Weekend Roundtable: Worst Film of 2015

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.

Mike Attebery

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?

Brian Hoss

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.

Aaron Peck

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.

Josh Zyber

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.

28 comments

  1. Elizabeth

    Sticking with movies I saw in the theater, I’m going with Jurassic World. Laughable plot. Unlikeable characters. Pathetic shoehorned romance. Absolutely no sense of wonder. It’s post-Transformers dinosaur schlock. Big and dumb with few redeeming values. I dislike this movie all the more because I was excited to see it only to find it was a huge pile of dinosaur poop.

  2. Todd

    Surprised no one mentioned Pixels, but I guess terrible Adam Sandler movies are a given nowadays. No sense beating a dead horse.

    • Clark

      I actually liked Pixels. It was fun and reminded me of the comedies from the 90s (maybe because of all those game characters from when I was a kid). I think people saw this movie with no intention of liking it, because they hate Adam Sandler, and ended up… not liking it.
      Having said that, Jupiter Ascending is the worst movie of the year. It’s a complete mess!
      I also hated Aloha and Spectre, both bored me to death.

  3. Csm101

    Furious 7. I picked it up Black Friday and wonder how this movie made so much money. I’ve never really warmed up to this franchise except for maybe part 5 which was pretty decent. The only “actor” I know of who gets worse with experience and time is Diesel. Embarrassingly bad. The Rock is just smug and greasy in this flick. The send off for Walker was endearing, but almost everything in this movie made me roll my eyes as if I were having a seizure. A billion dollar turd.

  4. Mike H

    Aloha was godawful but how can we not include Terminator Genysis? What a pile and I watched it twice just to see if there was any hope. Can’t wait to sell it on Ebay…..ugh why oh why did I blind buy it?

      • I’m not kidding at all William,
        Genysis is a total slap in the face to Terminator fans, it’s a soulless cash -grab that destroys the continutity of the series and invalidates the first three movies in the franchise (especially T2). I couldn’t possibly hate it any more than I do.

  5. Mike H

    Oh and a few more honorable mentions while we are at it. American Ultra, Monsters: Dark Continent, Tomorrowland; Ted 2; and Trainwreck.

  6. Bolo

    I think ‘Inherent Vice’ got the typical token New York release in December 2014 to qualify it for the Oscars of that year, but I saw it in the cinema in early 2015. Just an incredibly tone-deaf, tedious, and vulgar movie. I liked the novel, but wasn’t so attached to it that I would’ve had any problems with it being radically reworked. I actually thought a filmmaker of Anderson’s pedigree could take a pretty good novel and elevate it into a great film. The opposite happened. The adaptation lost all of its wit and most of its social observation about disillusionment and the end of an era. Just painful to sit through.

    If you want a high profile film released safely within the confines of 2015, then I’ll go with ‘Spectre’. Just a bloated, dull mess all around.

    I’ll throw in ‘Lost River’ for most embarrassing. Ryan Gosling probably should’ve just buried his directorial début. He mashes together a couple of very distinct and recognizable 90’s movies (‘Lost Highway’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream’). Any movie that tries really really hard to be weird and different in the exact same way something else was weird and different is setting itself up for failure.

    • Clark

      Oh yes, I forgot. Inherent Vice is terrible!
      And Spectre is so boring I wanted to leave the theater. It’s a shame that great opening sequence went to waste.

  7. david Batarseh

    For me it was Eli Roth’s Knock Knock. How do you make a bad film staring post John wick Keanu Reeves? Congrats Eli, you somehow figured that one out.

  8. Krambo

    I know people love it and it’s a best picture nominee and all that, but personally I have never found a film to be more unpleasant/horrible to watch than Fury Road. Just thinking about that movie makes me feel sick.

    • Thulsadoom

      I don’t think Josh was was outright saying it’s the ‘Worst Move of the Year’. I’m sure we could all trawl the worst of the worst, and come up with horrible movies. I think it’s the combination of big-budget blockbuster with mediocre film-making that justifies it as his pick. There’d be no point in him picking ‘obscure low-budget movie from random country starring nobody we know’ as his worst movie.

      Personally I didn’t mind AOU. It wasn’t good, but it’s another piece of dumb mindless Marvel effects fun. The moments of character banter save it. But let’s be honest, it was hardly a great film. Though for me, the worst Marvel ones so far are probable the Capt. Americas or the 2nd Thor movie.

      I’d have to go with The Force Awakens as my worst movie of 2015. The acting wasn’t always bad, but It was just awful in almost every other way. (effects good but not memorable or visually striking, mediocre Willams score, a complete lack of ANY internal logic or consistency, and just a rehash of A New Hope with a dash of Empire without any of the structure that linked those together into great films).

  9. William Henley

    Sorry I am so late to the party – I had a paper due and a finals this past weekend.

    I really cannot think of a bad movie that I SAW in 2015. There were some that were weaker (Minions, Pixels, Hot Pursuit), but for the most part, 2015 was a pretty good year for movies.

    While nothing was really awful, nothing was really great as well. There were some pretty darn good movies (Star Wars, Avengers, Terminator 5, War Room, Inside Out, Tomorrowland), but none of these were really that outstanding.

    Of course I didn’t see every movie in 2015. I did not see Max or Alvin and the Chipmunks (I heard both were awful), did not care to see Steve Jobs, don’t want to see Magic Mike or Fifty Shades, and haven’t seen Mad Max or San Andres or Ted 2 yet.

    From the 2015 movies I saw, I would have to say the weakest was Minions – we had free tickets, we hadn’t seen any of the previous movies, and a lot of the comedy just didn’t land.

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