What makes a movie one of the worst of the year? One might think it’s the irrepressible stink of terribleness, but most crummy movies usually have some redeeming qualities, like a cool action sequence, awesome special effects, or Kevin Spacey.
So what makes a Top 10 Worst Film of the year? One of two things: either ambition let down by the inadequate talent of the filmmakers, or a complete failure of all the films’ faculties, from the acting, the script, the direction and on down through the movie chain of command to the catering.
The year 2013 had a lot of contenders for the not-so coveted Worst of the Year prize, but whether the movie was an unnecessary sequel, a teen romance in sci-fi clothing, or another chance for a coked-up/washed out movie star to get her career back, these 10 films all have one thing in common: they were really hard to sit through.
If you’re looking for a truly unenjoyable viewing experience, then feel free to watch any of the titles listed in this article.Next
You have to admire Ryan Reynolds. Anyone with as many crappy comic book movies on their resume as him would have given up by now, but I guess the actor is still looking for his Chris Evans moment. After all, Evans spent years in the wilderness of comic book movies as an investment to find his Captain America role.
Sadly, R.I.P.D. was another misfire. What could have been cool and funny like Ghostbusters or Men in Black is comparatively derivative and overly elaborate for what should have been a simple story of good ghosts who chase bad ghosts, a kind of supernatural Training Day, if you will. Instead, we get solid actors like Robert Knepper and Kevin Bacon being turned into silly looking CG monsters, a lot of uncharacteristic mugging from Jeff Bridges, and Mary Louise Parker trying to play the stern police captain in white go-go boots with an attitude that’s either bitter resentment about her casting, or her just playing along for the payday.
In an added bit of kizmit, R.I.P.D. opened the same weekend as RED 2, the sequel to another film directed by R.I.P.D. helmer Robert Schwentke. Both failed miserably because the filmmakers forgot one thing: you can bring all the ingredients together that you want, but you still have to cook them into something edible.Previous Next
9) Kick-Ass 2
Matthew Vaughn’s first Kick-Ass movie walked a fine line between satire and camp and managed to be a fairly sharp deconstruction of the superhero genre with some great characters and outrageous moments. Then there’s Kick-Ass 2, which got all the over-the-top violence right, but what director Jeff Wadlow forgot is any sense of subtlety or finesse.
Of course, maybe the fault lay in killing off Nicolas Cage’s character in part one, or maybe Chloë Grace Moretz’s Hit Girl schtick of ultra-violence and coarse language isn’t as funny at 16 as it was 12. Or maybe, Wadlow didn’t realize that there was more to the first Kick-Ass than just a bunch of people in crappy costumes and delusions of super-grandeur.
On top of it all, surrounded by a summer slate that included Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and The Wolverine, Kick-Ass 2 looked cheap by comparison. Forget Jim Carrey’s comments about the film’s violence, what he really should have protested was how he was horribly misused by the filmmakers, and how the entire endeavour was one giant missed opportunity to say something, anything, about our cinematic obsession with super men and women. What could have been a fine piece of summer counter-programming fit too snugly into it and became just another crappy blockbuster, looking to cash in on older, better efforts.Previous Next
8) The Hangover Part III
While Todd Phillips and the returning gang of The Hangover deserve credit for boldly departing from the previous two installments of the franchise by not allowing Phil, Stu and Alan to descend into another round of debauchery, The Hangover Part III forgot one crucial element: the funny.
While Part II was nearly a carbon copy of Part I, it was, at least, amusing, unlike Part III, which was disturbing and ghoulish, and so far from the tone of the first film that the original Hangover might as well be a Three Stooges movie. The primary issue is with the character of Alan (Zach Galifianakis), who is supposed to be a well-meaning innocent, but is played as deranged and psychotic. In clinical terms, Alan has sociopathic tendencies with borderline personality disorder. And as we’re supposed to root for Alan, we’re also supposed to roll on the floor and laugh at the antics of Mr. Chow, who, despite being criminally on par with the worst of America’s Most Wanted, is still great pen pals with Alan.
With all the hardcore criminals, including John Goodman’s Marshall, you might mistake this movie for something from the Michael Mann oeuvre, but the result is exactly the same: a very unfunny movie.Previous Next
7) The Host
You have to admire Stephanie Meyer for knowing her craft. Unfortunately, her craft is overly chaste teenage melodrama that centres around some kind of love triangle clumsily draped on a fantasy-themed story. With The Host, we get the Twi-fied version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and if that sounds terrible in the description, it’s even worse in the execution, trust me.
Our plucky heroine is implanted with an alien symbiote, but rather than thoughts of rebellion or revolution, we have the human Melanie in love with one hunky boy, and the alien Wanderer in love with another. Say what you want about Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner, but at least you can tell them apart; the boy toys of The Host come from such a shallow gene pool, you need a scorecard to know who’s who.
No one accused Twilight of being Shakespeare, but its cast had actual chemistry, and when you’re a high school vampire romance story, you’re allowed to get away with being a tad soapy. But if you’re an alien invasion movie with a major plot about human resistance and the nature of identity, it’s best that you don’t squander the majority of your time on what boy the heroine should kiss.Previous Next
6) Machete Kills
Looking back, I think Robert Rodriguez should have taken the middling success of the first Machete as a sign that he should get out of the grindhouse business. In Machete Kills, Rodriguez didn’t so much as double down on people’s love of vintage exploitation cinema as phone in a lazy, standard sequel effort that banked on the bet that people wanted to see a lot of well-known actors camp it up.
Mel Gibson seemed like he was having a good time, as for once no one was focused on his off-screen antics from a few years ago, but a movie has to be about more than career rehab. As to what the point of Machete Kills was, beyond getting hot actresses to look hot and getting serious actors to play funny, I don’t know.
Rodriguez doesn’t even try to make the film look vintage, all the supposedly shocking violence seemed unimaginative, and the entire endeavour seemed like a set-up for a third Machete movie that now seems destined to never happen. Honestly, what was it about this that demanded Rodriguez’s attention before making the long-awaited Sin City sequel? Clearly his heart wasn’t in it, so it begs the question, does Danny Trejo has some kind of Svengali effect on Rodriguez? And if he does, does that mean we’ll get the inevitable Machete Kills Again… In Space? Lord, I hope not. Take a look at the (faux) trailer for it below and I think you’ll agree.
5) The Canyons
When Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature earlier this year, Bret Easton Ellis took to his Twitter and said, “Alice Munro was always an overrated writer and now that she’s won The Nobel she always will be. The Nobel is a joke and has been for ages…” As a Canadian I was livid, but as someone who subjected himself to The Canyons, the film Ellis wrote, I laughed at the notion of someone putting pen to paper on that script calling anyone “overrated.”
But long before The Canyons came out, it was doomed to be a sideshow to the real story: its particularly difficult production, which was chronicled in a now infamous New York Times article. The perfect storm of Ellis, renowned screenwriter and director Paul Schrader, and the ongoing E! True Hollywood disaster that is Lindsay Lohan should have, theoretically, been enough to let the film skate on notoriety, but it’s a tribute to the general public that they didn’t stop to look at this car wreck.
Acted with all the finesse of a dinner theatre production of A Streetcar Named Desire, The Canyons couldn’t even find its way to the “so bad, it’s good” category. What the production called for was the deftly bizarre touch of Tommy Wiseau, not the “I’m taking this tripe very seriously” tone that Schrader had.Previous Next
How do you get Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman on the same movie set and make something so tepid? Also, how do you create a film called Paranoia and not drive your hero to such a disheveled state of suspicion and mistrust that no one would want him, even if he does look like Thor’s little brother? As a film, Paranoia plays like mid-90s efforts like The Net or Virtuosity, dabbling in a technology and worldview that the filmmakers seem ill-equipped to understand.
The year’s news seemed prime to play into the film’s themes; after all, it’s easy to be paranoid when we know that the government is ready, willing and capable to watch us all, all the time. Also, we know that corporations carry, in some sense, even more power than governments right now, so it’s not too far of a stretch to spin a conspiracy with a simple everyman caught between two rival corporate titans. But Paranoia’s real crime is that it squanders the on-screen re-match between Air Force One adversaries Ford and Oldman. As for Liam Hemsworth, he needs to really decide if the best way to set himself apart from his more famous big bro is to be the poor man’s Channing Tatum.Previous Next
3) After Earth
In the future, humans will ruin the Earth so much that we have to abandon it and set up shop on new worlds. We’ll find out we’re not alone and have to fight alien bugs that sense our fear, but by controlling our emotions though a form of mental discipline called “ghosting,” we’re able to fight them. And, for some reason, we’ll all speak with bizarre accents that make us sound like we’re from Shakespeare, Alabama.
Rampant nepotism isn’t After Earth’s worst crime against cinema. In fact, there’s something understandably appealing about having two generations of Smiths on screen together. However, the Smiths show none of the liveliness they’re known for, because it’s demanded of them to employ the school of acting that says everyone in the future is more robotic by nature. Fault for that, I think, falls on director M. Night Shyamalan, who exercises his Serial Killer Earth instincts to the Nth degree, evolving from the killer winds of The Happening to the entire freakin’ planet in After Earth. Hopefully the twist ending in Shyamalan’s career is that he learns to make compelling cinema again.Previous Next
2) A Good Day to Die Hard
There was a recent news story about the development of a sixth Die Hard movie that would take John McClane to Japan and the home office of Nakatomi to mark the 30th anniversary of the events depicted in the first movie. Oh Lord, how I wish that they had made that movie! Instead, we get some hackneyed story about how McClane must journey to Russia to reconnect with his CIA agent son, and – Surprise! – they hate each other.
So what we get is a tired retread of the previous Die Hard films with Jai Courtney’s Jack McClane in the sidekick role, and fittingly, the whole affair was overseen by John Moore, the director of tired retreads of Flight of the Phoenix and The Omen. Between the incomprehensible motivations, unimpressive villains, and Willis’ portrayal of McClane as a grumpy old man Terminator, it’s not hard to see A Good Day to Die Hard as a soulless and pedantic corporate product made solely to capitalize on the “Die Hard” brand name. The franchise that launched a thousand imitators can’t even be bothered to copy the things that made it great in the first place, if it could even remember what those qualities were any more.
Maybe we’re all getting too old for this.Previous Next
1) Movie 43
It’s not exactly a terrible idea in concept, to bring together a bunch of filmmakers and a large ensemble of talented actors for an anthology comedy that pushes boundaries and the envelope. In the case of Movie 43 though, the producers forgot one crucial element in their comedy: the funny. In fact, the synopses of the sketches on Wikipedia are funnier than the actual segments in the film itself.
Now, you may think it’s a matter of good taste and bad taste, but it’s mostly a matter of what’s genuinely funny and what’s only funny if you’re a 12-year-old hopped on too much soda and Doritos and flirting with what they think more adult comedy is supposed to look like. All the low-brow highlights are hit: internet porn, menstrual cycles, explosive diarrhea, foul-mouthed leprechauns, and body parts that look like other body parts are all game, but the game is been there/done that, and the prize is two hours you’ll never get back.
Usually when all this Hollywood effort is poured into something so pointless, it’s for an awards show like the Golden Globes, but no one’s a winner with Movie 43.
So that does it for our list. Are there any films that deserve to be here that you think we left out? If so, sound off in the comments below and let us know which films you hated this year.Previous