Welcome to Hell…Again
Another year draws to a close and yet another opportunity to take stock of all of our accomplishments and failings in the year…well mostly failures, 2017 was a bit of a shit show as with last year. But hey, at least when I saw a bad movie in 2017, it was abysmal. Which is why I get peeved when I hear people decry films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi or Bright to be the worst of the year, and every single one of my brain cells cut themselves in frustration. Because these people haven’t seen the shit I have seen, they haven’t endured the pain that I have felt, and they haven’t witnessed what a true calamitous production looks like. But I have, for your sick amusement as I dance around and weep soft tears like the monkey I am. So let’s not waste any more time, let’s take a look at the very worst films of 2017.
Dubious Mention – Tom & Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
My Dubious Mention award goes to a poorly made film that I get a profound sense of enjoying despite itself, mostly because it’s just plain funny to see the movie shoot itself right in it’s gonads. For a good part of the year, XXX: The Return of Xander Cage looked set to take this award until a certain animation crashed through the window of my home with a dagger in its mouth while wearing an eye patch before tripping on itself and slashing it’s mouth into bloody ribbons. Tortured metaphor gives way to Tom & Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. A curiously lazy remake of the Gene Wilder classic mixed with some of the most oft-putting animation committed to celluloid, it achieved The Room level enjoyment for me by constantly featuring some creepy character designs and some of the most bizarre reimaginings of iconic scenes from a childhood classic.
#10. The Mummy (2017)
Quite a few films vied for the race to the bottom this year, to the point I actually had to find positives in certain films to see if others were truly worse. Which lead me to forgiving Death Note for the sake of a few decent scenes or Kingsman: The Golden Circle by some decent action set pieces. But with Universal Studios’ big opening gambit for a cinematic universe, I could find nothing redeeming in its two hour run time; and, indeed, neither did the studio as they now have effectively put on hold their grand plans due to the massive critical and financial failure of one single film: The Mummy (2017). Between a personality-less lead performance by Tom Cruise and an infuriatingly confusing and unnecessarily convoluted back story for a villain, the film may have slipped into the annals of forgotten memory, where it not for the amazingly lazy attempts at world building courtesy of the hack behind The Amazing Spider-Man films. Creating a faux-SHIELD with a discount Nick Fury played by a sleepwalking Russell Crowe and shoving in as many Easter eggs to tease franchise potential in a way that made Iron Man 2 look subtle, the film now functions as the model of what not to do when kickstarting a new franchise. For squandering a perfectly solid premise and for making a film that was somehow inferior to the Brendan Frasier movie, this deserves to really ring in my worst of the year list.
#9. Daddy’s Home 2
Comedy sequels are rare to top their predecessors in terms of quality, so hopes weren’t high that an unforgivably bad comedy like Daddy’s Home was going to generate a better product than usual. And yet reduced expectations were simply not a pitifully low bar enough to cross, because Daddy’s Home 2 was somehow even worse than its predecessor. Not just because it wasn’t funny, not just because their isn’t even a plot to go around this time, not just because there are even more unpleasant and wretched characters to follow; but the film finds new and interesting ways to piss you off. Between wasting a perfectly good John Cena and John Lithgow, the film decided to court the controversy circuit with the inclusion of Mel Gibson playing a caricature of his real life persona. And not the masochistic persona, I’m talking his full blown “sugartits” and “smile and blow me” persona. The fact his character receives no comeuppance for his detestable behavior was bad enough, but the fact that Gibson is now trying to capitalize on the abuse he’s made others suffer in real life is just plain wrong.
#8. The Emoji Movie
Starting off the review for this film by envisioning the film studio behind this movie as a disgusting hive mind that consumes orphans was, in retrospect, too damn good for this profound waste of time. Because no one put any effort into making this film remotely watchable. Not the cast lead by the likes of the painfully unfunny James Corden and T.J. Miller, who both coincidentally turned out to be craven sexist asshats. Not the writing, which was filled to the brim with obnoxious product placement and painfully lazy copies of better Hero’s Journey material. And not even the animation was that great when I realized we had the likes of Your Name, Coco, and Loving Vincent all show up to actually give a damn and show you something you haven’t seen before. Nothing in this film was even worth your basic level of respect as it was ultimately a cynically constructed product designed to appeal to a wide a demographic as possible with a broad level of lame ass humor to keep people borderline interested. Profound waste of air, so much so that this list will be its final gasp of relevance before being damned to Hell.
#7. The Assignment
As with last year’s list, some may bemoan the fact that popularly bad films like Transformers: The Last Knight are not on my bottom 10. But bear in mind, these are movies that truly infuriated me to such a degree that I’ve sliced, diced, drawn and quartered them while I deliver a fiery screed about how worthless their fathers’ sperm must have been to create such a person with such awful ideas. Which brings us nicely to the incredibly insulting The Assignment. No it’s not insulting because it features your protagonist being forced into a gender reassignment surgery and making token genitalia jokes. It’s insulting because it takes such an offensive premise and does jack shit with it. It’s barely offensive to the transgender crowd as the movie very quickly forgets its lead in Michelle Rodgriuez was even a man to begin with, so knocks against the marginalized group are nonexistent. It’s not even supposed to be empowering either as the protagonist spends a lot of time shooting people in the back. The film is just a boring ass mess of an action film that’s occasionally interrupted by Sigourney Weaver gurgling a narration in her sleep after taking two shots of Nyquil. The hackneyed make-up job on pre and post-op protagonist more or less are emblematic of just how damn pathetic this movie truly was.
Somehow, against all odds, The Asylum pulled off the impossible. They managed to release one of their knockoff products way before the real thing dropped in theaters. I truly have to hand it to them, no one could have predicted Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver would have been a big hit for them to try and capitalize on the hype with their own generically awful wheelman film and…oh wait, Collide was actually filmed four years ago and was quickly forgotten by its real studio until many of its lead stars appeared in higher profile and successful productions. Phew, almost had to praise the hacks at Asylum, had kind of a heart attack of the very thought. But it really does go to show just how inept a film has to be to warrant an Asylum comparison. Poorly shot action scenes mixed with phenomenally awful performances that were career low points from both Anthony Hopkins and Ben Kingsley (and that’s saying something from the two of them), this was agonizing to get through.
#5. The Bye Bye Man
Holy fuck nuggets, now we are about to witness what truly drove me insane in 2017. And yet, we are only talking about the THIRD worst horror film of the year so far, and there was barely anything to be truly scared by in this damn movie. But what can you expect from the filmmakers behind Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror? What was supposed to be an introduction for a new horror icon in the mold of Jason Voorhees or Freddy Krueger, turned out to be the least threatening killer since The Leprachuan (Google that one kiddos, you might find Jennifer Anniston slumming it in one of her first roles ever). The Bye Bye Man had a bizarre set of powers that made regular people into killers by taking out whoever says or thinks his name, but he never actually kills anyone directly. People just off themselves based on what they THINK he’ll do, as opposed to what he WILL do…which is ultimately nothing. Having Doug Jones (no not that one) waste an appearance here next to a bunch of kids who can’t act even if you held a gun to their temples, just frustrated me to a point of seething rage.
It’s a true testament to how godawful a film had to have been, that I still, ten months later, am infuriated by the very mention of its name or even its predecessor’s name: Rings. Featuring missed opportunities and abysmally bad young actors isn’t enough for this movie to place so high on this list. What truly made me loathe this little mongrel was the sheer lack of effort on part of the writer and director to make something watchable out of this drivel. This sequel to The Ring manages to cheap out by first offering a scary video that is basically identical to the original spooky video with some lame additions to justify the film’s existence (when The Ring Two managed to at least give you a new series of horrific imagery). Then this film goes into an investigation behind the horror icon that was already done in the previous two films, thereby making the threat considerably less frightening in addition to ripping off halfway decent material with reckless abandon. And then the movie finally concludes on a note that they pulled right out of the colon of the screenwriter by first demonstrating the potential for another Ring film and also passing the torch of the main monster on to someone you barely friggin knew and someone who didn’t even bloody deserve it.
#3. The Snowman
This film truly shocked me, more than any other movie in 2017. Because I did not think it was possible to fuck up to the degree in which The Snowman did. Whole chunks of material are straight up missing from the final product on account of a rushed shooting schedule…for a murder mystery; something that very much needs all the clues it wants to present for the ending to make a lick of sense. That’s before you get to the shockingly bad performances of Michael Fassbender, J.K. Simmons, and Val Kilmer; the latter of which was so bad that his voice was poorly dubbed over while he appeared like a mannequin with some clay slapped on. And even if you did forgive the nonsensical plot, the weak dialogue, the idiotic plans, and the atrocious acting; you are still left with a painfully boring movie that would put someone high on premium cocaine to sleep. Fassbender is one of my favorite actors to see working, and it pains me to put another movie of his on my worst of the year list. Redemption is always possible, but he’s going to have to move me to tears in order to forgive him for the absolute dreck he’s chosen to work on.
#2. The Book of Henry
After 15 minutes of watching this movie in theaters, I was annoyed. After 30 minutes, I was enraged. After 75 minutes, I was baffled. Flabbergasted that such a confusing tonal train wreck could seriously be put forward by such an arrogant director who fancied himself a risk taker after one successful blockbuster that mostly enjoyed financial success based on name recognition alone. The Book of Henry begins as a child-like mystery film a la The Goonies mixed with some genuinely offensive subject matter, before becoming a melodrama in the vein of Manchester by the Sea, and ending as a sick twisted chimera of Jason Bourne and Home Alone. Nothing of what I just described should have worked on even the conceptual level, but the ego on Colin Trevorrow was just too great that he basically lost his shot to make the next Star Wars film on the basis of just how offensive to good taste this film was. Failing on the acting, writing, and directing front was bad enough, but the smugness on display here is what truly seals this film’s fate as the second worst film of 2017.
#1. Fifty Shades Darker
Oh how I debated endlessly with myself for what I would consider to be the worst film of 2017. It was going to either be the atrocious adaptation of E.L. James’ spank material or The Book of Henry, but ultimately I decided on the film I cited most on this website on what NOT to do when it comes to making a movie. And I’m not merely referring to one single aspect of this movie, NOTHING in this two plus hour irritable bowel movement worked worth a damn. The acting was of course the mere tip of the iceberg of frozen elephant shit, as Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan had as much chemistry with each other as urinating a weak scented candle that reeked of dog vomit. Further, their sex scenes with each other were somehow even more laughable than the first time around, as Dornan very clearly did not want to be there so he humped as fast as he could to just get the damn scenes over with. The cinematography and score were flat and uninteresting, which seems like a minor quibble until you really dig into the so-called plot of this movie and discover an absolute madhouse of poorly written smut.
I truly wonder what was the worse subplot in this disaster. Was it the one with Kim Basinger looking stiff and bored as the child molester who warped Christian Grey’s mind up for life? Was it the bizarre romantic “rival” to Grey being given a cartoonishly villainous name before ending the film with dark circles under his eyes and burning Grey’s picture out with a cigarette bud? Or was it the frankly disgusting portrayal of Grey’s ex-girlfriend, clearly disturbed by their relationship to the point she violently lashes out against other targets of her former abuser’s affection? Only to see each and every single of these useless ass plot points be resolved in the laziest and most anti-climactic way imaginable? Thinking the name of this very series pisses me off to a frenzy, so I can think of no other film more deserving as the Worst of 2017.
Noticed a few films missing from my list? Well there was a metric ton of crap to sift through in 2017 my fine ladies and gentlemen, that I truly didn’t have time to cover all of the worst. Nonetheless, here’s a handy list of the other worthless pieces of shit that dared showed their faces in theaters.
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