Let’s look at the worst.
2019 has been a dumpster fire for filmmaking. I began compiling this worst of list in late September and at this point I could probably list 15-20 films as worst of the year. For films that are good, I barely have 10 right now that will make the cut.
However, I know that the last two months of the year will yield some good movies. Why is good filmmaking relegated to November and December? Despite how awful this year has been 2020 will probably be worse. With the MCU now done with its first phase we are going to see a vacuum of by-the-numbers and focus tested action films try to strike while Disney is perceived as vulnerable.
I guess we may as well shit on Disney. Or, maybe I shouldn’t? Disney has proven to be the most successful production company of the year, and their market share of sales is approaching (if not surpassing) 40%. On the one hand, this could be good news for fans, but it might also indicate a stagnation. How many more live-action remakes will there be? (Easy answer: look up what films Disney needs to renew copyright on).
As companies continue more and more to seek the fucking lost city of gold that is a successful franchise we are going to be stuck going through the mud.
What bothers me is that I have become paralyzed in what to watch. With four streaming services (which is its own gross problem) I should never want for something to watch. However, across all four I have less than 15 films in the queue.
Anyway, enough handwringing. Let’s look at the top ten soulless suck fests of the year. (Best movies of the year coming Friday).
As usual, before my list I am going to share my wife’s worst of the year. Her’s are in reverse order:
- The Amityville Murders
- 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
- The Curse of La Llorona
- Annabelle Comes Home
- Doom: Annihilation
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters
- Fighting with My Family
- The Dead Don’t Die
- IT Chapter 2
And now my list:
- It: Chapter 2
I can’t think of another narrative where the first half made it into my top ten of the year and the second half is in the worst of the year.
It: Chapter 2 isn’t so much a bad film as it is disappointing. We throw out just about everything that made the first one work and amplify everything that makes no sense. For an interdimensional murder-monster, Pennywise is surprisingly inept at killing anyone in the loser’s club. When they were kids, we could make the argument he was having fun playing with them, but here they represent a threat that he ignores for too long.
Part of the issue stems from King’s narrative, which isn’t as tight as the first half. Making a story about friendship where most of the characters aren’t together simply doesn’t work. The adults don’t seem connected in any way, and despite having some top talent, it seems like they didn’t know how to portray these bonds.
The biggest fault of this film is that we end up rewatching the first half as each kid is given a new scare. This is stupid as none of it is scary—we just saw the adult start to reminisce, so there is no danger.
While other films are complete trash fires, this one earns a spot on this list for missed opportunities.
9. The Curse of La Llorona
Do you remember when The Conjuring released, and it seemed like we might actually get some enjoyable mainstream horror? Yeah, we were wrong.
We transplant the Mexican folktale to Los Angeles, which by itself isn’t a bad thing. The film got a lot of shit for whitewashing the protagonist, but this didn’t have to be a bad thing. Having a white protagonist could have allowed for us to learn about the deep history of Latin folk culture. I had also hoped we would get some nods to the deep history of Mexican horror (which can be damn good).
Unfortunately, we don’t get that. At best the film is another crappy by-the-numbers ghost story. There is nothing unique here, and people walking out of the theater won’t know anything unique or special about La Llorona. We end up with a transplanted and white-washed flaming dumpster.
The whole film is washed out in bland colors and even our titular ghost is whited-out to look more like an indie horror game ghost than any sort of dangerous phantom. The absolute lack of scares is simply stunning. When a film can’t even do jump scares right you know something is wrong.
While this isn’t the worst horror film of the year it might be the most cynical. Studio execs were desperate for a cheap cash grab and chose to tarnish a long history. No wonder they dumped this stinker in the early year.
- Pet Semetary
Two years ago, I would have said that the possibility of making a film worse than the original Pet Semetary would be impossible. They just had to go and prove me wrong.
Stephen King films are a mixed bag, and by mixed bag I mean you have some tasty treats, broken glass, and cat shit in a burlap sack found under a bridge. King writes a lot, and not everything he writes is worth adapting to film. Pet Semetary will only work when the inherent cheesiness of the film is embraced.
However, this one decided to try to make this as horrifying as possible and failed. We have Jason Clarke, who I am not even sure is a real person, leading this one. Clarke appears so bored in every scene you have to wonder if he was killed off screen and reanimated in the cemetery.
The entire project is so uninspired I honestly believe the script was written on a napkin. A monster with assholes for eyes would be more interesting than the stilted and stupid crap we have here: “Err, I see you and will shit on you.” Seriously, that is more inspired than this tired crap.
Due to the success of It we are going to get about a million new King adaptations. If we are lucky, this one will be the worst. However, we are not lucky. No way. Mainstream horror has become a living karmic structure designed to punish us for generational sins.
- The Dead Don’t Die
This hot pile of steaming goat piss promised to be funny and fun like Shaun of the Dead or even Zombieland, but instead we get an aged hippie shaking his hand at the sky behind the camera. There is nothing original in this film at all.
Despite a strong cast and a couple clever quips, this film tries so hard to show how smart it is, but much like people who try that in real life, it blows soupy crap all over itself. The whole young people are zombies cause cell phones schtick was never funny, never insightful, and is frankly fucking tired. Let’s base an entire movie of an internet meme (which is also based on the idea of consumerism equating the walking dead, which was done by Romero decades ago).
What really pissed me off about this film is how shamelessly it apes other zombie films with no attempt to nod to the past. I think that is the difference between a loving nod to what has been done and what equates to almost plagiarism. People who have never seen a zombie film before may find this one funny, but anyone with any sort of backing into the genre is going to see through this quite quickly.
This is a personal preference, but if a film is going to break the fourth wall it better damn well have a point. When it is used as a lazy ending or convenient way to cover plot holes it simply shows how poorly constructed the film’s story is.
I tend to not attack other critics (because it is subjective), but this film got such high ratings for saying what people wanted to hear—whether or not it made any narrative sense. Fuck this movie. The Dead Don’t Die is a lesser copy of greater originals.
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Yet another corporate suckfest designed to entice viewers into seeing other movies rather than making a stand-alone film. (I swear this franchise baiting is becoming like the microtransaction blight in gaming).
How a movie about monsters wrecking the planet managed to be so boring is beyond me. We follow an eco-terrorist group who kidnap a scientist and her daughter in order to wake up all the monsters. Now, our heroes must help Godzilla save the planet from these other beasts.
If you’re hoping to see some awesome monster carnage, prepare to be more disappointed than you were on election night. We get to see some stuff, on a television, within another scene. Don’t worry though, the characters will talk about the chaos, madness, explosions, and other cool stuff. You see, we just have to wait for the next movie to maybe get a little payoff.
This husk of a film truly captures mainstream cinema in 2019. Bland, boring, and safe. These are the only things that matter anymore. Whatever will appeal just enough to the largest amount of people.
We follow Mads Mikkelsen in this wanna-be John Wick about a retiring hitman who must avoid being killed. Why is he being hunted? His bosses don’t want to pay him his retirement. Why do we think that hitmen are in this shadow world with rules and benefits? What the hell?
Polar is offensive to watch, and I don’t mean that it is sexist or trashy (well, it is), but here I mean this film will offend your senses. It has no respect for you. It hates you. It wants you to be in pain. The whole thing is stupid gibberish.
I wanted this to be a funnier entry, but this is just a bunch of bros making a film that objectifies women. The saddest part is that you can tell they thought it was so cool.
- Backfire (Netflix production representation)
Backfire took an interesting idea and smeared baby shit all over it. Two young gangsters injure a mob boss’ son during a strong-arm robbery. The mob now must move quickly to not appear weak. Sounds kind of cool right? Could have been like a criminal investigation where it is criminals doing the investigating.
We don’t get that here because apparently the universe needs to remind us that we are in fact little more than hairless apes.
Aside from stunningly bad writing, we are also treated to a plot that has no idea what to do with any of the characters. We end up following Jerome as he continuously runs back into danger for no reason.
However, the reason this film truly deserves a place on this list is the astonishingly racist portrayal of Italians. Honestly, I couldn’t believe that this was greenlit (and Netflix had to be the main platform for this to be seen—good job, guys, that’ll get Disney+). I mentioned in my initial review that I think they told the actors playing the mobsters to feign mental illness, and I stand by that. We have Italians discussing meatballs mid chase, over-acted (and offensive) stereotypes, and just a lack of understanding of what another human is like.
Bad action movies are a dime a dozen, but this one goes that extra mile by trying so hard to be edgy it reveals the cultural insensitivities and idiocy of the writers.
- Annabelle Comes Home
Let’s make a movie set in the Warren house without Ed and Lorraine in it. How this one ever got out of the brainstorming session is beyond me. We have spent two movies getting to know and like the two leads, but here we remove them.
While leaving a child with a teen babysitter alone in a house filled with demonic entities might seem like a good idea, I think there might be some problems. The whole premise is so stupid that this film bet on no one thinking about the implications for even one second.
The weirdest thing about this one is that we burn through dozens of artifacts without getting the story behind them. Why do we give the stupid doll three movies but ignore other ones?
The film is simply lazy. Now, I don’t mean run-of-the-mill lazy, I mean crapping in your recliner because you’re tired lazy. I think this film was only made in an effort to push the boat out on the extended universe of the Conjuring lore. Sorry I don’t have more jokes here—the biggest joke is this film and it isn’t funny.
- 47 Meters Down: Uncaged
Ugly, boring, and obnoxious are the only ways to describe this entry. While the first film provided some decent popcorn entertainment, the sequel is just another example of an idea drawn to death. Instead of leaving it alone, we end up with this forced crap.
I suppose this film could serve as an entry for every forced sequel as companies scramble to make a new franchise. I don’t think dimly lit and noisy shark films are going to topple Marvel, but apparently the team behind this one knows something I don’t.
What truly earns this one an entry on the list is that they didn’t bother to do any research on evolution or sharks. Great Whites live to be about 70 years old, but this film implies the sharks have been trapped in the ruins for hundreds of years… Oh, and they evolved. The lack of scientific knowledge here is simply offensive.
Aside from no research, we also have no concept of time. This is a sloppy movie that had no passion present during production.
- The Fanatic
This abomination of a film makes the argument that Fred Durst and John Travolta need to be locked away from society. In one of the most misguided and hateful films ever made we follow Travolta as he pantomimes the most offensive stereotypes of the mentally ill, while also making the argument that mental illness leads to violent behavior. Great work here, dumbasses.
A movie about a zombie bear made of Taco Bell shit would be Oscar worthy compared to this crap.
If you think this might sound so bad it is kind of good, it isn’t. Paying someone to kick you as hard as they can right in the asshole would be a better time than sitting through this garbage. Hopefully, this film kills the careers of everyone involved. No one here should be given the privilege of filmmaking after producing something this inept.