I've said it multiple times, but I'll say it again: 2015 was a great year for film. But it was also an extremely disappointing year for it as well. We saw duds from David O. Russell, Guillermo del Toro, Cameron Crowe, and The Wachowskis. Not to mention the part where Jurassic World came out. So, while most years I only highlight 5 films that disappointed me, this year I expanded that list to 10. And a (dis)honorable mention. So, without further adieu, here's my list of the most disappointing films of 2015! I don't know why I felt so excited there.....there is nothing to be excited about right now.......
Honorable Mention: Concussion
So I know there's this whole #OscarsSoWhite thing going on. Heard of it? Well, it's totally justified this year, with films like Straight Outta Compton and Beasts of No Nation getting completely snubbed for no real reason, but one film where it is not as justified is Concussion. This film was a mess from various standpoints, but the most glaring point was the fact that it was a nonfiction piece with several MAJOR historical inaccuracies. I mean I'm totally fine with cutting a corner here and there to make a film more dramatic, but from what I've read the filmmakers here took a story and basically completely turned it on its head to make this film. And Will Smith was kind of weird as the lead here. His performance was the centerpiece of the film, and as time has gone on it has really failed to resonate with me. For all the potential this film had, we got a really disappointing result.
Ah yes, remember when this film came out? I know I don't either. This film was one of several big budget box office disasters in the early part of 2015, (there's another one on this list, spoiler) and while this film was a bit better than the other big budget duds, it still featured an extremely forgettable plot and a lackluster performance from George Clooney. Which was basically what the entire marketing campaign around this film focused on. There were some cool visuals, and there was an excellent score from Michael Giacchino, but that wasn't enough. Disney really hyped this film to no end, but what we got was a dud. C'mon, Brad Bird. You directed The Incredibles and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. You're better than this!
9) Accidental Love
That picture pretty much sums up this film. Not a whole lot of people know about this film, but this is the first of several disappointments from high profile directors. Believe it or not, this film was directed by the one and only David O. Russell. Unlike the other David O. Russell film on this list, I think when this film was done everyone involved knew it was terrible, which led to this film's complete lack of a marketing campaign. It even led to David O. Russell taking the drastic measure to put a pseudonym on this film. So thank you for this travesty, Stephen Greene. Then let's take a moment to look at who is in this film. Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel, James Marsden, Bill Hader, Kendrick Cross, James Brolin, and Tracy Morgan are all in this film. All of them. I am honestly amazed that this film even exists, especially when you realize just how incompetent it is. I decided to put this film on the disappointment list instead of the worst films of 2015 because it only made $4,500 at the box office. (Safe to say it was a flop...) However there are some absolutely hilarious reviews of this film out there, as this film is gradually rising to Serena-like levels of awful. The only question I have to ask is this: WHO THE HELL THOUGHT THIS MOVIE WAS A GOOD IDEA? WHY WASN'T IT THROWN INTO A PIT OF FIRE? I'm sorry. I tried to contain myself this whole time and I just couldn't do it. I wouldn't even recommend watching this film with a bunch of people while intoxicated. There are way "better" terrible films to do that with than this. Ok now time to forget about this film forever. Go away, Accidental Love.
Yup. Remember when this film's trailer came out and emotionally wrecked all of us? After all, how could it not? I mean it was the end of an era for this legendary actor. His final leading performance. Aaaaaaaand then it was released. The only reason this film is not higher on the list is because the man was as good as he ever was, but everything surrounding Robin Williams was just an absolute drag. The story we got in this film was incredibly forgettable, and the acting around Williams was sub-par at best. Even the wonderful Bob Odenkirk looked like he was sleepwalking throughout the film. As a result, it got very little coverage when it was finally released, as many choose to (wisely, I might add) remember Robin Williams through some of his more iconic performances. Don't bother with this one, guys. Just watch Good Will Hunting again.
RIP Robin Williams. If you want to watch an interesting tribute to the legendary actor, check out this video. That is absolutely my favorite tribute to him.
Here is another disappointing film from an established director. Cameron Crowe. Director of great films like Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and We Bought a Zoo. And then he did Aloha. There's a funny story I have with this one from one of my favorite movie critics, Ben Mankiewicz. His screening of this film was the debut screening on the Sony studios lot. Cameron Crowe was there. And, before the film started, he actually got up and apologized to everyone for what they were about to watch. Ya. Everything about this film was messy, from the fact that they tried to pass Emma Stone off as a quarter Asian or whatever to the fact that this film was, from start to finish, a tonal catastrophe. It made no sense as it fumbled from scene to scene despite some charming performances from the A-list cast. But they were nowhere near enough to make this film watchable, and Aloha has already been lost to the depths of the ocean. Where it should be, I might add. There are far better tributes to Hawaii out there. Honestly can we get a heartwarming tribute to Ohio or something for a change? Someone should mix it up and travel to Iowa or Kansas or something and give a wonderful tribute to that state. Least it would be original.
And here is the other dud from David O. Russell. Fun fact: I think David O. Russell is one of the best directors in Hollywood today. His films are so daring! After all how many films are you going to have a your climax be a dance off to Fell in Love with a Girl and have it be totally awesome? But here we see his imagination get the best of him. Combine that with some gross miscasts on the part of virtually everyone, (and) especially Robert De Niro) voiceovers that do little more than just confuse the heck out of you, and you have the embodiment of what happens when you let creativity trump coherency in film. The only reason this one isn't higher is because numbers 5-1 are so much worse. I'm glad Russell is taking a break. He's a great director, and he will be great again, but he needs to have a bit more.....self control next time around. His films are all about finding the unusual balance between creativity and fun. He'll find that again. But it's certainly not here.
5) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2
Wellllllllllllllll saw this one coming, didn't you? Gosh remember when Catching Fire dropped and it was one of the best young adult films ever? I mean I had heard that Mockingjay was a mess compared to the other two films, and I knew going in it wasn't going to be great since the film was split into two parts unnecessarily, but I didn't think it was going to be THIS bad. My God. What is this monstrosity? This film stooped so low that it's even in the same ballpark of badness as the latest from the Divergent series. Whatever it's called. Insurgence? Something? I honestly can't remember. Moving on. There were just so many things in here that made no sense, including one of the worst deaths I have ever seen. A death scene so awful that it took me about 10 minutes to even recognize that the series had just killed off one of its most important characters. I mean I understand in the book it was basically terrible too, but you drew this one out to two parts! Why the heck couldn't you take a bit of creative liberty and, you know, make this pivotal moment, like, better? Or something? Do literally ANYTHING other than follow the book religiously at this moment. Why??? Were it not for a great final scene with Katniss that I admittedly found myself on the edge of my seat for, this film would be way higher on the list. It's just a shame we had to sit through basically 4 hours of crap to get to it. What a damn shame this is the ending this once-glorious franchise received. What a damn shame.
4) Jupiter Ascending
Ahhhhhhhhhhh Jupiter Ascending. We come to you at last. You know what's funny? I was actually seriously hyped about this film before it was released. The last original content from the Wachowskis was an incredibly unique and daring film, Cloud Atlas. Atlas is definitely a film worth seeing because, even though I couldn't quite buy into it, I could really respect these two for swinging for the fences by telling 5 (I think?) different stories at the same time. But here? Here they fall flat on their faces. Why is Channing Tatum a dog? Can we start with that? What about the fact that Mila Kunis, who is supposed to be the daring heroine of this film, is just a damsel-in-distress the entire time who needs saving from Dogging Tatum? What about Eddie Redmayne, who could not, for the life of him, take this film seriously and thus tries to screen hog as much as humanely possible? There is a somewhat interesting premise underneath this film of an advanced human civilization cultivating these worlds that they have created, (including earth) but it's swallowed whole by terrible acting and a silly set design. I mean look at that gun! It looks so fake! Look at how she's holding it! This screenshot is from one of the tensest moments of the film and yet, how can you take it seriously when that's what you see? This film was one of the biggest box office bombs of the year, failing to make back even a quarter of its budget here in the US. It was only saved from actually losing WB money because of its slightly better foreign total. But I have a feeling no major movie distributor is going to go near any Wachowski original content for quite some time.
On another note, man was 2015 a bad year for Warner Brothers. Check out their 2015 movie list if you want a good laugh. Maybe they'll bounce back in 2016? Well, they are sure putting a lot of eggs in the DC Comics basket, where most of its target audience already hates them. We'll see how all this plays out, but their stellar 2014 (from a monetary perspective) already feels like soooooooo loooong ago.
3) Crimson Peak
Ok now I'm just getting depressed. Noooooooo Guillermo del Toro how could you do this? I had such high hopes for this film! This was supposed to be the film that brought the horror genre back to the mainstream! YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE! Wellllllllll Crimson Peak just basically yelled I HATE YOU in response to my begging it to be good. The biggest problem with this film is that it's forgettable. Totally forgettable. Not to mention the part where the lead in this film, Mia Wasikowska, is also very forgettable. Really the only thing in this film that is even remotely memorable is Jessica Chastain, but then again she's arguably the most talented actress in Hollywood right now so it's kind of impossible for her not to be memorable. But pairing her with Tom Hiddleston was a huge mistake, mostly because she really towers over him. But, most egregious of all is the fact that this film is. Not. Scary. It isn't! It's just unoriginal pop scares featuring some hilariously unbelievable ghosts and demons. The only thing that saved this film from being the most disappointing film of 2015 was the fact that its set design was spectacular. The house looked incredible, and the final "climatic" scene also looked amazing. Buuuuut everything else was such a major letdown. Can you please take another crack at this, Guillermo del Toro? Can you please bring the horror genre back into the mainstream? Please and thank you.
So this film is going to show up on another list it does not want to be on, but it's up here this high because yes, I was suckered in to thinking this film would be at least somewhat decent. Call me stupid, but I thought this because all four members of the Fantastic Four are outstanding actors! And Dr. Doom was gonna be the villain! Miles Teller won my breakout performer of the year award last year in my First Annual Awesome Actors Awards, (which you can revisit here if you'd like) and Michael B. Jordan is so ridiculously charismatic. Kate Mara is just as talented as her sister Rooney, which is as high a compliment as I can give, and Jamie Bell is extraordinarily underrated. All these actors have been great in the past, and they will be again. But they sure weren't great here. Absolutely freaking not. Everything about this film screams corporate BS, (similar to my number 1 film which you can certainly already guess, just more obvious) and everyone is just going through the motions to grab their paycheck and run. They even screwed up Dr. Doom. How has one of the best comic book villains of all time been screwed up TWICE? I mean he should have a presence that's right there with The Joker, but instead he's always this giant crybaby. But here, it's even worse than that: the final battle scene of this film is so laughably bad, I almost walked out. The only reason I didn't was because there was literally nobody else in the theater (on opening weekend, I might add) and so I had no qualms with having my phone out and doing other things. I even watched a few YouTube videos at one point. That's how bad this film was. And while the number 1 film on this list definitely wasn't as terrible as Fan4stic was, it was certainly much more disappointing.
1) Jurassic World
"Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think that they should." My how the mighty have fallen. I never expected Jurassic World to be able to live up to Jurassic Park.Those expectations would be unreachable for almost any film. But what we got was so much more disappointing. I can just imagine a bunch of Hollywood businessmen sitting down in a room and saying, "You know what'll make a crapton of money? Let's remake Jurassic Park on a bigger scale and call it Jurassic World! Genius!" This film is ignorance at its finest. Creativity and ingenuity sacrificed in the name of greed. I know the latest Star Wars has received some (admittedly) deserved criticism for being just a rehash of Episode IV, but Jurassic World's offense is even more egregious. It's Jurassic Park minus the things that made Jurassic Park so good. Hey, let's make a dinosaur that can turn invisible! That would be cool right? HELL NO. In my opinion, this film is the worst in the franchise hands-down. Which is saying something because man are the second and third films not good. And this film is graphic! It takes PG-13 to insane levels, leading me even to take the drastic measure to actually warn parents from taking their kids to see this. This movie is not a kids movie. And yet it's marketed towards them! What the f**k? And let's not forget the part where SOMEHOW the filmmakers decided not to watch ANY Chris Pratt performances before, during, or after shooting this film because they managed to SOMEHOW make this ridiculously charismatic man bland and forgettable. Combine that with Bryce Dallas Howard's incredibly forgettable performance, (can we take a moment to realize that this actress is basically just a discount Jessica Chastain?) and you have the biggest dino dud of the year. And yet this film made over $650 million. Incredible. This film is without a doubt my biggest disappointment of 2015, as it should be on everyone's lists. Steven Spielberg must be laughing up a storm at what this series has become: dino porn. Well, in this case 100 minutes of mindless exposition, and THEN 10 minutes of dino porn. Whatever man. I'm done.
It really makes me sad when I look at the Top 10 grossing films of 2015 and realize that.....only one of them is going to make my best films of the year list. Maybe two. Two of the Top 10 are on this list, with another one (Avengers: Age of Ultron) just narrowly missing it. We can do better, guys. Please. Anyway, I'm done with this list. Time for a pick-me-upper with some of the best films in 2015 that no one saw! I know, fitting transition, right?
http://nerdist.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Jurassic-World-Review-061015.jpg (Cover photo)
https://static-secure.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/6/18/1434631994148/accidental-love-review-009.jpg (Accidental Love)
http://assets1.ignimgs.com/thumbs/userUploaded/2015/10/8/mjthumb-1444329435929_540h.jpg (Mockingjay, Part 2)
http://minnesotaconnected.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/jupiter-ascending-review.jpg (Jupiter Ascending)
https://www.latfusa.com/media/uploads/2015/10/13/12002988_1039865592699740_3813104304900435569_n.jpg (Crimson Peak)
https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/-2D6ET_qhN_8AkyHUPPstfNJgQ0=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/3777058/owen_clare.0.jpg (Jurassic World)
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