TOP TEN WORST FILMS OF 2016
10. THE DISAPPOINTMENT'S ROOM
This is such a strange beast of a film because it actually has an interesting premise, and then does nothing with it at all. In fact the whole thing smells like it may have been the victim of some behind the scenes shenanigans from overzealous producers or a worried studio. Even though I have nothing to base my suspicions on, I suspect that everyone that signed on to make this film, thought they were making a different, much more interesting film rather than the generic drudge it ended up being, and like its title suggests, the whole thing ended up as a total disappointment. It is a nothing film; you forget it seconds after the credits roll, and what was with the decision to give Kate Beckinsale terrible blonde hair in this; even this decision was a total mistake.
This could've (and perhaps should've) been my biggest disappointment of the year because I am a huge fan of Rob Zombie and particularly of his masterpiece “The Devil's Rejects”. His latest, “31”, was also one of my six most anticipated films of 2016 and from Zombie's own mouth, this was the closest in tone, of any of his films, to that of “The Devil's Rejects”. Sadly the new film was nothing close to the earlier film; in fact it was an utter disgrace and oh, so boring which is something you could never accuse Zombie of before. All of the characters are one dimensional and none of them are memorable. And what is with the names given to all of the antagonists? They are all so juvenile. In fact that is the best way to sum up this film as the entire thing is juvenile and so (unnecessarily) vulgar. There is a scene, early on in the film, at a gas station where Meg Foster's character is explaining to the other girls, the rules of her “business”; the whole scene is disgusting and I knew from this point I was going to hate this film. Also for a film so basic, it doesn't make much sense (which you could accuse a lot of the dialogue in the film of too). The whole betting angle involving Malcolm McDowell (in a wig like he had just stepped off the set of “Barry Lyndon”), is never explained and thus adds little to the film except more frustration. To me, it feels like Zombie's heart wasn't into making this film, which may be the case as he only made it after another project he was trying to get up couldn't get funding. As much as I disliked “31”, I will say that I thought the very last scene on the road was fantastic, and the only time it ever got close to feeling like the masterpiece that is “The Devil's Rejects”.
8. CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON: SWORD OF DESTINY
Everything about the original “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was an A grade production; from its director, stars, script, cinematography, all the way to it's kung-fu choreography. Everything about this sequel, sixteen years too late mind you, is of a D grade production. The original film's fight choreographer, Yuen Woo-Ping, steps up to take the directorial duties and while he has proven to be competent in this role in the past, he is no Ang Lee. This is just a film that should never had been made. After so much time, no one was clamouring a sequel, but to make one and then make one so poor as “Sword of Destiny”, it is a disgrace to the original film's legacy. The thing that surprised me the most though was how poor the martial arts scenes were in this film, and how much they were reliant on CGI in them. Even as I write this, I find myself shaking my head. This film was just a disaster and it saddens me to think about it.
7. THE BFG
Its a fact: sometimes great directors make bad films. Its a fact: Steven Spielberg is a great director. Its a fact: “The BFG” is a bad film, and in my opinion, is my least favourite film from this master filmmaker. I think sometimes great filmmakers (rightly) believe in themselves and their ability, that when their vision is totally wrong for the material, they continue down that rabbit hole making wrong decision after wrong decision, until the end result is almost a disaster. Luckily with the greats this is rare, but it does happen, but I must admit that I was not expecting such a bad film from the creative team of “E.T: The Extra Terrestrial” (Melissa Mathison was on screen writing duties); one of the greatest and most emotionally packed kids films of all time. “The BFG” has none of that film's charm or heart at all. Everything about it feels manufactured. I thought both leads were mis-cast with the young girl being particularly cringe inducing. Let's put it this way, she is no Drew Barrymore. It pains me to say this, but I hated this film and its over-reliance on CGI; it was also far too long. My kids loved it though, so what the hell do I know?
Over the years, I have become a big fan of actor Jake Gyllenhaal (don't stress, he makes an appearance in my top twenty this year also), and as such, I try to check out everything he does because he loses himself in his characters and rarely disappoints. I say rarely because I did not like him nor his character in “Demolition” at all. It should've been an emotional journey as we are witness to his character struggling to move on with his life after his wife dies in a car crash, but he is so obnoxious and his actions so odd (and at times very selfish) that I just did not care about him or his plight at all. Because of all this I found “Demolition” to be a thoroughly unpleasant movie to watch.
My girls hate that I am adding “Sing”to this list, but I'm sorry kids, I hated every second of this movie. The whole story is very bland and for a film aimed at children, I was stunned at just how unlikeable most of the characters were in it, particularly that obnoxious mouse. The whole thing had a “been there, done that” feel to it all; it was a by the numbers animated film and the songs were terrible. Kids deserve better!
4. X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
The further I get down this list, the less I remember about these terrible films so please bear with me. What I do remember about “X-Men: Apoocalypse” is that it is the perfect example of what is wrong with today's cinema. The whole thing is just a mixture of explosions, action and badly rendered CGI in an attempt to disguise the fact the story being told is nonsensical and has no heart or real emotion attached to it. I've actually enjoyed most of the recent “X-Men” films but this is a lazy effort by all involved, with the exception of Michael Fassbender who still gives a great performance in this mess. This franchise is starting to look very tired.
3. YOGA HOSERS
Kevin Smith was a filmmaker that I used to really like (particularly in the 90's), and one who I thought had something to say, even if he did so via comedy. However as I have grown up, sadly Smith has not. In fact his films seem more immature and dumb now, than they ever did. While I tolerated “Tusk”, “Yoga Hosers” is many notches below even that, and is a total embarrassment. I literally almost rolled my eyes through the whole thing, and I felt so bad for everyone involved in this mess, as I could not believe that something this ridiculous had actually been made. I mean Nazi sausages; really???? Smith's humour is just no longer funny, particularly the terrible character of Guy Lapointe who is embarrassingly played by Johnny Depp who, like Smith, just doesn't seem to care anymore. The only reason “Yoga Hosers” is not #1 on this list is because I thought the two leads, Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith (yes, they are who you think they are), were both charming.
2. WE ARE THE FLESH
I was initially interested in this film because it had been championed by a couple of Mexico's biggest names in cinema: Oscar winners Alejandro G. Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron. Before watching “We Are The Flesh” I was aware that this could be a divisive “love it or hate it” film. As may be painfully obvious by its position on this list, I was definitely in the “hate it” camp! I felt like the film had nothing to say and scenes were only created with an intent to shock the viewer. Instead rather than that, its scenes of unending sexual depravity did little to shock and everything to bore. This was an absolute chore to sit through; ugly in its look and confused in its meaning and intentions....at least for me. I know that there are people that adore this film and think it is very deep in its intentions; I just couldn't find a gateway into this film to see it in the positive though.
1. GODS OF EGYPT
Horrible CGI, embarrassing performances, story that makes little to no sense. Overall, a total disgrace and failure on all levels. I still cannot believe that this was directed by the same guy who made the brilliant “Dark City”. Life is too short to spend more time talking about this cinematic disaster. The worst film of 2016, hands down.