It’s that time of year again, where we count down our top and bottom films of the year! As always, we begin with the lowest stinkers that Hollywood has concocted from its nether-regions and unleashed onto the public over the past twelve months.
We should point out, however, that the reviewer did not get a chance to see every bad film out there, so those expecting to see the likes of Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, Blended or Nativity 3: Dude, Where’s My Donkey? on here may end up being disappointed. This is just a list based on what they actually DID see, and what they felt was lesser entertainment.
So, the countdown of the Worst Movies of 2014 begins with…
15 – A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST
A lot of people will probably want to see this at a higher (or lower) position on this list, but in our opinion – please be prepared for a shock – Seth MacFarlane’s Western comedy might not be AS bad as everyone makes it out to be.
Now don’t get us wrong: by no accounts is it a good movie. The jokes are very hit-and-miss, there’s little to no solid plot, MacFarlane tends to put himself more in the centre than other starry performers like Liam Neeson and Neil Patrick Harris, and so on. That being said, however, it all depends on whether you find MacFarlane’s type of humour funny to begin with; if you’re the type who absolutely despises Family Guy, Ted et al then you are certainly not going to like this movie. If you do, then you won’t hate it but you won’t like it either (or at least, not as much as his past work). We happen to be in the latter category.
So, although we admit upfront that it is not a particularly strong entry from an otherwise talented individual – say what you want about his comedy, but the guy can definitely sing – we can’t say that A Million Ways To Die In The West is ENTIRELY deserving of its universal hatred. Besides, there were far worse offerings this year, like…
14 – TRANSCENDENCE
It’s not been a particularly good year for Christopher Nolan – with him still shaking off the divided Internet backlash of last year’s Man of Steel, which he produced, only to then receive a whole new wave of divided Internet backlash for his latest film Interstellar (spoiler: that movie appears on neither of our top 10 lists), it appears the Nolan bandwagon is getting lighter with every project he attaches himself to. Perhaps the biggest offender of this is Transcendence, directed by long-time Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister and produced by Nolan himself.
Desperately trying to replicate his mentor’s dour filmmaking style, Pfister shows signs of directorial naivety from its opening moments (a flash-forward to the film’s end that destroys all tension and mystery) and doesn’t let up from there. Asking us to side with murderous anti-technology terrorists (who still use laptops and other advanced machinery to carry out their tasks… like an ANTI-TECHNOLOGY organisation should!) and diving too much into sci-fi bollocks rather than establish any sort of character (aside from the moronic and unlikable saps we get), it becomes ever clearer that Pfister just doesn’t have the grasp of filmmaking he thinks he may have, and it becomes yet another disappointing dud in headliner Johnny Depp’s recent choices in film.
Ctrl+Alt+Del, if you’ll please.
13 – ROBOCOP
The original RoboCop, directed by Paul Verhoeven in the mid-to-late 80s, is a cult classic for a number of reasons; piles of gore and violence, enough swearing to fill a swear jar within a week, and a great deal of entertainment within a storyline that isn’t taken too seriously. Such a shame, then, that we had to have an unneeded upgrade – or downgrade – to make it more bland and unemotional for a modern audience.
Sucking all the fun out of the original’s batty and campy nature, this sterner and “gritty” version is so dull and lifeless you could easily mistake it for something robotic in origin. Not helping matters is the fact that it’s fronted by a completely charisma-less Joel Kinnaman in the title role, whose bland personality and even duller character make on pine for the days of Peter Weller. Not even Michael Keaton, as the film’s villain, appears to be enjoying himself – but then again, he did also feature in another film on this list (but more on that later…).
All in all, it’s a lifeless exercise in pointless remakes and a reminder that if it ain’t broke, don’t make it a PG-13 CG-unfun-fest.
12 – TAMMY
We almost feel bad about putting this one on the list, because we don’t hate Melissa McCarthy, or even dislike her. She can be a very funny comedienne and competent actress, as past roles in The Heat, this year’s St. Vincent and of course Bridesmaids have proven. However, in a film where she headlines a script co-written by her and husband Ben Falcone (who also directs), the spark doesn’t fly and it’s one giant mess of a movie.
McCarthy’s titular character is crass, repugnant and overall unappealing… so why should we care when she suddenly decides to leave everything behind after one bad day (complete with one fake-looking CG deer)? It all becomes a laugh-free, directionless and boring tale of a person we don’t particularly care for, and her equally-loathsome Susan Sarandon-shaped grandmother. Falcone, another first-timer in the director’s chair, cannot seem to hold a scene together with any form of pacing, tension or even comedy, and it sadly hurts the film and its central figure badly.
As a vanity project, it fails to do much for the ego. As a straightforward star vehicle, it undermines McCarthy’s true talents when they could be used much better elsewhere.
11 – WHAT WE DID ON OUR HOLIDAY
Outnumbered creators Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin make their directional debut (beginning to sense a pattern on this list?) so unbalanced with an uncomfortable tonal shift to end all uncomfortable tonal shifts that the end results are far worse and more horrifying than anyone could have predicted.
The first half lazily rehashes the formula for their popular and far superior sitcom, except with far more unrealistic characters and scenarios with a bitter after-taste, and some of the worst back-and-forth editing you’ll see all year. In short, it doesn’t set itself up for anything that great to begin with.
By the time a particular event happens around the midway point, things start to get REALLY screwed up; and making things even more disturbing is how the film treats the actions of certain characters as charming and whimsical when by all accounts they should be reprehended or at the very least strongly punished. The film never recovers from this moment, though there wasn’t much to recover anyway.
Not even the children, always the highlight of any Outnumbered episode, can save this dreary and downright (unintentionally) frightening “comedy”. Leave this off your “to do” list.