Thursday, January 2, 2014

My Worst Ten Films of 2013

I haven't seen 21 & Over, The Last Exorcism 2, Trance, Scary Movie 5, The Big Wedding, The Hangover III, The Internship, Grown Ups 2, The Look of Love, Kick-Ass 2, The Canyons, Paranoia, Getaway, Battle of the Year, Runner Runner, Machete Kills, Winnie Mandela, The Fifth Estate, CBGB, The Counselor, 47 Ronin and some of these other movies making Worst Ten lists, but of what I saw, these were my least favorites.

I'm going to wait a couple more weeks before I do my Top Ten, as there's a few that haven't come to a theater near me I know I want to see.

Talented Misfire:

To the Wonder - An independent editor could probably assemble a beautiful film about love and betrayal from the footage, but Terrence Malick left most of those pieces on the cutting room floor in favor of sunsets and Olga Kurylenko twirling.

Dishonorable Mentions:

After Earth - Flat, uninteresting sci-fi flick that feels like an unintentional sequel to Battlefield Earth. Mostly because of the Scientology philopsophy throughout the movie, but also because it feels half-baked once it's over.  At least B.E. now has camp value.

Elysium - This sci-fi actioner makes zero sense when you think about it, but it also gets dinged for having what may be the worst performance of Jodie Foster's career. I don't know what she was going for, but I'm guessing South African Disney Villain.

Gangster Squad - Shallow mobster movie that more closely resembles Dick Tracy than DePalma. I'm confused why they assembled all this talent but didn't even try to be a good movie.

A Good Day to Die Hard - Worst installment yet, with Bruce Willis hopping around Russia like a superhero against bad guys who can't shoot, exuding zero chemistry with Jai Courtney as his estranged son. But the fact that they gave this to director John Moore (Max Payne) shows they didn't really care about quality.

The Purge - Takes an interesting Twilight Zone premise but doesn't do anything with it besides stretch it out as a home-invasion thriller. Missed opportunity.

And now...

.... the worst ten.

10. R.I.P.D. - Men in Black 2 meets Ghostbusters 2 meets CGI left over from the Mummy sequels. The Pluto Nash of our times.  I can see a lot of movies pitched as "It's [Hit Movie A] meets [Hit Movie B]!" as a way to get sold, but it needs to become its own thing somehow. This one doesn't.

9. GI JOE: RETALIATION - I didn't think Rise of Cobra was good, but this sequel made me think I was too harsh on it.  Most of the initial cast is killed off or replaced, and Dwayne Johnson is left to shoulder the load while Bruce Willis collects a paycheck. I'm surprised it didn't climax with a dance competition.

8. BROKEN CITY - I suppose there was a reason the studio put the ending of the movie in all their trailers and previews; it was the only way to make it look interesting.

7. IDENTITY THIEF - Major misfire for two comic talents whom I wouldn't mind seeing try again with a different script.  This one though makes Melissa McCarthy as unlikable as possible in the first half, but then tries to tug our heartstrings in the second half. Not buying it.

6. SAFE HAVEN - Remember the twist ending of Deadly Friend when Kristy Swanson revealed she's been a Terminator robot all along? This otherwise dull romance ends on about as ridiculous a note.

5. ONLY GOD FORGIVES - Lots of macho posturing and posing, where the actors must have thought their slow walking would be enhanced in post. Nope. Director Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) leaves his actors dangling out there in this empty yakuza-style "thriller" and betrays his Drive star Ryan Gosling in their reunion.


The worst four don't really count as movies, yet they had theatrical releases nonetheless.

4. A HAUNTED HOUSE - The parody format that the Naked Gun did so well get diminishing returns with each passing year. This send-up of the Paranormal Activity movies starts with a too-long fart joke and goes downhill from there.  Awful.

3. THE ABCs OF DEATH - 26 short films about death. 24 of them sucked.

2. MOVIE 43 - A-List talent assemble in this anthology trying to be the next Amazon Women on the Moon. I guess. Whoever convinced Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Naomi Watts, etc., to appear in this is one heck of a salesman. The goal of a dirty joke should be to be funny first and shocking second. Unfunny shock is just a turd on your front porch.

1. INAPPROPRIATE COMEDY - This anthology comedy makes Movie 43 look like Monty Python by comparison. It's directed by the Sham-Wow guy.  No kidding. The biggest star it conned into appearing was Adrien Brody, who should sue. Bury all negatives of this in the Earth.

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