Thursday, January 4, 2018

2017 Year In Movies: The Ten Worst Films of 2017

We got spoiled this year, no doubt about it. No matter where we looked, whether you are an arthouse person, a foreign film lover, or you just go and see the mainstream stuff, there was something to love for everyone. That doesn't mean that a year was flawless. Oh no, there was plenty of bad that stunk up movie theaters last year. At the end of the year, as writers and critics reflect upon the year now finished. Not only is it good to discuss what made us happy and uplifted us over the last twelves months, but its equally important to warn people of what they should have stayed away from.

My Worst of Lists are always interesting. The movies I usually get the most frustrated with are films that could have been great, movies that had potential then got squandered. There are plenty of movies that get released each year that don't look like they tried, almost like they wanted to make a bad movie, and that never really bothers me, or offends me to the point where I want to put it on a list. "Fifty Shades Darker" is stupid and sleazy, but I don't think you can take that concept and NOT make it stupid and sleazy. By the fifth "Transformers" movie, I say its on you if you go spend money on those and come out the other end disappointed. When Adam Sandler cranks out those films on Netflix, I don't think he's really trying anymore, the man he once was is long gone, and he seems to know it. So why put it on a list? I knew it was going to be bad. This list is more a collection of films I enjoyed watching the least. Movies I wish I was doing anything else besides watch, movies that really felt like they were wasting my time.

If I could stop you from suffering any pain, then I am a happy man indeed, let's journey into the darkness.

10. The Dark Tower
I am a huge Stephen King fan, and if you look at the other King adaptations from 2017, "IT" and "Gerald's Game" and "1922" respectively, it was a excellent year for them. If "The Dark Tower" was managed correctly, it could have been the adult "Lord of the Rings." That's why this sorry excuse for an adaptation hurts so much. They essentially took Kings story and made a backdrop for a painfully pedestrian action movie, one that features all the tired cliches, and missed the boat completely on what made King's fantasy epic so...epic. And no, I don't care what King says, he's liked every adaptation of ALL of his work except...get this...Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining."

9. Death Note
What could have been one of the most morally complicated, richly imagined films of the year ended up being a total stinker. When fans of this manga tell me how bitterly disappointing the movie adaptation is, you know your in trouble. If you add the 1990's special effects, the wildly cartoonish situations and the terrible acting, and it's a recipe for a stomach-churning mess.

8. The Mummy
This happens all the time. Anytime something makes a bunch of movie, it turns into the next Hollywood trend. When "X-Men" and "Spiderman" made huge money in the early 2000's, every superhero script under the sun got greenlit, quality or not. When "Lord of the Rings" exploded at the box office a year later, studios were getting their greedy mitts on distribution rights for every fantasy novel. Today, shared universes and world-building are the trends, and Universal Studios tried to make a cinematic universe out of their classic monsters. It could have maybe been a good idea, but turning their universe of monsters into superheroes probably was the dumbest avenue they could have drove down. Not only that, but the film itself is like watching a person with multiple personalities. Is the movie a horror movie? A superhero movie? An action movie? A comedy? Or is it just plain stupid? I am going with the latter.

7. The Circle
Don't let the inclusion of Tom Hanks and Emma Watson fool you, there are plenty of clunkers being made with starpower. What could have been an interesting fable about how social media is starting to assert itself in nearly every facet of our lives, and there are people in the world getting paid to manage social media accounts, "The Circle" could have really been something smart and cynical. Instead, this is a cheap thriller, a script that makes zero sense for long stretches of running time and features great actors coming across as wooden cut-outs.

6. The Space Between Us
So a boy is born on Mars during a mission to try and colonize the planet, and nobody says anything about it and they keep it a secret to avoid a PR disaster. As he grows up, he without any explanation, becomes an expert hacker and finds a man who might be his father. So he somehow makes it down to Earth and falls in love with the first girl who bats her eyelashes at him. Man, this writes itself for a comedy...except it wasn't a comedy.

5. The House
When a family can't pay for their child's college tuition, they run a backroom casino in order to help fulfill their child's dreams. It's a really stupid concept for a movie, but could have maybe been good as a comedy, and a comedy it became. With Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler as the parents, what could have possibly gone wrong? Oh yeah! It wasn't funny!

4. Rings
Hey, let's take one of the best horror films in recent memory, give it an un-needed sequel after its first sequel bombed. Completely remove the mood and atmosphere and everything that made this horror film great, replace the smart characters with dumb teenagers, and be sure they get all hot and sticky. It's just like every other horror movie now! This is shameless product placement at its finest!

3. A Dog's Purpose
Tearjerkers are sadly a necesarry evil in the world of Hollywood. But I wouldn't mind them as much if those tears were earned. Sometimes movies are sad, sometimes they are intentionally sad in order to register some emotion from the audience. But good God, please make sure the movie makes a lick of sense? Is there some kind of mythology that states that when a dog dies, they are reborn in another dog's body? Does a scientific or spiritual explanation for it? Because that's what happens in this movie, a dog respawns and respawns in different dogs' bodies until...get this...he finds his first owner ever! This is a movie that doesn't earn its emotions, not even a little bit. The dogs may be cute, but the film is phony at its core.

2. Baywatch
Let's bring back a TV show many didn't give two shits about, make it absolutely nothing like the show itself, and have it star Zac Efron. Need I tell anymore explanation as to why this one failed?

1. The Snowman
A no-brainer for me this year. Michael Fassbender is slowly becoming the next all-purpose Nicolas Cage, but even he had to smell the stink on display if the behind-the-scenes stories are to be true. They script just cut fifteen pages, and production just decided to shoot the script anyway, even though that meant moments and scenes made no sense. Then, they hired the living wax doll Val Kilmer and dubbed his voice with his own voice. All in an effort to adapt a book that sounds a lot more interesting than the movie we got. Too bad the film itself is so clearly cliche-ridden that you'll be able to figure out who the killer is as long as you've seen at least one motion picture your entire life. My god, what a head-scratcher, what a miscalculation of material and preparedness. What an abysmal effort by a group of otherwise talented actors. This is one of those movies that should have been shelved and/or put in Development Hell until they figured out what the fuck to do with it, leave it to Nic Cage...oops...I mean Michael Fassbender to fuck that all up. I hope you enjoyed your career while it lasted, because you are tanking yourself completely Mr. Fassbender.


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