Friday, December 30, 2016

Mike's Musings: Bottom 10 of 2016

2016 sucked.  We can all agree on this.  From beloved celebrities dying to a particularly ugly presidential election, 2016 was an eye sore that we are all too excited to put behind us.

From a Hollywood perspective, things weren't much better.  Ticket sales were the lowest they'd been in a hundred years.  Tentpole movies underperformed or in the case of the "Ben-Hur" remake, utterly bombed.  While there were some unexpected surprises, all in all my view of this year (in more ways than one) is the same as yours: it was horrible.

Seeing as the new year starts on Sunday, I'm going to assume that I'm not going to see a movie made this year that's worse than any on this list.  I won't claim that it isn't possible, but just remember that these are really, really bad movies.  I hope none of you saw them.

10: Boo! A Madea Halloween.  Comedy is subjective.  When one person is laughing, the person next to him might be bored to tears.  It comes down to personal taste, personality, mood, expectations, and so on.  Madea is one of those things that works better as an idea than in execution.  The concept is funny, but Tyler Perry is not a good writer or filmmaker.  He displays little comic timing or writing ability, although he has been praised for both.  Again, personal taste.  However, I have a hard time believing that anyone with an ounce of common sense or heart could have taken the film's ending at face value.  The lesson may have been a good one, but the way it was "taught" was reprehensible.  I was shocked that anyone thought it was a good idea.  Mind-boggling.

9. Sausage Party.  I used to like Seth Rogen.  His everyman, man child persona was amusing.  That was ten years ago.  And when he was working with a director who knew what he was doing.  Now, with money raking in and name recognition, he can make his own movies and call the shots.  In his case, that's getting all of his buddies and improvising the entire screenplay.  He comes up with mildly amusing ideas and calls it a day.  An idea is only funny when you use it as a starting point.  Someone needs to tell Seth that.  That he and his team royally screwed a number of people in the animation department makes the film all the more worthy of dislike.

8. Ghostbusters.  Another riff fest.  Like anything Seth Rogen has done in the past few years, this movie didn't really have a script.  It was just a bunch of comediennes doing different versions of the same joke and adding in the special effects.  The problem was the riffs weren't funny and they went on too long.  A good director knows when to tell his cast members, funny as they may be (in this case, not very), when to shut up.  That didn't happen here.  Some of the special effects were cool though.

7.  God's Not Dead 2.  The first one was shocking, and not in a good way.  I gave it a rare 0/4, finding it appalling and reprehensible (in addition to all the usual negative descriptors).  This next installment was more boring than shameful.  Truth be told, I occasionally had to remind myself that it actually existed.  Don't get me wrong, it's still really bad.

6.  Southside With You.  I had high hopes for this movie.  It got a lot of good buzz earlier in the year and I was intrigued by the premise and the trailer.  Sadly, it was not to be.  Class A doppelgangers don't mean much when they can't act and are working with a script that is trite and pretentious.  Worse still, I wasted some of my Christmas gift card money on it (at full price...natch).  I wonder if I still have the receipt somewhere...

5.  Demolition.  When art house movies fail, they really fail.  If asked why they don't make better films, studio executives will probably point to this movie as an example.  A movie like this is an ego trip for the director.  The script was virtually unfilmable, but Jean-Marc Valle soldiered on, risking the careers of some A-list talent and showing true contempt for the audience.  Luckily Seth Rogen was nowhere to be found, which is more than I can say for other movies on this list.

4.  Storks.  Even for a Pixar wannabe with a brain-dead premise, I didn't expect "Storks" to be this atrocious.  Enter in Nicholas Stoller, who in addition to being an inept filmmaker, apparently thinks that any dialogue is funny.  I'm guessing that if someone told him the notorious "Why did the chicken cross the road" joke, he'd be on the floor in stitches.  Worse, he stretches what seems to be every joke (none of which are all that funny to begin with) long past the point where anyone could conceivably think they're funny.  No matter how desperate you are to entertain your kids, avoid this turkey.

3.  Norm of the North.  I guess this was fate's revenge for allowing me to see so many great movies in 2015.  There were plenty of great movies released last year, particularly at the end.  So I guess it makes sense that fate would plop me in the theater to watch this piece of trash.  Simultaneously confusing and trite, boring and obnoxious, bland and overly busy.  This movie was originally slated for direct-to-DVD.  Will someone please tell me the name of that moron who thought it was a good idea to unleash it into theaters?  I want revenge.

2.  Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.  Comedies need scripts.  They also need actual actors, not just stand up comedians improvising non-sequiturs and making funny faces.  Want to know how bad this movie is?  Imagine a pretty lame joke.  Take Zac Efron (who looks like he'd rather be anywhere else) and make him do three different riffs on it.  Then add Adam Devine (who has never been more irritating) and make him do another three riffs on it.  Essentially, what should have been a one-liner has been stretched out to over a minute.  That's bad enough, but the fact that all of the riffs fall painfully flat makes it pure torture.  Now, multiply that by about 100 and you'll understand why this movie should be outlawed by the Geneva convention.  That this isn't the worst movie of the year is absolutely frightening.

1.  Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.  In my original review, I said that Seth Rogen should be arrested.  I stand by that statement, Free Speech be damned.  This movie is a crime.  It's so bad, so misogynist and homophobic, so cataclysmically awful that I cannot find the words to describe it.  Even just sitting here thinking about it makes my blood boil.  It takes "belaboring the joke" (that wasn't funny to begin with) to a whole new level.  No one can drag out an unfunny joke like Seth Rogen and no one in Hollywood has a bigger ego than the fat ginger with glasses.  And yet it was a box office success!  How can a movie this wretched actually make money?  I'm serious, the only movie I can think of that was more painful to endure was "Ben & Arthur."  Perhaps it was in the states where marijuana is legal.  God knows that anyone in a sober state of mind would walk out after the first five minutes.  Unfortunately, I was a film critic, so I had to sit through the whole damn thing.  My date said that he got more enjoyment watching me writhe in severe agony than anything on screen.  I'm glad he enjoyed himself because I sure as hell didn't. 


  1. Neighbors 2 was funny as hell. Put your heterophobia away and just enjoy a funny movie. Knock knock jokes Gay jokes blond jokes and all kinds of jokes will always be funny. Next time just say you are too much of a snowflake to enjoy a funny movie.

    Your review should read : neighbors 2, box office hit, sad to say I am to heterophobic to understand it. So judge for yourself.

  2. I love those jokes. I love anti PC humor. Gay jokes, religion jokes, whatever. As long as they're funny. In Neighbors 2, they aren't, and everyone here just riffs on them and stretches them out to lengths far beyond what any sane person could conceivably think they're funny.

    Big difference.