As we close in on this Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony, it’s about time for Wylie Writes to weigh in with their year-end rundowns. First, the worst. Click on the blue highlighted titles to read the critic’s review.
#10. Super Troopers 2
Broken Lizard has somehow perfected the “re-watchable comedy” formula, so only time will tell if the sequel to their 2002 cult hit will hold up the same. In the meantime, Super Troopers 2 is a tired comedy that fizzles out when the good ole’ boys try and mimic the attitudes and humour that made them famous.
#9. Poop Talk
Pointless and painstakingly awkward, this empty “dookie doc” (executive produced by comedians Jason and Randy Sklar) featured funny people telling tedious scatological stories – that’s it. Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet is the only one who makes it out alive, but only because his body language reflects the viewer’s discomfort.
#8. The 15:17 To Paris
Clint Eastwood’s jarring reenactment of a terrorist attack stopped by American tourists is padded-out by redundant backstory, stilted performances, and absurd travelogue footage. The actual portrayal of the climactic attack is when the film is in its element, but The 15:17 to Paris has trouble sticking its landing.
Katherine Schlemmer’s directorial debut is an overlong, kooky indie with an unbearably dry and motionless sense of humour. If this deadpan farce had been repackaged as a web series (ala Filth City), maybe then it would’ve found its groove.
An ensemble of young talent find themselves lost in a haze in Netflix’s Dude, a messy comedy written and directed by Ocean’s 8 screenwriter Olivia Milch. Its themes of friendship and female empowerment get weighed down by random stoner comedy and needless sub-plots.
#5. The Open House
Netflix’s The Open House had the potential to be creepy, but unimaginative scares and a lame threat made this invasion thriller a dud. The film only becomes (literally) chilly when the villain leaves his signature – changing the water temperature when someone is having a shower!
#4. Irreplaceable You
Completing the Netflix hat-trick is this arrogant, tone deaf tear-jerker about a couple living their life to the fullest after a Cancer diagnosis. The subject matter was manipulative, the romance was sappy, and the range of its cast was unusually shallow.
Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s bizarre drama about a family’s survival through Los Angeles’ early-90s riots was unforgivably offensive and incoherent. The film’s highlight is either the surreal sex dream involving a floating Daniel Craig, or the pitiful product placement for Burger King as an employee tries to convince kids from burning it down during the riots.
#2. Death of a Nation
The quiet Canadian home release of Dinesh D’Souza’s latest pander-fest didn’t go unnoticed. In his worst film to date, the whiny documentarian continues to indulge in his horrible habits; including belaboured historic reenactments with tacky performances (Pavel Kříž’s Hitler and Don Taylor’s Abraham Lincoln are especially awful) and arguments that could be boiled down to “I know you are, but am I?”.
#1. The Road Movie
An experimental bust that projects footage of road rage and car crashes on the screen for our entertainment. It’s borderline snuff with a black heart that would give late-night huckster Joe Francis nightmares. It’s a dark time when something like “this” is considered to be a “movie”.
Dishonourable Mentions: Bigger, Dude, Irreplaceable You
#5. The 15:17 to Paris
#4. Midnight Sun
#1. Super Troopers 2
As an undeniable guilty pleasure, I loved Skyscraper – but for all the wrong reasons. Is it a Die Hard remake? An over-the-top cash grab? Either way, Skyscraper is terrible in all the best ways, with just enough self-awareness to almost make it good again.
#4. Twisted Pair
Despite being on the ‘worst-of’ list, Twisted Pair is one of my favorite films of 2018. As the fifth movie in Neil Breen’s notoriously zany repertoire, Twisted Pair has all the familiar tropes Breen fans will love, with ten times more explosions. This time around, Neil plays two characters – twin brothers pitted against each other in the ‘corrupt version’ of the virtual reality world. Highly recommended for any b-movie enthusiast.
#3. I Feel Pretty
I Feel Pretty is a laugh-less film that doesn’t even understand its own premise. The joke that Amy Schumer only THINKS she’s been Shallow Hal-ed is completely undermined when other characters in the film also act as if her body has been altered for real. The jokes fall flat, but what’s most confusing (and concerning) is that the film doesn’t follow its own rules.
I’ve said a lot about this film in my original review, but the core problem with this documentary is its failure to inspire any passion from its audience. With a title like The Coolest Guy Movie Ever, this movie had some epic aspirations that it obviously fails to live up to.
Going into this movie blind after reading rave reviews, I was shocked by Searching – and not in the way the filmmakers intended. After the 10 minute opening lifted directly from Pixar’s Up, I kept waiting for the film to cut away from the computer screen gimmick. When I realized what I was in for, a terrible sinking feeling set in the pit of my stomach. Between the wooden acting, the predictability, the stale narrative and, of course, the unbelievably contrived ways the film keeps every frame on mobile phones and webcam screens, Searching was the first and only time I’ve ever felt like walking out of a movie theatre.
#10. A Star is Born
This woman’s whole life is dependent on a man narrative was awful when it was first turned into a movie. The fact that the 2018 version decided to keep it as-is is somehow even worse. Hey, I wanted to look at you again. Please send all of your angry messages to Addison Wylie!
The ultimate red flag for Toronto After Dark world premieres. Yikes!
Walking into this film, I thought to myself, “what would be the most offensive way for this film to go?” Well, it ended in the second most offensive way I could think of; and the epileptic cinematography didn’t fix it.
This navel-gazing sci-fi film made me want to be anywhere but in my seat.
#6. L. Cohen
Forty-five minutes of nothing!
#5. The Wedding Guest
Michael Winterbottom is unquestionably a brilliant filmmaker, but unfortunately, he can only create masterpieces or garbage. The Wedding Guest belongs in the latter category.
#4. The Cleaners
People who remove objectionable content from social media can be an interesting topic, but turning them into action movie heroes is not the way to do it.
Five minutes of nothing!
This film tries to be offensive, but ultimately its biggest crime is the laziness of its provocation; using straw men and childish humour in an ill-fated attempt at legitimacy.
#1. Exit Music (aka. How Do You Feel About Dying?)
When a documentary ends with a climactic death and you, as the outsider, feel unemotional and detached, something’s gone terribly wrong. Exit Music is glaring proof of bad filmmaking.
Nick van Dinther
#5. Deep Blue Sea 2
It feels harsh putting a direct-to-video film on my list, but if you’re gonna call yourself a sequel to a cult classic, then you’re gonna be viewed as such. Deep Blue Sea 2 is too dumb to be scary and takes itself way too seriously for laughs; all while adding nothing to the first film. If you’re a fan of the original, I suggest checking out The Meg for a similar vibe instead.
#4. The Predator
As one of my favourite directors working today, this is easily Shane Black’s worst film to date. Whether it’s the plot and performances or the technical execution, this is a mess. Even Black’s dialogue (usually spot on) seems “off” here.
#3. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
What was billed as a much darker retelling of the Jungle Book story is just a worse version of Jon Faverau’s film without any of the music. Go watch Faverau’s version instead.
#2. Ocean’s 8
The premise of women taking over the roles of the Ocean’s crew wasn’t the problem – the execution was. This film would have been better served as a standalone heist film than trying to shoehorn it into an existing franchise. Or, at the very least, it should have made much better use of its source material.
#1. The Happytime Murders
I’m a big fan of Melissa McCarthy’s work, but The Happytime Murders was almost unwatchable. There’s no chemistry, no one is particularly funny, and the “shock factor” doesn’t work.
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