Creating lists upon year’s end is a guilty pleasure, and a wonderful opportunity to celebrate great work. Simultaneously, it provides the chance to reflect on the shonkier side of life, at times acting as an excuse for writers, cinephiles and joyless chancers to publically immolate the dregs. I’m not sure how to feel about this. I've made lists in the past, and have a deeply rooted faith in considered and thoughtful criticism, but what does a “worst of list” really offer? Not a whole heck of a lot. Why not celebrate the best twice as hard, as opposed to fixating equally on both sides of the qualitative spectrum.
As a result I've opted to create a Top 20 this year (I usually just got for 10), and am hoping to publish it shortly after Christmas. That way I can channel my efforts into enthusiastically spreading love and excitement, behaviour more befitting of the season.
I still think it’s appropriate to sign-post some of my least favourite films. I don’t intend on undergoing a steadfast and precise evisceration, but each of the following left me deeply dissatisfied, and in a few cases angry. I’m confident that these five features deserve scorn, not simply because they’re bad, but rather manage to fuel negative cultural minutia whilst holding viewership in raw contempt. I believe they are objectively awful.
5. Sabotage (Dir: David Ayer)
I like David Ayer, so it was a relief he managed to squeeze “Fury” into theatres before the year’s end. A fairly average work, “Fury” at least helped detox the stench left over by his previous effort “Sabotage”. Envisioned as part of the Arnie revival, the film unravels as a disinteresting mystery. It’s spottily written and riddled with weak characterisation, but that in itself isn’t enough to merit inclusion on this list. Boredom is bad, but unnecessary, jarring bursts of ultra-violence, macho posturing and casual sexism are worse. Now you have a movie that’s dull and offensive. Arnie’s other post-political credits include “The Expendables” sequels and 2013’s forgettable “The Last Stand”, but even amid such uninspired fare, “Sabotage” marks a low-point.
4. That Awkward Moment (Dir: Tom Gormicon)
Unfunny frat-centred humour meets the year’s least likable brood of reprobates. A winning cast are entirely squandered amid a rash of crude gags that might’ve seemed dated in a pre-“American Pie” world. It’s about a bunch of proto –Patrick Bateman types who decide to start fucking anything that moves, before miserably sinking into unconvincing relationships. The bro-talk isn’t authentic, and the narrative’s a chore. As bad as the title promises.
3. The Other Woman (Dir: Nick Cassavetes)
Imagine “That Awkward Moment”, except with shrill, annoying women in place of sloppy dudes. Why does that make it worse, you ask? Three reasons:
1. Despite the female tilt it commits to cheap, redundant misogyny.
2. It contains a Nicki Minaj Cameo.
3. It seems to think a Nicki Minaj cameo is a good thing.
2. The Pyramid (Dir: Gregory Levasseur)
The found footage genre has proven surprisingly resilient since its most recent revival in 2009 (courtesy of “Paranormal Activity”). “The Pyramid” might be bad enough to kill it again. The hokey high-concept raises high-brows, but the incompetent film-making encourages yawns, groans and refund mentality. A group of stock scientist types enter a cursed pyramid, only for a selection of incredibly unintimidating beasts to commence stalking them. A few set-pieces possess traces of invention, which only works to heighten the despair inflicted by shambolic execution. Ten years ago, people shat all over “Alien Vs. Predator”, a sci-fi reboot with an incredibly similar premise. “The Pyramid” leaves you yearning for that movie’s obtrusive cinematography and diluted thrills.
1. Tammy (Dir: Ben Falcone)
I don’t want to badmouth Melissa McCarthy. She takes enough of it, some centred on her personal appearance and gender; thoroughly unacceptable bases of abuse. But “Tammy” is the sort of insufferable, rambling, vanity project that makes toes curl. Stretched and with a penchant for the expressly dire, “Tammy” is a road movie in need of a stop sign. Directed by McCarthy’s husband (yeesh) the film acts as a celebration of the star, bringing all her worst instincts to bear on a plot that crumbles under the weight of its slim title. It doesn’t go anywhere, taking eons to do so, and forces irritating turns from McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates and a barely utilised Allison Janey. No amount of patience helps, eventually the toxic self-promotion and neglect for storytelling or COMEDY prevailing to enable a cocktail of excessive indulgence.