Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Top 20 Worst Films Of 2015

Time to air out the last of the dirty laundry as I delve into the Top 20 worst features I had to sit through last year. Why Top 20? Because how many Top 10 film lists have you seen with 10 'honourable mentions'? Might as well cut out the middle man if I’m going to do that. Just like last year, this list is comprised solely of theatrical releases: If it was released during the year through DVD, NetFlix or elsewhere on the Web, it doesn’t get counted. This is just reserved for the celluloid trash that the studios, in their infinite wisdom, decided was worthy of getting a proper release. These are my picks for the 20 worst films of 2015.

An incredibly dull sequel to an already dull original with considerably worse writing. Really, this is a pain to sit through primarily because you can actively see the filmmakers just struggling to come up with things for the characters to do. Also, bonus failure points for ripping off Fawlty Towers for a sub-plot, and a pretty damn weak sub-plot at that. I can only hope that this didn’t make enough return to warrant another sequel because, quite frankly, it was painful enough seeing this group of talented actors bomb on-screen the first time around, let alone the second or a potential third time.

Given how well this film’s comedy works out, this probably shouldn’t even be on this list. However, since it fails drama so badly on the other hand, it outweighs whatever good can be found here. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that an otherwise good film will be outdone on this list. Between how badly it handles cancer, platonic and non-platonic relationships, this is what the world thinks of whenever it hears the term "chick flick". It’s just too damn sugary for its own good.

Someone paid someone else with hookers and blow to bring this to theatres. With how unbelievably cheap everything looks and feels and even smells somehow, even considering its budget, there is no other excuse possible for how this film made it to screens at all. Watching it at home and openly making fun of it with friends over a few drinks? Now that I can understand and totally endorse; this is probably the only film on this list that I could reasonably recommend checking out for a cheap laugh.

An irritating and ultimately depressing experience of a so-called ‘comedy’. It so badly wanted to appeal to both younger and older audiences that, in the cross-fire, it feels like an extremely jumbled mess as a result. It’s rather sad when the overly extended gay joke that is Get Hard was more tolerable than this thing; at least that one let Will Ferrell be funny in a couple of scenes. Here, his weenie step-dad shtick gets really tired really fucking quickly.

This is easily the most baffling failure on this entire list. It had all the right pieces in place: Solid cast, a promising director, good writers, camera crew, editors, composers; how the hell did this turn out like this? It’s all done so ineptly that, if studio interference truly is to blame for how this trainwreck, then that might be the only thing about this film that makes sense. Rather than calling it ‘Fant-4-stic’ and endlessly mocking it like so many others have taken to doing, I can’t help but feel sorry for this film; it’s some kind of anti-miracle that this failed as badly as it did.

#15: Entourage

You know those annoying douchebags you always see at parties who you would cross continents to avoid talking to? Imagine a whole movie about them and that’s essentially what you’ve got here. What makes hanging out with these assholes even worse is that, between their agent Ari and the constant barrage of cameos, it kept reminding me of so many people and plots that I’d so much rather be dealing with. Unless someone actually makes a Hyde movie, I never want to hear from these clowns again.

10 kilos of nonsense in a 5 kilo bucket. Oh, and incredibly bad-looking CGI as well; can’t forget that.

I could legitimately just leave it at that and the reasoning is explained for me: A film so bad, even the people who made it already hate it. Usually, it takes a few good years of hindsight for that to happen. However, why this film is on my list at all isn’t for any of the obvious reasons. It isn’t the sexism or misrepresentation of BDSM or even how much it wastes a genuinely solid soundtrack. No, what really pisses me off about this film is that, through an unnecessary need to treat the already lame-brained source material seriously, the filmmakers robbed the public of what could have been one of the best worst movies of recent years. It’s a terrible film because it isn’t terrible enough.

#12: War Room

Pray the cheating husband away. It takes something special to outdo Fifty Shades in terms of misogyny; well, how about misrepresenting religious values at the same time as misrepresenting relationship values? Of course, unlike Fifty Shades, there’s no chance of this crossing that threshold into ‘enjoyable awful’: It’s too cheap in its production, too flimsy in its script and too toxic in its ideals for that to happen.

It’s the naivety of this film that really gets to me. Here, you have a film that keeps off-handedly making glib observations about family togetherness, homosexuality and depression. And yet, it hides behind the veneer of being an ‘innocent’ Christmas film on the off-chance that naysayers might think that there are better wars to be fighting in. There are few things more dangerous than blind idiocy, and it more than deserves to be brought to task. That, and it just isn’t funny and contains annoying characters.

#10: Pan

A PG-rated film should not make me think that I dropped acid without my own knowledge to justify what’s happening on screen. Easily the most horrifyingly bad film of the year, this behemoth of lazy production values, uneven acting and mind-bogglingly dumb decisions is the supposed beginning of a series that will hopefully never see fruition. This film is just lucky that Montage Of Heck also came out this year to offset how much it besmirched Nirvana’s name.

The sequel to the worst film of last year, it’s even worse… and it only made #9 on this list. That alone should tell you how bad 2015 was in comparison to 2014. Yet another feather in the cap of hack extraordinaire Akiva Goldsman, this film not only failed to make sense of the sheer lunacy of the world the previous film left for it, it proceeded to have it make even less sense. This is still probably the most competently made film on this list, but the script is still bad enough to negate any of that. Oh, I cannot wait to see how much further down they can drag this story with the two-part finale.

This is the cinematic equivalent of the guy who plays the guitar just so that he can get laid: Sentimentality very badly trying to hide a need for self-satisfaction. Everything, from the acting to the script to the plot itself both in and out of universe, feels fabricated. This just further cemented my hatred for Kevin Hart and, while I definitely welcome the day that he brings something watchable to the screen, I will remain sceptical that that will even happen.

#7: Aloha

Bill Murray and Alex Baldwin, bless their hearts, are seriously trying to make this film palatable and, to their credit, they are easily the best parts of the entire film. Unfortunately, they are too easily drowned out by the rest of the charmless acting, the saccharine dialogue and the fact that the entire production itself feels like it was cobbled together over a single weekend. It tries for so many different thematic ideas and utterly fails at all of them. It’s sad when a film can make Emma Stone, who I think was genetically engineered to have chemistry with everyone on planet Earth, look miscast as a romantic lead.

#6: Mommy

I am not expecting anyone else to react to this film as violently as I did. Hell, I’ll admit that this is probably the film that elicited the least actual anger from me on this list. However, as someone who knows far better than I would like just how bad certain mental ailments can get, this film’s attitude to the main character getting treatment just floods my system with bile. The fact that this has such a high approval rating with critics, while it gives this broken a perspective on the matter, honestly frightens me a little.

[2018 Edit: My feelings have definitely softened on this one since first seeing it. The perspective of just how helpless it can be seeing someone else in the hospital, wanting to help them but ultimately unable to do anything, is a lot more valid than I gave it credit for. However, because of how blisteringly annoying the production values are, I'm still justifying its place on this list.]

The worst of horror’s past did the fusion dance with the worst of horror’s present to create a particularly foul addition to the canon of found footage films. The characters are obnoxious, the camera work is a joke and the scares are practically non-existent, completely wasting the admittedly decent idea of how scary an abandoned school can be. Knowing that this style of filmmaking is quickly approaching its death knell, I can only hope that it doesn’t get much worse than this.

I barely even remember what happened in this film, outside of Reese Witherspoon’s atrocious Southern accent and Sofia Vergara abrasively screeching in every scene. All I can really recall about this film is the extremely negative experience it was to watch it, with my strength sapping from me every time a joke bombed… which was consistent for its entire running time. It is a film that is not only a waste of time in terms of enjoyment, but also because it immediately left my memory within hours of watching it.

This was an absolute fucking betrayal of a film. After going through the original Hot Tub Time Machine and seeing how well they managed to do at making me root for a frankly unsavoury character in Rob Corddry’s Lou, it is astounding how thoroughly loathsome they made him in this film. The entire film is about trying to stop him from getting killed, and neither the filmmakers, the characters or even the audience is able to sympathize with that goal. Add to that comedy that makes light of rape of all bloody things and never once is capable of being anything but pointlessly offensive, and I can easily understand how this nearly didn’t get a proper release over here at all.

#2: Home

Who in the hell thought this was a good idea? A forced relocation plot played up for laughs, acted out by painfully underutilised performers whom have been given some of the worst dialogue I’ve ever heard in a feature film. This is the epitome of the mindset that says kids are stupid and will accept anything given to them in terms of entertainment, and it is easily one of the worst results from that particularly hazardous fallacy.

This will go down in my own personal history as the first film to officially break me; a film so bad that I couldn’t even review it properly and had to use narrative to portray just how crushing an experience it was to watch it. I legitimately felt like I was going insane as I sat through it, and I think I had a mental breakdown in the process. Its style of what these insipid filmmakers think is humour thinks that going for “darkest sketch, darkest sketch” is enough to be funny. They seem to have forgotten that just bringing up Ass-burgers, incredibly fake-looking erections and casual attempted murder isn’t in it of itself funny. To think that the people who brought us this, fucking this, are the ones who are also going to make the next incarnation of Spider-Man on film… yeah, all of a sudden, Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t look so fucking bad now, does it?! Until the unfortunate day that something worse comes along, this is the single worst film I have ever seen in my entire life.

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