Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Worst Movies of 2015

2015 was a terrific year for cinema, which I will delve much deeper into in my top 20 list. But that doesn't mean that it didn't have its fair share of duds. While there weren't as many aggressively awful films as there have been in years past, there were more than enough. From animated films that didn't work to atrocious action films to one of the worst years for young adult films in recent memory, there was plenty of awful to go around. Here are my picks for the worst movies of 2015.


I'm a huge SpongeBob SquarePants fan. I grew up on the classic Nickelodeon TV show and it was a daily staple of my entertainment diet. In addition to that, I have a deep admiration for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, the 2004 animated flick that is absolutely hilarious on nearly every level. To my deep disappointment, Sponge Out of Water was just more of the same. A borderline psychedelic combination of various animation styles and musical choices, the latest SpongeBob flick was a deep dive into the bizarre- and not in a good way. Visually interesting, but a failure on comedic and dramatic levels, Sponge Out of Water was one of the most crushing disappointments of the year.


Sisters has funny moments, but there is absolutely, positively no reason for this frat house comedy to be nearly two hours long. Filled with unlikable characters and a sketch comedy vibe, Sisters feels like an okay SNL skit stretched out to an obscene length. Every annoying side character gets a subplot and all the leads are whiny brats, resulting in an occasionally intolerable R-rated comedy. Normally I wouldn't be bugged by this kind of lackluster comedy, but something about Sisters just rubbed me the wrong way.

13. CHAPPIE                  

The latest critical failure from acclaimed District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp, Chappie was just not good. A step back after the beloved District 9 and Elysium (a personal favorite of mine), Chappie may have dealt a crushing blow to Blomkamp's career. Both cutesy and gory, Chappie doesn't know what it wants to be and it definitely has no clue about the story that it's trying to tell. Silly to a fault, Blomkamp wastes the talent of great actors like Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver for a sci-fi flop that paled in comparison to the other AI flick of the year, Alex Garland's masterful Ex Machina. A massive failure from a promising director.


I was actually pretty excited for Slow West. A old-fashioned Western with Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn that was drawing comparisons to Wes Anderson after Sundance? Count me in. Unfortunately, I hated nearly every single dull minute of John Maclean's nihilistic, pointless example of style over substance. The characters are thinly drawn, the ending frustrated me to no end, and I was left cold and angry. Others loved it, but I just couldn't see it. For me, Slow West was one of the worst indies of the year.


I liked the first two Hunger Games films. They're fun little sci-fi films and they're expertly crafted, crowd-pleasing (but very dark) blockbusters. But the series just couldn't keep up the momentum. Mockingjay- Part 1 was dull and slow, but it got by with the promise that Part 2 would blow the door off the place. By some miracle, Part 2 was even worse. Unintentionally laughable and weird, Part 2 was an overdramatic failure that ended the series with a huge whimper.


If you're going to remake a classic film, you should probably at least try to do something different or interesting. And if you're going to remake a classic horror film, you should really try to make a scary film. Poltergeist is neither scary nor interesting, a failure on nearly every possible level. With unconvincing CGI, exceedingly annoying characters and a sluggish start, Poltergeist never regains its footing until the final twenty minutes. And by that point, it's already too late to save this horror flop that was forgotten almost instantly.


Likely to be the most controversial pick on this list, Ant-Man received a pretty strong critical and audience reception over the summer and picked up terrific box office results. For me, it's the worst film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A drag from start to finish, this family-geared heist film fails to turn Scott Lang into an interesting character and is missing the energy and fun of the other Marvel flicks. In many ways, it's straining too hard to be like Guardians of the Galaxy and it falls flat in every way. Hopefully Marvel can find something good to do with this somewhat interesting character in the future, but this initial solo effort was not a good start.


Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 are good films. Minions is not. By taking something that was good in small doses and blowing it up over an extended runtime, Minions becomes emotionless and unfunny. It made a bunch of money and that feels like exactly what it was meant to do- this is soulless corporate art at its absolute worst. Plus, they revealed everything in the trailer. Never a good thing.


A toothless rendition of better films, Secret in Their Eyes is a poorly paced mash-up of Law & Order cliches and "gritty" revenge movie stereotypes. Despite the ads promising a great turn from Julia Roberts, her performance ends up summing up this whole tedious affair- it's quiet, subdued and unquestionably uninteresting. Predictable from start to finish, Secret in Their Eyes was one of the biggest Oscar bait flops of 2015.


Continuing the trend of awful YA adaptation flicks, Insurgent takes everything that was good about Divergent and makes it intolerable, until what's left is a completely unmemorable film that fades nearly instantly. As I wrote this, I tried to recall things I disliked about the film, but I honestly could not remember a thing. Not a positive, not a negative- nothing. Insurgent fails to advance what was once a promising series by being an absolute mess that literally offers nothing to its target audience. This series needs to end soon.


Wow! Look at that! Another awful young adult adaptation! Who would have guessed? Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials was all the more disappointing because I both truly enjoyed the original film and the book series. But what I saw on the screen was nothing like the books or the film's predecessor. What I saw was a total mess, a borderline incomprehensible flick that was as visually uninteresting as it was completely free of anything tense or scary. Unlike Insurgent, there's still some potential for this franchise to turn around, but this was a step in the wrong direction.


For most critics, Fantastic Four was probably their least favorite film of 2015. Comic book nerds and cinephiles alike were revolted by this "film," if you can call it that. The presence of great actors like Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Michael B. Jordan enticed comic fans, but both 20th Century Fox and director Josh Trank massively screwed this one up. The first half is moody, yet somewhat engaging before the second half destroys everything. A horrifically designed Doctor Doom, ghastly CGI and a forced battle scene? Give the rights back to Marvel, please.


Another YA movie? Say it ain't so. Paper Towns is so incredibly awful in every conceivable way. I pretty much hated everything about it. The idiot characters, the hokey nature of the plot, the faux-philosophy at the center of the film- like I said, it's really easy to hate this film. It's amazing that so many talented people worked on a movie that managed to be so truly terrible in every way. A huge step down from John Green's last big screen adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars.


Home is one of the few movies this year that made me actually wish that I was not alive while I was watching it. Utterly intolerable in every way. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have Jim Parsons voice a really annoying alien should never work in Hollywood ever again. I've seen some bad animated films before. Home is the worst. It's not even close. Heck, it's not even a contest. Home takes the garbage cake.

1. TAKEN 3

Taken 3 is the only movie that I've ever given an "F" grade in the five years that I've had this site. That should honestly tell you all that you need to know about this atrocious third entry in the series that just won't die. Shoddily filmed and physically painful to watch, there is not a single redeeming quality to this action mess. It's the worst film of the year. And Home was really, really, really bad. That makes Taken 3's victory here all the more unimpressive.

Well, that's out of the way. Later tonight, we'll finally get to my best of 2015 list. I'm very excited to share it.

Image Credits: YouTube, The Guardian, Wired, EW, The Guardian, Variety, Variety, Screen Rant, Hollywood Reporter, Book Fandoms, Screen Rant, Huffington Post, Variety, Variety

1 comment:

  1. Shame to hear about Slow West. Not much personal investment in the others, but I would like to see that one turn out good. Mockingjay was underwhelming for me as well.