Friday, December 1, 2017

THE TOP TEN WORST FILMS OF 2016! (One last sludge through the drudge of the year.)

I’m a little more interesting in doing the Worst List, than I was the best. Not a whole lot more, but a little more. That was the thing with this year, I wasn’t as excited about the top best films, but I also didn’t think I got a lot of utter shit either. Even a lot of the things that I was supposed to really hate, I either gave them a pass, or frankly, I just didn’t think they were that horrible. Hell, even some of the bad, I can find some positives to more than a few of them. And, of course, I should mention this as always, I don’t go out of my way to watch shitty movies. I know, some do it, they want to see everything good and bad, and good for you. If I got more money to do that, I would gladly begrudgingly do that. However, since this is basically the one singular benefit I have of doing running this on my own, I take that advantage. That said, that makes the bad films I do watch, much more annoying to me. I’m purposefully going out of my way to avoid crap, and still sometimes, crap finds me. It’s like, when somebody’s walking down the street opposite you, so you decide to go to the edge so you don’t hit them, and just as you both reach the corner, bam, he runs right into anyway, despite everything you’re doing just to avoid that. That’s the kind of frustration and annoyance having to watch movies like these are like for me.

And honesty, this was a much tougher list to make this year than the Best Of list. The Best List, I had a lot of choices, and I had to think it through, but it never seemed like I was not logically thinking the process out. I could a whole separate Top Ten List of films and probably would’ve been happy with it, despite everything, but I wouldn’t have felt like I was cheating or discarding a film unfairly. Here, it’s the exact opposite, there’s a bunch of films, where I feel like I’m cutting them, way too much slack by not finding a spot for them, even though I’m choosing from a considerably smaller pool. Let’s just say, that there are bad, bad, bad movies out there that should be considering themselves quite lucky, that I’m not slamming into them more, and believe me, I want to. I desperately want to take a real shot at them, but I also have to be honest. There’s only ten spots, I really have to pick the ten worst.

Alright, let’s take one last, longer-than-they-deserve look at these turds before I flush them down. We're counting down!


Number ten.

(“Big Bottom” by Spinal Tap starts to play; I start air bassing to the song.)

I love “This is Spinal Tap”. I think it’s one of the greatest comedies of all-time, and one of the best movies of the entire 1980s. And I get the idea of somebody taking that idea and those aspects of the movie, and trying to modernize it for today. In theory, anyway, but the problem is that, “Spinal Tap” was making fun both of a particular kind of documentary and a particular kind of era of music. They hit upon the zeitgeist in a way that few movies had, Rock’n’Roll was everywhere, and as the decade rolled on, the aspects of the industry that they were satirizing, would remain prevalent, practically ‘til the grunge era hit, and maybe even a little longer than that. Hey, the Rolling Stones were having pop hits into the ‘90s. It was about the realization about the fleetingness of fame, and its characters slowly realizing that over time. Rock stars, were really rock stars back then; nowadays though…, I don’t think you can say the same thing.

10. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Yeah, I know this is gonna piss off some friends of mine, although wait ‘til they see some of the others on this list, and look, I like The Lonely Island; they’re still funny, they’re still pretty good, some of the songs aren't bad, like the music industry, the movie is just dead and soulless, and I couldn’t help the feeling that, in an era where some of the biggest names in music can’t even get their records to hit Gold, this felt like, beating a dead horse. A throwaway SNL sketch that should’ve stayed that way.

(Sigh) I don't think this joke's funny enough for a full movie, anymore. I mean, I sorta laughed and got the joke, but...- (Sigh) You know, here's the thing, is there anything really parody-worthy anymore in the music industry? I guess, you can say that this is more of a parody of some of the ridiculous barrage of music documentaries their are out there, and yeah, actually, there are way too many out there. I mean, I know there's always been, but it feels like there's way too many, authorized, unauthorized, and everything in between. The Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter", The Beatles, "Let It Be", U2's "Rattle & Hum", Madonna's "Truth or Dare", and now we get, Shawn Mendes's "The Journey. (Seriously, that's real! I know, I could've picked on Bieber or One Direction there, but there's way more crap than just the big screen atrocities.) However, even that idea was being done as far back as "This is Spinal Tap". I don't know, this still feels mostly like I'm trying to look at a pop music industry that's already such an overblown parody of itself, that even someone like "The Lonely Island', who I like in small doses, but this just feels like one-two- many unnecessary layers.

So, in this universe, Conner4Real (Andy Samberg), as opposed to, Conner4Fake I guess, is a pop music superstar. One that's the most vapid and innocuous pop stars around, one who makes a bragging rap talking about how humble he is. That's funny, I guess. He goes on his own, and still has some success, but his latest album is a gigantic failure, and the tour continually turns into more and more of a shitshow. Now, originally, he was a part of a three-piece group, but Lawrence (Akiva Schaffer) went to grow pot in Colorado and Owen (Jorma Taccone) who produced a lot of the tracks, is basically just the guy with the ipod that's behind him on stage, complete with a robot head. I'm pretty sure that was a Daft Punk joke more than anything. The problem with "Popstar..." is that it's just too disjointed. I think this film probably started somewhere real, with the documentary style beginning, again, in the vein of "This is Spinal Tap", but all the celebrity cameos and over-the-top parodying of celebrity culture, including a continuous joke parodying "TMZ", it just loses itself and gets bogged down in an uber-meta parody of the modern-day music industry, which, is, like I said, already a big parody.

Actually, that's part of the problem, I don't know what they're parodying. Are they parodying other music docs? Are they parodying celebrity culture, the music industry, bad rap groups? I mean, they're a parody of a parody.  I mean, compare this to, say, some of Garfunkel & Oates' wonderful, but not as well-known or popular television series, which play up the fact that they're basically a little or unknown comedy folk duo act, and the show is about their stumbles and trials and tribulations, that feels believable, even though both Riki Lindhomme & Kate Micucci are actually at this fairly well-known and respected character actresses in their own rights, outside their group. And while Samberg is famous enough for everyone, we still don't know this band and group of there's very well. They're funny as The Lonely Island, without adding on this facade that somehow these blatant ridiculously comedic songs of there's are in some way in this alternate universe, taken as realistic and believable pop hits and they became major music superstars from them. (If there even is such a thing anymore as major music superstars. Seriously, in my day, NSYNC, as crappy as they were, they sold twice as many albums in one week than Flo Rida has sold in his entire career! It's so different now, it's not comparable. It's almost not even worth parodying to be honest.) They're a fictitious persona of a fictitious persona, while G&O are on stage with their comedy songs, they're still just G&O and therefore you can relate to them. Even in a mockumentary, you still need believability to care about the characters. I care about Derek Smalls and David St. Hubbins, enough to remember their names, thirty+ years later, but there's nobody interesting in "Popstar..." to care about. Therefore there's no reason to watch, and no reason to recommend it either.

You know, this movie, made a lot of weird choices, for instance, why even make up, this whole other group? You have a real, fake band, that’s popular, just be The Lonely Island, I think that’s what we wanted to begin with, The Lonely Island, but they’re successful and they’re going through a strange break-up/get back together period. This over-the-top satire of the music industry in general this commentary on fame and whatnot, there’s a few jokes here, that kinda hit, but it’s been done before, and why satirize the glitz and glamour of a music industry, that for all-intensive purposes, barely exists anymore, what of it, that still doesn’t is practically a self-parody as it. I mean, this is shooting fish in a barrel, and they still missed half the time.   

Okay, I did get a lot of flack for putting "Popstar..." on my Worst List, from some people, I'm not gonna go back and say it was a good movie, 'cause it wasn't, but after I originally posted this, I watched "Francofonia"...., eh, boy I wish I hadn't seen that movie, at all, but I certainly wish I had seen it earlier than when I posted this. I'm not gonna change my rankings now, 'cause it was how I felt at the time, but-eh, I'll admit, that at least I wish I had seen that earlier, and I would've included it in this spot, instead of "Popstar...". So eh,.... (Shrugs) It happens sometimes, I can't catch everything, and I'm already behind on my schedule and my own gimmick is how behind I am, so we're gonna move on, and I'll add "Francofonia" to the Dishonorable Mentions, but yeah,.... Oh well. 

Number nine.

(Newman-esque growl under breath)

Hello, Michael….

9. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Long time, no see. I had found ways to avoid Michael Bay for awhile, I couldn’t this year. It wasn’t all bad, in fact, technically, I finally got around to his "Pain & Gain" and I didn't hate that one. And this film was better than I had expected. Oh, it still sucked, but he’s improving and in the right circumstances he could even be good. Trying to tell the complex story about Benghazi, that’s not it.

Mike-el Bay, Michael Bay, tsk, (Sigh) Michael Bay. Believe it or not, I have somehow managed to avoid you until now. Well, not, somehow, it was actually quite a deliberate thing I did. Trying to shove your movies further and further down on my Netflix and Library queue lists. and just, finding reasons to put you off, and to be honest, that was unfair. I really should've given you a fairer shake before now. To be honest, this is the first time I've sat through one of your movies since, "Armageddon". which until I saw "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi", was the only Michael Bay movie I ever watched. Some of you, might be shocked by that, the only one? Yes, the only one. I said I managed to avoid it....So, yeah, I've avoided Michael Bay, for the most part. Do I regret it? (Sigh) Well, he can surprise me. I mean, let's look again at "Armageddon". I mean, I just described "Suicide Squad" as a movie that's such a horrible disaster that it's actually recommendable and worth watching, and I know plenty of people who would describe "Armageddon" in much the same terms. It's the epitome of Bay, and overblown kinetic action movie, full of inconsistencies and plot contrivances and is basically just dumb fun, completely with a moronic plot that involves getting together a bunch of the wrong people to save the world from a horrific situation. They're actually quite similar movies in hindsight. Yeah, I can use "Armageddon" as a justification for recommending "Suicide Squad", definitely.

Except I can't 'cause "Armageddon" is awful, one of the worst films I've ever seen, truly. Yes, Michael Bay, is as bad as everyone makes him out to be, and in all the good and bad ways that entails, but don't let any of those arguments convince you that's there's some legitimacy to this movie, there isn't.  It is just insanely bad storytelling....

Now, obviously the story of Benghazi is a complicated one, one that, most people would probably not think that Michael Bay may be entirely sophisticated or nuanced enough to tackle. They would be right, but let's consider the film anyway. The movie, does effectively portray the confusion of the day when, on September 11, 2012, four Americans, including the Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens (Matt Lescher) were killed after an attack by Libyan militants. Their success was in part due to, timing, as well as the fact that the U.S. Military was unable to put enough military muscle in place to protect the Ambassador, partly because of GOP-influenced budget cuts, partly due to the fact that we were fighting two other wars in the middle of all this and removing assets from one part of the world to the other could be just as dangerous, and-, yeah, the military from the pencil-pusher perspective, while Bay, makes them out to be, disreputable entirely, and I don't necessarily disagree to some extent, but in reality, it's basically a big game of Risk, they're playing. Due to build up somewhere else for a future attack, do you retreat if possible, or do you gamble and hope that what protection we have there will be enough to survive against whatever attack may or may not ever come? Sometimes the answer is C, and this is what happens. I can also think of a movie where the option was A. and this is still basically what happened. That film, I'm thinking of, is the one I think Bay, probably intended "13 Hours..." to be most like, and that's Ridley Scott's masterpiece, "Black Hawk Down". That's actually a really interesting comparison, 'cause that's a movie, that seems like Bay could've directed and done well; there are real characters and people involved in the story, but the movie is pretty much just a confused kaleidoscopic mess of action as one disaster partakes into another and then another, and pretty soon, something that was only gonna be a routine mission turned into an 18 hour shootout on the streets of Mogadishu. (If you can call them streets) I don't remember any of the characters in that film either, but the emotion of the film, is still effective. "13 Hours..." could've been done like that, and not even bring up the political situation to do it, which to Bay's credit mostly does feel minimized here. The problem is, that there's no other real emotion, at all. Even in the action. We get introduced to a few characters sure, and a few interesting ones, like the parts played by John Krasinski and James Badge Dale, who are former Navy Seals, but who are actually now CIA as apart of Global Response Staff, which is a fancy term for basically saying that they're the bodyguards for ambassadors and other American dignitaries around the world. That's actually an interesting profession, that's probably worth exploring itself, but that mostly get dropped in favor of cliche and confusion, and not confusion in that we're confused because of how overwhelmed we are, 'cause of the situation, we're just confused and overwhelmed, because Bay thinks confusing and overwhelming us, is the same as the characters being confused and overwhelmed.

You know what kinda got me with this one, is that there is a good story, whatever your politics, here and you can, sorta dive into the details and the minutia of what went wrong and why, and really get into what happened there that left four Americans dead and whatnot, but this movie's, worst sin of all, it’s confusing and thudding for no reason, trying to identify the players and the actors and what’s going on is impossible, and worst than all of that, there’s just nothing nuanced about what’s going on, there’s nothing here, that you would be remotely interested in, regarding Benghazi; for Bay, it’s basically an excuse for a big long, confusing military action sequence or something. I don’t know if he was trying to make “Black Hawk Down” and didn’t have the skill maybe, but this movie’s in one ear, out the other, maybe that’s fine for his normal “Transformers” crap or whatever, it’s really a disservice though, here. Benghazi is an event, where a lot of things happened at once, at all those elements led to that disaster, and if you’re not gonna explore that in a meaningful way, why bother?

Number eight.

8. The Neon Demon

Look, no filmmaker is perfect, perfect. Everybody will make a dud at some point, and if he/she is a great filmmaker, their failures are probably gonna be on a bigger scale as well. Maybe it happens more often for me, ‘cause I stay away from the Razzies Nominees and winners unless I really have to, but-eh, it really gets me most, when it’s a movie that’s got some critical acclaim behind it, and some lauding it for it’s greatness. Sure, there’s plenty of mixed reactions on films, but I gotta take a stand here, Nicholas Winding Refn’s “The Neon Demon” was just garbage.

So, I tweeted while I was watching/suffering through "The Neon Demon", Nicholas Winding Refn's latest feature film and I kept to this tweet. I wrote....

"What the hell's with THE NEON DEMON"? It's just REFN filming pretty young girls in well-lit rooms? He's getting more boring every movie."

Um, I've had a little time to think that tweet over a bit, but-um, ugh, yeah, that's legitimately all the movie is. And I get that he's supposedly trying to satirize or parody the fashion and entertainment industry and how they and we focused on this ideal of beauty and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, it's still just, a bunch of images of pretty women in well-lit rooms. Okay, sometimes they're covered in blood or something, but you know, what difference does that make? None,  so, therefore, it's the nothingness of beauty and it's dwelling on the nothingness of beauty and the shallowness in beauty and riches and-, oh good lord, am I describing Nicholas Rinding Refn, or did Bret Easton Ellis write David Lynch's next meandering. Ugh! Really? This is a revelation, that the fashion industry is shallow and there's not much more to models than their looks and how they're used for the industry-, I saw people calling this a great piece of art and a revelation! What the hell are they talking about?! There's nothing new here, there's nothing here but literal style over substance, dwelling on style over substance? And the thing is, the reason I'm bitching about it, is that Refn didn't used to be like this. No, none of his films are particularly inside-the-box of traditional narrative or anything, but his stylistics choices weren't a substitute for substance, they helped the story previously. "Bronson" is stylistic as all hell, and challenged a lot of narrative conventions of biopics, but the directing and writing style benefited from his ideas, "Drive" is not a revolutionary story or script, but the way the movie was shot and told was what extended the movie beyond a tradition narrative. "Only God Forgives" was the first sign that he was losing his mind. I gave that a negative review, but there were creative ideas and touches there, a different setting, interesting characters with unusual motives and actions, great scenes, but it also started dwelling on it's style, which had become less progressive and active and more, laid back and observant. I thought it was bizarre that he that movie ended with a tribute to Alejandro Jodorowsky who was surreal and strange but in my mind, was never boring; his movies always made me ask "What's he gonna show us next?", not, "When's this gonna end?" I mean, but at least "Only God Forgives" was about something, it had a story and narrative. I-eh, I'm told things happened to the characters in this film; I can reprint what it says on the movie's Wikipedia page, but I don't know, if those are barely things that happens, there's nothing I care about-, Okay, the main "character", and I'm using that word loosely is Jesse (Elle Fanning) the new 16-year-old kid in town, in the modeling world, who apparently is the next big thing and everybody tell her how she's going to be big, and the next big thing, and then she becomes the next big thing, and is totally exploited and-, okay, these sort of scenes, would work in say, a David Lynch movie, 'cause he's clearly playing with the cliches and subverting it, slightly. Everything's too perfect and off-kilter, that you know something else is going on, or about to happen, whether the audience or characters understand it or not. In this movie, I guess there's this, sorta horror-effect, a la, Aronfsky's "Black Swan" that's slowly taking over, but not-, not really. There an interesting character or cameo that come in an out,  Christina Hendricks is a good modeling agent who's enticing young Jenn, a makeup artist Ruby (Jena Malone) splits her time between fashion shoots and the morgue, that's an interesting idea and character; I would love to see a movie from her point of view, if any of these women were anything but scenery that eats. That's another thing, this is another one of those movies that clearly has no actual idea about how women talk to each other. I know, there's plenty of movies I can recommend that don't know that too, but yeah, Refn has never created a truly interesting female character that wasn't at least on the page a cliched side character, and that's not good, since most of this movie is a bunch of talented young actresses who would be amazing in another movie, but since they're just fashion models, they just stand or sit or be whatever position they're supposed to and look pretty doing it. I mean, what bunch of famous people come together and talk about, how much this other person loves the fact they know all of us and are working with us; I've met a few famous people, and know people who've worked with a lot of them they don't act or talk like that, even in the Fashion industry and I can't imagine Refn doesn't know that? Fine, stylistic choice for the art, but what the hell am I looking at!? What art? I can pick up a fashion magazine and see this, is that the joke, that all these images, conflicting scenes of beauty mixed with devastation, in cheap hotel rooms, covered in blood and makeup, looking like it's a bloody murder scene in a movie. Oh wait, this bloody murder scene in this movie, is only a bloody murder scene in a movie, so it's not an actual, bloody murd-er, scene....- I can only gaze at my goddamn naval for so often, before I just have to realize, that "You know what, it's just a damn bellybutton, who cares?!" "The Neon Demon", pretty girls in well-lit rooms. I live in the true Neon Demon of Las Vegas, I literally can pick up my camera, pick, almost at random at a casino on the Strip and start taking pictures of the same damn thing, and maybe some of them aren't as well-lit, as I'd prefer, but you know what, there's a lot and lighting in casinos; I can find a pretty well-lit space easily enough, just ask them to be photographed there for a second.

You know, Refn, used to be interesting, he used to be able to find an interesting take on what were, in all other senses, typical and traditional genres. Somewhere, along the line, he-, I don’t know what,- his previous movie had a tribute at the end to Alejandro Jodorowsky, the great Mexican, surrealist director, and from all I could gather, is that, he’s trying to have more interest in these surrealist tendencies, storytelling-wise, and he should go back to having new ideas to traditional genres, ‘cause this- this was just a shallow look at shallowness, and I fundamentally don’t know what he’s going for here, and if he is saying what I think he’s trying to comment on, the fashion industry, our obsession with looks, or blood and death, or fame or…., look whatever-the-hell he’s trying to say, it’s been said a million times before. It’s nothing shocking or revealing that haven’t heard. I called the film “Pretty women in well-lit rooms,” and that’s all it is to me. He might be trying to satirize or parody it, but it’s the same thing. It’s the equivalent of trying to destroy Broadway by putting on a show. That’s basically how dumb this is.

Number seven.

7. Alice Through the Looking Glass 

Well, congratulations, I hate "Alice in Wonderland" now. I'd love to blame Tim Burton on this monstrosity; I like to blame him for a lot of things in general, (And full disclosure, he did almost have a movie on this list..."Miss Peregrine's Home for...- creepy half-ass whatever those characters were supposed to be...[sigh]) but unfortunately while he did direct the first "Alice in Wonderland' film which I actually didn't hate, the sequel, "Alice Through the Looking Glass," was from James Bobin, the TV director behind the two recent Muppets movies. And those weren't awful, but, boy this was.

,,,,I liked the first movie. I know, it's got a lot of backlash against it, I saw Nostalgia Critic's review of it a few times, but honestly I don't understand the backlash to the original. I mean, was it 100% accurate to the book, no, but he wasn't going for that, and frankly why would you want that? The book's never been adapted well, to the big screen; I don't even think Disney's version is any good. I think the structure can work, Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" proved that, and I'd argue that's the best version of the story, even though, other than the fact that there's two mature female rules in a fictional world, one mean and one nice and a young pre-teen girl that goes into the world and explores it with it, there's nothing in common with the original material. Still, I love Lewis Carroll, but I never though his material worked on screen. I understand trying to attempt it for sure, but only so much as I want to see how other people interpret the material and that's all I thought Tim Burton original film was, and for that, I liked it quite a bit. It was a mess, but most of Burton's movies are and people seem to like some of those movies more than I do. I stand by my thoughts; I don't know what was so different about this one or so offensive about it. It was accurate enough, it felt like someone's version of "Alice in Wonderland" and visually was interesting, even if it wasn't my thing. It was well-acted for the most part,... (Shrugs) Not the greatest interpretation, but not the worst, and it's not like can do it well, the best you can hope for is somebody doing it in an interesting enough way and Burton can do that in his sleep. Sometimes I think he has, but those are other movies, he was awake enough to entertain me here.

This one, "Alice Through the Looking Glass" however, hmm, first of all, while "Alice in Wonderland"'s adapted all the time, I don't remember too many versions of "Alice Through the Looking Glass", which is weird, 'cause a lot of the more infamous and famous characters in Wonderland, like the Jabberwocky or Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (Matt Lucas) are from that book, but that said, it's a little darker and trickier to adapt. "Alice in Wonderland", there is a secondary base story there, but "Alice Through the Looking Glass," is a sequel that works even more on the metaphorical cerebral scale that "...Wonderland". For those who don't know, it's actually supposed to be a metaphor for a chess game. "...Wonderland" was based around cards, but "...Looking Glass" is chess-based, and you really the game and the time period to understand it. That said, none of that matters in this film, but we'll get to that. Secondly,Burton's not directing it; this one's directed by James Bobin, he's more of a TV director, who's most known for having directed the two recent "Muppets" movies, but like I said, I'm wishy-washy on Burton anyway, but, unfortunately, more than any other problem the movie has, it's boring as hell, and not that entertaining. It looks nice, but,... (Shrugs). Anyway, it's been six years, and Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is now, a sailor, I guess, that's a weird choice, and there's a few pieces of the real world where there's a squabble over property, or the rights of the heir,...-, ...she then is whist away back into Wonderland, and Wonderland is in trouble. Well the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is in trouble, as he has come under the delusional belief that his family is alive; in this version, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), for some reason murdered his family. She approaches, Time (Sasha Baron Cohen), yes, Time is literal here, and Alice steals the chronosphere, from Time, in order to go back in time, and save Hatter's family, I think. I get the feeling part of the script came from abandoned drafts of "Charlie and the Glass Elevator" that never got made, because that Tim Burton adaptation didn't pan out. Anyway, when I think of a literal character as "Time", I can help but think of the horrible Rankin & Bass sequel to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", "Rudolph's Shiny New Year", where he saved Baby New Year, although with the help of the Great Quarter-Past-Five. Yes, Frank Gorshin's greatest character. Ugh. Anyway, basically, it becomes a story of Alice trying to save all her friends, that maybe she cares about, but honestly I really don't, not even Anne Hathaway. Okay I care a little about her, but eh. It's a biggest visual mess of a movie that's desperately trying to make up for it's flimsiest of premises that basically has nothing to do with the original story, but I'm okay with that, I just wish they came up a more interesting story to make a movie out of. And worst yet, they bring up the Mad Hatter's family, that alone can be interesting, actually, but they don't have fun with it. Hell, this is a Disney movie, how about bring back the Copycatter Hatter, that would've been cool.

Wait, you don't know, the Copycatter Hatter? Oh god, you're all young, you don't remember,- hold on I gotta find this-, stop the review for a moment, where's my Edit-, fuck! Alright, I'll find it myself, give me a minute.

You might be wondering what that is. Um, the short version of the story, uh, kids, Once Upon a time, the Disney Channel didn't suck; it actually had some pretty cool kids shows back in the day. I swear, this show is the coolest version of "Alice in Wonderland" I've ever scene.... "Alice Through the Looking Glass", it's just boring to slog through. It's unnecessary, it makes us try to feel more for characters than we actually do, the plot borrows some of the bad aspects of some of the hackiest of ideas that didn't work in the past, and worst than all of that, while it assaults the eyes with style and effects, and tries hard, but, there wasn't any reason to care and therefore, this was just a horrible unnecessary bore.

I gave this film 2 STARS, originally, I think I was being lenient, 'cause it is really bad, "Alice..." and I do tend to, not love every version of "Alice in Wonderland", but I am more lenient on it, 'cause it is a structure, that allows for some more variety and whatnot, and frankly, I was thinking about how great "Adventures in Wonderland" used to be, but really what the hell we're they thinking here? Why make this movie, why do it without Tim Burton directing-, I mean, I'm not a Burton guy, but I'm not trusting somebody else with his vision; he's too unique, and this is what you get when you try to force a sequel that we don't need and don't want, and isn't well done.

Number six.

Okay, I’m gonna say something that’s gonna sound a bit racist, mainly ‘cause it is a bit, racist, unfortunately. I really wish I could make this sound better, but, I’ve had relatives who worked under people from China before, and secondhand information passed to me...-, (Sigh) apparently, there’s this thing, where when Chinese people come to America and work and study or whatnot, there’s a tendency for them, to not quite be able to understand our sense of humor. I’m not saying there isn’t comedy in China, in fact, Stephen Chow’s “The Mermaid” damn near made my Top Ten List this year; that film's funny as hell, but it’s also clearly a more Eastern form of humor, on top of it, being more broad than much of our more subtle material. But yeah, I don’t think there’s as much a serious tradition of comedy in China as there is here, and I don’t think a lot of our nuances of humor, translates. Like, you can show a best of “SNL” to a Chinese immigrant, and they’re not gonna get some stuff that we have integrated into our comedic and cultural consciousness. I bring this up, because…- well, I think that’s what happened here.

6. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Okay, first of all, yes, I know Ang Lee is Taiwanese, not Chinese, don’t write a report on me for that, and I really love Ang Lee, he’s absolutely one of my favorite filmmakers. But, he’s not a comedy director. That said, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” wasn’t a comedy, despite the fact that the book it’s based on, was satirical. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, in a vacuum, taking a comedic work and turning it serious but-eh, boy does it not work here.

"What the fuck's with this movie!"

That was the constant refrain I kept making as I watched "Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk", the latest and, yeah, I'll say it, his worst movie so far. (I liked "Hulk", shut up.) That said, before we get through anything, it might be his worst, but it might be his most well-shot film This film was originally shot in 3-D format with a 120 frame rate and 4k resolution, and it looks amazing if nothing else. 120 frames/second is shockingly high btw, the normal number is 24, normally, I'd think you'd use that rate for super, super slow motion, but it looks amazing if nothing else and there ain't much else. Billy Lynn (Joe Alwyn), is apparently a young 19-year-old war hero in Afghanistan, him and Bravo Company, Lynn's endeavors were apparently caught up on camera and brought the war to the households. This already seem weird to me, 'cause first of the all, the footage they show is not really that impressive; I mean compared to say the footage during Desert Gulf or especially Vietnam which was shoved down America's throats every day, was much more engrossing to say the least, but I'll buy it. Anyway, Billy is from Stovall, Texas and has come home for a publicity tour where the company's become American heroes, so much so that they're gonna be a showcase part of the NFL's Thanksgiving Day game's Halftime Show in Dallas, featuring Destiny's Child.... His family's happy to see them, especially his sister Kathryn (Kristen Stewart) who's got a large scar on her face and is vehemently anti-war. Billy was told to sign up after causing quite a bit of trouble at home and after a car accident that basically turned Kathryn into the Bionic Woman, she's about 87% healed, and fears for her brother's safety. At one point, when he's back home, after causing a bit of a raucous at the dinner table, she calmly tells Billy that if something happens to him, she'll kill herself.

WHAT THE FUCK LADY! Seriously, you're telling your soldier war hero brother, who's suffering from PTSD and still has to go back out to war afterwards, that if he dies, you'll kill yourself! What the fuck you selfish bitch! I don't care what happened to you lady, what gives you the right to put that kind of pressure on somebody, somebody going to war, much less your brother! It's not like you're that hurt, you talked about still being able to get laid, and even with the scar you still look like Kristen Stewart. Seriously FUCK YOU! You are officially the single worst character Kristen Stewart has ever played!

Yeah, I know what I just wrote, and I fucking mean it! She is that bad! The character at least, Stewart's perfectly fine in the role itself as always, but on the page, she's awful!

Anyway, they've also got a PR guy, Albert (Chris Tucker) who's busy working on getting them a movie deal. Hilary swank seems interested in playing Billy, but they're not getting anywhere. Anyway, they got seats at the game and they get to meet the team and the owner, Norm (Steve Martin, in what doesn't feel like as strange an acting choice as it should be, but kinda is.), who I assume is the stand-in for Jerry Jones here. Anyway, everybody they seem to meet here is either completely cut-off from the realities of war, are complete idiot morons who try to get into fights with the soldiers, (Seriously, where do they find these idiots. I mean, I was as anti-war as anyone could've been and I never tried to pick a fight with a soldier.) or are people who are completely infatuated with the soldiers and the military. This includes a cheerleader, Faison (Makenzie Leigh) who seems so ashamed that she's gotta play cheerleader , 'cause she just wants to hump and make out and fuck Billy the whole game, and they have so little time together..., and Billy seems immediately in love with her and wanting to leave everything for her. They meet at the game and the whole movie takes place during this game by the way and they have three conversations, total, not counting texts. Billy's devoted to the military, but his mind quickly heads to the battlefield, especially during a bombastic and absurdly ridiculous titular halftime show, which they were apart if, because soldiers are performers, apparently. (Scratches head, shrugs) I know they call it theater but still.... That's another anomaly, the movie's fascination with using battle terms to describe the more typical mundane parts of the entertainment business. They also, buried Shroom (Vin Diesel) the emotional core of the group, I guess, and feel sorry for him, even though he died being an idiot and going forward into a gunfight when he probably shouldn't have. But he's Vin Diesel in a war movie, he should probably die.

This is also one of those horrible movies where every scene and every conversation is about the main objective to the film and isn't subtle enough to talk about it without talking about it. It's really annoying, like, "For Love of the Game" annoying, only worst actually. I don't know why a lot of war movies do this; is it because they're soldiers and they hear and repeat the same mantras everywhere they go, so they think that's how people talk?

Actually, is this based on a real incident? I mean, I do know that soldiers are often picked from the battlefield, especially hero soldiers to be used by the military for promotion or something all the time; there's one great movie I can think of that that's about, Clint Eastwood's underrated "Flags of Our Fathers" about the soldiers who raised the infamous flag at Iwo Jima. I actually liked that movie better than it's partner film, "Letters from Iwo Jima", But this story in particular I don't remember...- Let me look this up...


Huh. Okay, well, it's made up, no wonder I never heard of it. It's from a novel.

( Looks at Wikipedia page.)

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the film adaptation, see Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (film).
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk is a satirical war novel written by Ben Fountain, which was published in early May 2012 by Ecco Press, a publishing imprint of HarperCollins.[1][2][3] The novel chronicles the experience of a group of Iraq War veterans who are hailed as heroes and sent on a victory tour following their engagement in an intense firefight that happened to be caught on camera. ,,,
"Satirical"!?!?!?!?!?!?! The novel it's based on is satirical! This was supposed to be a comedy!? A satirical war novel, so this was supposed to be "Catch-22" or "The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming" kind of thing, but it turned into, like when they took "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" are turned it into "Shitty Forrest Gump"!?!?!?!

So that's what the fuck's with this film. (Sigh)

I think I’m one of the few people who actually liked Ang Lee’s “Hulk”, although the criticisms I kept hearing was that, despite his attempts to try to capture the essence of a comic book, that he clearly wasn’t a fan and didn’t quite understand the nuances with the work. I thought it was fine myself, but I feel like that’s definitely what happened here. They handed him this story, he didn’t realize or couldn’t conceptualize the satire of it, so instead, he tried to make me sense as a straight-up dramatic piece, and he completely missed the mark. It’s unfortunate; he was clearly the wrong choice for this material. BTW, despite that, it’s still a movie, with amazing 3D cinematography that’s worth noting, but, yeah, this is one of the film’s that’s bad, where you know, something’s wrong, and you can’t quite figure it out, by just watching the movie, but once you look into it, you can’t unsee it.  

Number five

Statistically, 2016 was the most productive year ever for animation; with 27 feature films eligible for the Animation Oscar,  by far a record, and an amount that would’ve sound like a pipe dream, not ten years ago. Five years ago even. Did this produce some good films, um, yes, yes, but…. Look, I don’t want to take away from some of animations’ real accomplishments this year, hell, “Tower” made my Ten Best List, and that’s technically animated, and there were some other great ones. “Kubo and the Two Strings”, “Moana” those were really good, and even though I didn’t love it like others, I thought “Zootopia” was okay. But, yeah, this was overall, a bad year for animation. The problem for me, is that so much of this, was the same amount of bad, and since there were so many soulless, pointless, eye candy for babies shoved in my face this year, I really can’t distinguish which among these turds was worst. So, fortunately for them, none of them made the list, but I wanted to mention them anyway, and it seemed to make the most sense to bring it up before I introduced “Warcraft”

5. Warcraft

That don’t mean if it were entirely animated that it would’ve been improved, but, yeah, if we’re talking special effects disasters, this one has to be at the top of the list.

Well, a lot of times, 'Warcraft' did make me feel like I was watching a video game. Not playing one - just watching one. One I didn't like at all, had no interest in, and most importantly, wasn't playing! The effects and the graphics, while often quite skilled and good, and often felt like they were reasonable images I would come across--when playing a video game. I don't know whether that's a compliment to the movie or the game, but either way, I don't think it helped improve the movie much.
Trying to figure out what the hell, the rest of this...-  well, my "plot notes" are a bit murky, and most of my notes consist of self-portrait doodles of me fantasizing about cutting myself, so I'm gonna try to reconnect and understand this, deformed, attempted 'Lord of the Rings' clone, and piece it together in a way, that almost makes sense, but..... (ANNOYED SIGH) Anyway, there's these humans, and there's this-eh, some other group  called Orcs. There's also something called "The Fell" that's this uber-powerful thing that nobody should have because it's powerful, or something equally godd**n stupid like that. Anyway, the wrong person has apparently gotten control of the powers of The Fell and this means that Orcs and Humans have to work together, in order to get The Fell away from this guy. And then, they must destroy The Fell, or put it back in Pandora's Box or something in order to bring the kingdom back to peace or something...-

(Frustrated breathy sigh)

Honestly, am I even remotely in the ballpark? Let me know; I'm not quite sure. I know, I've never played the video game, I'm missing things that I'm not familiar with, and I'm judging an art form without being overly familiar with it blah, blah, blah. Sure, and I'm notorious for literally hating every film that even tries to emulate the structure of a video game, much less damn-near every actual video game adaptation I've seen. That said, I can't imagine anybody actually thinking this movie's any good, even by video game movie standards. From what I gather, this is a role-playing game, where you create your character and personality and then go out and explore this fictional world and essentially have your own experiences, in the fantasy universe, along with several other online players. So, essentially, it's,- oh God, it's 'Westworld'.  Ugh.

(Depressed sigh)

So, apparently there's more to it than that, but essentially, what we're watching is, as far as I can tell, a fictitious world where, I as an active viewer, am supposed to be involved in, but aren't. This is like, so much worst than just a normal s***ty video game adaptation really; it's basically just, a collection of cut scenes from a video game. I know, I'm probably the only who really hated both 'The Raid' movies, 'cause they were nothing but action, but godd**n it, at least they were really good action!

Actually, come to think about it, isn't this called 'Warcraft'? Was there any actual warcraft in this movie? Maybe some military strategy, some thoughtful maneuvering, even with the fantasy element, that should be possible; that's why I actually thought the 'The Hobbit; Battle of the Five Armies' movie, despite my feelings on all the other films in 'The Hobbit' and 'Lord of the Rings' franchise, was a good movie. It was a great combination of unique action fantasy scenes and battle strategy. I remember there being battles, but I'll be damned if I remember anything remotely interesting about the battle scenes in 'Warcraft', not to mention any talk of strategy. As far as I can tell, it was basically, "We gotta bring these armies together," and a bunch of bulls*** about a bunch of other crap that happens years ago, stuff that fits more into a Jane Austen piece than a fantasy video game adaptation.

I'm sure the actors gave good performances, but whether they were live-action or CGI roles, who cares? I'm not listing people who were in this. There wasn't a memorable character in the bunch, or a performance worth distinguishing, it was all just make up mixed with varying levels of quality special effects; the actors might as well have not been there. I don't know what relationship Director Duncan Jones has to the material either, he's the guy who did 'Moon' and 'Source Code', he's done a few psychological mind-bending thrillers, but this is fantasy, and worst-than-normal fantasy at that. This is that boring video game you stop playing, and forget to turn off and then the the game starts playing itself.

Which is what I wish I had done.

Eh, I’m not a video game guy, I really was pretty in the dark in terms of this franchise. I’d heard of it, I wasn’t aware of how long it was actually around, but still, video games and movies, they’re not compatible genres, and this might be the worst example of that yet. This wasn’t a video game, this wasn’t a movie, this was an attempt to shove a bunch of things that are sorta popular together. “We can’t have “Lord of the Rings”, but here’s a video game, with fantasy elements that’s popular, let’s showcase how fantasy the fantasy is, and the audience will eat it up. That’s what this was, “Computer Graphics Interface: The Movie”, that’s all it was. 

Number four. 

4. Emelie

Now, technically, I didn't rank this as the worst horror movie of the year, we'll get to that, but I think this one had the least justification for it's existence, and was basically just an excuse to film kids being tortured.

I know, that somebody, somewhere is gonna come at me for this review. Somebody's gonna say that I just didn't get it, and that it was Grand Guignal  comedy or it's supposed to a be funny horror, an over-the-top Raimi-esque horror, or that they legitimately found this movie, creepy, which, to the latter argument, yes, I did find "Emelie" to be creepy. That said, I think I'm one of the few people I know who's never found "Halloween" scary. And, yes, it's a good, albeit overrated movie, but frankly, I always found that one to be more comedic than most supposed horror-comedies out there. Hell, I still get shit for giving ZERO STARS to "You're Next" a few years ago, which I named the Worst Movie of that Year. I didn't get it, it was supposed to be funny; it meant to be stupid... or some other complaints that, frankly don't improve the film for me. Even stupid needs to be smart stupid, or else, it's just stupid, and that's just not enough.

This movie, is not as stupid as "You're Next", but it's much more nauseating and disturbing. Basically, we spend much of this movie, watching a young woman torturing little kids. I don't care that she's the villain and gets her comeuppance in this instance, 'cause I couldn't sit through this movie. I did, eventually, not for lack of trying not too. The day before I had sat through a four and a half hour Filipino movie that was their take on "Crime and Punishment" that had a pretty gruesome and violent rape and murder scene at around the three hour fifty minute mark, and the movie was incrementally slow for most of the film, so, yeah, I was annoyed by that, but I would gladly sit through that a hundred times over than watching this piece of shit again.

So, the babysitter is named "Anna" (Sarah Bolger) who is of course, Emelie, 'cause we she her attack the actual babysitter, kill her and replace her, and since the parents don't know her, 'cause she's a trusted friend of their normal babysitter, she comes in and watches the three kids. And for awhile, everything seems normal, until they're not. Except it's never normal, 'cause we know this already. And sure the oldest kids Sally and Christopher (Carly Adams and Thomas Bair) eventually put the pieces together. The wallet with the wrong name, the fact that she reveals herself on the toilet, her bizarre choice of films to show the kids, just everything, everything wrong. And I get it, it makes us uncomfortable, it makes us hate her, and in that respect Sara Bolger, who I never stop remembering her as the little girl in "In America" a movie, which I find myself thinking back fondly on and loving more than I realized I did...- anyway she's pretty good here.

You see, it's not that, the kids are being tortured by this presumably adult person pretending to be a teenager, I can think of movies I love where this has happened. Hell, even recently, M. Night Shyamalan's "The Visit" wasn't much different plot-wise than this film, but I liked that one, because it was about the mystery, and we weren't 100% sure what the problem was and the discovery put the events in a creepier light when we realize how much trouble our characters were in. With "Emelie", there is no problem with the character; there's no character really. We're told she has a past and a friend, which, I guess is supposed to be a reason why she did this, but it's not. You see, in other movies, the bad guy is torturing the kids, in this movie, the filmmakers are torturing us by making us watch this person just do some horrible, horrible things. We know she's evil and bad, and her activities don't dissuade that or make us wonder, it's just, us, being trapped in a room, staring at a snake and a mouse, and waiting for the inevitable, literally. This is not a time for a howcatchem story. That's not a character hurting another character, that's just hurting us, the viewer. And frankly, I don't feel like taking that. This was just, torture, plain and simple. It wasn't done for a reason, or for anything, just, let's come up with some bad things somebody can do to them, and let's make a babysitter who's doing it to kids....

....Fuck this movie!

Actually, maybe I lucked out and nobody read it or something, but I haven't gotten panning for this review, so maybe more people agreed with me than I thought, but you know, this is one of those movies where I could see this, working on paper, but if you actually shot it, and made it real, you realize just how horrible this movie actually is. I mean, I can think of other movies, where, somebody is actively hurting children, sometimes, way vicious and lethal than this, um, but there was a point to it. There was a reason, to show it, to showcase, to make it a focus of the film. Other than the fact that this was shown to make us sure that this person was the bad guy, was there any reason for this? This was audience torture more than any other film.

Number three

3. The Legend of Tarzan

Yeah, I think we're about done with Tarzan.

I'm sorry, we're we asking for a new "Tarzan" movie? Actually-, no strike that, this isn't even Tarzan, this is a new Greystoke movie, technically. I've never fully been able to finish that "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan" film from the early eighties, that's mostly famous now for people who hate Andie MacDowell and like to point out that Glenn Close dubbed her voice in it, because she couldn't pull of a British accent. And because Robert Towne's dog received an Oscar nomination for it. (Dead serious, look it up!) I don't remember liking or getting much of that film. Tarzan's one of the most iconic of film and literary characters, and yet strangely, there aren't that many good version of him. In either form actually. There's actually quite a few Tarzan novels, but, I can't find too many people who really recommend more than a couple of them and film-wise, eh, well, there's the Johnny Weismuller movies, that, kinda fit into the same camp appeal as say, "King Kong", but, I'd argue there really hadn't been a really good "Tarzan" until the Disney film came out, which I consider one of Disney's most underrated animated films. But, that was an interesting take on Tarzan, and one that seriously benefited from being animated. It's one of Disney's most technically amazing hand-drawn pieces of animation. It provided a new look and take on the Tarzan story, and the animation, especially when he's swinging through the trees, is just spectacular. Really gives us this amazing sense of a human who's become not only an ape, but a human who's mastered the ways of being an ape.

This film? I have no idea why this exists. It's a mess to begin with, and then trying to make sense or care about any of this...- So, John Clayton, aka Tarzan (Alexander Skarsgard, who I will concede is great casting.) is now, the proper Fifth Earl of Greystoke, It's ten years after him and Jane Porter have left the Jungle and now apparently, the Natives-, which is already a bit of a red flag in a Tarzan story, but I double-checked, there are a few stories where Tarzan's got Natives in it, have gotten angry. 'cause this one takes place in the jungles of the Congo-, which, again, I'm tipping my head at, 'cause geographically that's a stretch, but alright, 'cause there's a Belgium envoy, Leon Rom (Christoph Waltz, because of course it is) who trying to find a rare diamond instead of working on building the modern infrastructure and there's a Colonialism parable, blah, blah, blah, and he's persuaded to go back, because of the enslaved treatment of the Natives there, by George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson) who is a real guy in history by the way, not from the novels, so, take that for what you will, and whatever universe this is. And there's also a native leader, Chief Mbongo (Djimon Hounsou, who really deserves better) who makes a deal with Leon for the diamond as long as he gets Tarzan, because he has a grudge. (Sigh)

There's both a lot going on here, and not much at all going on here. A lot of plot, without really any, history we have with these characters. You know, what this feels like? This feels like watching a straight-to-DVD sequel to an old movie, that you haven't seen the first one of. So, it's like an entire new cast, and extra characters you don't know about, and because it's Tarzan, we're sort supposed to know, but you actually don't....- I mean, this movie is about a gratuitous nude scene away from that, which come to think of it, why not have one; it is Tarzan? In fact, that's one of the problems, it doesn't seem or look like Tarzan. I know there's quite a few other Tarzan tales, but-, there's a reason we don't recall them offhand. In terms of sequel novels, they're not exactly "Huckleberry Finn", you know? Anyway, the pointlessness of the need for this movie is only matched by my inability to care about anything on screen. It's a Tarzan movie that's about anything, but Tarzan, and not much that matters after that. Tarzan's a character who lived his entire life, thinking he's one species, to find out he's another; he's one of the most interesting characters in the 20th Century literature, truly. And, here he is, with, none of the aspects that make him Tarzan, being prevalent?! I don't get it.

And, I still don't get why we had this film. Um... (Shrugs) this was another, "Can you force yourself to care movies, and I struggled. This felt like, an amalgram of ideas someone had, like, we should do a historical-fiction version of Tarzan, and we should do a diamond mining story, and we should do a natives vs. colonialism story, and in the end, what did you end up with? A mess of a movie that barely resembles anything Tarzan-related, and completely takes away everything we like and find compelling about the character. And it was boring.

Number two.

Unlike "Emelie" I've been informed that there are people out there who claim that this next film is some kind of horror masterpiece. I don't know who these people are, although I imagine they've never seen a horror movie before....

2. The Invitation

Let me paraphrase this movie for you, guy suspects something wrong with the party they're at, he goes into a room, he enters the room with all the people, says there's something wrong, something wrong may or may not happen, and then, repeat....

Oh boy, here we go.

(Annoyed anger-filled sigh)

When did this one get released? 2015? No, American theatrical release 2016. (Sigh)  Okay, so, we've got an early contender for Worst Films of the Year, at least for me and my traditional path of being a year behind everyone....

....this was torture to sit through. And moronic and stupid torture at that. So, "The Invitation" is to a dinner party, with a bunch of guests, the kind of Hollywood-area, get-together of friends, enemies and frenemies, that it seems like everybody with the least amount of success in the industry tries to make at some point in their career. Hell, Joe Swanberg has basically made this movie, like seven times now. but none of those films were as bad and boring as this one. (Although "Digging for Fire" was close, Joe) So, Will (Logan Marrshall-Green) was invited to this party at his former home, and now the current home of his ex-wife Gina (Michelle Krusiac), who disappeared after they broke up, shortly after the sudden death of their son. NoW, she's got a strange new husband, David (Michiel Huisman) and a new set of friends, who she seems to be combining with some old sets of friends for this dinner party. Now, Will, also brings his girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) to the party, which is, I don't know, somewhere north of Mulholland, it seems. It's one of those place and parties, except, for reasons that aren't examined as they should've been, almost all the doors are locked, even for when they're not. So, let's talk about the big scene, basically, David and Gina get everyone together to explain that they've become part of a cult. Not, in those words, in the same words that everybody who's in a cult, but doesn't think they are say, even after they show a video of the retreat in Mexico they were in, which shows somebody, dying on camera. This, somehow, doesn't cause people to scatter and leave, possibly 'cause the doors are locked, although I would've found something that broke a window. Let, me just explain the rest of the movie here, Creepy thing happen, Will goes off to think and explore, pondering either the creepy thing or the past, he comes back, creepy thing happens, Will,leaves comes back, and repeat nine or ten times. For a movie about a dinner party, this is basically a film where there's only one person that matters and that's unfortunately, Will. I won't give everything away, but yes, there's something fucked up about this dinner party, and with the guests, most of whom are too stupid to realize the problem. Or are interesting enough to care that they're stupid. I've noticed this, whenever I see a party movie go kerplunk, splat, and fails this badly, it's usually bad character writing. "+1" for instance was horribly cliched, and the only interesting character is barely seen, and treated like shit by the story. Meanwhile, a movie like "The Anniversary Party", which is basically just one big Hollywood in-joke about Hollywood in-jokes told at Hollywood parties, actually works because all the characters are intriguing, and we have enough time to dive into each and every one of them and escaped into the meditative vibes of the party. This movie, does none of that. This is just a very boring and tired cliche of a horror film, with predictable results, only differentiated by the thought-process and motives of it's killers, and the fact that it delays the inevitable, to the point where none of these characters seem plausibly intelligent. And, I don't normally complain about this particular aspect of a film, and I'm apprehensive about bringing it up, but, I can't help it, this movie is one of the worst-cast movies I've ever seen. I'm told, there were other, more notable and noteworthy names attached to this film, at one point, but most of them for one reason or another dropped out. I recognized John Carroll Lynch, but other than that, this is one of those movies where everybody looks so beautiful and so similarly, that I legitimately couldn't keep track of which actor was playing which role, and frankly, there's just not a memorable performer or star here, other than John Carroll Lynch, which, if you know that rule, SPOILERS sometimes the most famous person is the bad guy. There's not a single aspect of any character that stands out, and frankly, I didn't even like Lynch in this film. His talent was being wasted. I know, this is a low-budget, independent film and I'm not judging the acting itself critically, this was gonna be bad on the script, as far as I could tell, they aren't bad actors and they were trying their best, but I don't think I could've picked the black girl out of a lineup of the actors in this movie, and there was only one black girl in the film! There had to be a better way to cast this movie, even if you were just going with unknowns and lesser-knows actors. I know, some of them are big on television and whatnot, but I didn't recognize many of these actors, even when they were on shows that I watched. The film itself, had trainwreck written all over it, and the writing is just awful. There's like half a dozen scenes of just Will coming back into a room and joining the party that was already going on without him. I mean, if somebody did that, like, more than twice at the same party, especially one with the goal of it's guests being what it was in this one, I think I would've taken some measures to stop it, much earlier. This was a wonderful reminder, of why I don't go to dinner parties, and not much else.

There's a friend of mine who agrees with me and usually calls this one of the most overrated films of all-time, 'cause apparently, according to him, he is constantly having to fight with people really think this is some kind of masterpiece. (Shrugs) Thankfully, I haven't run into those people, I'm sure they're out there, but, what are they looking at? There's-, there's nothing in this movie. that qualifies it for greatness. If "The Neon Demon" is just pretty women in well-lit rooms, than "The Invitation" is just horror movie idiots trapped in a house, and they're not smart enough to leave. Although, I wasn't smart enough to turn off the DVD player, so who knows maybe they are smarter than me.

And, whatever the opposite of a drumroll is...

(Wood block roll? [shrugs])

And now the number one WORST FILM of 2016!

(Wood block roll ends...)

For most of this year, despite all the shit I saw, I didn't really know what my number one worst film would be. I knew, "Moonlight" was guaranteed to be my number one Best Film, barring something beyond amazing coming across my eyes, but, for this list, a lot of crap just blurred together for the most part. Hell, full disclosure, I almost shoved four animated films together and called it a four-way tie for the tenth spot, but I had to be honest and gave them a pass.  I had "The Invitation" as a placeholder for awhile,  it would've been a worthy pick, but, finally I found something that was literally scraping the bottom of the barrel. A barrel that had long, long been scraped dry.

1. How to Be Single

Okay, despite the fact that, yes, people should be punched in the tit for using emojis, we should absolutely be implementing that, the worst film of the year, at least among the ones I saw; you wanna tell me Dinesh D'Souza's propaganda garbage was worst, I'm sure it was, but my vote is for, "How to Be Single", the utter proof that the "Sex and the City" formula doesn't work for movies, and also, is just, dead in general...

Oh my God, who's aborted "Sex and the City" self-insert fan-fiction did this devil spawn come from? Okay, well, it's based on a book by Liz Tuccillo, who was a writer on "Sex and the City". Oh, it gets worst, she co-wrote the book, "He's Just Not That Into You"! which was inspired by another writer's line on "Sex and the City"! Look, I love "Sex and the City", but let's think about this for a second, we have "Sex and the City", and now, one horrible "Sex and the City" derivative, "He's Just Not That Into You", which was also adapted into a terrible movie, and now, we've got a second level derivative in "How to Be Single". Which is a stupid title, 'cause, nobody who can teach you that, is actually single. Ugh! And god, this franchise and derivative of it, have not done well with films, and they shouldn't have, and this one might be the worst of them yet.  I mean, from the voice over narration to the four main women, to the fact that it's about single women in New York City;- this seems like it's pretty close to have been an expansion of a bad spec script, fifteen years too late. If you wonder why I think "Girls" is so revolutionary and brilliant, remember, this is how everybody else tries to remake it, and that's how Lena Dunham, turns it on it's head entirely and makes it something new and modern!

Are we even sure they're all even friends, in hindsight, I don't even remember how the Lucy (Alison Brie) character even relates to the rest. Maybe they went to college together or something. (I think I stole that joke from Tina Fey, and I actually think that's how she connects with the other main characters.) Well, Lucy, is the worst kind of single girl, the one who immediately talks marriage and is under some kind of misguided belief that the magical scientific formulas involved in online dating, will somehow lead to true love. And is also obsessed with marriage and finding a soulmate. How this guy Tom (Anders Holm) managed to fall in love with her, legitimately, I don't actually understand. Although it does make sense for me that she ends up with George (Jason Mantzoukas), but whatever, waste of a tertiary character who wasted other tertiary character's main plotpoint. Oh how do I love sitcom cliche, let me count the ways. Alice (Dakota Johnson), I'm assuming named that after "Alice in Wonderland", but I suspect that's giving this movie too much credit, is engaged to Josh (Nicholas Braun) in the beginning, and they seem quite the happy couple with great chemistry, but they've been dating since their college meet cute, and Alice now wants to wait in order to find out who she really is, and not just who she is in a relationship.

Okay, quick, what show is this stolen from:

A.) Friends
B.) Sports Night
C.) Community

Take your time and vote. I'll wait.....

(15 seconds later)

If you guessed "Friends", eh, not quite, this is actually more stolen from "Sports Night", but yeah, it is, basically the "Let's take a break" thing, and it always, always, ends in exactly the same most horrific backfire way it can possibly end. Oh, and-eh, for some reason, she runs into Robin (Rebel Wilson) a co-worker who's a complete party girl that, is the source of most of the best humor in this film, which is both a compliment and unfortunate situation. She's not bad here by any means, but you can tell, that she's basically just a punchline and a joke. At one point, I wouldn't have been surprised if we had found out that she wasn't real at all, just a figment of Alice's imagination. Alice also has an older sister, Meg (Leslie Mann) an OBGYN, who's only now decided to have a baby, and gets pregnant from an anonymous sperm donor, right as she meets Ken (Jake Lacy), who she has an instant connection with. Meanwhile, Alice spends about a year going through a bunch of guys, 'cause she can't live without being in some kind of relationship, and like...- what the hell am I doing watching this?

"How to Be Single" has some ideas in it, but it's so superficial about them, without any real depth, that I can't even understand where the idea came from by the end of it. I mean, one relationship on the rocks, another oversexual man-woman who's striving to get out of a relationship, one who wants to get married, another who is struggling with having an unexpected child, this feels like a thrown-away draft from "Sex and the City: The Movie", a movie that was redundant and unnecessary to begin with, I might add, and also sucked. There's taking an idea and doing something new and unique to it, and then there's just taking and idea and tweaking it a little, hoping the audience won't realize just how badly they're beating this dead horse. I think I would've respected the movie more if it just admitted to how much of a bad retread it was or just blatantly said outright who and what they were stealing from. (Well, more blatantly than they did.) This film is worst than just average bad, it's lazy and hackneyed and just such a trivial and outdated retread of a genre that didn't particularly work on film to begin with. The more I think about this film, the more I feel like, as a single person, my intelligence is just being insulted.

You know, one of my earliest blogposts, why titled "Dear 'Sex and the City' Please Die Already. Sincerely, Big Fan'", you can find that post at the link below:

Now, I wrote that, as a response to the rumors and pressure there was to have more "Sex and the City" after the second movie had come out, which, I hadn't even seen at that point, although when I did, I immediately wished I hadn't. Anyway, there was a depth to that show, there was more going on in that series, it actually had a perspective and a point of view, on what was then, modern-day single life in Manhattan, and it really was a great television show, but ever since, there's been these lousy, flimsy, attempts to artificially create that sense and tone and perspective, and they completely miss all the nuances and details that were really what made that show great. And it works best as a TV show, not as a movie, just because "Love, Actually" pulled off the multi-narrative rom-com, doesn't mean "Sex and the City"'s multi-narrative plot can be switch to a movie formula; it doesn't work. Of these, "How to Be Single" is by far, the worst retread of the formula yet, and I'm including both SATC films in that statement. It's been almost 20 years now, since that show debuted, this has got to stop, and yeah, the more I thought about it, the fact that, this movie is such a direct line, derivative; such a watering down of something that actually was great at one point, and has devolved into this shallow pale imitation of the original, this is what really put it over the edge for me and why I'm ranking it number one.

Alright, let's take one sludge through the sewers of 2016 and let's bring up the dishonorable mentions, and hopefully, we'll never speak of this year again

Allied-Robert Zemeckis
The Angry Birds Movie-Clay Kertis and Fergal Reilly
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice-Zack Snyder
Being 17-Andre Techine
The Birth of a Nation-Nate Parker
Captain America: Civil War-Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Central Intelligence-Rawson Marshall Thurber
Cosmos-Andrzej Zulawski
The Dark Horse-James Napier Robinson
Don't Breathe-Fede Alvarez
Elle-Paul Verhoeven
The Idol-Hany Abu-Assad
The Jungle Book-Jon Favreau
Keanu-Peter Atencio
Maggie's Farm-Rebecca Miller
Miss Hokusai-Keiichi Hara
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children-Tim Burton
Miss Sloane-John Madden
My Golden Days-Arnaud Desplechin
Neruda-Pablo Larrain
The Secret Life of Pets-Chris Renaud; Co-Director: Yarrow Cheney
Sing-Garth Jennings; Co-Director: Christophe Lourdelet
Star Trek Beyond-Justin Lin
Storks-Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland
Swiss Army Man-Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Trespass Against Us-Adam Smith
Trolls-Mike Mitchell; Co-Director: Walt Dohrn


Francofonia-Alexander Sokurov
Harry & Snowman-Ron Davis
Seasons-Jacques Perrin; Co-Director: Jacques Cluzaud

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