Another year has come and gone all too quickly (seriously, why does it still feel like we were just getting started on 2017 just last week?), and in terms of movies we’ve had a pretty solid twelve months. However, there have also been some movies this year that have been truly terrible, and they deserve calling out for their awfulness as the year draws to the close.
That’s right, folks; it’s time once again for Film Feeder’s annual countdown of the Worst Films of the Year, a collection of the most rotten, insulting and dangerously offensive movies that Hollywood has dared dump on all of us throughout 2017. But don’t worry; soon enough, things will become balanced once more when we also take a look at the Best Films of the Year, a glowing list where we shall be gladly reminding ourselves of the true gems that graced our screens.
First, though, here’s a quick reminder of how both of these lists have been worked out; films are only eligible if they were given an original UK release between January 1st and December 31st 2017, meaning that it has to have been out in the UK between those dates in order to qualify without being released elsewhere in the world beforehand. So, any awards holdovers like La La Land or Moonlight are ineligible, as are any films that came out here this year after being released in the US and other territories (for example, The Great Wall was released in China well before its UK release in February, therefore it’s sadly ineligible to be included in the Worst Of list). Basically, as long as it was released in the UK within the same year as its debut elsewhere in the world, it qualifies for either list.
As ever, these lists are all opinion-based; what I may deem terrible or amazing, you may personally find them to be great or bloody awful, and there’s nothing wrong with having a different opinion; these are just lists of films which I personally feel to be the Worst and Best of the year.
So, before we begin the countdown of the Worst list, here are a few dishonourable mentions that failed to make the cut, but are still failures in their own special way:
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge
- The Snowman
- Everything, Everything
- The Last Word
- The Shack
- Double Date
- The Hitman’s Bodyguard
- Ghost in the Shell
- Kingsman: The Golden Circle
- A Dog’s Purpose
And now, let’s kick off with…
15 – xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE
Vin Diesel’s taste for on-screen stupidity is certainly part of the actor’s charm, as evidenced by his on-going Fast & Furious franchise, but even he went a bit too overboard in his attempts to revitalise another one of his franchises, and ended up making one of the dumbest action movies in recent years.
Nobody except Diesel was clamouring for a follow-up to his 2002 extreme-sports-meets-007-espionage movie xXx, but the force of nature that is Diesel’s ego made it so, and he once more donned the guise of his most unlikeable lead character to date Xander Cage, and took unwilling audiences on a journey that left them with far fewer brain cells than they started out with. There’s hardly anything about it that works; the plot makes zero sense, the characters are such knobs you don’t care if they die or not, and not even the action is serviceable as most of it is blanketed by questionable camerawork and tellingly CGI fight choreography. It is, by all accounts, a giant mess of a movie.
However, the one reason it’s so low on this list is because, unlike some of the other dumb movies on here, this one is at the very least funny – unintentionally so, but still funny. The sheer idiocy on screen that comes from this brain-dead script is quite the sight to behold, and there are several points where it gets so insane and ludicrous that you can’t help but laugh at its absolute stupidity. Don’t be mistaken, this is still a really bad movie, but it’s so nutty and so embracing of its complete and utter lack of functionality that you find yourself laughing at it in ways that make it an enjoyably ironic viewing.
If Diesel gets his way and we end up with another one of these – despite a soft box office performance and a middling critical response – then pray that it’s another testosterone-fuelled killing of the brain cells that’s as so-bad-it’s-good as this one…
14 – TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT
Yeah, you knew a Michael Bay Transformers movie would end up somewhere on a list like this, but the fact that it’s at such a low ranking should tell you how rotten a lot of these other movies actually are. Nevertheless, this one earns its place on here for being quite possibly the stupidest Transformers movie to date – and that’s saying a lot.
For the fifth time in a row, this was just a two-hour long excuse for Bay to just blow up anything and everything in sight, without any indication that he cares about plot, character, or anything that doesn’t involve a giant explosion. However, it manages to surprise by becoming even more nonsensical with every passing scene, from opening with a King Arthur battle sequence that is almost never brought up again (which is, coincidentally, a far better Arthurian piece of filmmaking than another film you’ll see on this list at some point), to having a negotiation scene set in the middle of the desert with out-of-nowhere Suicide Squad-style editing, to Academy Award-winner Sir Anthony Hopkins stopping an expository monologue dead in its tracks to talk about co-star Mark Wahlberg’s sex life (not to mention the fact he declares something a “bitchin’ ride”). For those reasons and plenty more, this thankfully underperformed with both critics and audiences, leaving the fate of the franchise – save for a Bumblebee spin-off due next year, mercifully NOT directed by Bay (though he’s still a producer on the thing) – not looking so bright after all.
However, unlike xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the stupidity of this film isn’t fun to watch in the slightest. It is a drag to still sit through, and your head is bound to ache from all the things it tries throwing at you. If for whatever reason you’re still on board with this franchise, even you might finally be getting sick and tired of these movies leaving such little impact on your brain cells, and this film is at last showing that, if you are done with this series just as much as we are, you are probably not alone.
Please, Michael, whatever you do, don’t direct the next one (if there is still going to be one). For the sake of humanity, just let this one die in peace…
13 – GEOSTORM
Thought things couldn’t get stupider than Vin Diesel as an extreme sports superspy, or even a goddamn Transformers movie? Then allow us to present to you Geostorm, by far the dumbest disaster movie you’ll probably ever see in your life.
Dean Devlin, the long-time producer on Roland Emmerich and his own numerous disaster flicks, made his directorial debut with something he felt could easily stand alongside his friend’s movies, but ended up making something so devoid of actual intelligence that it makes the likes of Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 et al look like The Towering Inferno or The Poseidon Adventure. I’d try to begin explaining the plot – terrorists hack weather-changing satellites and threaten the world with multiple natural disasters unless genius inventor Gerard Butler (!) can stop them – but I’d risk losing even more of my motor skills than I did whilst watching it. To say that it makes no sense would be the year’s biggest understatement, in addition to saying that the characters are cut-outs of cut-outs of stock clichés, and also that the physics being defied left and right makes one prays for a Neil deGrasse Tyson live-tweeting of this movie that would longer than the actual thing.
You honestly have to see it to believe how dumb this movie truly is, though that creates a paradox because there’s no way to recommend it with a true face. As laughably stupid as it is, it still loses several points by taking itself way too seriously, having these actors say these horribly written lines with a straight and un-ironic face, and by being mostly boring to sit through when it’s not whacking you in the head with such stupidity. It’s an ungodly dumb movie, rightfully earning its place on this list as one of the dumbest to be released over the last twelve months, but it doesn’t even have the distinction of being the type of dumb that’s hugely enjoyable to watch.
Should you actually be brave enough to sit down and try to watch this thing, then you may as well have a DIY lobotomy kit on standby, because that’ll provide you with all the tools necessary to be in the same mindset as this irrevocably stupid, stupid movie…
12 – THE MUMMY
With all these cinematic universes coming in and trying to replicate Marvel’s success, none have failed so miserably and laughably than Universal’s attempted fast-booting of their proposed “Dark Universe”, all within the much-derided rebooted version of a classic movie monster.
What should have been a fairly competent standalone monster movie ended up being bogged down by heavy foreshadowing of other creatures that exist in this universe, like if Nick Fury showed up halfway into the first Iron Man to spend the rest of the running time talking about the Avengers Initiative. These elements were so clearly forced into the narrative by the studio that it ended up doing more harm than good, making it a jumble of ideas that might have worked fine on their own, but lumped together it’s a rather horrific mess to behold.
Even as a standalone film, it’s a miserable sit. Despite the inclusion of Tom Cruise, the action set pieces are dull and have little to no life in them; meanwhile, Cruise is forced to spend half the movie listening to useless advice from Jake Johnson who’s ripping off An American Werewolf in London for some reason, or Russell Crowe whose Dr. Jekyll is a fountain of exposition in the numerous scenes designed purely to cynically promote monster movies that haven’t even entered production yet. The film is so unenjoyable that it actually makes one miss the old Brendan Fraser movies, because as bad as they ended up getting at least there was a sense of fun to them.
But you know what, as bad as The Mummy is, there’s always room for improvement. After all, even DC got a good movie in eventually, so I’m sure that if the Dark Universe learns from its mistakes, it can go on to become the next big cinematic univer—wait, what’s that? Several creative forces have jumped ship already? And production on the next entry Bride of Frankenstein has been put on indefinite hold? Leaving the Dark Universe to pretty much die in the corner, all because of this movie? Oh, well, cue the sad music…
11 – ALL EYEZ ON ME
Tupac Shakur is a figure whose all-too-brief life story is one that should make for a fascinating biopic – unfortunately, All Eyez On Me is not that film, because it proceeds to do everything that a bad biographical film does; tell the audience as much as it can about the person, without any humanity or reason to care about the very individual it’s portraying.
It may as well have been retitled Tupac’s Wikipedia Page: The Movie, because this whole film is nothing but paragraphs of exposition that tell us, instead of showing us in any interesting way, all about this young man who got his voice heard, experienced success, and then tragically got his life cut short at a young age. Despite the mostly solid efforts of its cast, including eerily close Tupac doppelganger Demetrius Shipp Jr. who gives his all here, they can’t bring to life this damp and dull movie that by all accounts should have been a real treat, especially for loyal fans of the man himself, which makes it far more insulting to his legacy than anyone could ever have predicted.
Worst of all, the movie has zero focus on what it wants to portray, with major points in his life like his big break working with Digital Underground or his mother’s drug addiction and subsequent rehabilitation coming and going just like that, with almost no development or even a proper dramatic resolution to them. If it picked maybe just one event in his life to focus on, that would be one thing, but when it’s the whole damn package it just becomes another giant mess that undermines the raw and natural talents of the man they’re trying to portray here.
Hopefully in the future, someone will come along and make a biopic about Tupac that not only adopts a more digestible approach but actually explores what made him the genuine musical prodigy he is remember for being even to this day, because if there’s anything that All Eyez On Me does well, it’s setting the bar low enough for other people to come and improve upon it…