There are movies that miss their marks, and there are movies that try too hard. Some films get mangled and butchered in rewrites, while others are the victims of directors, writers, and actors that don’t share a vision. Some motion pictures were simply doomed from the beginning, either the products of ideas that couldn’t be brought to fruition or simply serving as cash machines for producers and studio executives that have no shame. And some movies? Some movies just f*cking suck more than the rest.
With a lot of these specific year-end lists, you’re going to mostly see the same offenders. That’s why I tried my hardest not to read any as I was putting my list of 10 films and the additional superlatives together. The one list that I did take a look at was TIME’s, because I wanted to see what a respected publication considered its Worst Movies of 2013, and that’s where our reminders of my rules to selecting FilmDrunk’s Worst Movies of 2013 will come into play, because TIME violated rules numero uno and dos:
(If you’re familiar with this annual list, then you know the gist of the rules and can skip the appetizer for dinner.)
1) No more Adam Sandler/Happy Madison films.
2) No sequels.
Obviously, it’s unfair to other bad films to be compared to most Happy Madison films, which is why I created this rule after Grown Ups took the top spot in 2010. Hell, Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy were both awful enough to dominate all-decade lists. It’s also unfair, because those movies simply aren’t meant to be good, as much as they’re intended for Sandler and his cronies to tell their jokes and cash in on them. They serve a certain audience and to those fans, they’re actually good movies, despite the lack of originality and respect for comedy.
Sequels, of course, aren’t fair because they’re almost always worse than the original films, so they have a built-in advantage. In fact, there were several sequels in 2013 that could have topped this year’s list, including a third installment from a franchise that could have topped the 2011 list with its first sequel.
Additional rules that we adhere to include:
- No Seltzer/Friedberg films. I won’t even watch that trash for the sake of belittling it anymore.
- No Madea films (which takes A Madea Christmas out of the running).
- It can’t be a personal thing, as in I can’t destroy a film because I hate the actor.
- No indies.
- Only one romantic comedy is allowed.
- One starring role per actor. For example, I could have White House Down and This is the End on this list, because while Channing Tatum is in both, he’s not the star of both. (You’ll see this only applies to one actor this year, and you should be able to guess without reading past this point.)
- I’m just being honest.
As always, I want to disclose the fact that I do not consider myself to be a film critic. The only movie that I’ve ever reviewed for this site was That’s My Boy, because it was so bad that I needed to put my thoughts about it on a Word doc for the sake of therapy. I am simply a guy who likes watching movies. And sometimes those movies suck.
This Year’s New Rule
After my initial discussion with Vince and a few other UPROXXian colleagues, as well as the input from some of you commenters, I decided to retire another type of film this year. I will not include spoof comedies anymore. Obviously, the films of Aaron Seltzer and Jason Friedberg were already exempt, but this year, it wasn’t fair to include films like A Haunted House, Movie 43, inAPPropriate Comedy and Scary Movie 5, because they’re so much worse than the rest.
However, I will make up for this by announcing the first Worst Movies superlative of 2013 for Worst Spoof Comedy… inAPPropriate Comedy. Movie 43 was a different type of terrible in itself, and I couldn’t believe that so many good actors loaned their names to it. But inAPPropriate Comedy wasn’t even offensive. It was just bad. And it had an Oscar winner in Adrien Brody as the star. How the f*ck did that even happen?
The Worst Sequel of 2013…
Winner: The Hangover 3
Runners-Up: GI Joe: Retaliation, RED 2, Machete Kills, Kick-Ass 2
The Hangover 2 is one of the worst and least funniest movies I’ve ever seen, so the news of The Hangover 3 (Vince’s review) being made obviously never went over well with me. It’s difficult for a sequel to be good when the characters were never that likable to begin with and the jokes were never a laugh a minute in the first Hangover. After a while, Leslie Chow gets very old, as does Alan. You can add all of the likable actors in the world around them, too, but it won’t change the fact that the same jokes are rarely funny a third time.
The One Movie that Made Me Completely Reconsider the 2012 List…
Winner: Premium Rush
This movie about a bike messenger caught up in a dirty cop’s game came out after I released last year’s list, and I didn’t think it was going to be terrible enough to crack my Top 10, so not only did I disregard it, but I never watched it, despite emails from several people who told me that I was wrong for not having it on the list. That is, until I caught it on cable a few weeks ago. Seriously, I’d like to retroactively make it my No. 1 Worst Movie of 2012, but I won’t steal that honor away from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, because that movie still made me look very stupid for defending it.
The 2013 Dishonorable Mentions
Bullet to the Head – I’m a complete sucker for Sarah Shahi, so I will not bash this dumb movie beyond this point.
The Lone Ranger – It’s the easiest movie to pick on and will likely be on dozens if not billions of ‘Worst of’ lists, but not this one.
Last Vegas – Old people loved this movie and I could see why. It wasn’t meant for me, so I can’t hate the idea of old bros partying.
Delivery Man – It wasn’t the worst Vince Vaughn movie, and it was actually strangely charming. DO NOT misread that as good, though.
Parker – Y’all know me, I’m a huge Jason Statham fan. But I don’t like Jennifer Lopez and pointless, unimaginative plots.
Adore – This movie somehow made boning your best friend’s mom seem wrong. The hell?
Gangster Squad – I love mobster movies, but this thing was as paint-by-numbers as they come. Absolutely no surprises or sense of danger in it. (Vince’s Review)
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – A bad movie that benefited from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter topping last year’s list.
The Call – I know, I know, it’s a WWE-produced movie starring Halle Berry. What was I expecting, Monster’s Ball 2: Mankind and Socko Take Manhattan?
The Fifth Estate – Topical political films usually bore me as is, but this film offered nothing we didn’t really know, and it didn’t challenge the viewer to question things other than why I always have to go to the bathroom at the end of a movie.
A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III – Vince will be angry that I bumped this one out of my Top 10, but I hated it less as a movie (and I did think it was a very bad movie), and more for being a Charlie Sheen smugfest. It’s my own rule – no personal vendettas – that saves this movie from the Top 10. [Vince’s Note: Probably the worst movie I’ve seen in the last five years. I literally watched it in 10 or 15-minute chunks because it would make me so angry I’d have to go for a walk.]
Oblivion – The hardest omission of them all, but I didn’t think it was as terrible as two other sci-fi films, so Tom Cruise doesn’t have to make me disappear.
And now, my picks for the Worst Movies of 2013…
10) Pain & Gain
I’ve been going to the movies long enough to know what to expect from Michael Bay, but at the same time I constantly hope that he’ll grow the f*ck up already, realize his talents and make a movie that isn’t the moral equivalent of two high school guys measuring their boners. I like Dwayne Johnson and I usually like Mark Wahlberg, but when you watch a Bay film, even one that’s actually original and is supposedly a passion project, you’re distracted by the Bay clichés. What’s worse about Pain & Gain, though, is that it’s a plot and story that I wanted to like, but with the way that Bay’s over-the-top, self-aware “I’M SO F*CKING AWESOME” style of directing hangs over the film, I kept trying to imagine it being directed by anyone else.
One Positive Thing: Despite the typical Bay bravado, I thought Johnson and Wahlberg made a good team.
9) The Last Stand
Was this Arnold Schwarzenegger’s worst movie? Absolutely not. But for as much as I enjoy the ridiculousness that Arnold and Sylvester Stallone want to deliver in their action career twilights, this wasn’t fun as in, “Haha, Arnold is blowing people to pieces and the blood is so fake that it’s making Mountain Dew come out of my nose,” as much as it was, “Kids, stop hiding grandpa’s medicine.” And I know I’m not alone, because this movie was a bomb at the box office in the U.S.
I don’t want every Arnold film to co-star Sly and vice versa, but we can do way better than Johnny Knoxville. Arnold may have been retired, but that doesn’t mean he couldn’t have watched Walking Tall in his downtime. (Vince’s review).
One Positive Thing: It wasn’t nearly as bad as The 6th Day.
8) 21 and Over
Can we stop this already? Can we stop the stupid “coming of age” movies that aren’t really coming of age movies as much as they’re lame excuses to wear out already worn-out college clichés and ethnic stereotypes? Do we really need to keep releasing the same movies over and over every year to pretend that college is a consequence-free opportunity to sow your wild oats and pull one over on The Man, instead of a place where horrible things happen and lives are ruined? Are we completely incapable of writing a new story that evolves the boring “breaking out of his shell” trope or are we forever burdened with this nonsense?
Those are the questions I asked myself in just the first 20 minutes of 21 & Over. The rest was just “Why?” over and over.
One Positive Thing: Sarah Wright, you guys. Please make Millicent Gergich a bigger star, Hollywood.
7) The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
This seemed to have been one of the more universally reviled films of 2013, with both critics and audiences taking it to the woodshed. When you go for a high concept comedy like this, one that deals with the over-the-top ridiculousness of Las Vegas showmanship and the douchebaggery of “street magicians,” and you have two comedy heavyweights like Jim Carrey and Steve Carell going against each other, you’re taking a huge risk if the material’s not right. Burt Wonderstone seemed like less of a movie about two magicians competing with each other than two fading comics trying to out-gag each other. Instead of shoe-horning crude jokes like “Brain Rapists” into the plot, the writers and actors could have killed us with more subtle comedy, allowing Carell and Carrey to do what they’re best at.
One Positive Thing: The final “trick” scene was actually pretty funny, and I think that made the outcome a little depressing, like, “Wait, this is what the potential looks like when fulfilled?”
A lot of people probably think this Men in Black rip-off should be No. 1. Maybe I’m giving it a little break because I’m such a sucker for Jeff Bridges, but I didn’t think it was nearly as awful as it originally looked when the trailers first hit and we were all pointing at it and shouting, “COPYCAT! COPYCAT!” I do, however, think that Ryan Reynolds needs to take a little break and gather his thoughts, because watching him play the same exact guy in everything – Green Lantern, Blade: Trinity, Van Wilder, Safe House and RIPD – is ruining movies. RIPD had the potential to be like Beetlejuice with bazookas, and it should have been stupid fun at the very least, but you can’t actually watch a movie when your eyes keep rolling backwards.
Also, this film accomplished something very remarkable – it made me dislike Marisa Miller. Granted, her husband has done that, too, but I don’t pay $12 to watch him.
One Positive Thing: I thought Kevin Bacon was great, but that’s usually a given.
5) The Internship
I try to keep these mini-rants contained to a paragraph so this thing doesn’t end up cracking 5,000 words, but it’s hard not to write a novella on the problems with The Internship. For starters, most of us liked Wedding Crashers despite the fact that it was drawn out and dull at times, but just throwing Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson into a “hilarious” situation doesn’t recapture that magic. What makes The Internship so interesting, though, is that Vaughn had a hand in writing it, which makes me wonder what he brought to the table. Did he develop the intriguing idea to ask what happens when two 40-somethings find themselves on the outside of the modern digital workforce because they failed to adapt? Or did he say, “Now surround those two guys with a bunch of stereotypes and let hilarity ensue!”
Because it didn’t ensue. It didn’t even start to ensue. Instead, hilarity stood awkward and offensive up for their threeway, and we ended up with a two-hour SNL sketch that culminates with Josh Gad being the surprise plot twist.
One Positive Thing: Again, I liked the initial premise – what happens to industry dinosaurs after the technological asteroid hits? – but it didn’t have to be this poorly delivered.
4) Safe Haven
Okay, it’s a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks book, so I know what to expect. On top of that, it stars Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough, who I would describe as the Josh Duhamel of actresses. Basically, we’ve got two really good-looking people who aren’t very good at acting and are trying their hardest to pretend that this movie isn’t a shoddy remake of Sleeping with the Enemy, right up to the vindictive, abusive husband finding his disappeared wife at a fair, or in this case a parade.
But the ending of Safe Haven… oh man. The surprise twist makes my eyes well up with tears just from thinking about how hard I laughed. I’m sure there are women out there who loved this movie and think it was beautiful, regardless of what a hater like me says, but that ending, man. Holy sh*t.
One Positive Thing: THE ENDING! Seriously, pop this sucker in the DVD or Blu Ray and fast forward to the reveal. It’s just remarkable.
I probably would have forgotten about Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor if not for Lindy West’s incredible takedown of the Tyler Perry film earlier this year, and after I read that scathing rant, I had to see this movie immediately. I thought that the most offensive thing about this movie was that it had Kim Kardashian in it as an actress, but the fact that Perry wrote this horrible script about a woman who “cheats” on her husband when she’s forced to have sex with a guy who represents Satan, and she is infected with HIV as some sort of divine punishment is just amazing. I have to imagine that if you’re not one of Perry’s minions, you’ll be overwhelmed by confusion and anger at the end. At least that’s how I felt. The worst part? It wasn’t even so horrible that I could laugh.
One Positive Thing: Amazingly, when I look back on this movie, the best part is Kardashian, because it’s hilarious watching her try to act. Remember, she’s more famous than almost any woman in this country, and she’s incredibly wealthy to boot, but she possesses not a single talent. These are strange times we’re living in.
2) After Earth
The problem with a big, blockbuster science fiction film like After Earth isn’t that it starred Will and Jaden Smith, a father-son duo that became quite the polarizing icons of nepotism in recent years, but that it requires people who not only share a grand vision, but know how to create it. Jaden Smith is not a good actor. This should have been taken into consideration when Columbia Pictures and other studios were pumping more than $130 million into After Earth, because when one of the scenes requires him to fight off giant tigers from a huge bird’s nest, an inexperienced actor is not going to deliver the most convincing performance. It’s clear that Columbia and M. Night Shialebeouf cared more about the earning power of the Smith family name than they did about execution.
One Positive Thing: That was already the nicest I can possibly be about this awful film.
1) Battle of the Year
When I first saw the trailer for this film, I didn’t know that Battle of the Year is something that actually exists. Normally, I don’t think that would make much of a difference but it really did. When you’re dealing with a film that’s about two guys who want to put together a dance battle team so they can bring respect and honor in the B Boy game back to America for the first time in a decade, and the cast is basically a ragtag team of people who can dance but not act (or some that can’t dance or act), you have to ask, “Why? Why did we even make this film?”
The dance battle genre was already exhausted, thanks to multiple Step Up films and other movies, and even the fans needed a break. That’s why this film that cost $20 million to make lost more than $5 million worldwide. Not even Chris Brown’s rabid fans wanted to see it. So why not make this as a documentary that follows two actual dancers trying to assemble a team to win at the actual Battle of the Year? Why not bring us along to watch old school B Boys and new school hopefuls try to make a paint-by-numbers script – “A girl? Teaching boys? AW HELL NAW!” – a reality?
Because that would be a good idea, and we don’t need good ideas when we can just recycle the old ones and pray to Team Breezy they work out. Fortunately for all of us, this one failed miserably, and hopefully Hollywood will learn to hang up the dance battle shoes for a few more years. Double bonus: Studios might think twice before casting Brown again. Haha, just kidding, there’s probably already a Takers 2 and Battle of the Year: Dance Battle 2 Mars in the works.
One Positive Thing: I didn’t laugh harder at a movie in 2013, not at This is the End and especially not at White House Down, which I thought was the funniest movie of 2013 until I watched Battle of the Year.