Saturday, December 28, 2013
My 2013: The Top 10 Mainstream Movies I Didn't Like (Worst Of 2013)
It's off to negativity land now. But, in order to remember 2013 fairly, we have to. I really don't like to use the term "Worst" when making this list. For one, I saw a lot of films in 2013, but I didn't see everything. I made this "mainstream movies" because I'm sure there's plenty of bad super low budget indie projects that come out every week that its just really not fair to lump them in with this. So we go on the big movies that stunk. I also hate using "Worst" because I'm sure there's some on this list that some will argue are better than this damnation I've given it. Some of these even might have a small fanbase. There are also plenty of films out there that I didn't see because I could tell I wasn't going to like them and my critic peers who did see them only confirmed my dread. I do get curious as to how bad some of these can be and checked them out myself or also had to review it for Why So Blu. I also don't have all the time in the world like I used to, so I didn't need to see The Internship, Jack The Giant Slayer or A Haunted House to tell you they weren't any good.
I want it to be known too, that I don't go into movies trying to hate or expecting not to like them. Even if I've heard the worst, I go in with an open mind, giving it a chance to have me be the one person who may see the good and merits in the film. I really can't stand when people go in looking to tear a film down or won't go see a movie for silly factors like a rating, a bad trailer or an actor. As a critic or film buff one owes it to yourself and the art to open your mind to every film you can get your hand on in a year and give it a chance to amuse, entertain and enlighten. I'm not saying you need to like everything, but you do need to allow everything a chance when opening logos begin.
I'm going to go alphabetical of course, but then we have a weird conundrum on our hands. There is a VERY clear Worst of 2013 movie (I have no shame or remorse giving it that title), but there was also a film that hurt me more than that one did. You'll see when we get there. But, first, let's talk about this "shit".
I'm not a full on M. Night hater. And I don't blame him at all for this one. You could totally see onscreen that his hand was being forced and definitely playing the compromised "Yes Man" to the Smiths. The biggest compliments I could see with this movie is that is was "Ok". I struggled with this one personally as I had to restrain myself from the desire to check my phone or computer during my watch. I went in hoping this would be one that played better on video and I was seeing something critics weren't, but alas...I was completely bored with it. It was a challenge to get to the end fully conscious.
I was pretty excited for this one. There was a lot of original science fiction coming out this year, which is good, its just not all of it stuck. What looked like it was going to be a really interested concept for an action sci-fi movie turned into something pretty generic and uninteresting. And it couldn't be more of a slap in the face that the Latino community's fate and salvation could only be found in the one white guy hanging around. Also, the film seemed to waste Jodi Foster. Elysium seemed like a grand setting for something, but most of it took place on the junkie Earth that really didn't do much to set itself apart from as a setting than other post apocalyptic sci fi movies. I also felt that the action scenes were a pretty big letdown in terms of their direction. I was bummed I didn't get to this one in theaters, but once I finally saw it at home, I felt I dodged a bullet and saved myself some cash in my wallet.
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
I don't think there is much worse than watching a comedy that isn't funny. This film would have been much more relevant and maybe funnier back in the late 80s or 90s. Its got a bunch or predictable jokes and tends to play it pretty safe for most of the film. I get crazy, over the top characters and their hyjinx, but utter stupidity is just annoying. And that's the road traveled by our "protagonist" in this film. Its a shame too as this movie boasts a cast that is more than taking something dumb and making it into a good watchable comedy. Unfortunately, this movie can't do either.
This one wanted to be "more of the same" but fell flat on its face as it didn't understand what that exactly meant when it came to the classic the first film was. Maybe I'm taking my initial disappointment with this film and judging it too harshly and a future viewing may warm me more to it, but as it stands I really didn't like this one. Kick-Ass 2 misses the point and enjoyment of the first entirely and goes off of the childish reasons of why it "thinks" the first one worked. Matthew Vaughn's absence is felt from almost every aspect of this film. The story is almost beat for beat the exact same as the first one, proving that this film has no reason to exist. Its indulges itself in thinking its still shocking by being vulgar and violent and it just comes off as lazy and snoozeworthy. The action scenes are also poorly done and a late sequence involving Hit-Girl atop a van has some laughably bad, cringeworthy CG special effects work done to it. The film has great turns by Jim Carrey and Lindy Booth, but the movie short sticks them both in favor of giving us the same ol same ol with Kick-Ass, Hit-Girl and The Motherfucker. The film also looks and just reeks of cheapness. If you want to see Kick-Ass as made and done for 12 year old boys, then this treat is for you.
Guillermo del Toro always gets my dollar, but I'm always hesitant when its movies that he just produces or slaps his name on. Mama did notch Jessica Chastain two #1 movies two weeks in a row and #1 & #2 at the box office in the same weekend. However, this movie seemed to have some good intentions but it started unraveling as the film went on. And the thing that dragged it down complete was some incredibly terrible CGI creatures and effects. If I'm not buying or believing what's on screen, how am I to actually feel like the characters I'm following are in danger? Seriously, give me crappy obvious puppet work or makeup effects over bad CG any day. At least those look like there is weight to them, like you could feel or touch them and they sell a scene a hell of a lot better.
Can you believe Harrison Ford was in 4 movies this year? When's that ever happened? I reviewed this one just recently at Why So Blu (find it HERE). The gist? It's amateur and boring. Its a thriller heavy on cliches with a lead that has a hard time acting through it. Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford and Amber Heard bring their A-game, but its wasted on this boring "thriller". If you go to my review, I break it down plenty more than this brief little "boo hoo" I've provided. Plus, I feel in that review I said my piece on it plenty good.
Why couldn't You're Next and this one swap numbers? I love the ludicrous concept of this one that feels straight out of 90s DTV or 70s grindhouse, but this movie just feels so dull. It even pairs together awesome genre actors like Lena Heady and Ethan Hawke. Its got creepy masks stalking around for a haunting home invasion. It poses an interesting moral debate for its plot. All this just doesn't end up working. Our main characters that we're "rooting" for prove unlikable and I really keep caring less as the plot keeps ticking away. What's worse is I think I've forgotten a lot of this movie because for much of it I wasn't liking it but I also wasn't caring. Take what you will from that.
I'll admit, for the first half of this movie, I was laughing and enjoying all these crazy cliched and "wannabe" tough and cool lines that were being spouted off. I thought maybe I found some sort of goofy gem that a few of us appreciate. However, that fun and enjoyment fizzled out as this movie really does try and take itself seriously. I like Justin Timberlake in supporting roles, but he's yet to show me he's got the chops to carry a movie as its lead. I do enjoy Affleck hamming it up, but its really not enough. This, like Paranoia just gets super dull, boring and cliched. Staring at Gemma Arterton isn't nearly enough to help the time go by on this one and Anthony Mackie looks to be having fun but is incredibly wasted in his role. I really wanted this to be some ridiculous fun, but it only held on to that for too short a window.
Okay, now its time for the film of 2013 that hurt the most.
A Good Day To Die Hard
I am a big fan of the Die Hard franchise. I grew up with it. Bruce Willis is one of my favorite action heroes EVER. I even have been ignorant over the years when people comment on his laziness or being an asshole to people working on a movie. Well, count this as the straw that broke this camel's back. This fifth Die Hard was welcome with open arms from this guy (Yes, I like the 4th one quite a bit - my 3rd favorite). I couldn't find a single damn thing to like about this movie. It was painful to watch them just shit away this franchise for an hour and a half. It felt like Bruce was in some other movie. This film is horribly written and terribly directed. When you look at who they hired to do this film, its no surprise it turned out like this. Skip Woods and John Moore have no clue of who or what John McClane and Die Hard are. I recently gave this movie a 2nd chance and it was still just as bad. It was almost a slap in the face at the time of release when reviewers were saying that those of us who liked the fourth one would enjoy this. BULLSHIT. The fourth one is the original compared to this. This is a complete plunge and I'm really ok with no more Die Hards after this and continuing to treat 16 Blocks as the unofficial final John McClane story. No matter, how much I did hate this film, and no matter how hard I try and shake it, I cannot be ignorant as this is STILL a better made and done film than my pick for worst film of 2013. This one I just had more attachment to, and therefore offended and hurt me the most. I did review the film weekend of release which you can check out HERE.
And now, fellow readers, the absolute worst film of 2013...
Just...wow. I didn't expect much from this one and I felt like it would at least be better than its 3% on Rotten Tomatoes suggests, but I found that rating might be a tad too high. It was every bit deserving as I watched this masterpiece of absolute sloppiness come to fruition. The film has no idea how to film and edit a car chase. There was no sense of place or geography. No shot lasted for more than 2-3 frames it felt. I couldn't tell what the hell was going on a majority of the time. I actually thought they drove in circles at one point. And that's pretty bad considering this movie is one 80 minute car chase. If you wanted to show people an extreme example of what is wrong with modern day "shakey cam" action cinema, this movie would serve as the instructional video. It doesn't help that its accompanied by a laughingly unconvincing performance by Selena Gomez and a career worst performance from Ethan Hawke as both spew some of the crappiest dialogue of the year back and forth to each other. This one isn't even enjoyable in a "shut off your brain" mindless action mentality. The action and chasing in this movie sucks so damn bad. This is not as bad as my pick for Worst of 2012-Pirahna 3DD (which is barely a movie), but its not far off.
There you have it. I hope you've enjoyed reading the stuff I didn't enjoy. Do you disagree with any of my picks? Do you want to pile on to one already on here? Do so in the comment section!
Keep checking back to NAPTOWN NERD for more reflections back on the year in film that was 2013!!!