January 10, 2017 | Updated
February 13, 2017
to popular opinion...I don't expect much out of the movies that I
I ask of them is one simple thing: be good.
that's a modest request to place upon today's filmmakers. Many
people have this narrow minded viewfinder through which they construct an
opinion of critics. More often than not, people think that critics
want to go out of their respective ways to hate a film.
That's categorically untrue. I've screened well over 1500 films during
my 12 years as a critic and I can emphatically state that I wouldn't
spend so much time in darkened cinemas with complete strangers every year
unless I loved movies. I want every film I see to be great.
every year a multitude of films supremely disappoint me...and 2016 was no
fancy myself to be an awfully fair and open minded chap. I like
giving every film the benefit of the doubt going in, but when some
(especially the ten that I will get to below) seem to go out of their
to make me either unintentionally laugh or inspire my gag reflex while
watching them (or, in worst case scenarios, offend me)...there's no redeeming
them at all. The year that was - much like every year since I began
this modest film review site - offered up a predictable smorgasbord of
cinematic mediocrity, with films ranging from wrongheaded sci-fi sequels,
insipid comic book inspired sequels, idiotic action sequels, charmless
comedy sequels, ineptly rendered swords and sandal
fantasies, star-studded inspirational dramas, hammy book-to-screen
adaptations, and two films starring Zac Efron. He deserves a special
Wall of Shame award for appearing in two films that made the cut
matter how you proverbially slice it, there's no getting around these ten
films and their startling and indefensible wretchedness. Let the
following list of my TEN WORST FILMS OF 2016 serve as a reflective warning
as to why you should have stayed away from the cinema during the last
twelve months. I'll begin with the most putrid offender of them
all and then follow that up with nine very worthy - and dubious -
easily say - and without any hesitation or regret - that COLLATERAL
BEAUTY was the worst film that I had the displeasure of seeing in 2016.
also a film that was just...plain...wrong.
It was wrong for having one of the most fraudulent trailer
marketing campaigns in recent memory.It was wrong because it used very touchy and sensitive
themes of child death, grief, cancer, adultery, and infertility as cheap
tools to dispense would-be tear inducing melodrama (that, and it threw in
the accoutrements of Christmas for good measure as well).Worst of all, COLLATERAL BEAUTY was wrong for the
manner it wasted the superlative talents of multiple award nominated and
winning actors (almost too many to count) in a work of such pathetically
obvious Oscar nomination bait that didn't even have the decency to be any
good.I loathed the manner
that this film lured me in and deceived me, and for those reasons - and far too many more that are frankly to
painful to bring up here - COLLATERAL BEAUTY easily deserves top placement
as the most criminally awful movie of the past year.
MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES belongs on an awfully long list of
modern comedies that mistakenly believe that chronic vulgarity and wanton
crudeness equals cutting edge high hilarity.I've seen many teeth grating nuptials-themed comedies before, but this has to be
one of the most mind numbingly obnoxious that I've ever experienced.The fact that it's based on true story makes the resulting film all
the more eye rollingly shameful.
Zac Efron (an actor that I
have admired in comedies like NEIGHBORS)
and Adam DeVine (an actor that - after watching this film - I'll be glad
never to see in another film for as long as I live) spent so much time here hammering home telegraphed punch lines by boisterously screaming and yelling in hyperactive fits
somehow pathetically thinking that it came off rather amusingly.They bellow out their dialogue exchanges like petulant
nine-year-old boys that haven’t achieved puberty yet, which was one of
the many reasons why the excruciatingly intolerable MIKE AND DAVE NEED
WEDDING DATES made me flee for the cinema exits after it ended like a
your idea of a good time at the movies is to see the legendary Oscar
winning actor of such films as RAGING
BULL and TAXI
DRIVER aggressively masturbate, drop n-bombs multiple times,
insult homosexuals, make jokes about child and prison rape, and drape his
penis and testicles right next to his grandson’s head at his pillow
while in bed...then DIRTY GRANDPA is most assuredly for you.
For everyone else with some semblance
of taste and decency…flee for your very lives away from this film like
the plague that it is. I felt dirty while watching DIRTY GRANDPA, and very few comedies as
of late have instilled in me feelings of worthlessness as much as this one
DAY: RESURGENCE came 20 frustratingly long years after its 1996
original, which was an agreeably enjoyable ode to 1970's disaster cinema and the alien
invasion/flying saucer pictures of the 1950's.Unfortunately, this massively expensive effort was an excruciatingly bad work of soul crushing disappointment and
might be one of the most tediously written, ineptly acted, and
aggressively moronic big budget Hollywood summer sequels in an awfully
long time. It's an embarrassing alien mother ship sized waste of
talent and financial resources.
There's a reason Will Smith declined to appear in this schlock...and
movie scheduling conflicts weren't the primary reason.INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE felt like one big overproduced
and ill conceived...cheat. I expected a worthy follow-up to the
problematic, but guiltily enjoyable original, but what we got instead –
if you ignore its visual effects sheen - barely registered above the awful
moniker of a direct-to-Syfy Channel/TV sequel.The first INDEPENDENCE DAY was an event film not to missed.INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE was a stupefyingly abysmal non-event
film that was best left avoided and ignored.
I'm not sure what's more utterly depressing about GODS OF EGYPT:
the fact that it was made or the fact that it was made by a proven
Just knowing that GODS OF EGYPT was directed by Alex Proyas is
staggeringly disheartening, seeing as he was the man behind such dark, moody,
and forebodingly memorable films like THE CROW and DARK
CITY, not to mention compellingly constructed sci-fi thrillers
like the crazily underrated KNOWING.GODS OF EGYPT utterly failed to evoke what made Proyas’ past work
so aesthetically rich and intriguing. The film was garish, bombastic,
mindless, and wholeheartedly soulless...and a categorical mess
for all involved. And this film was ambitious (oh, was it ever!) in
terms of being a $150 million fantasy that tapped into Egyptian mythology,
but this would-be epic of gods and mortals felt more like a cold and
antiseptic video game with a chaotically rushed visual sheen than a fully
realized piece of cinematic escapism.Proyas had no business making a film so wasteful and ultimately
wretched as what's on display here.
I grow increasingly tired of putting putrid Melissa McCarthy
comedies on these yearly lists because, quite frankly, she's above their
mediocrity.She's an easily likeable soul with bona fide comedic chops.
Yet, she continually allows
herself to partake in one cringe inducing, laugh-free endurance test of
will after another like the grotesquely awfully TAMMY
and the equally dreadful IDENTITY
THIEF, all of which featured the obligatory McCarthy on-screen
persona: the outwardly atrocious, toxically dislikeable, and verbally
abusive slob that, deep down, just wants to be understood and loved because
– gosh darn it! – she's a really nice soul with deeply hidden
emotional wounds. THE BOSS
was not only just as predictably unfunny as her previous intolerable efforts, but it also represented her returning back to a creative
well that's been dry for years.This
movie was mercifully short at 90 minutes, but it often felt like 90
minutes too much during my screening of it.
was one of the dumbest films featuring smart people in front of and behind
the camera that I saw not only in 2016, but perhaps in the last several
years.It's the third film in the Robert Langdom cinematic universe of
films - based on the massively popular novels penned by Dan Brown - and it
just happens to be its dopiest.
I was in
a state of toleration for the introductory Langdom film, THE
DA VINCI CODE, but found myself in driven to head shaking
incredulity with the wrongheaded awfulness of its follow-up. ANGELS
achieved the dubious honor of being even more laughably preposterous than
its predecessor, and perhaps committed the largest indefensible sin of all
by rendering star Tom Hanks - one of our greatest actors - into an
exposition dispensing machine.The
sleep and giggle inducing blandness that tainted this frankly exhausted
franchise was staggering, but it's all the more shocking that the typically
assured and confident Ron Howard was at the directorial helm of it all.INFERNO is not on the worst film of his long career, but it's also
one of the most insipidly produced films of the year that was.
If I were going to teach a movie studies class on how not to
make a sequel then MECHANIC: RESURRECTION would be at the absolute top of
One of the central baffling mysteries of this film is the fact that
someone out there legitimately felt that the general filmgoing public was
ravenously clamoring for a follow-up entry to the 2011
pondering why a studio - or any studio for that matter - would
enthusiastically green light this completely unnecessary sequel is beyond
me, but the script for MECHANIC: RESURRECTION was so assaultive to the
collective intelligence of its viewers in its attempts to turn this
franchise into a lame duck James Bond clone.Don't get me wrong...I love me some Jason Statham and have largely
been an apologist of his work for years, but I was in a far less forgiving
mood while watching this tedious watching checking bore of an action
thriller.That, and the
manner that the screenwriters used real world social strife as a
simplistic plot device to drive the idiocy of this film's story forward
was patently offensive.
RIDE ALONG 2 is not a movie.It's
barely a movie.It contains a
premise as flimsy as they come and is so mournfully bland and derivative
that I felt like getting out of my theater chair while watching it to
reach out at the screen and check for the pulses for those starring in it
to see if they were actually alive.
Not only is RIDE ALONG 2 a movie that was pathetically dead on
arrival, but it's a sequel that didn't have a kernel of modest
originality to it, opting for repetitious copying of the previous film's
formula and premise as opposed to doing something fresh and novel with it.Even though this was a monumentally embarrassing comedy for all
involved, I do get why it was made.The first film earned well over a hundred million dollars on a modest
$25 million budget.This sequel grossed well over one hundred million dollars as
well.That means RIDE ALONG 3
will frighteningly become a reality.
Be afraid...be very afraid.
me discuss some of my picks from above...
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.
NEGLIGIBLE FILMS OF 2016
MASTERMINDS:From the director of NAPOLEON
DYNAMITE came this criminally
unfunny mess of a comedy that squandered an exceptional group of
YOU SEE ME TO: A
charm-free sequel that was more unintentionally giggle inducing
could a film starring the likes of Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds,
Gary Oldman, and Tommy Lee Jones be so eminently dull and wasteful?
DIVERGENT SERIES - ALLEGIANT: This
third entry in the monumentally disposable and forgettable
dystopian young adult sci-fi series did little to improve upon the
sins of its predecessors.
look! Another remarkably disposable and forgettable young
adult sci-fi film.
everyone.This latest video game to movie adaptation did little to
improve the long suffering genre.
LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK:Ang
Lee's latest effort pushed the boundaries of movie making technology
without ever really pushing the boundaries of storytelling.
Mortensen's performance was top notch, but this dysfunctional
family drama lacked nerve in dealing with its compelling themes.
GIRL ON THE TRAIN:A
beyond obvious and desperate attempt to be this past fall's GONE
BABY GONE, but with far less evocative direction,
intriguing scripting, and enthralling performances.
ambitious and decently acted remake of a remake of a
remake that stumbled out of the gate just when it was generating
some serious momentum.
another remake from the year that was that benefited from an
exceptionally assembled cast that never found a way
to subvert and improve upon the original.
THE KILLING JOKE:This
R-rated animated adaptation of one of the greatest Batman graphic
novels of all time was mostly faithful to the source material, but
made some abysmally foolish additions to it.
thriller with an intriguing premise, but no idea how to pay it off
handsomely in the end.
long awaited return of star Matt Daman and director Paul
Greengrass to this storied franchise netted surprisingly
highly rare Steven Spielberg misfire - also from the writer of E.T.
- THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL - that seemed like it was working overtime
to make me care about its underlining story.
of the most bizarre films of 2016 benefited by two very game and
thankless performances, but its rampant weirdness held me at
a cold distance.
positive why remaking an iconic and cherished comedy classic is
never really a solid idea.
STATE OF JONES:A
noble minded and well intentioned Civil War era drama that lacked
shark attack thriller that began promisingly, but devolved
rather quickly with its lackluster execution in the latter
romance drama contained decent lead performances, but its handling
of themes regarding the plight of disabled people was
third film in the robustly assured X-MEN reboot film series was
easily its weakest entry.