Monday, January 4, 2016

Worst Films of 2015

Even though I wasn't really paying attention to it as much nor did I let it affect me, 2015 was a pretty bad year for film. The summer was besieged with many flat-out failures and box office bombs, ranging from franchise non-starters, to reboot non-starters, to another movie featuring a clearly bored Adam Sandler. Attendance plummeted, tickets sharply rose, and 3D continued to be shoved down our throats. Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox were in the red thanks to a ton of money losers. Fantastic Four now lives in infamy due to the intense squabbling behind the scenes, immediate internet reception and plainly just how badly it performed in theaters. The month of October was historic for how all of its new releases were badly received by the general public. Nobody in their right mind wanted to see Peter Pan singing "Smells Like Teen Spirit", another try at glorifying a niche popular figure, a vanity project for Vin Diesel, a dumb Bill Murray vehicle, a horror franchise on its last legs and banned from the majority of theater chains, a zombie-comedy that also was largely banned, and an adaptation of an 80's girl property where everything that made it popular was stripped away. And because of these giants holes left by the fiascos throughout the year, Christian crap fitted themselves into the landscape again and sadly earned some money.

Even the elite were not spared from the suffering. Pixar, one of the rare film companies to thrive on a long streak of success, had their very first out-and-out disappointment. Many of the new triple-A feature films from acclaimed auteurs all floundered with audiences or weren't as glowingly received by critics as expected. The few that were able to survive were fundamentally standard movie fare and/or have many notable problems, including the dreaded use of white-washing. This high drama among the failed important dramas has impacted all awards talk: Currently, we are mere weeks away from the Oscar nominations and there is no clear overall favorites, with critics and audiences, that will be the sure-fire top pick. Maybe the jaded and elderly voting body could look to the more fantastical side of movies for inspiration, wink wink.

From all of this failure, I was able to drum up twenty "lucky" losers: A film funded by immoral officials in order to make them look like saints; White people playing Asian characters or saving Asians from their own plight; Remakes of films no one wanted or requested; Visionary directors that made a grave mistake in artistic judgment; Further examples of the art of the spoof being stomped on; Two with Adam Sandler in the lead role; And so much more.

These are the films I have deemed the worst of 2015.

Now comes the usual disclaimer that everyone forgets to remember: This list is of my own opinion, not the general public nor the Internet consensus. If I didn't see the film at all or in its entirety, it isn't counted or considered to be included.


1. Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser

I have no guilt in my heart for my continued enjoyment of the movie Joe Dirt. However, the goofy cult film really, really did not deserve to have a sequel, let alone a sequel that comes out 14 years after the fact and exclusive to the worst online streaming service available. David Spade and director/co-writer Fred Wolf crafted a film that is nil on laughs and absolute nil on budget. They blended Wizard of Oz with Back to the Future and It's a Wonderful Life to spin an atrocious tale that features time travel and an "it was all a dream" resolution. Scenes are shot in ugly locations, stock footage and still pictures are used ubiquitously, call-backs are thrown in alongside internet memes, and all the cameos are positively weary and don't give two licks at the bungled up ret-cons they're help making. This isn't a garden, Joe Dirt, and I shall not dig it.

2. The Walking Deceased

A dreadful spoof movie not helmed by Friedberg and Seltzer (more on them later), this zom-com wannabe is undermined by its lack of foresight in the simple task of making a film. It looks like a home movie directed by your dad and written by your filthy younger brother, who thinks jokes about rape, the Holocaust, and masturbating next to an underage girl is comedy gold. And to spoil its ending, largely so you don't even think about watching this, it ends with the zombies being cured by being splashed with regular old water. Leave this corpse to lie in its own muck.

3. United Passions

It's a soccer movie where the focus is entirely on the executives and how they gained advertisers and engaged in not-at-all corrupt dealings and elections. The absolute worst modern propaganda picture this side of North Korea, this attempt at showing the "rich" history of FIFA fails in every department. Too bad the FBI couldn't see it in theaters the very week before it started rounding up several of FIFA's top heads.

4. The Human Centipede 3 (Full Sequence)

Tom Six can crawl back under the rock that he came from, both for this horrible final entry in his sick franchise and for the terrible acting skills he displays in it. Nothing but people constantly screaming and pathetic shock value. A wormeater, through and through.

5. Outcast

How can a resident stunt coordinator with no directorial experience or talent make an action movie even more worse? Hire Hayden Christensen as the lead, let Nicolas Cage do whatever he wants to, and make the story about how some white guy saved China.

6. The Ridiculous 6

Coming in at its most appropriate spot through sheer luck (I swear), this Netflix exclusive film showed that there is no where to go than up for the Netflix-Happy Madison deal. Not as bad as Seth MacFarlane's western bomb but it's still two hours of Adam Sandler and his idiot buddies farting around.

7. Aloha

Cameron Crowe delivered what had to been my favorite bad movie experience in theaters this year. From Emma Stone unwisely playing a Chinese-American, to the persistent appearance of Hawaiian ghosts, to the climax where something is destroyed by the power of MTV, this rom-com calamity was a blast to mock.

8. The Loft

This white-bread remake of a Belgian thriller no one has ever heard of thought that audiences would care for the plight of a group of philanders and the sticky, nonsensical plot that they are stuck in. Save for Matthias Schoenaerts, this was a total gobshite.

9. Terminator Genisys

Hopefully, despite China's reaction to it, this is the death knell for a franchise that has lost all of its considerable popularity. Paramount banked on an old action hero that is more of a joke now than as an actor, two young leads who are wooden beyond belief, and a story where Facebook crossed with Siri is the main baddie, only to find themselves out of touch with modern tastes.

10. The Gallows

Bad found footage horror films strike again with this low budget loser. Largely filmed by what has to be the worst teen character ever made, a group of young idiots get locked inside the school the night before a big play and deservedly get noosed by a hangman. A hangman that is totally real but somehow is also a ghost, yet had the time to create and live in a secret room within the school and set out to kill certain targets instead of the idiot carpenter that thought it was a good idea to create a real executing scaffold. Also, who in the hell was that first hanging body? Don't try to decipher it and don't rent this non-scary take on Glee. No, I'm not kidding about that last part.


11. Fifty Shades of Grey

To paraphrase Crow T. Robot, when sexy becomes boring. A great soundtrack and some refreshing Hollywood nudity can't save this slog of a book-to-film adaptation, ruled completely under the thumb of its original creator. The leads have no chemistry, the story is shallow and repetitive, and the whole damn thing ends before Act Three can officially start because a much-abused bottom didn't like to be spanked.

12. The Cobbler

If it wasn't for the lavish reception for Spotlight at the end of the year, writer-director Tom McCarthy's career could have been killed off completely thanks to this horrorshow of magic realism. This misguided NY tale has simple old cobbler Adam Sandler potentially raping a woman, nearly having sex with his own mother, and getting away with murder, all because he can walk in their own shoes, so to speak. Combine all that filth with some transphobia, negative slights towards blacks, and a true WTF ending and you have yourself a whopper of bad taste.

13. Strange Magic

George Lucas spent the majority of the year being a whiny curmudgeon, pissed off that his former ideas and creations were no longer under his control. Further drawing up his ire was the critical and public rejection of this absolute failure, of which he had a major part of. A terrible mash-up of way too old pop songs and regressive storytelling, this animated flick further showed Lucas' existence as a creatively bankrupt artist.

14. Do You Believe?

In the first five minutes of this crappy Christian film, the sole of the sort I was able to see this year, a character attempts suicide through Chinese food and an annoyingly precocious girl chats up with a creepy ex-con. At its conclusion, a pregnant teen fulfills her purpose by dying and giving the child to a barren couple and a man is brought back to life and completely cured of his leukemia. Despite featuring a shockingly good cast (save for the pipsqueak) and an impressive multi-car pile-up stunt, this religious tripe preaches the standard mean-spirited beats its genre relishes, all in the most boring fashion possible.

15. Superfast!

Friedberg and Seltzer return to their usual stepping grounds, as their new ill-timed and ill-made spoof movie failed to register with anyone beyond a Redbox. The singular focus on one franchise was nice but the sheer lack of laughs of any kind made it a dull affair.

16. Everly

Salma Hayek kicking ass and firing off guns while trapped in an apartment? Sounds good. Having a pitiful story that more often than not has her endure physical and sexual abuse? Sounds pretty bad.

17. Insidious: Chapter 3

This second sequel, but technically a prequel, to the surprise horror hit churns out an useless origins story that offers no insight into the mythos of "The Further" and spends the majority of its time having its best character be a complete wimp.

18. Poltergeist

When you think of the film Poltergeist, you think of CGI, a Diablo Cody-style of a script, jump scares that happen at a rapid pace, and a LCD television screen displaying static, right?

19. The Lazarus Effect

A tedious Flatlines rip-off that absurdly turns into a hodgepodge of better movies, never drawing a single thrill even with its short running time. I'm still waiting for that psychic Olivia Wilde vs. psychic dog showdown, though.

20. Tomorrowland

It's really sad that Brad Bird had to make it on to a "Worst of" list in any form but all's fair in the world of film. The home invasion scene was great and the simulated one-shot was impressive but this movie was a colossal mess. Kids love to be yelled at by old people for not liking space exploration and science and they especially love seeing George Clooney have complicated romantic feelings with a little girl-sized android.

Next Up: The Best Films of 2015

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