It’s that time of year again when the dust has finally settled, thoughts have been digested, and we can talk about the good, the bad, and the mediocre in film. The reason this is late is because I try to see at least 100 films from the year before I make my lists. And as always these types of lists are subjective. What I didn’t like may not sync with your tastes and that’s completely fine. Before we dig into the worst of the worst let’s talk about the biggest letdowns of the year.
I really wanted this to be a great reboot that would do right by these characters, but between behind the scenes rumors and Trank’s tweet of death everything seemed to fall apart. I hold out hope that someday we’ll see the FF done properly, it’s just a matter of when.
Another film I was highly anticipating and while it has some good aspects for the most part it doesn’t measure up to the level of the unnerving original. Maybe a third film can be made that will redeem the franchise. Until then just stick to the original.
-MY LEAST FAVORITES-
I had hope that Adam Sandler and Co. were going to craft a fun and hilarious film using retro gaming for interesting visuals. What we got was another in the long string of Sandler’s half-hearted attempts to re-capture his previous glory. Even Peter Dinklage’s presence couldn’t save this story.
9. THE LAZARUS EFFECT
2015 was a pretty abysmal year for the horror genre (as you’ll see further in the list) and it all kicked off with this movie. The cast is unbelievably solid (Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, and Donald Glover) that you have to wonder what attracted them to this project. Was the original script better? Were they part of a package deal with a talent Agency? Did they all get a tremendous paycheck? We may never know. I just hope we don’t see a part two in the years ahead.
8. HOT PURSUIT
One of the worst things to see is a buddy comedy where the leads have tremendous chemistry, but the script fails to fully utilize said chemistry. Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara are great comedic actresses and work well together if only the director and writers did a better job. At least it looked like they had fun making the movie.
It’s funny how a few years can change your perspective on something. I own all eight seasons of Entourage and still occasionally re-watch them. I just couldn’t connect with this film. All the personal growth the characters went through was erased in the first few minutes of the film. Which undercuts the power of the series finale. Maybe down the line I’ll re-watch it with adjusted expectations, but as it is this was borderline painful.
6. AREA 51
This found footage film was Oren Peli’s directorial follow-up to his super popular and successful Paranormal Activity and had an interesting premise. It took nearly six years for this film to get released and it’s pretty apparent why. Everything about this screams missed opportunity. I do hope if Peli decides to direct another film that it won’t suffer from the same terrible fate as this one.
Another one of those films that I genuinely wanted to love based off Cameron Crowe and the cast involved. Unfortunately the script doesn’t seem to know what to do with it’s characters. If you can find an excerpt from Amy Pascal’s leaked email talking about this film read it. It’s a perfect summation of what’s wrong with this movie.
4. THE GALLOWS
Another found footage film that had an interesting premise undermined by production. The opening is amazing, if only they’d continued the momentum through the film. I do wonder if the original cut is a better and more coherent story. Sadly I doubt we’ll ever see it. This is a perfect example of how a great trailer can make a film look so much better than it actually is.
3. ACCIDENTAL LOVE
Originally titled NAILED this David O. Russell film suffered from a nightmare production that included multiple shutdowns, lack of money at times, and the director officially leaving the project in 2010. There was a good film to be made, but sometimes problems just make it impossible for that to happen. While Russell can disown the final product there’s no denying his fingerprints are all over it. It feels like something he would’ve made before The Fighter. I’d give anything to see a documentary detailing the whole behind the scenes fiasco of this movie.
2. JUPITER ASCENDING
The Wachowski Siblings have become the most divisive directors working in tentpole filmmaking. While I can enjoy SPEED RACER and even though I didn’t like CLOUD ATLAS I admit it has merits Jupiter Ascending is a mess. The story is convoluted with ideas about how the Earth is intergalactic real estate, Mila Kunis is a reincarnation of a space princess, and humanoid creatures with DNA of animals spliced into them. I really have no idea what the directors wanted to convey. This may become a cult film or it may become a “so bad it’s good” film, either way it’s entertaining to see how big of a mess it truly is.
1. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE III (FINAL SEQUENCE)
Yes, I watched all three of these films. I will defend the first film as an interesting body horror film that marketed itself perfectly. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the second one due to it’s attempt to try and be an “art” film it did have some interesting bits. The third one has nothing about it that is worth seeing. No longer a horror film this one feels like it’s trying to be a satire on for profit prisons, but it doesn’t know how to properly set a tone. Tom Six said that this is the last Centipede film, I hope he’s a man of his word.
Well there it is, another year over and now we wait to see the horrors that 2016 brings.