BY KEVIN CARR
As enjoyable as it is to watch the best films of the year, it’s equally enjoyable assembling the list of the worst films of the year. They may have been torture to sit through, but these movies provide an outlet for rage pent up over the course of the year. They’re boring, they’re sometimes offensive, they’re often difficult to sit through. The worst of the year list isn’t just an announcement. It’s catharsis. And Tyler Perry made it on my list twice…
10. THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
When I learned that “The Place Beyond the Pines” was directed by Derek Cianfrance, who also directed “Blue Valentine,” I was bracing myself for a terrible and boring film. I was not disappointed. Meant to be a study of father-son relationships and the nature of doing the right or wrong things for the right or wrong reasons, this film plodded through two separate films before coming to no resolution at all. Plus, the characters that were meant to be sympathetic were annoying, dysfunctional and rotten-to-the-core… and not in an entertaining way.
9. TEMPTATION: CONFESSIONS OF A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR
Tyler Perry has always been a preachy sonofabitch, but never so much as he has in this film. The movie is meant to be a morality play, but instead, it punishes the female lead for her sexuality in a variety of ways. In a painfully unsubtle allegory for the Devil, the bad guy in this movie is only slightly more odious than the other characters, and the film features perhaps one of the most shallow, unenlightened and offensive twists I’ve seen all year.
It turns out that 2013 was the year of the “Paranormal Activity” spoof movie, and all of them were bad. The only reason “A Haunted House” made my list was that I didn’t seen “Scary Movie IV” (though I hear it was terrible), and I don’t think “30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” got a theatrical release. Still, this one-Wayans show took some of the cheapest and crassest gags to send up a franchise that has long since overstayed its welcome.
I like a good chase movie, but this was a hurricane of bad directing and miscasting. Ethan Hawke is slumming it for the film, though not in the respectful way he did with “Sinister” and “The Purge.” Throwing Selena Gomez in as his partner was the worst piece of stunt casting since Scrappy-Doo showed up in cartoons. Nonsensical and annoying loud, “Getaway” was forgettable, even for a September release.
The best thing to come from “The Host” was proof that the “Twilight” formula doesn’t always work. This dumbed-down version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” tried desperately to recapture the love triangle from that awful vampire/werewolf series but ended up playing like a rejected CW pilot. Sadly, director Andrew Niccol has fallen far in his career… and this is coming from someone who actually kind of liked “In Time.”
For years, I have been an apologist for M. Night Shyamalan. However, he had a devil of a time bouncing back from “The Last Airbender.” He may have been a gun for hire, but he directed this movie with the passion of a wet marshmallow. Still, the worst thing in this film was Will Smith flexing his Hollywood muscles to make a passion project for his son Jaden. Unfortunately, Jaden’s not that good of an actor, has a cracking voice that makes his quasi-emotional scenes laughable and exudes an air of arrogance that only comes from the son of a massive movie star. Just look at some of Jaden’s tweets in real life to see how out of touch he is, and you will understand why it was damn near impossible for him to connect with any real audience in this film.
That’s right, Tyler Perry gets another spot on this list. As bad as “Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor” was, at least it had good intentions. I’m not sure what the intentions were for “A Madea Christmas.” Without the weepy melodrama that normally is included in the Madea movies, this film was a string of bad improv jokes with Perry incompetently directing himself. Stealing plot points from every Christmas special I’ve seen as well as “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” “A Madea Christmas” shows that Perry’s writing well has dried up a long time ago.
Lots of people praised this movie because it had the balls to make a buddy cop film with no balls on the leads. I like both Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, but the writing of this film was just so trite and hammy that I couldn’t enjoy it. The otherwise quite talented McCarthy played her foul-mouthed stock character that lost its luster earlier in the year with “Identity Thief,” while Bullock played a less empathetic version of her role from “Miss Congeniality.” I’m all for equality in casting, and if this movie starred two guys (as we saw in plenty of male buddy cop stinkers like “Hollywood Homicide” and “Blue Streak”), I’d have hated it just as much.
Making a movie starring Charlie Sheen is not a good idea in the present day. Making a movie starring Charlie Sheen that is essentially about Charlie Sheen is an even worse idea. Roman Coppola may have great director’s blood in his veins, but you’d never know it by watching this convoluted mess of a non-comedy about a hedonistic man trying to get by in the world. Not winning at all.
This almost seems too easy of a choice for worst film of the year, but if you end up seeing it, I dare you to disagree. Even worse than the first “Grown Ups,” this movie is nothing more than an excuse for the stars to take vacations together and make out with hot women playing their wives. (All except you, Chris Rock… you get stuck with Maya Rudolph.) I’m sure they had a great time making this movie, but the end result is painful. The only way this cinematic turd is acceptable is if it is some bizarre Andy Kaufman style social experiment to see just how far Adam Sandler’s fans will allow him to sink.