Friday, December 30, 2016

The 10 Worst Movies Of 2016

Per annual tradition at this point, my Best Movies Of 2016 list won't be up until late January because I live out in the no-man's-land of Texas where it takes an eternity for numerous limited release movies released in the last few weeks of 2016 to come to a theater near me. As compensation for that list taking a month later to be released than every other critic on the planet however, I am also giving you my 10 Worst Movies Of 2016 list right on time before the New Year's Eve ball drops!

There were plenty of big duds this year to look over, so we better hit the ground running, but before we get started, here are 6 Not So Honorable Mentions that just barely missed being on this list.

They are ranked from "best" to worst:
Me Him Her
Collateral Beauty
Shut In
The Darkness
The Hollars

Now then! Onto the ten worst movies of 2016!
10. Nine Lives
It's been made fun of to death on the internet and I suggest to those who haven't seen Nine Lives that they should just stick to mocking the trailers on the internet because it's really just a monotonous slog. There's one or two scenes that are baffling in their overt badness (the climax involves Spacey as a cat trying to prevent his son from committing suicide) but it's mostly just generic kids movie fodder shot in overly bright lighting that, combined with Spacey doing hastily dubbed over voiceover for the main feline, makes the whole production seem so cheap. Couldn't they have at least gotten a cute cat to star in this movie? That would have maybe made the running time 2.34% more bearable.
9. Yoga Hosers
Kevin Smith's last two movies (Red State and Tusk) were heavily imperfect but at least quite different motion picture efforts from the 90's indie scene filmmaker. Any sense of ambition is removed from Yoga Hosers, is awash in both one-note Canadian stereotypes and equally shallow teen girl stereotypes in equal measure. Johnny Depp is also around just to show you how far the mighty have fallen in this woe-be-gotten comedy that has about as many laughs as a puppy funeral. Weirdness itself just isn't funny and Yoga Hosers isn't even all that weird, it's just a pathetic attempt at comedy.
8. The Do-Over
Anyone hoping Adam Sandler would make a comeback with his Netflix movies has probably long since shot and buried those aspirations. The Do-Over is Sandler's second movie with Netflix, but it doesn't matter where it aired, it's his typical pile of garbage, one that drags poor Paula Patton down with it solely so lead actor David Spade can have a "hilarious" scene where he beats her up at the end. An overly convoluted plot and plenty of anemically executed comedic sequences precede this moment. It's a poorly directed disaster with no sense of pacing, comedic rhythm or anything of value.
7. Suicide Squad
It's really saying something that this turgid David Ayer movie is somehow not the worst live-action DC Comics movie of 2016. But Suicide Squad is still an atrocious calamity, especially when it comes to creating any semblance of a story structure. Character introductions make up 95% of the dialogue and the rest the dialogue is drowned out by the annoyingly pervasive and generic soundtrack. Plus, you get Harley Quinn stuck in an obviously abusive relationship that the movie tries to pass off as something adorable and legitimately romantic, which just adds a layer of disturbing ickiness on a movie that's already exceedingly off-putting. But at least we got Slipknot out of it, the best movie character of 2016!
6. The 5th Wave
Is this really the best we can offer Chloe Grace Moretz as an actor? Ugh. Hopefully she and Elle Fanning (the latter of whom has had a way more successful year) can do some kind of cool buddy cop movie in the future or something cause she deserves way better than The 5th Wave, an exceedingly dumb science-fiction movie that's bad even by the standards of anemic YA-novel film adaptations. Anyone looking for even a semblance of suspense or intrigue can look elsewhere as The 5th Wave is far more interested in stupid plot twists and sapping its various characters of any kind of charm or personality. To boot, it gets a cliffhanger ending that promises further adventures that will both never come and no one on this planet wants to see. Those middling Maze Runner movies look positively riveting compared to this dreck.
5. Independence Day: Resurgence 
I'm the guy who'll defend 2012 and even I thought Independence Day: Resurgence was a big o'l pile of garbage. That should be enough daming praise on its own but there's oh so much to critique about this atrocity. Primarily, it's noteworthy how it lacks the large-scale destruction sequences that are the only reason most people even go to a Roland Emmerich disaster movie in the first place. After a 4-minute long (at most) montage of some buildings we've never seen before going boom, both the audience and the characters are stuck in a drab looking bunker for much of the middle of the movie as everyone waits for a climax that's a pathetic retread of the far superior first movie to get going. Even worse, all of the new characters are as forgettable as they come, particularly Liam Hemsworth's protagonist character who has no defining personality traits whatsoever. Suicide Squad was a full-blown disaster too, yet, somehow, Will Smith picked a better movie to star in this summer by passing on the chance to headline this pitiful Independence Day follow-up.
4. Norm Of The North
This one had a trailer that became an understandable go-to punching bag due to how awful it was, and, what do you know, that trailer was at least accurate for how true it was to the quality of the movie it was promoting. Norm Of The North is an awful movie that combines all of the worst qualities of the most dismal American computer-animated movies (pointless celebrity voice-overs, bathroom humor, poor character designs) and rolls them up into one big Rob Schneider headlined disaster. If you ever wanted to hear renowned actor Bill Nighy utter the word "twerking", well, have I got a film for you.
3. Knight Of Cups
One day, I hope Terrence Malick's motion pictures work their magic on me the way they have for so many. I completely understand that countless individuals find his works stunning and emotionally gripping....but good God, I just could not get into his newest narrative work. Knight Of Cups is a full-blown atrocity, one where the directors recurring traits (so....many....whispered....voice-overs) don't just devolve into self-parody, they go far beyond that threshold. Terrence Malick's tale of woe and depression is a repetitive disaster with nothing to say and even less to show off; Malick now resorts to a GoPro camera to show off shots of dingy L.A. sidewalks that means it doesn't even carry the majestic quality that elevated the heavily flawed The Tree Of Life. Knight Of Cups is torturously repetitive by the end of its first scene, and by the time it's finally finally finally over, its monotonous nature is so painful to endure it feels tantamount to a war crime. Despite its grandiloquent atmosphere, Knight Of Cups has nothing to say and even less to offer its audience to ponder beyond how the hell so many good actors thought this was a project worth investing time in.
2. Fifty Shades Of Black
One of the most awkward experiences of my life came a third of the way through my screen Fifty Shades Of Black. It was Friday morning, I was sitting alone in an a big-is auditorium watching this calamity play out in front of me, and then the manager of the theater comes in, sits down and watches the movie for a bit. She doesn't stay long but she leaves after 10-ish minutes or so. Oh how I wish I had followed suit and left that torturously unfunny movie. I've been told Fifty Shades Of Black is a comedy but how can that be when it's utterly bereft of any sort of laughs? Way too many unfunny jokes go on forever and a day while similarly laugh-free vulgarity suffocates the viewer.
1. Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice 
Back in March 2011, I saw Sucker Punch, my very first time seeing a Zack Snyder film on the big screen. What I witnessed that fateful day was one of the worst motion pictures I've ever had the displeasure of seeing, an incoherent ugly looking movie with both visual stylings and story elements stolen wholesale from other films. Five years later, Zack Snyder retains those kind of elements in Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and manages to add in some new awful elements for good measure. Prepare for a 150+ minute journey into Zack Snyder's unrestrained id, where a grey color palette looms large, violent things happen just to come across as edgy and nothing fun, interesting or dramatically compelling occurs whatsoever. By the time it was all over, only a Don McLean lyric can sum up my feelings thusly: "My hands were clenched in fists of rage".

It would take countless articles to comb over all that goes wrong in this cataclysm, but the biggest issues remain in the plot, which is nonexistent to a shocking degree. Someone decided they needed to make a movie about Batman fighting Superman but no one could come up with sufficient motivation for that to occur. So the running time is just filled incoherency, like an appearance by The Flash that makes no sense to both comic book geeks and casual moviegoers or Superman's whole crisis of faith (I think that's what happened?) that just makes him look petty instead of relatable. Ben Affleck's Batman is a total snooze, the action sequences are dismally filmed, Jesse Eisenberg is doing a performance as Lex Luthor that doesn't fit at all in the movie he's in, it's all just a mess and not even one that's entertaining to watch. So many talented people and fictional characters I love are utilized in this film all in the service of absolute garbage. God help us all if Zack Snyder (the big-budget equivalent to Neil Breen if Breen's movies weren't fascinatingly incompetent) makes a film even half this awful with Justice League next year. For now though, Batman v . Superman: Dawn Of Justice is a miserable experience that manages the incredible feat of both wasting Amy Adams and all that is good about movies.

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