Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Year's Worst Movies

There are a few notable 2014 movies that I've yet to see, but I'm pretty sure my garbage-detector is acute enough that the remaining films on my must-see list will, at worst, be disappointing rather than outright bad.  These are the ones that are the bottom of the barrel for the year, and if you like them, we may have to be reconsider our friendship.

See, 'disappointing' isn't the worst thing in the world for me.  I'm generally positive going into every movie I see, yet while I may expect something great and only get something good (or, even worse, meh), that's not necessarily enough to make my list.  I'm highlighting the movies that either were arrogantly striving for excellence or, even worse, assuming greatness and then getting smacked down like Icarus.  I'm highlighting the movies that aimed low and didn't even hit that benchmark.  I'm highlighting the movies that drown in their own pretension and create the stereotype of "artsy-fartsy films that Mark likes."  This is the true lowest of the low.  A piece of crap like Expendables 3 might waste my time but I knew what I was getting going into it.  These stinkers managed to either disappoint to a GREAT extent, or even sunk beneath my already-low expectations.

The dishonourable mention to #11 on my list, which was "Noah," a movie I found just flawed enough to properly write about.  Firstly, the rock-monster fallen angels, which was such a neat concept that I wish the entire movie had focused on that.  Secondly, the frustrating experience of watching a Darren Aronofsky film and knowing that there are some legitimately interesting ideas up there yet they're just not coming together in any kind of coherent way.  It is no surprise that Aronofsky's best film by far (The Wrestler) is the one that cuts out all of the artsy-fartsy horsecrap and just tells a straightforward story.  The basic idea here of Noah-as-genocidal-maniac and feeling that his role as extinguisher of the world extends to ALL humans is fascinating, as is the concept that humanity's love of its children is could be perceived as its fatal flaw.  There is just so much stupidity in this movie, however, that it overwhelms these plot points, which is saying something since these are about as big as Big Ideas get.  My friend Eric will be aghast that I found ten movies worse than Noah last year.

Onto the list!

10. The Gambler
Two hours of long, wordy, pseudo-intellectual naval-gazing speeches.  Some actors (John Goodman) can deliver them well.  Others (Mark Wahlberg) absolutely cannot.

9. Dumb and Dumber To
So, Harry hears from an old one-night stand (Kathleen Turner, whose career is just the  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ symbol at this point) that he has a long-lost daughter, and after meeting with Turner to get a letter from the daughter, he and Lloyd decide to go find her.  So the guys head off on a road trip, just like the first movie, yadda yadda yadda.  After about 10 minutes of screen time, they knock on a front door…and they're back at Kathleen Turner's house, as she exasperatedly tells them they followed the return address of an envelope.  There it is, the only legitimately amusing joke in the entire movie.  I just saved you two hours.

8. Monuments Men
Given the talent involved, you could argue that this one should be higher on sheer disappointment alone.

t6. Enemy
t6. The Double

Appropriately tied since they both cover the super-original and not-at-all overdone theme of the duality of man.  "The Double" is like a poor man's Terry Gilliam movie, and there are few things worse than bad Terry Gilliam.  "Enemy" has the WTF ending of the year, which isn't a compliment.

5. Bad Words
Imagine Bad Santa, except it's about Jason Bateman in a kids' spelling bee and not funny whatsoever.

4. Tammy
There's no such thing as middle ground with Melissa McCarthy, it's either a home run or a strikeout every time.  This film was the equivalent of striking out and accidentally letting go of the bat during your swing, and then the bat flies into the stands and hits Tom Hanks in the face.  (I spent five minutes thinking "who would be a good choice as a universally-respected celebrity" before deciding on Hanks.  This is about four more minutes than the writers devoted to Tammy's script.)

3. Let's Be Cops
I figured I would enjoy it since Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. are so funny on 'New Girl.'  I was sadly mistaken.

2. The Immigrant
Put it this way, Marion Cotillard is my favourite actress and I still thought this one was terrible.  I'm pretty sure this film was 17 hours long.

1. A Million Ways To Die In The West
A stunningly bad movie since it's played 85% straight.  If it'd just been a complete farce a la Family Guy, it would've still been pretty mediocre but at least good for a few laughs (or, even surprisingly watchable a la Ted).  Instead, however, you have Macfarlane actually trying to act, and even more inexplicably, trying to have an actual love story with Charlize Theron.  This was a complete misfire on every level.

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