Posted January 18, 2019
I almost considered not writing my annual worst films blog this year.
Someone on social media made a relatively valid point of mentioning
to me that it would be a more productive usage of my time and energy to
celebrate excellence in cinema and not wretchedness. Plus, there's also
the notion of needlessly kicking a bad film while it's already down.
I get all
though, going to the movies is expensive.
Quite expensive, actually.
It's especially expensive for families. And when movies are artistically bankrupt and inexcusably
awful, I think they deserve to be called out, in one form or another.
When modern studios spend ridiculous amounts of money on some
movies that probably shouldn't have made it past the early
inception/pre-production phase...that frustrates me...and angers me to no
end. And these are the same
studios that want your hard earned money and time to make a profit
on these ultra terrible endeavors. I'm
a busy guy and value my time and money (a lot of which I do spend on going to
the movies). When studios
fail audiences they should be held accountable.
Bad cinema shouldn't be ignored and swept under a rug. And talking about bad movies is what will allow the art form
to mature and evolve...for the better.
Hopefully, at least.
seeing the below listed ten movies...made me furious afterwards.
Some of them instilled in me feelings of worthlessness, and who
among us wants that in escapist entertainment?
So, consider these these yearly posts a deeply cathartic
experience for me. Yes, I'm
kicking these movies well after their down, but most of them deserve such
treatment...and those of you that haven't seen any of them should be
warned ahead of time to avoid them like the proverbial plague.
WORST FILMS OF 2018 offers up an eclectic mixture of mediocrity. Wrongheaded
sequels, as they always do, make an appearance here (with one sharing a
trend of its two predecessors also making my list for the worst films
of their respective years). There's
putrid effort involving potty mouthed puppets, an abysmal murder/mystery
thriller, an amateur fact based crime drama, a horrifically wasteful post
apocalyptic sci-fi film, an ultra rare appearance of a Clint Eastwood
directed drama, and one of the most needless and ill timed remakes of all
time. Oh, and the single
lousiest Sherlock Holmes movie ever makes the dubious cut.
about Eli Roth's remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson starring original was
not only insensitively timed and wholly unnecessary, but it also emerged
as a thoroughly sleazy movie as well.
remake wanted to have its cake and eat it too in yearning to have
thoughtful commentary about guns, gun violence, and vigilante justice, but
it ultimately only ended up joyously celebrating its main
"hero's" unrelenting carnage in sickeningly graphic detail by
somehow making him come off as cool.
DEATH WISH also committed an unpardonable sin of bad taste in
coming out weeks after the Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in
Florida that left many teenagers dead via being gunned down by AR-15's (a
weapon that Bruce Willis' vigilante brandishes with lethal enthusiasm).
This one-man revenge porn effort had no time for sobering discourse
of its subject; it was all about embracing its protagonist's unrelentingly
blood letting, justice seeking spree. Roth
appeared motivated by slimy B-grade luridness with DEATH WISH, and
considering the real world gun related tragedies that have hit our world
pre and post release of this film, there was something just puerile about
a story featuring a white man of rich privilege hunting down and blowing
premise movies usually never work as they rely on the initially funny
angle of their premise to lead the charge, and all without carrying it
forward to successful and hilarious fruition.
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS is just such a lazy one joke premise film, but it
never even generates any ample interest in its core concept - a hard
boiled detective comedy that's set in an alternate world where people
exist with puppets...and puppets that aggressively talk and act dirty.
THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS featured mature content, but it wasn't mature, or sophisticated, or imaginative. It was just a lewd one joke premise that wore itself out awfully thin very early throughout its mercifully short running time.
The very specifically titled THE HURRICANE HEIST contained, yes, a hurricane and a heist, both strangely homogenized together to form some semblance of a meaningful cinematic whole.
yes, it didn't work at all.
Jim Carrey has become an iconic comedic actor over the course of his long career, but he's often overlooked for being a thanklessly decent and nuanced dramatic actor when given the right material to sink his teeth into.
2018 marked a return for the rubber faced Canadian funnyman to dramatic film waters in the Poland set detective thriller DARK CRIMES, and, on a superficial positive, the role he inhabited in it could not be anymore diametrically different than his recent film roles. That's good. What's not so good at all is that DARK CRIMES could not have been a worse dramatic film vehicle for Carrey to jump into, seeing as the underlining story built around him was one of the most aimless and thoroughly unpleasant in recent memory. The actor, to his credit, fully and deeply committed to this film's unrelenting darkness as the story's disgraced Polish detective, but DARK CRIMES would have been borderline unendurable without Carrey at the helm, which is probably why the film went direct to VOD in North America after a terrible reception during its international release in 2016. You know an American studio is in trouble when it can't market a Jim Carrey film to the masses.
opening paragraph of my original review for GOTTI read as follows:
is the BATTLEFIELD EARTH of fact based mob dramas. It simply has no
business being as categorically awful as it is."
the BATTLEFIELD EARTH comparison because of the fact that John Travolta
appeared in that putrid sci-fi thriller, and he appears in GOTTI as the
titular Italian American New York based Mob boss that was - during the
height of his criminal prowess - the most powerful and ruthless mafia
figures in The Big Apples' history. The
sad part here is that Travolta was not altogether bad as the Dapper Don;
he crafts a modestly layered and lived in performance. Also,
there's a sprawling and epic crime drama to be made from Gotti's life
under the right directorial hands. Unfortunately, director Kevin Connolly
(yup, E from ENTOURAGE) made one of the most amateurishly scripted and
pathetically edited mob films...perhaps ever. GOTTI
was so thematically tone deaf, so idiotically handled, and so utterly
disposable as a genre effort that I thought of something the late Gene
Siskel suggested as a question to ask naive filmmakers about their bad
my film more
interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch
This was the third and - THANK GOD ALMIGHTY!!! - last film in the FIFTY SHADES trilogy, and one that finally put a nail in the coffin of this series that was on critical life support within the opening few minutes of its franchise introductory installment.
That is all...moving on...
MORTAL ENGINES was one of the great masterful technical triumphs of 2018.
and co-written by THE LORD OF THE RINGS' Peter Jackson and directed by Oscar winning VFX artist Christian Rivers, this post-apocalyptic
sci-fi thriller contained absolutely stupendous effects, art direction,
and production design; its entire $100 million-plus budget definitely showed
on screen. And MORTAL ENGINES
contained an absolutely bonkers, yet inspired premise - after a massive
global cataclysm, the remaining cities of the world have been mounted on
giant motorized wheels and chase down smaller cites to devour and
assimilate them - that showed initial promise.
But the absolute creative demise of this film was that it failed
to make me care...about anyone or anything in the story.
Hopelessly awash in Young Adult genre troupes and being more
monumentally dull than it had any business of being, MORTAL ENGINES was as
exhausting as it was wasteful. It
emerged as a flashy and ultra expensive VFX highlight reel...and not much
near 90-year-old Clint Eastwood has made some of my favorite films of all
time, not to mention that he has miraculously maintained an impressive
consistency as a prolific filmmaker at a time in his life when most his
age should be residing in retirement homes. In
short, the legendary director/actor has very little to prove.
Having said all of that, I don't have the foggiest idea what compelled him to make THE 15:17 TO PARIS the way he did. As a deeply noble minded endeavor that tried to chronicle a very recent real life story of ordinary heroism triumphing over terrorism, there's no question that this story should be told. Alas, Eastwood made the cardinal blunder of not casting actors, but instead the actual real life heroes to play themselves, which regrettably sticks out in beyond obvious ways throughout the film. THE 15:17 TO PARIS isn't the first film to use real people playing themselves to recreate history (see ACT OF VALOR), but the non-actors Eastwood assembled here to re-tell their thrilling story of bravery is replete with horribly wooden line readings, a lack of dramatic urgency, and a paradoxical lack of on-screen chemistry. Simply put, Eastwood's creative stunt didn't pay off, and THE 15:17 TO PARIS hurt as a result and became the acclaimed filmmaker's most unforgivably terrible film of his career.
knew that HOLMES & WATSON was the worst SHERLOCK HOLMES film of all
time when it featured a scene very early on of the young
sleuth-in-the-making being tricked on a school yard by bullies...to kiss a
on, another character is covered in horse excrement...
there's a scene of the adult Holmes projectile vomiting...
Is this what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had in mind when he created the most well known detective in all of fiction? Now, I'm no prude. I like comedies. I especially like spoofs of classic genre efforts. And the thought of getting the dynamic comedic duo of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly - so sensationally amusing together in TALLADEGA NIGHTS: THE BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY - to play Holmes and Dr. John Watson respectively would be enough to get any comedy film fan salivating at the prospects. Mournfully, HOLMES & WATSON was such a desperate and painfully unfunny comedy on all conceivable levels that I was left befuddled as to why so many talented performers (which also included Ralph Fiennes, Rebecca Hall, Hugh Laurie, Rob Brydon, and Steve Coogan) decided to lend their good names to this filth, outside of a paycheck with many zeroes on the end. When the last Robert Downey Jr. SHERLOCK HOLMES film had more laughs than one featuring Will Ferrell - and the former was not a comedy - that's ultimately damaging and telling.
fondly recall years ago what it was like to actual witness living and
breathing dinosaurs come lovingly to life on screen in Steven Spielberg's
PARK. I think I speak
on behalf of most filmgoers in saying that when that 1993 film premiered
and ushered in a VFX revolution in Hollywood I was struck with legitimate
awe and wonder in its sights.
|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 2018
A walking cliché
factory of a romcom made all the more disagreeable by wasting the fine
talent of star Jessica Rothe.THE
could a PREDATOR sequel be so wrongheaded on so many unfathomable levels
with writer/director Shane Black at the helm?
RAMPAGE: This Dwayne Johnson led video game movie adaptation lacked a sense of legitimate intrigue its set pieces.
A STAR WARS STORY:
OF THE PARTY:
|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 2018