Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
In preparation for this list I recently watched “Blended”. You know, the one where Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore (two opposites) are stuck on a vacation in Africa together and comedy ensues; filled with forced sentimentality and female characters which range from whiny to bratty to vapid. That said, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Which means, for the first time ever, an Adam Sandler movie didn’t make this particular annual list!
10. The Interview: James Franco (who plays an Entertainment Tonight-type talk-show host) teams up with Seth Rogan (his producer) to kill Kim Jong-un. What a great premise! And oh how I wanted this to be another “This is the End”. Starting my list off is the most disappointing film of the year, “The Interview”. Like “Godzilla” (another movie I was tremendously disappointed with) this isn’t all bad. In fact, there are a few laughs to be had along the way; just not enough to string together a 20 minute Funny or Die sketch, let alone a 112 minute comedy. Also, on a more personal note, if it wasn’t for the manipulative hype surrounding this movie, it wouldn’t have made my list at all. And if you ask me, this whole Sony hacking scandal (in retrospect) sounds like a publicity stunt. OK, so I’m not going to be dumb enough to actually believe it was a publicity stunt, since the proof to the contrary lies in the leaked content. But, if this was all a publicity stunt to get people (especially those who would’ve normally never see n“The Interview” otherwise) to rent this movie, then it was done masterfully and truly deserves to be higher on my list.
9. The Guest: So here I am ready to eat my words, as the director I touted as the next big thing in horror, Adam Wingard, stands responsible for the next selection on my list. At #9 comes the most disappointing Independent movie of the year, “The Guest”, which may be a huge surprise to those elbow deep in the Indie movie community blog-o-sphere. But that doesn’t change the fact that no matter what anybody says, “The Guest” is nothing more than an unnecessary Indie version of “The Bourne Identity”, with an intriguingly simplistic plot (a man comes to the door of an unsuspecting family, claiming to be the best friend of their son who died in action; and then people start dying) which gets progressively nonsensical, elaborate and boring, as it careens towards its shrug inducing, 80’s-style, B-movie ending.
Now on to the truly awful:
8. Ride Along: Kevin Hart, who from this point on should be known as the black Adam Sandler, came out with 3 mediocre films this year; but only one made my list. A “comedy” about a security guard who must go on a “ride along” with his girlfriend’s cop brother, in order to prove his “manhood”. After watching this “black comedy”, I can say with confidence that it’s nothing more than “black”.
7. Annabelle: With an engaging set up, set against the rampant cult-phobia of the 60’s, “Annabelle” is the story of a couple living in California who begin to experience paranormal occurrences after the husband gifts his pregnant, doll-crazed wife a doll, that soaks up blood faster than a Bounty paper towel. After that, the plot falls pretty flat by turning its focus away from the scary doll element, as the story becomes 10% “Rosemary’s Baby”, 20% every single haunted house movie ever and 70% watered down scares. “Annabelle” is nothing more than a soulless money-grab from this particular production company, attempting to feed off the success of “The Conjuring”. No mention of Ed and Lorraine Warren (real life paranormal investigators from “The Conjuring”) no James Wan (the director of “The Conjuring”) and not one doll-induced scare, all seemed to have a hand in making “Annabelle” a strikingly forgettable film. I mean, in “The Conjuring”, the Annabelle doll is only used in all of three scenes, but due to some smart direction, those are some of the scariest potions of the movie. In “Annabelle”, the titular doll is used throughout and it’s not even a little bit creepy. What gives?
6. That Awkward Moment: This Freddie Prinze Jr. inspired storyline about good looking guys who learn what true love really is, stars arguably the three biggest rising male actors of this era (Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller) in a film that is the perfect example of that awkward moment when you’re watching a comedy and the final credits roll and you realize that you haven’t laughed once. For years woman have complained about having to sit through romantic comedies depicting female characters as little more than shrill, vapid, complacent shopaholics; having no substance or brain to speak of, #KatherineHeigl. After watching “That Awkward Moment”, now it’s my turn to complain. I realize that this was written and directed by a man (whose only other film credit includes: a producer on “Movie 43”) but the content is obviously geared towards a female audience. So, I gotta ask: Is this really how women think men talk?! The entire movie consists of endless sequences of curiously hen-ish (hen-like) banter between the main male characters, as they fast-talk through jokes concerning “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, wax poetic about the joys of eating ice cream after a bad breakup, partake in extremely long and extremely mindless discussions regarding relationship pitfalls, while every once in a while throwing in a “penis joke” as a way to keep it all “manly”. I ask again: Could this really be how women think guys talk?!
5. Ouija: Coming in at #5 and the most boring on my list that I didn’t walk out of (foreshadowing) is “Ouija”! There is an old joke concerning movies where the title was obviously created before any story was developed. The story concerns a bunch of good looking/no-named actors (most of them in their late 20’s) playing teenagers, who think it’s a good idea to play with an Ouija board after one of their friends dies from…playing with an Ouija board. “Ouija” is a horror film, produced by Michael Bay, with one (count em’) one scare.
4. I, Frankenstein: Raise your hand if you thought the story of Frankenstein’s Monster was over with Mary Shelley’s book. I bet you didn’t realize that afterwards he becomes a superhero that fights present day demons. No, I didn’t read the graphic novel that it was based on, nor do I care. This movie was awful; CGI, awful; acting, awful; and now Frankenstein has abs? Get real. “I, Frankenstein” isn’t “haha, bad”, but more so, how did this get made, “bad”.
3. V/H/S: Viral: The third installment of this found footage horror anthology is coincidentally the one I had the biggest issue with; on the main platform that not one of the shorts in this were the least bit scary. And this was clearly advertized as a HORROR MOVIE. I mean, at least “Ouija” had one scare. The framing device used here, which in the past had only been used to facilitate the showing of the main attraction (the shorts) was the cause of the countless supplementary gripes I had with this film. In “V/H/S: Viral” the framing device makes absolutely no sense, with an ending that is so incoherent, that when the main female lead proceeds to continuously bang her head against a wall during the final minutes, I wanted to join her in this action, if only to avoid watching any more of this movie.
2. The Other Woman: About a woman who finds out that her boyfriend has a wife and at least one other mistress, this throw away “chick flick” makes my list at #2 for one reason and one reason only. Even though every beat of this plot is also in the trailer, even though every time Nicki Minaj spoke it made me want to kill myself and even though this contains an odd amount of misplaced fecal humor and an ending which logistically made zero sense, there is one deplorable truth here which is absolutely unforgivable. “The Other Woman” is misogynistic. Every female character in this movie is one dimensional and totally defined by a man. Leslie Mann’s character is a housewife who lives for her cheating husband and can’t seem to find any meaning to her existence outside of holding the title of his wife. Kate Upton’s character is the quintessential large breasted bimbo who needs a man/father figure for “guidance”. Even Cameron Diaz’s character, the most independent of the three, must consult with her father and a man that she’s never met before (but who has dreamy eyes) about how to handle her plans for revenge. Screenwriter Melissa Stack should be ashamed of herself for essentially saying: Women cannot survive without men, and furthermore must join forces to even be on the same intellectual level as a man. And for those of you who enjoyed “The Other Woman” enough to want to see more material like it, you should be ashamed of yourselves too.
1. Transformers: Age of Extinction: The Transformers are back and this time they brought dinosaurs (well, apparently. I didn’t get that far into the movie). Full disclosure: even though “Transformers: Age of Extinction” takes the top spot on my list, I didn’t hate it in the traditional sense. Yes, Mark Wahlberg had me begging for the return of Shia LaBeouf, but from a technical/visual standpoint, it’s hard to claim that director Michael Bay doesn’t know what he’s doing. And to say Bay doesn’t know his audience would also be a misnomer. When every sequence contains either a teenage girl in short shorts or an explosion, I would say he knows exactly what his demo (the average American male) wants and/or will, at the end of the day, pay to see. That said, even 100 million dollar visuals in the wrong hands, can manifest into something mind-numbingly repetitive, senseless and desensitizing. So much so, that I literally walked out of the movie three-quarters of the way through. I want to make it clear why I walked out of this movie. After about 2 hours of politely watching and re-watching the same slow motion sequence of Mark Wahlberg crashing through a plate glass window as things explode around him, I knew I’d seen all Michael Bay and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” had to offer. And yeah, I got bored. So again, while visually speaking this film wasn’t awful, sometimes a boring movie is far worse than a bad one.
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