BY KEVIN CARR
If you read my previous post about how 2016 wasn’t as bad as you thought it was… well, this is the post that will make the counter-argument. Of course, any year is filled with truly awful and terrible movies. While making any movie takes a huge effort, it seems to be easier for Hollywood to crank out bad movies. Still, I had to go see all of these movies so you don’t have to.
It’s not that 2016 had any more bad movies, but there was something unique about this year. The big reason is if you look at the end of the list, you’ll see some very competently made movies. However, it’s these movie’s cores that are rotten, and that’s the heart and soul of a film. Sure, throw a lot of money at a movie, and you could still end up with a pile of stank.
Anyway… on with the stank from 2016!…
Every year, there’s always a slate of bad horror films, particularly ones that carry a PG-13 rating and are cranked out by the studios rather than the more original alternative films you’ll find in the On Demand store. This film was a desperate attempt to merge a medical drama with an exorcism movie, and it missed the boat with each. There was no danger felt from the possessed, and the goofy “Inception” attempt for the action failed on multiple levels.
9. THE FINAL PROJECT
Like it does with many terrible experiences, the mind blocks out the truly worst ones. Sadly, it could not block out all of “The Final Project.” I do feel a bit bad picking on such a low-budget film, but considering it is found footage and achieves a look that major studios spend money on (which is actually achievable with just a single video camera), there’s no excuse for making such a mess of a film. The plot is near impossible to explain, and the movie relies on irritating characters and all the tropes of found footage to hide its incomprehensible storyline.
Oh, we’ve come such a long way from “Napoleon Dynamite.” Even my love for “Gentlemen Broncos” could not overcome the drudgery that was “Masterminds.” Loosely based on a true story of an armored car heist, the film features not just unlikeable characters but forgettable characters. It’s the first of two massive bombs this year with Zach Galifianakis, and it’s clear he can’t resurrect the quirkiness that first put him on the map.
7. MOTHER’S DAY
As sad as I was to see Garry Marshall pass this year, it pained me even more that “Mother’s Day” would be his swan song. Gone is the charm of his 70s-era television shows and “Pretty Woman” edge. Like his other later films “Valentine’s Day” and “New Year’s Eve,” he tried to tell a multi-storyline love story. However, he populated the main cast with unlikable actresses like Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston, then he gave a godawful wig to Julia Roberts. This entire film felt half-baked, as if the script was not fully developed or it was finished by committee.
6. GOD’S NOT DEAD 2
Look, I’m all for religious liberty, but the level of faux persecution that some people feel for their religion is approaching ludicrous speed. The original “God’s Not Dead” was a strawman argument molded into a movie, and “God’s Not Dead 2” simply makes up situations that are only inspired by real-life events. With zero basis in law (or religion, for that matter), “God’s Not Dead 2” is an embarrassing and shrill scream of self flagellation by people who feel they’re repressed by following the law they claim to uphold.
On one hand, I really do respect Rob Zombie for his love of the horror genre and his ability to make himself a star in his own horror-themed universe. On the other hand, he’s just not a very good filmmaker at all. He tries to channel “The Devil’s Rejects” with “31,” but in the end, he just makes another nihilistic torture porn movie. True to Zombie’s worst films, the victims in this movie are hard to root for because they are so underdeveloped and abhorrent themselves.
4. TRIPLE 9
And here we move fully into the string of films that had great casts, were competently made but offered nothing in terms of redeeming qualities. “Triple 9” wanted to be a gritty cop story, but in trying to bring the balance of dirty cops into the mix, it turns into a mess of terrible characters doing terrible things. Like “Sabotage” just a few years ago, “Triple 9” populates itself with awful people, giving me no reason to want to see anyone do well or have anything work out.
3. COLLATERAL BEAUTY
It’s so clear that Will Smith wants an Oscar. He wants it bad! He acts his guts out in “Collateral Beauty,” and that’s a shame because the movie is rotten to the core. What starts off as an intriguing idea – that a man is visited by Love, Death and Time incarnate after his daughter dies – becomes an underhanded scheme by the character’s business partners to declare him incompetent. No one acts with good faith, and no one is called out for such reprehensible behavior. This was easily the worst bait-and-switch for a movie of 2016.
2. ME BEFORE YOU
What starts our as a sweet love story between a girl and a quadriplegic turns into the most twisted “death with dignity” argument I’ve ever seen. While the first part of the film is actually quite charming, the crux of the man wanting to die hinges on the fact that he can’t do things he could do before (like walk around Paris, water ski in Belize or have really really awesome sex). I understand the argument if you’re facing critical illness, but taking this stand just because you can’t walk shows a colossal disregard for human life and delivers the worst message to anyone in a wheelchair, which is to just kill yourself and stop being a burden.
1. FIFTY SHADES OF BLACK
You may not remember this movie because it was quite forgettable. This was Marlon Wayans’ spoof of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” And every word of that sentence should tell you that this is a terrible movie. No other Wayans family member put his or her name on the movie, and we’re left with an unfunny spoof that would barely work as a five-minute sketch on “Saturday Night Live.”
“Ratchet & Clank,” “Into the Forest,” “The Darkness,” “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” “Allegiant”