The Oscars are this weekend. Whoop-de-doo, right? In counterpoint to that (alleged) celebration of the best in film, let’s remind ourselves just how bad last year really was with a look back at the worst movies of 2015.
Yes, I recognize that this is supposed to be what the Razzie Awards are for. However, as explained last year by our own former Razzie voter Shannon, the voting process for those awards is a sad and useless joke. Instead of relying on that, we’ll just have to do it ourselves.
‘Aloha‘ is just terrible. And I don’t believe studio meddling had anything to do with its problems. If anything, someone at the studio with a little script-sense should have demanded a complete rewrite with someone with a lick of sense looking over Cameron Crowe’s shoulder. Nothing in the entire movie makes any sense. Characters act, react and manically shift on a dime, all without explanation or purpose. The entire point of the movie is…. I don’t even know. This movie just stinks. I say this while clutching my copy of ‘Say Anything’ to my chest: Cameron Crowe has become completely delusional.
M. Enois Duarte
After thinking through some of the worst movies of last year, including ‘Entourage’ or ‘Hot Pursuit,’ I’m confident what ranks the lowest of the low is the massively embarrassing and misguided heist comedy ‘Mortdecai‘ from David Koepp. Aside from one very brief moment that might induce a mild giggle, the film is a gigantic laughless mess that feels centered around a single running gag – that being an agonizingly horrible performance by Johnny Depp as the title character and his newly grown mustache. If it’s not dumb enough already that other characters react to the ridiculous fuzz over Depp’s upper lip, Gwyneth Paltrow chucks her career into the trash bin as his dutiful wife, who wastes screen time gagging every time the prickly whiskers touch her lips, which then triggers Mortdecai’s own sensitive gag reflex. This is movie is so godawful, it makes one wonder who would ever greenlight this mess and why in the world did otherwise well-respected actors to sign on to make it?
As much as I want to say ‘The Intern’, there’s little doubt that ‘Fantastic Four‘ is worst movie I saw from 2015. The casting was pretty good, and the production quality was serviceable, but otherwise it’s a complete wreck. Nearly every character, and thus each scene, plays out like something from ‘MST3K’. From horrible science fairs to random car races and midnight test runs to an unnecessarily ham-fisted jump in time to Sue Storm’s headphones, this is ‘Green Lantern’ bad. I assume that it’s also so unwatchably bad that the entire cast can move on without really being sullied.
Of the 120 theatrical releases I saw last year, the one at the bottom of the rankings list is ‘The Boy Next Door‘. Starring Jennifer Lopez, this shockingly awful “thriller” about a teenager with a six-pack who seduces his teacher narrowly edged out Vince Vaughn’s ‘Unfinished Business’ for worst movie of 2015.
A seriously convoluted story is concocted as to why the boy in question needs to go back to high school even though he’s almost 20 – all in an effort to soften the blow of the idea that Claire (Lopez), a high school teacher, would sleep with Noah (the twerp). The lengths that the movie goes to in order to make the situation seem less icky are hilarious. However, the ick-factor isn’t assuaged. It’s actually multiplied by the fact that Noah goes on a rampage of uncontrollable anger and jealousy, is able to manipulate grown women without any recourse and, in a stunning portrayal of sheer ineptitude, is only expelled from school after fracturing the skull of a fellow student while bashing his head repeatedly into metal lockers. No police. Like seriously, no one calls the police!
Not only is ‘The Boy Next Door’ laughably bad, it’s aggressively mean-spirited and extremely dimwitted. Man, watching this movie in the theater resulted in 91 minutes I’ll never get back.
Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)
You wouldn’t think that two movies with such disparate titles as ‘Accidental Love’ and ‘Toolbox Murders 2’ could share all that much in common. Go figure! Their premises both hinge on power tools. Both were shot years earlier before finally escaping into the wild in 2015. They’ve both been disowned or condemned by some of the principal filmmakers behind them. They were both controversially overhauled in a desperate ploy to get something on store shelves. More relevant to this Roundtable, they both rank as the absolute worst dreck I suffered through last year.
‘Accidental Love‘ would’ve been a disaster even if David O. Russell had seen it through. Originally titled ‘Nailed’, this was intended to be Russell’s follow-up to ‘I Heart Huckabees’. Russell instead saw three different movies released and had wrapped principal photography on a fourth before a slapdash producers’ cut of ‘Accidental Love’ was unceremoniously dumped on VOD. Jessica Biel stars as a carhop who gets blasted in the head with a nailgun. Nothing critical wound up being skewered, but if that oversized nail jostles so much as a millimeter, there’s no telling what’ll happen next. She might pounce on the nearest male with a pulse, she might violently upend all the furniture in the room, or she might start droning on in Portuguese. The general premise actually sounds right up my alley, but that’s not how things shake out. The film’s sense of humor is dismal, it’s not cut together with anything resembling comic timing, and its message of emergency health care for all is delivered in the most overbearingly preachy manner imaginable. It’s not an interesting failure, a near-miss or an unfortunate case of compromised artistic vision. ‘Accidental Love’ is a rightly abandoned disaster. If you unwisely subject yourself to it anyway, keep an eye out for James Brolin’s on-screen son. That’s my brother-in-law Jeff!
A sequel to a remake doesn’t exactly set the bar all that high, but when was the last time you heard a producer bemoan his movie as “I know it’s s&^%… We even dumped a chunk of money into the thing to fix it, and it still sucks.” I’d rather watch a documentary about the making of ‘Toolbox Murders 2‘ than the movie itself. More writers and directors than you could count were attached at one point or another. Makeup effects wizard Dean C. Jones had never written or directed a film before but somehow landed both jobs here, shooting an entirely different movie than what had been sold to investors. One early cut of ‘Toolbox Murders 2′ popped up on Amazon’s Burn on Demand program in 2012, but just a few months later, Jones’ cameras were rolling once again. He spliced that new footage into what he’d previously shot for ‘Toolbox Murders 2’, releasing it as ‘Coffin Baby’. All sorts of lawsuits were flung back and forth over who owned the material from years earlier, although they eventually landed on a compromise, and that’s how I found myself staring down the barrel of ‘Toolbox Murders 2’. I’d tell you something about the movie itself, but let’s just say that it’s so dreadful that when Tony DiDio tried to raise $325,000 on Indiegogo for another sequel, he barely met 1% of his goal.
I didn’t get out to theaters much last year, and I’m still way behind in catching up with many of last year’s movies on Blu-ray. As such, I don’t have the largest sample size to draw from. While I don’t pretend that ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, it’s definitely a major turkey and, in my opinion, is the worst of all the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to date.
I don’t say that as some sort of Marvel hater. I own and have liked most of the Marvel movies, including Joss Whedon’s first ‘Avengers’. This one, though, is just an ungainly mess of sloppy plotting, a lame villain and dumb new characters. The action scenes are poorly conceived and staged, the visual effects underwhelm, and the movie’s sound mix is outright terrible. Although selected scenes, mostly those involving the main heroes bantering with each other, are amusing or entertaining, as a whole the movie feels like, at a certain point, everybody involved just gave up and put in the minimal amount of effort to get the thing done and call it a day.
What movies do you consider the worst duds from 2015? Tell us in the Comments.