50. The Meg (2018)
"When you go to the theater to see The Meg, you get what you pay for: dumb characters being chased by a giant shark."
49. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The movie is an exercise in overindulgence that feels like you are trapped in a bad drug trip.
48. Pain and Gain (2013)
Well-directed, but the story is so ugly that it is difficult to sit through this story without feeling icky.
47. Marriage Story (2019)
"Shocking! Two self-centered people who don’t understand love/marriage end up destroying their family"
This movie made me hate every character for their utter innability to be decent.
46. Joy (2015)
"Have you ever seen a Lifetime Original Movie where the put-upon heroine is surrounded by characters who one-dimensional antagonists who are simply there to belittle her and make her life hell?
Then you don't need to see Joy."
45. The Grey (2011)
"Liam Neeson fights wolves" should be an awesome concept. Instead we get a ponderous, existential meditation on the bleakness and pointlessness of life.
44. Atomic Blonde (2017)
"Atomic Blonde is a movie that should be all kinds of awesome.
But when all is said and done, the whole movie feels like a waste.
On a side note, Boutella's Delphine may be the stupidest spy ever on film. When she realizes that her life is in mortal danger does she flee Berlin? No. She CALLS UP the person who is her biggest threat and yells at him for NO REASON. After that, does she run away? Set a trap? No. She puts on a pair of noise cancelling head phones and wanders around her unsecure apartment in her underwear. The sequence is so pointless that it defied comprehension.
... the movie has a terrible title. There is nothing "atomic" related to the story and the focus on her being "blonde" also has nothing to do with the story. I know that its supposed to be a clever play on the phrase "atomic bomb" but it really isn't clever. In a movie that tries to insist on the strength and independence of its main heroine, the title is strangely objectifying. I couldn't imagine that one of the potential titles for John Wick was Nuclear Brunette."
43. Valentine's Day (2010)
This movie tries so hard to be an American Love, Actually. But it fails on every single level. None of the stories are interesting enough to sustain even a part of the movie. The worst part involves an older couple when the man finds out his wife cheated on him decades earlier and is hurt by this. At the end she comes to him and says, "When you love someone you love everything about them, the good and the bad." This statement is monumentally stupid that it breaks through the vapidity of the rest of the movie. When she said this, I turned to my wife and said, "I love your crack addiction."
When you love someone, you hate the bad because the bad is bad for them.
42. Snowpiercer (2013)
This movie is the reason I did not want to see Parasite, which is from the same director. Not only is the theme of class warfare oversimplified and tedious, not only is the story structure completely messed up so that the biggest emotional impact is lost, but there is so much over-the-top stupidity in the character designs that you can't take any of the movie seriously, even though Chris Evans gives one of his best performances.
41. The Heat (2013)
"My friend Blimpy once said that a mark of a funny comedy is that you find yourself quoting it right after.
After my wife and I left The Heat, I couldn't remember a single joke.
...There are 3 big mistakes in this film.
1. The movie substitutes jokes with vulgarity...
2. The jokes went on to long...
3. I could not believe Bullock as an FBI agent...
When you leave a comedy, you want to feel good when you leave the theater. I left The Heat, feeling like I wasted hours of my life that I couldn't get back.
40. MacGruber (2010)
This is a classic case of removing the restraints of censorship and devolving into a horrid, vulgar mess. This movie could have been something if they hadn't simply replaced wit with vulgarity.
39. Holmes and Watson (2018)
"And the movie's success hinges on how much you are willing to follow Ferrel and Reilly down their rabbit hole of humor. It is an unfortunate mark of modern comedy that jokes don't land like jabs. It used to be the humor was fast and furious and it would come at you from various styles and angles. In movies like this, the jokes are one-note and they tend to play a scenario out much further than the humor would allow so that you can a continuing diminishing return on laughs. One sequence in which Holmes and Watson think they have accidentally killed the queen is painful to watch and makes you wish that it would just end."
38. The Hangover Part III (2013)
"The jokes fall flat for the most part because most of the characters have lost their flavor. This is a movie about Alan. Stu and Phil are there only because you couldn't have a Hangover movie without them. But the two saner wolves in the pack have little else to do in the story than react to Alan's insanity. And this would also be more forgivable if Alan was more redeemable. But rather than enjoying his wacky free spirit, I found myself wanting to wring his neck."
37. Long Shot (2019)
"But the movie ultimately does not work.
The primary reason is that it isn't funny. Humor is very subjective, so perhaps other people will find more laughs than I did. Particularly, I am not a fan of drug humor. Flarsky gets picked up by Secret Service and brought to a federal building, there is a scene where he has to empty his drug paraphernalia before he enters. I heard some people laughing in the theater, but the moment passed by me without a giggle. And that is the way most of the jokes went for me. The jokes were also directed primarily against those at the political right. Flarsky releases a lot of venom on his political opponents, but this could alienate anyone whose politics are not aligned that way. It is possible to do a political comedy that makes fun of all sides, but this movie fails. This is despite the fact that the movie calls itself out for its own political bias. By the time that scene comes around, it is too little, too late.
On top of that, the movie is simply gross. And while there is a place for gross-out humor, it doesn't really fit into a romantic comedy. At one point, Flarsky does something (a thing I will not repeat on this blog), that causes him to say "Yucky!" And that was the feeling I had about the entire film. The movie wants to say something insightful about media, politics, and feminism. It keeps dropping lines like little truth bombs for us to digest. But the movie fails in maturity so it cannot be taken in any way seriously."
36. Split (2016)
Much has been said about McAvoy performance, but the movie is rambling, tedious, and boring. Not only that, but the abuse sub-plot, even though it is not graphic, is so disgusting that it took me completely out of the film and made me a little nauseous.
35. Grown Ups 2 (2013)
Let's cut to the chase.
Grown Ups 2 is not a good movie. It is lazy, indulgent, and often poorly acted.
The worst is the addition of Nick Swarsdon. I don't know why he is constantly being elevated. I find him incredibly off-putting, more so that anyone else on the cast (and that includes a movie with David Spade).
The movie coasts on the charm of its actors. If you have great affection for them (a trait Sandler has cultivated with his audience) then you will enjoy this movie, but not as much as his other movies.
34. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)
I won this Blu-ray as a prize at a convention and it still felt like a paid a price in watching it. It was empty and joyless, with none of the wonder of any of the previous TMNT movies.
33. The World's End (2013)
"But my biggest problem with the movie is the ending. MILD SPOILERS AHEAD.
I will not get into much detail, but after the big final confrontation there is an epilogue. What happens after is dark and dour, but that isn't the problem. There is a huge disconnect between the events and actions of the movie and how the characters behave afterwards. It isn't simply that they are changed by what has occurred; that is something that should happen. But the movie has our heroes ripping apart these robots with their bare hands and then at the end the movie condemns people who hate the robots. It is such a strange thematic disconnect that I left the movie horribly puzzled rather than delighted."
32. Dallas Buyer's Club (2013)
McConaughey got a well-deserved Oscar for this movie, but it so incredibly boring, which it shouldn't be because the subject is fascinating. Yet somehow the director found the least interesting way to tell the story.
31. Welcome to Marwen (2018)
I wanted to like this movie so much...
But this is a movie that is let down by a horrible script...
Mark is not someone we really want to spend time with. He is off-putting to the point of creepy. You can find a rewarding story in characters who are initially unlikable, like Jack Nicholson's character in As Good As It Gets. But Mark doesn't start horrible and then move slowly into likability. Instead he starts at slightly sympathetic but only becomes less so as the film unfolds. We see him watch pornography and become obsessed with the neighbor. He blurs the lines of fantasy and reality in a way that would make him feel like an actual threat in real life, not a zany protagonist.
To make matters worse, the movie wants us to invest in Mark's romantic feelings for Nicol both inside of Marwen and in the real world. But it is clear from early in the movie that Roberta is the one Mark should be with. Roberta understands him, doesn't patronize him, challenges him, and she cares for him. I could not help feel a strong sense of annoyance at the fact that Roberta was cut out of most of the movie. All of the time spent on Nicol felt like an absolute waste.
The women of Marwen are strong, but they have no depth. Their dialogue reveals so little sophistication. But the movie thinks it is making some strong social statement by their mere presence, but this makes them even more incomprehensible. At one point Hoagie cries out "Women are the saviors of the world." And no, context does not help this line.
Movies like this make me sad because they have all the ingredients of a wonderful film, but the chef screwed up the recipe.
30. Jojo Rabbit (2019)
Jojo Rabbit is a movie that continuously congratulates itself on being so very clever. And if it was half as clever as it thinks it is, then this movie would actually be great. Instead we get a boring story, whose emotional core is buried under a dozen layers of irony...
The movie is filmed in the style of quirky Wes Anderson coming of age film. We are supposed to be be impressed and shocked by the setting. Hitler says horrid things that Jojo repeats and we are meant to guffaw at the casual awfulness. But once you strip away the window dressing, there isn't much there. The script feels like it was written by a teenager. It is filled with shallow shocks that are meant to be unfathomable depths.
29. Ad Astra (2019)
I've always said that if you want to sound smart to people, either quote them Latin or Shakespeare. The makers of this movie desperately want to sound smart. To the Stars didn't sound pretentious enough, so they Latinized the title: Ad Astra...
I don't know what it is about space movies that brings out the pretension in directors. This movie desperately wants to be 2001: A Space Odyssey. To be sure, writer/director James Gray does some fine visual work. But the space opera feels like it is trying too hard to be lofty. Even the great Christopher Nolan fumbled a little with his finale to Interstellar. Gray wants to make a movie with big themes, sweeping emotions and potent visuals. But he forgets that first and foremost he is telling a story. And none of those other things matter if you do not have characters that you want to follow.
There is absolutely nothing interesting about Roy. He is a block of wood in a space suit. That is not an insult to Pitt's performance. I am sure he was told to play the part of someone with the emotional depth of a thimble. I suppose this was meant to show how Roy's abandonment as a child has stunted his full emotional growth. Donald Sutherland has an extended cameo as a friend of Clifford, but he exits the movie too soon to have any impact. The movie builds to our potential reunion between Roy and his father, but everything about it is hollow...
One of the things that the film tries to capture is the tedium of space travel and the long loneliness that it engenders. While this is interesting on paper, it was unenjoyable in execution. You begin to feel like a child in a long car ride, waiting for it to end.
This movie was a mistake. It is a spectacle devoid of character, emotion, and catharsis. Instead of this one going "To the Stars" it is going "To the Dollar Bin" at Walmart.
28. Bad Teacher (2012)
The only way a film like this works is if the "bad teacher" turns out to be a good teacher. But now, she is a horrible, terrible teacher from start to finish. She does not teach her children anything useful except that they should cheat to get ahead. In fact, she ruins the life of an actually good teacher.
27. Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
The first Daddy's Home was a mediocre film with a likable cast.
Daddy's Home 2 isn't even half as good as that...
I didn't laugh once.
This shouldn't have happened. Wahlberg and Gibson are incredibly talented and Ferrel and Lithgow can also be funny. But none of the jokes are able to produce a single genuine laugh. The most they may elicit is a polite smile. You can understand a joke without laughing and that is what you get from this hollow movie.
The script has no intelligence and doesn't bother to find humor from any deeper themes. Cardellini is a talented actress, but she is given nothing to do in this movie of any humor or significance. She is often paired with Ambrosio who sucks all of the joy out of the screen with her empty performance. Her character is meant to be vacuous, but I was constantly annoyed by her mere presence on the screen. And that is saying a lot when you have a character as cloying as Lithgow's Don.
26. Lady Bird (2017)
I hated this movie.
And my hate for this movie is compounded by the fact that there were a number of Catholics who reviewed the film and said that it was largely pro-Catholic.
I am not sure what movie they were watching, but the casual sacrilege of this film precludes it from being anything close pro-Catholic.
I would try describing the plot but it virtually non-existent. The movie feels like we are reading entries in a pretentious teenagers diary. There is very little to connect the narrative. All we get a little vignettes about Lady Bird's odd life. Interesting characters and storylines are abandoned just when they get interesting, probably because they do not revolve around the main character. In that sense, Gerwig has captured a strong sense of entitlement and narcissism that many young people feel. For example we have a priest who suffers from depression and a gay Catholic who is terrified about coming out to his parents. Can we get any follow up on any of the interesting developments? Nope because they don't involve Lady Bird.
But beyond that, there is nothing special about this movie. There is certainly nothing Oscar-worthy about it (apart from those two performances). And it is without a doubt not a positive portrayl of Catholic education.
Lady Bird wants to be a film that soars, but instead it feels like it never hatched and is now a bad egg.
Stay tuned for the 25 worst films of the decade.