Wylie Writes is a little late to be weighing in on the stinkers of 2019, but can you blame us? Reliving these memories doesn’t come easy.
Strap in and, don’t forget, click on the blue highlighted titles to read the critic’s review.
Dishonourable Mentions: 1st Summoning, Cats, Falling Inn Love, The Image Book, Playing With Fire
#10. Good Boys
Even though it’s skating on the cusp of this recap, Good Boys is still one of the worst mainstream comedies I’ve seen in quite some time. Following in the same schlocky shoes as Sausage Party, this is yet another one-note lark bankrolled by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Only this time, I felt sorry for the actors involved.
Samuel L. Jackson tries to re-capture the essence he naturally exuded in 2000’s Shaft, but he stumbles every step of the way in this contemporary sequel. Jackson’s awful performance is accompanied by uninspired direction, a recycled formula, and cynically unfunny banter.
#8. Survival Box
William Scoular’s filmmaking debut is too ambiguous and too melodramatic. Screenwriter Ashlin Halfnight sabotages this slog with weak writing that Scoular (and a cast of scenery chewers) fail to elevate.
#7. Airplane Mode
An arrogant comedy co-written and starring infamous YouTuber Logan Paul. This uncomfortably bizarre flick was shelved after Paul torched his career with intolerant and inhumane vlogs – it should’ve stayed there.
A lame teen romance with misogynistic mixed messages and tasteless clichés. I still believe that After could be a very dangerous influence to its target demographic. Its upcoming follow-up, After We Collided, looks to be aimed towards a much older audience, but its early NSFW qualities leave a similar pit in my stomach.
#5. The Con Is On
I’m not being hyperbolic by slamming The Con Is On as one of the worst screwball crime comedies ever made. All because the finished film doesn’t seem to have any semblance of concern or care. It’s an aloof cash-in that not only wastes a Pulp Fiction reunion between Uma Thurman and Tim Roth, but squanders the talent of its cast overall.
#4. London Fields
London Fields made a quiet splash on Digital HD in Canada after going belly up in America. Every leading actor in this belaboured film noir gives their worst performance. From Amber Heard’s autopiloted sedductress, to Jim Sturgess’ embarrassing machismo, to Johnny Depp’s pulverizingly terrible cameo as a snarling crook ashamedly named “Chick Purchase”.
#3. What Men Want
Another sequel to a turn-of-the-century flick that nobody was clamouring for. Taraji P. Henson used to be someone who piqued my interest – now, she’s a red flag. Henson’s obnoxious and grating, as usual, but so is the rest of the movie. What Men Want is a sloppy comedy with jokes so painfully loud, they’ll knock you out of your seat. It puts the “punch” in “punchline”.
Formally known as the worst movie of the year, Jeremy Saville’s Loqueesha is a tastelessly cheap comedy. Saville commits cinematic suicide by using un-PC race material that would’ve been dated decades ago. He’s not using this movie to make any sort of statement or to entertain any audience. This is an offensive house of mirrors for Saville’s own pleasure. If anything, Loqueesha builds a case against the toxicity of egotistical comedians who have the inability to edit themselves.
The most controversial movie of the year is also the worst film of 2019. Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon’s God’s Not Dead movies are flawed (minus the final instalment which I haven’t seen), but they’re harmless. I truly believe that the directorial duo thought they were making a balanced film with Unplanned about the debate surrounding pro-life versus pro-choice. But by confidently proposing unresearched arguments and illogical portrayals, Unplanned swings heavily into unappealing and disturbing propaganda.
#10. Tall Girl
#9. Falling Inn Love
#8. Replicas (Addison defended this one)
#7. Good Boys
#6. Spice It Up (I can’t believe Addison liked this one)
#5. London Fields
In alphabetical order:
One of the year’s most singularly irritating movies, the final film in this phase (or whatever they’re called) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is bloated, cloying, and features some of the most inartistic uses of time travel ever committed to film.
Giant Little Ones
An ostensibly queer film that is unwilling, or uninterested, in exploring queer themes in a compelling or even sympathetic way. These characters are deeply unlikeable, and the central conflict at the centre of Keith Behrman’s Giant Little Ones is an affront to the larger queer film canon.
2019’s pitiful attempt to reboot the Hellboy franchise is more disappointing than anything. There’s a creative vision in here somewhere, but the level of filmmaking incompetence exposed here needs to be seen to be believed.
The Lion King
A childhood-killing nightmare, Disney’s cold and clinical attempt to digitally revitalize one of their animated classics will go down in history as one of the greatest crimes against cinema ever committed.
Ari Aster’s second outing irrevocably proves that he does not understand the language of the horror genre. Though even viewed as an arthouse film, this film still comes off as superficial.
#5. The Lion King
If it ain’t broke, don’t copy it shot-for-shot using an inferior animation style. 1994’s The Lion King was the first film I ever saw theatrically, and it sparked a love for cinema I’ll never forget. From the opening cries of “Circle of Life”, I was launched back in my seat, a wide-eyed kid who’d discovered his passion in life. This new version did give me nostalgia goosebumps during that opening musical number, but it went exponentially downhill from there. A very disappointing and senseless remake.
#4. Wine Country
Though the specifics of this Netflix release are fuzzy in my mind, I recall watching this film in a state of absolute confusion. Amy Poehler’s Wine Country is a film with squandered potential, a film that takes a very talented cast and squishes them down into a bland pile of sour grapes. It’s easily the least funniest comedy of the year.
#3. The Beach Bum
Speaking of unfunny comedies, Harmony Korine’s The Beach Bum is an aimless string of dud skits as well, featuring Matthew McConaughey as a free-spirted wanderer. An unfocused film, the most comedic moments are provided by the supporting cast and never the star. The majority of this movie is wasted on a strange, inaccessible protagonist.
#2. Five Feet Apart
Five Feet Apart made it to the bottom of the list very early in the year, and that’s where it’s stayed. This over-the-top romance is irredeemably sappy and excessive, especially during its “climactic” third act. It’s an absolute eye-roller that abandons all logic and reason in favor of being “cute”.
The worst film of 2019 is this incredibly messy modern take on the kooky and spooky Addams family. In this movie, these beloved pop culture icons are bastardized with an unfaithful adaptation and an overwhelming number of subplots – many of which are never properly resolved. The animation offers nothing that’s noteworthy, and the overall appeal of the film lacks charm, wit, and relevance.
#5. The Lighthouse
A painfully disorienting misfire, The Lighthouse is the kind of try-hard, pretentious drivel that gives cinephiles a bad name. Beware the lovers of this movie who will try to make you feel you’re just not smart enough to “get” it. That said, it does have its moments, and Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson are a worthy pairing.
#4. It: Chapter Two
Coming in just shy of three hours, the sequel to the 2017 adaption of Stephen King’s novel is insanely bloated and, surprisingly, a slog. The best thing about the whole movie is the cast – never a good sign. This ensemble is just plain fun to watch in their roles, but about a third of the film is spent splitting the characters up and sending them off alone on mini quests that ultimately lead nowhere. I would also argue the climactic resolution of this film is one of the worst I’ve ever borne witness to in my life.
This remake never stood a chance with me from the start, so it’s probably not even fair that it’s on here. Disney’s animated Aladdin was one of my favourites growing up, so to see it brought to “life” so cheaply and soullessly was a horror. I realize everyone involved was trying their best, but it just wound up feeling like a desperate knock-off of the imaginative, heartfelt original.
I would never belittle the initiative and gumption of an ambitious child actor pitching movie concepts. However, even the most promising talents need to be told “no” sometimes. Hackneyed age-switch comedy Little stars then-14-year-old Marsai Martin, who apparently came up with the idea for the movie when she was 10 years old. And unfortunately, it shows.
#1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
The final film of the third Star Wars trilogy seemed rushed and choppy. Devoid of any intrigue or meaningful stakes, it felt obligatorily stitched together like a direct-to-DVD movie sequel everyone just wanted to get over with so they could move on. While there may have been worse movies I dodged in 2019, Disney’s mishandling of one of – if not the most – celebrated movie franchises in cinematic history makes this the year’s worst foul.
#10. Aladdin/Yesterday (TIE)
Two failed attempts by established filmmakers; one piggybacking off of Disney, the other the Beatles. Perhaps this last place tie has something to say about the state of cinema: if the point of your movie can be summed up by “nostalgia,” maybe you need to find something else to do.
#9. Pet Sematary
This one just wasn’t good! I realize that is exceedingly vague, but that might well be the problem. Pet Sematary was so generically bad, I can’t even think of anything to say about it.
My sole TIFF walkout this year. About an hour in, all the film gave its audience was the realization that Orcun Behram would never give the audience an hour of their lives back to them.
This one pains me. Marjane Satrapi is a brilliant filmmaker, but what even was this? A clump of clichés masquerading as a film.
#6. Survival Box
This movie felt like it went on forever, which could be argued as a strength if it wasn’t also badly performed.
Here we go! This movie should have been called It Occurs in Midsommar or something, because just like It Follows and It Comes at Night, it didn’t do a damn thing. Shouldn’t something happen in a horror movie? Watching grad students walk around and freak out for two-and-a-half hours isn’t a movie – it’s my life! Midsommar was awful. Please send all complaints to Addison Wylie.
#4. Lord of the Toys
This documentary about YouTube celebrities was…hmmm, I guess it was a bit like a video from a YouTube celebrity. Still, this film is noteworthy as the first film I’ve ever seen at a film festival that received no applause.
#3. The Assent
Part generic haunted house film, part Christian propaganda – all nonsense. The house looks cool, but no one watches a movie for a cool looking house.
James Mark’s movie is a twelve-dollar X-Men rip-off whose biggest selling point was a cameo from Elvis Stojko. Also, frankly, there was no internal logic to the narrative.
#1. Lords of Chaos
Have you ever wanted to see a movie that combines a story of violent crime with the aesthetics and storytelling of a teen drama? No? Me neither. Seriously, who was this movie made for?
The Assent hits DVD, Blu-ray, Digital HD, and VOD on Tuesday, March 31
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