Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Worst Films of 2016


After 2016, let us forget that these pieces of junk were ever made by human beings, not chimpanzees or aliens, and actually saw the light of day. Life is too short. Cheers to a new year with fewer bad movies.

Dishonorable Mention: Abattoir; Antibirth; Bad Santa 2; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Cell; Collateral Beauty; The Disappointments Room; The Forest; The Girl in the Photographs; Gods of Egypt; Independence Day: Resurgence; Intruder; Martyrs; Mothers and Daughters; Most Likely to Die, Satanic; Suicide Squad; Yoga Hosers

5) Shut In - Dull, by-the-numbers and really rather dumb, “Shut In” is only a suspense thriller in theory. This snoozer misdirects the viewer into thinking he or she is watching one of three subgenres—a psychological thriller, a supernatural thriller, or a “…From Hell” thriller—but that suspense wears off real quick and trades it in for plodding tedium. It’s also a waste of Naomi Watts, Oliver Platt, Jacob Tremblay, and some handsome cinematography. 

4) Mother’s Day - “Mother’s Day” will be the third time late director Garry Marshall has pulled together an attractive ensemble to fit into multiple stories for one big ode to another Hallmark holiday. The last two star-packed extravaganzas weren’t much more than frothy, manufactured comfort food, but “Mother’s Day” repeats the same problems and then adds a whole new set that it’s hard to know where to begin. It’s obvious, mawkish and vanilla, and then sometimes it’s even insultingly lame and inept. Jennifer Aniston fares the best out of anyone in that she actually gets to be charming, funny and honest, but she deserves the credit, not the terrible script.

3) The Darkness - The premise of a vacationing family (led by Kevin Bacon) unknowingly bringing home a supernatural force from a sacred Native American cave is a perfectly creepy hook on which to spring for a horror movie, but telling a story, generating dread, or even staging an effective jolt seem to elude "Wolf Creek" director Greg McLean this time for his first studio venture. Never scary for a second and bereft of atmosphere, this milquetoast genre effort is just derivative and immediately unmemorable. It almost makes one long for the dozen other mediocre copies of this supernatural horror formula.

2) Warcraft - The mythological fantasy genre seems like the hardest one to crack sometimes, and scripted, acted movie adaptations of video games rarely work. An example of both, “Warcraft” is an egregiously tedious and perplexing experience. It should not be a necessity to have played Blizzard Entertainment’s massively multiplayer online role-playing game “World of Warcraft” to enjoy what plays out on screen, but this is bound to alienate anyone who isn’t part of the prepackaged target audience. For a $160-million, CGI-loaded fantasy tentpole, “Warcraft” is a tough sit, lacking in fun, heart, stakes, imagination, and narrative momentum.

1) Dirty Grandpa - Surely the blueprint for “Dirty Grandpa” must have sounded like uninhibited fun for a hard-R road comedy. For better or for worse—all right, definitely worse—this is a raunchy, unprecedented opportunity for 72-year-old Robert De Niro to play a perverted lout of a widower making it his goal to have sex with a college girl and revel in general inappropriateness. Hopefully the paychecks were worth it for De Niro, Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, and everyone else involved. Smarmy, smutty and stupid, “Dirty Grandpa” wasn’t only a pandering and groan-worthy insult against immature humor but the most off-putting motion picture of the year.

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