By Will Ashton | firstname.lastname@example.org| @thewillofash
Now that the best list is out of the way, it’s time to turn the coin and look at the other side of the cinema year. Films so insipid, dull, annoying or downright insulting that they continue to leave a bad taste in my mouth even months after the fact.
These are the worst of the year, at least as far as I saw. Granted, there were some that even I skipped, like InAPPropriate Comedy, The Canyons, Battle of the Year, Diana, just to name a few. But, boy, were there some dozzies this year. Here were just the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s take a look, shall we.
(Dis)honorable mentions: Parker, Texas Chainsaw, The Great Gatsby, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor, We’re the Millers, Planes, The Smurfs 2, Jobs, G.I. Joe: Retaliation
10. Escape From Planet Earth
If you read my The Nut Job review— and you would be forgiven if you didn’t—then you would know that I am definitely not a fan of lazy, half-assed animated efforts. And, as you will later read, while Escape From Planet Earth is not the worst offender of this that came out this year, that doesn’t it make it any better. Literally nothing about this movie is interesting, engaging or imaginative, whether or not the filmmakers are aware of it or not. It’s dull, repetitive, ugly and just bland.
9. Safe Haven
I mean, I’m sure I don’t really have to go too far into why a Nicholas Sparks adaptation has been added to a “Worst of the Year” list, but in case you need a refresher, this adaptation continues the author’s tradition of pushing out lazy, routine love stories and Hollywood’s tradition of pushing out by-the-book (literally), patronizing adaptations of them. Despite leads Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel’s best efforts, it’s clear that nobody on this production behind the camera really cared beyond the dollar signs. Especially with its ending, with a twist which reads like a final middle finger for anyone who dared to sit through the entire movie.
8. The Heat
Listen, I like Paul Feig. He can be a funny guy. But he often suffers from what I consider “Judd Apatow-itis.” Meaning, he doesn’t know when to end a bit. But at least when Judd Apatow does it, and even when Feig did it in his last directorial effort, Bridesmaids, he usually had a funny premise to begin with. Beyond the fact that the two leads are females, there is nothing about this movie that hasn’t been done, or done so much better, before it. Which makes this experience all the more tedious, annoying, and repetitive. Melissa McCarthy had some funny moments in supporting roles in Bridesmaids and This is 40. But, like many comedians, she is best in same doses. Perhaps read that as very small doses.
If there is a running theme here, it’s laziness. What was easily one of the laziest movies I saw in 2013, comedy or otherwise, was Peeples. With a premise that even a sitcom would find bland, Peeples runs around like a chicken with its head cut off, not knowing how to move beyond its deadly unimaginative premise. Craig Robinson was funny in This is the End earlier this year, but here, in his first major film as a lead, he seems out of his element. I don’t really blame him, though, or anyone in this cast. Because it is a pretty good cast. It is just writer/director Tina Gordon Chism’s fault, who seems like even she is bored with this premise by the 30 minute mark.
6. Scary Movie 5
I’m not proud to admit it, but, as a lad, I was a fan of the Scary Movie films. Having grown up on the Zuckerman brothers, admittedly, better efforts, I was a fan of their inspired silliness and off-the-wall goofy efforts. I can’t say for sure, but I feel like I could still find some good within at least parts of Scary Movie 3. That said, even I couldn’t find myself enjoying even a little of anything that comes from this shockingly dated and endlessly tired sequel which screams like a dying mule on its last two legs. Taking jabs at everything from Black Swan to Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen, even the film’s efforts to make jokes at this year’s Mama and Evil Dead remake can’t seem relevant. I don’t know why the Weinsteins felt the need to bring back this series, but maybe now they will finally put the series to rest. If not, that will truly be scary.
5. Grown Ups 2
To call Grown Ups 2 Adam Sandler’s most uninspired film is truly an accomplishment. But, sure enough, it truly is. While not as mind-numbingly annoying as 2012’s That’s My Boy, there is still no denying that this effort continues Sandler’s seemingly endless descent into proving that he is, indeed, his character in Funny People after all. Soulless, unimaginative, and tedious, this is the comedy where Sandler literally has zero plot. As if he is making a long-lost Richard Linklater film. Just stop.
4. The Host
I have seen few films as boring as The Host. Literally nothing on the screen is engaging, interesting or rewarding in any way possible. And considering that I am actually a fan of writer/director Andrew Niccol, it hurts a little to say that. While it all looks decent, it plays like a worst M. Night Shyamalan film than even Shyamalan’s contribution to cinema this year. The script is beyond awful, the acting is horrendous—save for William Hurt, who does try, bless him—and nobody in the film looks like they know or care what they are supposed to be doing. I am so glad that nobody saw this, because I don’t know if I could survive a sequel of this.
3. Identity Thief
In a year of truly bad comedies, this film, somehow, takes the cake. Not only is this film painfully unfunny, it is downright insulting, not just to its audience, but to anybody who ever lost their identity. Listen, I have, and will always will, say that anything can be funny. But identity theft is a scary and sad thing. While there is probably a way to make it work, this is certainly not it. Melissa McCarthy’s Sandy is a completely disgusting person in every way possible. And the film has the balls to try to make us sympathize her in the end. If that wasn’t bad, Jason Bateman is continuing his tradition of playing Michael Bluth in literally everything. C’mon man, it’s getting old. Please cut it out. Wow, what a terrible, terrible comedy.
2. A Good Day to Die Hard
Not only the most disappointing film of the year, but perhaps the most disappointing film of the past couple years. Literally nothing in this movie works. Bruce Willis doesn’t care. The action sequences are shot in the worst shaky cam possible. The set pieces are uninspired. The script is horrendously incompetent. The jokes don’t even make sense. But, worst of all, it is a complete betrayal to the Die Hard franchise. There is nothing about this character, beyond his name, that has any relation to the first film. It would be bad enough if this was just a generic action film from a major studio, but the fact that this film is included in the Die Hard series is like a punch in the gut that will never stop. It’s been almost a year since I saw this, yet I am still feeling the pain of having seen it in the first place. I better stop know before my blood boils any further.
I didn’t think I would see a film this year that was worst than A Good Day to Die Hard. But, sure enough, I did. There are few words that can truly describe how truly awful Foodfight! is. This is not only the worst movie of the year, but this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my whole life. The animation is beyond ugly. The jokes are beyond insipid. The plot is beyond lazy. The voice acting is beyond over and under directed. The direction is beyond incompetent. The script is beyond underwritten. Worst of all, however, is that this movie doesn’t even seem to know who the hell its audience is supposed to be. There will be jokes that are beyond lowbrow bathroom humor, yet there are also jokes that are so adult and overtly sexual that they would feel out of place in a R-rated raunchy comedy, let alone a PG “family” movie. I have seen a lot of terrible family movies—and I mean a lot. But few compare to how painfully awful Foodfight! is. This is an embarrassment to cinema in every way imaginable, and the fact that somebody—somewhere—spent $65 million (!) on this is beyond unbelievable.