The list of crap continues right here, right now…
10 – THE HOUSE
Will Ferrell hadn’t been in a movie for a couple of years before The House came out, but given how sucky and soul-crushingly unfunny it turned out to be, it left many feeling that he probably should have stayed away for longer.
He and Amy Poehler are just some of the comedic talent brought on board to bomb all throughout this laugh-free waste of a funny idea, which pads itself out with unfunny improvisational scenes, scripted humour that isn’t much better, and largely unappealing characters that are either too underdeveloped to care about or make absolutely zero sense even for a dumb comedy like this.
This is just a gigantic wasted opportunity, because the idea of two wayward suburban parents opening an illegal casino does offer potential for at least a few good laughs, and again Ferrell, Poehler et al are very funny actors who have proven in the past to turn lesser material into something substantial. But nope, this was an 88-minute drag that took no risks with its plot, jokes, characters, or anything else, and left a lot of people wanting a whole lot more than what was given to them.
It earned its place amongst the many underperforming comedies this year, which some people have accredited to audiences no longer wanting to see anything that’s funny, but instead should consider the possibility that they underperformed because they all sucked. An unfunny comedy is no laughing matter, and The House was serious proof of that…
9 – VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS
Speaking of wasted potential, Luc Besson’s long-awaited return to the world of pure sci-fi may have been heavy on the ambition – though you could honestly say that about any of Besson’s movies – but it didn’t excuse the fact that this was still a rather dull and unengaging movie that just did not achieve what it clearly set out to do.
It feels as though Besson saw the Star Wars prequels and thought to himself that he can make a movie exactly like that, complete with the wooden acting, needlessly complicated plot and expository dialogue, and CGI overload that came with those movies. If that was indeed his intention, then he really did make something that even George Lucas would call too problematic. There’s nothing about it that stands out, not even the pretty-looking visuals which get boring to look at after a while, and the characters are so thinly-written that you seriously do not care about any of them, which given that Besson is a huge fan of the French comic book series this was based on makes you wonder how he could have possibly screwed up like this.
Unless you’re really into this guy’s stuff, and want something that’s as close to a spiritual successor to The Fifth Element as possible, then it’s entirely possible you’d be more into this movie than I was, which like any movie on this list is completely fine as it’s your own opinion and nobody should take that away from you. Me personally, though, I thought this was a complete misfire on every cylinder, one that was boring as well as bland, and as much as I would have liked to have enjoyed it from a more ironic approach, the film ended up being so dull and lifeless for me that I couldn’t even appreciate it on that level.
Sorry, Monsieur Besson – I know you really love this source material, but you really should have made a better movie out of it…
8 – FIFTY SHADES DARKER
I think it’s fairly safe to say that the craze surrounding EL James’ inexplicably popular Fifty Shades series is pretty much over. Sure, the books have become enormous bestsellers, despite some pretty horrendous writing on James’ part, and the first film made a good amount of money despite the expected critical panning, but it was clear that when the second adaptation in this series performed even worse with critics and audiences, it seemed that at long last nobody was going along with the joke anymore.
And there’s a good reason for that: Fifty Shades Darker is completely and utterly awful. It’s a sequel that somehow manages to be even more dull and nonsensical than its predecessor, filling up its running time of just under two hours with no coherent plot, random storylines that end just as abruptly as they began, and the unsexiest sex scenes you’ll see in a movie this whole year, which given that its kinkier side was the series’ USP is not even close to summing up how much of an utterly miserable trainwreck this is.
You constantly feel sorry for actors Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, who take the zero chemistry they shared in the first film and plunge that straight into negative numbers, and who are contractually obligated to stand there on-screen embarrassing themselves with lines like “you’re distracting me with your kinky fuckery” which they deliver with such clear contempt for the material that it almost makes it funny. But funny this movie isn’t, not even unintentionally, because director James Foley and writer Niall Leonard – the latter being James’ all-too-willing other half – make this movie look and sound so incredibly boring that it’s insulting to even the audience members who found some filmmaking merit in the first one.
There’s so much about this movie that’s just horrible that there’s no room for all of it in this little summary – I haven’t even mentioned how the personality-shifting villain’s name is JACK HYDE (geddit? Did you get that, audience? Kill me now) – and right now, I just want Fifty Shades Freed to come out so I can finally be over and done with this series once and for all…
7 – FLATLINERS
The 1990 Joel Schumacher film Flatliners may have its fans, but it was never considered a classic, or at least not good enough for it to be remade seventeen years after the fact. Nevertheless, the Sony executives pushed for a completely unwarranted and unnecessary remake anyway, so they have nobody to blame but themselves for the fact that the new version is a massive turd that nobody should be subject to seeing.
The film takes the original interesting premise of a group of medical students performing experiments on themselves to see what happens in the afterlife, and completely turns it into an unintentional joke, from the experiments somehow making them smarter despite their being temporarily brain-dead during them, to the laughably ridiculous jump-scares, to the increasingly unlikeable main characters who are such spoiled douchebags you don’t care at all about what ends up happening to them, and you’re constantly rooting for them to actually die because of faulty defibrillators or something. Not even original star Kiefer Sutherland, who prior to its release insisted that it was a sequel to the original and that he would be reprising his character for this one (neither of which turned out to be true, by the way), looks like he wants to be involved with this, so it’s of little wonder why he’s stranded on-screen doing what feels like a Rick impression from Rick and Morty because he cares that little about this project.
Director Niels Arden Oplev, the guy behind the Swedish-language version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is the unfortunate talent roped in to make this absolute dreck, but it never feels like his film, and more like the product of incredibly cynical Sony executives who gave him note after note during production to make it more like how they envisioned it instead of the vision of the actual storyteller they brought on board. Oplev never makes the film come alive, stranding most of his actors with material that gives them nothing of substance to work with, and going out of his way to make the film look and feel as dull as it possibly can, as a possible middle-finger to Sony who made the decision to bring this monstrosity to life in the first place.
There have been many puns about Flatliners being “dead on arrival” or how it “completely flatlines”, but I like to make a much simpler statement by saying that Flatliners (circa 2017) just sucks, because it’s so dull and wasteful that it’s not deserving of any creative pun…
6 – THE BYE BYE MAN
This is a horror movie so bad that its title is the least dumb thing about it.
Released way back in January, which seems to be a dumping ground for studios to release their unwanted horror movies with little to no fanfare, The Bye Bye Man has managed to stick around quite close to the top of this year’s worst movies because it’s not just an absolutely terrible horror movie, but it’s also a movie so bad it’s questionable why anyone would even be involved in such dreck.
It is a generic and cliché-ridden horror film that ironically features very little of the Bye Bye Man himself, as well as his awful-looking CGI dog that he has for some reason, but God forbid we don’t focus on yet another bunch of stupid college-age teens who somehow get mixed up in the reality-bending powers of the supernatural figure, which is made even more unbearable due to the fact that the writing is so poor, the acting so dreadful, and the direction so haphazard that only those with a low IQ could truly be scared by this woefully unscary and laughably horrible attempt.
It’s like they somehow got theatrical rights to a lame-as-hell horror film that was originally meant to be direct-to-DVD or on-demand, because the quality of it certainly resembles something that belongs in the dark nether-regions of Netflix where nobody dares to go, and by releasing it into many screens and thus getting more exposure because of it, they’ve successfully made sure that The Bye Bye Man sticks in the memory for being one of the year’s absolute worst horror films.
In a year that gave us some truly great horror flicks, this seems like an insulting step backwards to a dark age when horror was just a disposable genre instead of the creative and effective force it has the ability to be. It’s scary, alright, but not in that way…