Monday, January 2, 2017

Worst Films of 2016

2016 absolutely sucked. No question about it. The year was riddled with an endless amount of major celebrity deaths, starting on the very first day with the loss of famed cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond to mere hours before the ball dropped in NYC on December 31 with the passing of M*A*S*H actor William Christopher. The United States of America suffered through a consistently jaw-dropping political race, leading right up to a controversial election day that saw everyone in the nation lose a great sense of optimism. The Summer Olympics was plagued by poverty, rampant filth, and a dangerous new virus affecting women. Doom and gloom was the main course every day, with a disgusting slice of hate speech on the side. But we could find some comfort at the movies this year, right?

For the most part, a definite yes. However, you had to wade through some big steaming piles of crap. Numerous triple-A misfires gloriously bombed at the box office, with the most consistent example being sequels to once popular films that no one asked to see more of. Warner Bros. and DC Comics did everything in their power to make their cash cow Batman into persona non grata thanks to two awful flicks. Nate Parker and his passion project went from "must see" to "skip it" due to his icky past, his stubborn attitude towards interviewers, and the film being totally overrated. Book adaptations of seemingly every kind, from Nicholas Sparks to YA to "humorous" re-tellings of classics, all were rejected. Several December releases were roundly lambasted for their misleading trailers and despicable storytelling. Even Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest directors of all time, suffered from audience apathy. But hey, at least the wave of Christian crap is finally drying up.

From all of this failure, I was able to drum up twenty "lucky" losers: The as-mentioned films where the Caped Crusader became an unlikable asshole; Cult auteurs who spent more time pimping out their loved ones than on the actual films themselves; Two unwanted spoof movies anchored by less-than-pleasing African American performers; Two films made by and/or featuring internet personalities with limited commercial appeal in the real world; And so much more.

These are the films I have deemed the worst of 2016.

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. Norm Of The North

I still can't give over it: a talking and dancing polar bear is being used to sell condos in the Arctic. The first animated film to be officially named the very worst of the year, this was the true low light of an otherwise stellar year in animation.

2. Meet The Blacks

First rule of spoof movies: let the audience be fully aware of exactly what you're spoofing in the title of the film. This bizarre imitation of The Purge should be in textbooks on how not to make a film. Piss-poor acting all around, a severe lack of spacial understanding, scene transitions that don't make any sense, overstuffing every scene with one-liners to the point of ADRing them in, characters getting killed and coming back to life, one and done cameos, endless drops of the "n" word for no reason, and numerous endings that would make Return Of The King look very good. I have more respect for Marlon Wayans after seeing this turd.

3. Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice

I don't want to harp too much on this calamity because we've all been laughing at it since the Thursday night screenings back in February. I'll leave with its greatest hits: The Waynes getting shot again, Batman killing people, Superman speaking only 43 times in a two and half hour movie, dopey looking Aquaman, a jar full of piss, and "Martha?!"

4. Batman: The Killing Joke

Adapting an infamous Batman story that doesn't really hold up well nowadays with a mediocre-at-best animation style is one thing. Padding out the film with new material that turns Batgirl into a complete shell of herself and including a distasteful sex scene and gay best friend character is something else. For shame, Bruce Timm, Brian Azzarello, and the rest at DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation.

5. 31

Take The Running Man, replace Arnold with the director's wife, have all of the actors swear up a storm, and have all of the violent scenes filmed with a shaky camera, bathed either with a low lighting scheme or directly under a strobe light, and then edit it all nonsensically on the computer. There you have the latest disasterpiece from Rob Zombie.

6. Internet Famous

Internet network conglomerate Maker Studios thought they could get away with photocopying Best In Show and filling it with YouTube and Vine people that no real American gives two shits about, nor are willing to give them a chance at real stardom. But memes are so great and last forever like New Coke, right?

7. Zoolander 2

Ben Stiller made a sequel to his 2001 cult gem and thought it would be wise to reprise all of the same jokes, liter it all with pointless cameos, and turn it into a global adventure film in the veins of Dan Brown instead, you know, a real comedy.

8. Fifty Shades Of Black

Marlon Wayans once again makes it into the loser's circle with his awful attempt to mock something everyone has already mocked since its inception. But you see with this movie, Wayans can use a ton of racial epithets and equal S&M with horrific acts perpetuated by or acted upon African Americans. That makes it totally worthy to be made.

9. The Young Messiah

Two and half hours just for Joseph and Mary to stop being total complete idiots and tell their wooden-faced kid that he is the son of God. The most boring film of the year.

10. Cell

Another terrible Stephen King book-to-film adaptation to add to the fire, which actually had King co-writing the script. Secretly released this year to avoid publicity, this future "so bad it's good" film features a bored John Cusack fighting his way through killer cell phones and raging zombies who are all psychically connected and literally belt out "Trololo" by Eduard Khil from their mouths at night. Further low lights include black barred opening credits, unlistenable audio, choppy editing, laughable CGI, pointless characters, and a scene where Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson drive through a humongous pile of laying zombies with a gasoline-spewing truck and then lighting them up. I wanted to put it lower due to how much I was "enjoying" it but it really does need to exalted for all of its missteps.


11. Lights Out

I really wanted to have this in my Top Ten, as this low budget horror flick had me fuming out the ears. This j-horror ripoff squandered an easy premise thanks to an awful script and a seriously dreadful ending. However, it was saved from the top echelon of badness by a committed performance by Maria Bello.

12. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Burr Steers blunders this wannabe horror-comedy by wasting the talents of the cast (save for Matt Smith), filming without discretion or competence, and skewing away from the "original" book. This makes three for three for bad movies involving Seth Grahame-Smith. I pray to the lords above that Lego Batman doesn't continue the streak.

13. Yoga Hosers

Despite the surprising chemistry and effort by its two female leads, it doesn't excuse the sheer fact that this unfunny comedy by Kevin Smith was designed to make his and Johnny Depp's daughters into stars and unleash a torrent of jokes about Canada and mini bratwurst Nazis.

14. Kindergarten Cop 2

Dolph Lundgren had no chance to save this 26 years in the making sequel to a beloved comedy. From the main character not actually being a cop (he's a F.B.I. AGENT!), to the sets being your local elementary school and library, to the queasy romance between a 59-year-old action star and a 29-year-old actress, there's a lot to shake your head at. You especially can't trust it being any good once you learn its director has three first names (Don Michael Paul).

15. Max Steel

No one was nostalgic for Hasbro's roided-up superspy from the 90's, let alone the character's animated revamp from three years ago. DOA in theaters, where it barely lasted two weeks, this was best suited to premiere and air constantly on Cartoon Network. If Taylor Lautner was still attached to the project, this may have been higher up the list.

16. Weiner-Dog

Why bother crafting an even more twisted take of Au Hasard Balthazar, switching out the donkey for a dachshund, when Todd Solondz can just staple together some random stories of human misery and rant about those damn millennials?

17. The Boss

Melissa McCarthy did not have a great year. Part of that stems from this pathetic passion project, where she and her husband thought that viewers would absolutely love a horrid mixture of Suze Orman and Martha Stewart.

18. Ratchet & Clank

Of the two major video game adaptations last year, this was the only one I saw in theaters. Unfortunately, my love for the combative Lombax and his sly robot buddy couldn't overcome the pathetic direction by Kevin Munroe.

19. Lazer Team

Rooster Teeth may have given us some popular web series but they certainly can't make it in film. Littered with unflinching brotastic humor, this sci-fi comedy was one of the heavily hyped titles of the brand new streaming service YouTube Red. But like that platform, no one really wanted to pay for something so stupid and throwaway.

20. The Jungle Book

Another year, another big budgeted Disney film to end up in the dreaded #20 slot. This time, however, the movie was acclaimed and made lots of money. It may feature groundbreaking special effects but this flat, pointless re-imagination of the beloved Disney animated flick had me squirming in my seat. Having a dreadful kid actor furthered made it a sour experience.

Next Up: The Best Films of 2016

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