"So Bad They're Good" Movies, 2016, Action Movies, Bad Acting, Bad Movie, Bad Weather, Based on a bestselling book, Catastrophes, Complete Waste of Time, Demonic Possession, Disappointments, Disaster Films, Dwayne Johnson Movies, Exorcism Movies, Found Footage Movies, Ghosts!, Gothic Horror, Just Plain Bad, Sequels, Superheroes, Worst-Of lists 0
CINEMA KNIFE FIGHT:
THE WORST MOVIES OF 2015
By Michael Arruda and L.L. Soares
(THE SCENE: The curtains open on a beautifully decorated stage as MICHAEL ARRUDA and L.L. SOARES come back after announcing their BEST MOVIES OF 2015. The audience applauds.)
MA: Thank you, thank you! Hello again, folks. Now it’s time for our WORST MOVIES OF 2015.
LS: I have to admit, over the course of any given year, most movies we see aren’t really good or really bad, they’re just kind of so-so.
LS: Yeah, that, too. That said, it wasn’t too hard coming up with a list of Worst movies. Would you like to start?
MA: Sure. Coming in at Number Five for me is SAN ANDREAS, a silly disaster film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as a chopper pilot who flies all over California—at the expense of the people he’s supposed to be rescuing, I might add!—in order to save his family from a deadly earthquake. Is that Charlton Heston and George Kennedy I see? This one is as bad as the epic of all bad disaster movies, EARTHQUAKE (1974). At least that one had Sensurround!
This one is so bad not even the presence of Paul Giamatti as a scientist can save it. Yet another story about an estranged married couple who have to put aside their differences in order to save their children from some extraordinary catastrophe. Sorry, but if you couldn’t make it work during normal times, what makes you think you can do it during an earthquake? Ugh!
LS: Yeah, thankfully I didn’t have to see this one. It really did look awful. But my Number Five of movies I did see in 2015 is UNFRIENDED.
UNFRIENDED was yet another “found footage” type horror movie, this time featuring a bunch of friends having a conversation on Skype, until they start getting killed off one by one, because they cyber-bullied a girl into killing herself, and someone wants revenge. Using social media as a “location” is clever in theory, but in action it didn’t really amount to much, and the more it went on, the less I cared, and once it was over, it was completely forgettable. Another movie that definitely didn’t deserve the full price of a movie ticket. I could have seen a better movie on the Lifetime Channel.
MA: Number Four for me is the horror sequel SINISTER 2. This is as weak and tepid a horror sequel as you can get. The saddest part of the whole thing is that the SINISTER movies have in them a really cool monster/demon, Bughuul, and sadly he’s not used to his potential in either movie.
Also, in this series, Bughuul makes children both kill their families and film the murders. The original film had the murders taking place in the past, and so it made sense when the main character uncovered old 8mm films of the murders. Here, the sequel takes place in the present day, yet the possessed children are still using film cameras to record their crimes. Wouldn’t they just use a Smartphone or a tablet?
A silly horror movie sequel, not worth your time.
LS: I missed that one, too, but I wanted to see it. I still do. I’m sure it’s not great, but I bet I like it better than you did. My Number Four movie is THE VATICAN TAPES, yet another demonic possession movie with nothing new to offer. These crappy movies are starting to all blur together. The less said about this one, the better. Why would I want to keep seeing bad, low-budget demonic possession movies that stink, when all I have to do is pop in the disc of the original, THE EXORCIST (1973), to see it done right?
MA: My Number Three movie of the Worst of 2015 is 50 SHADES OF GREY. This one should have been called 50 SHADES OF BLAH. Talk about being dull and boring. As tedious as the films in the TWILIGHT series. Dakota Johnson is completed wasted in the role of Anastasia Steele.
Also, for a film that is supposed to be graphic and sexual, it’s about as tame as graphic and sexual can be. I’ve seen more risqué stuff on Benny Hill.
LS: Well, I can’t agree with you on this one. I thought 50 SHADES OF GREY was a bad movie, sure, but I also found it entertaining as hell. I laughed a lot during this movie, and frankly, if a movie is this enjoyable, even in a “so bad it’s good” way, I can’t say it’s one of the Worst of the year. I’m actually looking forward to the sequels. This is the dopiest movie about BDSM I’ve ever seen. It’s hilarious!
MA: I wasn’t laughing.
LS: I always told you you had no sense of humor.
My Number Three pick is THE GALLOWS, a cheapo indie “found footage” horror flick about a school haunted by the ghost of a student who hung himself during a school play years before, that doesn’t even try to dazzle us with anything new. It just wastes our time. At least this one didn’t cost much to make, so I’m sure it made a profit, but if you plunked down $12 for a ticket, you would have felt very cheated, like I did. I am really sick of crappy, shoestring-budget horror movies that somehow think they deserve the same amount of money for a ticket as a good movie! The budget really shouldn’t matter—but if you don’t have a lot of money, you should at least try to do something different and original with the story.
This is the kind of garbage that should go straight to video. And yet great movies like PREDESTINATION and SPRING didn’t get decent theatrical releases in 2015. Can anyone explain the logic behind that?
MA: On to my Number Two choice. It’s TED 2, probably the only film of the year that I actually hated. While I enjoyed the first TED movie somewhat, I thought this one was a complete waste of time. Nothing here for anyone over the age of 12. Juvenile, tasteless, and worst of all, not very funny. Its idea of humor is to have Mark Wahlberg and Ted sneak into Tom Brady’s bedroom in order to steal his sperm. Three guesses on how they plan to do it, and the first two don’t count. Oh, yeah, that’s funny! No. It’s flat out weird.
LS: I actually have to thank you for seeing TED 2. I don’t know how I got out of that one, but somehow I didn’t see it, and I appreciate you taking a bullet for the team. Seriously, the trailer for this one looked dismally bad, and I’m sure if I had seen it, it would be near the top of my list. I’m just glad I didn’t have to subject my eyeballs to this dreck.
My Number Two choice for the Worst of 2015 is Josh Trank’s reboot of the FANTASTIC FOUR. Instead of pioneering astronauts being pummeled by cosmic rays and turning into the titular superheroes, we get experiments in inter-dimensional travel (which isn’t that horrible an idea, but it’s not that exciting here), and instead of adults, they’re kids with high I.Q.s, but they have very little in the way of personalities. I kind of like what they did with The Thing by making Ben Grimm’s alter-ego all lumbering CGI orange rocks—but even that has limited appeal without Grimm’s wisecracks, and, frankly, there’s not much else to like about this one. The “high concept” here was to do a new version of the FANTASTIC FOUR with kids, and making it really dark. But anyone who grew up on FANTASTIC FOUR comics knows that it had a lighter tone than some other comic books. This isn’t WATCHMEN. These characters have great big personalities in the comics and bicker and pick on each other constantly, while standing solidly together in the face of bad guys. I’ve actually liked several of the actors here in other movies, like Miles Teller (WHIPLASH, 2014 ) as Reed Richards, Michael B. Jordon (FRUITVALE STATION, 2013) as Johnny Storm, and Jamie Bell (BILLY ELLIOT, 2000) as Ben, but they’re all pretty awful here. The only one who seems to maintain any level of likability is Kate Mara (IRON MAN 2, 2010, and DEADFALL, 2012) as Sue Storm, but really she’s just the least worst one here. FANTASTIC FOUR was a total misfire all around that really never should have gotten the green light. In fact, no matter what people think of the previous FANTASTIC FOUR movies with Jessica Alba, Chris Evans, Ioan Gruffudd, and Michael Chiklis, this new version made those look pretty good in comparison.
MA: I actually enjoyed FANTASTIC FOUR, for what it was. But I think I might have been the only person on the planet to enjoy it. It got royally panned.
LS: If you’re a fan of the comics at all, you’ll see that this movie is not about the FANTASTIC FOUR. I didn’t recognize these characters. They were humorless, boring, and ultimately the movie was a gigantic missed opportunity.
MA: And finally, my Number One Worst Movie of 2015 is one you previously mentioned, THE GALLOWS. I wish my pick for the worst movie of the year wasn’t a horror movie, but alas, it is. How dumb is this one? Well, the main plot point is that in honor of the 20th anniversary of a high school play gone wrong—a student was accidentally hanged to death on stage—a school decides to put on the same play again! Duh! Needless to say, someone isn’t very happy about this decision, and once again more students turn up dead. Unfortunately none of them were responsible for the script.
LS: Yeah, I’ll agree with you that THE GALLOWS was horrible. But my Number One choice was horrible and annoying. My Worst Movie of 2015 is Tom Six’s THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE III (FINAL SEQUENCE). This is a real surprise to me, because I have to admit I really liked the first two movies of the series, but this final installment was a complete waste of time. Where the first one—HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) in 2009—was able to balance the absurd and the grotesque, and the second one— HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FULL SEQUENCE) in 2011—was almost a kind of a bleak masterpiece—the final installment doesn’t even try to take the subject matter seriously and goes the (bad) horror/comedy route instead, giving us over-the-top characters who don’t even try to act like real people, especially Deiter Laser (also Dr. Heiter, the mad scientist in the first movie), who feels the need to shout every single one of his lines at top volume as prison warden Bill Boss. Boss steals an idea from his groveling accountant, Dwight Butler (Lawrence R. Harvey, the sinister Martin from HUMAN CENTIPEDE II), and proceeds to use his disobedient inmates to create the biggest human centipede of all time. There’s also an appearance by director Tom Six himself (but, really, what’s the point?), and it completely wastes Eric Roberts (who truly must be desperate for money, even more so than Nicolas Cage) as Governor Hughes, a cynical politician up for re-election. Even worse is how the movie treats poor Robert LaSardo—a terrific character actor— who is just here as a rebellious inmate who refuses to knuckle under, so that he can be abused by the warden in lots of sick ways for his troubles.
When Nick Cato reviewed this one for us in 2015 (Read Nick’s review here!) and said that he absolutely hated it, I was sure that I’d like it more than he did. I’m a fan of the series, and have been looking forward to this one for a while. But, sadly, Nick was right. HUMAN CENTIPEDE III is just a total waste of time. Tom Six, you let us down! The whole “human centipede” concept is crazy enough without treating it like a joke. The way to go would have been to play it completely serious, and give us a fitting, creepy ending to the trilogy. But the wink-wink humor in this one just irritated the hell out of me.
MA: I’m glad I missed this one.
LS: You should be.
MA: Well, that’s it for 2015. Thanks for coming to hear our picks for the Worst of the Year.
LS: If it’s okay, I’d like to mention a movie that might have been my biggest disappointment of 2015. Not the worst film—by any stretch—but one I had really high hopes for that let me down.
MA: Didn’t you already mention HUMAN CENTIPEDE III?
LS: No, not that. This one isn’t the worst, it’s just one that disappointed me the most.
When I hear the name Guillermo del Toro attached to a movie, I have certain expectations. And I went in to see CRIMSON PEAK really expecting to love this movie. This Gothic ghost story features sinister siblings Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain, as Lucille and Thomas Sharpe, bringing Hiddleston’s new bride, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) home to a house of horrors. It starts out promising and looks really good, I can’t say anything bad about the cinematography! But—once we start to realize what’s going on—it’s evident that the script is generic at best (and just plain awful at worst) as director del Toro gives us perhaps the least-inspired and least-interesting movie of his career (well, since 1997’s MIMIC). I wanted the ghosts to be more important to the storyline—to do more—and the big “surprises” were pretty predictable. Del Toro has built a reputation as a true original, but it was the lack of originality in this one that let me down. It could have been one of the year’s best—but it didn’t even seem to try to do anything exciting with this overly familiar tale. Come on!
MA: Well, that’s it for us. Back to writing our regular weekly Cinema Knife Fight reviews. I hope 2016 is as good, or even better, than 2015.
LS: You can say that again!
MA: I hope 2016 is as good, or even better, than 2015.
LS: Awww, shut your cake-hole!
(AUDIENCE APPLAUDS as the curtains close)
© Copyright 2016 by Michael Arruda & L.L Soares