So Norm of the North inspired me to create a top 10 list of the worst animated films I’ve ever seen. Here it is:
10. Lorax- This bright, messy film ruins Dr Seuss’ subtle message into a story of bland corporate greed.
9. Mars Needs Moms- Gray, drab, motion capture film with a strangely dark message for kids of Moms getting abducted by aliens.
8. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return- Some of the worst animation I’ve ever seen. It does not look finished. The story is cluttered and I nodded off more than once. It is not worthy to bear the name of Oz.
7. Pound Puppies Movie- The worst of the corporate toy movies from the 80s with no creativity or cleverness. We get the origins of Puppy Power and that’s as lame as you might guess.
6. Fly Me to the Moon- Basically a script of unending fly puns and toilet humor. Poor animation, annoying characters, stupid story.
5. Hero of Color City- Terrible Toy Story rip-off about crayons who come to life. The animation is awful, the story is boring, humor falls flat.
4. Hunchback of Notre Dame 2- Takes the subtle dark message of the original and turns it into a maudlin atrocity. Terrible animation, horrible villain and a bell with jewels on the inside is stupid. The worst of the Disney sequels in my opinion.
3. Norm of the North- Call it recency bias but this may be the worst animated film I’ve seen in a theater. The story makes no sense, animation is sloppy, villain super lame. Not one good thing to say about it
2. Eight Crazy Nights- Disgusting animated film from Adam Sandler featuring jokes in poor taste to put it mildly. His vocal performances are insulting and annoying. The songs wouldn’t even work in a bad SNL skit. Terrible film in every way.
1. All Dogs Go to Heaven Christmas Carol- You guys know how dear Christmas Carol is to me and this film adds hypnotized dogs and a she-devil spirit called Belladonna who wants to destroy Christmas. Making Carface Scrooge doesn’t work because he isn’t the primary villain trying to ruin Christmas. The Tiny Tim dog is the worst and The animation is terrible and the songs unoriginal.
15. Fantastic 4- I didn’t hate it quite as much as bigger comic book movie fans but it certainly isn’t good. The characters are forgettable to muddled- especially the villain Dr Doom who’s powers and abilities made no sense. The story didn’t work and the acting wasn’t good. But by far the worst part was the special effects, which were some of the worst I’ve seen in a comic book movie since Superman 4.
14. In the Heart of the Sea- A film I was looking forward too that was a big disappointment. It was gross, dull with surprisingly poor visual effects. I wanted an action adventure at sea and what I got was a grim survival story and not a good one at that. The acting is fine but other than that really didn’t like it.
13. Minions- The cute sidekicks of Despicable Me movies can’t carry their own film. It’s supposed to be an origin story and yet we don’t really find out anything surprising or new about them. Most of the jokes are about the 1960s and I’m not sure why that is funny? They didn’t get one laugh from me; nor did any other part of the movie. I didn’t like it after first watching it and disliked it even more on the rewatch.
12. Terminator Genisys- At best a forgettable entry into the terminator films but this made the huge mistake of going back into the timeline and altering some of the events of the good terminator movies! The acting is underwhelming, the plot is full of holes and it gives nothing new or different. Arnold is good and that’s about all I can say for it.
11. Suffragette- Probably my biggest disappointment of the year. The acting is good but I hated how it was made so much. The extreme close-ups and shaky cam made me nuts. I wanted to leave the theater it bothered me so much. Also focusing on a fictional character made it all feel maudlin and predictable. It’s a real shame when you have real life characters you could have focused on. Meryl Streep is completely wasted in the film.
10. Little Boy- I’m typically a defender of faith-based films but this one about a little boy with great faith in WW2 was a complete snoozefest. The little boy isn’t a good actor and it definitely goes into the ‘Jesus is magic’ territory Christian films sometimes dip into. I don’t care for that approach to faith.
9. Strange Magic- The script really sinks this animated film ‘from the mind of George Lucas’. It’s supposed to be a ‘girl power’ movie but all the girls are dopey and stupid. The songs are so on the nose that they became annoying.
8. Pixels- The premise for Pixels could have been fun and there are a few good moments but I just can’t get over that in 2015 a woman is given to someone as a trophy for valor in a fight. The plot is full of holes and all the women are mopey, whiny, sad sacks that need Adam Sandler and crew to save them. Some of the visuals are cool but that’s about it.
7. Home- What a stinker from Dreamworks. The plot makes no sense and the characters are inconsistent. The voice talent doesn’t work. The music seems out of place. The ending made me roll my eyes. I explain more about my dislike for Home in yesterdays post
6. Walt Before Mickey- A movie I actually had a good time at because it is so so awful it made me laugh. There are so many scenes I couldn’t believe what I was seeing like when Walt befriends a mouse and carries it around in his pocket talking to it. Then he loses the mouse and goes into a panic attack looking for it. Things like that are just too silly! So rent it if you want a good laugh.
5. Aloha- What happened Cameron Crowe? This movie is such a mess. It’s baffling how with so many skilled actors and a place as beautiful as Hawaii he could make a movie as bad as Aloha. It all comes down to the editing. Most of the conversations seemed like they were spliced together from other conversations. So many of the plotpoints felt wedged in and then you have Emma Stone playing a Japanese woman because that makes sense…
4. Chappie- There are some interesting ideas Neill Blomkamp in Chappie but unfortunately it focuses on the wrong characters. There is a band called Die Antwoord who are some of the most shrill, awful, annoying characters I’ve seen in a film. I hated every time they were on screen and that was a lot of the movie. Plus, it is way more violent than it needs to be and the band takes you away from the interesting discussions and characters in Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel.
3. Paul Blart Mall Cop 2- I actually liked the first Paul Blart but this sequel is basically a giant ad for the Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas. We even get a tour at one point. Not a gag works and when they don’t work they last forever. It’s honestly like a bad Saved by the Bell episode without the warmth or charm of that series.
2. Hot Pursuit- A terrible buddy/road trip movie with Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara playing shrill, unlikable, awful women. All of Sophia’s bad behavior and traits are excused because she’s Columbian or a hot latino which I found to be a little racist and uncomfortable. There’s over the top gags that don’t work and the lesbian jokes never stopped. I honestly don’t understand how anyone making this movie thought this stuff was funny.
1. Ridiculous 6- How could there be something worse than Hot Pursuit? Well, leave it to Adam Sandler and company in this atrocious Western parody. It is gross, racist, bigoted, awful and way too long. The actors should all be embarrassed. Netflix should be embarrassed. No wonder Native American extras and representatives walked off the set. Even with how awful Adam Sandler movies have been of late, I couldn’t believe how bad the Ridiculous 6 was.
Before I give my worst movies of the year list tomorrow I thought I would preemptively explain my choice of Home as the worst animated film of 2015. Most people I feel will have Strange Magic at the bottom and it is not good by any stretch of the definition; However, I do think it is better than Home. Here’s why:
There is no doubt Strange Magic is a very flawed film. The script is the biggest problem with dopey dialogue that was extremely predictable and corny. For example, one of the girl characters says to another ‘get your head out of the clouds- a cloud of boys!”. That’s just terrible writing… Strange Magic also has characters that are at best on a Saturday morning level of development.
George Lucas said he wanted it to be a ‘girl power’ film and yet the girls are so silly. I know there is love potion involved but they certainly fall for the idiot male characters easily. They are pretty much vehicles in the story to fall in and out of love without any real personality or character development.
The songs are performed fine but so on the nose and uncreative they became annoying. When the Bog King starts singing ‘wild thing’ I yearned for the good old days of Happy Feet, which was at least a little creative in the song selection…
However, even with all that said, at least the story in Strange Magic is solid. It’s based on Shakespeare for goodness sake. It may have been predictable but unlike Gnomeo and Juliet (yikes…) it stuck pretty true to Midsummer’s Night Dream. The animation and vocal performances are also good- certainly better than the movie deserved. If the script had been better and the song choices more original it would have been a pretty good film.
Home was worse for me because the story makes no sense. These aliens gather all the humans to one place, which is really stupid. I mean who wants to gather all their potential foes together? And they manage to build all these houses for the humans and yet they know nothing about them like even that they live in families. And wouldn’t there have been a big conflict when all those homes were being built for the relocated humans? They also don’t know how human items work like a hair dryer but they manage to run the cities after the humans have left. They know how to not only fix cars but make them super cars using a slushie machine but they don’t know about toilets (such a lame toilet joke would have been so much funnier if the aliens had a truly original take on the scene not just eating it).
The aliens basically use planets until resources die and then move on to the next planet. This makes no sense to me and makes them all cuddly but very mean when you really think about it. And especially when you find out why they keep moving on it is so stupid.
Basically the whole story is based on the fact that Oh sends a reply all email to the entire galaxy. I’m sorry but that’s just lame! It’s not believable as a serious cause for conflict and the attempt to make Oh misunderstood only becomes frustrating. They have all these ways of communicating (email, those orb things) and yet the entire plot could be solved by a phone call or an actual conversation but nobody will listen to poor Oh.
The villain motivation was also very murky and really doesn’t make sense when you think about it.So he just wanted to keep invading other planets with his essentially minions for what purpose? They give a reason but it defies credulity. All I could see was to make puns and be a silly villain. And then when we get the second villain it’s even worse. Another conflict that could have been solved by a couple conversations but the dastardly plan would have been foiled. Groan! The ending had me rolling my eyes out of the theater.
The character motivations were also extremely muddled and inconsistent. Tip for instance sometimes behaved like a teenager, sometimes like a little girl and she was voiced by a 35 year old woman which was strange. There was never a moment where I felt like a girl had not only lost her mother but all of her species had been abducted! I mean that’s some serious trauma, not just a bad grade on a test. She seemed more upset by the way people treated her at school than the chaos that surrounds her.
Oh was also inconsistent, sometimes smart, sometimes stupid, sometimes silly, other times somber, and badly voiced. They basically take Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory and make him an alien. And as much as I like BBT it did not work for me. I found it a very grating character and performance that was again inconsistently written.
At the core it is a road trip movie we’ve seen a million times and the attempts at humor were so lame. The tone is really all over the place, which is exemplified by the music feeling like it belonged in another film. Home could have been a fun silly film for preschoolers but the somber moments ruined that appeal. I left Home thinking ‘who was this made for?’. It’s pretty morose for small kids and definitely nothing new for adults. And unlike sometimes morose movies such as Inside Out or Song of the Sea it didn’t give me anything new and like I said, the plot holes abound. It’s at best a generic road trip movie, nothing more.
So that’s why Home for me was worst animated film of the year. It had inconsistent characters, flawed story, terrible voice acting choices, and a poorly managed tone. It made for an overall big letdown and despite their somewhat mixed history, I still expect much better from Dreamworks.
I guess when it comes down to it if I had to watch Strange Magic or Home again I’d pick Strange Magic. To me it at least has a good story, looks nice and has some well performed, if uncreative songs.
Nobody could be more thrilled with the recent overwhelmingly positive response to Inside Out than I am. It is a spectacular film in every way and deserves to be heralded as such. It’s one of those movies I could watch every week for the rest of my life and never get tired of. It is emotional, funny, bright, colorful, heartfelt, smart and creative. But there is one thing in these responses that has annoyed me a little bit. People are way over-doing it on the Pixar ‘return to form’. Pixar had a few less good pictures but they were by no means the bottom of the barrel when it comes to animated movies.
I have to be careful because I don’t want to spoil my reviews for Brave, Monsters University and Cars 2 but these movies are flawed but they are not that bad. All 3 of them lie strictly in my C average movie category which for Pixar is a failure but seriously let’s have a little bit of perspective here.
You want to know what is a truly awful animated film? How about 8 Crazy Nights which has a character named Whitey who is frozen in outhouse feces. You are going to stand here and tell me that Cars 2 is worse than that? Give me a break.
How about Fly Me to the Moon which is 85 minutes of terrible fly puns including a fly exclaiming “lord of the flies!”. It’s mind numbingly bad. It’s bad in every way something can be bad- it looks awful, jokes are puns and cringe-inducing, story is stupid, voice performances lame. You going to claim Brave is worse than that?
How about last years Hero of Color City? A movie that took me a week to watch it was so painful. In a year that had The Nut Job, Hero of Color City swooped in and took the crown as not only the worst animated film of the year but one of the worst MOVIES I’ve ever seen. The animation is awful, characters are all grating and awful, voice performances suck, it’s a cheap rip off of Toy Story and the humor is all in poor taste. I’d like to hear anyone try to claim Monsters University is worse than that garbage.
And I haven’t even seen either of the Titanic animated movies, Doogle, or Foodfight, which I have on good authority from many sources, are the actual worst animated films ever made. I’d certainly rather watch any of the bottom 3 Pixars than The Lorax ruin a Dr Seuss’ book. At least Cars 2 just took aim at itself and not a beloved literary classic.
I could probably think of 50 animated movies that I think are worse than Cars 2 or Brave. I would certainly way rather watch either of those again than Dinosaur, Brother Bear, Chicken Little, or Home on the Range from the Disney canon. I’d rather watch both all day than nearly all of the Disneytoons library minus the Tinkerbell films. Have you seen Hunchback 2? It’s nauseatingly bad.
Anyway, you probably get my point. Yes, the last 3 Pixar movies have problems but they are not terrible films. They are still beautiful to look at with a lot of creativity, color and care put into them. In fact, I own all 3 and enjoy watching them on occasion. I realize that Pixar set the bar very high for themselves and so perhaps the negativity is natural. People expect brilliance when you create one masterpiece after another. So much so that when I do my Pixar ranking it is going to be nearly impossible. The lowest grade I will probably give a Pixar movie is a C- because they all have elements that I like and are at least an average animated film.
On the other hand, maybe this response is a good thing? Perhaps it makes sure they know they can’t be lazy and expect people to accept it. It’s a message that I wish Dreamworks would get more of but instead their lazy films like Home get rewarded and their ambitious films struggle (speaking of Dreamworks I can think of about 6 maybe more of their movies I would put below any of the Pixar bottom 3).
Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion but I’ve just heard this so much this week that I decided to say something. With that off my chest, watch Inside Out. It’s one of the greats.
Today I found myself thinking about big budget studio movies (intended blockbusters). Typically if I am anywhere on the ‘it’s ok’ to ‘I hated it’ track I will hear “why can’t you just turn your brain off and like the movie?”. The answer is that I can turn my brain off- kind of.
I can be entertained by a stupid movie. For example, Furious 7 I gave a B and that is a definite turn your brain off movie. Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift on the other hand would get a D and I was not able to turn my brain off for that one. What’s the difference?
I don’t know…
Why did Amazing Spiderman 2 drive me nuts but Guardians of the Galaxy dazzled me? On an individual level I can explain it. AS2 was cluttered, poorly written and felt like it wasn’t trying to make a good movie just preparing for the sequel. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone were pretty good but I found Jaimie Fox to be unconvincing as a villain and nothing else engaged me in the story.
Guardians in contrast is about a group of vigilantes who each have a backstory that is interesting, with good writing, small nods and puzzle pieces to the MCU, great music, and likable characters. It has a lot of smaller roles that are done very well with great actors like John C. Reilly, Glen Close and Benicio Del Torro. I also loved Gamora and Nebulla and felt their stories had real heart (as well as Starlord and his mother). It was something new and different and very funny too. For me it had enough layers to not be a ‘turn off your brain’ movie but again a space opera adventure mystery.
I don’t want to get too bogged down on individual movies but that’s just an example of why one version I could enjoy and another didn’t work.
I know a lot of the turn off your brain movies I don’t like don’t deliver what they are promising. Lone Ranger for instance was sold as a fun Western movie . We knew the show and wanted something like Mask of Zorro with Antonio Banderas. Instead we got a tedious story of unlikable characters arguing. It’s also insanely long and the attempts at humor fall flat. It was a brutal time at the movies.
Furious 7 on the other hand worked because it has likable characters, it never stops with the silly action and the humor works. It never takes itself too seriously. In contrast, the Transformers movies have action that is supposed to be epic but feels plodding, terrible dialogue, unlikable characters, pointless explosions and it feels so long. It wears out my patience.
I think the key is the pacing, likable actors, new special effects, and not too much that is cringe-worthy. I can ignore some bad dialogue or plot holes but give me bad dialogue, plot holes and be 3 hours long you are pushing it. I could ignore a lame romance or cliched character but give me lame romance, cliched characters and boring special effects or bad dialogue forget it.
A movie like Jurassic World has just enough of the likable aspects for me to give it a pass but not enough for me to LOVE it like some people.
It’s like I have some kind of scale in my brain where I tick off good things and bad things and overall I walk away either liking it, thinking its ok, or loving it. Here’s what I came up with:
That’s the best I can think of to explain why some movies work for me and others don’t. It can have the silliness. It can have items on both sides of this chart but when it tips the balance on the left side and not enough of the right it’s a problem.
So I’m not really turning off my brain but ignoring my brain. I’m certainly aware of all the bad things in a movie. My brain knows the flaws of a film (no perfect movie) but there’s enough good things to still be entertained, even enamored with a movie.
What do you guys think? Can you turn off your brain for a movie? What’s the factor in allowing that to happen and not? What would you have on your chart? What’s a turn off your brain movie you like and one you hated?
Hollywood you owe Theodore Geisel an apology. The man otherwise known as Dr. Seuss has been injured by Hollywood. Injuries that I don’t know if his work will ever recover from. At best his legacy is severely tarnished by the usually powerful art of movie making and it isn’t just one injury but 3 (could make an argument for 4 but I’ll go with 3).
If you live under a rock and don’t know who Dr Seuss is he wrote brilliant books of poetry for children with imaginative characters, worlds and even his own words thrown in. His only poetic contemporary might be Shel Silverstein but his poems were more grounded in reality than Seuss.
Most importantly there was always a message within Seuss but usually it was a subtle background to the poetry and creativity. It’s like the messages were an added bonus but not the sole focus on the story. This subtlety made the messaging all the more effective because it treated kids with respect.
Seuss believed children really weren’t that different from adults as far as reading and entertainment. He famously said “Children want the same things we want. To laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and to be delighted” I love that quote especially the to be challenged part.
Unfortunately all 4 of the Hollywood attempts to make a movie of Seuss’ work have failed to live up to these basic tenants for great storytelling. Horton Hears a Who is tolerable but the other 3 are loud, grotesque, unfunny with muddled to actually harmful messaging. The exact opposite of Seuss. It makes me sad. I’m going to review these 3 turds because I think all are emblematic of the worst of modern movies. I’m not sure when I will post all 3 but I will start today by reviewing The Lorax…ugh
People often ask me what the worst animated film I’ve seen is. In the short list are turkeys like 8 Crazy Nights, Fly me to the Moon, The Hero of Color City, and Mars Needs Moms. But none of these movies actually did damage to the legacy of an icon and taught the exact opposite message of the source material like the mediocrity of The Lorax. It takes the Seuss story about moderation and love for the earth’s resources and turns it into a story of corporate greed. Urgh…ticks me off!
In the book Seuss teaches about how a man named the Once-ler invents a product that requires him to cut down trees. He loves the trees which is part pf what inspires his invention. “All my life I’ve been searching for trees such as these”. They excite him and he comes up with something that will help people called a thneed.
The Lorax is kind of the patron saint of the trees and tells Once-ler to not chop them down. The Once-ler responds he is just going to chop down a few to make something useful and to help his relatives have jobs. It will be no big deal. Just a few trees.
Things of course get out of control “I meant no harm but bigger I got” The Lorax bemoans the loss of the swamp and the creatures and eventually they hear the last truffala tree get chopped.
And then the Lorax gives some lovely advice to our readers
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot nothing is going to get better. It’s not”
This isn’t a person without hope but it is exactly a person like the Once-ler where hope lies. We can all do something to make a change and make things better. We have too. We need too. It’s a cautionary tale about how the best of intentions can lead to great harm when not checked and when we don’t listen to our prophets and teachers. But we all care and can do ‘a lot’ so that things will ‘get better’ .
You see what a perfect message that is?
So what does the movie give us? Instead of a penitent Once-ler with a chance to regrow the trees we get an evil CEO who is literally selling air. He needs to keep the trees away so that he can get more money. It’s like President Business in Lego without any of the backstory of the father and the toys (or good writing, vocal performances or animation…).
The Once-ler has not made an invention that will help people and support his family. No, he’s making hats out of the truffula pods and sings about money in about a minute after our introduction…
Gone is a character we can relate too, a character that might make choices we might also make. Instead we walk away from the movie feeling that CEOS are greedy and awful and they need to change.
None of the empowerment and subtley of the book. None of the message that all of us need to make changes to save our planet. None of a sense that we understood why the Once-ler did what he did. He’s just greedy and obsessed with the trappings of wealth, power and looking cool. Like a white collar crime we can look at it with disgust but feel no sense of personal introspection or desire to change.
On the poster we see proudly declared “from the creators of despicable me…” and this is so obvious in the movie. Everything from the color palate, to the character design, to the little fish who are groan-inducing copies of the minions without any of the charm or laughs.
Oh and did I mention we get the great voice talents of Taylor Swift and Zac Efron? They narrate the story unnecessarily (in the book there is a boy the Once-ler meets but no girl and not a part of the story). It’s the same problem I had with Home. Swift and Efron do not sound like children in the least and are so boring together. Swift’s Audrey is the manic pixie dream girl we’ve seen a million times and Efron’s Ted is a complete bore. Not to mention there are about a million ways the CEO could deal with these kids especially if he CONTROLS THE AIR! And yet he paints over Audrey’s drawings. Oh no! What a mean guy!
Betty White appears as the loveable old hoot grandma we’ve also seen a million times (often times by Betty White!). She’s cool because she dances and makes inappropriate comments at dinner. What a riot…It’s all so lame.
The music by John Powell is uninspired and for the preschool set only (and yet not really appropriate for kids that young when you think about messaging and style). I defy anyone to hum or sing any of the songs a day later? This is no Menken Ashman that’s for sure.
If I’m going to be positive I will say that it is bright and colorful and Danny Devito is fine as the Lorax but the script lets him down. He is just a grump instead of an advocate for nature. In the book we feel so sad that the Once-ler didn’t listen. It’s a tragedy with a ray of hope at the end. In this the Lorax is just an annoying little pest.
It depresses me to no end Seuss’ message of ‘unless someone like you” is completely lost in in this lazy uninspired movie. In fact, the exact opposite message is taught- “the environment? That’s other people’s problem. Rich people who own big companies problem”.
That’s the greatest sin of all. You could watch this with kids and I’d bet none of them would walk away wanting to plant a tree or do something good for the earth. They may hum a song or two or giggle at the fishes but my guess is in about a day they will have forgotten they have seen it.
Seuss deserves better than that. The message deserves better than that.
Also I will say for a movie that does the whole ‘greedy CEO’ thing they sure were happy to pimp themselves out to Mazda, IHOP and a million other sponsors come movie time. It is the cherry on top of some of the most cynical movie-making I’ve seen. Let’s just make a buck any way we can!
Maybe that’s why the whole pollution angle of the book wasn’t really addressed? In the book the world of the Once-ler is gross with filthy water and air. In this movie the world with no plants or non-pumped in air looks pretty nice. In fact, they are singing songs about how great it is! Wouldn’t a world with no plants be disgusting? Not some kind of plastic paradise? Sigh…They should be ashamed of themselves.
It’s a definite F for me. I hate it but just wait till we get to The Grinch and Cat in the Hat which are even worse…Why Hollywood? Why?
People have asked me so here goes- the worst movies I’ve ever seen. You may enjoy these movies. That’s awesome. I’m sincerely glad someone got something out of them. This is just me and my reaction, so please don’t be offended.
1. Drop Dead Gorgeous-
There are 2 movies I have walked out of in my life. Drop Dead Gorgeous was the first. It was so hateful and mean spirited all in the guise of a comedy I couldn’t take it any more and with about 20 minutes left I went into the lobby of the theater (on a date no less) and cried my eyes out.
It’s a mockumentary about beauty pageants that has one girl after another blown up, shot, murdered, burned and attacked. A character mimics the crucifixion, a girl becomes deaf for laughs, a near dead anorexic girl is wheeled out in a wheelchair with an IV, the mentally ill are mocked, all the girls get food poisoning with its accompanying effects. It’s gross, dark, cold and hateful so much so that 15 years after I saw it I still remember it far too vividly.
Meet the second movie I’ve walked out on. One of the horrible Saturday Night Live skits turned into a feature length movie with some of the most annoying characters ever put on screen. But what made this movie especially upsetting was a scene where Mary Catherine prays and see’s Jesus who is then mocked and made to look silly as part of an extended joke. I’m sorry but NO! You do not go there. Clearly nothing is sacred in the movies and that crossed a big line for me and I was done. This is the movie that convinced me I couldn’t just wing it at the movies but had to research content, quality and everything else before going to the theater (even the dollar theater!).
3. Last Airbender-
When people claim Fantasia is boring I want to ask them if they have ever seen The Last Airbender? It’s Shyamalan at his Shyamalanalist and holy cow is it BORING! I’m told the series is amazing and I mean to watch it someday but this movie is nothing but long segments of exposition followed by pan shots and the most boring fights ever filmed accompanied with terrible CG and special effects. It looks like a toddler yoga class and the slow motion and the story and acting and all the contemplative pauses when nothing interesting has been said makes you want to will yourself to sleep because your dreams will be much better than this movie. Kill me now.
4. Pearl Harbor-
Picking the worst Michael Bay movie is tough but Pearl Harbor will always get the edge because it is about real people, real heroes who deserved better. The historical details are lazy, dialogue awful, women dopey, romance worse than a bad soap opera, and explosions that dehumanize war more than the actual war. Everything is a caricature. Every line is predictable and stupid and been said in a million other movies. It feels like it was written by a Middle School drama club and the acting isn’t any better. It sucks.
This movie has the potential to be great. You have artistic filmmaker Terry Gilliam, cool visual look, interesting premise and 2 solid leading men in Heath Ledger and Matt Damon. Unfortunately that potential was never met. The story can’t decide whether it is a comedy or horror movie and the tone switches all over the place. The female character doesn’t make sense and the story is muddled. Are they swindlers? Where does the magic come from? Only bad magic is shown and why aren’t more of the Grimm characters shown? It doesn’t make any sense and my brain hurts thinking about it.
Let’s just say there is a scene in this movie where a horse swallows a little girl and you can see said girl wiggling around the extended bowels of the horse. That scene alone makes this on my list. It’s just so unpleasant and confusing.
This may be my most controversial choice but Contact was the first movie I saw in the theaters that I walked away hating. It’s about a woman who finds a portal that will lead to aliens if she can build a satellite type machine. Sounds like an interesting premise but at 2.5 hours it drags and becomes very preachy.
I despise the way religious characters are treated in this film. Matthew McConaughey plays a minister who is painted as condescending and foolish. But it doesn’t stop there. That could actually be subtle. Religion is the villain that literally tries to destroy science and its progress. And another movie where the religious characters are the most judgmental and uncharitable. What a cliché.
7. The Smurfs-
You could say I am being too hard on poor kids movie The Smurfs. I disagree. I think I should be HARDER on The Smurfs because it is a kids movie. Kids have a limited time period to mold their intellect, creativity and personality and lazy crap like The Smurfs is wrong. Yep, it pisses me off.
The thing that makes Smurfs so particularly disgraceful is the constant product placement. I am aware all movies have product placement these days but most of the time it is a car being driven or a phone being used. That’s more subtle. Not here. We have many scenes of Smurfs using Sony products, next to Sony billboards, on top of Sony laptops. I would bet no longer than a minute goes by without a Sony advertisement somewhere in the shot. They should be ashamed of themselves.
And even worse the story is stupid. The laughs are moronic and only for kids and it looks awful. It’s the worst in awful Hollywood cynical, make a buck, film-making.
8. Film Socialisme-
All right artsy film lovers challenge me on your Godard fandom. I love artsy movies. I love Tree of Life. I love Where the Wild Things Are. I love Fantasia. I could go on but this is just mind numbingly awful.
It isn’t even a movie. It is clips of people on a cruise, children playing, and a llama at a gas station. How deep and profound. Groan. There are confusing title cards and subtitles that aren’t translations but words in ‘pigeon English’ and sometimes it will just say 1 word. Certain shots are taken with an amateur camera and edited poorly and I guess this is supposed to be all deep but I didn’t get it and I think I’m a pretty smart person?
Well, Roger Ebert didn’t get it either and he won a Pulitzer Prize:
“This film is an affront. It is incoherent, maddening, deliberately opaque and heedless of the ways in which people watch movies. All of that is part of the Godardian method, I am aware, but I feel a bargain of some sort must be struck. We enter the cinema with open minds and goodwill, expecting Godard to engage us in at least a vaguely penetrable way. But in “Film Socialisme,” he expects us to do all the heavy lifting”
It is unwatchable.
9. All Dr Seuss Movies-
I realize this is a bit of a cheat for a top 10 list but I hate all the Dr Seuss movies so much I couldn’t pick one. Horton Hears a Who is definitely the least awful but the live action Grinch and Cat in the Hat are jaw droppingly bad. They take the whimsey of Seuss and turn it into garishness. They take the magic and make it mean-spirited and ugly.
The Lorax perhaps annoys me the most and it is probably my least favorite animated film I’ve ever seen. Why? Well, it takes a subtle story about conservation and only using what we need and turns it into a greedy capitalist condemnation bore. Any reader can walk away from Seuss’ book and feel like they can and should do something to help the environment. Even something small will make a big difference. People walk away from the Lorax movie thinking ‘those greedy CEO’s. Boy, I’m glad I’m not like them’.
Plus, it looks like neon threw up all over it and the songs are awful. The voicecast is Ok but kind of shouty and annoying. I also have to hold it accountable for being an anti-greed and capitalist story and yet when the movie came out it was pimped out to everything from IHOP to Mazda. What a joke. Again Hollywood thinking we are all stupid and showing they will do anything to make an extra buck even stomping on Seuss’ genius.
10. What Women Want-
I would like to remind you that I am actually a defender of the romantic comedy. I made a whole video about it on youtube.
That said, there are a lot of terrible romcom’s I could have put on the list. I could have gone with Failure to Launch, What Happens in Vegas, Ghost of Girlfriends Past, Fools Gold, etc.
What Women Want is especially putrid because of what it claims to say about women. The gimmick in the film is that Mel Gibson can hear what women are thinking after an accident. Could be cute right? Well, according to this movie all women think about is being with men, lusting after men, being dumped by men and how well endowed men are.
Even Gibson’s daughter is preoccupied with sex and wondering if she should sleep with her boyfriend at prom and if she will be pretty enough for him.
The absolute worst part is Marisa Tomei who is a conquest of Gibson’s but in hearing her thoughts he realizes he needs to be extra good in the sack for her because she deserves it. Groan. Women in this movie have all their ‘wants’ met if they are satisfied sexually. That sounds like what men want to believe women want. That’s how shallow a movie it is.
It’s just distasteful, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and awful and I don’t know what usually reliable Nancy Meyers (that’s right it is directed by a woman) was thinking. Not one realization he has is anything that I want. I must be some kind of mutant because here all women are exactly the same. Shame, shame, shame.
The movie I hated the most as a little girl was Return to Oz. I recognize this movie has a certain visual style but it was my most unpleasant experience at the movies and I don’t know how I ended up seeing it.
We take our lovely story of Dorothy and her journey home and add electroshock therapy, restraints, mean family members, wheelies, a hallway of heads, and an overall look and feel that is ugly and mean. I see why some who like that aesthetic like it but I hate it.
So there you go. You asked for it and I delivered. Now let’s get back to positive happy movie reviews!
I thought this was a really fun discussion over on the Schmoes Know Podcast (which is one of the best movie podcasts next to the Rotoscopers!). It’s a real Sophie’s Choice. Who is worse Michael Bay or M Night Shyamalan?
They are both insanely bad but if someone put a gun to my head and said ‘you have to watch their latest movie’ what would I pick?
Here are the arguments on both sides.
His movies are demeaning to women, they are long, insulting to minorities and full of mindless destruction and explosions. His dialogue is terrible and I really don’t think he has made a good movie ever (haven’t seen The Rock which I’m told is his one good movie). I have seen Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, and all 4 Transformers movies. KMN. Now that I think about it the first Transformers movie isn’t that bad. It’s a fun big blockbuster movie (certainly a million times better than any of the sequels).
Pearl Harbor is especially insulting because it deals with real people, real heroes and reduces them to caricatures and a laughable soap opera romance with some of the worse dialogue I’ve ever heard.
(Language warning but it’s true)
The reason I might place him above Shyamalan is he does have a demographic that he services and that enjoy his movies. Whether I have respect for that demographic is one thing but I can’t imagine any demographic liking Lady in the Water, The Village, The Happening or Last Airbender.
M Night Shyamalan-
He made one good movie, and 2 movies that look good but are very silly. When I got home from my mission everyone was raving about Signs so I watched it and thought it was a very weak and even preachy movie. I did not get the hype. Lamest aliens ever…but it at least has style.
Post Signs they have been astonishingly bad. And I don’t know is it worse to make movies with talent and to try hard and produce junk or to half-bake it and produce mindless shluck? Shyamalan if he let someone else write and set his ego aside could make a good movie. I don’t know if I could say the same about Michael Bay.
But again at least Bay kind of knows his schtick and he makes it where Shyamalan doesn’t even seem to realize he is making crap. He thinks it’s all big and important and that us silly fools aren’t enlightened enough to understand it. You watch interviews of him trying to defend Lady in the Water or The Last Airbender and it is mind blowing. He acts like he is this wounded artist that people are unfairly attacking. I mean have you seen these movies? They are unwatchable films.
Lady in the Water is boring and so full of itself. It’s so awful and pretentious.
I mean The Happening is about the evil wind and the plants attacking people. I guess it could work if you went the B cheesy horror movie route (ala Sharknado) but this takes itself seriously and turns good actors into jokes. Mark Whalberg is so bad in The Happening (he’s apologized publicly for The Happening). Same with Paul Giamati in Lady in the Water (although that movie is not his fault it is bad). And with Last Airbender he took a show that people love and Westernized it, made it incredibly boring and it doesn’t even look good? The special effects are laughable. The fight sequences and the slow motion and the panning shots make me nuts.
In both Lady in the Water and Signs M Night casts himself as these prophet types who are the chosen one’s and again at least Michael Bay (I think) knows he’s making crap.
But he could make a good movie again and his movies aren’t demeaning to women or minorities like Bay’s are? (well not as demeaning at least and it isn’t real people).
I guess I would pick Shyamalan although I think he might be the worse director again because there is not any demographic for his movies. They are just junk. Avoid them both! And don’t get me started on After Earth. It’s right up there with Battlefield Earth in the terd heap.
When Johnny Depp thinks you’re strange M Night you need to take a look at yourself.
I guess it comes down to do you appreciate a pompous artist who tries but makes crap or someone that doesn’t try but makes crap that a lot of people for whatever reason like? One is full of his own genius and the other is lazy. I don’t know. Tough call. May I never be cursed with such a choice.
So I found this bracket download and have been having fun with it tonight. I was just goofing off so please don’t take it too seriously.
Here we have a tournament of Christmas Carol versions
Next is the worst of my Disney rankings. Turns out Bolt is the bad movie I would most least mind watching again. It’s my favorite of the bad. I’d say that’s right on. It’s an entertaining if forgettable little movie.
This I’m sure will cause all kinds of controversy but there you go. My top 16 battling it out. I did rank Big Hero 6 higher than Lion King but today if I had to pick I went with Lion King. Maybe tomorrow I will feel differently. They are all good!
Here we go with my favorite holiday films battling it out!
A little 2014 Movies competition!
So this is just silly fun but I had a great time doing it. It’s different than making a list because you are just making a choice over 2 movies. If I had a top 8 holiday films Die Hard wouldn’t be on there but in the tournament it was, so that’s just kind of entertaining