly provide the emotional support needed to sustain a relationship? Why not! Just awful decision after awful decision mixed into what should be a kid’s movie about a bunch of people fighting live action video game characters. The good folks at Happy Madison took a pretty interesting and unique short and bloated it up to yet another shitty summer blockbuster with no heart or creativity. In fact, it openly mocks the idea of being heartfelt with its cynical and mean spirited humor. It’s probably NOT the worst Adam Sandler film, but anything he touches is destined to be worst of the year contenders from the word go. Pixels certainly didn’t disappoint in that area at least…
3. Fantastic Four
This is the last adaptation on the list, bringing the total number to a whopping six movies. OVER HALF of the worst movies of the year are shitty remakes, reboots, sequels, reboot-quel-makes, whatever, of properties with built in fan bases and plenty of material to work from. How do you fuck that up!? Well look above for a couple of GREAT examples, but nothing embodies the failings of adaptation quite as well as this movie does. It has nothing to do with what people like the about the characters and barely even resembles them. Instead of focusing on fun super science, it decides to be dower and drab with no sense of cleverness or emotional weight to the material so that it earns that. You know what this reminds me of? Before Louis Sachar took over the writing duties for the adaptation of his novel Holes, Richard Kelly of Donnio Darko fame (technically BEFORE Donnie Darko fame) wrote his own adaptation. Instead of a juvenile prison camp in Texas used as front to dig for buried treasure, his version would have been a post-apocalyptic tale where the kids were looking for nuclear warheads after the bombs had already fallen. As much as that missed the point of the source material, I think this new Fantastic Four does it even worse, and that weird ass version of the Holes movie didn’t even get made! It’s the kind of adaptation that tries so hard to NOT be the original (for whatever reason) and ends up becoming nothing in the process. We know they don’t fight crime, they don’t act like a fun loving family, and that science is not meant to be fun. All that leaves is… I don’t know, angst? I don’t think that’s enough to sell a movie on, but that’s just me. As much as I wouldn’t want to keep giving ONE company all of the things, I think Fox has had enough chances with Fantastic Four and really needs to give it back to Marvel and Disney. Just let this be a warning to whoever else wants to try making Super Hero movies DARK AND SERIOUS! Well… it’s probably too late for DC at this point, but at least the X-Men movies seem to be going in the opposite direction, what with Deadpool looking like a straight up comedy. As long as THAT one doesn’t suck, we may just be okay from here on out and this Fantastic Bore Fest will be the last one of these pointlessly serious super hero movies that isn’t produced by Warner Bros. Sure, and I’m Squirrel Girl in a very convincing disguise.
2. War Room
There were way too many lousy films this year that passed itself off as wholesome Christian entertainment, but nothing was quite as insulting and malevolent as the cinematic cacophony of horror known as War Room. I can’t imagine a worse example of someone’s faith being represented in a film; bypassing any of the nuances and beauty that comes from getting a closer relationship with God to instead give easy answers and sleazy sales pitches. There are promises of divine intervention for the women who don’t want their husbands to cheat on them which can only mean that if God DOESN’T make him shit his pants during a dinner date then God must not love you as much as the woman in this film. Also, why the hell are they spreading the idea that someone can change their borderline sadistic partners by being a better Christian around them? I don’t think abusers are gonna fall for that, but the fucking Kendrick brothers have no compunction about letting their audience believe it! This movie doesn’t care one iota about whether or not someone finds some comfort and happiness in their lives and instead wants to rile up True Believers (by which I mean phony Christians with way too much arrogance) with military jargon and othering language. It’s disgusting, shameless, and without a semblance of cinematic competence to make it a worthwhile viewing experience. This movie is so god damn bad that I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s actually anti-Christian propaganda in disguise. It certainly couldn’t have done a better job if that was the case.
1. The Green Inferno
Man, I don’t even want to THINK about this movie ever again. I have never been so close to leaving in the middle of a movie as I was with this film, specifically at the scene where our hero was about to have their clitoris chopped off by primitive surgical tools. The movie is just mean. It’s the cinematic equivalent of watching someone get bullied, or one of those epic fail videos where someone actually did get injured (or worse). Either Eli Roth never took a step back to realize the kind of movie he was making, or he knew EXACTLY what the fuck he was doing and this is what he wanted from the project. I’m guessing the later considering his previous filmography up until now and I think I’m gonna swear off his movies from now on unless there’s a REALLY compelling reason to give this guy another chance. It’s not even the FUN kind of bad like Fantastic Four or even War Room where you can pick it to pieces and laugh at its faults. It’s just a depressing slog that feels like it’s trying to troll its audience for whatever reason and is really bad at it because the joke just isn’t funny. I’m done with this fucking movie and would rather not talk about it again unless it’s to a therapist or some shit. Don’t put this on a bad movie pedestal or even hold this up as an example of what’s wrong with modern horror. Just forget it ever happened, like it was all a dream! Of course, if you really are dreaming about Eli Roth films then you might not want to ignore that…
So that’s it for 2015. Now to look forward to what’s coming up and the inevitable cascade of bullshit that gets dumped in cinemas through January and February! Oh joy…
Well I hope you all will continue to check out what I do and what movies I review which you can always find right here on The Reviews Unite!!