I see a lot of bad movies a year. It comes with the territory of being a manic compulsive when it comes to what’s playing in the local (and not so local) cinema each week. I could give you the whole “I’ve seen C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate…” speech but you won’t care. Luckily for me and I guess you is that this was a pretty exceptional year for film by volume and I decided to do the worst list a little different this year. There is tons of movies I could write about but most I never want to think of again as they are not worthy of remark, try as I might. These five movies are bad, sure, but mostly represent what I find the most appalling when being disappointed by a movie. Journey into my mind’s eye for THE WORST OF 2014.
5. SEX TAPE
I like almost everyone involved in this. I love Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz. I love the writers who gave me FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and FIVE YEAR ENGAGEMENT. I think the director is a-okay who gave us THE TELEVISION SET and came up in the Apatow regime. The worst player in all this is Rob Cordry and not even he can be blamed for this. It’s a failure on all levels made worse for the fact that everyone involved should have made this far more tolerable than it was. Maybe that’s what it’s downfall was. Everyone just trusted each other too much and didn’t speak up at the critical moments. In this, a couple makes a sex tape on their iPad and it syncs with all the iPads they just gave away to people because the husband always upgrades to the new iPad whenever it comes out, and has amassed a collection. Watch this movie right after SELMA and see how much of your own material possessions you end up breaking afterwards. It’s hard sitting through something bad. It’s harder when you keep expecting it to turn a corner at any second and it never comes.
4. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
The 80’s was the greatest decade for entertainment that there will ever be. I don’t blame the industry for going back to it forever more when it tries to make hits. But they must answer for when they make something without knowing one iota of why it was popular in the first place. Congratulations, you got the color scheme correct and the basic boxes of which turtle fills which role in the spectrum of alpha males. That’s pretty much it. Just ‘roid them up, make everything look like a monster truck, throw in hot babes and flames now you have Michael Bay’s turtles. The new ROBOCOP is also awful for different reasons but still doesn’t understand what works about it’s source material. But this one had rapey farting turtles that learn ninjitsu from a pamphlet so it wins over poor Robo. I hear tell that the current TMNT cartoon on Nickelodeon is good, but I still fear that when the kids refer to what’s lean, green, and on the screen, they will look to this mish mash of fireballs and car wash greeting card jokes as the end all be all.
3. DIVERGENT/THE GIVER/THE HUNGER GAMES 3: MOCKINGBIRDS – PART 1
These are all the same movie, and for some reason kids think this is the greatest thing ever. So when it comes time to make the movie, actual good filmmakers can’t change things for the better because of the whining that will amplify with the power of the internet, so they must adhere to limp dick young adult grab assing as they nod in approval “Yes, good. Just as my diary willed it to be.” And who are the parents that actually join in on these things? It used to be that kids used to follow what PARENTS did. Not the other way around! This is why the ABC series COACH was the number 1 show among third graders at Fremont Elementary when I was a kid. Because mom and dad dictated what media was seen. Stop trying to relate to you children. What they like is mostly awful and your ringtones are embarrassing everyone. Anyway, since one of these awful movies became one of the top ten highest grossing films of all time, now they all have to look and feel like each other. Burlap clothing. Monolithic buildings. Ruins of a post apocalyptic city. A sorting of personalities that are all vaguely patronizing and scientology like. The same story over and over with no stakes and starring plastic children who can’t act and a-list adults that are slumming it for their children for the same reasons I mentioned above. I can’t wait til this fad dies.
2. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
Someone once paraphrased “People are good, and worth fighting for”. I agree with the second part. Nothing makes me disappointed in a person more than when they out of the blue quote FAMILY GUY or proclaim anything resembling positive feelings towards the movie TED. A previous worst list alumnus. I’m silently and not so silently judging each and every one of you this applies to. Seth MacFarlane is kind of the anti-Richard Linklater in that he will always have a place on this worst list and his name is more of a promise of garbage quality that has never ever wavered. This one is especially bad because instead of the tired stock accents he usually gives to some outrageous cartoon character, he decided to be the star in a comedy western full of racist, sexist, toilet jokes that fly out of nowhere and made more awkward when it falls flat to an audience and we hear that painful silence or even worse yet, when one of you animals actually laughs at this stuff. Luckily, this one flopped, proving that you mouth breathing dolts can’t even get to a theater without a cursing cartoon animal in the tv ads telling you to come. Disgraceful. The funnier part of this whole ordeal is that Seth MacFarlane actually wrote this as a novel before the movie came out. How a joke like “And then Jamie Foxx shows up” would play out in text, I don’t know. Fortunately, I don’t have to read that and his fans can’t read, so we all win.
Christopher Nolan changed the Hollywood blockbuster for awhile after DARK KNIGHT because he found a good take on something that’s been done to death. He’s since proven to be quite boring and a bit of a fluke director. NOW IMAGINE SOMEONE TRYING TO COPY THIS. Imagine being so boring you have to take someone else’s boring style. This is what former Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister did when he made his first movie, TRANSCENDENCE from a screenplay that made me really depressed to think of how many other Nolan rip off scripts are out there floating around Hollywood like Matthew McCaughnahey and Anne Hathaway astronauts, searching for someone greedy and stupid enough to make them. Well, this one got past and Wally doesn’t want to be a DP anymore, and he someone got an A-List cast together to make a movie that belongs on Showtime at 3am with some softcore sex scenes to spice it up. It’s so horrendously bad, that you’re left there shocked at why anyone would say yes to it. So bad that its just boring enough for your brain to turn to much and just awful enough for you to not fall asleep at how boring it is. It’s like CIA torture. I’ve never seen a movie like it before and it may be the worst big budget movie I’ve ever seen if you didn’t count it being unfunny and racist and stupid like TRANSFROMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN or the Star Wars prequels. It’s a movie so bad, it didn’t need a franchise to ruin. I hope you never become curious enough to see what I’m talking about.
SOON! Top 25 of the year in two parts like your precious book adaptations!