Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Worst Movies of 2016

Image courtesy of Invincible Pictures.
It's going to be about a week-and-a-half before I have my best movies of the year list put together as there are at least five major films I need to see between now and December 28. However, it's never too early to part ways with the worst movies of the year, so below you'll find my list of the 10 worst pictures of 2016.

Are the films I've listed really as bad as all that, you might ask. Perhaps you've run across a review somewhere on the world wide web that has positive things to say about any of them. In the famed words of Robert Christgau, "I dare you to spend money to find out who's right."

10. The Brothers Grimsby- The gags mostly fell flat in this Sacha Baron Cohen comedy, so the filmmakers attempted to make up for that by including grotesqueries so outlandish that they'd make John Waters run for the exit. Reviewed here.

9. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies- With a title so ridiculous as that (yes, I'm aware it's based on a novel), it can't be that bad, right? There's a clever satire hidden somewhere in there, correct? Answer: no. Reviewed here.

8. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie- Although I never watched it religiously, the popular British TV show starring Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley was clever and funny. Sadly, this obvious cash-grab way past its prime is neither.

7. Warcraft- Duncan Jones, the talented director of "Moon," took a catastrophic detour with this mostly miserable adaptation of the popular video game. The picture was overflowing with special effects and bad dialogue, but was noticeably short on purpose.

6. Suicide Squad- It was a pretty mediocre summer for blockbusters and David Ayers' overstuffed comic book adaptation was a clunkily assembled hodgepodge that never settled on a dominating tone and featured more groan inducing sequences than any other film of its type during the season. Reviewed here.

5. Careful What You Wish For- One of the year's most appropriately titled movies, this corny romantic thriller featured Nick Jonas as a young man getting caught up in a "Double Indemnity" situation with an older woman. When not being completely ludicrous, the picture was busy dropping absurd plot twists.

4. The Forest- Gus Van Sant's "The Sea of Trees" was panned by critics and, although certainly not one of his better films, it couldn't hold a candle to "The Forest," which was also set in Japan's notorious Aokigahara forest, which is reportedly one of the world's top suicide spots. The movie may prompt a similar response. Reviewed here.

3. The Greasy Strangler- Boasting two funny scenes (one involving a free drink and the other the pronunciation of a word), "The Greasy Strangler" is of the type that somebody somewhere thought would be a midnight movie sensation of the "Pink Flamingos" variety. That person was, most likely, the filmmaker. The film aims to be visually disgusting and it mostly is. It's also monotonous, repetitive and, although only just north of 90 minutes, punishingly long.

2. Dirty Grandpa- It pains me to put any movie starring the great Robert De Niro this high on a worst-of list, but seriously: it's that bad. "Dirty Grandpa" is another in a long line of films where elderly people with perverted, foul mouths are supposed to instantaneously lead to nonstop hilarity. With its unrelenting un-P.C.-ness, it's the perfect movie to encapsulate the rise of Donald Trump. That's not a compliment. Reviewed here.

1. Yoga Hosers- Kevin Smith, once a great writer of low budget comedies ("Clerks" and "Chasing Amy") is now officially in the club of directors in need of a career intervention, although his three prior movies were no great shakes either. Past filmmakers to join the club include Eli Roth, whose "Knock Knock" was my worst movie last year, and M. Night Shyamalan, whose "The Last Airbender" ranked last in 2010. But Smith's latest is a major bomb. It's unfunny, juvenile, pointless and features little to no actual conflict. "Yoga Hosers" is apparently the second in a trilogy of horror movies set in Canada and that feels something like a threat. My suggestion is that he abandon it immediately.

But that's not all. Some of other films that I could have done without in 2016 include: Peter Greenaway's "Eisenstein in Guanajuato," the silly thriller "Mojave," the even sillier horror movie "The Darkness," Michael Bay's ridiculous Benghazi drama "13 Hours," Ben Stiller's unnecessary sequel "Zoolander 2," the typically reliable Nicolas Winding Refn's disappointing "The Neon Demon," cynical cash-ins "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" and "The Huntsman: Winter's War," the overrated "Hardcore Henry" and "Independence Day: Resurgence."

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