Sometimes writing or talking about the bad films that you see can be depressing; watching the films is slog enough, mustering the energy to dismiss them can be too much. However, here is a list of some of the films I watched this year that were either simply terrible or simply disappointing.
For those keeping score:
Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas were each in two of the Bottom Eleven.
Husband and wife Paul Bettany and Jennifer Connolly share honours for each appearing in dreadful shite.
Scarlett Johansson was in perhaps the year’s best film, Under the Skin, as well as the horrific Lucy.
Here are the films that I must try hard to forget I ever saw:
Transcendence: Is this a cinematic first? A performance emailed in? Johnny Depp and the rest of the cast struggle with this tale of A.I gone amuck. Slow, boring and a waste of everyone’s time. Wally Pfister proves that being a great cinematographer and being a great director are two different things.
Gangster Squad: It was a year old and forgotten by the time I saw it. Ryan Gosling sleepwalks through this luridly violent cops n’ gangsters tale that also stars Sean Penn at his most unsubtle, Josh Brolin grumbling and channelling Nick Nolte, and, oh, hey! Nick Nolte.
Noah: There were angel stones, or stone angels, or something, shaven-headed Russell Crowe being very shouty and holy, and Ray Winstone being very shouty and Ray Winstone-ish. By the time it was over you were hoping that a flood would come to wash away your memory of it.
Lucy: Luc Besson rehashes the same old ideas – and they’re probably ideas he had as a teenager, because this is another Sexy Babe Fights Baddies movies. Morgan Freeman phones it in and Scarlett Johansson is a dead-eyed, brain-enhanced, time-travelling supercomputer. The movie made a fortune, which just shows that people don’t know anything.
The Expendables 3: The cast includes actors who do nothing except make bad movies, so It’s only right that it should be included. However, there’s bad and then there’s really bad. The over-the-hill mercenaries movie is so bad that the millions of people who downloaded it illegally must have regretted wasting the hard drive space.
Godzilla: There was a little-seen giant lizard and a giant odd-looking thing that looked like a cross between a moth, a pteradactyl and a Transformer. The most amazing thing about the film was Bryan Cranston’s wig.
Neighbors: In some countries it was called Bad Neighbors, which just seems like an invitation to critics. I was hoping for a 21st century Animal House. It didn’t happen. When a comedy resorts to crude penis jokes for laughs, and doesn’t know how to use the comedic gifts of Lisa Kudrow properly, then it isn’t worth watching.
We’re the Millers: Just as Lisa Kudrow was the best thing in Neighbors, Katherine Hahn was the best thing in this otherwise forgettable marijuana-smuggling comedy. Although there were some funny moments, this was another disappointing film that tried to marry gross-out humour to a warm, sentimental story.
Automata: A really, really bad Blade Runner, wth Antonio Banderas looking for intelligent robots, and Dylan MacDermott looking like Stallone in Cobra.
I, Frankenstein: Did Aaron Eckhart lose a bet? Or does he have really poor judgement about scripts? Or does he need a new agent? With dialogue so ripe it’s practically withered, this is Mary Shelley’s creation by way of John Milton, and perhaps by way of Underworld, with Frankenstein’s monster caught in the middle of a centuries-old war between Gargoyles, led by Miranda Otto, and Demons, led by a slinkily evil Bill Nighy. It will only waste 90 minutes of your life, but I’m sure you could do something else with that time, like watch the James Whale classic instead.