Within the last few years, lists of the year’s worst movies have seemingly turned into a competition to see who can be the meanest about Adam Sandler movies. Most share the same 10 or so movies that you could pick from Rotten Tomatoes based on the worst scores, and every now and then a sly critic sticks a popular box office hit on his list to get the masses riled up. For 2015 I predict that most lists will feature Pixels, Paul Blart 2, and The Ridiculous 6 in their bottom five, because they’re the easy targets. Fish in a barrel, if you ask me.
That’s why, a few years ago, I implemented the No Happy Madison Rule to protect us all from the same old movies on this Worst Movies list, because I take this very seriously. That’s on top of the “No Larry the Cable Guy” and “No Tyler Perry Presents” rules, as well as my respect for originality. So, no sequels, reboots, or remakes, either. But even the rules, which I ended up breaking this year, couldn’t help me avoid a bizarre problem in 2015 – there were too many bad movies. In fact, by March I had more than enough to work with and that made me sad, because I love movies, and I only put myself through this annual torture because we should all want movies to be better.
Because of this, I decided that it’s time for some positivity. It’s time to honor the bad movies that were actually fun to watch because they were so unintentionally bad. Sure, I could pile on The Wedding Ringer for Josh Gad receiving a blowjob from a dog, or write a few hundred words about how Dave Franco in Unfinished Business gave Minions a run for its money in the annoying voices department. I could mock the vanilla wafer actors of The Divergent Series for phoning in Insurgent, or laugh at the way that Aidan Gillen says, “Scorch!” in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. I could lament the downfall of comedy with Get Hard’s predictably flat jokes and Hot Pursuit’s awful comedic chemistry, or I could shake my fist at paint-by-numbers offerings like Disney’s McFarland, U.S.A. or Love the Coopers. I could complain that remaking Poltergeist was pointless and the world needed a Jem and the Holograms movie like it needed a Fantastic Four reboot. I could even describe the “That was it?!?!” sensation that I had after two-plus hours of Spectre, and that would all come before the Point Break remake hits theaters on Christmas Day.
But what would be the point? Instead, one movie inspired me to change my ways, and hopefully I’ll change a few minds with this year’s new and improved Best Bad Movies…
10) The Boy Next Door
For Jennifer Lopez 2015 was about reminding us that Jenny from the Block is the sexiest 46-year-old on the planet, like when she arrived at her birthday party in a sheer dress with that guy who looks like Pitbull. The problem with The Boy Next Door, other than it seemed like a really poor script choice, was that it made her look more like the sexiest 46-year-old bad actress on the planet. But if you’re going to star in a film about a deranged 19-year-old who seduces his lonely neighbor, only to be rejected and then attempt to kill her family, you just have to go all in.
That’s what makes this late night Cinemax fare fun, how the boy next door – 28-year-old Ryan Guzman, who also appeared in Jem and the Holograms – has to make us believe that he’s a charming homicidal maniac, but he’s just not very good at it. So by the time that he’s [SPOILER ALERT] crushed by a conveniently placed car engine, you’re hurting too much from all the laughter. And in a year that was short on good intentional comedy, it felt great to laugh at The Boy Next Door.
9) Fifty Shades of Grey
The problem with Fifty Shades of Grey was never the poorly written books or the plots that may or may not have been stolen from teenagers, or even how lame it was that a tale of bondage and lost inhibitions couldn’t feature some hardcore big screen freaky-deaky. It’s that Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson never looked like two people who wanted to be kissing each other, let alone having sex.
This was the least-sexy sexy movie ever made, which made it so much fun to watch, because you could close your eyes and pretend to hear the loud complaints of SnowQueen IceDragon’s rabid fans on the day the vibrators died. You just cannot force sexy. Sexy must happen naturally. So sayeth the horny masses.
BROS! Let’s be real, if we can, bros. This movie was not made to be good. It was not made to dazzle the Academy, nor was it meant to change the way that we look at the world in 2015. Entourage was made because Doug Ellin and his cast of unlikely stars wanted to 1) make a ton of money by resurrecting their Bro Culture Bible, 2) become friends with a ton of celebrities and athletes by casting them in cameo roles, and 3) CRUSH SO MUCH P*SSY IN THE PROCESS, BROS! Short of a shiny new Golden Globe for Totally Tightest Bromance, they weren’t thinking award-winning artistic masterpieces or turning the mirror on Hollywood’s vanity and excess. They were thinking, “Let’s get paid to party with Gronk!”
While we’ve made fun of Entourage plenty in the past, specifically for being dishonest and lacking creative ambition, the movie was as fun for me as it was for its fans, just for different reasons. I get why celebs like Russell Wilson, Mark Cuban, and T.I. show up in the film, but when you have guys like David Arquette, Gary Busey, and… ugh… Piers Morgan making cameos, it’s hilarious because it was like a casting call was sent out with “WANTED: DESPERATION” as a header. But the icing on the cake was Greg Louganis in the ultimate lean over and ask the person next to you who that is role. (It was even funnier than Trainwreck having to tell us who Chris Evert was by stating her full name.)
7) The Loft
I like to call this one Four Really Pretty Men and the Guy from Modern Family (no offense, Eric Stonestreet). While The Gift gave us a thrilling twist that left me thinking, “Oh man, what the f*ck, you deserve every ounce of suffering, Jason Bateman,” The Loft had me cracking up from the moment that Wentworth Handsomeman convinced James “Created in a Cheekbone Laboratory” Marsden and the other cheating bros that they needed to punish Karl Urban’s Vincent for basically being the worst bro possible by banging all of their babes. Because honestly, if you think you can trust the guy who bought a penthouse loft for all of your group’s cheating needs, then maybe you deserve to watch a DVD of Karl Urban giving it to your wife/sister/prostitute.
This film falls under my self-imposed obligation to continue to be Urban’s biggest fan and supporter, because the guy seriously deserves better than this. I’ll even put my support behind Marsden and Wentworth Miller, too. These guys are too good for cheeseball whodunits like The Loft, which has a payoff so silly that it could have made a wonderful comedy if they’d added Tim Curry as the building’s doorman who breaks the mystery down in five alternate endings.
6) The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)
This film fascinated me for all of the wrong reasons. If you haven’t seen The Human Centipede 3, you probably shouldn’t. If you have seen it, you probably wish you hadn’t. If you love pointless, disgusting, and horrifyingly violent behavior, then it might be your own personal Palme d’Or. And if you have seen it and loved it, I’m now scared of you. Ultimately, though, this film just left me asking, “Why was this made? Why was the character of sadistic prison warden Bill Boss (series staple Dieter Laser) created? And what is the purpose of all of this deplorable, vicious, and just downright unthinkable behavior?”
Then it hit me – because Tom Six just doesn’t give a f*ck. You have to admire a guy who is willing to respond to The First Sequence’s critics, who asked, “How could this be worse?” by creating Full Sequence, as they gasped and cringed. And just when you think this guy is out of ideas, he makes Final Sequence and creates things so unthinkable, vile, and detestable on a screen that the first two films look like Pixar titles. In The Human Centipede 3, Six created possibly the greatest/worst movie villain of all-time, and I pray that it’s the last we’ll ever see of Bill Boss and his… justice.
5) Wild Card
Oh Jason Statham, you continue to amaze us with B-movie plots, D-list acting, and A+ ass-kicking. At face value, Wild Card pushes all the right buttons, even if it is a remake, because Statham’s name is Nick Wild. Get it? Nick Wild, Wild Card… title play! But there’s a huge problem with this particular film, and it isn’t Michael Angarano’s acting or the fact that Jason Alexander, Sofia Vergara, and Stanley Tucci are forgotten background actors who could have surrounded Statham’s most unlikable character yet* with a little charm. Instead, the problem is that 40 minutes go by before Statham’s first badass fight scene, and that’s simply unacceptable.
However, as mad as I’d like to be that Nick Wild’s story is slow, the first fight scene is so over-the-top and stylish that you almost don’t realize that it only lasts seven seconds. Statham dodges two bullets with a barrel roll and disarms Milo Ventimiglia’s dickhead mob wannabe with a credit card, all while spreading the most hilariously fake maroon blood all over the inept bodyguards’ faces. After another 25 minutes and a blackjack montage that rivals The Gambler for the most unrealistic meltdown, Statham has his next big slow-motion fight, destroying a crappy casino in the process, and 16 minutes later he’s back at it, painting the outside of a diner, well, maroon. Believe me when I say, though, that last fight? That last fight is vintage Statham and makes every boring second worth it.
Basically, Wild Card is fight porn. You just have to know when to fast forward.
(*Wild wins $506,000 during his blackjack run and doesn’t tip the dealer. He tips the waitress $6K but nothing for the dealer. That’s why he lost it all. Karma.)
4) Run All Night
Run All Night was packaged like a Taken spinoff, as every commercial made it seem like Bryan Mills’ twin brother was going up against a mysterious gangster badass, played by Ed Harris. I’m one of the world’s foremost enthusiasts of Liam Neeson’s late-career badass run, so I went into Run All Night thinking, “All right, bro bros, let’s kick some Irish or Russian or whatever mob asses.” Then the movie started and I sat there wondering, “The f*ck?” for what felt like four hours.
What drove me nuts was how Neeson’s character started the movie as this pathetic, drunken blob of a man who couldn’t even stay awake, let alone stand on his own two feet, as he begged his friend’s a-hole son for cash to fix the heat, and then BAM! BANG! KABOOM! He’s Bryan Mills on PCP because his son’s life was threatened. I could complain about plenty but then… Common shows up out of nowhere as some sort of digital age cyborg assassin and I laughed for the remaining 30 minutes of the film.
There’s no explanation in the film as to why Common’s Mr. Price hates Neeson’s Jimmy so much, but he wants to kill him and in order to do it he’ll need to wear Vegeta’s eye piece. And the film’s final shootout in the woods… it’s so good (but bad) that I can’t even describe it. You just have to watch it.
3) The Cobbler
Welcome back to the year-end list, Mr. Sandler. To say that The Cobbler was worse than Pixels, Paul Blart 2, or The Ridiculous 6 (a boring, unfunny version of Zohan in the Old West) would be unfair, because The Cobbler was a lie. This movie wasn’t bad in a typical Happy Madison sense, like how That’s My Boy was a collection of awful, raunchy cutting-room-floor jokes or Blended was a way for Sandler to take his friends to Africa.
Instead, it was bad because of the truly shocking twist at the end. You have to sit through an hour-and-a-half of the misadventures of the pathetic, unlikable Max, who basically kills his own mom halfway through the film, to get to this BIG TWIST… [SPOILER ALERT]… it’s a superhero movie! I never thought that a curveball would leave me as stunned as Safe Haven’s hilarious “The mom’s a ghost!” sequence, but The Cobbler did it. As soon as Dustin Hoffman showed up and explained what was happening, I was furious. I wanted the last hour of the film deleted from my mind and replaced with Max realizing his power and performing good deeds for random people instead of trying to trick gorgeous women into sex or stealing Method Man’s watches.
Because this movie came from Thomas McCarthy, who gave us The Station Agent and what seems to be surefire Oscar success in Spotlight, I have to assume that it was meant to be better. Otherwise, consider my mind blown that this was the best they thought this movie could be.
2) Jupiter Ascending
This poor movie never stood a chance. The acting, the writing, the acting, the story, the acting… it’s just all mashed together for the latest disappointment from the Wachowski siblings. For starters, there’s Kunis as Jupiter, the cleaning lady who dreams of wearing the clothes of the women whose homes she maintains, basically shrugging her way through each scene, seemingly unsurprised at the fact that she’s the key to galactic salvation. But the grand prize winner is Eddie Redmayne’s performance as a foppish goth prince, and that accent… It’s like he watched Ralph Fiennes in Clash of the Titans and said, “I’d like to do that voice, but So. Much. Worse.” And yet, I love it, because he has moments like this that left me crying…
The best part of this disappointing sci-fi epic – that we suspected it would be bad because of its expulsion from its summer release date – was poor, beloved Channing Tatum, rollerblading his way across the sky as a hybrid wolf warrior and trying so hard to save this film as he saved the princess. Sadly, he just couldn’t rescue us from the not-so-subtle hints of bestiality that were slightly less disturbing than a human caterpillar.
Finally, the movie that inspired this year’s positive change. Director Michael Mann deserves a lot of credit for defending his cyber-terrorism thriller from critics who thought that Blackhat was too sexy and stylish to be accurate, because, as he pointed out, he talked to real CIA people who deal with digital threats on a daily basis. Well, I think he should have also talked to some dialect coaches, because the moment that hunky Australian Chris Hemsworth started speaking with some kind of bro-tastic New York accent in Blackhat, there was just no way to take this film seriously.
But that moment is a small chuckle compared to when he calls the DOJ lady “chica” on the plane, because that was a pants-pisser. “Hey lady, I’M HACKIN’ OVER HEAAAAAAYAH!” Beyond that, this movie is one long dick-measuring contest for every tough guy and chica in it. There’s the dickhead DOJ guy who gets Hemsworth out of prison, and the businessman who made a ton of money off the manipulation of the soy market. Hell, there’s the dork at the bar hitting on the sister (who might as well have been wearing an “I’m saving myself for the hero” T-shirt). Everyone from the main characters to the background extras should have just been holding rulers.
The best thing about this film, though, is that everyone dies. Good guys? Dead. In the middle guys? Donezo. The bad guy, who is never even really introduced, other than “Here’s the dude who is doing the bad stuff”? KABLAMMO! The only thing missing that would have made this film perfect was an ACME safe falling on Hemsworth at the end, followed by Mann shouting, “Cut! F*ck you, movie’s over.”
(For the record, the worst movie I watched in 2015 was Mortdecai. I knew right away that it couldn’t be topped. Or in this case bottomed. My word, what a waste of so much talent for a movie that was nothing but a string of terrible mustache jokes. “You have a vagina on your face,” Gwyneth Paltrow said in the worst scene of the year that didn’t involve Josh Gad getting head from a dead dog. Be better, 2016.)