My favorite thing about the otherwise punishing task of choosing the Worst Movies of the Year is guessing how many comments it takes for someone to say, “You forgot about…” so I can shout, “Oh sh*t!” at my monitor. My second favorite thing is when someone either comments that I forgot a movie that I clearly didn’t forget or that my list is invalid because that person loved a movie that I hated. Those both happened in record time this year, but that’s not why we’re here today.
For this year’s worst movies list, I opened a new Word Doc back in February and saved it on my desktop so I could add movies every time that I either saw one that I hated or watched a commercial or trailer for a movie that looked like it would be terrible. The problem with this method was that I accidentally had two lists going this year, and when I finally wrote my 3,400-word essay on 2013’s horrendous movies and edited it down to 2,000 words, I made two huge omissions that were at the top of my newer list.
With that, I’d like to offer these amendments today and especially my apologies for depriving you of the correct amount of hatred. However, in fairness to the 10 movies that I already selected, I will not be removing any of them from the list, and I will instead amend this year’s list to feature 12 films, and that’s good because there were a lot of terrible movies this year.
We all know very well by now that most young actors with a rocket stuffed up their butts are locked into deals with studios that allow them one huge franchise role and other various crap roles that are intended to be for surefire money makers. At least I assume that’s how Joseph Gordon-Levitt is able to make a wonderful film like 50/50 one day and then a steaming pile of fixed gear dog vomit like Premium Rush the next. So for Liam Hemsworth, who stars in the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, that cud smoothie is one of this year’s biggest box office bombs, Paranoia.
First and foremost, Paranoia is an awful film because it’s about as generic and unoriginal as they come. Granted, it’s usually a fun formula – a super smart, good-looking young dude plays by his own rules and loses his job, only to be recruited by that very same company in a bigger role to steal secrets from the rival company, and along the way his evil boss threatens to kill everyone close to him if he doesn’t comply and the equally evil boss he’s stealing from finds out and also wants to kill people. Oh, and the FBI’s smartest, toughest agent is hip to the whole scene because one of the evil CEOs is just killing people left and right, because that’s what they do.
In the end, the punk kid outsmarts the genius billionaires and helps the FBI bring it all down so he can open his own business and live a quiet, happy life. Because the CEOs wouldn’t be able to reach out to killers from prison and have every inch of skin peeled from that guy’s buddy while his whole family watches.
What was most amazing(ly awful) about Paranoia, though, was that this film surrounded the worst actor of the Hemsworth siblings with big guns like Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford and Richard Dreyfuss and I actually found myself saying, “Jesus, please get Gary Oldman off my f*cking screen.” Not since Tippy Toes has that kind of vitriol spewed from my mouth about one of the greatest actors of all-time. But the problem with Paranoia wasn’t just Oldman, it was…
Damn it, you guys. I really screwed up on this one. I told Vince at least two times that it was almost unfair for me to have seen Jobs, because there was no way I was going to hate anything more than I hated it. Fortunately, Battle of the Year happened and everything worked out, but to exclude Jobs after I had talked about it for months as one of the most hilariously bad movies (and ideas) was just ridiculous. That’s why if you listened to the Frotcast two weeks ago and heard me remember it on the spot, you could tell I was so pissed at myself.
Anyway, I know I have this rule about how I can’t let my hatred of an actor dictate the way I feel about the movie in this list, but Jobs somehow impressively managed to dance around that. For starters, unlike most of the other work I’ve seen him in, I wasn’t distracted the whole time by Josh Gad, wondering how the hell people think this guy is a comedy genius. That’s because I was way too distracted by Ashton Kutcher’s incredibly cartoonish portrayal of the late Steve Jobs. It was like watching a Saturday Night Live sketch drawn out over two hours, except instead of it being a parody of Steve Jobs, it was like a bad character doing a hilarious impression of Jobs.
What kills me about movies like this is how the studios and stars are so desperate to throw the material together to get the movie out so they can shout, “FIRST!” and pat themselves on the back, that it ends up coming off as a retelling of a 7th grader’s report that he paraphrased from Wikipedia. Except, in this case, that 7th grader is most famous for playing a stoner and he spends most of the movie failing at disguising his voice and staring off into the distance. Jobs is a movie that felt like it was only made so Ashton Kutcher could tell us how much Steve inspired him, when he could have just saved that for an appearance on the WIRED podcast.
(I’ve also received several emails from friends that I should include the new boxing comedy Grudge Match, because they all said it was incredibly unfunny, but I don’t have the time to watch that. I’m already so clearly damaged enough from the other 50 or so terrible movies I’ve watched this year.)