2016 has been a weird year to say the least. Whether we talk film, television, online content, or just everything else that happened. (Let’s not, this is a place for film). With some films not quite living up to their hype or just being plain stinkers there’s a lot to dig through so let’s begin.
10. Sausage Party
This is one of those films that suffered a number of problems for me. First, the animation at times felt like it was barely a tier above the mess that was Foodfight! Yes, the budget was low, but there were times when things felt unpolished. I try not to let behind the scenes controversy taint a film for me, but when it comes to hard working crew members getting shafted I get pissed. If it wasn’t for those animators your film would’ve been a bunch of actors sitting in a booth in front of a microphone. Sound like a film worth watching? And finally, for being dubbed one of the filthiest films of all time I was kind of let down. Seeing a hot dog say fuck multiple times and a ‘food orgy’ got boring. Does that say something about me as a person?
9. Now You See Me 2
Not that the original film was any masterpiece, but you can tell that while the original film had time to get it’s script kind of right this one feels extremely rushed. All the actors are likable and Lizzy Caplan was a nice addition, but the writing really let everything down. From ret-conning the ending of the previous film to make a character a good guy to the magic getting even more out of the realm of reality this was dumb, but dumb in the, “It’s on FX at one am and I have no other options so I might as well watch it.” way.
8. The Forest
There were some fantastic horror films that got released last (A few of which will be found on my Best of 2016 list), but this is not one of them. Natalie Dormer is a competent actress and the premise of telling a horror film set in the Aokigahara Forest had promise. Unfortunately cliched writing, obvious scares, bland side characters, and an almost forgettable plot killed this one.
7. Dirty Grandpa
Why does it seem like Robert De Niro hasn’t cared about his filmography for over a decade? Sure he’s had a few good supporting roles, but on the whole the man is a shadow of his former self. This is a perfect example of an idea crafted in a Hollywood boardroom with little to no creativity except for a premise (an old man saying filthy things). Zac Efron tried, but even his charisma wasn’t enough to make this tolerable.
6. Alice Through the Looking Glass
I’ve voiced my disdain for the previous live action Alice film Disney made, (it was my worst film of 2010) so I had a feeling this one was going to be more of the same. James Bobin felt like a director for hire executing a preconceived idea. The noisy and overly CGI visuals are once again vomited all over the screen and the actors seem to care even less this time around. At least Sacha Baron Cohen was highlight in a rather blah film.
Once again Rob Zombie serves up his style over substance exploitation film homage brand of horror film and again it’s more of the same. Considering this one was even divisive amongst his fans it’s no surprise it floundered with me. This feels like a spiritual successor to The Devil’s Rejects (My favorite of Zombie’s) and yet the antagonists (aside from E.G. Daily) were nowhere near as interesting. And what’s worst is the protagonists are nothing but fodder for the killers.
I love anthology horror films and holiday themed horror films, so this seemed like a no-brainer. If only the directors had taken more time to flesh out their stories instead of turning in half-baked messes. It was a big letdown seeing Kevin Smith’s Halloween segment. I’ve been a fan for ages and this year has been a real letdown (more on that to follow). Save yourself some time and only watch the segment Father’s Day.
3. Yoga Hosers
After seeing the embarrassingly bad trailer for this film I knew the writing was on the wall. As someone who has defended Smith’s recent work (I genuinely enjoy Red State and thought Tusk was flawed, but had moments) I can not defend this mess. It’s a patchwork of ideas strewn together and nothing really measures up. Too bad we’ll never get to see Clerks III as that had some real potential.
2. Punk’s Dead: SLC Punk 2
A sequel to a cult film is never a good idea. Making it nearly 20 years after the original when the director made nothing of merit in between is a horrible omen. Nothing about this film captures the original’s spirit or even acts as a good counterpoint to it. Fans were left irritated while newcomers were indifferent.
Oh my goodness, where to begin? If being adapted from one of Stephen King’s worst novels in recent years wasn’t bad enough this film had a rough post-production that left it a shoddy mess. I can not tell if the director wanted to make a horror, satire, or a dark comedy, but it’s none of the above and feels like a cheaply made mess that makes me wonder if John Cusack’s agent is secretly working to tank his career.
There you have it. Another year where the good, the bad, and the mediocre were put on the big screen and VOD. I will have a list of honorable mentions and a Best of list coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled. I will also try to return to posting more regularly, but life can be hectic and who knows what will come next. As always, you can find me on Twitter @SDFilmThoughts.