5 of 2013 - My 5 Worst Movies of the Year

I'd say I'm pretty good at picking movies.  To go along with the (sometimes incorrect) Rotten Tomatoes score, I usually know who's behind a movie (writers, director, producers), and generally, I know what to expect.  However, sometimes I get it wrong.  Here are the movies that I wasted money on this year...and a warning so that you don't have to do the same.  Consider this the grand finale of The Worst Movie You've Never Seen for the year.

5.  Elysium

Directed by Neill Blomkamp, Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster & Sharlto Copley

"Why is my script so fucking bad?"

"Why is my script so fucking bad?"

I guess I was more disappointed in Elysium than anything else.  I mean, the director of the fantastic District 9 given the reigns to make another epic tale starring Matt Damon?  What could go wrong?  Apparently, a lot.

Jodie Foster sleepwalks her way through a role (so much so that she often forgets what kind of accent she had been using).  The script is non-sensical and the ending is just mind numbing because of how terrible it is.  The action is shot so poorly that even during the final battle, the shaky-cam is so bad that you can't tell who is winning.  The only thing redeeming here is Sharlto Copley as Kruger.

My final reaction:

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4.  Gangster Squad

Directed by Ruben Fleischer, Starring Sean Penn, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone & Josh Brolin

As derpy as movies get.

As derpy as movies get.

With a cast like this, your movie should be an instant classic.  Add in the director of the very fun Zombieland, and it sounds like a real winner.  However, this one just falls flat.

From Sean Penn's scenery chewing to dialogue straight out of a seventh grader's "I just saw Dick Tracy, so I know all about gangsters" screenplay, this movie embodies the word 'mediocre'...until it hits it's final scene, a "let's drop our guns and box" scene of insane ridiculousness.

My final reaction:

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3.  Runner, Runner

Directed by Brad Furman, Starring Ben Affleck & Justin Timberlake

Just kiss and make up, already.

Just kiss and make up, already.

I have to be honest...I didn't expect much out of this movie.  I went because my wife is a huge fan of Justin Timberlake, and sometimes when you're in a marriage, you have to make sacrifices and compromises (which I made up for when I had her watch Prisoners with me).  I did, however, expect to be entertained in the same way that Chill Factor entertained me at one point.  That forgettable, but smirk inducing throwaway picture done for a check.

However, Runner Runner committed the ultimate movie sin...boredom.  It was marketed as a 'smart, sexy thriller'.  It wasn't thrilling.  It was the opposite of sexy.  It was dumb...to the point where one FBI agent says, "That's what you say to someone who is stupid.  Do you think I'm stupid?"  Apparently, the writers of the script think we're all stupid.

I went in not knowing anything about the plot...and when I left the theater, it took me ten minutes to forget everything about the plot.  At least it looked like Affleck was having fun.

My final reaction:

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2.  The Family

Directed by Luc Besson, Starring Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer & Tommy Lee Jones

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I was of the school that some Besson is better than no Besson.  I mean, with two and a half classics under his belt (La Femme Nikita, Leon & some of The Fifth Element), I should be able to trust that when he slides into the directors chair, he is going to entertain me.

I expected this to be a fun, 'fish out of water' story.  It wasn't.  Aside from one very great scene of Robert DeNiro at a movie theater, this was quite possibly the dumbest movie I'd seen all year, apart from my number one.  It never really figures out what it wants to be...comedy...drama...crime...it has no sense of tone.  The only reason I didn't walk out (which I have only done once) was because this was my first trip to an Alamo Drafthouse and I was enjoying the theater.  The only way I can put it is that it's cheesy and stupid, and I can't believe that this was directed by the same guy who helmed The Professional.

My final reaction:

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1.  Kick-Ass 2

Directed by Jeff Wadlow, Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz & Christopher Mintz-Plasse

How could this go wrong?

How could this go wrong?

I loved the first Kick-Ass.  I thought it was a very underrated comic book movie that looked great.  Unfortunately, Matthew Vaughn, the director, decided to move on.  This left Jeff Wadlow behind the camera, who had only directed shit beforehand (Cry Wolf & Never Back Down).

What we are left with is a terrible, uneven script with forced character motivations and a final product that has a severely confused tone.  

"This is for ruining this franchise."

"This is for ruining this franchise."

In one scene, a certain 'larger than life' character dispatches of a dozen NYPD officers on a city street. They are decimated to the tune of an upbeat soundtrack, and in over the top, outlandish ways, but we're not supposed to care because they don't have names. Yet a few scenes later, a major supporting character dies, and we're supposed to be sad about it (when, to be honest, even the character who's really supposed to be affected by this...doesn't seem so). As a writer, you cannot just tell us that we are supposed to care about someone because they're a friend or a family member or a coworker. You have to make us care, which Wadlow's script just didn't do.

The reason Kick-Ass's comedy worked was because up to that point, we really hadn't seen anything like it before. Sure, as viewers, we had seen 'regular' people try to don a mask and a cape to fight crime (Super comes to mind), but Hit-Girl was what really put Kick-Ass on the map. A 12 year old, spouting profanity and decapitating drug dealers...that was pretty new, fresh, and funny.

Here we are, 3 years later, and that same shtick just doesn't work anymore. Hit-Girl is older now, and those same dick jokes that once worked...just seem really forced and kind of sad. There are several comedy beats that absolutely fall flat...like, crickets flat. Not even Mintz-Plasse is funny here as 'The Motherfucker'...so edgy.  Yawn.

There's another side plot that could have easily been either dropped or developed, but turned into Mean Girls 3. This plot was uninteresting, made zero sense, and was groan-inducing.

Bottom line...we needed more Jim Carrey, the only bright spot of this film.

My final reaction:

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Just missing the list:  Dead Man Down, Killing Season, Now You See Me, Spring Breakers, Parker, G.I. Joe 2, The Last Stand