The worst of the worst is among us right now, so let’s just get this over with…
5 – MILE 22
The pairing of director Peter Berg and star Mark Wahlberg – which I have decided to dub WahlBerg – had usually brought about some fairly strong material, including Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day, but their fourth collaboration Mile 22 is not only their worst by far, but it’s also an absolutely terrible movie on its own “merits”.
This is a painfully obnoxious sit from beginning to end, as you’re forced to watch incoherent action scenes spliced together with the worst editing in a major motion picture since King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and the most insufferable and unlikeable characters you could ever be asked to root for. Wahlberg, in particular, is a pure bully in the movie, screaming and shouting at people who have done nothing to antagonise him, and he’s supposed to be our hero here. How are we supposed to tolerate such nasty, mean-spirited characters as our heroes when they’re this unpleasant to watch? The answer, as you may have already guessed, is not easily.
I have not seen a movie so beneath most of the people involved in making this, especially WahlBerg who have both done some real stinkers in the past – Berg with Battleship and Wahlberg with Pain & Gain, to name a few – but here somehow manage to outdo themselves with a movie that’s even worse than any of those put together. It’s impossible to analyse what went wrong here, particularly seeing how WahlBerg have done some genuinely good movies together in the past, but the end product is an unholy abomination of a movie that should never be sought out even by the biggest WahlBerg fans out there.
Luckily, the two are working together again on another film due for release hopefully sometime next year called Wonderland, which I pray to God is a step in the right direction for WahlBerg…
4 – LIFE OF THE PARTY
Melissa McCarthy makes her second appearance on this list, with a film she not only both starred in and also co-wrote with director and real-life husband Ben Falcone, but also gave me physical pain in my jaw from its inability to even raise a smile during this absolute dead-zone of a comedy.
Out of McCarthy and Falcone’s movies together as co-writers and director, following on from Tammy and The Boss, Life of the Party is by far their worst. It goes beyond being just aggressively unfunny, it’s so much so that it completely undermines McCarthy’s genuine talents as a comedic actress – or even just as an actress in general – as she, along with many other talented comedians like Matt Walsh, Maya Rudolph and Gillian Jacobs, is utterly wasted on material that she co-created yet couldn’t for the life of her or her husband make the slightest bit humorous.
While McCarthy is left to die a slow, horrible death on-screen thanks to a script that is made up of directionless vignettes that are incredibly lifeless and not in the least bit amusing, her husband Falcone continues to punish her and everyone unfortunate to come across this movie with terrible direction that includes, but isn’t limited to, poor pacing, choppy editing and an utter misunderstanding of what it takes to make material like this actually funny. The way that he treats his own wife with films like this, by placing her in roles that bring out the very worst in her, is one that I stop short of calling spousal abuse (because for all I know they have a very healthy and loving relationship with each other), but suggests there are unfixable and ruinous cracks in their creative partnership at the very least.
The only thing that pleases me about this movie isn’t the movie itself, but the fact that in a couple of months people will get to see Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which utilises McCarthy’s strong talents far better than a movie that she co-wrote ever could…
3 – SLENDER MAN
It just goes to show how many bad movies there have been this year when Sony doesn’t even claim the #1 spot on this list, but make no mistake, they’ve still scored a high position with their absolutely dreadful attempt to cash in on the Slender Man phenomenon.
As someone who’s largely unfamiliar with the online Creepypasta character this movie is supposedly based on, even I don’t think whoever made this movie knows anything about Slender Man either, as there’s no way he would have become as popular as he is if he’s this boring and unscary. The movie is a complete and utter waste of time that fails to entice one solitary scare from an audience, with characters who are completely useless and uninteresting, and a dreary visual style that puts you straight to sleep instead of creep you out, all of which should be the exact opposite of what a horror movie of any kind should do.
However, while the film itself is pretty damn wretched, its fundamental flaws can once again be traced back to Sony. Originally developed as a more intense and adult horror movie, the script was reworked for the teenage demographic, only for the studio to then go back and heavily re-edit the film when its trailers implied it would be taking inspiration from a real-life murder inspired by the Slender Man character. That means that a lot of the intense imagery shown in the original trailers, such as several surreal and disturbing cutaways as well as scenes where characters stab their own eyes out, was completely omitted from the final product, which in turn led to even more criticism because it was left an incoherent, watered-down mess as a result of the studio’s interference.
So, not only is this a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad horror movie that’s way more boring than it is even remotely scary, but it’s one that Sony has solely themselves to blame for. That alone gives it a high ranking on this list, because say what you will about some of the other films on this list, but at least they weren’t as butchered by the studio as this catastrophe was…
2 – SHOW DOGS
There was no way in hell that this movie had any chance of being good, not even just a little bit. Just from reading the plot synopsis alone, you’d swear this wasn’t a movie but the description of a fake trailer at the beginning of Tropic Thunder. But no, this is a real movie that was released in cinemas nationwide, and nobody involved in making this utter pile of dog turds should at all act surprised that this movie turned out as bad as it was.
In this world where the police force is populated with talking dogs – and horrifically rendered talking dogs at that, with grotesque CGI mouths on top of real uninterested-looking canines that are so badly designed you can easily spot glitches whenever they move – you have to wonder why this doesn’t mean we get to see them at real crime scenes like rape and murder, and why instead we’re forced to watch a talking Rottweiler voiced by Ludacris (who lends his voice with all the enthusiasm of someone lending a voice to Show Dogs) and its pet Will Arnett go undercover in a dog show competition, where one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is letting someone gently squeeze a dog’s testicles. As you’re watching all that unfold, you’re left wishing you were at one of those actual crime scenes, because then you’d be having a bit more fun.
It’s all so horribly executed, with voices by actors like Ludacris, Stanley Tucci and Shaquille O’Neal where they all sound as uninterested as the live-action dogs they’re voicing, awful CGI that goes beyond just the horrifying dogs’ mouths and also includes highly sophisticated “stunts” that look more unreal than an actual cartoon, an incredibly lazy script comprised of dreadful dog pun after dreadful dog pun, and a complete lack of competence on the part of director Raja Gosnell who seems to have gone out of his way to make this movie look and feel as amateurish and direct-to-video as a theatrical release could ever look. I seriously have no idea whose balls Gosnell gently squeezed to have this movie released in as many cinemas as it was, because nothing this horrendously put-together should ever be shown on a big screen, least of all for kids who deserve far better movies to digest than this absolute monstrosity that puts even The Emoji Movie to shame.
Every single person who had bad stuff to say about this movie is entirely correct; Show Dogs is absolutely awful in every way, just scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to jokes that appeal only to the lowest common denominator, with no redeeming qualities to it whatsoever. Not even kids are bound to enjoy this, as the screening I was at was packed with children who didn’t make a sound at all throughout the entire thing, except when making squirming sounds as they were being restless in their chairs, clearly not paying attention to anything that was happening on the screen. Nobody in their right mind would legitimately think this is a solid family movie, because parents and any other adults will hate this, as will children who will become so bored during it that they’ll start becoming antsy and restless, the exact opposite of what a real family film should actually do. It is a movie made by people without a functioning brain in their heads, and certainly without a sense of knowing what they’re making is utter tripe that nobody should ever have the misfortune of seeing.
So, you’re probably wondering why this is only at #2 on this list, when it is so clearly deserving of a higher position. Well, to be honest, as horrible as this movie was, it was pretty much as bad as I was expecting it to be, without surprising me too much by how angry it would make me. Don’t get me wrong, I was pretty fed up during this movie too, but I kind of knew going in that this would be entirely soul-crushing and anger-inducing, and it delivered exactly what I expected, for better or worse (mostly worse).
The movie that DID end up at #1, however, just left me utterly blindsided by how much I hated its guts…
1 – STATUS UPDATE
I was not prepared for how bad this movie would be, because this was a film I saw as part of a quadruple bill that also included Fifty Shades Freed and The 15:17 to Paris, and while I thought this movie looked pretty bad from the trailers, I genuinely thought that there was no way it could be worse than the Fifty Shades movie.
But life surprised me in the most horrific of ways, because not only was it the very worst film I ended up seeing that whole day, and not only did it somehow make Fifty Shades Freed – and indeed all of the films in that particular series – look good by comparison, but it had remained such a sticking point on my soul that it has ended up being the very worst film I saw throughout the entirety of 2018, and keep in mind this was a year that also gave us Show Dogs, Slender Man, and Surviving Christmas With The Relatives.
This… whatever the hell this is… was absolutely torture right from the very start where the very first line of dialogue makes a reference to Snapchat, and trust me when I say it was all downhill from there. Here is a piece of anti-millennial propaganda that makes every single young person in the world look and feel like the vainest, most self-absorbed and utterly repugnant generation, brought to life by a 40-year-old screenwriter who has absolutely no idea how social media, technology or anything else really works. There are characters who would never in real life act in the way these entitled little brats do, like the main character who we’re supposed to root for but is saying and doing some pretty nasty things throughout that make you just want to punch his pretty face squarely where it hurts if only to teach him a valuable lesson. Even worse, there is a gay character who is best friends with the main love interest of the film, but is so horribly written to be the most antagonistic person who for whatever reason so against this good-looking boy ending up with this good-looking girl that it ends up making whoever wrote this character come across as secretly homophobic. We haven’t even mentioned the main character’s younger sister who’s an anime geek yet dresses in ways that nobody would ever dress outside of Comic Con, and most aggravating of all a cameo by Instagram celebrity The Fat Jew who plays the genie-like role here but is so irritating and subject to some truly unpleasant camera angles that you want to look away from him every single time he shows up.
Every single character in this movie is awful, written to either be extremely annoying or aggressively mean-spirited in ways that, again, would never happen in the real world. You have bullies who seem to operate without rules in the school hallways because there are no teachers present anywhere, and whenever there are teachers they’re usually so verbally abusive towards their students that you wonder why they’re even employed as teachers in the first place. This movie seems to have just as much a hatred for adults as it does young people, because Rob Riggle shows up as the main character’s deadbeat dad who’s an utter loser yet is someone that they still want in their lives for whatever reason, even though he’s more childish than his actual children, and then there’s Famke Janssen, who for context last appeared in a main theatrical release as the slain wife of Liam Neeson in Taken 3, and is now seen utterly embarrassing herself in an extended sequence where she’s animalistically trying to sleep with the teenage protagonist (because he wished for his new girlfriend’s parents to really like him – yes, it’s one of those fantasy wish fulfilment movies where phrasing is everything). Between only showing up to die in Taken 3, and whatever the hell she is trying to do in this one, clearly being murdered just so the plot could advance was the far better option for her.
The level of contempt I felt for this movie was unprecedented; not since Grimsby had I felt this close to breaking while watching a movie, because it left me in such an angry state that a movie was actually made featuring characters this reprehensibly hateful and terribly written and was then released wide enough to count as a nationwide rollout, and to have it be so horribly directed on top of all that – by Scott Speer, who would go on to (slightly) redeem himself this year by also releasing the cheesy but significantly better teen romantic-drama Midnight Sun, which makes me think that there are just two directors with the same name but wildly varied talents going about making films nowadays – was merely adding insult to injury. Seriously, there are scenes in this movie that have no sense of direction, and has actors going so unbelievably over-the-top that they wouldn’t even pass the audition for any Disney Channel movie in existence, including during an impromptu lip-synching dance number set to a Bruno Mars song which comes so out of left-field that it would feel out of place in a High School Musical movie.
I even remember telling myself straight after storming out as soon as the end credits began that if there was somehow a movie that would make me angrier and so convinced that the film industry should just close up shop as a direct result, then I would cease all operations on this website. Luckily, I’m still in a job at the end of the year, but just take on board that I semi-seriously considered quitting doing the very thing in this world I love doing because I was so furious with this movie; that’s how horrible I found this movie to be, and again it completely threw me off balance because I was so convinced that, on this day of four movies in a row, it would be the Fifty Shades movie that would end up being the most punishing to sit through. Instead, it would be Status Update, a movie that I still cannot believe I actually saw in a cinema, that I would have easily walked out of were I not reviewing it for this website, and that is such an utter disgrace to the art of cinema that it should not even be thought of by anyone curious enough to see it.
Just don’t. Please, don’t. For the love of God, please do not seek out this movie in any capacity. You’ll thank me later…