Well. There's no way around this. Sooner or later I'm gonna have to confront what I think are the worst films of 2016, so we might as well get it over with, right? I didn't see some of the more obvious terrible films, like Dirty Grandpa or Zoolander No. 2 or Gods of Egypt, but rather than including them on this list anyway I went with only films I actually wrote reviews on, because for once I actually wrote about enough terrible movies to have a list full of them. Everything on this list scored a 3 or lower on my blog, and I will link the full reviews to the pictures if you wanna check them out. I'm sure there will be just as much yelling here as there is in those reviews. But that's enough procrastinating on my part. Let's get this over with! These are my worst films of 2016!
(Dis)Honorable Mention: Jason Bourne
Kicking off this list is the latest Jason Bourne film. While there are some series, like Mission Impossible and The Fast And Furious, that are getting better with age.....Jason Bourne is not one of them. This one really starts the list because it is one of the best summaries of everything wrong with cheap action films. Too many corners are cut in this movie too many times to get from point A to point B. Unfortunately, the wonderful Alicia Vikander followed up her 2015, during which she won my coveted "Best Actress of the Year" award, with this. Here she's just an extremely generic FBI agent, in an extremely standard FBI agency. Which is pretty much this entire film. As standard as it gets. I hate when an action movie goes with the *bangs on keyboard to find someone* approach, and Jason Bourne does that a LOT. You might as well just have some crappy title card come up and say "We found them, then this happened." because it would be just as engaging as this BS. C'mon guys! I know what this series once was if you're gonna keep making more of these at least TRY and be like the first few films!
(Dis)Honorable Mention: The Shallows
Braaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. The Shallows is a gnarly one brah. God bless Blake Lively's soul. I feel so bad for her. This is basically her film, but it's not her fault that it's bad. She goes into this film trying to turn it into a really good slasher film with a shark. A "Jaws of the 21st century," so to say. But you just know that as time goes on she realizes that all this is going to be is another Sharknado ripoff. Which is fine! This film isn't any higher on the list because it does ultimately embrace its ridiculousness and makes fun of itself, but STILL. Blake Lively deserves so much better! At least this film is in the "so bad it's good" category, but that still doesn't excuse the fact that it is "so bad it's good." But hey. Least it gave us the shark-Blake Lively love story we were all asking for.
10) BIlly Lynn's Long Halftime WAlk
So this film is the first on this list that I can say actually tried to be good. They just failed miserably. And there is a difference between trying and saying "screw it let's just finish this thing." which you will find out more about as this list progresses. But acclaimed director Ang Lee took a stab at this adopting this novel, and unfortunately he just fell flat on his face. The biggest problem with this film is the dialogue and the delivery of said dialogue. Now, there have been fun films in the past that have had bad dialogue-something like 2013's 2 Guns is a good example of this-but when you add a bad delivery to the dialogue you have a stinker. Then when you sprinkle on the fact that this film is using its bad dialogue to throw eight million ideas against the wall just to see what sticks.....and well? You have one of the worst films of 2016.
For the record I still have NO IDEA what the objective of this film is. Just saying.
9) Live By Night
Ah hello again, Live By Night! I really wanted to forget about this film. But obviously I cannot. So I kind of focused on it when I was talking about this film in my Biggest Disappointments of 2016 list, but the big problem with this film is that it, like Billy Lynn, tries to do too many things at once. There's no doubt that there is a visible amount of effort that went into this film. Visually....there's a lot going on. I can respect that. Buuuuuuuuut if your content is lackluster, it doesn't matter. And because of the sheer amount of ideas going on here, this film suffers greatly. To the point that it's frustrating, because there are a few ideas that stick! If they had built the film around these good ideas we'd have a very different story. But lo and behold they did not, and as a result you have a very disappointing and straight-up bad film. Also, I think Ben Affleck kind of realized that this wasn't a good film, because you could tell he basically stopped caring about it from an acting perspective. He's really not great in this film, and that's disappointing because he had really turned the corner in recent years. But now he may be going in the opposite direction again. Please no, Ben!
8) The Girl on the Train
Oh right! This movie happened. Real question time: why didn't this film call itself Gone Girl 1.5? It really should have because if someone asked me to try and name some of the finer points of these films.....well one I wouldn't be able to do it because neither are particularly good and I can't really remember anything that happens in either of them, but two IF I did remember something I'd probably mix them up. Because they are basically the exact same movie. And after the novelty of this idea wears off, you get to see first hand just how crappy it really is. The wonderful Emily Blunt is the only thing that saves this film from being any higher on the list, as she is clearly giving her absolute all here, but you can only do so much with a decent performance. This film is just.....lazy! It's corporate-directed filmmaking at its worst, and it really shows from start to finish. Not to mention it is EXTREMELY forgettable! Since, you know, I already can't remember most of it. Please do better, Emily Blunt. I know you can!
7) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Ahhhhhhh Pride and Prejudice and motherf***in' Zombies. We meet again. Well, let's talk about this film some more! I may have just featured it on my Biggest Disappointments of 2016, but it really does bear saying again: how did this film fall flat on its face? Well, my issues with this movie start with the cinematography. Who looked at the end-of-day screeners and said "Alright, looks good! We're done here." Because this film has some of the WORST cinematography I have ever seen. Why is it so hard to just give us wideshots during action sequences???? Why are we, the viewer, expected to just "believe" that someone struck a zombie? Or, why mention that there's this big debate in this zombie-riddled Victorian England about what martial arts school you trained in just to not really show us ANY martial arts being employed to beat down zombies? WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA? I know I know. They don't want to show us wideshots because if they did they would actually have to pay people to employ martial arts in this film. Oh! And there's a lot of last-second saves. Because of course there are. Not to mention the cashing in from Lena Headey and Charles Dance. AND THERE'S NOT ENOUGH ZOMBIES. WHY YOU LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF ZOMBIES THERE ARE IN PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES?
Ok, self. Deep breath. We're only on number 7, self. Wait. WE'RE ONLY ON NUMBER 7???? Welllllllllllll. Looks like I need a distraction. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty.
6) Batman: The Killing Joke
God this movie! This movie makes the list primarily because of how disappointing it was. I thought about putting it on my Biggest Disappointments of 2016 list, but I decided against it because I didn't want too many comic book films on that list. But this one might as well be incorporated into the final collapse of the DC cinematic universe, because it was supposed to bring back the animated films for DC. I may not have been super "into" this world, but for years DC OWNED the animated feature film, and so a LOT of people lost their minds when this film was announced with Kevin Conroy and the great Mark Hamill coming back to reprise their iconic roles as Batman and The Joker. And we were finally supposed to get the back story we deserved for The Joker! People were so excited over that! But when this back story was revealed, was it even remotely deserving of a villain so legendary as The Joker? NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. THIS BACK STORY SUCKED. It's lazy, uninteresting, and unimaginative. I mean it's just downright terrible! Now, I won't deny that the voice acting here is good. Man oh man is it great to hear Hamill playing The Joker once more. But good voice acting is not enough to save a film, especially in the animated sector. You have to have a good story, and the story here......good is about the last word I would use to describe it. Sadly, this is just another missed opportunity for DC.
5) War Dogs
Ahhhhhhh let's talk about the bro story that is War Dogs. Hey, remember when this movie was supposed to be good? I don't. Screw this movie. It put me in a real bad place with cinema in 2016. Coming off a lackluster summer blockbuster season, I was looking at just about anything to grasp on to as a decent film. War Dogs lured me in with Miles Teller and Jonah Hill being awesome and a pretty interesting premise about a field I knew very little about in Dick Cheney's America, so I was hoping for some early Oscar magic. But did I get it? NO. COURSE NOT. Where to begin with this one.....how about with its script? Or lack there of? This film has the unbreakable urge to be as on the nose as humanely freaking possible. Literally everything is explained to the viewer, which is both frustrating and detrimental to the pacing of the film. Or how about its crappy music selections? Because those were just as on the nose as everything else. How about Jonah Hill and Miles Teller being as bro-y as humanely possible? How about the fact that this film has NO IDEA what it is and cannot even convey a basic message in any way, shape, or form? GAH. This one should've been easy, guys! The premise is so freaking interesting! But no. We could NEVER risk trying to be original with something like this! We have to make sure the viewer knows EXACTLY what's going on at all times and we have to throw easy-to-identify pop songs underneath the whole thing. Because God forbid we try and let the viewer figure out what's happening or how to feel at any given moment! Geez!
Oh right! Then there's Morgan! I'm on a roll guys I'm just hitting all of these in stride. Let's talk about this sh**ty sci-fi movie, shall we? THIS MOVIE IS TERRIBLE. Unfortunately it's just another sci-fi movie that tries to tackle the idea of AI, but just fails miserably in the process. Look. If you're gonna have a movie about AI, but the viewer can't believe that the AI YOU created would actually do any of the things you have it do.....you done goof'd, son. That's the problem with the AI here, Morgan. (Aptly named, right?) She's just not believable. One second she's totally fine, then the next she's killing literally everyone around her. All because of one crappy psych eval. As if the AI wouldn't have realized that the person delivering the psych evaluation was trying to manipulate her. I mean....it isn't like artificial intelligence would be smart or anything, right? Ha. Hahaha. Then there's freaking Zoe Barnes-I mean Kate Mara. Her character is, well, hilariously terrible. Her motivations don't make no freaking sense, man, and yet she is really the centerpiece of this film. Not a good thing for a film to have a protagonist who's motivations are impossible to understand until the last few moments of the film. GAH. What I wanna know, is how. How does a film with a cast of this caliber produce a film that is this terrible. I don't know, man. There wasn't even an attempt to good too! Everyone besides Paul Giamatti is just in this one for the paycheck, and Giamatti isn't in this film long enough for his screen-hogging to even be worthwhile. It bombed at the box office, too. It needed its overseas revenue to make back its production budget, and even with that it just barely reached its budget. So how does someone look at this script and say, "Ya, I think this'll work." That's what I wanna know. Go on, tell me. I'll wait.
3) Assassins Creed
Ahhhhhhhhh and then there's Assassin's Creed. I'm not gonna lie-I've been looking forward to this one. Because I wanna rip this film a new one. The marketing behind this film was pretty sinister. We were led to believe that Michael Fassbender was really passionate about this project and took on a major role in its production. That made many people, myself included, somewhat hopeful that maybe, just MAYBE, this film would finally break the mold of crappy video game films. And the first trailer for the film made me think that maybe they were gonna do this series right-the initial trailer was absolutely bonkers, with some really awesome moments from the film in it too. Unfortunately, they were the ONLY AWESOME MOMENTS. NO. WHY DO YOU SHOWCASE THAT BIG BATTLE SEQUENCE JUST TO HAVE US FLY OVER IT AND GO TO SOMETHING ELSE THAT'S FAR LESS INTERESTING. The only good parts about this film were the choreographed battle sequences, and unfortunately the best moments of those were, you guessed it, in the trailer. Not only that, but ONCE AGAIN we had a crew, including Fassbender, making this film that didn't invest any more than 15 or 20 hours into playing the actual games to understand what works with them and what doesn't. Because we spend WAAAAAY too much time in the modern world versus the Spanish Inquisition. Which is a complaint we used to have in all the early Assassin's Creed games. And then what about the ridiculous cavalcade of stars in this film? I mean you have Marion Cotillard, the legendary Jeremy Irons, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Kenneth Williams, and even Charlotte Rampling in this film alongside Fassbender. And outside of Cotillard, literally NONE of them were necessary. Why? We don't need recognizable actors in an Assassin's Creed movie, we need more badass and choreographed fight scenes! And what was with that haze that shrouded over most of the film? In other words, why did this film feel the need to filter half of itself? I don't freaking know. I saw this film on opening night (and right after seeing La La Land, by the way) and I was in a room of die-hard Assassin's Creed fans. And none of them enjoyed this. If you can't even make a film that appeals to the fans......what did I say before? Oh right. You done goof'd, son.
So this movie jettisoned to the top (or bottom) of this list because of two reasons. One is because it's terrible, but the second (and primary reason it's #2 on this list) is because of its marketing campaign. For 3+ months I saw the trailer for this stupid film before every single movie I saw, and when I finally got to the film I quickly realized it "forgot" to mention one MAJOR detail: HE WAKES HER UP. This film could not be more eager to move past this completely heinous act because "oh, they have to kiss and make up and everything will be great later!" obviously. And the film doesn't even TRY and hide his motivations. He's just alone on the spaceship, walks by her pod, and is like "Wow! She's hot! I should wake her up!" and then does it. Like, why was this film so eager to fly by this immoral and unethical decision? The entire film could have, and SHOULD have, been based around JUST this decision. Outside of one visually appealing sequence, and Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence being naturally charming and charismatic, this film has nothing going for it. The marketing team was so desperate to make this film look interesting that they marketed that Andy Garcia is in this film....when his only part to play in this film is to "open a door, look surprised." So yes, while this may not ACTUALLY be the second-worst film of 2016, I made it so because of the corporate cynicism behind this film. The executives of Sony must have sat down in a room after watching this film, and said, "Ok. We messed this up. How do we get butts in seats?" And created a marketing campaign around that. Honestly, this film wreaks of corporate greed and cynicism, as the story behind the creation of this film is quite fascinating and depressing. The making of this film is highlighted by the fact that it was actually a Keanu Reeves passion project for almost a decade, and when a major distributor finally bought the script, (Sony) they snubbed Reaves for the lead role in favor of Chris Pratt. From the sounds of it they also heavily altered the script as well, so we are simply left wondering what could have been with this film. Maybe the version from Keanu Reeves actually talked about the moral and ethical implications of waking someone else up early? Who knows. But there's no doubt that what we got here instead was absolutely terrible, and while it may not deserve the title of "Second Worst Film of 2016," the brutal display of corporate-mandated film making is at its most egregious here, as well as its deceptive marketing campaign, and thus shot this one to the bottom of the list.
Only one more! I can do this I can do this I can do this......
1) Independence Day: Resurgence
NOOOOOOOO I CAN'T DO IT. NO. NO NO NO NO NO. NOT INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE. Ok, self. Deep breath............
Independence Day: Resurgence is the quintessential example of corporate-mandated film making. At its absolute worst. It is what happens when a group of talented people are forced to do something that they do not want to do, and create something that doesn't have an ounce of passion behind it. I never had any hope for this film. You could see its corporate mandates from a million miles away. It's sad, really. Because I know this crew, led by the great disaster film director Roland Emmerich, has the capability to make something like this fun and entertaining. Buuuuuut what the heck happened here? How are the effects in this film SO bad? Literally every corner possible was cut here, per corporate I'm sure, and as a result the effects, which are supposed to be the calling card in a big summer blockbuster, are hilariously terrible. The story is just a rehash, almost to a scene, of the first film, except the destruction is much bigger. Because of course, sequels have to be bigger, better, and more badass. Right? Regardless of how that affects the final product. On top of that, literally everyone here is terrible. I mean sure people like Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsch don't care because they're good to go, but what about someone like Maika Monroe? Or Joey King? Or Jessie T. Usher? They have something to lose because of how terrible this film is. I really fear this may tank Monroe's career right after it was taking off with her performance in It Follows from 2015. Because being associated with this film is toxic. It is SO terrible, and people will not forget if you took a paycheck to be in this pile of dog crap. Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain: ID4 2 is terrible, and it is terrible because of crappy editing, horrendous special effects, and a rehash of the same story as its predecessor. It embodies the absolute worst of Hollywood, and thus deserves a spot at the bottom of this list. Shame on you, 20th Century Fox, for mandating the creation of this film. Shame. On. You.
Wow. I made it! Phew! I was cutting it close for a while there, but am ultimately emerging (relatively) unscathed. Nothing but smooth sailing from here on out! Stay tuned for my Third Annual Awesome Actors Awards tomorrow and my Best Films of 2016 list to finish it all out the day after that! Thanks for reading everyone! You guys are awesome!
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