If you read my list of the Bestest Movies EVAAAAR of 2014, you should know that 2014 did not impress me. While the high brow output was supposed to be pretty solid, for the casual movie goer like myself, very little surpassed the mediocrity level. I couldn’t even fill my ‘best of’ list with 10 exceptional movies! But what’s really scary is how the tip of quality has scaled. It seems like there are fewer exceptional films, while more pieces of crap are finding their way into theaters. In the past, unless the budget was too hefty, really bad movies generally were dumped on DVD. Most theatrical releases had at least ONE thing going for them, even if that was only strong special effects. But times seem to be changing.
I suppose it could’ve been worse. I could’ve watched “Blended” and I definitely dodged a bullet when I skipped “Devil’s Due“…although apparently the bullet ricocheted back at me as it is somehow in my netflix queue. I also chose to skip “Night at the Museum 3“, “Ouija” (for now), “Left Behind” and “Saving Christmas“- although why anyone would want to see a remake of a Kirk Cameron movie or a Kirk Cameron movie is a question experts have been debating since the beginning of time (Update: I saw “Left Behind”…dammit…) But doesn’t that only amplify my point when I haven’t even viewed every flick competing for peoples ‘worst of’ lists? I’m frightened that the dark forces of awful cinema are crawling up into the realms of actual budgets…and theatrical releases! I feel like my life resembles “Paranormal Activity“, except replace the demonic entity with stale formulas that should’ve died out years ago and then you should know what it’s like to be me. I suppose I’d be playing the part of Micah and I’ll die when “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” hurls me into my camera. Or maybe I’m Katie and “Annabelle” has been slowly possessing me, making me do horrible things like give a passing grade to “A Million Ways to Die in the West“. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this list and respect my opinions…except when it comes to that passing grade to “A Million Ways to Die in the West“…I deserve to go to hell for that one.
Direct-to-DVD butt squirts
I was tempted to just include all of these films in my primary list, because why not? They are all equally shit and deserve to be washed out of the underpants of cinema- man, this review is kind of disgusting. Actually, while these films deserve my ire, I don’t think it’s fair to hold them to the same standard that I’d hold any of these theatrical releases. I believe I deserve much of a blame for these negative experiences because I pursued them, knowing that they would only turn around stab me in the face. Plus, I feel like I’m giving Steven Seagal too much attention, as he is almost guaranteed a spot on a yearly basis. Lately though, Seagal has stepped up the quality of his projects and I can almost enjoy them for real reasons once more. I have to presume that “A Good Man” was intended to be a throwback to the days of his boringly bad movies and…well, it succeeded as such. Fans of being bored by Seagal should feel very nostalgic. “In the Name of the King 3” reminded us that Uwe Boll still exists and is even more awful than ever. I’ve always felt that while Uwe is mostly an egotistical hack, he did possess a kind of warped vision and even some talent. But if that’s true, then he has changed his business model to “I work fast and cheap and don’t care anymore“- making him the director equivalent of Steven Seagal. It was bad in every way, although not quite as intolerable as “BloodRayne 3“. Despite being good sleeping pills, neither film would’ve placed very high on the list. Seagal would’ve scored the #8 spot and Uwe deserves the #7 spot, as it wasn’t like my expectations were high to begin with. On the other hand, “Tekken 2: Kazuya’s Revenge” would’ve easily won as the #1 turd of 2014. It failed as an adaptation of the game, as a prequel to that already other failed adaptation of the game and as its own movie. Confused storyline, cheap aesthetics and above everything: BORING AS HELL. Suddenly Seagal romancing a chick or the guy from “Prison Break” looking bored as he fights fake dragons seems compelling when placed against the riveting intensity of Kane Kosugi…walking…and staring at buildings…Very rarely does an hour and a half feel like forever.
But these were the little shits of 2014. What were the big shits that somehow found themselves splattered on the theater screen?
THE BIG SHITS
11) “Transcendence” or “Sabotage”
I know this is cheating, but I couldn’t decide which was the worst film. I’d probably grudgingly admit the inferiority of “Sabotage“, but it’s still more…my kind of movie. Part of me enjoyed the mystery, violence and sleaze, but that part got punched the f@ck out by the other part of me who hated its characters and felt the ending was just stupid. It’s also ugly to look at. “Transcendence” at least is more aesthetically appealing and contains a more stable storyline. The problem is that despite having plenty of cool ideas, the character writing let them down and the unenthusiastic performances made all of their interactions very tedious. I thought it was pretty dull. Both of these films barely fell into ‘bad movie’ territory, as they were more middling experiences.
10) “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn”
This has to be the most unfortunate movie ever made, being about Robin Williams learning that he is dying. When his character chooses to take his own life, it’s hard to watch without cringing. Did I mention this is supposed to be a comedy? I think…maybe…Actually, “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. At times it does try to push itself as wacky, although it’s very rarely funny. But the comedic aspects don’t mesh well with the drama and the attempts at quirkiness never clicked. It’s an emotionally manipulative film that tries too hard to jerk tears, but I have to admit that Williams does a good job- sometimes even selling me on the material even when the script fails. I might’ve not included this on the list had I watched it before Robin Williams chose to take his own life. That real life event pretty much deflated any enjoyment this movie could’ve produced.
9) “Ride Along“
2014 was a pretty good year for Kevin Hart, although “Ride Along” didn’t seem like it was a good start- although it was a financial success. I would like to describe why I disliked it, but…I can’t really remember anything other than the fact that I disliked it. It was a comedy, which failed to make me laugh. End of review.
In many ways, this is the TRUE worst movie of 2014, even if I didn’t despise it as much as some of the others. If anything, it boasted an awesome performance from Scott Adkins. But everything else sucked. Kellan Lutz was horrid in the titular role and despite an impressive budget, the visual effects made the film look cheap. The script is a mess because they cram in too many half baked storythreads and this hurts the flow of the narrative. It can never build upon any of its ideas before it cuts to the next, so by the time the third act is rolling around, it feels like it’s still stuck in the middle. The action scenes ranged from solid to bad, failing for the usual reasons- unconvincing effects, tight editing, shaky camerawork. Director Renny Harlan rips off every trendy epic, which only draws attention to how his movie sucks in comparison. “The Legend of Hercules” is a travesty, one that feels like it’s a cheap direct-to-DVD flick that somehow conned its way into theaters. Yet it is kind of enjoyable to make fun of, so it has something going for it.
7) “I, Frankenstein”
I have plenty of ideas as to why bad movies fail, some for more complex reasons and others for the simplest. “I, Frankenstein” shouldn’t fit my definition of ‘bad’ though, because it almost seems like the kind of movie I’d enjoy. It’s one big action sequence following another big action sequence, all being nicely choreographed stuff too. Yet there’s absolutely no substance and eventually it grows stale, making this one of the most boring experiences of the year. At first, the nonstop action and “Underworld“-inspired visual style was pretty cool, but the film never evolves from there. The fights and visuals all look the same, from beginning to end, so we get used to them almost immediately. If “I, Frankenstein” can be summed up in a word, it is ‘monotony’. Change up the choreography, give me different kinds of action or at least give me a reason to care about the action! Don’t just give me the same ole shit!
6) “A Haunted House 2”
Unlike “Ride Along”, I specifically remember why this comedy sucked…beyond the obvious ‘it’s not funny’ explanation. I will give it credit for slightly being better than its predecessor, simply because it felt like it had more comedic content and wasn’t splicing together all of its outtakes in order to have an adequate running time. But it’s still very noisy, gift wrapping plenty of headaches in unfunny gags which go on for too long. The imagery of Marlon Wayans having (prolonged) sex with a doll has made its home within my nightmares. At least “Ride Along” was easily flushed out of my system, but “A Haunted House 2” got on my nerves too much for me to just forget. Or forgive.
5) “Dracula Untold”
I’m tired of blandness and despite having a cool, high profile concept going for it, “Dracula Untold” is the epitome of blandness. It can’t make up its mind whether it wants to be horror, action or romance and in the end, gives us very little horror, action or romance. The cool moments actually backfire because they tease a much more entertaining movie than what is ultimately delivered. I wanted ‘more’ of everything and was left feeling unsatisfied. “Dracula Untold” has enough going for it to keep you excited, but then promptly blue balls you for the remainder of the running-time. Unless you’re that kind of fetishist, I’d go ahead and skip this one.
4) “The Pyramid”
This rivals “The Legend of Hercules” as the real contender for ‘WORST of 2014’, but I like to stress that this list is dedicated to the films I hate. Almost everything that has appeared bored me, but I’d say they’re closer to mediocre than outright terrible. But this…this is terrible. It’s a found footage horror flick, although whenever the found footage aspect becomes inconvenient for the director, the fourth wall will suddenly crumble and some invisible cameraman will capture the footage. The special effects are laughable, the direction is mostly incompetent, the character writing will make you despise the majority of the cast and the acting isn’t very good either. “I, Frankenstein” and “Dracula Untold” are more dull than incompetent, but “The Pyramid” is amazingly incompetent. I enjoyed laughing at it, but that’s only in retrospect. During my viewing experience, I was mostly frowning, whereas “The Legend of Hercules” occasionally pulled a smile out of me while I was watching it.
A lot of people thought the film was somewhat entertaining, but I thought this sucked. The ‘comedy’ was obnoxious, the plot was paper thin, the villain somehow managed to be more boring than the already boring heroes and the action…really underwhelmed me. While I’m not a fan of Michael Bay’s “Transformers” movies, I do generally concede that they sport awesome action sequences with excellent special effects. “TMNT” didn’t impress me in regards to the CGI as I thought the turtles looked unconvincing, but everything else felt…small. The choreography was reminiscent of a super hero flick, but not as bombastic. The collateral damage was reminded me of “Transformers“, but it’s nowhere near as epic in scale. It’s just as shallow and dumb as Michael Bay’s more infamous films, but “TMNT” lacks their explosiveness. It’s rather tame, so the badness stood out more.
1) “No Good Deed”
I’ve decided not to put any more effort into explaining why I hate these movies than the filmmakers actually put into making said movies I hate. I can cover both in a single, easy paragraph, Plus, “Annabelle” and “No Good Deed” suffer from the EXACT same problem, which is actually rather mundane when spoken…er, written…aloud. They’re both so formulaic that I wouldn’t be surprised if the scripts were generated by a machine that runs off of cliches. I don’t feel the screenwriters deserve their writing credits, because ALL of the content can be found within films of the same genre. “Annabelle” is 100% made up from elements of other modern day, paranormal themed, horror flicks…I don’t particularly care for that genre, but “No Good Deed” was a harder experience because it’s 100% comprised of material that can be found within any home invasion movie…and I hate home invasion movies. Neither film was especially well made or abnormally terrible, so you can’t enjoy them as ‘good’ or ‘so bad, it’s good’- meaning there is no reason watch either of them. Every other movie on this list, whether they’re technically inferior, dumber, or boring..er, at least has something to remind you that actual people were involved in the production. “Annabelle” and “No Good Deed” might not be the worst movies of all time, but they’re so lazy and uninspired that they represent what I despise the most about cinema. Granted, “Tekken 2” ended up proving to me that there are worst monsters out there. But at least I can pinpoint exact areas where it failed because it is uniquely awful. I can easily copy any review I’ve done for a bad paranormal or home invasion flick and paste it in place of reviewing “Annabelle” or “No Good Deed“. I’d just need to change the the names of the cast, crew and characters- which in my defense, seems to be what “Annabelle” and “No Good Deed” did during the writing process.
UPDATE- A NEW WORSTEST MOVIE OF 2014?! NOOOOOO!
1) “Left Behind”
Wow…”Left Behind” was the perfect storm of inept writing and direction, failing in every attribute of filmmaking in such a way that it almost becomes legendary. Most bad movies tend be a blend of awful, mediocrity and maybe some sprinkles of decency, but “Left Behind” is made up of 100% awful. Not only does it suck, it makes sure that every little failure really stands out, making it impossible to truly capture the incompetence without writing a novel for a review. The acting is bad, with some performers being unbelievably over-the-top while others are so stiff that I have to presume they’re relatives of one of the filmmakers…Or just Nicolas Cage- who alternates between looking miserable and bored. Think about this: He looked like he was having fun during “The Wicker Man“. Scary… The obnoxious thing is that this isn’t a bad cast, whom I’ve seen do better in other movies, so I have to blame the director. The direction is usually at fault when the acting is consistently terrible by everyone, since he can instruct his cast to either emote more or less. But you can’t really expect much when the characterizations and dialogue suck just as badly. Everyone spews out lame and corny dialogue, while each character has maybe one or two personality traits to play off of. Even though it’s easy to dismiss “Left Behind” as Christian Propaganda based on the concept alone, it doesn’t treat those of the faith very well in the limited time we see them. They’re all kind of strange and nutty, although Atheists aren’t portrayed positively either. Just as Christians won’t shut up about their religion, Atheists spend all their time bitching about God. How am I supposed to sympathize with our heroine when 90% of her dialogue seems to be based around how the idea of God annoys her? How am I supposed to get behind our hero when he’s portrayed as a crappy husband and Father? I know they’re supposed to be flawed characters, but these flaws seem to embody the entirety of their characterizations. The supporting cast somehow manages to be worse, each embracing a stereotype and either overcoming it out of nowhere or never stepping out of said stereotype. Even worse, they’re all really annoying. Ironically, the only decent person seems to be the Muslim…although that doesn’t win him a place in heaven, so…Go Christian elitism? If heaven is made up judgmental, crazy people and annoying kids (who can’t act), I think those who were left behind got lucky.
Aesthetically, “Left Behind” looks like it was designed to be a made-for-TV project. The lighting always seems too bright, every ambitious shot seems to be made using subpar CGI and the music seems to be trying too hard to make us ‘feel’. When the score is sad, it’s REALLY doing its best to pull tears out of us and this adds to the cheesiness. I couldn’t take these tear jerker sequences seriously because of the music…and writing…and acting…and direction…and editing…Once again, it fails in every area. You can tell that there wasn’t too much thought put into the placement of the scenes, as everything surrounding the daughter tended to disrupt the flow of what was occurring on the plane, making the slow pace drag even more. It especially doesn’t help when she witnesses a driver-less school bus crash…about 25 minutes after the Rapture has already occurred. Apparently it has been coasting on the road for that long? Theres no suspense and the rapture itself happens so late that I almost forgot what the plot was about. Once the crises happens, “Left Behind” never builds any momentum. This was a mostly boring watch, occasionally made amusing for all the wrong reasons. An example of the directors incompetence: The heroines younger brother vanishes in her arms and you’d think there would be a close up on her face. But there wasn’t any reaction shot. They cut to other peoples reactions, but the next we see of her, she’s rummaging through his clothing. For all I knew, she was looking for a cell phone. How are we supposed to feel emotion if the director won’t even show us the characters feeling emotion. Or what about when a character draws a gun? The audience is left wondering how she got that on a plane, but immediately after that situation is resolved, there’s a throwaway line about an Air Marshall (“I almost forgot about him“). A good director would’ve made a point to show the Air Marshall and the gun early on, so it wouldn’t feel like such an asspull. It’s fascinating seeing how he botches the continuity, although the writing rivals his inability to make a tolerable movie. Ridiculous situation follows ridiculous situation and none of it is believable. So “Left Behind” certainly was amazing, the problem being that it was amazingly terrible. I don’t think that was what the filmmakers were going for, but topping many ‘Worst of’ lists will probably be its greatest achievement. The authors of the book series have stated their approval though, killing off any credibility they will ever have. The tagline is “The End Begins“, but it should be “The Beginning of this franchise ends“, because it’s going to be hard convincing fans of the source material to give their support for another attempt at a “Left Behind” movie, especially if this is what the authors consider to be acceptable.. The previous “Left Behind” movies were pretty weak, but they wish they could be as memorably terrible as this 2014 reboot.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this list. I hope all of these movies develop cancer and herpes and I pray that their herpes also develop cancer. Long live good movies and abort the bad ones before the studio gives birth to these abominations!