Just like our Podcast of a similar name, we will each break down all the worst films of this past year.
If you agree, disagree (we’re looking at your Fantastic Four Fanatics!), or think we missed some please feel free to comment below.
10. The dullest of Bond films, Spectre fails by trying too hard at the wrong things. By bending over backwards to tie itself into Daniel Craig’s previous adventures the films ends up forgetting to give its audience an actual adventure. Boring, vapid, and made with the wrong intentions it’s the most disappointing film on this list.
9. Uninspired, fairly unfunny, and just a mess. Ted 2 jumps from buddy comedy to courtroom comedy to road trip comedy to slapstick action comedy to courtroom comedy again. Oh, it’s also a romantic comedy and social issue comedy. The film never finds its footing and goes on way too long in the process. Its characters learn the same lessons, its jokes are familiar, and everyone comes out the same as they did at the end of the first film, making it hard to figure out what the point was.
8. While the visual effects and action sequences are stunning in San Andreas, the film severely lets down its characters and therefore its audience. The British brothers that Alexandra Daddario’s character spends the film with are bland and underwritten; Dwayne Johnson’s decision to abandon the dozens of people he could be helping feels very wrong; and Carla Gugino is given ZERO things to do except to look concerned and hang on to things. The real issue with the film is Ioan Gruffudd’s character who is so shoe-horned into the villain role it’s laughable. His character’s actions are reasonable until the film decides he’s the scum of the Earth and we get to watch him bumble around until he dies, upon which we are suppose to cheer. It’s cheap writing even for disaster porn. San Andreas is fun to look at and all but that’s no excuse for lazy hamfisted character tropes of the ugliest kind.
7. A great cast, great performances, and a larger-than-life figure ripe for cinematic picking, Black Mass turns out to be a boring yawn. A film centered around “one of the most notorious gangsters in U.S. history” should be exciting stuff but Scott Cooper’s film seems to be convinced that a tell don’t show policy is best to keep audiences interested. It’s not. The film gleefully skips over the scenes where Whitey Bulger gains power and the scenes where he, in fact, uses said power. Instead, we are treated to Whitey having no power, Whitey having power, Whitey losing power, and Whitey threatening or killing women. Uneventful and uninteresting.
6. Definitive proof that Adam Sandler is not trying anymore, Pixels is just a waste. What a fantastic premise! What a great director! And we get this? Come on, now. Christopher Columbus is a master of family friendly adventure (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, the first 2 Harry Potter films) but here he seems to be bogged down by Sandler’s brand of middle school humor. A fun cast and pretty great visuals aside, there is nothing fun about Pixels. In fact, thinking back on it the whole thing is pretty sad.
5. The Wedding Ringer is a surprisingly ugly film. It’s not funny, sure. But what puts it on this list is a left-turn villainous character development from Kaley Cuoco’s Gretchen. At the 11th hour we learn that Gretchen is in fact marrying Josh Gad’s character for his money therefore making her a bitch and clearing the way for the other pretty girl in the film, Olivia Thirlby, to take her place as the girl Gad was meant for. Not only is this the weakest link in the film’s chain but seems so forced and unnecessary that it boarders on offensive. To have Cuoco’s (who’s a very talented actress) only character development be that she is a gold digger and Thirlby’s (also a very talented actress) only character trait be that she is similar to Gad’s character and a suitable replacement is insipid and egregious. These actresses deserve better, the characters deserve better, and the audience deserves better.
4. Fifty Shades of Grey seems like a movie that is made to be made fun of. The truth is that my main problems with the film don’t stem from its obvious faults. Sure, Jamie Dornan isn’t great and the character of Christian Grey is not nearly has charming as he should be. He comes across as incredibly creepy and overzealous and not in an intriguing way. Sure, the film plays fast and loose with Anastasia’s motivations for falling for the man. I mean, sure, the film has no structure whatsoever and seems to be wandering aimlessly to its conclusion. But my main issue with the film is its decision to give Christian a backstory to explain away his oh-so-abnormal sexual desires. For, you see, he had a tough childhood and is emotionally vacant, why else would he want to explore sexuality? By giving him a backstory, the film makes this way of life taboo and something that someone wouldn’t normally do. Exploring sexuality and having a healthy sexual appetite is wrong and only the result of negative experiences. It’s not that everyone needs to engage in these kinds of sexual acts but rather the film feeling the need to explain Christian’s gives off the wrong and troubling impression.
3. There is a good movie here. I’m serious, there is a really cool body-horror superhero film buried in here. The first half of this film is ripe with promise and then it’s all gone. Fant4stic loses everything it might have had going for it (BTW, the first half is not great at all) with a finale that seems as stitched together as it supposedly was. Our heroes are faced with their greatest threat: Doctor Doom is on some planet and he has a thing that is sucking up the Earth and taking it to his planet or just destroying it and he is the source of the thing’s energy and the only way to stop the thing is to stop Doctor Doom. So they each try individually (why individually?) and it doesn’t work so they try together and it works. It’s the most taped-together climax I’ve ever seen; tonally inconsistent and rushed in every possible way. It is the worst ending of the year.
2. Disjointed and completely uninspired, Terminator: Genisys is a disaster. Desperately trying to appeal to fans of the previous films while simultaneously ignoring those films, this is a great example of a franchise that really doesn’t care. So misguided as to think that not only are Jai Courtney and Emilia Clark capable enough to carry a film right now but that modern day audiences want a retread of the 1984 original. Why dwell in the past? Why make a movie that is essentially just a huge setup for a sequel that we won’t get? The entire climax mainly consists of Matt Smith appearing as a hologram only to be shot at and reappearing as a new hologram. Boring and silly don’t do this film justice. It has no purpose to exist other than to get us excited about Terminator: Rysuryctyon. And it can’t even do that.
1. Here we are. The worst film of the year. Jupiter Ascending has the right intentions (a big budget original sci-fi epic) but it flat lines in its execution like no other film of 2015. The mythos doesn’t make sense, the characters are silly, Eddie Redmayne is hilarious, the editing is choppy, the humor misses completely, and the story is, unfortunately, generic. Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis try their best and the chase scene through Chicago at twilight is beautiful to look at (which has more to do with how beautiful Chicago looks at twilight) but this is just a horror show. I have a hard time describing specifically why Jupiter Ascending was the worst film. For the full effect you’ll just have to see it. But buckle up because it’s the bumpiest ride of the year.
10. Krampus had the potential to be a great movie. In fact, it had the potential to be two. It could have embraced a hard R rating and been a frantic, funny, gory horror-comedy, The Cabin in the Woods style. It could have embraced its PG-13 and family-friendliness, replacing guts with wrapping paper and packing peanuts and leaning heavily on Christmas movie tropes. Instead, Krampus tried to straddle the line between the two, aiming for the feeling of the former with all the visual and tonal restriction of the latter. The result was a movie trying to please two masters while satisfying neither.
9. The road to
hell Spectre was paved with good intentions. On paper, there was almost no reason for Spectre to not be great. Sam Mendes was back after killing it with Skyfall. Daniel Craig had put together a resume to at least get him in the conversation for best Bond ever. The supporting cast was exciting: Lea Seydoux would be a great fit as a modern, more nuanced Bond girl, and who’s a more obvious choice for a Bond villain than Christoph Waltz? But there’s a reason movies aren’t judged on paper. Waltz was bland, Seydoux was wasted, Craig had nothing to do, and Mendes seemed more concerned with the three movies that came before than the one he was presently making.
8. Quick, what’s less interesting than a movie spent watching a mob boss scrape and claw his way to power using any means necessary or, for that matter, unnecessary? If you said a movie spent being told about those things, then congratulations! (Incidentally, if you said an incredibly hammy Joel Edgerton performance, you get half credit.) Black Mass is the definition of a movie that rides its premise without actually, y’know, doing anything with it.
7. The road to Tomorrowland…wait, I used that one already. Tomorrowland was poised to be not only good, but optimistic in a way that movies generally aren’t. Unfortunately, the movie it ended up being got in the way of whatever it could have been. The pacing and structure were glaringly weak, and a strange one-that-got-away relationship between Clooney and a childlike robot from his past was a little too…let’s say icky for my taste. I’d love for most of the people involved (sorry Lindelof) to take another crack at it, but this one was a big swing and a miss.
6. There’s not much to say here. The success of Minions rests entirely on your opinion of the Minions themselves, and personally, I’m out. They were amusing for longer than I thought they’d be, but, like every other sensation, they ran into an overexposure wall head first. If you still laugh at the gibberish and the bananas, then Minions is the movie for you. If not, then it’s a long 90 minutes.
5. Entourage is an amusing show in spite of its many flaws. It’s a mostly fun group of people to spend half an hour with if you have at least a passing interest in Hollywood, and every so often a good guest star shows up. A good stand-alone movie, however, do not those ingredients make. The movie, like 90% of the show before it, is almost entirely devoid of conflict and focused on the least interesting part of its story. It also still stars Vince, which, while admittedly unavoidable, pretty much kills the movie before it even gets out of the gate.
4. If ever there was a poster child for behind the scenes chaos, Fantastic Four is it. An admittedly interesting approach and a stellar cast was squandered by a rocky lead up to one of the worst third acts committed to the screen in some time, and a climax that was clearly written not only by somebody else, but in no more than 20 minutes. Jordan, Teller, and Mara (and Bell, I guess) would have been a great core for a franchise for years to come, but that ship has sailed, sank, and become integrated into the local ecosystem. There’s no coming back from Fantastic Four.
3. In a year with Mad Max: Fury Road and Jurassic World, it’s easy to forget that sequels after a certain amount of time are almost always a bad idea. Nobody needed a new Terminator movie, and after Salvation, hardly anybody even wanted one. Alas, we got Genisys all the same. That title alone should have warned us, like a conspiracy theorist in an alien movie that nobody believes. “No, don’t go in,” it essentially shouted. “It’s literally impossible to keep a consistent, coherent time travel storyline going across five movies! John Connor as the villain is clearly a desperate grab at anything that might generate interest! IT STARS JAI COURTNEY!” We should have listened. We all should have listened. What fools we were.
2. Jupiter Ascending is an atrocity of a movie. Most bad movies are bad because they’re boring, or unfunny, or lazy, or occasionally offensive. Whatever the reason, it’s usually pretty easy to pinpoint. Jupiter Ascending defies reasons. It is the embodiment of badness. Its action scenes are nonsensical and indecipherable. Its plot is so segmented you would think it was written by five or six people that never once spoke to each other. Eddie Redmayne’s performance is an affront to the profession of acting. Mila Kunis is the Queen of Bees, and her friends call her Jupe. Jupiter Ascending fails so spectacularly and in so many different ways that it’s almost impressive. Put simply, it’s an abomination…
1. ..and yet, ultimately, Jupiter Ascending is only a movie. Its badness, palpable though it may be, has no significant effect on the real world. The same cannot be said for The Hunting Ground, a documentary so irresponsible that it actually does harm. The filmmakers’ thesis is obvious: sexual assault on college campuses is a serious issue, so it doesn’t matter what we say in our movie so long as it spurs people into outrage and action. They’re half right; sexual assault on college campuses is a serious issue, and people need to know about it. On the other half, though, they are woefully mistaken. Documentarians have a responsibility to their subjects. That responsibility does not include misusing statistics, drastically misrepresenting events, making brazen and named accusations of guilt with neither the evidence nor the authority to do so, or outright lying. By actively engaging in these tactics, the filmmakers do serious damage not only to their own credibility, but to the credibility of those associated with them, those they set out to protect in the first place. The Hunting Ground is a shameful excuse for a champion of a cause that deserves so much better.