Last week, I covered the best films of 2015. Now it’s time for the worst.
You see, it isn’t always easy being a movie critic. To do it right, you’ve got to see everything. As with any form of art, most of the movies produced each year aren’t very good. Then there are the special ones that go so far off the mark that they aren’t just bad, they’re practically irresponsible. You know, movies that make you bang your head against the wall and question why you even watch movies in the first place. I’ve seen many of those this year, but now it’s time for me to narrow the list down to ten. I’m doing this for you. These ten sad excuses for movies aren’t fit for human consumption. No one should have to suffer through them like I did. Please learn from my mistakes. Avoid this nonsense at all costs.
10) ‘The Cobbler’
It’s not unusual for Adam Sandler to release a bit of overly sentimental schmaltz that lands on a worst movie list. However, it is incredibly odd for writer/director Tom McCarthy (‘The Station Agent’, ‘Win Win’) to be responsible for one. It’s unclear how their unholy partnership came to be or what they thought they were doing, but it happened. McCarthy, the man who focuses on painfully real human drama, somehow decided that he should make a movie about a cobbler who assumes the look and personality of anyone whose shoes he wears thanks to a magical sewing machine.
No, I’m not sure why that happens. I don’t think anyone else in the movie knew either. But this thing exists and it’s not even a goofy Sandler comedy with that premise. It’s an impossibly earnest dramedy that fails on every conceivable level. ‘The Cobbler’ is such a wild misfire that some might even wonder if McCarthy had lost mind as a filmmaker. Thankfully, he followed up this piece of junk with one 2015’s finest movies in ‘Spotlight’. So all is forgiven, Tom. As for the Sand-man? Not so much.
9) ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’
Bad jokes and gentle racism have returned! Once again, a selection of talented British actors who really should know better got a paid vacation in India to do potty humor and condescend to the local culture. It was offensive and awful the first time around, but since it appealed to an underserved elderly audience and capitalized on the love for actors like Judi Dench and Bill Nighy, ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ was an unexpected hit. So everyone reunited and made an even less inspired follow-up to capitalize on the success. Thankfully, this horrible sequel made less money than the original. Sadly, it still made enough to qualify as a hit. We may have to sit through a third ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ movie.
8) ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’
Yes, that paperback bondage romance that your mom loves made it to the big screen in 2015. Like me, you may have merely assumed that the book was garbage without reading it. Well, you were right and the movie is no better.
Hey, does it sound exciting to watch a horribly wooden actor talk about bondage with his shirt off and come close to acting out on it without ever really showing anything because the movie still needed to be rated R? If so, buckle up. This is an edgy, sexy movie for anyone who can’t be bothered to plug “BDSM” into Google. It’s an absolute trudge to sit through, yet was somehow a massive hit, enough so that two more ‘Grey’ movies are guaranteed. I’m going to have to figure out how to avoid gouging out my eyes while suffering through both of those. Sigh… Now that’s “fifty shades of fucked up.” (Actual line of dialogue from this atrocious movie, I swear.)
7) ‘The Forger’
Take a look at this picture of John Travolta, paying special attention to his ridiculous chin hair.
All you need to know is that’s an actual image from ‘The Forger’, a movie in which Travolta plays an art forger forced out of retirement to save his cancer-ridden son. No, it’s not a parody. It’s real. ‘Nuff said.
6) ‘Taken 3’
Look, by the third chapter in a cornball action franchise, it’s expected that everyone involved won’t exactly be invested. However, they could at least make it seem as though they’re trying. Not so with ‘Taken 3’, a movie made by such lazy and disinterested people that star Liam Neeson couldn’t even be bothered to do his own running, requiring ludicrous editing and bad stunt doubles to conceal his lack of effort. (Note: none of these tricks work.)
‘Taken 3’ is a 90-minute long insult to the audience who paid to see it. Instead of this horrible threequel, the filmmakers should have just released a tape of Neeson saying, “Hey assholes. You want Taken 3? Well, we don’t want to make it. But we’ll take your money. Thanks.” At least that would have been more honest than whatever the hell ‘Taken 3’ is supposed to be.
5) ‘Strange Magic’
Want to know why it’s a good thing that George Lucas is no longer involved with ‘Star Wars’? Watch ‘Strange Magic’, his contribution to cinema in 2015. That should clear things up.
Here’s the thing about ‘Pixels’: A movie about overgrown 1980s arcade warriors fighting off weaponized 8-bit characters sent by an alien race is actually a clever idea. This could have been a fun blockbuster comedy tapping into the videogame nostalgia that’s all the rage these days. Unfortunately, the movie fell into the hands of Adam Sandler. It was so lazily conceived in a sexist, stupid, unfunny, paint-by-numbers screenplay that all the visual effects in the world couldn’t save it. What a waste. Even by Sandler’s pathetic standards, ‘Pixels’ is an insult to paying audiences. Thank god Sandler went to Netflix. At least now when viewers suffer through his shenanigans, they won’t have to pay extra for the privilege.
3) ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip’
Hi, it’s me. We don’t talk much, but I really need your help. There have been no less than three ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ movies now. I understand that they’ve made vast amounts of money distracting children and that some studio executives have gotten all the hookers and blow they’ve ever wanted out of the arrangement. However, no one really likes these movies and film critics are required to suffer through early morning screenings of them.
We hate those movies. Those movies hate us. They’ve really outstayed their welcome. I understand that a fourth one is coming out in 2015 called ‘The Road Chip’ or something. It’s pretty much guaranteed to be the worst Chipmunks movie yet and I just can’t take the pain anymore. Is there any way that you could make ‘Chipmunks 4’ open opposite ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ so that there’s no chance it would be successful enough to spawn a fifth chapter in the franchise? It would mean the world to me and, as you know, God, I’m your number one fan. Please make this happen.
For about a decade or so, Johnny Depp could really do no wrong. No matter what movie he slapped his name on, audiences would flock to the theater. Well, those times have changed and ‘Mortdecai’ might be the movie than finally kills off any good will that audiences have left for Mr. Depp.
It’s a movie based around horrible, sub-‘Austin Powers’ sex puns and a mustache. Seriously, Depp and everyone else involved in ‘Mortdecai’ somehow thought one moustache would be enough to justify the existence of an entire globe-trotting spy comedy. Shockingly, they were wrong. In fact, they made one of the least entertaining comedies ever conceived. The movie is so bad that even Jeff Goldblum can’t save it for a scene, and as we all know, that’s damn near impossible. ‘Mortdecai’ was such an instant pop culture punchline that some folks want to transform it into an ironic cult movie. I wish those people good luck. They’ll need it.
Finally, only one movie in 2015 was so completely reprehensible that it had to top this list – a film that took all the chauvinism, sexism, materialism, stupidity and moral bankruptcy of the ‘Entourage’ TV series and amplified it to such a nauseatingly earsplitting degree that it was offensive enough to upset viewers in neighboring theaters. Seriously, the movie managed to scrub away the faint hints of satire hidden in the TV series and deliver only the most rage-inducingly bro-tastic qualities.
The movie is so bad that even the show’s most diehard and braindead fans had to admit it was garbage. This vile work of lifestyle porn and base male fantasies should be deleted off every hard drive that ever housed it and removed from human existence entirely. Since that can’t happen, the fact that it finally killed off the ‘Entourage’ franchise will do. I can take some comfort there.
If the Top Ten list didn’t cover enough crap, here are 26 more piles of cinematic garbage that deserved a spot on this list, but didn’t make the cut.
‘Black or White’
‘The Boy Next Door’
‘By the Sea’
‘Everything Will Be Fine’
‘The Last Witch Hunter’
‘The Longest Ride’
‘Love the Coopers’
‘Playing It Cool ‘
‘Rock the Kasbah’
‘She’s Funny That Way’
‘That Sugar Film’
‘The Water Diviner’