It is hard to believe the first half of the year is already over. 2014 is just flying by. With that said, it is time to reminisce on those most would rather forget about. I think I am getting better at avoiding some bad movies, but I still feel drawn to a lot that I probably shouldn't. Many are movies that put my eternal cinematic optimism to the test. Now, this isn't about the movie that I skipped, they would amount to nothing more than a blip on the radar anyway, what this is about is the movies that I did see that proved to have very little going for them and at times seemed to actively court my negativity. So, without further adieu, let's take a look at the bottom ten films that I saw theatrically so far this year.
10. Monuments Men. This is a movie I really wanted to like, but just couldn't. I went in with certain expectations that were not met. I mean, it features George Clooney (who also directed), Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban. Cate Blanchett, and that dude from The Artist in a movie about the saving art and the importance of art to a culture. It is a real life tale that deserves a well made film, what we get is a mish mash of various tones and a tale that never takes off. They might as well have called it Ocean's WWII.
9. Maleficent. Ugh. Hot on the heels of movies like Alice in Wonderland (Tim Burton's) and Oz: The Great and Powerful comes this revisionist tale of classic family cinema. This time the target is Sleeping Beauty, only told from the perspective of the malevolent Maleficent. The result is a lackluster affair that turns one of Disney's greatest villains into a defanged, misunderstood hero. They also managed to turn it into a rape/revenge tale. Yes, you read that right. Not to mention, Princess Aurora acts as if she had been dropped on her head one to many times.
8. Neighbors. Wow, what a mess. I do not believe that I laughed once, which is a shame as the trailer was really quite good. The problem was once they gave the laughs context, they stopped being funny. It felt like they only had the skeletal bits of a screenplay, filling in the rest as they went along. It is a shame as I think the story itself has some comedic merit, this just isn't the movie to realize that merit on the screen.
7. Blended. Now, I already caught a lot of flack from some friends for even going to see this. What can I say? Sandler has his moments. In this case, the third time isn't the charm. Perhaps it is more like one too many times to the well. This is the third pairing of Sandler and Barrymore and is easily their worst. It is a questionable setup with characters that are not all that likable. It is an odd mash of slapstick and actual family issues, sadly always opting for the cheap joke even when the moment does not call for it. I mean, really, dead mother jokes?
6. Transcendence. Talk about wasted potential. This is a movie that could have been a fascinating rumination on the nature of self and if a digitized you can really still be you. Instead we get a movie that bores you into a coma with its incoherence. The cast is wasted by either being boring or having nothing to do. The timeline jumps around robbing it of any development and characters are just forgotten for large chunks.
5. A Million Ways to Die in the West. Prepare to not laugh! Seriously, this is another “comedy” that isn't funny. Also, like Neighbors, it had a trailer that was pretty funny, yet when they are give context, the humor just disappears. It doesn't help that our main character is marshmallow-faced Seth McFarlane, who just is not as funny as he thinks he is. He is not made for being on camera, he is the guy at the party who points says “Look! Isn't that funny?” and it's not.
4. I, Frankenstein. This was an early contender for worst of the year, but as you can see, it has already been ousted from that prestigious spot. This movie comes courtesy of the creator of Underworld, and guess what? It feels just like it. Instead of vampires and werewolves, we get gargoyles and demons, with a version of Frankenstein right in the middle. It really is a mess with terrible dialogue, lame story, and lousy effects. Move along.
3. Pompeii. This is pretty worthless. There really is nothing here to see or to care about. It is an attempt to create a disaster movie with emotional pull from a real event. I guess they thought they could recreate the fictionalized reality that worked so well for Titanic. They were wrong. The whole exercise is just bland with terrible acting and a poor story. And who thought it was a good idea to cast Kiefer Sutherland as a Roman official?
2. Winter's Tale. When this movie ended, a portion of the audience broke out in laughter. I don't blame them. I don't even know where to begin. The story is nonsense, jumps around a bit, involves love and demons, and is utterly ridiculous. The dialogue goes nowhere, the characters have zero chemisty. It should have been marketed as a comedy.
1. Jinn. We have finally reached the pinnacle of bad movies I have seen theatrically this year. This one is a real doozy. There is nothing special here. There is standard mysterious prophecies, talk of a Chosen One, demons with ill intent, magical powers, special daggers, and a lack of character and personality. It is like a supernatural soap opera. The only thing worth watching is this hilarious bit of martial arts with Ray Park battling some demons in slow motion with swirly lights and things, interrupted by a telepathic search for car keys. Perhaps if you were somewhat enhanced this would be good.
That about does it. What bad movies have you seen this year?