Sometimes you want to go
Where Everybody knows Your Name
And they're always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see
our troubles are all the same...-
Okay, I better stop that before I type the whole song and then have to pay for copyrights. (To those who don't know, that was the lyrics to "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo, better known as the theme song for "Cheers" and if you're older than three and didn't know that, dude, stop reading this and go watch "Cheers"!) Actually, go watch "Cheers" anyway, 'cause it's better than every movie I'm about to talk about. Yeah, that's the thing, when things are going down, you want something to cheer you up, or at least something to share your misery with. Escaping from your own world for a little bit, and enjoying somebody else's for awhile. Entertainment, of all kinds, can do so much, so when you sit down and let your troubles go, for a couple hours or so for a movie, and you end up watching something so shitty it gives you even more horrible pain that it makes you want to ball out your eyes with a pick-ax, then, yeah, you get disappointed and frustrated. Perhaps suicidal. So when that keeps happening and happening, oh boy.
I was not kidding when I said in my Best Films of 2014 year, that there were fewer good films than normal and there was a lot of very good. But you see, that trend, kept going. There was a lot of very good, but then there was more, good than very good than normal, and then there was a lot more bad than good than normal too, and then we start getting to the bad and the very bad and-, ugh. Yeah, this was the year that has officially made me start doing a Top Ten Worst List, like giving it some thought to do it and devoting a whole blog to it. I hope this is a one-year thing, and so far, based on 2015, where I can have more fun with even the crap that it's producing, well most of it. (Yeah, don't think "Serena" and "The Last Five Years", didn't cause me just as much pain as some of these titles) Generally....-
Well, I should bring this up too, you see, there's actually another reason I never devoted a whole blog to this before though, is because, well, I'm not a "professional" film critic, at least not in the sense that I get paid for writing this blog, although I do get something for every hit and for everybody who clicks on the ads, (BTW, Click on the ads, if you like this) but I don't pay my rent doing this, not yet anyway. (Although I am better and more qualified than some of the so-called professional critic, [coughs, coughs, coughs] sorry, got a cold, Rex Reed,. Oh I did that wrong, I was supposed to said "Rex Reed" during the coughing, didn't I?) And, while I actually would like to inevitably watch everything that comes out in a given year, I-eh, uh....- Listen, I know there's some people who get off on watching stuff that's quote-unqoute "bad" or "so bad it's good", or enjoys crap ironically, and can force themselves through some of the truly worst shit ever put to film, but me, yeah, I better get paid a lot more before I start willingly do that. You see, I'll tell you a secret, there's a few other ways that I decide what movies to watch, but other than immediately putting films that I have to watch based on importance, such as the importance of the filmmakers, or too pop culturally important to ignore, Oscar nominees for instance or other award winners, etc., after all that, I generally check rottentomatoes.com and look at a film's critic ratings and if it's above 50%, and gotten a positive review from at least half of the "Top Critics", the paid critics at least, 'cause I don't want to sit through crap! I mean, yes there's benefits to it, and you do become a better artist by watching terrible movies, it helps to know what's good by comparing it to crap, that's absolutely true. But-, uh, you have to have a lot more tolerance than I do.
So, let's be clear, this is probably not the "Worst" worst of 2014, it's the worst that I got around to watching. You won't a "Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas" on here, 'cause obviously I lost my shit watching these film, I don't want to feel like losing my shit over actual shit. So, this is gonna be an unusual list. It may have some of your worst films, but since, I'm basically limiting myself to watching supposedly good films, mostly-, let's just say I hope this is the actual worst, but I seriously doubt it. It was seriously shitty enough for me, and that's bad enough.
So, let's hope this is a one-time thing folks, so, let's go finish off this frustrating, annoying turd of a year once and for all, Here we go folks.
THE TOP TEN WORST FILMS OF 2014! (At least, the worst that I got around to watching.)
10. The Boxtrolls
This was not a great year for animated features. Yes, we had some good and great films like "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya" and "The LEGO Movie" and "How to Tell Your Dragon 2" among others, but there was some crap too. "Rio 2" is as instantly forgettable as the first "Rio"; not sure why we had that sequel, although I particularly hated "The Congress", which was mostly animated, this horrible meta-Hollywood satire about us turning into a drug culture after celebrities have their images replicated into computers so that they can forever be used to make digital movies, or some fucking thing, I-, I came close to putting that atrocity of meandering nothingness on here, but I went with "The Boxtrolls" a bizarre and disturbing supposed family picture that somehow knocked "The LEGO Movie" out of the animated feature Oscar race.
From my original review:
Huh? This got nominated for Best Animated Feature over "The LEGO Movie"? I-I guess I can sorta understand on an animation level, this is a Laika Production and they're stop-motion animation is usually quite special like "Coraline" or "ParaNorman" some of the most interesting and special animated films in recent years, but really? This film? "The Boxtrolls"? I'm sorry, to be so, uh, what's-the-right-word, befuddled by this film, but I'm a little stumped by this one? On the one hand, this film really is just another tale where another group of monsters is misunderstood for evil by the adults in the power and in turn, the whole town and they now have to be convinced that indeed they are not evil, by little kids who they don't listen. Oh, and the adults are obsessed with cheese. Okay, that last part is just weird, especially when you actually see how obsessed with cheese they are, like it's almost currency in this universe, that and white hats, 'cause, as far as I could tell, the white hats get to eat the cheese.
(Rubs top of nose between eyes for several minutes of pause)
Okay, my first question is, "What the hell's with the movie?" The Boxtrolls are, well, they're not that magical or cuddly or interesting a group of characters that you'd really want to save them, but let's presume they are for the time being, they're a shy group of monsters who live in and have a habit of hiding in their boxes, which serve the purpose of a turtle shell essential, a place to live and as clothes. They're builders actually and are constantly hiding. There's one human Boxtroll, a kid named Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) who doesn't know about his original human origins. However, the main story thread, I think, it's a bit debatable, but I think it's based around Winnie (Elle Fanning) the daughter of Lord Portley-Rind (Jared Harris) who I think is essentially the town's Mayor, oh the town's name is Cheesebridge btw, and it's somewhere, I guess in a Dickinsian England via Jean-Pierre Jeunet (And not good Jeunet either). He's hired Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) to get the Boxtrolls who have constantly been reported to have taken more and more children, most notably the Trubshaw Baby many years earlier and now the stories about them have run rapid. I-eh, ugh, yeah, the more I think about it, the less this feels like a real movie. This is typical, by the numbers stuff primarily and the choices they do make would be too ridiculous in a Wallace & Gromit short. In many ways, this does feel like a rejected Aardman Animation idea in both look and tone. This film just frustrated me. The kids are smart, sorta, the adults are all too dumb to exist, the Boxtrolls aren't that interesting, the plot recycles everything from "The Night of the Hunter" to "The Jetsons Movie", yet none of this really comes together. It does but in this contrived way in front of all the gullible townspeople and even then it ends, strangely with, an unfunny version of the grossest joke from "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life". "The Boxtrolls" is just a mess.....
Yeah, I mean, this was just like, two halves of a movie that never really came together and neither were that good. I mean, the animation is nice, but there was no whimsy, no fun, not even any kind of enjoyable oddball quirkiness to this film. I can see it's influences, but,- this is one of those movies I had to watch, because it got a major Oscar nomination, and that's part of my criteria that means I had to watch it, boy I came out of it, wondering why the hell they honored this film. This was just disturbing and I can't think of anything particularly fun about it. At least, "The Congress" was trying something, this felt like, "Let's put out something for kids" and didn't really think about, is it good? Or would kids even like this. Just because it's a unique world, doesn't mean it was any good. I mean, what is this, "They're monsters wearing boxes, let's sell them!" I mean, this is a toy that comes in your Happy Meal, not a movie.
9. Get On Up
I actually wasn't planning on putting "Get On Up" on the list; this wasn't a film I thought about, as giving me so much painful grief. Hell, in my review, I was pretty lenient, I gave it 2 1/2 STARS, bad, but certainly not worst of the year. Hell, it's a biopic of James Brown, worst case scenario, there's James Brown music throughout the film, that should be enough to keep it off the list, but no actually, I shouldn't be forgiving a movie for choosing to have an interesting real-life person being the center of the film, especially when the movie found ways to not make him, or the movie, interesting.
From my original review:
I wasn’t particularly asking for a James Brown (Chadwick Boseman) biopic, not that I would be against one, but two things: First, if you’re gonna do a biopic, you gotta have a reason to do it. If you could find the reason for “Get On Up”’s existence, please inform me. I love James Brown and all, but I looked around and didn’t see one, certainly no reason in this film. The other is that-, well,- honestly, the other one is, (Sigh) well, I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll just say it, you actually have to have a story to tell, and not just, make the character into a caricature really. I hate to be mean here, but I don’t know how else to explain it. The opening scenes of “Get On Up”, and many of the scenes in this movie, feel like rejected sketches from “In Living Color”. Like, if somebody talented had a James Brown impression and they were trying to figure out ways to use it. I’m not gonna blame Chadwick Boseman completely, ‘cause I think the script had dozens of problems to begin with, but if you were trying to learn something new about James Brown going into this film, then you really weren’t gonna get anything by his performance, and I don’t think he was particularly good... It’s worst though than just a wrong approach to this character, Brown’s life could’ve been made into three or four different movies, you could’ve made one just on the Boston Garden concert the day after Martin Luther King Jr. was killed. It’s not even that, there’s a sequence in this movie, with cameos by Allison Janney and John Benjamin Hickey, two unbelievably amazing actors, Brown and his band are in New Orleans, and they’re hanging out by the hotel pool, and these two are tourists wondering why they paid all this money and traveled all this way to have to share a pool with a bunch of- black people, and of course they used the N-word instead. Now, then the band has a rehearsal session, and the music, peels through the walls and of course, these two old white people are now dancing and funking to the music in the hotel lobby, music from the same people they were complaining were in the hotel. Other than wasting two of the best actors around, I don’t know what that scene accomplished. That’s the only time those characters are seen by the way, so don’t think there’s something else that I’m missing here, there’s not. Some of the more cartoonish stuff, I don’t even know what’s true or not from much of this film, whether James Brown ripping his pants doing the splits was really the precipice of his famous robe bit, there a few of those that just seem weird. There’s moments where he talks to the camera about some of his other ideas like forgoing local promoters to pay off unknown radio deejays to promote his shows to earn more money, those things are interesting, the way the Furious Flames, led by Bobby Byrd (Nelson Ellis) were formed and then relegated by everyone from Little Richard (Brandon Smith) to his manager Ben Bart (Dan Aykroyd) to basically his backup band which whether that was the Flames or not, he treated dismissively, that stuff was interesting. The few years in jail and the shooting and high speed chase incident, is just awkwardly put together, and they practically skip completely over his tax evasion problems. They try to shoehorn stuff with his mother and father (Viola Davis and Lennie James) but it doesn’t get us anywhere closer to understanding or giving us a new side to James Brown. The film was directed by Tate Taylor, who last directed “The Help” a movie which was popular but I still contend was awful and he’s got some of the same structuring issues here as he did with that film. This is a better film, but there’s a bunch of James Brown songs playing, how bad can it be? But really there’s this severe lack of insight into his characters that really brings the movie down. Remember in “The Help” how we didn’t see Octavia Spencer’s character’s husband at all, much less the actual realities of her being an abused wife? (Spencer btw, has a role here btw, as you may have noticed, there’s quite a few cameos from “The Help” in the film) Well, the one scene we get showing James hitting his wife DeeDee (Jill Scott) also purposefully shies away from that reality, as he hits her offscreen and we see the effects. Not that we had to watch James Brown beating his wife, I don’t want to see that frankly, but it’s indicative of the problem with the film. It’s one thing to not know which side of a person they want to show and dive into but it’s a bigger problem that it didn't matter, ‘cause whichever way they tried they didn't know how to do it.
Yeah, I hated "The Help" and that was a terrible movie, but it didn't make my worst list, partly because there were worst films that year, but there was some passion for the idea of at least honoring these African-American maids that took care of those upper-class white privileged twits, um, I don't think Tate Taylor, or anybody had any real idea of how to approach the subject of James Brown, and that's the sad thing, he had such an interesting and complex life that you really could do three or four film about him and not repeat anything. Instead however, this is just, shoving together parts in search of a whole, very clumsily and badly too I might add. I mean, it's what I wrote there, James Brown music saves the movie from being unwatchable, and if that's all you got, then it belongs on this list.
Ugh, Look, I'm not gonna pretend that this pseudo, "Trainspotting"/Guy Ritchie style of gritty British filmmaking is something that I look at positively, and I am getting sick of it. That said, when it's done right, it can be entertaining and sometimes amazing, but "Filth" struck the wrong nerve, especially with a reveal ending that was just stupid. I'm sure somebody gonna tell me and go, "It was in the original book, you have to think back to when it was written, and..." blah, blah, blah, yeah, yeah. You know what, maybe it should've been made into a film back then, but, it's 2014, (Okay, 2015 as I'm writing this, but, you know what I mean), but we've evolved.
My original review:
All across the film spectrum, there's been a very common kind of reveal that annoys the shit out of me, and it's a bad trend, for numerous reasons, and "Filth" has one of those reveals. I'm not gonna give it away, but I've seen this reveal about a character, in many different films, different kinds of films now- I might end writing an article about it actually. Occasionally it might work, "Dog Day Afternoon" did it well, "The Paperboy" recently had an interesting way of doing it, but when it's done poorly, and for no reason, and essentially, which an assumption that it's a very negative twist, ah-. Let's just move on, "Filth", is somewhat accurately title; for awhile, it felt a bit like Danny Boyle's "Bad Lieutenant: Glasgow", (and I really shouldn't insult Boyle like that by comparing him to this film, but it is based on a novel from Irvine Welsh, who did "Trainspotting".) but eventually "Filth" just continued to devolve into a senseless...-, actually it didn't exactly start off evolved or volved to begin with, of any kind really. The main character who really isn't worth helping, and nor is this film really worth watching, Bruce (James McAvoy) (Eyeroll at the name Bruce) is a cop who's looking for a promotion to detective inspector and a group of ruffians have beaten to death a Japanese student. Bruce figures that this promotion will mostly be easy, as he most likely has to help sabotage the other candidate's chances, mainly Lennox (Jamie Bell) and Gus (Gary Lewis). In the meantime, he's sleeping around with some of their wives, forces a teenage prostitute to give him a blowjob, does numerous amounts of drugs, and about anything else sickening you can think of. All this btw, under a truly deluded effort to get his wife back. We see his wife, Carole (Shauna McDonald) occasionally, speaking to us, in her own, Monroe-esque femme fatale sort of world, which she seems to be in as much control over as it appears for awhile that Bruce acts like he's in control of his. He believes to be the only competent cop of the bunch and this plays into his disillusionment when he finally realizes the inevitable. He does try, and fail to save one guy from dying after he collapse in the street. The guy's wife, Mary (Joanne Froggatt) tries to befriend and help him out for his efforts, seemingly the only truly angelic character in the film, and the only one truly interested in helping out Bruce. In a better film, I'd probably be praising James McAvoy's performance here; I must admit, I used to have trouble understanding why he kept getting cast in so many things rather quickly, (Or as Richard Roeper once said about him, "He's apparently more interesting to casting directors than he is to me.) but I've come around on him and can really see the kind of range he actually has in this film, but this movie just was so much with no purpose to it, that it really soured anything that was remotely good. It's a heavily stylized bad cop film, and not much more.
Yeah, this is a movie, like done differently and not prescient of the time, I guess I could see it working, I named "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" the best film of 2009, and there's isn't that much different between these two films at the surface, but that film definitely had a better style, a better filmmaker at the helm, and also, didn't feel the need to basically throw everything away that had happened before for this, dumbass twist at the end. Basically, we're following a disgusting, horrible character and he's not even likeable or horrible enough for us to care if he lives or dies at the end. I just wanted to not watch this film anymore, I gave it 2 STARS originally, I was generous with the style, but yeah, this is a grimy, dirty, ugly film about a despicable character, with a despicable story.
Okay, "Interstellar" was bad. Like, awful, but it wasn't entertaining and there were definitely parts of it that were good. No, there were some worst sci-fi films from that year. "Divergent" was pretty lousy, as well as boring and stupid "The Maze Runner", which for some reason already has sequel, both of them, what the hell! Ugh. Anyway, the one that I picked instead was the film that was directed by Nolan's typical cinematographer, the great Wally Pfister, and he should go back to that, 'cause "Transcendance" was just boring as Hell.
My Original Review:
Of all the things I can think of to do with Johnny Depp, (As an actor! Don't- I heard it too, that's not where I'm heading.) why would you, put him into a, computer basically. I mean, I get conceptually, the idea, that in order to create artificial intelligence, you need an actual sentient intelligence, so a human, and have they're memories, someone implanted, into a-, in case, well, basically, it's just computer; it's not even- I guess it's kind like a holographic image, but it's not even that really, it's basically Johnny Depp in front of a green screen, and he's not even doing anything interesting. "Transcendence", is Wally Pfister's feature directorial debut, he's one of the best cinematographers in Hollywood, most notably for his work with Christopher Nolan; he even won an Oscar for his work on "Inception", and he's clearly a talented and capable director, but I think the story let him down more than anything, although I didn't get the sense that he really could figure too many ways to make it more intriguing either. Depp plays Will Caster, a leading scientific researcher in artificial intelligence, which means that he's often villified, and scorned for his work, and after a brief introduction, he's a victim of a poorly-executed terrorist attack. He's shot, but he's not what he once was, and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) decide that instead of him just passing away, they'll try and, implement his mind into the artificial into a machine, and if all goes well, his presence will then infiltrate the machine. It succeeds, and from there, he starts manipulating the stock market to make sure Evelyn has enough money to hide out and build their own lab in the middle of nowhere, to continue the research. Meanwhile, a leader of the anti-A.I. group, Bree (Kate Mara) is trying to convince a fellow A.I. researcher Max (Paul Bettany) to join their side and eventually take down Will. He's coming to the conclusion that while his personality and memory made be uploaded into the computer, it's possible that he's not exactly sure it's the same Will they knew. There's some other good work from Clifton Collins, Jr., Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy as well, but the film, is really about Evelyn and Will and her willingness to believe Will still exists within the computer, and Will's insistence on trying to make sure she knows it is him. The film's told in flashback from this apocalyptic modern world, so we know this is not only the future, but something went wrong, but it also doesn't even approach the nuances of realism or even really consider these days, or modern A.I. studies, it's basically a storytelling device and not even a good one, and it's not done well. "Transcendence" doesn't really explore the possibilities of A.I., it just mostly hypothesizes worst-case scenarios and then, decides that it must go there; it's almost arbitrary. Yes, we can put a human into a computer, yes, people will be pissed off about it enough to orchestrate worldwide attacks, yes, it's gonna lead to the end of the world as we know it,... fill in, fill, in,- I guess the appeal is the relationship between the two scientists, but even that's not done in a particularly way. The more I thought about "Transcendence," the more I started disliking it. It's one of those movies that acts like it has many ideas, but when you really look at it, there really isn't anything there. I mean, Johnny Depp, inside a computer, who would've thought that would've been boring?
Yeah, I mean, "Transcendence" I can see where they sorta had this germ of an idea, there's been quite a few movie lately about, one or two people, alone, trying to make their way through an apocalyptic future of some kind, and there's been some bad ones about it, Tom Cruise was in a horrible one called "Oblivion" a few years ago, which actually worst than this film, but "Transcendence" was just forgettable, long, droll, boring, and yeah, the whole movie has Johnny Depp doing, basically nothing. I mean, this is the worst kind of film, there's bad, there's incompetent, but boring, that's the worst thing, and this was just boring. Not as boring as the next song on the list, but very boring.
6. Winter's Tale
Oh, god, this movie. I didn't write a review of Akiva Goldsman's "Winter's Tale", 'cause I just didn't have the ability to at the time, but I didn't want to. What was there to say about it; this was just, nothing. Apparently, the most I can get, was that this was apparently from a famous book, and it was, some kind of time-travel romance, I'm assuming, it was one of those, like, "The Fountain" or something, where it's like the same romance or something, over differing time periods, but this movie was such a mess that if you got anything out of it, good luck. Apparently, people who read the book weren't fans of the movie either, I've never heard of it myself, so I can't really judge that, but this movie made no sense, wasn't interesting enough to try to make sense of. I mean, I watched this movie, and immediately forgot I had watched it, and tried to watch it again, thinking I hadn't seen it at one point. This was terrible and not even in an interesting way. Whatever the hell, the goals this movie was doing, it failed. On a literal, story, metaphysical, every way, just was nothing.
5. Mood Indigo
Okay, I don't hate Michel Gondry; I really don't, and I know certain people really love him, but this is the second year in a row that one of his films made my Worst List. I thought his animated documentary "Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?" was just boring as hell. I stand by that, if it was a book on tape of Noam Chomsky talking, I might've appreciated it, but I didn't get why take the conversation and make it a freestyle animated feature. That said though, "Mood Indigo" is more indicative of everything that goes wrong when Michel Gondry doesn't have a great script or story around to help him focus his attention, 'cause this movie was just a mess. It was images on a screen, that looked pretty, but so is a kaleidoscope, and I think I'll take the kaleidoscope.
My original review:
Ugh. "Mood Indigo" is stylistically surreal, pointlessly so. Really pointlessly so, and that's one of my biggest pet peeves; something that I've always been troubled with by much of Michel Gondry's work over the years, his obsessive need to be quirky and unusual. Ever since his best film, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", but that movie had a point and a reason for all of it's strangeness. Kaufman's surreal for a reason, Gondry's surreal because he can't stop himself and by the end, his films typically lose all power because of it. You can't just be cute for the sake of being cute. His best recent film, "The We and the I", bare, very bare, it's amazing what he can do with little, kids on a bus, improvised dialogue. And now, from the bus to a train wreck. It starts with a room full of typewriters in perfect alignment, and then everything had a quirk to it. The cake, the doorbell, the wedding, what did any of it have to do with anything? It's Gondrey's first French film in his native France in a while, and it's a wonderment. Not much else though. Based on Boran Vias's novel "L'Ecume des Jours", (Although it takes a lot of liberties from that novel, I've heard) basically the story, if it was at all relevant to the film at all, involve Colin (Romain Duris) and Chloe (Audrey Tautou). Colin is a lifelone bachelor chef, I think, who falls in love with Chloe but she suffers from a strange illness where she's got a flower growing in her lungs. Colin then, has to give her flowers forever to help her live. If you understand that without looking it up, good for you. And I've been told this was a shorter version, only 94 minutes, than the original which was two hours long; I can't imagine how other shit was in this movie, but it does feel like a chopped story a bit, but even if it didn't, like, how much overload of pointless imagery can you have? I gave Gondrey's last film, the animated documentary, "Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?" a horrible review, it made my worst ten list in fact, and "Mood Indigo" might be worst. I mean, "Is the Man..." was a failed experiment, this was just nothing. Rage and beauty signifying,... not even nothing, just style over substance, style over everything. This gets so much worst the more I think about it. It is so abrasively, this is like the visual equivalent of the sound of nails on a chalkboard. I mean, some idiots gonna watch this movie and see all the production design, the special effect, the Terry Gilliam-esque whimsy, the inventiveness,... and they're gonna look at this movie and think this is some kind of special achievement or a masterpiece of this kind, but it's so without purpose. It takes you out of, whatever movie there is here, and there isn't much, It's just jarring that you go through all the trouble to make a movie, even a whimsical movie, it's just one thing after another, not progressing the story, not done for any reason whatsoever, again, and again, and again, and again,... and again. This is killing with kindness and I felt like I was being smothered by a perfume-scented pillow. This was just awful. Really, awful.
Yeah, thankfully, I've forgotten, a little bit, jus thow, overzealously quirky this movie was. I mean, and no I have not seeked out the longer original French version, I can't imagine seeking that out, 'cause this choppy cut at least, was unbearable, and I can't imagine what they could've put it or added to make this remotely sensible, much less good. I guess the movie it kinda reminds me the most of is "The Science of Sleep" another of Gondry's failed ideas, but that one, had more interesting visuals, and at least played with ideas and the transient nature of dreams. There's none of that here, this is just weird, 'cause it's a weird world and things like this, happens, or this is how these characters see and feel the world, and it's all so lovely and cute, but this was a mess.
I really didn't want to put a documentary on this list. I mean, like a real documentary, not one of those right-wing manipulative pieces of garbage that are just blatantly lying to us thinking were gullible idiots. I put one of those on my worst list last year, "Pandora's Promise" a movie that was about the history and benefits of nuclear energy, that totally wasn't giving the full story, and in case you're wondering, I'm actually in favor of nuclear energy, so don't think it was the message, I actually agree with it, but the way they were telling it, was not giving the whole story. (I live in the Las Vegas area, this is a subject I know a lot about; I can see Yucca Mountain from my house, it was not a good place to store nuclear energy, certainly not a good idea to travel with it, across the country on trucks, and it was definitely not a good idea for the scientists to falsify the data claiming that it was safe so that it would get pass Congress...., yeah, I know too much about this, and like I said, generally, I am actually okay with nuclear energy, just don't lie about it) "Watermark" is not as manipulative necessarily, in fact I don't know anything about any of the science discussed in the film, 'cause who can remember, after it's hypnotized it's audience to sleep with helicopter shots of canyons, one after another, one after another, after another, after another....
From my original review:
First there's a beautiful long take of water, or the lack thereof, maybe a few shots of people interacting with the water, or are unable to, and then an occasional talking head, talking about the necessity of water and it's current or historic place in the human evolutionary ecosystem, and then repeat, with another impressive shot of water. During most of the talking heads, I went to the bathroom. Alright, no I didn't, but I wish that was true. This is-.... you know, when your doing a documentary, even an environmental documentary, you need to try, to entertain the audience. I mean, yeah, water effects the people and land around it, whether it's there or not,- I know, no fucking shit, really?! Water effects everything!? (Eye roll) I mean, that's what this film was. Yeah, there's these great long takes of helicopters shots through the canyons that have been formed for thousands of years and all that, and, yeah, those are great, and the other things were, you know somewhat educational, but the minute you get interested you jump to another part of the world and another, eh, set of talking heads and another story about water. I mean, they have one story about how the L.A. Aqueduct was created by one guy campaigning and then getting the Owens Lake to be redirected into Los Angeles, through the aqueduct system, and then, right as that happens, within years the aqueduct, is dried up, that story is so interesting that it could've been a whole movie. I wished I was watching that movie frankly. There was a documentary last year that was Switzerland's entry into the Foreign Language Oscar category called, "More than Honey" and it was about bees and it also went around the world looking at the ways bees have effected the planet, and it was a great film 'cause it really wasn't just these random and generic stories put together, everything drifted well, everything had a point, it didn't just linger and move on to something else, it was visually interesting and it taught and it was entertaining as well, "Watermark" is a lot of teaching, but the class is asleep, and no amount of beautiful long takes through desolate canyons, and waterfalls, no matter how amazing will save it. You know, I get that in a copy of National Geographic if I wanted to just look at great images like that.
I swear to God, this movie is, like eight-minute helicopter traveling shot of someplace, and a couple talking heads for a bit, maybe traveling to that are of the world or whatnot, and then, another different helicopter shot for six or seven minutes, and then more talking heads, and then a helicopter.... I mean, this movie didn't try to entertain, they really thought that, "Oh, we get these amazing long shots of all these amazing landmarks, that can basically be the movie. No, absolutely not. Just because it's a documentary, doesn't mean, don't try. This movie just astonished me honestly; I was in shock, that was just,-, I'm still in shock really and appalled and that this movie, exists practically. I guess we were supposed to just be, almost droned into a meditative stance from this movie, but I think it just failed miserably, and even if you don't, that's all the movie is. Documentaries should still be entertaining, they don't have to be like this. This is the kind of movie I think people are thinking of when some say, "I don't like documentaries". When you watch truly compelling ones, this movie seems far less effective.
3. I Origins
Okay, now we're getting into the films I gave ZERO STARS to, gr-aaaaaaaate-t. Okay, funny story, um, I didn't technically write a review for "I Origins" because it was seen during that time where I was without a regular computer and just couldn't keep up with how much I was watching and write reviews at the same time without a readily available computer. I did however, try at least to write down by hand, some reviews to eventually type them out later; some of those reviews I actually did get around to posting, but I didn't post what I wrote for "I Origins" until now. These are word-for-word my notes on the film, handwritten by me, let's see if you can figure out, why I didn't inevitably finish writing this:
My Original notes:
I ORIGINS: ZERO STARS
Guy finds a mysterious woman having only seen her eyes. I'll be honest, little surprised this wasn't written by a woman. I mean, sure, molecular biologist who studies the evolution of the eye, but still, little unlikely that's the body body part I would remember.
This is a movie where a guy's girlfriend dies, he marries his subordinate co-worker, then seven years later, she's pregnant and he's masturbating to photos of his girlfriend, because of a perfume a waitress had on, and she catches him and says, "Don't stop!". And then, a few minutes later, the kid may have autism? This movie is really annoying me.
Okay, just saying something is "Statisically impossible" (Especially when it isn't) doesn't make it statistically impossible. Two people with the same eye fingerprints, isn't statistically impossible. Two people with the same fingerprints isn't impossible, much less eye ridge scans, which I, and probably many others knew, was far from impossible,-. I mean, that can work in some sci-fi, like "Minority Report" for instance as a minor convenience of the plot, but if the whole film is based around this point, you better know that there's a reason we don't do that now.
I seriously can't remember being so pissed off at a movie. I don't remember the last time I physically yelled at a movie so much. I'm not kidding, multiple times I was yelling at this movie in anger. Not for a snide, "Mystery Science Theater 3000" remark, just angrily P.O.ed at the movie.
And that's when I stopped, mostly cause I had started watching "Starred Up" a much better movie, and partly because my hand was just getting too tired and frankly, my handwriting sucks under normal conditions, much less under pressure. But yeah, this movie, like, I get what they were going for, but good god, they failed. It was directed by Mike Cahill, who made a really good movie called "Another Earth" a couple years ago, but that was co-written by it's star Brit Marling, who was also in this movie, and she's a far superior writer. That movie worked, because it blended sci-fi elements into a realistic world, in order to achieve a more spiritual meaning. This movie, does the opposite, it takes a practically futuristic and science-based world, and then tries to create meta-realistic elements to make something spiritual, but really, any and everything that happens in this movie, can be summed up by saying, "Isn't that a coincidence?" Literally, nearly everything important, when it isn't doing stupid shit. (I literally forgot about the masturbation scene I was annoyed with where the movie went from there. I suspect there are defenders of this film out there, but this is one of my pet peeves, just because something looks and can feel spiritual and otherworldly to someone, doesn't necessarily mean that it is. (And SPOILER especially since this character is a man of science, it really makes him stupid that he's seeing, the spirit of his wife through the coincidental eye ridge patterns of another.) Yeah, this movie doesn't have a good enough believable presence to pull off what it's trying. I'm actually a little surprised that I only ended up ranking this number three, for a good while, I thought this was going to be the worst film of the year.
2. Draft Day
Oh, Ivan Reitman, what the hell, man? You're better than this! Okay, I actually was slightly nice to "Draft Day", giving it just, 1/2 STAR, not ZERO STARS, as I probably should've been meaner to it, but it is, comfortable to watch. That's part of the problem, but I can sorta understand people sitting down and keeping this movie on in the background of something else, but yeah, this movie, suffers from a lot of things, not the least of which is the fact that it's a sports movie about the friggin' NFL Draft, so no matter what happens, we don't have a clue if they succeed at any of what they're doing for three or four years later tops, but even if you ignore that, "Draft Day", is just the hackiest of hack writing out there.
From my original review:
Oh man is this film awful. I'm more than familiar with the NFL Draft; I remember being the only Eagles fan to not be booing Donovan McNabb when we drafted him 2nd overall in '98,.... it is an interesting subject matter for a film, many films in fact, but not the kind of movie that's made here, and even if it was, frankly, this is not a good one. Ivan Reitman should know better. Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) is the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns.... The first day of the NFL draft (There's actually three days...) is the most pressure-intensive day for the GM, and under normal circumstances, analyzing talent, looking through every possible piece of game film and scouting reports and accessing all the needs and the players available, stressful enough in the war room. Here, his girlfriend, the team's salary cap guru Ali (Jennifer Garner) is pregnant; the owner is insistent that he make a splash, or else his job and everyone else's is pretty much on the line. He makes one hasty move, trading basically the future of the franchise to get the number one overall pick from Seattle, which is supposed to be a hotshot QB named Bo Callahan (Josh Pence). Everybody thinks he's the clear first number one pick, and he has all the talent and skills to boot. With such a move, naturally, he better be right about the guy, but he makes sure every available player is out there to be sure, as the draft continues to move up closer and closer.- I'm gonna get right to the point, this movie sucks. It's poorly written, knows, very, very little about the actual goings-on about the NFL Draft, and why it's important, other than it's important, and frankly, since it is the NFL Draft, without giving away how exactly this plays out, there's the other problem of, we don't really know how the hell this plays out at the end. "Ryan Leaf won everywhere, nobody said that about Tom Brady", to paraphrase one of the dozens of inane and most well-known and common pieces of draft trivia their is by the Garner character. It wants to be the football version of "Moneyball" but "Moneyball", A. we actually got to see the results, and B. it actually knows about the wheelin' and dealing behind-the-scenes world of sports, and really gets into the minutia of it, and it isn't simply, passion vs. talent as the movie makes it out to be, or simply knowing how to "Trust your gut". And there's a scene that really, especially when I thought about this later, that makes zero real sense, how the war room is looking over a football game involving two of their potential picks, Bo, and a linebacker named Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman) and both played incredibly well during the game, but Mack got thrown out after touching an official after celebrating after he got a fumble return for a touchdown after his fourth sack, and frankly, what they end up seeing and finding that they didn't see before, there's absolutely no way in hell they wouldn't have seen or known about until they looked closely at the footage, especially since this is an outspoken player who's known for speaking his mind on Twitter. The movie isn't even really focused on the draft anyway, it's about layering a bunch of shit on Costner's character to make us care about him. Having to fire his father two years earlier who passed the week before, his mother (Ellen Burstyn) insisting, for reasons, beyond any piece of logic that I can find, on today of all days, being the day that she must spread the ashes onto the practice field (And everybody but Costner's character, coming out to join her, literally a couple hours before the draft, apparently they had nothing better to do), the pregnant girlfriend/co-worker, the owner, the trade, the misgivings, the security P.I. guy, the new annoying intern, you're now, pissed off quarterback (Brian Drew), who is apparently in town close enough to go and destroy your office, the head coach (Denis Leary) who's he doesn't like and wants to quit...-, I mean, this is bad Robert McKee screenwriting, where they're told to build up the drama in your characters, and yet, you the movie doesn't realize how to do any of that correctly. It's the generic plot formula, it's- ugh everything we hate about the movies, and absolutely nothing that people like me, who religiously watch the NFL Draft on TV (When I have cable) every year tune in for.... I think Reitman knows it's a bad script, does what he can to try and save it, but it's so much worst than it even seems, 'cause it comes off as patronizing pretty much. Sam Raimi directed a similarly shitty sports movie with Kevin Costner called "For Love of the Game" years ago, which was basically the same bad generic plot movie; he's a character in the sports world, let's put all the shit possible on him, let's make everything else as generic as possible, maybe a few things unusual that actually happened (Although they're so commonly known to sports fans that they happened that we point at the screen and go "That happened to..." for the non-sports fan watching the movie, like they care.) and then, he'll against all odds succeed at the end; and this movie is even worst 'cause at least, the shit that happened to him in "For Love of the Game", was mostly character building, none of it is here. It's all written and done for the sake of adding reasons for us to care, as though, the NFL Draft, if handled correctly, wouldn't be enough for us to be interested in a movie about it, even though, the only reason the movie is being made is because the NFL Draft is interesting and popular to enough people that they might be interested in seeing a movie about it. We are, but not this one.
Yeah, this is a particular kind of awful, where like, especially from a writing perspective, you can basically tell that somebody was writing this, with the guidebook on what to add where in order to supposedly make the movie more interesting, it's all over this movie. And that's bad enough for a regular bad movie, but I mean, even if we concede that we're telling, basically half a story, 'cause we don't know the results of the NFL Draft until years down the line, and that's not even taking into account the unpredictable things that could happen to the athletes when playing professional football, concussions, injuries, etc., even taking that out, this movie's terrible. It's just, every hack thing possible, and of course, part of it wants to be "Moneyball", and the other part of it wants to be the anti-"Moneyball", like, "Oh, he's got the stats sure, but it's heart that matters," bullshit. You know, there is a part of that, that's true, but claiming it's the be-all and end-all, that's just nowhere near close to right. And Ivan Reitman, I will say he probably does make this movie as close to watchable as he possibly could, this isn't a directing fault, this was bad from the page, this script was unsalvageable, and I admire everybody trying to make it decent, but boy did they need a better screenwriter.
And now, the #1 Worst Film of 2014 is....
I don't suspect a lot of people are going to agree with me on this one. I didn't suspect that last year, when I named "You're Next" the worst movie of 2013, but amazingly, even as recently as a couple weeks ago, I'm still getting people complaining at me for doing that, and trying to defend that godawful piece of unfunny, sickening garbage. (It is, I'm not backing down on that, "It's a comedy", no, it wasn't; it was just stupid. Acknowledging that the characters and situation are ridiculously stupid doesn't make it automatically smart.) But, "You're Next" was just a stupid horror movie; it's obnoxiously bad, but I can't really be that upset about it, but still the backlash has surprised me. I'm not gonna say that I'm expecting a lot of backlash to this, but I do suspect that there's gonna be a few people who will see what I picked and go, "Wait, really, that's your worst? I mean, it's wasn't great or really that good, but really, #1?", I'm expecting a lot of that kind of reaction to this. Just on the surface this doesn't look or feel like the worst movie of the year, but, well, here's the thing, this may or may not be the actual worst movie of the year, like I said before, I'm sure there's plenty of films I went out of my way not to watch, because they were reportedly bad, but, in this year where I just felt absolutely bombarded with mediocrity and shittiness, this is the movie that made me decide that, yes, I'm going to write a blog about the Ten Worst Films this year. This movie...I-,hmph- I've talked about the worst movie I ever saw before, a film called "Amanda", which I had to watch 'cause I judged it for a film festival, years ago and so far, nothing since then, no matter how bad, had ever really come close to even equalling how horrible I thought that film was, um, this film, it's not that bad, but, ugh, well, this if the first movie that is pretty close to being that bad.
#1. Kelly & Cal
I know, I told you, you're thinking, "What, this little indy film?" This can't be that bad?", right? Reader, if you can see the horror in my face right now, at me even thinking about this movie.... Yes, "Kelly & Cal", is that bad; it is the worst movie of the year!
From my original review:
Okay, I will admit that, overall this has been a frustrating film-watching year for me, in particular 2014 films, very frustrating, but folks, it has been longer than I've had this blog since the last time I came this close to purposefully not finishing a movie. Walking out, in the middle, pulling a DVD out, etc. The last time was "Jesus Christ Superstar", (I don't care, that movie sucks, the music sucks, it's boring and terrible even by my low, low standards for Andrew Lloyd Webber), but folks, this movie, oh boy, this movie.... And I was looking forward to this one. I try, try not to do that, in fact, I purposely dissuade people from looking forward to films, ever, but I'd catch the trailer for the film once in a while on other DVDs and I saw it on my Netflix queue, and it looked like an interesting indy film, with one of my favorites actresses, in a good character, and a decent story.... (Deep breath) Folks, I almost quit today. Quit, doing this, doing a blog, my career in the film industry, everything 'cause of this movie. Every scene seems to have something more stupid and outdated and frustrating than the next. I almost decided to stop watching this film, and just, never review movies again, fearing I had become too jaded or that movies have just left me, or vice-versa, or whatever. I did eventually, force my way through this, but dear god, this was so much shit. It won't sound like it's this bad when I describe this film, but just trust me on this one, it absolutely is. It's every horrible cliche packed into a film. Every horrible obvious choice of dialogue, every shitty piece of fake conflict and contention that's so outdated...-. Okay, Kelly (Juliette Lewis) is a new mother, who's gone off to live in the suburbs with her husband Josh (Josh Hopkins), who's rather disinterested in her, since before she gave birth and may be having an affair, after all the late nights as an advertising executive. If that sounds like the writer just watched "Mad Men", before coming up with that as the husband's profession.... Anyway, she's not particularly fitting into this new community of hers, with or without the baby, until she meets Cal (Jonny Weston) a teenage paraplegic who compliments her tits one day, and soon enough they begin a friendship that sorta unfortunately coasts into a slight romance. Naturally, before she grew up to become an adult and got married, she was a lot cooler, which is believable considering she's played by Juliette Lewis and she's just awesome in general even despite this film, although in this version of cool, she used to be a rocker chick, including playing bass guitar in a Riotgrrl band at one point back in the mid-nineties presumably. (Okay, this is the first issue I have, I know for a fact that the Riotgrrl movement never really ended, and knowing some people in and around that movement, that it's still going on. Those ski-masks for instance, that Pussy Riot wears, is in homage to a ski-mask that Bikini Kill's frontwoman Kathleen Hanna wore at one point protesting the media, so putting that in a past context is already iffy.) However, what really sent alarm bells up to Josh's mother (Cybill Shepherd) and sister (Lucy Owen) is, inspired by Cal, Kelly dies her hair blue, feeling young and inspired and this causes them to try to get her to go see a therapist and even gets her an ambush makeover! WHAT THE FUCK?!?! Look, I know that there are some conservative people out there, but what year is this?! A grown woman dies her hair a strange color, and then, "Oh, she needs therapy, she's losing it after the kid and all, she dyed her hair blue!"! (Mouth wide open) I-eh,- are you fucking kidding me?! Not that anything else in this movie is any smarter, but oh dear God, I know she's trying to portray these characters as overbearing and obsessive, but I don't know what the hell they were thinking with this one. Eventually the friendship between Kelly & Cal does sorta grows and even with a touching moment here or there, but then it keeps getting undercut with terrible on the nose dialogue, the kind that's basically yelling at the audience the fortune cookie wisdoms they want you to speak, and if it's not that, it's blatantly stealing scenes from better movies and doing them poorly, particularly the "American Beauty" window flashing scene, Oh, and she gets away with this private friendship by saying that she's deciding to mentor the handicapped this is played up by Cal in ways so stupid, I'm not even gonna explain them, and since everybody other than Kelly or Cal is a complete and utter idiot, they get away with this most of the time, and it's until Cal's mother (Margaret Colin) gets into it, revealing of course, some of Cal's issues that he conveniently hasn't discussed, does the revelations come out. The DVD box says this movie is a "'Harold and Maude' for a new generation", which should've been a clue 'cause "Harold and Maude" is a piece of garbage as well, (Yeah, yeah, I know I'm pissing people off left and right here, but I might give "Jesus Christ Superstar" a second chance one day, I'm standing by this one though, "Harold and Maude" sucked!) but what really pissed me off is just how much potential was in this film and how much of it was completely squandered. It's like, they couldn't actually make a movie about a mother befriending a paralyzed teenage boy, even having a relationship with him, without creating every possible excuse for why these two people would be friends. Why can't a movie just be about that, that would've been fine, but she has to be, overbeared and depressed and her husband has to be this removed presence, and the paraplegic kid of course has to have other issues, a la, Drew Barrymore in "Mad Love" to some extent, and (SPOILERS) at the end of the movie btw, she ends up apologizing to her husband, which you'd think would make sense considering what she did, but actually is just goddamn moronic and subservient. It makes the character so much weaker, as though she didn't know what she had being home, alone with a baby, with crazed in-laws obsessing over her, and an absent husband who hasn't fucked her in months to sit up and wait for him to come home to, I almost can't believe that this film was written and directed, by women, particularly ones that dare bring up Riotgrrl movement. And btw, it's not like she slept with the kid, it was at most casual flirting that got a bit out of hand, if you took out the possible illegality of the ages, (And I think he is 18, so I'm not even sure that's relevant.) it's still nothing. I am in shock at how bad this movie is. This movie offends me as a filmmaker, a screenwriter, a human being, if I had a vagina it'd piss me off as a woman, it certainly offends me as a feminist, and if I was a paraplegic it'd probably piss me off as that too! If this is not the worst film from last year, than please, for the love of God, don't tell me or show me what that film is, 'cause I don't want to see it or even know about it. I might not be able to take if it turns out that this isn't the bottom of the 2014 barrel!
Now, before I send you off, while the horror of "Kelly & Cal" lingering over me, let's make good and sure that I don't leave anybody out, so here are some, dis-honorable mentions of films that we're also really bad, but for one reason or another didn't make this list. In alphabetical order, along with the directors who were responsible for them, who probably rather unfairly in some instances (others not) are getting the blame for these atrocities:
LIVE ACTION AND ANIMATED FEATURES
300: Rise of an Empire-Neil Murro
Blue Ruin-Jeremy Saulnier
Cesar Chavez-Diego Luna
The Congress-Ari Folman
Elsa & Fred-Michael Radford
The Fault in Our Stars-Josh Boone
The Interview-Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen
Last Passenger-Omid Nooshin
The Maze Runner-Wes Ball
On My Way-Emmanuelle Bercot
The One I Love-Charlie McDowell
The Raid 2-Gareth Evans
Redwood Highway-Gary Lundgren
Rio 2-Carlos Saldahna
Sex Tape-Jake Kasdan
St. Vincent-Theodore Melfi
The Suspect-Stuart Connelly
Walk of Shame-Steven Brill
Antarctica: A Year on the Ice-Anthony Powell
Nas: Time is Illmatic-One9
Okay, that's enough. Alright, screw this year. Time to officially put 2014, to rest! And screw 2015 too, for being the year where that I spent watching a bunch of 2014 movies! Early Happy New Year to Everyone folks, and may she be a damn sight better than the old one.