My favorite critic working right now recently wrote an article condemning the idea of “worst of” lists. Art is a communal effort of people trying their hardest, she argues, and it is a waste of our time and effort to maliciously tear down their hard work. In a lot of ways, I agree with her. It is truly unfair to mock and deride a film where everyone involved was truly trying their hardest. However, I would argue that a good worst-of list wouldn’t include films such as these. A true ranking of the worst films of the year are meant as a punishment for the laziness of greedy producers, of actors who have deemed themselves untouchable and who, in many ways, are willfully and maliciously destroying our world. And so, for this reason, I return once again to make you all sit through my pain with the Worst Films of 2017.
As per usual, this is a list of the films that, more than anything else, demonstrated laziness in the industry, at some level or another, the ones where the actors and director wanted to be there even less than I did. This includes several Dishonorable Mentions, that range from the lazy to the boring. Rock Dog was a fairly bad start to the year, representing a laziness amongst the cast and script, and yet it still felt relatively harmless. Then there are the blockbusters that promised spectacle and failed to deliver, like Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Kong: Skull Island. I also really disliked Alien: Covenant, but I will point out that a review by the aforementioned critic for the film was convincing enough that I may give it another chance (I watched it in a bad mood while tired, which could affect its placement on this list). I saw a lot of bad comedies this year, but some of the worst included the moderately unfunny Snatched and Baywatch, as well as the painfully unfunny Fist Fight and CHiPS. A lot was made about the fact that The Great Wall and Ghost In The Shell whitewashed traditionally Asian stories, and while this is technically untrue about both films, they are also so poorly made they feel like an insult to Asian culture. Some films showed promise with entertaining premises, only to completely whiff on fairly simple base hits, like Going In Style, Marshall, and Beatriz at Dinner. And some films weren’t offensively bad, and may have even shown some promise, but they just couldn’t overcome how boring and unmemorable they were, like The Bye Bye Man, Cult of Chucky, and The Dark Tower. And then there are the films I really wanted to include, but just missed out to worse films, including technology thriller The Circle, the oft-delayed sexy thriller Tulip Fever, the sleep-inducingly terrible Power Rangers, and the exactly-as-you-expect Geostrom. Oh, and I didn’t subject myself to 9/11, Justice League, Bright or Flatliners. Sorry. I guess that’s all you need to know, and since I want to get this list over with as soon as possible, I say we just jump straight into it and review the Ten Worst Films of 2017.
10. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
I suppose it’s best to start out with a bad film I’d actually want to watch again. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the kind of bad movie we actually enjoy – one where everything is the right level of dumb and ridiculous, enough so that it can create a cult following. I almost have to give Guy Ritchie credit: it takes real skill to make a King Arthur movie worse than 2004’s King Arthur. And yet he does so here, with his steampunk variation on the classic story. When Guy Ritchie was announced to be directing the film, it was joked about that he would use his fast-taking Cockney Tarantino shtick in the film. This made it even more shockingly hilarious when he did that exact thing. “First oi popped ova to the tavern for a pint o’ beer, made a quick stop at home to refresh the missus, and went out to play some footie with me mates. You wot, mate?” By the way, that last one isn’t a joke – King Arthur literally ends a political discussion with “You wot, mate?” The entire film feels like a strange cross between Snatch and Lord of the Rings, and it’s as fascinatingly bad as that sounds. The fight sequences are poorly shot and ridiculous in nature, eventually resemble a terrible, sh*tty video game. The editing cuts between narration and acting out the narration, a technique that felt fresh when Ritchie first used it and now feels like a crutch. There are elephants walking across the British countryside. The street urchins literally wear Urban Outfitter beanies IN THE 9TH CENTURY. The music is a cross between hard rock and medieval folk. And I haven’t even gotten to the batsh*t crazy stuff yet. This is a film where the title pops out of the main character’s corpse when she gets stabbed, where Arthur’s father literally turns himself into the Sword in the Stone, where adult Arthur can kill people during flashback sequences, and where Syrens appear resembling Sex Octopuses with one random obese one. If you don’t believe me, take a look:
And then there’s Jude Law. My God, Jude Law; my rock, my everything. Law’s performance is the film’s only redeeming quality, laying on the camp, so that when he eventually, inevitably turns himself into Sauron, it feels like the cherry on top of a fascinating sh*t sundae. If this analysis seems to blend the line between a bashing and an appraisal, that’s because that’s exactly what it is. This is fun trash at its finest, and if you ever wanted to see a King Arthur prequel where he’s actually a chav who engages in video game fight sequences, then boy do I have a film for you.
9. Fifty Shades Darker
Hey, remember when Fifty Shades of Grey was coming out, and everyone was all appalled or excited about the prospect of a sexy movie that would push the boundaries, and then it came out and everyone realized it was just a bunch of bad actors reading contracts? Well they made a sequel, where the plot makes even less sense and the sex is even more boring. Things for Fifty Shades Darker were off to a bad start from Day 1: the narcissistic, phony writer E.L. James, disappointed in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s direction and Kelly Marcel’s writing on the first film, demanded they both be fired and replaced with her (the duo’s work was indeed bad, but they did their best given the circumstances). Universal tried to protect themselves by informing James that only a union member could write the script – so James made her husband, a WGA member, write it for her. And that’s where things immediately go downhill. The plot to this film is nonsensical – why do these two get back together? Why did they scrap the contract if all they’re going to do is follow the same patterns of the last movie? Why does Ana literally know nothing about sex, not even things an eight-year-old on the playground would know? Why introduce Jack, the film’s “villain,” I think, as a character at all when he doesn’t do anything? What the hell is Kim Basinger doing here? And why was any of this necessary? In between these insane plot points that do not connect in any way, shape or form, we have to watch Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, two people who really, really hate each other, pretend to be in love and have sex. What’s most infuriating here is that when these scenes begin, they actually do seem more sexy than the predecessor – the tension builds, the characters both seem to want each other, and the film feels like the film it wants to be. However, almost paradoxically, the minute the clothes come off, the film feels wooden, stale, and boring. If there was ever an argument to be made in favor of sexual tension over sexual passion, it’s this film. However, I think the most fascinating thing about this film is that they spread basically an hour worth of story over two hours and ten minutes. Where did that time go? I know it wasn’t plot, and I know it wasn’t sex, so why on earth does this film require this length, other than to torture us? Look, there’s a lot more I can say about this film, and how nonsensical and awful it is, but honestly, I just don’t want to. I don’t want to waste the time talking about this film, acknowledging this film, or in any way, shape or form thinking about this film. I have better things to do, and it’s just not worth it. So tune in next year when Fifty Shades Freed inevitably makes this list.
8. The Snowman
The Snowman will go down in history as one of the most fascinatingly bad films in history. I had heard stories that the film had only been 75% filmed when the studio shut down production and declared “We want this out in October, work with what you have,” but I didn’t believe they were true. I learned otherwise in the film’s first minute, when I had to rewind the disc to make sure it wasn’t skipping (it wasn’t). The film is one of the worst edited in history, jumping around with such frequency you’ll want to vomit, assuming you don’t have an aneurism trying to figure out the plot. Actually, it’s amazing how terrible this Girl With The Dragon Tattoo wannabe is in almost all regards. The editing is so atrocious it seems to prove Jean-Luc Godard’s theory about editing techniques wrong. The CGI is laughably bad throughout. The story is ridiculous – every once in a while, it will taunt you with a great scene of tension, only to drag it out for too long and too slowly, only becoming more baffling and confusing as it goes on, like a sh*tty slasher movie. And while the poor actors are trying their hardest, they have so little to work with, it’s almost pointless. I mean, look at Michael Fassbender’s character. His name is Harry Hole. I don’t want to shame a Swedish person for having a funny name, but…it’s Harry Hole. And I haven’t even mentioned yet the fact that the camera is constantly cutting to snowmen looking menacing. I repeat: THIS MOVIE WANTS YOU TO ACTUALLY THINK SNOWMEN ARE COMING TO LIFE AND KILLING PEOPLE IN THIS REALISTIC CRIME THRILLER. THIS IS NOT A JOKE (that previous sentence serves as a verbatim note from my critics’ pad). Luckily, if you haven’t already figured it out, this film is laugh-out-loud terrible. There is a reveal of a body that is covered with CGI birds that looks so ridiculously over-the-top it inspires laughs as opposed to screams. The murder sequences are so poorly done I honestly said, out loud, “Oh, bless their hearts for trying.” The film poorly, skillessly, and shamefully kills off one of its main characters about halfway through, despite the fact that the character survives in the book and has no reason to die in the film. And whenever the film features a murder, there’s always a g*ddamn snowman waiting for them, even if it’s situated at the bottom of a well, which makes no f*cking sense, because how would the murderer make it down there to build it? Val Kilmer, Toby Jones, and J.K. Simmons all show up in this movie, but I have no idea why – their characters make no sense, they serve no purpose to the overall plot, and I honestly don’t know what any of them are doing there. They are glorified extras. The entire production builds to a supposedly dramatic climax, but it is so poorly edited I honestly can’t tell you what happened – supposedly one of the minor characters is revealed to be this major serial killer, and there’s some sort of abortion metaphor that is so weirdly established that I can’t tell if it is pro-life or pro-choice, and either way both sides should be offended, and then all of a sudden we’re looking at a g*ddamn snowman again. Unlike other great mysteries, like Silence of the Lambs, The Thin Man, or Poirot, Harry Hole (hahaha) is not a good detective – he doesn’t find one actual clue, or prevent a single death. He just sort of putters around getting drunk and dry humping his girlfriend while a snowman stares at him. Overall, this Zodiac knockoff-wannabe is borderline unwatchable, and while it feels unfair to blame a director and actors who were cheated out of a chance to fix these errors, in the end, I’m not sure there was anything they could have done.
7. The House
Allow me to give you an abbreviated list of actors I find incredibly funny: Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Jason Mantzoukas, Ryan Simpkins, Nick Kroll, Rob Huebel, Cedric Yarbrough, Jessica St. Clair, Sam Richardson, Randall Park, Allison Tolman. Now allow me to give you a list of actors who are criminally unfunny in the film The House: Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Jason Mantzoukas, Ryan Simpkins, Nick Kroll…ok, you get it. What I’m saying is that despite a widespread cast of talented actors and comedians, The House feels like a half-baked idea that somehow became a movie, and everyone signed aboard before realizing the script was hot garbage. I mean, even the writing/directing duo of Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, both of whom are incredibly funny writers (even the disappointing Mike and Dave had solid moments) should have been able to give this movie something to work with. But no, we’re stuck with a series of unfunny, on-the-nose jokes about what it would be like if someone ran Las Vegas in their backyard. Each “gag” in this movie feels worse than the last. Ferrell and Poheler, as the parents of a young girl whose scholarship money gets funneled into a community pool, feel miscast at best and amateurish at worst. Their timing is off on each and every “joke,” and somehow Hollywood’s liveliest actors end up sucking the joy and talent out of this film. There is a running joke about how Ferrell can’t count that appears several times throughout the film, despite never feeling funny to begin with (it’s like that joke from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, except here they go to great lengths to explain the joke, and also that one is actually funny). There are several slo-mo sequences that make no sense, including one in Vegas which includes an entire scene, dialogue and all, being portrayed in this manner, as well as a scene of the suddenly wealthy protagonists walking down the street, somehow drawing no f*cking suspicion from the rest of the townsfolk. Meanwhile, Poehler and Ferrell have a strange, codependent relationship with daughter Simpkins that is somehow portrayed as healthy despite the fact that it is so creepily abnormal it made me want to vomit or call CPS several times over. And speaking of abnormal things that are portrayed as normal: Jason Mantzoukas. Mantzoukas is one of the most talented comedians in Hollywood right now, thanks to his ability to play the sleazeball. He’s essentially playing that type here, except unlike Rafi from The League, where you’re supposed to realize how awful he is, here we’re supposed to sympathize with this terrible human being. Why? Other plots include Jeremy Renner showing up to battle the “tough man” Ferrell, only to be accidentally set on fire (funnier in theory than in execution) and Rob Huebel as a dumb, but heroic police officer who still is the butt of police brutality jokes. Look, you can have your half-assed political satire, or you can have a heroic cop, but you cannot have both. Life doesn’t work that way, The House. And all of this takes place outside the fact that this film is, again, about building a casino in your backyard. The entire film is 88 minutes long, but I only know this because I just checked Wikipedia – it felt like it was seven hours. And speaking of Wikipedia, I leave you with this tidbit to sum up how terrible this film is: when you go to Wikipedia and look at the plot description, it is in a one-paragraph format. No one cared about this film long enough to actually write out a thorough description. They just typed in the most basic recollection of facts and said, “Yeah, that’s good enough. That’s all this movie deserves.” They still put more effort into that paragraph than anyone else involved with this film did.
6. The Space Between Us
You guys, is Allan Loeb Satan? I’m not asking this to be glib, I honestly want to know: is Allen Loeb literally the Devil Incarnate? If not, he must be the most recent terrorist plaguing our world, like David Koresh and Saddam Hussein, considering every film he has ever written has played as a personal affront to talent and good taste, including The Switch, So Undercover, and Collateral Beauty (a member of last year’s Bottom Ten list). His lack of talent is especially on display in the boring, nonsensical mess that is The Space Between Us. When you first start this faux-Martian rom-com nonsense, you are greeted with the fact that the U.S. is sending people to Mars, where they will be setting up a town called East Texas. So immediately you understand that this movie will be f*cking dumb. We immediately learn that the female captain of the mission is pregnant, which a) would have shown up on her physical, and b) absolutely would have miscarried upon liftoff, so the entire plot should be thrown out here. And yet, obviously, she gives birth and dies, the boy grows up and starts sexting a girl on Earth, who texts him from her history class where the whiteboard is covered with science terms and figures. Honestly, if the mise-en-scene in this film isn’t even going to try, why should we even bother? Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the class gives a standing ovation for the teacher’s lecture, because that happens all the f*cking time in a high school classroom. The boy then travels to Earth, and yadda yadda yadda starcrossed lovers blah blah blah. The entire movie meanders along with no semblance of timing, plot, or enjoyment, leading up to a worthless conclusion that still makes no sense. And the actors fare no better – Asa Butterfield is terrible, Britt Robertson’s character is insufferable – this marking her third year in a row on the Bottom Ten list (thanks, Tomorrowland and Mother’s Day) – and Gary Oldman is wasted (and obviously the father of the child, which redeems his assh*lery, because of course it does. I think the moment that best sums up the film is its ending: Asa Butterfield starts dying because he can’t adapt to Earth’s atmosphere (which, huh?), so they have to literally fly him back into space in a plane. The pilot explains that this is impossible, and yet willingly hands over the controls to Gary Oldman, who used to be a pilot like thirty years previous. Meanwhile, Britt Robertson comes along on the mission, despite the fact that she has no training as an astronaut and no space suit, and would surely die on this mission. In the end, Butterfield lives, and the orphaned (or something) Robertson gets adopted by a woman she’s never met, because that’s how these things work. None of this makes any sense whether you’ve seen this film or not, and neither does the rest of this movie. It is an appalling affront to cinema, and if Hollywood had any good sense they would run Loeb out of town.
5. The Mummy
It’s been six months since I saw Tom Cruise’s The Mummy, and I still don’t understand who thought it was a good idea. It didn’t have the charm of the 90s, the scares of the 30s, or any discernable redeeming qualities, period. It was solely made as a cash grab, and somehow it failed to do even that right. It was a fascinatingly bad film through and through, and I hated it even before I learned in October that its plot is essentially plagiarized from An American Werewolf in London. I still can’t get over the fact that this movie was supposed to kick off the Dark Universe, a cart-before-the-horse interconnected series of monster movies that would create Universal’s personal Avengers. The fact this film failed to kick off not one, but two franchises is the most beautiful piece of karma I’ve yet to witness. Tom Cruise is charmless in this film as he plays an unlikable rogue who steals artifacts for the black market while “scouting” for the Army. He never has a single redeeming scene throughout, and when his character essentially dies in the finale, I almost started clapping. At least his character is treated with some respect – Annabelle Wallis and Sofia Boutella are treated as objects, as villains or shrews just because they are women trying to stop the man from being a hero. Neither is remarkable or memorable, and their motivations are questionable. In fact, Boutella as the Mummy is even more appalling, as her misogynistic motivations make no sense and seem intentionally designed by a writer who thought to himself “What if the evil Mummy had bewbs, and was just like my ex-wife!” And I haven’t even touched on the clichés, like “I’m a scientist,” “[S]he wanted to be captured!” and “This isn’t a tomb…it’s a prison!” Still, I’d take the clichés any day if the film’s ideas of “taking risks” include moving the Mummy movie’s location from Egypt (which makes sense) to England (which doesn’t unless you’re still intentionally trying to steal the plot of An American Werewolf in London…has John Landis sued them yet?), or whatever the hell Russell Crowe is doing. Oh, did I mention that Russell Crowe is playing Dr. Jekyll, the Nick Fury of the Dark Universe, who plays Jekyll like Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock, and plays Hyde (because boy, does he turn into Hyde) like an extra from King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. This movie is fascinatingly bad from beginning to end, and the only good thing to come out of it is that it killed the Dark Universe before it had a chance to live. Let’s just hope that it doesn’t resurrect as a zombie, and let’s especially hope that that zombie isn’t played by Jake Johnson.
You can read my full review for The Mummy right here
Ringu is one of the scariest films of all time. The Ring is one of the greatest remakes of all time. So it shouldn’t be the next logical step that Rings is one of the worst films of the year, and yet it is borderline unwatchable. It’s the type of horror that isn’t fun to watch – dull, nonsensical, and boring. Everything about this film is off – the editing is a letdown, the acting is terrible, the art direction is off, and the screenplay is nonsensical. I guess that’s what happens when you put your film in the hands of Akiva Goldsman, who, while not as bad as Allan Loeb, has become synonymous with the touch of death, due to his hand in almost every major flop of the past decade. He’s most likely responsible for the terrible dialogue here, like the wonderfully idiotic line “Just because you have a vision doesn’t mean you know what that vision means!” He’s also likely responsible for the dumbest moments in the film, like the opening plane crash because one of the passengers watched the video. Everything from that point on makes no sense both in the context of the film and the context of the franchise. It makes no sense that you can escape Samara’s wrath by making someone else watch the video. It also doesn’t make sense that everything in this one – again, a film about a killer video tape – is about computers, other than for the film’s half-assed message. There’s a chance that one of the plot points here could offend the religious, but don’t worry: it’s more likely to offend anyone with a sense of decency, taste, or logic instead. However, the thing that appalls me most of all about this film is what they did to Samara, one of the greatest horror villains of all time. Every decision they make undercuts her threat and mythos. The jump scares from when she first makes a kill (correction: the only time she makes a kill) are so predictable and boring, they didn’t even frighten this scaredy-cat. She’s stripped of all her abilities, and all of her menace. It only gets worse when the film becomes a knockoff of Don’t Breathe, with the protagonists trapped in a house trying to avoid a blind man with a shotgun, where the villain (a truly terrible Vincent D’Onofrio) reveals to the characters – and the audience – that “Samara can’t hurt me because I can’t see her.” Why? Why would you add this dumb, nonsensical rule to weaken your best villain? What purpose does this hold? Still, nothing is as terrible as the ending, which possesses a Sixth Sense-style twist that truly makes no sense, is based off of flashbacks to earlier in the film that truly never happened, and completely changed who you were supposed to root for. Was Samara the hero the entire time? Were we supposed to root for the villain? If so, why? We don’t get answers to this, but we do learn the entire film is some sort of metaphor for chain mail. Long story short, this is a terrible film that ruined the career of Johnny Galecki and all in all disappoints the audience, the series, and any sense of decency and logic that you hope for in your movies. I hated it, through and through.
3. The Book of Henry
You know, a friend of mine recently sent me a video breakdown of the plot of The Book of Henry, and it’s a good thing he did, because I had almost forgotten how batsh*t insane this movie truly is. I feel bad for ganging up on Colin Trevorrow, because it seems like he was legitimately trying to make a good film out of it, and that he legitimately cared, but considering how convoluted the rest of the story is, I can only cut him so much slack for poor judgment. This is a film where the world’s most annoying twelve-year-old boy with super-genius powers dies of brain cancer and leaves a final request for his mother and younger brother to murder their next-door neighbor, the police commissioner, who is abusing his daughter that the boy had a crush on. That plot description leaves me with so many questions I don’t know where to begin. Most of them are, “What?” “Why?” and “How dare you?” I mean, in trying to figure out what happened, I think the earliest problem for writer Gregg Hurwitz (other than needing a new career) is while the script lingered in development hell since the 1990s (!!!), it seems he added aspects from whatever indie movie he ended up watching. Oh, the kid died in Pay It Forward and My Girl? Write it into the script. Oh, the family is kooky and different and learns a valuable lesson about loving each other in Little Miss Sunshine and every other f*cking twee movie from the aughts (and I LIKE Little Miss Sunshine)? Write it into the plot. This film is the written equivalent of that Dessert Meat Pie that Rachel made on Friends all those years ago, combining different aspects of different, better movies into one hodgepodge of fecal matter. And right now I’m only looking at this film from a technical standpoint, which is objectively the best part of this film. I haven’t even begun to break this down. I haven’t mentioned that the villain is named “Sickleman” because he’s a Sick Man. I haven’t mentioned the fact that to show the parents act like kids and the kids act like parents we have to watch Naomi Watts lean forward on the couch playing video games like a 13-year-old boy while Henry does the taxes. I haven’t mentioned the immortal lines like “Godd*mmit, Janice!” or “We are not going to kill the police commissioner.” I haven’t mentioned the part where Sarah Silverman tells a 12-year-old that he’s the type of man she should have met and then kisses him on the lips. I haven’t mentioned the fact that Henry’s plot, which involves buying a high powered sniper rifle, was originally planned to be pulled off by him, which means that had he not died we would have watched a twelve-year-old boy try to buy a sniper rifle. I haven’t mentioned the talent show that seems straight out of Wet Hot American Summer, except without the irony. I haven’t mentioned the moral of the story which is never introduced at any point previously during the film. I haven’t mentioned the fact that the principal (whose name, I believe, is Godd*ammit Janice) finally believes that this girl (Maddie Ziegler from Dance Moms) is being abused when she performs a sad dance at the talent show. And I definitely haven’t mentioned that this film ends with Naomi Watts inexplicably adopting Ziegler into the family, despite having no connection or legal claim to her, and basically using her to replace Henry, who is never mentioned again. This film makes no sense. It should never have been greenlit after it failed to get off the ground in the 90s, every actor in it should have had better common sense, and after the studio saw it, they should have bit the bullet and released it straight to DVD. However, the reason this film is third on my list, other than the fact that it is objectively better than the next two, is because there is some enjoyment to be had. You have to see how bad this film is. It’s the epitome of “a bad drama makes for a great comedy.” Given the right crowd, this could be the next The Room. I just wish I hadn’t had to sit through it as a drama first.
You can read my full review for The Book of Henry right here
2. Transformers: The Last Knight
I can’t tell if Transformers: The Last Knight is a better or worse film than Trans4mers: Age of Extinction. On the one hand, that film is still in the Top Three worst films I have ever seen, period. On the other hand, The Last Knight could be worse, and I’m just numb thanks to the prior film’s garishness. Either way, The Last Knight is still easily one of the worst films of the year. I mean, I don’t know how to begin with this film. This is a film where robots attack people during a fight scene by declaring, “Move b*tch, get out the way!” The audience has to sit through an extended scene where Megatron has to haggle for the release of different Decepticons – each revealed through a trading card graphic that reveals their stats and crimes – with the CIA, half of whom are rejected, only for these characters we were introduced to for ten minutes five minutes prior to immediately die. This is an entire portion of the film that doesn’t matter in the long run. We have to sit through an entire scene where Mark Wahlberg, who barely tries throughout the entire movie, seeming sullen and depressed for being here, has to explain his “chastity” with Anthony Hopkins and his love interest (they explain how knights are chaste, leading to a two minute sequence that feels like ten of Mark Wahlberg explaining how “It’s been a long time since my wife died”). Jerrod Carmichael shows up for a bit, but isn’t allowed to be funny. Still, at least he gets to survive the film, unlike T.J. Miller in the last one (which, given what we know now, may have been for the best). And in case this movie didn’t sound insane or pedestrian enough, there is a scene where Mark Wahlberg and his love interest, played by Laura Haddock, have to ransack her late father’s office, and her mother’s friends downstairs, who think she needs to “find a husband,” think she’s having sex. That’s right, a trope that seemed dumb and childish in the 60s and 70s and was on virtually every sitcom in the 80s and 90s is used here, in a big-budget blockbuster in the year 2017, unironically. And just when you think things can’t possibly get any worse, they remind you that the plot of this film is supposed to ride on whether Optimus Prime turns good again or not (answer: yes, he’s only bad for about five minutes, despite the buildup). The fight sequences are incoherent, the editing doesn’t fit together, scenes feel like they’re missing so the plot doesn’t make sense, and the first thirty minutes ride on the introduction of a group of kids orphaned by the Transformer battles, only to immediately write these kids off until they are useless to the plot of the film. The best/only thing I can say about this movie is that it’s short. Granted, it’s still two and a half hours, but that’s merciful compared to the three hour sh*tstorm of the last one. Long story short, this film is an appalling abomination, and there is no reason you need to waste your time on it. The only reason it isn’t the worst film of the year is because I saw something far more appalling, far more juvenile, and far more lazy…
1. The Emoji Movie
My God, I hated this film. I loathed it. I wasn’t kidding in my review when I said that I checked my watch to see how much longer to go at the six-minute mark. Everything about this film is a steaming pile of garbage, from the acting to the story to the animation. I mean, no one expected a movie as lazy and as cash grabby as The Emoji Movie to be any good, but still…no one expected this. The makers of this film should feel like Richard Attenborough at the end of Jurassic Park, looking upon their unholy creation with fear and regret. There is absolutely no joy to be found in this movie. The plot is lazy – it’s essentially just an amalgamation of their misunderstandings of Inside Out and The Lego Movie – the characters unlikable, and the entire project just off-putting. After recent allegations, it is much easier to rip on T.J. Miller than it was back when this film came out, but make no mistake: his “hero” is grating, unlikable, and in a strange twist of fate, responsible for every bad thing in the film. If his character, Gene, were to have an It’s a Wonderful Life-style flashback over the entire film, he would learn that everyone would actually be better off without him. He’s the reason for the problems that arise, he’s responsible for the near-Emoji genocide (a real concept, and one of my most popular review lines), and no one is better off because he lived. He is a waste of a protagonist. Still, at least he’s better off than the boy who owns these emojis, Alex. Alex is your average eleven-year-old who stalks girls to the point that his firewall password is his crush’s name, which he uses to protect his vast porn collection (ok, hinted vast porn collection). And let’s not forget the “jokes” on display: a city named Textopolis, a bunch of tween “satire” jokes that feel more accurate about fifty-year-olds than it does about millennials or Gen-Z, and the fact that we are supposed to laugh at Patrick Stewart being the Poop emoji, despite the fact that he doesn’t have any real dialogue, or jokes, or personality. It’s just Patrick Stewart saying, “I’m poop,” and “So when do I get my paycheck?” References are made to Casablanca, which makes no sense in context or in humor, and there is a weird feminist angle that both is incorrect about feminism, and then tells young girls “Just kidding, feminism is bad!” Poor Anna Faris. This film has no moral, no purpose, no reason for living. It’s just a cash grab that gives us obvious jokes, like Steven Wright playing a “Meh” emoji named Meh-l and Jeff Ross playing a troll, and a boring plot that failed to entertain the five-year-olds it was meant for. This is an offensive film, not because of its message (which is mixed) or its cast (although Miller makes the case), but because its very existence is an affront to art, life, and humanity. This is not a film. This is a walking dollar sign giving you dual middle fingers while pissing on everything you hold dear. F*ck this movie.
You can read my full review of The Emoji Movie right here, because Lord knows you shouldn’t have to see this movie.
There. We’ve finished. I hope you enjoy the pain that I’ve put myself through for your amusement, like some sort of dancing monkey in clown makeup. This concludes the Worst Films of 2017. Luckily, our next Listicle will be much more uplifting, because contrary to what this list would have you believe, 2017 was, indeed, a remarkable year for cinema. See you then!