2015 cranked out a lot of great movies. I was actually able to form a “best of” list before even thinking of those cinematic duds. However, that doesn’t excuse the following films. These frustrating films put my patience to the test, even so far as to push me out of the movie altogether. Don’t worry though, I returned to finish that defeating film. And, yes, it was the worst film I saw all year.
Too many movie goers gave David Hewlett’s sloppy sci-fi a mild shrug. While I would love to join those audiences in forgetting the movie, I just can’t shake away how lazy and recycled the entire endeavour is. Jason Momoa, somehow, feels sympathy for these lo-fi productions. I wish I had his patience.
Kevin James returns to a role that offers stifling material, aloof filmmaker-for-hire Andy Fickman picks up a cheque, and movie goers who somewhat enjoyed Happy Madison’s predecessor are punished.
#8. Final Girl
Amateur filmmaker Tyler Shields begins his career on a series of sour notes. His actors are wildly unrestrained, and the screenplay is a chauvinistic mess. All Shields cares about is the lighting.
Much of Mortdecai feels like a colouring book adaptation of a Guy Ritchie film. Director David Koepp (Premium Rush, Secret Window), screenwriter Eric Aronson (On the Line), and the cast demonstrate their tin ear for comedy.
#6. The Ridiculous 6
The Ridiculous 6 is an unpleasant moviegoing experience. The story involves Adam Sandler’s deadpan character taking the money and running – much like how Happy Madison treats its first collaboration with Netflix.
American Hustle filmmaker David O. Russell hit the nail on the head by distancing himself from the farcical fumble. It seemed as if Accidental Love’s production was cursed with bad luck. This disjointed and tattered “finished” film is proof the curse was carried into an editing bay. This is obnoxious, depressing time travel more than it is a completed film.
#4. My Ex-Ex
Trudging up bad memories of gross-out comedies from the early 2000’s, director Nathaniel Warsh and screenwriter/star André Bharti besmirched the Canadian film scene with this nasty comedy. Some jokes include: a flexible yoga teacher who can pleasure himself, a wannabe rapper who raps exposition, and a surly Luba Goy (The Royal Canadian Air Farce). After this and 2013’s Fondi ’91, Bharti needs a time out.
#3. The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)
I gave smug filmmaker Tom Six the benefit of the doubt when I enjoyed Part II of his sicko saga after hating Part I. Now, I see clear evidence that Six just wants to wallow in bodily excretions and close-up nudity. He’s succeeded in making a repugnant exercise in bad taste, but it’s unwatchable due to terrible, shrill performances from Dieter Laser, Laurence R. Harvey, Bree Olson, and Six himself. It deserves to be the worst movie of the year, but I refuse to give Six the satisfaction.
#2. Christmas Eve
Co-produced by Larry King (yes, that Larry King), Christmas Eve had me eyeing the exit door. This Gary Marshall rip-off had annoying characters, unironic ultra schmaltz, and a convolutedly connected conclusion. Bah, humbug!
Shahbaz Khaymabashi named Shion Sono’s “love letter to cinema” as one of the best films of 2015. I disagree – big time. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? plucked away my patience through shameless, cheap manipulation towards film aficionados. However, Shahbaz is not alone. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? won the Midnight Madness People’s Choice Award at TIFF in 2013. Then again, maybe oxygen runs thin in Toronto’s Ryerson Theatre after the witching hour.
Sometimes, I’ll sit through a bad movie just to see Addison’s reaction – it would explain why I’ve seen Blended twice. However, I don’t wish to sit through any of these movies again. It was worse enough to see them once!
#9. It Follows
#8. The Boy Next Door
#7. Accidental Love (aka. Nailed)
#5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2
#4. Camp Takota
#3. Christmas Eve
#2. The Ridiculous 6
#1. The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)
I’m not really interested in reliving bad movies. Instead, I’d rather shine a spotlight on the films that were the biggest disappointments of 2015:
I seem to be the odd man out on this one because Ant-Man was generally enjoyed by all. I felt that Marvel’s “crowd-pleasing” formula was very obvious this time around, and almost all of the jokes fell flat. To be honest, I enjoyed Fantastic Four more. At least that train wreck was exciting to watch unfold. Ant-Man was just boring.
#5. The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
I consider myself a Guy Ritchie fan; all of his films are injected with a great style, and are filled with memorable scenes and interesting characters. None of those things can be said about The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. For the record: I actually turned it off right before the climax. In my defence: I checked how much of the film was left to watch, and there was no way I was wasting another 30 minutes of my life.
#4. Black Mass
I made the mistake of watching a documentary on Whitey Bulger before seeing Black Mass. It ended up being more informative and fascinating than the film. Black Mass cuts out all the interesting things about the infamous gangster. The film, instead, showcases random acts of violence with little to no depth – all in an attempt to shock the viewers. It felt like a first-time filmmaker trying to make a Scorsese film.
#3. Jupiter Ascending
Jupiter Ascending is probably on everyone’s worst flicks of 2015 – it’s just so stupid. “Racoon hybrid Channing Tatum rollerblades through the sky to save toilet queens” – what? Stop giving the Wachowski’s free reign to do what they want! The Matrix had a budget of 63 million. The following sequels had a budget of 150 million each, and Jupiter Ascending had 176 million. Give these two filmmakers some boundaries, or stop enabling them by giving them too much money to play with. Either option is fine by me at this point.
#2. The Last Witch Hunter
I actually went into this thinking it was a Medieval/Viking era movie starring Vin Diesel; which it was, for the first ten minutes. After that, The Last Witch Hunter switches to a modern day timeframe, and we spend two hours having Vin Diesel grunt exposition at us. It’s just so…bad.
This isn’t the worst movie on this list by any means. In fact, I enjoyed it well enough. But considering how excited I was to see the new Bond film, it’s easily the biggest disappointment of 2015.
The Daniel Craig era of Bond brought the character into a modern, more realistic time. With Daniel Craig, we got a Bond who wasn’t a superhero. He actually looked like he’d been in a fight. Then suddenly, filmmaker Sam Mendes waltzes towards the franchise and slowly strips away everything we liked about the new Bond.
I did enjoy Skyfall a lot though. It brought back some of the older stuff, and had some patient moments – just enough to make it a great balance. Spectre goes overboard and is easily one of the most boring, overlong and nonsensical Bond films I’ve seen. I mean, it’s no “invisible cars” kind of nonsense, but some of the decisions Spectre’s Bond makes are baffling. Casino Royale was so good! Why can’t we reach that height again?
#5. Jurassic World
Sure, the dinosaurs were really cool and the film was decently shot, but the script was so bad that this movie would be appreciated more with the volume set to mute.
Burnt is too much of a “20-something male bohemian art-life” fantasy, and not enough serious consideration for believable dialogue and structure.
An overly affected attempt at gross-out body horror, Bite unfortunately falls flat with overacting and a disregard for subtly.
#2. Fantastic Four
It’s not the early 2000’s anymore, and people aren’t just stoked to see their favourite superheroes on the big screen. Having character depth, a well thought out plot, and decent dialogue is actually necessary these days. Fantastic Four gets a failing grade in all three categories.
Survivor is a propaganda film that seems about 14 years too late. Not only is the anti-terrorism sentiment heavy-handed and ludicrously opaque, the film itself has no qualities that indicate the filmmakers have a grasp on the medium as a storytelling device.
Vin Diesel plays a medieval witch-hunter cursed with immortality who must save modern New York City from a plague of witches. This action/fantasy suffered from wooden acting, poorly paced action sequences, and a confusing plot that relied heavily on awkwardly integrated exposition. Unfortunately, the film has “franchise attempt” written all over it.
Some audiences and critics clearly dug Larry Kent’s unsettling horror flick about a nurse who refuses to leave town after the abortion clinic she works for is shut down. It won Best Feature at 2015’s Blood in the Snow festival. Still, the film is plagued by violence toward its female characters that seems outdated, purposeless, and misogynistic in a story that takes inspiration from real-world social and political debates about women’s bodies.
What makes this film so painful is that the premise itself is rich with potential. Unfortunately, Nadav Lapid’s drama about a kindergarten teacher who discovers a prodigal talent for poetry in one of her young students doesn’t seem particularly self-aware regarding its themes. Lapid has written a script about the necessity for preserving art and beauty that is, ironically, completely void of emotional impact.
#2. Jupiter Ascending
The latest film from the Wachowski siblings is pretty to look at, but ultimately is weighed down by under-developed characters and a plot-line that is in need of some serious streamlining. Jupiter Ascending is a space-opera Cinderella-story that doesn’t give the audience much to grab on to.
#1. Mad Women
Jeff Lipsky’s monologue-saturated Mad Women follows Nevada, the youngest daughter of an over-achieving but dysfunctional family. I’m still not sure if Lipsky was aiming for drama, comedy, or satire; the plot is incoherent and the acting uninspired. The film’s greatest achievement is making its central conflict – incest between a mother and daughter – somehow boring.
#10. Girls Lost
A fascinating concept (three girls become boys through a magical plant) is ruined by its misunderstanding of the difference between gender and sex.
Jay Roach (of Austin Powers fame) has had a lot of success at HBO making political dramas about the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election recount and the stunning political rise and fall of former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, but he completely fails to find a compelling reason to tell the story of Dalton Trumbo. While Bryan Cranston is great, the film is drowned out by its distractingly miscast stars and dialogue (ironically, for a film about a screenwriter).
#8. The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death
I wasn’t a fan of 2012’s Woman in Black, and I’m even less of a fan of this one.
#7. Careful What You Wish For
Starring Nick Jonas, this one can best be described as a weaker, less-inspired version of Side Effects. Watchable only for Jonas’ physique, but even that gets worn out by the tediousness of this film.
#6. The Vatican Tapes
Another exorcist film that fails to offer anything new to the genre.
Twilight alumnus Taylor Lautner is still having trouble breaking in to the action scene, if Tracers is any indication. While Lautner performs his stunts with flawless execution, the film fails to make parkour interesting.
David Gelb’s previous film (Jiro Dreams of Sushi) was a cute documentary about a restauranteur, and showed filmmaking potential from Gelb. The Lazarus Effect is a weak genre exercise that borrows shamelessly from better films. What happened?
A biopic of the so-called founding father of cinema, Eadweard’s arrogant faith in stealing from other, better films (the main performance is nothing more than an impression of Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood) makes this film one of the worst of 2015.
#2. The Danish Girl
Hooper’s last film, Les Miserables, was at least a fun disaster to watch. The Danish Girl is an utter bore: a by-the-numbers Oscar-bait film that’s exploitative and at-times almost unwatchable. Fortunately, Hooper’s attempt to parlay this sappy biopic into a Best Picture frontrunner will never materialize: the film was justifiably overlooked for the award.
#1. Fantastic Four
More like Fantastic Bore. This unimaginative superhero adaptation was plagued in its production, and it shows.
#10. People Places Things
I saw this film about a month ago, and I remember very little about it – that pretty much sums up People Places Things. A graphic novelist has gone through a divorce, falls in love, and continues to plunder the depths of cliché. This film was made to be played in the background.
Beginning as an anti-euthanasia piece and ending as some kind of satanic “thing”, there is zero consistency within Jesse Thomas Cook’s film. Add bad CGI, shallow performances, and various moments of excess, and you end up with…something. It’s really difficult to tell what.
#8. It Follows
It Follows starts with a great premise, but decides to forgo it all for half-baked giallo pastiche and nonsense arthouse meandering. Early on, one of the scariest moments I have ever seen on film got my hopes up, but the rest of the film confirmed that those expectations were unfounded.
#7. Collective Invention
There is a town in Japan which houses a man with a fish head and…that’s it. This film is the perfect example of a one-note, no-substance work.
#6. The Hateful Eight
Tarantino’s latest, most Tarantino-y (read: self-indulgent) film has two big problems: Jennifer Jason Leigh, despite being at the centre of the single good scene in the film, spends the entirety of the runtime getting punched, beaten, brutalized and threatened with death. Secondly, the film itself commits the greatest sin of all: it is more boring than watching grass grow.
#5. Knock Knock
“Hey, guys, aren’t women terrible?” That’s basically the entirety of this latest Eli Roth film, which sees two women torture Keanu Reeves, threaten to falsely accuse him of rape, and attempt to set back the feminist movement by a few decades.
The plot of this film is certainly redundant, but the main problem is that Bruce McDonald’s film is somehow incomplete. Its special effects are indistinguishable from a student film…or a Jesse Thomas Cook project. Whether it’s the terrible acting or the oversaturated colours sprayed across certain sequences, this film looks like an incomplete copy of a film which was never finalized.
The problem with this documentary isn’t necessarily with the filmmaking, but rather the content. This film documents a Japanese wrestling federation whose wrestlers are people with disabilities. The problem lies in the fact that the violence is real, the results are not predetermined, and the federation is dominated by an able-bodied man. So, the film is basically ninety minutes of a disabled man getting beaten to a pulp. Doglegs is the sort of film one would show to a child to show them that life really isn’t fair.
#2. Every Thing Will Be Fine
No! No, it won’t! Nothing will be fine, especially if you let Rachel McAdams keep talking in that horrid accent or allowing such an overpowering and needlessly melodramatic score. And, of course, the less said about James Franco the better; any time James Franco is not on the screen, the other characters practically scream “where’s James Franco?”
#1. The Demolisher
This movie is the cinematic equivalent of a post-rock album which contains small spans of ultraviolent, soulless screeches and bookended with long spans of white noise. The Demolisher tells the story of a man who becomes a vigilante after his wife is assaulted by a gang, but somehow filmmaker Gabriel Carrer avoids both the fun exploitation path and the thoughtful character study path. Instead, the filmmaker follows an alternative and indecisive route, which results in an absolutely exemplary instance of navel-gazing cinema.
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