BY KEVIN CARR
Every year as I look back on the greatest films to come out in the past twelve months, I can’t help but also lament about the worst films that pierced through my eyeballs. I suppose it says something that my shortlist for the worst films of the year is generally about twice as long as that of the best films. However, I’ve come to expect as much from the waning side of mediocrity.
Some say that a worst-of-the-year list is mean-spirited – or worse yet, the social media’s own critical N-word: schadenfreude. (Gasp!) However, I say to bring it on. Since I had to sit through these hours of dreck, I earned my right to call them out for what they are…
10. MAGIC MIKE XXL
Many people seemed to like this movie, and while I can understand the horny housewife demographic, I’ll never understand why some critics did. I don’t have a problem with stripping or strippers – men or women. I simply have a problem with awful stories featuring awful characters populating an awful plot with no depth or reason. Watching this film made me shake my head as I do when I see women bemoan how terrible their relationship is with a guy who is a bona fide jerk but just happens to be cool.
Found footage is trash cinema. It’s worse than trash cinema. It’s lazy cinema. And “The Gallows” features all the problems seen in found footage movies. There’s too much attention given to the camera. The dialogue is insipid and poorly delivered. You can’t see anything with the camera moving around so much. However, worst of all, found footage is nothing more than an excuse to hide how terrible the story actually is and how awful the acting generally appears.
8. RICKI AND THE FLASH
Yeah, Meryl Streep fans loved seeing her painfully self-absorbed characters study was in this film about an aging wannabe rock star reconnecting with her daughter. However, the characters in the film were thoroughly unlikable and pretentious. (Are you sensing a pattern here about bad characters making me dislike a film?) This was nothing more than an excuse to have Streep grandstand as a truly terrible mother and then spend an inordinate amount of time performing covers of once-popular songs.
I don’t have anything against faith-based movies as a whole, as long as the level of filmmaking is up to snuff. However, any movie that bored me – no matter the purpose or good intentions behind it – is going to provoke my ire. “90 Minutes in Heaven” is meant to be inspiring, but the film becomes “90 Minutes in Rehab” as we watch an unfortunate victim whine and moan about his plight. Making things worse is some truly terrible acting from Hayden Christensen as well as some of the cheesiest character developments and dialogue experienced in cinemas all year.
Alex Ross Perry usually does more intimate character studies than big action-driven movies, but that’s no excuse for making characters that I hate. In “Queen of Earth,” Perry’s current muse Elisabeth Moss plays a woman who is suffering an emotional breakdown and seeks the help of her friend. The only problem is these two women are such caustic individuals that it’s a wonder anyone would spend any time with them. They’re hateful, mean, vindictive and borderline (and almost diagnosable) schizophrenic. I hated spending time with them, even if it was only an hour and a half in the theater.
5. BY THE SEA
Just because something looks good doesn’t mean it is good. The cinematography for Angelina Jolie’s love letter to herself is gorgeous, but the film “By the Sea” is excruciatingly boring. It also is a massive exercise in narcissism as Jolie makes love to herself posing for the camera as a woman dealing with the fact that her marriage is imploding.
4. JAMES WHITE
While Cynthia Nixon does a fine acting job as a middle-aged woman who is dying of cancer, the bulk of this film features a ne’er do well millennial trying to get his life together. This film came to my attention because it was nominated for an award from a critics group I belong to, but when I finally got around to watching the film, I couldn’t stand anyone in it. I’m sure it’s a revelation for someone who can’t get his or her shit together in their 20s, but I have mine together and found this whiny and petulant.
Considering all the people involved in this film (from actors Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams and Bill Murray to writer/director Cameron Crowe), “Aloha” should have been a much better movie. However, it turns into the wimpiest excuse for a romantic comedy that then turns on a dime to be a failed action spy film. Forget the whitewashed casting of ginormous-eyed and lily-white Emma Stone as a native Hawaiian. It’s just too boring to care for that.
It might be a bit unfair to rank a tiny independent film this high on my worst-of-the-year list, but I’ll be damned if “Results” didn’t earn the spot. Like “Aloha,” “Results” has a genuinely likeable cast with Guy Pearce and Cobie Smulders. Even worse than “Aloha,” their characters are so unlikable that I didn’t know if we were supposed to root for them or against them. The story follows personal trainers trying to navigate their professional and personal lives, but they’re such nasty personalities that I couldn’t even muster the sympathy to care.
1. JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS
The biggest failure of a movie in 2015 did not come from insipid or unlikable characters, but rather from Hollywood pillaging a pop culture charm and then stripping away anything enjoyable from it to make a pabulum piece of derivative crap. The original “Jem and the Holograms” cartoon was outrageously silly and totally 80s with its over-the-top zany nature. This film removed all but the name of the characters and turned it into a Disney Channel wannabe “Cheetah Girls” rip-off. It would be sad if the movie weren’t so forgettable.
“The World of Kanako,” “The Transporter Refueled,” “Hyena,” “Where to Invade Next,” “My All American,” “Poltergeist,” “The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence),” “The Boy Next Door,” “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,” “The Longest Ride,” “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” “Project Almanac” and “The Loft”