This is the worst part of the job, sitting through all the terrible movies. Sure, I do it so that you don’t have to, but on a personal level it’s just sad to write about a film that turns out badly when you know it might have had so much potential, but it is what it is. Unfortunately, in between all the really good films, there are also really bad films, and I’ve highlighted all the ones that have been terrible, had potential but failed miserably, or were just so aggravatingly anger-provoking because of their awfulness.
Check out the list (which is in no particular order) below and sound off in the comments about what you thought was terrible this year!
Tammy – Melissa McCarthy has proved that she’s a funny woman. We’ve seen her take on roles that prove this, like in Bridesmaids and The Heat. Unfortunately, when it came to her own project, she completely botched it. Tammy is probably one of the most boring, ridiculous, and plotless comedies of the year. McCarthy plays a character who’s down and out on her luck only to find herself taking a road trip with her deadbeat grandma (Susan Sarandon in a wig). If tactless gags, McCarthy finally changing her outlook on life only after she gets made over, and a horrifyingly terrible three-minute segment where she and Sarandon are singing is now considered comedy, then I quit.
Blended – It has long been joked about that Adam Sandler no longer makes movies, but rather goes on paid studio vacations. Blended is unfortunately no exception. With Sandler and Drew Barrymore back together after their success with The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates, there was some hope that this film would be a bit better than the ones he’s done in the recent past, but no. The film has Barrymore, Sandler, and their families stuck together on a trip to Africa (we all should be quick to not what Sandler does not: Africa is not a country), where their relationship grows from hate to love. Not only is the film awfully stereotypical and demeaning of its portrayal of Africa (there are lions roaming around the hotel grounds), but there is nothing even remotely funny about it. I want a refund on two hours of my life I will never get back.
The Identical – Probably one of the most insulting things about the identical is that it doesn’t even reference Elvis Presley in a story that’s based off of a part of his life. Twins are born in a small town where their parents can’t afford to keep two. One grows up being a preacher’s son and the other a rock ‘n roll star. The Identical might just win for most boring and uninteresting movie of the year. The pacing feels deliberately slow and agonizing, the acting wooden, and the characters are as stale as day’s old bread. If you are perhaps interested in the twin brother who died at birth, go read about Elvis and save yourself a migraine.
Bad Words – Look, I like Jason Bateman. His dry sense of humor and straight face always get a decent laugh out of me, but Bad Words, which he also directs, is terrible enough that you’ll want to laugh at its sheer audacity to exist rather than at the attempted comedy in the film. Bateman’s character, a spelling bee loser, finds a loophole that allows him to compete as an adult. Bateman nastily sounds off and chews everyone who crosses paths with him or gets in the way of his mission to win. His character is cruel. Not funny cruel, but cruel cruel. A kid in the film (Rohan Chand) who tries to befriend Bateman is mocked and ridiculed by the older man in ways that aren’t even remotely humorous. Bateman’s character is obnoxious and so tantalizingly annoying, that by the time we reach the end and we realize why Bateman is so set on winning the spelling bee, it doesn’t even matter anymore.
The Other Woman – With a cast that includes Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann, you’d think that this film, about women banding together against a cheating womanizer would be feminist and all girl power-y. Alas, this film is none of these things and is frankly an insult to women everywhere. Leslie Mann’s character plays a stereotypical housewife. She’s whiny, annoying, and excessively clingy. Cameron Diaz, who’s supposed to be the picture of successful and career-driven woman, starts off that way, only to veer into the direction of making ridiculously stupid decisions. It doesn’t really help that Kate Upton is only there because she has big boobs. A movie that’s meant to be about women taking ownership of their lives turns into a film that highlights how unintelligent they actually are. Such a wasted opportunity.
Labor Day – Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, two attractive adults, meet, fall in love, and end up spending the rest of their lives together. How romantic. Did I mention that Brolin plays an escaped convict who threatens both Winslet and her son and keeps them under house arrest until he can safely get away from the cops? No? Must’ve been an oversight. The film immediately loses its supposed romantic air when you add Stockholm Syndrome into the mix, doesn’t it? Add into the fact that Winslet’s character is all kinds of messed up emotionally and mentally and it really doesn’t help matters. But they bake a pie together and plan to start a new life after only knowing each other for two terrifyingly fearful days. Yeah, I don’t get it either.
Transcendence – Can a person’t consciousness (AKA their brain) be uploaded into a computer? After all, our brain is made up of a bunch of electrical signals. This is what Transcendence is essentially about. Or at least, it starts off that way. And we all have to admit that the science behind this (which is actually being studied) is more than interesting, but the film makes the mistake of turning Johnny Depp’s consciousness into the big bad of the film, and thus making the rest of the movie stale, thriller-less, and boring. Cillian Murphy’s agent character is rendered useless and I’m sure everyone wonders why he’s even in the film, and of course Morgan Freeman is there to give us the exposition. After the successful upload of consciousness, the film strays away from answering any intriguing questions about the whole idea and only uses it as its main antagonist. Spending a few years in the middle of nowhere for the majority of the film doesn’t really help either. This film is a prime example of a great idea being shot to hell.
Exodus: Gods and Kings – Ridley Scott is a good director. Sure, his last couple of films haven’t been great, but he’s proven his talent. So his choice to direct Exodus is a peculiar one since he’s more of a grand-scale director who really has no business directing a story that’s been done in the past, and done better (just go rent The Ten Commandments if watching Moses part the sea dramatically is your cup of tea). The movie is excessively long, important female characters are sidelined to make way for the rivalry and tumultuous relationship between Christian Bale’s Moses and Joel Edgerton’s Rhamses, of which there isn’t really much of a relationship or genuine rivalry to begin with. Scott uses too much CGI for the film to even be grounded in any kind of reality since it’s too noticeable to avoid and he also asks intriguing questions about belief and faith that he’s too afraid to follow-up on. The character interactions are terrible and the film excruciatingly slow and tedious to sit through.
Tusk – What the HELL was Kevin Smith thinking when he decided to make this film? Seriously, the only way to not ask yourself the big WTF as to why this film even exists, you’d have to be off your rocker. And maybe Kevin Smith was off his rocker because the insanity behind the film is clear. Justin Long and Haley Joel Osment play the most disgusting and annoying podcast hosts ever. Their job consists of ridiculously mocking other people, and that includes people who do stupid things in videos on YouTube. They are essentially terrible human beings because their mockery is cruel and not funny in the least. Fate pays Long a visit when a trip to interview one of the guys they mocked turns into something far more dangerous for him when he’s captured by a crazy man, played effectively by Michael Parks who wishes to turn him into a walrus for companionship. The worst part about the whole ordeal is that this is the first of a trilogy. I suppose WTF isn’t strong enough of an expression.
Winter’s Tale – Mark Helprin’s 700-page novel is wordy, hard to read, and could be construed as one of the most confusing books of our time and there’s a reason why most acclaimed directors have not come near adapting the novel to the screen, simply because it would be too hard to do so. And Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation proves this point. Filled with flying horses, demons, time travel, a contrived love story (Farrell falls in love with the woman he’s trying to rob who happens to be dying), and a terribly WTF cameo by Will Smith as Satan, the film is atrociously bad. It’s boring, confusing, and even Colin Farrell, with his charm and accent can’t save this film from being an utterly chaotic mess. If even the best directors have stayed away from Helprin’s book, Goldsman should have as well.
The Legend of Hercules – What happens when you take one of the least interesting vampire characters from Twilight (and really, they’re all uninteresting) and give him a starring role in a film and Hercules, well, it’s bound to suck. The sad part is that Kellan Lutz, all bulked up and extremely tan, probably went into this film thinking, hey, this might be my big break, only it was too horrid for words. The movie, which was released in January, topped my worst of list for 2014 and didn’t budge, even when the rest of the films on this list came out and threatened to remove it from the top spot. But here it remains, mostly because absolutely everything about it is bad: The acting, the story, the CGI effects that even the director didn’t know what to do with (floating rose petals floating everywhere for no apparent reason), atrocious editing, and a plot that’s so frustrating it’ll make you want to pull your hair out.
Angels in Stardust – I’m pretty sure practically no one saw this film, and after seeing it myself, I know why. If there’s anything more aggravating than a bad plot, it’s one that completely doesn’t make any sense. This movie also unfortunately proves that Alicia Silverstone’s career is washed up and has become irrelevant. A drunkard mother whose only concern is to find and marry a man with money, isn’t really the ideal mother. This, in no way whatsoever explains why her daughter, played by AJ Michalka, talks to an imaginary cowboy, played by Billy Burke. The movie is slow, unmoving in terms of plot, and centered around a girl who’s supposed to be following her dreams, but should probably be checked by a neurologist instead. So painful to sit through and a real downer for Silverstone’s acting career.
(Dis)honorable mentions include: I, Frankenstein for making terrible use of CGI and of Aaron Eckhart, Brick Mansions for being a terrible ripoff of its French predecessor, The Giver for ruining a beloved book, Into the Storm for ripping off Twister and not doing a very good job of it either, The Nut Job for being so lousy and unmemorable save for the animated Gangnam Style dance at the end, and The Angriest Man in Brooklyn for making me angry for watching it.