Top 5 Worst Movies Of 201626.12.16 # Top Ten # 13 Comments
Some come at you with a vague reputation, others blindside you – bad movies can catch you out in different ways. That’s why sites like this one are so important. They can help you avoid these experiences and save you time, to spend with your kids, or if you’re a kid to spend with other kids, or spend gardening, or whatever. Here are five Red Alert warnings. The top 5 worst movies of 2016 that I witnessed.
5th – DAD’S ARMY
Plot: It’s WW2 and the British Home Guard, Walmington-on-Sea division, stands ready to defend the UK in case of German invasion, regardless of the fact they are mostly bumbling pensioners ineligible for military service. By 1944 Captain Mainwaring’s (Toby Jones) men are suffering from low morale, until a glamorous journalist (Catherine Zeta-Jones) arrives to report on the platoon’s exploits. Meanwhile, MI5 have discovered a radio signal transmitted from Walmington-on-Sea towards Berlin, apparently the work of a spy, giving the Home Guard a chance to make a real difference in the war…
Based on the classic BBC sitcom that was in production from 1968 to 1977. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the idea of rebooting the series, the concept remains potentially funny and endearing – but this was a very lacklustre effort. The plotting and writing were weak, the slapstick embarrassingly lame and the direction well below par (the bull chase and final shootout were among the most poorly staged sequences of the year). Catherine Zeta-Jones had a ridiculously large amount of screen time for her role, with scene after repetitive scene of the men individually trying to win her affection. Indeed for most of the running time she was on screen more than Captain Mannering. This was at the expense of male bonding scenes and so we got little sense of the interpersonal relations between the squad. Toby Jones tried hard as Mannering but in the end he’s a dramatic not a comic actor. A curiosity for long time fans but no pleasure for anyone.
4th – GHOSTBUSTERS
If this list was purely about wasted potential, this would win by a mile.
When a college professor (Kristen Wiig) finds her shelved book about the supernatural has been published by its co-author (Melissa McCarthy) she ends up accompanying her and her wacky engineer (Kate McKinnon) to their first encounter with a sprit. Forming the Ghostbusters they take on a handsome but dumb secretary (Chris Hemsworth) and a New York savvy metro worker who encounters another ghost (Leslie Jones). Meanwhile a geeky weirdo (Neil Casey) is waking spirits across the city with his own inventions, hoping to open a portal to the spirit dimension and lead its army…
Leslie Jones was by far the best thing in this version because she felt authentic. Melissa McCarthy was -no surprise- unconvincing as a cutting edge scientist, but she wasn’t as bad as McKinnon who might be the the least convincing engineer ever put on screen, she both overacted and acted badly to the point where it felt like she was in an unfunny SNL skit rather than a movie. The villain meanwhile looked like he was doing a table read rather than living the part. The concept that the bad guy would be the ghost from the famous Ghostbusters logo, thereby explaining the logo’s origins, was a great idea, but completely lost in the execution. Bad decisions riddled the film, from the ghosts that were too Disney dayglo, to Slimer getting a girlfriend. The audience lifted when Bill Murray appeared but then were confused and disappointed to find he was playing someone else. The number of original cast cameos and throwbacks in the final third became a big distraction, dominating scene after scene. The film still entertained in a throwaway manner, there were funny lines, Hemsworth was sometimes amusing and Wiig worked sometimes. Your enjoyment would increase the less you remembered about the brilliant original, and underrated sequel. But this should always have been a handover movie with the old team. Ironically, it was Bill Murray dicking Ivan Reitman around for decades that we really have to thank for this franchise now being dead.
3rd – ZOOLANDER 2
When the world’s most beautiful musical celebrities are systematically assassinated with model Derek Zoolander’s iconic “Blue Steel” look on their face, Interpol recruits the has-been Derek (Ben Stiller) and his friend Hansel (Owen Wilson) to infiltrate the new and different world of modern high fashion to put a stop to it. Meanwhile, Derek’s old rival Mugatu (Will Ferrell) is released from prison…
Stiller directed the original ‘Zoolander’ back in 2001 and the last comedy he helmed/starred in, ‘Tropic Thunder’, was one of the best of the decade. It boded well, but ‘Zoolander 2’ was a sad disaster. The first movie was enjoyable but not memorable or pop-culture enough to justify a sequel 15 years later. Playing Zoolander today as a has-been only underlined that’s how Stiller came across – There was a half-hearted weariness in his eyes, the character rarely if ever worked and he was a stone-cold punchline murderer. The overall humour was more left-field than the original fashion-mocking film (including a biblical central premise better suited to ‘The Da Vinci Code’) and, while this lead to the occasional humorous off-the-wall moment, so much of it fell completely flat. It was clear that Stiller hadn’t followed anything in the fashion world since the 90s and so couldn’t provide fresh satire. The sheer number of front and centre celebrity cameos (include Billy Zane, Sting, Susan Boyle, Kiefer Sutherland as an orgy-lover, Milla Jovovich, Ariana Grande as Coco Chanel, and Benedict Cumberbatch as a genderless eyebrowless high fashion superstar named “All”) became a grating distraction by the time you got to Katy Perry and Neil De Grass on a rooftop – feeling increasingly like a way of diverting attention from the weakness of the film. And then to cap it off there was the particularly intrusive product placement that Stiller features in all his starring-role films.
2nd – ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS: THE MOVIE
Self-centered, shallow PR guru Edina (Saunders) once sported Sting and Bono among her clients, but now only has Lulu and Baby Spice. Hearing that Kate Moss needs a new rep, she takes best buddy and hard-partying fashion editor Patsy (Lumley) to a networking party. But when she accidentally bumps Kate Moss into the Thames, they flee to the glamorous French Rivera to avoid a manslaughter charge. There they will seek a rich partner to solve their problems…
Director Mandie Fletcher previously helmed the entire final season of the show (considered the weakest by fans), and hadn’t directed a film in 24 years. It enjoyed the biggest UK box-office opening for a British film since ‘Spectre’, but the problems were numerous. Firstly, Edina wasn’t just “naughty” but deeply unlikable on the big screen: living rich without working, profoundly selfish (with no redemption), trashing other people’s offices, tricking men into marrying for money, and stumbling around uncomfortable racial and transgender jokes. Saunders was simply too old for the role and the cast was chockablock with pensioners and has-beens, which only added to the dated feel. Lumley still had the role down, looked the part and got the only smirks but wasn’t given enough material to save it. Saunders has been a brilliant TV writer since the 80s, but struggled to write a clever feature screenplay (this was her first), partly because the ‘Ab Fab’ TV episodes were about panicking over mundane situations, that don’t translate to a big canvas. Despite good will going in, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ was a misfire that felt lost. For die hard fans only.
1st – INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
We actually have a clear winner this year.
20 years on from the defeated alien invasion, Earth has incorporated their technology into global defences (headed by Jeff Goldblum). But when a second attack, from a single ship the size of a continent, overwhelms them, it’ll take a new generation of pilots (Chris Hemsworth, Maika Monroe) and the inspiration of a reclusive ex-President (Pullman) to fight back…
The first film had a wonderfully tense build-up, and the alien attack was both jaw-dropping and cinematically influential. But with all the generosity in the world, there’s no denying it: ‘Resurgence’ was really bad, a total mess of awful ideas. The pacing was off throughout, with nearly every scene quicker than it should be. Drama and interpersonal conflict fell as flat as the lifeless/irritating new cast members. There were far too many characters, including secondary ones from the first film given pointless screentime (Did it need to re-introduce Will Smith’s wife then kill her off? Or have Goldblum’s dad driving a busload of kids? Or a John Oliver-lookalike earning a warlord’s respect?) Jeff Goldblum still had something but was saddled with a terrible script and left reacting to ridiculous events. It was -sort of- fun watching Brent Spiner having the campy mad scientist time of his life. There were a few good fx shots but the chaotic action was so poorly staged it was either hard to tell what was going on, or completely tension-free. Summery: relentlessly dumb. Just like planet Earth they had 20 years to prepare, but they weren’t even remotely ready.
So there you have it. Sadly I didn’t get the chance to see Nine Lives, 50 Shades of Black or Mother’s Day. What were the worst movies of 2016 that you encountered?