Posted January 5, 2022
Earlier in 2021 I
saw a number of online critics that I follow state that they are giving up
on posting yearly WORST FILMS lists because - to loosely paraphrase them -
they know filmmakers, the know that making films is hard and requires
ample commitment from multiple parties involved, and that efforts such as
this should not be ridiculed and looked down upon.
For starters, I
would challenge those notions by saying that going to the movies is also a
time consuming and costly endeavor for people (and families, in
particular). Shouldn't we all
demand the best bang for our hard earned dollars?
Shouldn't we demand something finer for our valuable time?
Shouldn't putrid films be called out for wasting our collective
time and robbing us of cash out of our wallets?
I never go to any film wanting to hate it (I adhere
to the late Gene Siskel's philosophy of filmgoing: I'm driven by the
prospect of discovering something new, fresh, and great every time
I enter a cinema). I also
accept the hard fact that making films is not easy by any stretch.
Having said that, letting films (and their makers) off the hook and
not calling them out does everyone involved a disservice.
It's also critically disingenuous to only focus on good films by
ignoring the bad. I'm not
sure how the art form evolves without directors being held accountable for
failing to achieve the higher ground and mature into something better.
I described 2020
as the worst year for the movies in terms of how the entire
industry was devastatingly affected by the still raging COVID pandemic. In
the year that was the industry rebounded (sort of) when pockets of the
world re-opened and cinemas began letting patrons back in. Despite
more product coming out in 2021 compared to the previous year to that, I
don't believe that it was a particularly good year for quality releases (I
struggled to give out many four-star reviews during the past twelve
months, which either means that I'm getting stingier in my old age or that
the movies weren't that good...I subscribe to the latter). What
I offer below - as I do every year - is ten reasons why no one
should have either (a) ventured out to the cinema or (b) stayed home and
sought out a movie via VOD streaming (with many at a ridiculously high
rental fee) during the last year. Consider
this list as a cautionary warning of what films should have been - and
should be, moving forward - ignored and avoided at all costs, regardless
of your method of consumption.
You never once stood a chance.
I have no idea even where to begin with this colossally awful and creatively bankrupted sci-fi thriller. It's not like there wasn't talent on display here in front of and behind the camera. We have director Doug Liman, who previously made the first film in the JASON BOURNE series as well as one of the most underrated high concept sci-fi thrillers of the last several years in THE EDGE OF TOMORROW. Then we have the likes of stars Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley, who gave their respective franchises in SPIDER-MAN and STAR WARS a definitive heart and soul.
Sooooooooo...how could CHAOS WALKING be such an unmitigated failure on all levels?
well publicized reshoots (coming after what was reported to be an
unreleasable first cut) didn't help its cause (nor did multiple pandemic
related release delays), but the real nail in this film's coffin was that
it was hopelessly dreadful on a level of world and universe building in
adapting Patrick Ness's novel.
That, and this film was proof positive that a book's premise - no
matter how potentially enthralling - could still translate horrendously to
the silver screen...and not work...and subsequently become pure and
unwelcoming auditory/visual diarrhea.
Added to this dubious mixture was a couple of unendingly charming
lead stars that exuded little to no charm or chemistry here and what we
were left with was a $100 million fiasco that could have killed careers
While I watched this truly and supremely unpleasant sequel last summer all that I could think about was whether or not the word THE should have been in its title. Seriously. THE HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD rolls off of the tongue much better than the grammatically awkward HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD. Now, no one should be thinking about how a film's title is worded while watching said film, but that's all I really cared about while viewing HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD; it represented probably one of the biggest misappropriations of talent (Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek, AntoniO Banderas, and Morgan Freeman, for Christ's sake!) in any recent film production that I recall.
And...why...do...all...these...actors...SCREAM...so...much...here?! Is this what constitutes comedy these days? Beyond being tragically bereft of hearty laughs and full bodied action (the choreography and editing here was a total dumpster fire of ineptitude), HITMAN'S WIFE'S BODYGUARD was about as enjoyable as listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. This film's predecessor was a forgettable, by easy going diversion, but one that never once cried out for sequels, and this is one of the flimsiest sequels in many a moon.
grew dizzy after my screening of DEAR EVAN HANSEN just pondering the
numerous ways that this coming of age musical went so inexplicably wrong.
Netflix heist/adventure action comedy cost a reported $200-plus million to
that settle in.
I'll fully confess to finding some enjoyment in the overall premise of the first ESCAPE ROOM film (place a group of unsuspecting everyday people against their collective wills in a series of increasingly complex and dangerous escape rooms), and on pure psychological horror thriller levels there's surely room here for grisly entertainment value.
The thing that struck me so vividly about ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS was that it lacked the frightening pulse of intrigue of the first film and just flatlined down to its finish line over the course of its - thank the movie gods! - short 80-plus minute running time. I'm not entirely sure that this film ever made a case for the value of its existence (other than its studio trying to milk a franchise out of the first film's relatively dry teats), but the most damning aspect of ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS was that there was no real evolution of this material or premise. We got, yes, escape room after escape room...but inserted into a logic straining to the max screenplay that easily forced the least inquisitive moviegoer mind to ask a lot of questions about what in the hell was transpiring on screen. And what made this an even larger scale offender is that - in the end - it was just a lame set-up for more installments to come.I don't want these games to continue. I just want these games to be over.
a toy fanatic child, I remember the Snake Eyes action figure being so
Every one of my friends wanted to play with it.
Fights erupted in bedrooms way, way back when about who got
to wield this silent and masked assassin.
of fights, if I could punch a film right in the pie hole then I would
definitely cold cock the awkwardly titled and impossibly dull SNAKE EYES:
G.I. JOE ORIGINS.
film was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
a TWILIGHT ZONE-inspired psychological horror thriller about an
inescapable beach that makes people age at accelerated rates.
I aged twenty years while sitting through this.
All I could think about was trying to escape my screening.
On a positive, it was one of the funniest films that I saw all year.
though, that this was intended to be a TWILIGHT ZONE-inspired
psychological horror thriller.I
THE ICE ROAD is the single worst Liam Neeson as a Manitoban semi-truck driver thriller that I've ever seen.
have to be honest.
completely forgot that (a) this film existed and (b) that it came
out in 2021.
If you want to seek out a superb super hero satire then just check out SKY HIGH from a decade-plus ago and just avoid this flat footed crapfest.
how the once mighty have so terribly fallen.
And considering that this film delved into the nature of reality and demonic possession, I'm still aghast at just how painfully dull it was to experience.
|Well...that felt good. My TEN WORST list is complete...but I'm not done yet! Here's a few more films that were not terrible enough to make the TEN WORST, but were easily forgettable all the same. Consider these:|
CrAiGeR's NEGLIGIBLE FILMS OF 2021:
|And finally, here's a dishonorable mention list of films that I felt were more disappointing than truly awful. Consider these:|
CrAiGeR's MISSED OPPORTUNITIES of 2021: