Friday, January 6, 2017

The Top 10 Worst Movies of 2016

2016 found a lot of new ways to piss me off, but let's just keep it to ten.

I contend that you usually have three kinds of years for movies. You have a year where everything came up roses and the movies were great and everyone felt great about that year (2015). Then you have the bad years where you have to scrounge together movies that you liked cause everything was just too mediocre or underwhelming to care about (2014). And then you have the oddball year, the year where good movies come out, but they're not what people normally go to see, and the big budget movies do alright, but not great. That was 2016 for me; a year where good movies came out, but there were a lot of weird, outright bad movies that came out too.

Let me be upfront in saying that while some truly awful, and I mean God awful, movies came out in 2016, I had to actually remember that I saw awful movies this year. For the record, every year I keep a little document open on my laptop that lists every movie I've seen over the year, a few quick thoughts on it, and what I gave my final rating of. Once December hits, I look back at all of the movies and I say that they go on the worst list, the best list, or I just ignore them and forget they even happened. And for the majority of movies in 2016, my response when looking at the list was "I saw that? Oh wait, I did see that!"

I guess it's good that a movie can be forgettably bad, so I don't have to think about it ever again and I don't have to dwell on it, but still, if you're going to be bad, just be bad! Don't half ass it! Half assing things is boring, and a couple of the movies on here's greatest sin was being boring as hell. Now granted, I didn't see every bad movie that came out this year, I somehow managed to avoid Nine Lives, Collateral Beauty, and Independence Day: Resurgence, but I don't think it's hard to imagine why the movies that got on this list got here in the first place. If you liked one of these movies, more power to you, this is just my own silly little opinion. That being said, here are the worst movies that I had to see in 2016. May I never think about them ever again.

HM: Batman: The Killing Joke
How do you do it? How do you take a surefire premise and ruin it this badly? How do you make people hate The Killing Joke more than they already did?

Well I'll tell you, fair reader! Let's destroy Barbara Gordon's character in the first twenty minutes of the movie! The original Alan Moore story The Killing Joke was extended by about twenty minutes or so, seeing as how the original story wouldn't even last a full hour if it was a full one-to-one adaptation, so the creators thought it would be wise to make people more attached to Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl, before the events that happened to her in the actual story. And instead, we had #batsex, Barbara fighting a sexist gangster that intended to rape her, have her abandon the cowl because she can't get over Batman, and did I mention Bruce Wayne screwed his best friend's daughter? Cause that happened. Oh boy did it happen...

It was the worst twenty minutes out of any movie I've seen this year, and yet the rest of the movie is great. When The Killing Joke is actually telling the damned Alan Moore story, it's exactly how you'd imagine a DC animated adaptation of it should go. It's dark, has excellent voice acting, beautiful imagery, and the themes addressed still ring true despite Alan Moore's claims that he doesn't like the story anymore. If it wasn't for that worthless, insulting, horrendous, foul, odorous, cancerous, destructive, venomous, baffling, mean-spirited introduction, then I might have actually put The Killing Joke on my best list. But it's down here at the worst because DC doesn't understand how to tell a good story when they have one.

#10: Why Him?
Originally, I was going to put Equestria Girls here because of how worthless it was as a movie. But then two things hit me. First, no one saw the damned thing, so why beat a dead pony letting everyone know how crap it was. And second, I saw Why Him? New Year's Eve, so that qualified for my list! Hooray for bad comedies!

Why Him? is about Bryan Cranston being a stuck in the mud, old school father figure who can't understand why his daughter is going out with an idiot, stoner, moronic game designer multi-millionaire played by James Franco. It goes about exactly as well as you expect it to, only minus the humor. I like Bryan Cranston and James Franco, but the jokes here just aren't funny or go on for an eternity. There is an entire sequence dedicated to moose urine and moose testicles, followed up by dragons and motor-boating. I would say that movie was trying too hard, but it tried so hard that the jokes were never even funny in the first place.

And so, I've come up with two honorary awards for this year, and here's to them becoming a yearly tradition. Why Him? gets the "So Funny It's Sad" Award for 2016, for trying so hard to make people laugh, but instead just making me feel embarrassed for everyone involved here. Good job at being so bad!

#9: The Birth of a Nation
And here's the second new award for 2016, the "Oscar turned Razzie" Award! This award is for the special movie that tried to be an Oscar contender but misses the point so hard that it instead becomes a Razzie contender! So congrats The Birth of a Nation for your award win. I'll send Nate Parker a sticky note to hang on his fridge.

The best way I can describe The Birth of a Nation is that one movie you saw in your history class in high school. You remember the one; the movie that your teacher told you that you were going to watch for a few days, so you got pumped because you weren't going to be doing any major work, but instead you realized just how boring it was, so you instantly regretted all of the hope and joy you felt to the point where you wanted to go back to doing classwork?

Yeah, that one.

The Birth of a Nation is dull, lifeless, and either thinks that it's audience is too dumb, or that they're MENSA members. Christ imagery is thrown around so much that it makes Man of Steel look humble, followed by "ask me what it means" symbolism that I'm not sure human beings can accurately comprehend. Nothing happens until the very end of the movie, and even when Nat Turner's slave rebellion happens, it lasts all of ten minutes before going back to Christ imagery and bizarre symbolism. And no, I don't hate it because Nate Parker is a sex offender. That's just dumb. No, I hate this movie because it made me waste two hours of my life on a passion project with no real passion. Go see Fences, Hidden Figures, or Moonlight for passion projects about important African American stories that are actually good, thought provoking, and, you know, aren't The Birth of a Nation.

#8: The Angry Birds Movie
You know what pisses me off well and good? When people go to see a movie and it turns out bad, it's open for discussion and debate as to what worked and what didn't, but when someone goes to see a kids movie and they talk about why it's bad, the response is usually one of indifference as people say that it's a kid's movie, what were you expecting?

This lame excuse doesn't fly anymore. We live in a time where animated films are better than they've ever been, even in the 90's, and with so many thought provoking, enjoyable, and downright gorgeous kids movies releasing every month, no one is entitled anymore to say "What were you expecting?" You want to know what I was expecting? I was expecting Zootopia, Moana, Kubo and the Two Strings, Finding Dory, The Secret Life of Pets, Kung-Fu Panda 3, Pete's Dragon, The Jungle Book, you know, any of the good kids movies that actually came out this year, and all of them range from being good to near perfection. And yet those are the exceptions and The Angry Birds Movie is the rule?

No! No! No! Pig farts and pig butts are the exception now! Pop culture references that date the movie are the exception now! Lazy writing with piss jokes and one-note characters are the exception now! If anyone, and I mean anyone says that kids movies aren't as good live action movies, or movies aimed at adults, then I'll gladly point you all to Zootopia, a movie that tackles discrimination and racism in a way that few have ever seen before and that most "adult" movies don't even dare to tackle. But The Angry Birds Movie is a kids movie, so what were you expecting?

Just... give me a minute to cool off after that. I'm sorry but a bad movie is a bad movie no matter how you slice it, for kids or not.

Or maybe The Angry Birds Movie was worse than scurvy because it was a video game adaptation?

Yeah that may be it, those are never good.

#7: The Purge: Election Year
The Purge continues to be a franchise that could either be a great thriller/comedy series, or turn into a serious social commentary series about... whatever the hell it's trying to talk about. Election Year is the latter, turning a still interesting premise into... I don't even know what the hell was going on here. There's a lot of political satire that doesn't make any sense or is too heavy handed, a handful of incredibly intense scenes that I think were meant to be jokes, and an overall story that was... I'm going to be honest, I don't have any clue what the hell even happened in this movie. There were candy bars, neo-nazi's, political commentary that didn't hold up even when it was released, let alone now, and a horror series that still somehow manages to be more popular than actually good horror movies.

I would describe this movie in more depth and why it sucks, but when no one can accurately explain what the point here was, I think I'm kind of useless here.

Really though? The Purge: Election Year? Really?

#6: Gods of Egypt
Honestly, I can't even be mad at Gods of Egypt. It is such a delightfully bad movie that it's almost impossible not to enjoy. Don't get me wrong though, Gods of Egypt is pure trash, but wow is it the fun kind of bad.

For those of you that aren't aware, Gods of Egypt is an action movie where all of the Egyptian Gods are played by tall, white people that are stated to be obviously better than the native Egyptians. And that's just the premise! Whitewashing aside, and believe me I could spend days on it, there's just something to love about how serious Gods of Egypt is, and how that seriousness makes everything even funnier. You would have thought there was one guy during the production of this entire movie that realized that they were making one of the dumbest movies ever, and yet everyone ignored him because they thought they were truly making art. It's kind of beautiful in a sense.

And that's not even the best part about this saga! Yeah, Gods of Egypt belongs on this list for how bad the acting is, how laughable the premise is, and how the dialogue feature such gems as "Crawl back to shadow you stinking worm! You shall never feast on my creation!", but that after the movie was released, the director had a public meltdown saying that critics that didn't like his movie were a pack of diseased vultures picking at his movie's dead carcass. Unintentionally, he did say that his movie was like a rotting corpse, so who knows? Maybe this was all just an elaborate prank that everyone fell for.

#5: Norm of the North
Remember way back in January when I said Norm of the North was going to be on my worst list?

Self fulfilling prophecies are always the best prophecies.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a twerking polar bear.

#4: Blair Witch
I really need to shut up when I'm talking positively about things. I just had to go and say in August that horror movies were having a great year, and what was the next movie I saw? The worst horror movie of 2016. So only negative predictions from here on out!

In order for a horror movie to actually be scary, things need to make sense about it. I need to know the rules of this universe in order for me to be actively scared by it. I'm scared at The Ring because I know how the rules of that universe work and why the characters are so screwed whenever they watch the tape. In Blair Witch, I have no idea what the rules are, let alone if I should be scared at what's happening. At least Election Year had tension and suspense in it, making me think just for a brief second that maybe, just maybe, I could be scared at something, and when I'm comparing Election Year positively to someone, you know it's bad. 

Actually you know what Blair Witch reminds me of most? Slender! Yeah, remember that game, where you had to walk around in dark woods looking for things, but all the while the Slender Man was following you, except he really didn't do anything besides startle you? That's Blair Witch! Dumb hipsters walk into a wood with a video camera, trying to find something, only to have spoooooooooopy things happen to them that ends with a resounding thud of an ending. 

I would say this was so bad it's good, but I was just bored watching this entire movie. It was either people staring into darkness waiting for a fake-out jump scare to happen, people arguing with each other, people running around to the point where I can't tell what's happening, or people in a haunted house slowly moving around. Weird things happened here that were meant to be scary and ask questions, but instead I'm just asking questions because the narrative collapsed in on itself. Regardless, I wasn't scared, I wasn't entertained, but at least it was better than Book of Shadows... kind of. At least that had characters that I remembered. I mean I hated all of them, but having bad characters is better than having bland characters.

#3: Ghostbusters (2016)
I think that since it's been six months now since the movie came out and how reviews ranged from good to bad and that it under performed at the box office, I think we can have a safe, civil discussion about how crappy the script was in this movie. 

No, the actors were not to blame for why Ghostbusters as unspectacular as it was, though I still hate Melissa McCarthy with a burning passion. They did fine. Hell, it wasn't even the bad marketing that was to blame for it, though that first trailer and Fallout Boy song didn't help either. Everything that was bad about this movie hinged from the fact that the story and characters were all written absolutely horribly. Good actors and Melissa McCarthy can only do so much when the actual material is so bad. None of the jokes were funny, and the only good moments came from acknowledging that the first movie exists and was a far better movie. 

Here's a fun little game. Can you remember all five of the main characters names? As in, first and   last name, because they give you both of them. What about the villain? Can you remember his name? Chances are you probably can't because there aren't any real characters, just stock roles with stock jokes and lame special effects. 

And the movie wouldn't even be so bad if there was some, or even any, attempt to make the jokes stick or land. You know, to make it highly quotable, like the original movie? Ghostbusters failed to live up to its predecessors, and the fact that at its released it was heralded as being the focal point for a hot new franchise when the franchise already existed is enraging enough. The saddest part of this though is what message do you believe was sent to Hollywood when people didn't go see this movie? Was it that remakes don't sell, or that action movies with women don't sell?

And again, it wasn't even the actor's fault! A terrible script, horrible special effects, and a genuine, cynical effort to make this movie as neutered as possible were the reasons it failed, not because of whining man babies crying that feminists are taking away their toys. No, Ghostbusters is just a bad movie, plain and simple. 

#2: God's Not Dead 2
And you all thought I was joking with my April Fool's Day review! Yeah, I actually saw God's Not Dead 2, and yes, it is a painful sit, if only because of how ignorant this movie is. 

It's going to be hard to talk about a Pro-Christian movie without insulting a lot of evangelicals, so I'll try to be as mellow as I can be. This is not a good movie. It's just not. Leaps of logic are made in order to portray laws, rules, and regulations as evil because they're oppressing Christianity in public schools. I would mention that the separation of Church and State exists for a reason, but God's Not Dead 2 doesn't care about that. It cares about telling Christians that they're being oppressed and that they need to stand up to the oppression. 

You know, I have a good friend of mine who is gay. She's a lovely person and one of my closest friends, and she is genuinely scared at what the future may hold for her because of her beliefs and how the system is geared against her. She believes that she is being persecuted because of her lifestyle, and many people in the country feel that way. Now, whether their fears are justified has yet to be seen, but I can be pretty certain that Christians cannot make the same claims that the LGBT community are feeling right now. 

God's Not Dead 2 suspends all logic to tell its very Christian audience that they are persecuted and that they are being attacked, and that the only way they can defend themselves is to take action. Put aside the fact that the movie is brain dead stupid and paced terribly, spending most of its time in boring court cases that don't have any variation to them, but when your central premise is as flawed and as ignorant as it is, there's no saving it. I have nothing against Christians in the slightest, believe me, and I always play the devil's advocate in nearly any situation I'm in, but this movie feels like a spoiled white kid crying over the fact that they didn't get as much money for a scholarship because their grades weren't good enough and but they claim that it's because they're white. 

There's a reason why I didn't actually review this movie, because God's Not Dead 2 made me enraged ethically and morally. The fact that shameless propaganda could make it to theatres is insulting, and now I'm vowing to never, NEVER watch another one of these movies out of fear that I may write the next "War & Peace" in the form of a a review examining why Christian propaganda films suck so much. I wish I could say that my hatred is only for my number two entry, but nope, it just gets even stronger. You all know what my number one is, so let's just get ready for round two with a movie that I detest from top to bottom. 

#1: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Fun fact, HBO was able to get the rights to Batman v Superman for Thanksgiving. So all throughout Thanksgiving weekend, they were showing this movie on a nearly endless loop as their big get of the year. I tuned in for literally a minute, then turned it off. The only reason I did that was because I wanted to remind myself of just how bad it was and that I would have no shame putting it as the worst movie of 2016. 

I tore this movie apart in my original review. I'm pretty sure it was the longest review I've ever wrote because man oh man did I have a lot to say. Batman v. Superman is a horror show. It's like watching people you genuinely care about being tortured alive for three hours and you have to watch it Clockwork Orange style. DC couldn't have been more wrong about how to portray their own characters than if they accidentally had Captain America play Superman, but everyone still called him Superman. 

So Batman is still a blatant murderer, killing 21 people at minimum, Superman still has the charisma of Styrofoam, Wonder Woman's powers don't make any sense, the "MARTHA" scene is stupid, Jesse Eisenberg is truly terrible here, the movie is dark and dour to the point where I literally can't see what the hell is happening half of the time, there's no joy here at all, let alone humor, everyone feels like they don't want to be here, the movie is insufferably pretentious, everyone is an idiot, all of the problems could be sorted out in less than a minute, Doomsday is still a horrible idea for a villain, everyone suffers for being in this movie, and I'm not even going to break down every scene and why none of them work one iota. 

Batman v. Superman may not fundamentally be the worst movie of 2016, but it has given me the most rage and hatred. I couldn't derive a single second of enjoyment from this, and while I hear people say that the extra 35 minutes (!) of footage in the extended cut make the movie better, there is no way in any dimension that I would sit down again to watch this movie. A few added scenes and extra foreshadowing can't make Lex Luthor a good character, Superman charismatic, or Batman actually abide by his own moral code that's been established for over 75 years!

I was talking with a friend a few days ago, and they asked me which was worse; Fant4stic, or Batman v. Superman. I had to think for a bit on that, but the fact that I had to compare these two movies without instantly saying Fant4stic is shocking to say the least! Now Batman v. Superman isn't as bad as Fant4stic, but only by the skin of its teeth. I can actually see that there was at least an attempt to make Batman v. Superman not a nuclear apocalypse of horror, despite the fact that the end result is still a nuclear apocalypse of horror. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay...

I'm never going to watch this movie again in my life. Batman v. Superman is the worst movie of 2016, I hate it, and that's the end of that. I would piss on a copy of this movie, but I don't have one under my roof, and I am thankful every day for that.

Well, that felt nice a relieving. So tune in in a few days for my Top 5 Best Video Games of 2016, followed by the big one, my Top 10 Best Movies of 2016. 

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