Wow, what a year 2017 was.
It was mental, man. And I’m not just referring to the ridiculous circus of global/local politics, or the sexual harassment scandals that rocked the showbiz industry to its core. On a personal level, it has been one heck of a rollercoaster ride too, with some unforgettable highs and crushing lows.
On the cinematic front, there were plenty of lows. Statistically speaking, there will always be more bad movies than good simply because it’s hard to make a good movie. Hell, it’s hard to make a movie at all, considering the amount of people, money, time, and effort it takes to make these things happen. Which is why it’s such a waste when a movie turns out to be awful. Of course, no one intentionally sets out to make a bad movie, but with the following entries, one has to wonder.
Ladies and gentlemen, here is Electroshadow’s selection of the year’s most unwatchable flicks. And no, it doesn’t matter how drunk or stoned you are, they’ll still be rubbish regardless.
KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD
Sometimes, a mismatch of filmmaker and material results in a happy accident. Most of the time, it’s just a horrible car crash. The minute the producers let Guy Ritchie take on the myth of King Arthur, it was a given he’d turn it into A Guy Ritchie Film™. There’s a strong case to be made for a fresh take on the legend. But this wasn’t it. Because Ritchie’s take wasn’t the least bit fresh. The titular character was a standard Ritchie stereotype of the benevolent thug, and the plot a rehash of the madcap heist caper we’ve seen so many times before. Which would’ve been fine if it worked. It worked, in the sense that even a broken clock is correct twice a day. The occasional sparks of inspiration were snuffed out by ill-judged casting (Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law), and unintentional cheesiness. Worst of all, the movie was shrouded in a drab visual palette, making the viewing experience something of a slog.
10 CARS 3
My days of giving Pixar a pass solely on the strength of their animation work are over. A bad movie is a bad movie. They should’ve stopped with the first one, but John Lasseter just doesn’t know when to call it quits. For the third one, he finally handed over directing duties to another guy, but instead of an uptick in quality it turned out even worse. The “Rocky”-inspired comeback premise could’ve been both fun and touching, but they managed neither. Pixar has somehow managed to make Lightning McQueen less and less interesting with each subsequent instalment. Here, he had to be propped up by the supporting characters, who fared no better. They were just there to deliver tired humour or lame platitudes. This movie had all the energy of a stalled engine. Please stop, Pixar.
9 FIST FIGHT
If the intent of this movie was to incite viewers into physical violence towards the filmmakers and cast, they sure succeeded. Yes, I now want to punch Ice Cube in the face for that permanent scowl he lazily and annoyingly tried to pass off as a performance. And I want to kick screenwriters Evan Susser & Van Robichaux in the nuts — assuming they have any, considering how ball-less their work turned out. The jokes appeared to be written by a focus group comprised of Hollywood studio suits ticking off boxes they thought their target demographic would LOL at. They must think their target demographic are inbred morons.
8 THE EMOJI MOVIE
Even though it does not deserve the courtesy, I will engage this movie on its own terms. So I’ll express my opinion entirely via emojis…
Trust Hollywood to take someone else’s cool ideas and run it into the ground until everyone is either sick of it or worse, no longer gives a damn. Exhibit A: The “Ring” franchise. To be fair, the Japs already tried to milk this cow for more than it was worth, so why shouldn’t the Yanks have a go too? The Yanks just did it with a bigger budget and a bunch of more clueless filmmakers. What made Hideo Nakata’s film (originally a book inspired by a folk tale) so terrifying was its inscrutability. The lore and the way the vengeful spirit operated defied explanation. Naturally, “Rings” insisted on demystifying everything with pseudo-sciency BS and a really, really dull investigation plot. Seven days, says the phone call that announces your doom. That’s how long this movie felt. Not even a half-hearted attempt to expand the mythology could give this any life. Who knows, maybe there’s some brilliant meta subtext here about how the curse has evolved into boring its audience to death.
When producers proudly announced that the “Baywatch” remake would be unabashedly R-rated, people sat up and took notice. Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron teaming up in a raunchy piss-take of the cheesy but popular 90s TV show sounded promising, a la the “21 Jump Street” reboot. Now, it looks like “Jump Street” was an anomaly. Mainly because that one was actually smart and funny. This one was just painfully embarrassing. Practically every joke landed with all the grace of a fat guy’s bellyflop into a pool. Note to the filmmakers: it’s not enough to be self-aware, you actually have to do something beyond calling out how silly the source material is. When the most douchey character in the movie is the one who makes the most sense, then something is seriously wrong. The tone was completely wrong too, with its faux sincerity grating like nails on a chalkboard against the incessant dick jokes and juvenile stupidity on display throughout. David Hasselhoff is probably ashamed of this, and that’s saying a lot.
5 RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER
Confession: when I first saw “The Final Chapter” in the title, I got excited. At last, an end to our suffering! Hooray! Then I watched the movie and right at the end, after Milla Jovovich had supposedly solved the zombie apocalypse once and for all, she told us “My work is not done”. And I felt like shooting myself in the head. You lying bitch, Paul WS Anderson! You promised us! No more of these idiotic movies, where the acting sucks, the story sucks, the action sucks, the visuals & sound sucks, and your shameless, incompetent stealing from other movies sucks the most. Anderson will probably keep making these until an actual zombie apocalypse happens. Triggered by watching his movies, I bet.
4 PHOENIX FORGOTTEN
Why are people still making found footage horror? The obvious answer is that they’re dirt cheap to make and therefore easier to turn a profit. The more difficult question is why the hell did Ridley Scott agree to produce a beat-for-beat rip-off of “The Blair Witch Project”? I kid you not. Just substitute the cast, and a witch for UFOs, and you get “Phoenix Forgotten”. A movie with absolutely no merits of its own to stand on. It didn’t even know how to copy properly. Where “Blair Witch” knew how to build and sustain tension, the only thing this built was impatience. It’s also hands down the ugliest movie of the year. Yeah, I know they were going for the whole documentary feel, but this just looked like shit. If extraterrestrial beings got their hands on this turd (or any of the movies on this list for that matter), they’d take it as proof that no intelligent life exists on Earth.
3 ALIEN: COVENANT
Y’know, I find it terribly depressing that Ridley Scott has two entries here to his name. This is after all the master craftsman who gave us classics like “Blade Runner”, “Gladiator”, and the original “Alien”. With “Covenant”, the man has wilfully destroyed his once brilliant creation. After the rather divisive reaction to “Prometheus”, Scott concluded — wrongly — that the alien saga should be about the androids instead. He decided what we really needed in an “Alien” movie was Michael Fassbender teaching himself how to play the flute. And to make the human characters some of the downright dumbest people to ever populate a sci-fi movie. And to make what little there was of the actual alien action as predictable as possible. Most unforgivably, where “Prometheus” at least boasted some dazzling visuals, he made this one look small and cheap. Great call, Ridley. You happy now? Your movie’s bombed at the Box Office and killed any chances at a continuation. Come to think of it, that’s a good thing. Now somebody give Neill Blomkamp’s proposed “Aliens” sequel with Ripley and Hicks the green light. If not, just let the poor Xenomorphs rest in peace.
2 XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE
Vin Diesel is one thick-skinned dude. He’s like the living embodiment of those inspirational cat posters that tell you to believe in yourself when no one else will. Otherwise, how the heck do you explain a sequel no one asked for in a franchise no one remembers, featuring an action hero no one takes seriously? Diesel once boasted that xXx was a “James Bond for the new generation”. Please. It’s not even a Johnny English for the new generation. This should’ve been retitled “Eye-roll: The Movie” because that’s all it elicited throughout. In fact, I nearly got vertigo from rolling my eyes so damn much. Not even Donnie Yen’s kung fu prowess could save this unintentional parody of a movie, where the utter idiocy of the writing was equalled only by the over-the-top retardedness* of the action set pieces. But hey Vin. Keep believing in yourself, mm’kay.
*Not a real word but I don’t care.
1 TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT
Ah, what Worst Of list is complete without a “Transformers” movie? By now, it’s kind of pointless to bash these things. But it sure is fun! Not to mention totally warranted. Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay actually set up a so-called Writer’s Room to come up with the story for “The Last Knight”. Yes, it took an entire team of professional scriptwriters to come up with an absolute gem like this. A movie so devoid of logic, coherence, entertainment value, and respect for its audience that I am beginning to suspect that this is all part of some elaborate conspiracy by the Illuminati to drive people insane and enslave them for their weird sex cult. Or as slave labour to make knock-off designer handbags. WTF, you say? Well it makes way more sense than anything in “The Last Knight”, man. After watchable efforts like “Pain & Gain” and “13 Hours”, I was worried Bay was slipping. Not to worry. The man has returned to reclaim his crown as the King of Crap. All hail the King!