There were plenty of contenders for the absolute rock bottom of film culture that 2017 had to offer. You’ve probably seen some. Hopefully you haven’t seen them all. Getting through some of these flaming poo bags of cinema was an absolute trial, but I suffered through all of these for you. It was a sacrifice. I hope I helped keep you away. If not, please accept my dearest apologies. I may not know specifically who you are, but I do know that you didn’t deserve to watch any of these ten cinematic stink bombs. No one did.
10) ‘Underworld: Blood Wars‘
Yes, they made another ‘Underworld’ movie, just as dull and pointless as the rest. It’s amazing how little entertainment has actually snuck into this franchise about a leather-wrapped Kate Beckinsale fighting in a vampire/werewolf war. It must be hard to make that concept incomprehensible and unwatchable, but the folks behind ‘Underworld’ have managed to keep disappointing fans worldwide for well over a decade now. Clearly it will never stop. Want to know the worst part of ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’? Almost 12 months after seeing it, I honestly can’t remember a single thing that happened in it and a quick Google reviewed the few moments I thought I remembered were for other, equally garbage ‘Underworld’ sequels. Please let this franchise die now. We’ve all been through enough.
It was amazing that anyone even bothered to make an American ‘Ring’ sequel in 2017. The target teen demo was unlikely to even know what the hell a VHS tape is. Somehow, it got made anyway. The trailers flaunted an admittedly goofy/fun sequence of the ring ghost taking over all the screens on a crashing airplane. It was the best scene in the movie, hastily tacked onto the film through reshoots months after production was completed. The actual movie that audiences were punished with was a turgid and disposable collection of J-horror clichés that took about an hour to get going and then delivered a series of disappointments after that. Worst of all, it was one big advertisement for a new collection of ‘Ring’ sequels. It’s time for Hollywood to let this franchise die. That ghost girl in the well has already been through enough. She didn’t need this too.
8) ‘The Emoji Movie‘
‘The Emoji Movie’ is about a “Meh” face who doesn’t believe in his assigned identity and dreams about being able to smile. If that sentence didn’t make you vomit in your mouth, don’t worry. Almost every plot beat after that is even worse. Most insulting of all, the bulk of the episodic adventure is driven by product placement as the characters stumble through nonsensical adventures utilizing apps that clearly threw stacks of money at Sony to be a part of this nonsense. Did I mention that this crassly commercial claptrap was also supposed to be aimed at children? Yeah, so… fuck ‘The Emoji Movie’ and everyone who allowed it to happen. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.
7) ‘A Dog’s Purpose‘
They say the most manipulative thing any filmmaker can do is kill a dog on screen. It’s lazy. It’s cruel. It happens constantly. Well, if you’re someone who loves crying their eyeholes dry over doggies dying, then ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ is the film for you! It’s about a dog who keeps dying and getting reincarnated as other dogs so that he can help his owners live a more full life before dying again.
Essentially, ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ is a doggie snuff porn connected by Lifetime-level sentimental claptrap and directed by a man named Lasse. You can’t make that up. Something this colossally misconceived has to be real. Now that we’ve all been spared the theatrical, home video, and streaming releases of this steaming pile, ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ can finally be released in the format it was always destined for: endless repeat screenings on The Hallmark Channel.
For anyone who still thought director Marc Webb might not be a total hack following his character-killing tenure on ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ series, ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’ came along this year to set the record straight. It’s about a pampered twenty-something fucking his way in and out of problems in New York while his rich parents complain about the fact that New York has changed. Oh, and the kid also wants to be a writer and befriends a legendary one played by Jeff Bridges.
There’s not a second in this movie that isn’t obnoxious and doesn’t ring false despite the desperate stabs at emotional manipulation throughout. This nonsense almost ruins the beautiful Simon and Garfunkel song the title is stolen from. Worst of all, the movie isn’t just pathetic, it’s also pretentious. May everyone involved in conceiving, writing, and believing in this story never work again.
5) ‘The Snowman‘
When Tom Cruise was cast as the 7-foot-tall drifter Jack Reacher, it was clear that project would turn out poorly. When Michael Fassbender was cast as the burned-out, middle-aged alcoholic in ‘The Snowman’, we all should have expected the worst as well.
This movie is so bad that its director, Tomas Alfredson (‘Let the Right One In’, ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’) spent most of his press tour apologizing instead of promoting it, claiming that he didn’t have a enough time to shoot all the footage he needed to tell the story and desperately tried to save it through editing. (Note: he failed.) That’s likely true given that the movie has logic gaps and plot holes big enough to build a sensible three story home within. It doesn’t change the fact that the movie varies so wildly in tone from disturbingly icky (like the rapey opening with a kid) to stupidly absurd (like when a murder victim’s decapitated head is found on a Snowman) without any rhyme or reason. Regardless, ‘The Snowman’ is an absolute mess on every level. On the plus side, it has some pretty cinematography and is unintentionally hilarious. Don’t be surprised if ‘The Snowman’ develops a “so bad it’s good” reputation in a few years.
Just when we as a culture had all collectively agreed to pretend that Katherine Heigl was no longer a thing, along comes ‘Unforgettable’ to drag her back into view whether we like it or not. The movie plays like a ‘Fatal Attraction’ knockoff that even Michael Douglas would turn down, starring Heigl (who at least shows some self aware wit by playing a controlling bitch) and Rosario Dawson (who deserves so much better) in a feature-length catfight over a guy who clearly isn’t worth it. Had the movie been directed with layers of style, irony and dark humor, it could have been a tongue-in-cheek delight. Instead, it’s played seriously even though it’s impossible to take seriously. This is the kind of airport bookstore potboiler that actually leaves you feeling dumber when it’s over.
3) ‘The Shack‘
There’s an entire cottage industry of horrible religious morality plays designed to exploit the collection plate savings of pious folks everywhere. When these movies were limited to church basement flea markets with Kirk Cameron’s smug face on the cover, they were easy to ignore. Now that they somehow get nationwide theatrical releases, it’s tough not to call bullshit on these religious exploitation pictures. They’re almost always bad, but few are as offensively misconceived as ‘The Shack’.
Like so many Christian parables, the movie is about the power of forgiveness. However, this one is about the power of a father forgiving his child’s rapist/murderer. Now, I’m all about forgiveness, but that’s too much. That’s offensive, even. I don’t care if an angel helps me run across water in an inspirational montage, there’s no reason to forgive a kiddie rapist and killer. But that’s what ‘The Shack’ is about and one of a dozen or so reasons why you should go out of your way to ignore it. You’ve also can’t help but feel horrible for Sam Worthington while watching this. It really wasn’t that long ago that he starred in the most successful film ever made. He really shouldn’t be reduced to headlining this dreck already.
2) ‘Fifty Shades Darker‘
There was a time when softcore porno aired exclusively on deep cable where masturbators could watch them in piece and not disturb the rest of us. Now thanks to that steamy summer where your mom and all her friends decided to binge-read their way through the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ series, softcore bondage porn gets the Valentine’s Day blockbuster treatment.
The first ‘Fifty Shades’ flick was bad enough, but this sequel is so embarrassing that it actually reminds you of the original’s few positive qualities. That shouldn’t have been possible and yet here comes this flatly shot sequel with the worst plane crash sequence in the history of cinema and a romantic highlight involving a lady getting fingered in a packed elevator. Honestly, the fact that this garbage franchise continues to exist just might be proof that society is collapsing. That said, I can’t wait to see how horrible the third and concluding chapter turns out to be. I can’t decide if that means that the filmmakers did their jobs or not.
Another year, another crappy ‘Transformers’ movie. That’s what Michael Bay does these days when he isn’t preparing for his turn in the spotlight of Hollywood sexual harassment accusations. ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ suffered from all the problems of previous ‘Transformers flicks’: the bloat, the incomprehensible mythology, the needlessly objectified women, the eyeball-punishing editing, the brain-bashing stupidity, the grating product placement, the offensively immature humor, and everything else. This time, the garbage ‘Transformers’ sequel also had an insane subplot about Transformers being responsible for every milestone in human history with most of the remarkably stupid backstory delivered by a slumming Anthony Hopkins. That ensured that ‘The Last Knight’ was not only the dumbest and worst ‘Transformers’ movie, but also so stupid and horrible that it’s a laugh riot to behold.
If you’re looking for an absolute garbage fire that embodies everything wrong with contemporary blockbusters to giggle at incessantly over the holidays, do yourself a favor and watch ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’. Just make sure not to get anywhere near it if you’re expecting anything other than the worst of the worst that Machael Bay and his gang of Hollywood monsters have to offer.
While it would be nice to say that those were the only horrible movies made in 2017, that’s sadly not true. Many, many, MANY more movies competed for a spot on this list. If that Top Ten list wasn’t enough bad movie bashing for you today, here’s a long and embarrassing list of dishonorable mentions. Every one is a disappointment. Every one should be avoided. All of them were mocked thoroughly by yours truly in the links below
- ‘American Assassin‘
- ‘The Black Prince‘
- ‘Bon Cop Bad Cop 2‘
- ‘The Book of Henry‘
- ‘The Circle‘
- ‘The Comedian‘
- ‘Friend Request‘
- ‘Going in Style‘
- ‘Happy Death Day‘
- ‘Justice League‘
- ‘Kung Fu Yoga‘
- ‘Live by Night‘
- ‘Meagan Leavey‘
- ‘Monster Trucks‘
- ‘The Mountain Between Us‘
- ‘The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature‘
- ‘Paris Can Wait‘
- ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales‘
- ‘Spark: A Space Tail‘
- ‘The Space Between Us‘
- ‘3 Generations‘
- ‘Tulip Fever‘