The Worst Films of 2014

Now in list form!

Brian

10. Walk of Shame

The lowest grossing film on my list, Walk of Shame, is just a giant waste of time. The usually charming Elizabeth Banks stars as a news reporter who has one chance to become a lead anchor, the only problem being she’s all the way across town with no way of getting back after a one night stand. As she makes her way through the city she meets a number of different characters who all share the characteristic of being stereotypes. And since the movie is so devoid of laughs, it’s hard not to notice how poorly it treats not only its main character but the characters around her. Unfunny and almost cruelly stereotypical, Walk of Shame wastes everyone’s time, audience included.

9. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

I loved Sin City. I have been waiting patiently for 9 years to see this sequel. I am very disappointed. The spark and magic are gone from the breathtaking originality of the 2005 original. It feels like a teenager’s best attempt to remake Sin City with $65 million. And while Eva Green gives a very inspired performance as that titular dame, she spends a farcical amount of time naked. A big cast, splashy special effects, the original creative team, and 9 long years of making me wait. It pains me to say Sin City: A Dame to Kill For isn’t just one of the worst films of the year, it’s the most disappointing.

8. Chef

I’m all for a nice, simple “feel good” movie. Something you can just sit back and smile the whole way through. It’s too bad that Chef isn’t actually a movie. It was filmed with a camera, had actors, a director, a script, sure, but it’s no movie. Movies have conflicts. Movies have a middle. Movies have stakes, so when the character overcomes them we feel something. Chef is about a guy (or chef if you wanna be funny) who feels he has lost all credibility and then gets it back and feels rejuvenated. The issue is that’s about 20 minutes in. I like Jon Favreau’s work (Swingers, Elf, Iron Man), but Chef feels too self-indulgent and self-satisfying. It’s got a great cast and a talented man behind the camera, but it’s just such a let down that the film isn’t really a film.

7. Sex Tape

The fact that Jason Segel’s previous writing efforts include Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five-Year Engagement, and The Muppets actually help make this film all the more tired and uninspired. While Diaz and Segel make a nice pair, as seen in the somehow more enjoyable Bad Teacher, but they are abandoned by a script that tries to be a romp but is surprisingly dull. It’s not Diaz’s worst movie of the year, though….

6. The Other Woman

..that honor belongs to The Other Woman. The film tries to sell itself as a female-empowered adventure as these three wronged women plot to take down Jaime from Game of Thrones. And while they do manage to basically ruin his life, the film doesn’t really empower them. Instead of finding things out about themselves and learning to be better people the film seems to say that their reward is to fall in love with a rich guy/run a large corporation. It’s standard stuff but with a film that stars three very funny women (yes, Kate Upton is good) in the lead roles, a relative rarity, it’s a shame it didn’t try to say something stronger or more interesting. It’s also not very funny. But mainly the first thing.

5. The Judge

I can’t decide on what I dislike more about this film. How utterly cliched it was? How gross it was? How long it was? How it doesn’t trust it’s audience to decipher things for themselves? How lazy it was? I guess, if I have to choose, it’s that the movie did all these things and expected no one to notice. I noticed.

4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Middle Earth 6 film saga ends not with a bang (try as it might!) but with a whimper. It’s just a mess. I loved The Lord of the Rings. I mean, I ate that shit up. They are still some of my favorite films. The first and third, especially, are simply masterpieces. I almost couldn’t watch when Steven Spielberg announced The Return of the King had won Best Picture. So it should tell you how much I hated this movie when I say that when this Hobbit movie was over, I was almost glad to not have to return to Middle Earth.

3. Blended

We all know that Adam Sandler comedies are bad so I’m not gonna get into those tried and true bullet points. And Blended actually tried to be something else. It tried to have a heart and actually tell a nice story about family, so it gets bonus points for that. What eradicates this film’s chances of being anything worthwhile, aside from the fact that it isn’t funny, is how unabashedly sexist the film is. A major thread of this film involves Sandler’s and Barrymore’s characters realizing they are perfect for one another by helping the other’s child with a problem. The issue is that the problems are so gender-specific that it’s disgraceful: Sandler helps her son throw a baseball while Barrymore helps his daughter dress like a girl. This movie came out in 2014. Shocking.

2. Noah

This is all over the place. Rock monsters! Creation! Hallucinogens! Baby killing! Great director, great cast, great story, great effects, great big disaster. The film doesn’t seem to know what it’s trying to say and the actual character of Noah is seemingly the villain in the final act. As epic as it’s trying to be Noah can’t help but feel like it’s telling the story for no reason. There’s something almost mean about Noah and it wastes almost every part of it’s production. The money is on the screen, but not much else.

1. The Gambler

Accidentally featuring the worst teacher in the history of cinema, The Gambler marks career lows for every single person involved. It’s the worst movie of their career and the worst film of the year. Mark Wahlberg’s titular character has no redeeming qualities and really neither does anyone else in the film, save perhaps Brie Larson (lovely, as always, even as her character is almost non-existent). The film doesn’t know how to pace itself and therefore feels like it’s about a billion hours long. The film is single-minded and creates such a vacuum for quality that even the great John Goodman seems to be struggling. The Gambler is as impersonal as our biggest, cheapest Transformers film and makes the mistake of giving us a lead character to despise. No one is safe in The Gambler, not the actors nor the audience. It’s atrocious and harmful. It’s boring and miserable. It’s the only film to come out last holiday season that could actually ruin Christmas.

Noah

10. Fury

Fury is the worst kind of depressing movie – it’s overwhelmingly grim in almost everything it does without ever going so far as to truly affect you. Brad Pitt is solid as always, Logan Lerman continues to be impressive, and Shia LaBeouf is by far the standout of the film, but three good-to-great performances aren’t nearly enough to drag Fury out of the muck.

9. The Skeleton Twins

Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig have a strong chemistry that largely goes to waste in a movie about two very troubled people that entirely fails to understand the realities of the problems its characters are facing.

8. The Interview

Setting aside the morass surrounding the film for a second, The Interview is just wildly unfunny. James Franco is at his most obnoxious (which alone is enough to earn a spot on this list), and the Kim Jong-un jokes are all disappointingly tame (He’s kind of feminine! Katy Perry!). I’m all for comedians making fun of anything and everything they want, but pushing buttons isn’t a substitute for good jokes.

7. The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything is a strange mix of quality. On the one hand, it manages to humanize a person that has long since become a cultural icon, and it does so in a fairly impressive way. On the other hand, there’s a lot of movie around those character moments, and that surrounding movie is so incredibly dull that it negates the few moments of quality the film manages to achieve.

6. Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 is all flash and marshmallow robots and no substance. It’s annoying how little there is below the surface. That’s maybe not enough to earn number six on a Worst of 2014 list, but it’s my list, and it bugs me a lot, so there it is.

5. Chef

As someone who is fairly interested in the inner-workings of the culinary world, the beginning of Chef is vaguely appealing to me. An aging chef tries to work himself out of a creative rut in the face of his demanding and uninspiring boss. Fun enough. Then that storyline ends, and the overwhelming majority of the movie becomes a logistically absurd road trip movie about a guy who wants to have fun with his son, and does, and that’s it.

4. Noah

Why do bad movies have to happen to good actors? Logan Lerman makes his second appearance on the list – through no fault of his own – in the biggest misstep of Darren Aronofsky’s career. The decision to add rock monsters to the story of Noah was an interesting one, even if it didn’t quite pay off. The decision to make Noah a murderous lunatic, on the other hand, was pretty much a disaster. Having your main character muttering to himself and anyone unfortunate enough to be trapped on his boat about stabbing unborn babies (y’know, for God) for the better part of an hour is essentially impossible to recover from, no matter how sad he is about it afterwards.

3. The Judge

It seems almost unfair to classify The Judge as a 2014 release, seeing as literally every aspect of it has been done several times before. Flashy big shot has to return to his embarrassing small-town roots to mend his relationship with his gruff, ailing father? Check. High-powered attorney faces a villainous rival from his past in the most important case of his career that is seemingly impossible to win? Check. Excessive amounts of bodily fluids on screen peppered throughout? You better believe that’s a check.

2. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Good lord. I’m glad I didn’t read the book, if only so I don’t have to be disappointed with how badly Peter Jackson and Friends must have ruined it.

1. Unbroken

Unbroken is the schlockiest piece of schlock I’ve seen in some time. The script is at least 30% empty platitudes masquerading as grand, inspiring dialogue. The characters are, almost without fail, completely vapid and devoid of personality. The story is broken into four or five segments that seem to impact each other in almost no way, and the resolution to it all is, to be generous, underwhelming. From beginning to end, Unbroken falls short of anything resembling a movie worth watching.

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