What better way to get people to like me than express my negative subjective criticisms about films some could have liked. But lets face it, complaining about films is what fuels critics and film geeks. It takes a lot for me to hate a movie, but these ten films really pushed my patience. The worst part about these ten films is that some of them contain actors, writers, and directors that I have liked over the years. Withthat said, these films were still bad, and prevented the funding of other better films.
Now before I proceed, I would like to remind the reader that this is MY opinion; your opinion may be different and I respect that, with the hope that you will do the same with mine.
So without further ado here are ten films I would have rather skipped in 2013.
Number 10. 42
4/10. 42 had all the elements for a sports classic: above average cast, talented director, and a timeless story. I have been a fan of Brian Helgeland’s writing, as well as, his direction of Payback (the director’s cut), and A Knight’s Tale (underrated classic). Even Chadwick Boseman, a fairly unknown, and the legend Harrison Ford looked good in the trailer. But Boseman came off as impassive, and Ford was at times a caricature. It was nice to see Ford do something other than look bored on screen, and I commend the man for finally trying to act; but I could not understand the praise he got for this film. Ford’s performance was similar to De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook; I thought they both were okay, but just because they decided to act for the first time in years does not mean people should overly praise their performances.
42 was just a disappointing film that progressively got worse through its two hour playing time. Throughout the clichés were abundant and the racism was cartoonish which was sad because this was, and still is such a relevant topic. The difference between this and a film like 12 Years a Slave (beside the tone and harsh reality) was that the slave owners felt like real people, which lead to the scary revelation of bigotry in the world. Even the highly animated Calvin Candie in last year’s Django Unchained felt less cartoonish than the supposed racists in this film. It seemed like 2013 was the year that the American cinema would finally explore the dark past of prejudice that is embedded in our history; but before 12 Years a Slave was able to take a step forward, 42 took two gigantic steps backward.
Number 9. Grown Ups 2
4/10. To be honest, I do not know why I saw film. The original was a comedy that was nowhere near a masterpiece. The story and jokes felt rushed, but I chuckled a few times, and did not think it was nearly as bad as the critics did. However, the sequel does everything in its power to be worse than the original. The jokes fell flatter. The gross out humor was grosser, and the acting was simply nonexistent. Now, add this to Dennis Dugan’s amateurish direction, and I wanted to pull my hair out. I am not kidding; I became severely close to having bald patches.
That being said, can anyone explain the conundrum that is Dennis Dugan? I understand that his films only get made because of Adam Sandler, but after nearly twenty years in the business one would expect a person to actually learn their craft. If I knew I directed crappy films, I would attempt to study better films and at the least imitate. He just keeps churning out films and hopes that the script or acting would elevate the project. But lets face it, Adam Sandler has not been truly funny in nearly a decade, and Dugan has not directed a good movie since Big Daddy. Even then, no one considered that film a technical masterpiece. (Rant over.)
But anyone could see that there is still a niche audience who like Sandler’s films (yes even the horrendous Jack and Jill). And if you like these films, all the power to you for finding films that make you happy, but I am done with Sandler comedies. If he wants to do a serious flick like Punch Drunk Love or Reign Over Me, I might, and I repeat, I might check it out. For now, I consider his films poison and I would rather do anything else in the world then sit through another one of his lazily made comedies.
Number 8. A Good Day to Die Hard
4/10. Olympus Has Fallen was more of a Die Hard film than this sequel. If I understand correctly, this was the first script to be written directly for this series, and it is the farthest thing from a Die Hard film. How does that happen? This film seemed to have a checklist on how to make a bad movie.
Does it have a nonsensical plot? Check. Does the film have a pointless sidekick that happens to be his son because we met the daughter and now we need to meet his son? Check. Are there action scenes where the audience could not tell what was going on? Check. Last, is there a terrible one-dimensional villain that was the least interesting bad guy in cinematic history? Oh wait, you are telling me that there was not only one terrible bad guy, but two? And one eats a carrot for half the movie?
Hopefully the process of annoyingly asking questions to myself emphasizes the point that this movie should have never been made. I mean I enjoyed Live Free or Die Hard more than this fifth installment, and that film had McClane escape a fighter jet in an eighteen-wheeler.
Last, I know that directing is a difficult job, but the studio executives should have hired a better director than John Moore. I hate to say he is a terrible director, but when his best film in his filmography is Behind Enemy Lines, that might be an indicator. But if that was not a clear enough sign, bigger indicators followed with his films that seemed to get progressively worse.
Number 7. Runner Runner
4/10. This was one of those films that felt like it was edited to the bone. Remember this is my opinion, but it felt like there was originally a longer film that was edited down to its ninety-minute running time. But with the wooden performance by the lead actor, and Ben Affleck chewing the scenery, a longer running time probably would not have saved this flick.
The funny part about this film was the trailer never looked good; I saw this film because I got dragged to it. Was I upset that I spent the money? Yes. But my expectations were so low that I was neither surprised, nor as upset as Die Hard 5 or 42. Now, one may ask, why is this ranked lower than those two films? Well, my low expectations do not change the fact that this was just a terrible film. The only good thing about this film was that it bombed at the box office and luckily we will not be getting a lackluster sequel.
Number 6. Machete Kills
3/10. Again, I do not know why I saw this film. I despised the first one, yet my blind faith in Robert Rodriguez got my ass in the seat. To be honest, my blind faith in Rodriguez should have died out after his choice to make multiple kid films instead of Sin City 2. Simply, this was exactly like the original film and if you did not like the first film, then you are not the targeted audience. I thought the grindhouse fad died a few years ago after a succession of box office bombs. In fact, I did not think the original Machete’s box office warranted a sequel, but I am not a studio executive and I could be wrong.
Hopefully Rodriguez will be done with his experimental kid and grindhouse films, which is possible with the release of Sin City 2 in 2014. Although audiences are looking forward to the upcoming release of the sequel to Sin City (his last good and financially successful film), it does not change the fact that their patience with the director is wearing thin.
Number 5. The Purge
3/10. I despised this film. It is as simple as that. This film had the dumb horror cliché of stupid people doing stupid things that result in them being killed. To make matters worse, both the heroes and villains of the film were guilty of being dim-witted. I even saw this with a lively crowd, something that enhances horror experiences. Yet somehow the film still disappointed.
Yes, this film has a dumb premise, but if executed right it could have been wildly entertaining. Lets face it, the writing, directing, and acting was just terrible. I probably should not waste your time, or my time by writing anymore on this film; however, we are both faced with the unfortunate fact that The Purge will get a sequel. This is the good and bad thing about cheap horror; most of the time the product is going to make a profit. In the case of Insidious or The Conjuring that is a good thing because there is a possibility of a quality sequel. In the case of films like The Purge and Paranormal Activity, the same people are making the sequels, which does not bode confidence in the final product.
Number 4. After Earth
3/10. Before I state my feelings on this, one needs to omit the baggage of the film. Ignore the fact that the film could serve as an allegory for scientology; ignore the newfound bashing of Will and Jaden Smith; last, ignore the absolute hate for M. Night Shyamalan. Scientology, though crazy, is still a religion. I just wish they did not spend millions of dollars forcing their religion on other people: I am looking at you 2014 Bible films.
All kidding side, Owen Gleiberman described this movie perfectly: “The movie takes off from a concept as basic as a videogame, and it sticks to that concept, without surprise.” Every time Jaden had a new challenge or faced off with a new adversary, it felt like levels of a video game. The film even has a major boss battle at the end, which further fits this theme.
Now, I do not hate Jaden and I understand the characters in this film are supposed to lack emotion, but even for an impassive soldier, he came across as wooden. They even set it up that he has problems dealing with his emotions, yet he still was inexpressive. I will say again, I do not dislike Jaden like most; I actually liked the remake of The Karate Kid, which, dare I say, improved on the dated original. But I actually blame his acting on the director: M. Night Shyamalan. M. Night has never been an actors’ director, in fact, even when he was making good films it did not feel like he was getting good performances out of his actors. Go back to Sixth Sense and look at Willis’s performance; that film was only popular because of its ending. I am not bashing the film. It is a fairly decent film, but the performance Willis gives could be seen as mediocre at best. Most of the time M. Night does not have a direction with his actors and he lets them chew scenery: Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable. Or he lets the actor ham it up like Wahlberg and Deschanel in The Happening. So overall, I would not blame the actors for this film, but the blame lies solely on the director and the writer.
Number 3. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.
2/10. To be honest, I do not remember a lot about this film because it came out last January. But I do remember writing down this will be on my top ten list for worst films of 2013. So I must be Nostradamus. Too bad I could not predict the awfulness of this film before I saw it.
I have to assume that Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton did this film before they became famous, because why else would they do this atrocious film? The direction by Tommy Wirkola was awful. The jokes felt flat. And the tone was all over the place. Trust me, I like Horror comedies when they are done right, Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness, but this film just did not know what it wanted to be.
Like I said I do not remember this film that much beside the fact that I hated it. To watch a much better horror comedy, check out the original Evil Dead trilogy. Even check out Wirkola’s first film Dead Snow, which was a hidden gem in 2009.
Number 2. Gangster Squad
2/10. This film is the single most disappointing film of 2013. It had a great cast with Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin playing ‘tough as nail’ cops. The cherry on top of the proverbial cake was the scene chewing Sean Penn playing Mickey Cohen. Now add Ruben Fleisher who directed two very funny films, Zombieland and 30 Minutes or Less; as well as, an awesome supporting cast of Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribis, Nick Nolte, Michael Pena, and Robert Patrick, and my ticket was basically bought. Well to be honest, my ticket was bought when I saw the first trailer because it looked like one fun ride.
On a side note, whoever cut that trailer should win an Academy Award because it totally tricked me. This looked like a fun film that had the possibility to be in my top twenty, if not top ten favorite films of 2013.
Now, I do not know how much they needed to change because of the Colorado Theater shooting, but I could not imagine the original cut being any better. This movie had significant problems from beginning to end. The dialogue of the film made it sound like a noir, but the product was the farthest thing from that. The tone was skewed at times because it mixed graphic violence with what seemed like humor. The situations or introductions of some of these characters were simply dumb. Last, the one thing we came to the movie for, the action scenes, were forgettable at best.
Do not even get me started over the lobby shootout scene. I like to think I suspend my belief for films because in the end they are just movies that attempt to entertain the viewers. But the ending of the heroes and villains standing in the open environment shooting machine guns at each other and terribly missing was complete poppycock. I know the film attempted to build suspense, which it failed to build the whole time, but at least give the viewer the benefit of the doubt. We are not idiots; please try a little bit harder.
Number 1. Movie 43.
0/10. I was not as disappointed in this film as I was in Gangster Squad. The critics and user reviews were nothing but horrible. In fact, going into this film I had the lowest expectations possible. Possibly the lowest expectations I have ever had for a film. Now, I did not see this in theaters and I waited to catch this on Netflix, which was a smart move because I probably would have wasted my money and walked out of theaters. It took me four times to actually finish the film, but I finished so I could officially review it, and somehow it was a million times worse than my lowest expectation.
I could not believe what I was watching. I am all for gross out humor when it is done right: Animal House, There’s Something About Mary. But this film felt like teenagers put the grossest things possible on a piece of a paper and made it into a movie. I could not even describe one skit that I thought was good or directed well because they were all bad. Perhaps I chuckled during the Halle Berry skit, but that was the extent.
And speaking of Halle Berry, how did these stars commit to this film? Did they have blackmail on every one of these stars and forced them to chose a role? I mean the film starts off with (SPOILER ALERT), Hugh Jackman playing a man with balls connected to his chin. The scene puts him on a blind date with Kate Winslett and hilarity was supposed to ensue.
There was nothing redeemable about this flick, and I wish I could have the ninety minutes I wasted back. Or, at the very least develop a machine that could physically remove this atrocity from my brain, because some of the crap I saw in this film will be embedded there forever.
I hope you enjoyed my top ten worst films of 2013. You may not agree with my choices or have other choices of your own. If so, comment below. Be sure to comment freely about my list or list the films of 2013 that you despised. There