It’s the end of one year and the start of another and among the fireworks, booze and celebrations there is one tradition that transcends all and that is the tradition of end of year lists and who would I be to buck this trend. So over the next three days, we will be seeing the best and worst that 2016 had to offer with regards to movies (so we can have at least some positive things to say about 2016). Tomorrow we will have the movies I class in the ‘highly commended’ category and the day after we will have the all-important ‘best films of 2016’. However today we start with the opposite, with the worse or most disappointing films of 2016.
Now before we start I just want to make a clarification on the criteria I used to categorise the following entries. First, they had to be films that I watched/reviewed this year, now this means there may have been worse films out there but if something is clearly a train wreck then why subject yourself to it, so they might not appear on the list. Secondly, the following are not just those who are objectively bad, but also those who disappointed for some reason, so there may be worse films not on the list or higher up, but the fact that they were a disappointment lands them here. Also just to be clear there will be spoilers here.
Now just before we get into the list proper I did want to take a moment to talk about three particular films which while not making it to the final list got pretty close and they are Independence Day Resurgence, Jason Bourne & X-Men Apocalypse. They are here because they all have something in common, they were all follow-up to other movies, other movies that were all quite good, and they were all movies that my first impressions fell into the more positive side, but however they are all films that on a second viewing without rose tinted lenses all fall apart on a closer analysis. Hollywood please if you are going to reboot, refresh or sequel something use the Mad Max Fury Road route, not soulless husks of a film. So with that out of the way let us start with the list proper and our first entry is …
Now I am under no illusions that this is the most controversial entry in this list and for many people Hateful Eight might actually be on their top 10 list, but it is not for me and let me tell you why. Look I could talk about the casual violence which is off-putting even for a Quentin Tarantino, we could talk about the really odd storytelling choices like surprise narration, but the Hateful Eight finds itself on the list for one clear reason, it’s boring. Now there are many critiques I thought I would make about a Quentin Tarantino film but I never thought one of them would be that it was boring. Now this is the point in which many of us will differentiate ourselves because you will either find The Hateful Eight tense or boring and I am afraid I fall into the later. There was no tension for me, in fact, the only tense scene in the entire film is when they flash back to earlier in the day. This is in a year where we had Arrival that did the slow burn so well, The Revenant do the frontier setting so well, and 10 Cloverfield Lane that did tense so well, and also off the back of Django Unchained which was a phenomenal film from Quentin Tarantino and I am sorry, I really am, but The Hateful Eight just falls down here. So no matter how beautiful it is shot, or how the cast throws themselves into the roles, it finds itself here as the first entry on this list.
Oh, Snowden you were one of the most topical films out there, dealing with an issue that affects everybody, this should have been an instant winner and somehow you just completely dropped the ball on it. There are many issues with the film, it keeps cutting away from the interesting story to show us more of Edward Snowden’s life before Hong Kong, there was no real chemistry between the leads, the film does not really get interesting till they move to Hawaii, but mostly because it is a film with so much potential but in the end felt like a complete waste of time for all involved. As I said at the end of my review – I can’t really recommend Snowden, which is frustrating because it is dealing with really important issues. Instead, can I recommend that you watch Citizenfour, it is a much more engaging and informative piece of work, and I highly recommend that you do.
Out of all the movies I have reviewed this year I stand behind the TL;DR for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates more than any other “[This film is] about as enjoyable as an overseas destination wedding”. This film is not only on here because it is a film that wastes the talents of everyone in the film, it is not on here just because of the poor plot, or because it only uses jump scare humour, nor is it on here because its only reason for being is to cram as many crass jokes into the running of the film with no other substance, or that it doubles down on reminding you of better films that you could be watching but even then it does it badly, I mean if you are literally going on a Jurassic Park tour at least shell out for the right to the music, well it is indeed all those things, but it is on here because the movie presumes one leap too far for anyone’s suspension of disbelief but Zac ‘my abs could grate cheese’ Efron would have trouble being able to find a date for a wedding. The only reason it is not further down this list is that there are other films that do it much worse.
On a list of things that should rammed into the heads of every executive in Hollywood that has the power to make decisions on what movies get made or not “Do Not remake a film that is considered to be a classic above reproach, unless you are willing to spend the copious amount of money to meet its lofty standards, and whilst you are at it, don’t cut out everything that made it good” or to put that in a short for “Do not do what they did with Ben-Hur”. The original was headed by Charlton Heston and I could not for the life of me tell you any of the cast of the top of my head bar Morgan Freeman who is woefully miss/underused, the new film changed the relationships around so that there would be more tension but just made it feel more meh, the new film thought they had the class to make holocaust references without the talent to pull it off, also it makes any classical historian weep with the inaccuracies. But mostly it took one of the most exciting films in history and cut out most of the action to shorten the run time and budget and the film suffers for it. Hollywood if you are clearly on a remaking spree can you at least get it close to the original with regards to quality, please.
Of all the films on this list Warcraft is the one I most feel bad about putting it here because it really did feel like the filmmakers really did put a lot of effort into it, it just does not work all that well as a film. I say that because it is clear that the filmmakers had a good understanding of the source material and took the time to get the details right from the locations, to the characters, to the races, to the detail on the armour. When it comes down to it, the big issue is that Warcraft fell into the trap many first films in a franchise find themselves in, it sacrificed its own integrity at the expense of setting up the rest of the franchise. Now, this is not as bad as say Batman V Superman but there are so many moving parts that we just don’t have any reason why to care about any of them, all leading to a lacklustre and weirdly unclimatic climax. Look there is a reason Lord of the Rings spent the first movie pretty much just having all the main players in the one group before separating them in later films. Of all the films on this list I really wished it didn’t have to be here, but unfortunately, it does.
Gods of Egypt is a poster child for what happens when you throw a lot of money at something without bothering to check if it was any good at any point in the process it took to become a feature film. Now sure just before this film came out there was a big outcry about whitewashing … which the director blamed on Australia (where it was filmed) not liking imported actors which of course if rubbish because the vast majority of the leads were not from Australia, but also assumes that Australia does not have any good non-white actors which frankly is offensive and you just have to look at Cleverman to see that. But while this whole debate is important, the bigger question is why this film fails on almost every level. Most of the cast is just phoning in their performances to the point where no one bothered to have consistent accents across the production. Also, the film shows a clear lack of understanding of Ancient Egyptian Culture from start to finish. I expect a conversation in preproduction went like this “ok this is the first look of the main city” “hmm, not enough pyramids, we need more of them, stick them all over the place, right in the middle of the city” “ok you’re the boss”. Also, if you are going to rip music from a film, make sure it is not from a film that is much better than yours, because all it will do is make me wish I was watching The Mummy (I believe at this point I am obliged by the internet protocol to mention bring back Brendan Fraser or something I don’t know) instead.
Now this is the part of this list when we get … well, we get a bit DC-y because you have a film where you have Batman fighting Superman, how do you stuff it up?, well you do Batman v Superman that’s how. Where to start, there is no real reason presented as to why they would be fighting which is a big problem if you named your film Batman v Superman, it is also a big problem if you spend the vast amount of the film with Batman and Superman not actually fighting. There is Lex Luther which is saved by Suicide Squad from being the worse reimagining of a DC villain in 2016. There is the fact that Superman can find Lois Lane anywhere in the world but he can’t find his own mother just inside Gotham. Or maybe that it is shoehorning in as much Justice League set up as it could at the expense of this film (yes I said we would be back here again). It could be that when we finally get to see Batman v Superman fight it is a bunch of flailing around rooftops with no emotional weight, only to be stopped by ‘Martha’ … sigh. Or maybe that they decided to adapt the worse story from Superman’s history, it is so bad and the fact that it lead to a Comic Book crash because of the poor reaction to it, and all of that said, the worse thing is that once they killed off Superman, they didn’t even have the convictions to wait 5 minutes before showing ‘don’t worry folks he’s not really dead’ assuming that their audience had an emotional IQ of a toddler … oh, wait the internet.
Now I was tossing up in which order these two should appear, which is the more disappointing of the two films, which deserved the dubious distinction of being in the bottom three, and after careful consideration there could only be one, and that was Suicide Squad. Seriously the only reason it is not further down is because it just scrapes by the bottom of the barrel without quite scraping it like the next two. So where to start, is it the consistent casual violence towards women, seriously I am not just talking about Harley here, the fact it has members of the American Government casually torturing people like it is no big thing, that the black site prison is being run by someone so clearly compromised/incompetent that even Donald Trump would go ‘that’s a bit too much’, is it that they film shows this person giving Harley a Mobil phone in full view of the enter armed procession and states in a loud voice that it is ‘From Mr J.” is this prison run by idiots, that it uses nonsensical songs in place of an actual soundtrack because ‘that worked well in a trailer’, or that given Amanda Waller’s behaviour and logic is so bad in this film that there is no conceivable way that she would every reach the heights to be able to pitch this ‘Squad’, or that they spend 40 minutes introducing all the cast over and over and over again only to introduce a new character seconds before they enter the city only to have them die moments later, what lazy filmmaking, or that any integrity of the film got hacked away in reshoots to the point that they turned Harley Quinn and The Joker’s clearly abusive relationship into something more normal which is problematic on so many different levels. This film is in many respects everything that is wrong with modern studio driven filmmaking and a case study in Movie-Made-By-Committee, and if you are going to blatantly copy Marvel, at least copy the good stuff.
Honestly for Dirty Grandpa look at my entry on Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates only make everything worse because they dragged poor Robert De Niro into this mess. Side note though this was a very popular review in Russia, I don’t know why, and I don’t know what that means but it was interesting.
Why is Grimsby (Review) the worse film of 2016? Oh let me count the ways, poor script, bad jokes, horrific stereotypes, the only humour is found through ‘jokes’ that would make the 14 year old demographic go that’s too much, the casting is poor, oh I am so sorry you are in this film Mark Strong, the sudo-James Bond-esk plot has been done over and over again by much, much, much more talented writers and directors, see Kingsmen (Review). Since the film has bombed a lot of people have claimed it failed because it was too British, I must disagree, if failed because it was pure crap and people noticed and unlike films about trucks that change into robots they actually had the good grace not to show up. Never have I been gladder for the end credits to appear than I was here, honestly if you have to make a disclaimer at the end of your film that Daniel Radcliffe was not a part of the film and does not have AIDS you know you have a horrific mess of a film. I honestly hope someone got fired for greenlighting this waste of money, 35 million dollars that could have been spent on literally anything else and it would have been more of a benefit for the world this dumpster fire of a film, or more appropriately this 2016 of a film.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
What were your Bottom 10 Films of 2016?, let us know in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.