I love going to the movies. There is nothing better than a nice Alamo Drafthouse theater (where you will shut the hell up or you will get thrown the hell out) going dark and a good story being shown for an average of 118 minutes.
Unfortunately, they aren’t all good stories. I didn’t see half as many new movies as Watson did so that’s why he got to run down his Worst 20 Movies of the Year. Me, I’m only going to rant about the ten worst movies I saw this past year. Brace yourself.
10. The Signal
Holy clusterhurl, what the hell was this mess of a decent science fiction premise? This was three perfectly acceptable film ideas–hackers tracking down other hacker in a hacker vs. hacker rivalry, government lab prison where people are trapped after being told they met aliens, and a town empty of life that cannot be escaped no matter what you do or where you go–wrapped into the most pitiful excuse for a storyline ever imagined. And they didn’t even try to weave them together. No, that made it more of a mystery to not explain anything. The only mystery here is how big of a lake house did Laurence Fishburne get to buy for taking this part because there’s no way he did it for the script. If there were a law requiring movie titles to be accurate than this would have been called The Noise.
I should have loved this movie. I loved the original film and I’m a Broadway geek, musicals even more than plays. Annie has some of the most iconic songs ever belted out by orphans (yeah, I said it Oliver! Take your “Food, Glorious Food” and shove it down your pocket!). Adding a modern touch with a hip hop flair? Brilliant. So then what was this steaming pile of Foxx manure? There was no hip hop–the orphans clapped and snapped every once in a while. If that gives you hip hop cred then I’m the new Tupac.
And why would you make a musical where you go out of your way to NOT have people dance? Jamie Foxx is given a new song to sing–he sings it while SITTING IN A DAMNED HELICOPTER. Easy Street, always a fun song, is sung in a dance club where, I kid you not, NOBODY DANCES. Everyone sits at a table and at one point they all raise their tumblers in unison. THAT IS NOT CHOREOGRAPHY! This movie should be erased, the masters burned, the ashes fed to a donkey, and then when the donkey takes a crap I want the producers to eat it. And then sing Tomorrow.
8. Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
I have fond memories of this book. But the short children’s book does not easily lend itself to a movie script, I thought. Still, we gave it a shot. I wish I’d given it a grenade instead. What makes it so bad? Alexander. The book has a kid who is having a bad day. It’s in the title so that isn’t a spoiler. Because bad days happen. And in the book, his day gets better. Because that happens too. That’s the point.
Instead, this movie has Alexander, a boy who always has a bad day. His family, who has better luck, can’t sympathize with Alexander. So when he gets a magical birthday wish, what does he wish for? Does he wish for his family to understand him? Does he wish that his family would at least listen to him? DOES HE WISH TO STOP HAVING BAD DAYS? No. He wishes his family to have the same bad luck that he has. Because Alexander is a dick. This would be like him having cancer and when he finds a genie instead of wishing away the disease he wishes everyone around him to get syphilis.
7. The Machine
Oh my god someone paid money to make this movie. They must have said “You know what would be cool? If we took all the oldest tropes about artificial intelligence and wrapped it in a boring tale about a scientist and then shot the whole thing with a flashlight we just pulled out of this box of Frosted Flakes. That would be moody and thoughtful.”
No. That would be crap.
6. Planes: Fire and Rescue
I am convinced that some Disney animation finance guys needed the unit to hit an exact revenue number for the year. And after Frozen made so much money they needed a stinker. Something so awful that they would lose money from refunds, produced toys that won’t sell, and from therapy sessions they’d be forced to pay for after making children watch some friendly planes GET BURNED ALIVE ON SCREEN. I am not kidding. You see blistered paint and scorch marks form. It’s like Hostel for Toddlers.
5. Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Cartoon. Time machine. Those two things should combine for awesome every day of the week and twice on Thursday. So how did they manage to make this movie so boring? Practice. That’s how.
4. Penguins of Madagascar
This movie put me to sleep. I wasn’t tired.
3.Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
This is the perfect example of what happens when you spend all your money on the cast and don’t have anything left over for a decent script. I mean they had every chance to deliver: Lea Michelle as Dorothy, Dan Ackroyd, Martin Short, Kelsey Grammer, even Bernadette Peters. And the script appears to have been written by a seven-year-old with a Mad Libs book.
2. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
I had a fierce debate over making this number one. Ultimately, I couldn’t do it for the year but this movie will be remembered as the biggest piece of trash that was also the last movie for not one but TWO beloved film icons. Mickey Rooney’s part was minimal, but Robin Williams’ send-off in this piece of cat excrement is almost unforgivable. What makes it worse is that HIS CHARACTER DIES IN THE MOVIE. Oh, and he knows it’s happening so he’s saying goodbye as he dies. Which made every damned adult in the room burst into tears because dammit who doesn’t love Robin Williams and still have a soul?
Oh, I know, the soulless hosebeasts who made this movie. To call it a hot mess would be an insult to both temperature and entropy. It’s non-sensical, pointless, dumb beyond words DESPITE TAKING PLACE IN A MUSEUM, and feels more wooden than a horse full of Trojans. And I can’t emphasize how dumb this movie is–there is an attempt at a joke that lasts for about five minutes all about people reading a word backwards in a reflection. Five minutes. Maybe more. Because that’s super ynnuf (that’s funny backwards–see? NOT FUNNY!). So for this ludicrous waste of digital space to now host the final appearance of Robin Williams means we will be subjected to his dying scene over and over and over and over. The pain will never end. Hopefully this series does.
And now, drum roll please, I present the worst movie of 2014…
1. The Nut Job
I have to commend the people who made The Nut Job. Because it takes hard work, dedication, and I think an entire production team who hasn’t seen a movie made after 1943 to create this utter wreck of a film. How else do you explain a movie that takes place in modern times but everyone talks like a Chicago gangster? EVERYONE. There’s no reason for anything done by any of the characters. They even have a character voiced by Tracy Morgan that ISN’T FUNNY. I didn’t think that was possible. This movie proved me wrong.
And then at the end, with no explanation at all, an animated Psy comes out and sings Gangnam Style. Which would at least have been topical 2 years ago, but now? It makes a lot more sense when you discover that the movie was partially funded by South Korea. Actually, no, that still makes no sense. NOTHING ABOUT THIS MOVIE MAKES ANY SENSE! It’s like it wasn’t a movie at all but just some clever ruse to bring a digital movie file over, maybe have some studio executive open it up and it contains some malware that, I don’t know, gives hackers access to the studio’s computers…