Well, here we are. The end of 2019 and we’ve gotten all the positive feelings out of our system, leaving us with a thick bile that needs to be expelled. That’s kind of how I feel about these lists, it’s more of a way for me to vent and purge out all the excess bad feelings I had towards some of the worst films of the year. Just need to get this out so I’m prepared for the year to come… and because I find it’s good to acknowledge just what mistakes were made over the last year, but mostly it’s just venting about things that’ve been bugging me for a while now and if we’re being honest, worst lists tend to just be venting by people who need a good bit of content. The rules I used for my best list carry over to this list too, go look at that list to check up on what those rules are (and to see if any films I liked match up with yours, because I thirst for views and attention) but first, some dishonourable mentions
A Dog’s Journey: The first film in this series, A Dog’s Purpose, was my choice for worst film of 2017. The sequel and spinoff were both bad, but luckily for them there were roughly 10 worse films that came out this year so this series doesn’t have to be on the list. It’s still an obscenely saccharine film that relies on dog death to get some kind of an emotional reaction from an audience, but at least the story structure is actually coherent this time.
Dark Phoenix: Be honest, did you expect this movie to be good? It had more reshoots than I’ve had hot dinners and it’s the sequel to the most inconsistent superhero franchise in recent memory. This movie being good was never going to happen but it’s still surprising how genuinely bad it was. With a weak story, passable acting and some shockingly baffling plot choices, this is the worst version of the Dark Phoenix storyline and I want to remind you all that X3: The Last Stand still exists in our reality so that’s a low bar. I’d say this was a sad end for the uneven X-Men series but they are still allegedly planning on releasing New Mutants sometime this year so there may be a worse ending for the Fox X-Men Saga.
The House That Jack Built: Australia got this one in March of this year so that makes it eligible… but it’s so pretentious that I don’t want to talk about it that much. Lars Von Trier made a movie about the horror of living under Trump and ended up making a film that’s boring as hell, even while showing allegedly brutal acts of violence. Can we all please stop licking Von Trier’s feet and acting like he’s some kind of mad genius? He’s an asshole with an eye for a decent shot who makes baffling films just to piss off an audience, nothing more.
The Rise Of Skywalker: Last year I put Incredibles 2 as a dishonorable mention for my worst list due to it’s seizure-inducing lighting. I’ve now decided to make a regular thing out of it and am introducing the (hopefully irregular) “This Movie Tried To Kill Me” award which I will give out to the movie that had the worst strobe effects of the year. Congratulations to The Rise of Skywalker, for putting horrific strobing effects in EVERY scene that featured Palpatine who is the main villain of the film and appears in almost a full third of the runtime. The strobing is morally worse than Incredibles 2 because at least Incredibles 2 tried to excuse it by making it a tool the villain used in the story. This strobing is just because there’s random lightning everywhere for no reason because, I have to assume, JJ Abrams hates epileptics… also the film was average at best but it’s here because of the whole “Tried to kill me” thing. Here is your award Skywalker, now piss off.
Cats: Nothing about this film works, but it all doesn’t work in such perfect tandem that it becomes transcendent. Only to be watched ironically if you are willing to accept that you’re going to walk out of this one hating cats for several days.
AND NOW THE LIST!
10. 6 Underground
6 Underground is the kind of action film that you get when someone who hates action films tries to make one. Nothing about this film works, it’s an exercise in just how not to make a movie. If you took notes on how this movie was put together and did the exact opposite, you would have something worth watching. When the best compliment I can give your film is “Well, at least they learned how to maintain a consistent aspect ratio this time”, you have problems that you need to address. Desperately trying to have something resembling dramatic importance, all this film does is actively irritate the viewer with its badness. Please, Michael Bay, I beg you to stop.
The Conjuring series of films is usually OK until they decide to do spin-offs, but no spin-off of that franchise could be as bafflingly bad as this one. It’s an hour and a half of bad jump scares that happen while using a Mexican folk tale as a narrative device but never using it for anything interesting. The film is literally about a white woman being terrorised by a Mexican… and in this political climate you decide to do nothing with that? This is just like Winchester, where they had a film about victims of gun violence haunting a gun manufacturer and tried to get us to root for the gun manufacturer. You don’t need to be political, but when you’re playing with these kinds of topics you could at least try. Even ignoring that, it’s still a bad movie with no understanding of how scares work and just assumes a loud noise will do the job. Dear God, please let this franchise just die.
So, right now in Australia, we’re kind of having this minor issue with the entire country basically being on fire. Not only are we having the hottest days on record, but our volunteer firefighters have been working hard for several months just to try and contain the blazes. During that time I saw this film and was insulted on behalf of firefighters. It’s not funny, it’s obnoxious as hell and was written on table napkins. There’s no sense of structure, of comedic timing or understanding how people work. The best moments in this film all rely on John Cena being effortlessly charming and managing to make something work out of the utter crap he’s been given. It’s sad seeing genuinely funny people like Keegan Michael Key and John Leguizamo having to make films like this that really don’t suit their styles of comedy… namely, they know how jokes work and here, they don’t get to make jokes. It’s unfunny, bland and irritating as hell. This film should be shown to arsonists as part of their punishment.
Everyone this year had different opinions on the worst animated movie. Some would have said Wonder Park, an asinine film about a girl who imagines a theme park that gets overrun by evil monkeys and that’s a great choice for a worst list. Others might’ve come up with Arctic Justice, a film about a snow fox who wants to be a post office worker which would’ve also worked on a list of bad movies. Then there was Uglydolls, a film that can best be described with wailing and gnashing of teeth. But no, no, Flying the Nest (AKA Ploey) was the absolute worst animated film of this year and I will not be hearing arguments at this time. A poorly animated slog of a film that tells the story of a bird who chooses not to fly after a mild scare, not an injury but just a mild shock, and his battle with a giant eagle. The giant eagle talks to an alter ego in a mirror for exactly one scene where they attempt to make the film interesting (and fail, spectacularly) and the visuals are horrific. Cats are the size of literal houses one second then they’re barely bigger than the birds the next. Nothing works, first-year animation students could do better than this garbage.
Say what you will about 50 Shades (and I have, regularly) but at least they hired attractive people to try and make their abuse-as-romance story go down a little easier. Based on a fanfiction, After wishes it was as hateable as 50 Shades because then it might have something resembling a personality. With visual nods to Harry Styles that’re so blatant that he should be suing them, a story that’s basically She’s All That but from the woman’s perspective and a romance that’s so lifeless that I felt the urge to check the movie’s pulse on regular occasions, nothing about this film works. People this year complained a lot about Superhero movies bringing down cinema, I would contend that shitty romance films where the leads have no chemistry and the story is pedestrian at best are what’s destroying cinema. The worst part? Even though this film bombed domestically, it did well enough worldwide that they’re getting a sequel. Heaven help me, I did nothing to deserve this kind of shabby treatment.
Picking the worst Disney remake is like trying to pick your favourite child if you hate all of your children. Every single one of these films is shockingly bad in their own special ways and picking just one for this list felt wrong because I genuinely believe they’re all bad, but giving each of them a separate number also felt wrong because then I wouldn’t have room to get into some of the films I felt needed a good dissection so they all share a spot.
Dumbo is probably the one that no one would argue with me on deserving its spot on this list. Taking the sweet 1941 classic (that, admittedly, has some problems thanks to those damn crows and also all the other racist moments) and turning it into an overstuffed mess that pushes the title character off to the sidelines, no one liked this film. Dumbo looks less like a sweet enchanting adorable elephant and more like an affront to god herself, the new characters vary between too boring to remember and too one note to give a shit about and of course, they fucked up every musical number. Every single one. Baby Mine is meant to make you sob like you’ve never sobbed before but here? Nothing, it’s meaningless. Pink Elephants on Parade is the trippiest thing you’ve ever seen and this movie killed it. Hell, even When I See An Elephant Fly is ruined here and that song was sung by racist crows in a scene that was clearly influenced by minstrel shows. How the hell do you fuck that up? Oh right, Tim Burton. Look, I love Tim Burton’s early work but can he stop remaking films? He’s bad at it and needs to stop trying. Just go back to making your fun quirky original movies Tim… or maybe do more adaptations of weird musicals. Sweeney Todd was actually quite good so may I interest you in Urinetown? Maybe bring the glory of Carrie: The Musical to the screen… just stop killing my childhood, Tim.
Speaking of my childhood, there’s Lion King which was the remake of the first film I ever saw. It changed nothing of substance and somehow managed to be an hour longer. The animation was technically impressive but I still had no idea who was who or what their emotions were because no one was permitted to have facial expressions. The new actors were universally awful with the exceptions of Eichner and Rogan who were trying so hard and were let down by… well, everyone. The songs weren’t well performed (it’s Can You Feel the Love TONIGHT, not Can You Feel the Love Sometime in the Mid-afternoon When it’s Still Light Outside!) and the new music is forgettable at best. This film made James Earl Jones suck, how do you do that? Nothing about this film works, and yet it made a billion dollars… I don’t get it.
Aladdin is the one of these I honestly had the hardest time putting on this list because it’s not awful, but there’s nothing special about it that means it needs to exist. The only good part of the film is Naomi Scott who keeps being the best part of bad movies, everything else is bad or bland. Will Smith tries but he’s just not right for the role of Genie… Genie is Robin Williams and no one else should be trying to play that part, certainly not Will Smith who just never gets it quite right when he’s the big blue ball of joy. Also, the CGI was bad and none of the musical numbers was well shot or interesting, including the new song that’s there because Disney wants to say this film is Oscar-nominated so maybe they can use that in the advertising for the spin-off show that’s coming out… you know, the show about the one white person in the cast who no one remembers. Yeah, he get’s a spin off while the actual lead in this movie can’t get a goddamn audition… this film has been a shitshow in many ways.
Not only are these three lumped together because they’re all bad, but they’re also emblematic of the death of the greatness of Disney. Disney used to be reliable for taking classic stories and reimagining them and now they refuse to do anything close to that, they rest on their laurels and rely on the Marvel movies to make the money while squeezing every drop out of nostalgia for their glory days. We have so many more remakes to come and I just hope they’re good because this year’s crop was absolutely horrific.
Telling the story of the last days/weeks/months of a person’s life is tacky, but can sometimes be used to make an important story about where that person ended up (look at Judy as an example of this). Telling a story of the last days of a murder victim, while sensationalising their murder and throwing in the supernatural, makes you an incredible hack who needs to retire from polite society. The Haunting of Sharon Tate isn’t just bad, it’s offensive. It pisses on the memory of a victim of one of the biggest monsters of all time and seems to think that it’s actually doing something good. You get the sense that everyone involved in this film thought they were making something special like they were honouring Sharon Tate’s memory. No, they were using her to create cheap outrage and get people angry. Congrats, you pulled that off. There isn’t a single performance in this film that works, there isn’t a single shot in this film that’s decent and there isn’t a single second of this film that’s worth watching.
Netflix put out a lot of bad films this year, but there were none as instantly detestable as Sextuplets. An attempt to give Marlon Wayans his version of The Nutty Professor, the film ends up showing that he just doesn’t have the range as an actor or as a comedian to pull off multiple characters in a film. His lane is strictly “the stoner from Scary Movie” and he should stay there because every single character in this film is horrifying and obnoxious and unfunny. Maybe a good comic might make this idea work but in these hands, it’s dead in the water. I compared this film to being tortured to death by being stuck between two boats filled with shit until the flies eat your skin and someone said I was overreacting… nope, that was under-reacting. I’ve already found the boats I’ll need so if someone makes me watch Sextuplets again, I can bow out gracefully.
The sequel to the legendary horror title I Spit On Your Grave wanted to be on this list. The people who made it have an unquenchable thirst for hatred, they love it when you hate them. The producers of this film get large erections whenever someone says “I hate your movie” because it’s a sexual kink for them to be on the receiving end of genuine anger at what they have made. They deserve that anger, but it feels like I’m giving them what they want. They have played this movie up to be something special, calling it “The most anticipated sequel of all time” and I have to assume they’re joking to try and get people upset. Congrats on that, you made garbage and you’re proud of the garbage you made. It’s like the dog doing a shit on your shoes, then eating the shit and throwing up again. The dog thinks they did something good, but all they did was make a horrific mess.
Every moment of I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu is actually torturous to sit through. There’s no skill, no artistry, no talent anywhere to be seen by anyone. Not the director, the writers, the actors, the set dresser, the guy who held the lights. Hell, I bet even the catering on this film sucked, nothing is redeeming about it. I could make an argument for the original film actually being good, shockingly vile but still a decent horror experience that works… not this film. This film is an atrocity that should kill careers (he said, as though anyone in this film had a career worth killing). Formal letters of apology should be delivered to everyone who had the bad luck to see this film. This film is so bad I genuinely hope that the people who made it never work again… and it’s only the second-worst film of the year.
Say what you will about I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu… at least that film was trying to be exploitative trash. Loqueesha is under the delusion that it’s a good movie. To quote the director, it’s “a funny movie intended to uplift”… the director is a liar who is bad at making movies and probably the kind of person who claims to not be racist while also crossing the street if he sees a black person walking his way. This movie is basically “What if Mrs. Doubtfire was racist as hell?” and it never ever ever tries to be anything more than that. When the jokes aren’t funny, they’re being painfully mean spirited (“I’m gonna jump off this bridge and kill myself” “OK then, enjoy your jump”). This film was so obviously bad just from the trailer that Twitter basically lit up with people riffing on the minute of footage we had. The IMDB page got bombarded with fake trivia like “The director saw Green Book and was inspired to make a bigger disaster of a movie about race”.
Not only that but the trailer suggested that this film had been picked out for the San Luis Obispo Film Festival, something that the festival itself denied. Then there was the fact that, if you go to Saville’s Instagram page, you’ll find he did a ton of videos where he puts on a filter to look like a black person and does the digital version of blackface. Oh, and he still thinks his film was good and worth existing. His film where he pretends to be a black woman in order to get a job hosting a radio show because he feels entitled to having that job that specifically asked for a woman or person of colour. It’s a bad film made by a bad person who is also a bad comedian and a bad filmmaker. He couldn’t even ADR the word “Smartphone” properly, the moron edited in the word “Smart” over the letter “I” and hoped that would do the job.
Loqueesha is the kind of film that doesn’t deserve to exist and can only be made if everyone involved is either an awful human being or truly desperate for work. It’s a film that makes you wonder why on earth they even allow the medium to continue. This is, without hyperbole, the worst thing I have ever sat through and I’m including teeth extractions and funerals on that list. If there is a kind and loving God, Jeremy Saville will never work again and be flipping burgers by this time next year. Anything to keep him away from making anything remotely resembling a ‘Film’
To make this very clear, I would rather sit through the 2 and a half hours of rape and hatred towards the concept of cinema than sit through even the first act of Loqueesha.
And that was my worst list. What films this year filled you with righteous anger? Let me know what you would’ve added in the comments below, let’s get it all out so we can start anew in 2020.