2015 Year In Movies
The Worst of 2015
The end of the year is good to reflect upon the movies that really meant something to us all, but its also good to say good riddance to the crap that stunk up our theaters throughout the year. I think 2015, more any previous years, had lots of crap. I think I could have easily made a top 15 or a top 20 worst movies of the year, and still had movies I could fill into the list. The thing is, I don't particularly want to remember all the shit I saw last year. I will try to put an emphasis on the crap I hope you all were fortunate to stay away from. If you are even remotely thinking of any of these movies, please leave them be.
10. The Area 51 Visit & The Unfriended Gallows
The picture above is the face I make every time I read that someone is going to make a found footage horror movie, and if 2015 taught me anything, its that I have had it up to here with this morbid device. Yes, I kind of cheated putting four movies in the tenth spot, but I am trying to make my point perfectly clear. "Area 51," "The Visit," "The Gallows" and "Unfriended" are all complete garbage, totally without tension, without scares and without merit. The funny thing is, some of these movies would have actually been better had they not been found footage movies, but the device is obviously cheap and so it goes. For some reason, we are letting these horror movies make money, which is why we are littered with dozens of them every year. While horror movies like "The Forest" and "The Boy" come out later this year, and they all look preposterously silly, I think they are ambitious next to any of the four movies in this spot. I think I am officially done with found footage. I will take horror movies with atmosphere, mood, character and storytelling over a bunch of acting students running around with a shaky camera yelling at nothing.
What could go wrong, the poster asks? Well, literally everything. I completely abhor the remake culture Hollywood has created, merely remaking good movies in order to make the easy dollar. I actually had hope for this one since it was about the Griswalds son and the original Griswalds actually show up. The sad part is, Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo are only in it for mere minutes and the rest of the film is a completely unfunny affair. Nothing funny happens, and this remarkable cast is greatly wasted. Of course we get the couple "Vacation" tropes from the original, just to remind us of THOSE parts in the ORIGINAL movie. All this movie did was remind me of how good the original "Vacation" movies really were and just how remaking glory movies has spiraled out of control.
8. "The Divergent Series: Insurgent"
Yep. Pretty self-explanatory. This is just the next installment of a poor man's "Hunger Games." But Young Adult novels turned movies are so hot right now! How could this have failed? Answer: It stars Shailene Woodley!
This was incredibly disappointing to sit through, simply because I love Amy Schumer quite a bit. But honestly, the whole movie I was asking myself just what the hell was going on. When one of the raunchiest comedians can't nail a sex joke correctly, then something has gone terribly wrong. But while this tried to be a raunchy comedy, it also tried to be a romantic cheesefest at the same time. Schumer should have known that she can't have it both ways. I was originally excited about Schumer writing a movie with Jennifer Lawrence, now I am not so sure.
6. "Strange Magic"
George Lucas tried to make a semi-riff on old Shakespearian archetypes, with popular music for the characters to sing. It made sure it show itself as a children's movie, pimped out with goofy, colorful characters. But then featured subtle sexual overtones? George, what happened to you? Maybe its a good thing you sold Lucasfilm. After so many good examples in animation coming from Pixar and Dreamworks every year, we shouldn't be getting family films this bad anymore.
5. "Fifty Shades of Grey"
This film's appalling message and its horrible excuse for a hero would have been enough to make the list. But then the filmmakers worked from a script that made absolutely no sense and made sure that Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson absolutely failed onscreen. "Fifty Shades..." isn't even so bad its good, its not so bad that its funny. Its just a dopey waste a few hours. Honestly, the entire philosophy the movie paints...ugh...just don't get me started.
When a movie is so bad that its makes Bill Murray boring, you KNOW for sure that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.
3. "Welcome To Me"
"So honey, you wanna watch a movie on Netflix tonight? There this goofy, off-beat, relationship-reflecting, comedy called 'Welcome To Me' we could watch. It has Kristen Wiig in it. She plays a mentally unbalanced person, like the character she played on "Anchorman 2!" Her character wins the lottery and uses her winnings to fund a television show! Her character performs a dog neutering! So funny! And Wiig is very Martha Stewart with her voice! So smart! James Marsden plays the asshole who buys her show and he's really greedy! And Wiig's character has this strange obsession with swans and....wait. Honey, were are you going? I thought we were gonna Netflix-and-Chill?"
I could write for hours on end just how wrong-headed Hugh Jackman's performance as Blackbeard was in this, and how it channels Dustin Hoffman's Captain Hook performance in all the wrong ways. I could write about how continually insulting it is to blindly whitewash roles for no reason. I could write how this movie reminds us all why prequels are so stupid, and this movie doesn't tell a whole story, because its begging us to see the sequel in the next couple years. I could write about how weird it was when characters sang one song by Nirvana and one song by The Ramones, "Moulin Rouge!" style. Then literally, honestly, seriously...NEVER SANG ANOTHER SONG IN THE REST OF THE MOVIE. I could also write how this movie completely shits all over the Peter Pan mythology and legend (if Peter wanted to leave his family and stay young forever, why does the film's entire climax ride on Peter's feelings for his mother??) But this movie isn't worth anybody's time to justify it.
Michael Mann is a talented director, Chris Hemsworth is a wonderful actor and the idea of cyber-terrorism is both relevant to today and engaging as a storytelling platform. So how did "Blackhat" go wrong? How did it go so wrong that it was labeled the worst movie of 2015? Michael Mann took this great idea and all his talent and made the poorest of choices with decision. Chris Hemsworth is built like an action star, so he's got to be a great fighter, even though there is no evidence of it anywhere in the movie. The movie is so long that mere minutes feel like hours at the time. But the one thing that made me laugh out loud when it shouldn't have was when the movie ended on an outrageously violent climax. For a film about computers and hackers, why was the ending so violent to the point of being pornographic? Why did Mann turn his hero into a monster from a slasher movie? I wish I had the answers. You could look at any movies on this list and say, I figured that would be bad. I feel "Blackhat" was the only movie on this list that had a decent chance of actually being good, even great. That's why it hurt the most. Nothing is worse when talent behind and in front of the camera blow it in such a big way. In every corner there is a disappointment, and every corner there is a despicable choice. For actors and filmmakers who have been tearing it up for so long to fumble something so hard is completely unforgivable.
If you managed to miss any or all of these movies, go out and buy the nicest steak at the best restaurant you can find. Wash it down with the bubbliest champagne your budget can sustain. Because that is a grand accomplishment in itself.