Thursday, January 7, 2016

Top 10 Worst Movies of 2015

Time to scrape the bottom of the barrel!

If I haven't made it clear that I adored 2015, then it's time for you to join the world. From beginning to end, I thought that this year provided us with some of the most challenging, thought provoking, and overall most fun pieces of entertainment I've seen in years. Certainly beat out last year though.

However, like most years, there's no escaping the crap. Bad movies will exist no matter what year it is, but I was frankly surprised at the two types of bad movies that appeared this year. There were either the disappointments that may not be technically bad films, but they did enough things wrong for me to personally think they were bad, or there were god-awful pieces of sewage waste disguised as movies. There was nothing in between this year, but it was never hard to make this list. It was only hard to rank them.

A bad movie for me is a movie that I never want to see again in my life. I would rather die than sit down to watch it again. All of these movies are movies that I wish I will never see again and will be swiftly forgotten into the annals of history. But life hates me, so I'm probably going to hear about these movies for a while. And I expect there will be a lot of movies on this list that you may actually like. If so, I'm glad that you got enjoyment out of them! Personally, there was no way that I could feasibly do it, so take my joy for me. If you see a movie you like here, take my pick as being a counter argument to why I don't like "insert movie here". So with 41 movies under my belt this year, let's get this show on the road! The worst of the worst, the biggest wastes of time, effort, and human decency, the worst movies of 2015.

Dishonorable Mention: Minions
I personally don't think that Minions is a complete waste of space. While it certainly could be a lot better than it actually is, I find it rather inoffensive at times and just comes across to me as mindless pandering. This is the cinematic equivalent to cotton candy; it might look like a lot of fun, but it's more air than anything else and while it can be tasty, the average person will try and get some more substance in their body after watching it.

Where Minions really rubs me the wrong way though is that I cannot stand its humor. The Minions have never been funny to be and are on the same level as jingling keys in front of a toddler. They just make noises, goofy faces, and have funny things happen to them. That's all their shtick is, and while I could tolerate it in the other Despicable Me movies, that was mostly because they were never the focus. They were just the mascot characters designed to sell toys. Giving them their own movie was inevitable, but their humor needed to get better, or at least be able to get me through 90 minutes of screen time.

If you like the Minions and their gibberish mixed with obnoxious laughing, more power to you. I just felt that the movie was 90 minutes of annoying white noise. But again, I can't get too mad about it because of how it was just noise with no substance. There are much easier targets to hit than this merely average kids movie.

#10: Tomorrowland
I didn't think it was possible, but this was the one movie that physically hurt me to put on this list. I had so many expectations for a new Brad Bird Disney film that maybe I put it on too high a pedestal? But after watching it, not even my lofty expectations could excuse how disappointing Tomorrowland was.

Not only was it boring and drab to watch, but it had some of the most baffling decisions I've seen Disney made in years. Not only are we going to cast a clearly 20 something year old woman as a teenage girl, but let's give George Clooney a pedophilia subplot here. Not enough weird decisions for you? Let's also make this movie build up to some large mystery, but instead let it peter out in the last ten minutes. There was so much buildup and wonder to Tomorrowland that I was eager to see what it actually looked like, but the actual reveal of the city was a giant scoop of meh.

It's actually kind of fitting that the city is a complete metaphor for the movie. It had so much potential and looked too good to be true, but actually being there and seeing it made it hit all the harder how disappointing, drab, and lifeless it was. Tomorrowland was meant to be a throwback to classic life action Disney movies of the 90's like Flight of the Navigator and The Rocketeer, but it just didn't understand what made those movies so good. It needed to capture that magic, but instead it just left a huge, disappointing hole in my heart.

#9: Jurassic World
This is probably going to be an incredibly unpopular pick, but I could not stand this movie. Again, I can easily see why people like this movie and I wouldn't be surprised if it topped some people's best of the year lists, but I had to put my foot down on this one. Jurassic World is the dumbest movie of the year to the point where it actually hurt me.

You see, suspension of disbelief is a fickle mistress. People like to throw it out right now as an end-all-be-all term to justify everything that happens in a movie, butt hat's not really how it works. Suspension of disbelief, in my opinion, is the idea that the impossible can become possible given the laws of the world we're watching/reading/viewing. Suspension of disbelief lets me believe that a man can fly. It allows me to believe that we can watch a woman struggle with a supernatural entity representing her depression. It allows me to believe that a man can go super saiyan and beat an evil space dictator because that's what the laws in their universe dictates.

What Jurassic World does is takes the suspension of disbelief and smashed it over its knees to justify everything that happens here. Why do people open up another dinosaur amusement park after three movies where numerous people died because of those dinosaurs? Why do they genetically engineer a super dinosaur that is unkillable? Why can Chris Pratt talk to velociraptors? Why is the new super dinosaur able to talk to velociraptors and send them to kill the humans? Why, oh why, do the humans let loose a T-Rex to fight the super dinosaur? Did they think that it was on their side? Once the super dinosaur was dead, was it going to play nice and just leave the humans alone? And again, WHY WOULD YOU OPEN UP ANOTHER, EVEN BIGGER DINOSAUR THEME PARK AFTER THE FIRST MOVIE???

Questions like that keep me from enjoying Jurassic World and stains my opinion of the movie. Mix in a plethora of forgettable characters with no personality except to be killed and too much time focused on them instead of the dinosaurs, and you have a movie that I personally cannot stand.

#8: United Passions
Do I really have to explain why United Passions is bad? The FIFA propaganda film that was so bad it only made $918 at the box office? Do you really want me to try and justify its placement on this list?


Okay, just making sure.

#7: Suffragette 
I'm going to take a stab at the dark and say that this is my most unexpected movie on this list. By all accounts, Suffragette is a movie that appears to work on the surface. It has a solid cast, the story is ho-hum at best, but it doesn't need to be outstanding when the focus is really on the time period and the fact that it's portraying the Suffragettes, a radical group of women campaigning for the right to vote. But it's once you start asking questions about the movie and its intentions that I start to lose interest and makes it look incredibly unspectacular.

First off, what is the purpose of this movie? What is it trying to say about the Suffragettes and their plight? It's trying to say something about the need for feminism and women's rights, but I couldn't figure it out for the life of me. When compared to other great pro-feminist movies this year like Carol and Mad Max: Fury Road, it becomes even more apparent that Suffragette really has nothing to say about the issue.

And that would be fine if it was just showing what the Suffragettes went through and show them in an unbiased light. But the movie consistently tries to be as ambiguous as possible and not help the audience in the slightest. We see them do questionable things, but instead of giving us a defining stance about whether their actions were right or wrong, they leave it to the audience's interpretation. That would be fine, but usually there's context and a film would try and provide some reason as to why it was left ambiguous. Going back to Fury Road, when one of Immortan Joe's breeding wives falls out of the War Rig, Max says that she rolled when she hit the ground and she's alive. We never know if she died from impact or not because its left ambiguous, but the scene paints enough context to leave us satisfied at it unresolved resolution. We may not know the answer, but the answer will help to infer Max's character and everyone's opinion of him after that decision.

Suffragette on the other hand paints its events as morally ambiguous, but does nothing to tell us how we should feel or why we should even feel. It's murky events for murky characters in order to force out an emotional reaction that isn't justified. It's sad because it's sad, or we should support them because we know their cause is right. That's just the audience projecting its opinion onto the characters for them. They don't have characters. They're ciphers for the audience and adds depth that does not exist in the movie. These are events that we're expected to do all of the work for in order to get enjoyment out of it. If a movie about feminism has such a difficult time explaining its own viewpoints about feminism, then in my mind, it's a failure of a movie. It just so happens that it ended up here at number 7.

#6: Maggie
I will come right out and say that I hate zombies. I think zombies are completely overrated as a cultural icon, and that the sooner zombies are replaced by something, the better. Zombies to me are dull monsters with very little going for them. They're just reanimated human corpses and have the same abilities as humans, except they're weaker, often times slower, have little to no strength or intelligence, and can usually only defeat enemies by sheer numbers. Why do you think most zombie movies, games, and TV shows feature them in huge hordes? Because on their own, they're just not that strong.

Maggie is everything I don't like about zombies. Not only is it boring as sin, but it feels like a complete ripoff of The Walking Dead. The movie is all about the drama of Schwarzenegger's daughter turning into a zombie... and that's about it. 90 minutes of slow, drawn out shots of Maggie looking spooky, Arnold being solemn, and other people talking about how they're scared to become zombies or that zombies are killed without remorse, and blah blah blah.

This movie takes itself way too seriously and makes the entire premise of a zombie apocalypse even more boring than it already is. There are farmers trying to survive in a zombie ridden world, which is pretty damn stable for a zombie apocalypse mind you, and Maggie's slow transformation is painted as being this tragic, horrific story, when in reality it's just pretentious and insufferable. The only time that zombies and Arnold are mixed together should be if they remade Commando in the world or Left 4 Dead, not this inoffensive piece of tripe.

#5: Avengers: Age of Ultron
Okay I take it back, this is going to be my most unpopular pick, but I just could not tolerate this movie. I tried and tried to give it the benefit of the doubt and rationalize that it didn't deserve to be here, but this movie just represents everything that I hate about the superhero genre right now and why it needs to swiftly shrink instead of grow.

I figured that the best way to explain why I did not like this movie was to just solely state the facts about Age of Ultron. First off, it is 141 minutes long (2 hours and 21 minutes) and during the one run time it attempts to have its own original story that centers around the founding Avengers members of Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, with a cameo by Nick Fury. It also introduces four new characters in the form of Ultron, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Vision, while reintroducing characters from other Marvel movies like Falcon and War Machine. It also addresses left over plot points from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as well as Iron Man 3 while setting up Captain America: Civil War, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: The Infinity Wars 1 & 2, Black Panther, and potentially any other movie that decides to feature any prominent Avengers members.

That's way too much for just one movie. Age of Ultron is a bloated mess of a film that tries to do everything the first movie did and better, but instead just falls flat on its face. It tries so hard to keep that same wit and charm from the original Avengers, but it just feels forced and unnatural. Yeah there are maybe a line or two that I can quote, but can anyone really remember what happened during that movie? I saw it twice, and I can't remember a single important thing that happened there. There was a big bad guy and he got his ass kicked.

When The Avengers did it, it had a just amount of spectacle with very little plot. It was there, but we knew that it was just enough to justify getting these guys together to kick some ass. Here, Age of Ultron is trying to tell a much more focused and singular story that examines each character and breaks them down, but you can't have an introspective movie about superheroes when every other scene is setting up plot details for future installments, or stopping the introspection to have an obligatory action scene.

I could go one for days about why Age of Ultron is incredibly flawed, but needless to say, it made me honest to God sick of superhero movies for the foreseeable future.

#4: Pixels
And now we've reached the point where every movie after here is just awful without any redeeming qualities. The rest you could make legitimate arguments about not being in the Top 10, but there's nothing that's saving these films. And ironically enough, despite Pixels' abysmal reputation, I don't think it deserves as nearly a bad of a rap as it gets.

Oh it's still a putrid, putrid movie, but it's bad because it's just a bad comedy. The fact that it has anything to do with video games is completely unrelated in my opinion. Even if you took video games out of Pixels and transferred the premise to something like board games, the acting, writing, and characters would still be awful. I actual like Adam Sandler and I firmly believe that he's a good actor when he wants to be, but most of the time he just panders to the lowest common denominator. Adding into the mix Kevin James and Josh Gad doesn't help, and I still have no idea why Peter Dinklage is here. The man is Tyrion Lannister, and he's here with Adam Sandler in Pixels.

The premise of the film is sound, but it's everything else that's a complete wreck. In a better director's hands, this could have been a pretty fun and inventive movie. And do you know how I know that? Because Pixels was originally a short film released in 2010 that's actually pretty good. It's not great, but the idea is sound. Hell, they did an episode of Futurama that's pretty much the progenitor of the concept anyway. It can work, but Adam Sandler tried to appease the same audience as always to try and make this movie a hit, and instead it made it a catastrophe.

#3: Hot Pursuit
Another year, another live action comedy that's more painful than funny. It seems like every year I have to go see one comedy that decides the desecrate the very idea of comedy, and this year that "lucky" winner was Hot PursuitHot Pursuit managed to surprise me at least based on how painful it was per minute. The entire movie clocks in at just about 79 minutes, and it feels like an eternity of pain and misery.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is funny here. Sophie Vergara just shrieks and wails for the entire time with terrible jokes about how she's either old, Hispanic, annoying, or all three! Reese Witherspoon is just your average stick in the mud who abides by all of the rules and makes everything a slog, but my God is it much worse than I'm making it out to be. I'm being too polite here.

All that you need to know is that Hot Pursuit is terrible. There is nothing at all funny or remarkable about this movie and was made solely to fill out a spreadsheet. "We got Reese Witherspoon for a contract, now we're gonna force her to make three crappy movies after her one really good one!" There is nothing to justify this movie's existence and even less about this movie that's actually good. Avoid, avoid, avoid.

#2: Fant4stic
Again, what really needs to be said about Fant4stic that hasn't been said before. Oh wait, I never actually reviewed it. I just showed you all the original Roger Corman Fantastic Four movie. Well then, let me get out all of my pent up aggression towards this movie in one fell swoop.

Fant4stic is the biggest embarrassment I've ever seen from a major motion picture studio. Not only does it completely miss the point of the source material, but it decided to be as dark as humanly possible with it actually meaning anything. Nothing, and I mean nothing in this movie is functional, to the point where even a basic scene fails because of how obvious and ugly the reshooting was. Every power on display here is a joke, but the biggest joke has to be Dr. Doom, who I refer to as Cosplay Doom for how tacky and terrible he looks.

Time jumps around like nobody's business here and you can read exactly what is going to happen from miles away. Even then, the fact that they're now a bunch of rag tag teenagers and college students completely sullies the idea of this being Marvel's "First Family". No one in this movie came out unscathed to the point where I'm pretty sure that every actor, with the exception of Michael B. Jordan, is now on some Hollywood blacklist and is barred from appearing in any movie again for the next year. They were in Fant4stic, so now they need to be punished.

I hate this movie more than any other movie this year. If this movie was a person, it would be a terrible human genetics experiment that is hanging on for dear life and is asking someone to just kill it and put it out of its misery, horrified at the monsters that created it and brought it into this world. Screaming for the sweet release of death to end the never ending nightmare that is its life.

And least there won't be anymore sequels. Right...? Right.........?

#1: Fifty Shades of Grey
I know that I said last year that the worst kind of movie was a movie that was wasteful, but I take that back. You wanna know what is one of the worst things a movie could be? Repulsive. Just ethically, morally repulsive.

The fact that this movie was made did not surprise me. Hell, I expected Fifty Shades of Grey was going to be a major box office hit. The question was just how bad was it going to be? And the answer is bad. Just truly, truly bad. In all my years of reviewing, I don't think there is one movie that I would want to see less. I would gladly see every other movie on this list a second time just to avoid seeing this movie again. It's that bad.

Fifty Shades of Grey not only completely misunderstands what BDSM is, but it paints it in such a repugnant light by having it instigated by Christian Grey, the world's leading sociopath on par with Patrick Bateman. The script is the worse script I've ever heard with every line of dialogue sounding cliched and most importantly, unnatural. But that would be fine if the actors had some chemistry and actually, you know, tolerated each other. Nope. Everyone involved in this movie hated each other to the point where even cast interviews with them are less awkward than the scenes in this movie, and there was one interview where they never smiles, mumbled everything, and sat there ashamed of who and what they were.

But you know, all of that would be acceptable if the movie was at least sexy. If it had some bite to it and got someone aroused, then I guess it did its job. And shock of all shocks, this was the least sexiest movie I've ever seen in my life. In what is essentially softcore porn, you failed to make it even the slightest bit sexy. How can you make porn unappealing? Simple. You make Fifty Shades of Grey.

I know that there are two more movies coming out after this to complete the trilogy, but I don't know if I have it in me to watch another one of these movies. I can't have a cold shower every night of my life until I die because of this series. I need to just burn all of the bridges, leave Fifty Shades of Grey is the empty void it created, and let it sink into hopelessness. Without a shadow of a doubt, the worst movie of 2015 goes to Fifty Shades of Grey. Take your award. You earned it. .

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