If you listen to the wrong kind of people (cultural pessimists, that is), every year is the worst year in cinema, at least since the last one. But as we learned last year, high highs tend to come with low lows. In a year that saw the release of such instant classics as 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, and many more, there were also scads of terrible contributions to the greater world of movie-going. High highs, people, and low lows. Let’s try to make next year a little better, or at least let’s aim to populate it with satires that actually try to be funny, sequels that aren’t a disgrace to their franchise history, and nothing even remotely resembling inAPPropriate Comedy 2.
While there were certainly more than a mere thirteen bad movies that hit the big screen this year (and, yes, we’re more than eager to see your contributions in the comments), here are thirteen that stuck out to us in the most unforgettable of ways. We’ve come to bury them, and certainly not to praise them, so here are thirteen films that we’re giddily throwing in the grave.
A Good Day to Die Hard
I guess I should actually thank A Good Day to Die Hard for making it easy for my review to avoid accusations of fanboy stalwartness. You see, there hasn’t been a good Die Hard film in almost twenty years, but A Good Day to Die Hard is unsatisfied merely being an embarrassment to its franchise and instead aims for the lofty heights of basic filmmaking incompetence. A target they hit dead center with a resounding squishy plop.
Bruce Willis transforms from lovable put-upon hero-schlub into braying ugly American effortlessly; seriously, he is making no effort at all. Similarly intractable in his lack of appeal is McClane’s dick son Jack, played by Jai Courtney, presumably given dialogue solely to illustrate to the audience that he is in fact a living being and not a tower of cheese with eyes. The action sequences are excitement-proof, someone forgot to write a story, and the attention to bothersome details like removing stunt pads from frame…isn’t paid. To the franchise, one I have loved so well, I can only beseech that you not only Die Hard, but quickly and for good. -Brian Salisbury
Here’s how bad inAPPropriate Comedy is – it’s so bad, that I nearly forgot the film existed until it came time to pore over the year’s worst features to complete this list. I wanted to forget this film in the worst way possible. This ugly, nasty, racist, homophobic, sexist, and revolting attempt at shock humor fails in ever way imaginable – it doesn’t feel good and it sure as hell doesn’t look good. It’s shocking this thing was even made (truly – it went through years of edits). An interminable movie-going experience that doesn’t even work for “so bad it’s good” giggles, it is to be avoided at all costs. -Kate Erbland
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Lee Daniels‘ flagrant bid for awards glory fails in all the ways his previous films have failed – it’s cheesy, it’s messy, it’s broad, and it doesn’t contain a single emotion that rings true. Star Forest Whitaker is indeed solid as Cecil Gaines, but his role is ultimately reduced to a bland play on Forrest Gump - he doesn’t make the history, he’s simply a sieve for it. Co-star Oprah Winfrey is ruthlessly over-the-top and one note (screaming and heaving) as Mrs. Gaines, and the rest of the supporting cast is rounded out by half hammy impersonations (John Cusack, that is all) and somewhat canny turns that get lost in the mire. Even the true story element of this thing couldn’t save it, as Gaines’ “real life” story was made unnervingly fake by the addition of a subplot that tried to introduce the Civil Rights Movement in a vital way, but only felt shoehorned in. -KE