Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Mike's Musings: Bottom 10 of 2014

Every year has its stinkers...movies you wish you could un-see.  Since that's not possible, I can allow myself (and those unfortunate to have seen these monstrosities) a little chance for revenge,  And one last warning to those who are considering watching these movies.  Be forewarned, these are the worst of the worst of the year.

10.  Wish I Was Here.  Not only is this a bad movie, it's not even a complete movie.  It's more of a trailer than a complete film, and while I love movie trailers, there's a reason why they are only a few minutes long.  Either Zac Braff got completely lost after making the wonderful "Garden State," or his editor should never be allowed to cut a film again.

9.  The Drop.  I hate it when directors let their egos control the movie.  Art is only art when it's actually good.  Here, director Michael R. Rocksam is convinced that his film is "groundbreaking" and artistic when really it's just a mess.  Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the late James Gandolfini deserved better.  At least the puppy was cute.

8.  Into the Storm.  I like an action movie as much as the next guy.  Even if it's dumb and won't change my life.  But it has to be fun, which "Into the Storm" is not.  It's gimmicky and shamelessly manipulative.  It also never stops moving, which would be a good thing if the story was interesting and there was a character or two worth caring about.  Say what you want about "Twister," but Jan de Bont knew what he was doing.

7.  The Best of Me.  One might defend this movie by saying "it's a Nicholas Sparks movie."  Of course it is, and you get what you paid for.  Schlock filtered through rose-colored glasses.  But that's okay.  It is, after all, a Nicholas Sparks movie.  But the script is embarrassing to the point where the actors (the ones who can act) are helpless, and the film's violence rubbed me the wrong way.  Let's hope that Sparks' next romantic saga (it's called "The Longest Ride" and stars Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson...due out next April) is better.

6.  The Giver.  Now here is a movie that just pissed me off.  The book was wonderful and the film adaptation practically made itself.  But for reasons I cannot understand, they turned it into an action movie.  There are no conversations of any substance, nor any that last more than a few seconds.  The film's crucial and mysterious set-up is over within the first ten minutes, and the film ends on a chase scene.  A chase scene!  That's like ending a film version of "Hamlet" as a slasher movie.  True, "The Giver" isn't "Hamlet," but the mistake is just as dumb.

5.  Neighbors.  Oh, Seth, what happened to you?  The funny, everyman schlub that wormed our way into our hearts with "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" has become an egotistical, stand-up comic.  Seriously, the jokes aren't funny, and repeating them different ways doesn't change that.  Just shut up, bro.

4.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Michael Bay is a popular whipping boy these days, despite the fact that his movies make tons of money.  I've never gotten on the bandwagon because I know he has talent ("The Rock" ranks as one of the best, if not the best, action thrillers ever made).  But the man is becoming increasingly hard to defend.  Not content with making good movies, he's been making crass and sleazy marketing schemes and shoving them in our faces to the point where it's distasteful.  Bay didn't direct the reboot of the Ninja Turtles, but he did produce it, which is almost as bad.

3.  Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (released in 2013, but seen in 2014).  Will Ferrell, will you please stop working with Adam McKay?  You can be so funny, but you need a script and a director.  McKay loves you so much that he thinks whatever you say will be hilarious.  And you must have some idea of how bad the material is because you resort to shouting your lines in a desperate, but futile, attempt to get a laugh.  By and large, it doesn't work.

2.  The Rover.  You know how sometimes people make fun of art films as being dry and inane (I remember an episode of "The Simpsons" where the family gets free tickets to a movie at an arthouse theater, which turns out to be run down, where the characters speak bland dialogue in deadpan monotones)?  This is what they were talking about.  The problem is that it's meant to be taken seriously, and that means a considerable amount of pain and agony for whoever actually sits through this.  A lot of critics seemed to like it, which begs the question whether we saw the same movie or they were trying to impress the indie crowd.  As bad and pretentious as "The Drop" was, it was a lot better than "The Rover."

1.  God's Not Dead.  Was there any other choice?  It's the only movie a gave out a zero-star rating to.  This.  Movie.  Sucked...BIG TIME.  I mean, it's awful.  It preaches instead of exploring a fascinating question that has puzzled mankind from the dawn of existence, the commercialism in it is appalling (the awful cameos by Willie and Kori Robertson are just the start), and the film is divisive when the religion that it seeks to emulate is inclusive (every Christian is a saint while every atheist is a raging psychopath).  And the movie doesn't even work on its own terms.  The acting is terrible, the characters are stupid, and the hole's in the hero's logic are painfully obvious.  It's so bad that even members of its target audience hated it, although it made a killing at the box office.

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