There were a lot of movies this year. A lot of them were bad. Like really bad. We're talking terrible. It was a year of laziness and pointlessness at the cinema. Facing declining box office revenues (they're actually up) and decreasing audiences (China doesn't count I guess) the studios started cutting out the fresh food and started stocking up on frozen chicken to charge $20 a pop for in an attempt to scrape every possible cent out of theatregoers.
Maybe just stop making shitty movies, how about?
2016 was very much the year of the superhero. Unfortunately for it, three of the biggest released make the worst list.
Inferno, the third entry in the "walk fast and talk about history" franchise that neither walks fast nor talks about history. The Da Vinci Code was by no means a perfect film, with some glaring flaws that held it back from being a great little action thriller, but it did a serviceable job. Angels & Demons corrected most of the mistakes (namely the pacing and Tom Hanks' hair) and was one of the better thrillers of its day. Sure the history was bunk, but some of the highest grossing movies have giant robots fighting other giant robots. It worked as what it was, and the world it built was such that you felt along for the ride. Inferno is a step back in every way. Besides the fact that everyone basically just stands and talks, there's no real purpose to Robert Langdon being there. There are a handful of puzzles, which take him only moments to decipher. And he still gets them wrong.
Instead of feeling like a whirlwind where we are one of Langdon's entourage, chasing after him as he races through ancient religious history in search of the solution, we feel like an audience watching a man stumbling in the dark. Let's not forget the mysterious shadow organisation that is apparently running things, or the fact that the World Health Organisation is basically the most well funded organisation on the planet, able to summon full quarantine teams and squads of armed commandos at the drop of a hat.
In a franchise where "dude that wants to be pope murders the pope and creates an Illuminati hoax involving stolen antimatter to convince the cardinals to elect him by adoration, a little known and rarely used statute in papal law" is the central plot line, to make your movie seem ridiculous and unbelievable is a real act of skill.
It also features the funniest scene of the year: a police drone chase shot like a helicopter chase, with the most enthusiastic inanimate object since WALL-E.
Ben-Hur is without a doubt the laziest movie I've seen all year. In a few years, actually. It's the sort of movie you watch and every single element is just... it's just pointless, utterly pointless. Devoid of any sort of fun or creativity or anything. No one involved cared in the slightest, and the most enthusiasm on screen is the closing credits pop song that exists merely to drive people to buy the soundtrack album on iTunes for ten dollars. This movie is the cinematic equivalent of a plate of cold oatmeal, while the next table over is eating an entire pig sized mountain of bacon. There isn't even enough here to write about.
Does anyone even know this movie came out this year? Or, like, at all? Someone, somewhere in the bowels of a movie studio said "You know what 2016 needs? A new Ben-Hur!"
That person is an idiot, and their career needs to be over once 2017 rolls around.
Sharknado: The 4th Awakens. Sharknado is the new Scary Movie. And it needs to die. It wasn't funny the first time. It was slightly less not funny the second time. It was terrible the third time. It has reached the zenith. You know how sometimes a meme is taken and used by the mainstream, and everyone thinks the meme has gone to shit? This is what happens when that sad trend becomes a business model. Combined with a bad episode of The Simpsons where d-list celebrities are paraded out in a desperate attempt to seem relevant. Man, remember Carrot Top? He's an Uber driver now! That's funny And relevant AND it paid the bills!
This movie has a commercial for Comcast bullshit during the opening sharknado. During a flood, a literal ad for Comcast floats past. This movie is the product of Comcast eating its own feces and puking it back out, then slapping on a "timely" reference to Star Wars.
Yoga Hosers is just about the worst sort of comedy. Hey you guys, isn't it funny how in Canada they always say sorry and eh and aboot? Hahaha, so funny. They like hockey there! No, Canadian humour is going for a rip with your bud down to Tims. Canadian humour is the collective knowledge that beer commercials are a cornerstone of our country's culture and national identity. It's like a 90 minute "haha Indians do tech support and they don't speak English good" joke. Also what the hell is with the bratzis? Miniature nazi bratwurts that climb up your butt and... that's it, that's the problem right there.
Kevin Smith made this.
This movie exists.
Sorry future historians.
I don't think I've seen such an unfunny comedy in quite some time. You know things are off to a great start when the first minute of the film immediately bombards you with f-bombs. Woah, shocking! They're swearing in an animated film!
Have you guys not seen South Park? Like actually, do you not know South Park is a thing?
Gods of Egypt is NOT the Ridley Scott movie, which I completely confused with this movie. But you know the best part about that? MY REVIEW STILL TOTALLY WORKS! It's a movie where everyone in ancient Egypt is various shades of white, they all speak with random European accents, and they are lost in a sea of meaningless CGI and confusing plot lines. How can you make two movies about Egypt two years apart and have both of them be the same level of generic garbage?
Hollywood. That's how.
Ghostbusters! The movie that became a black and white argument wherein if you didn't like it you were a sexist piece of trash! Well, I guess I'm a sexist piece of trash because this was a boring slog to get through. Forget all the stupid politics, or the attempts at armchair commentators to turn this movie into fodder for their personal war against whatever group they don't like (women started hating on men who hated on Chris Hemsworth's character because he was playing the role of dumb secretary usually played by women and just Jesus Christ you guys), or the fact the director is kind of a whiny asshole. Let's talk about the film itself. It's terrible. Funny: women being funny. Not funny: women telling people how funny they are. This movie feels like the latter. All the actresses in this movie are funny, but together they have no chemistry, terrible timing, and it just feels miserable. Kate McKinnon is the stand out, as one of the few in the film to take her character and run with it. Otherwise, it just feels dead.
The Forest, a film that took one of the scariest places on Earth and made it boring. What else can I say? They wasted the cinematography, they wasted the setting, they wasted so many good plots, they wastes their talent. They wasted everything and the result was a film that could have been set in America. Or Bulgaria. Gus van Sant's film The Sea of Trees was an uplifting story about personal discovery and coming to terms with loss, and it had more atmospherically tense moments than this.
London Has Fallen, a film that makes Gerard Butler murdering hundreds of bad guys BORING. Seriously, how? It also kills off every world leader in what amounts to a montage, which undercuts the effect of the first film somewhat when it makes seem like… wait, who was the bad guy again? An angry British guy and some random mercenaries? I don’t actually recall what the plot of this movie was. Which is bad. The first movie wasn’t high art, but at least it made sense as a stupid piece of entertainment. This one was just stupid.
The Divergent Series: Allegiant finally killed off the attempt at a franchise. Maybe. Maybe it will be a TV show (even though the stars don’t seem keen on that) or maybe it will be TV movies or maybe it should just die quietly and the studio should accept that their attempt at manufacturing a new Hunger Games failed miserably. Boring, tone deaf, and pointless beyond attempting to establish a second part to a film that only needed to be one, this is the very definition of a meaningless studio film.
Lights Out and Don’t Breathe are grouped together as a pair of horror films that were lauded by critics this year, but that I found dreadfully boring and tedious. Lights Out in particular, which everyone seems to forget was already made a decade+ ago when it was called Darkness Falls. It also features the most unfortunate ending I think I’ve ever seen, where suicide is the only way to save your family from being hurt any more (luckily the director realised that and changed it). Another case of a short film being expanded to a film when it didn’t need to. Don’t Breathe meanwhile was just boring. It had great cinematography, but other than that I found my attention drifting. It also has some of the most ridiculously unbelievable scenarios this year, and an ending that falls apart the moment you apply any sort of logic to it.
Blair Witch, a stealth sequel/reboot thing. It feels like a VHS/ABCs of Horror style movie. There isn't a film here, it's just a bunch of disjointed ideas. The stick figures are voodoo dolls? Cool, but how does that relate to anything? Time distortion? Sure, but how does that relate to anything? The characters make constant stupid decisions (the climax features the main character falling for the exact same thing she JUST saw her friend fall victim to), and apparently according to the creators we didn't see what we thought we saw. Or maybe we did. Who knows! It worked for Lost right? This is a prime example of modern forgettable cinema: don't give us a movie, give us 90 minutes of stuff that we don't need to think about.
So those were the worst of the year. Well, most of them. You may have noticed a distinct lack of a certain type of movie. One based on a certain type of book. Well, tomorrow is THE_MEH day where I talk about films that didn’t really do anything for me either way.
And the day after that?
That’s a special Part 4: COMIC BOOK MOVIES.
2016 may have been the year of comic book movies, but it wasn’t a GOOD year for comic book movies.