Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Ten Worst Films of 2014 Thus Far

2014 is half over, and while the first half of the year is not typically known for being the strongest portion of the cinematic calendar, some surprisingly brilliant gems have been screened already, stuff that will probably find its way on my official best of list six months from now...but we will get to those later.

First I would like to address the ten worst films I have seen released thus far in 2014, starting with the best of the worst and descending down into hell.

#10 - Bad Words
Directed by: Jason Bateman
Starring: Jason Bateman

The shame of Bad Words is that it had potential to be a funny yet poignant pretty good time at the movies, but what was actually crafted was a film that defines mediocre. Jason Bateman plays Guy Trilby, a 40 year old man who has found a loophole in the rules of spelling bees meant for children that allows him to compete. He ends up befriending/feuding with a small boy and he spends a large portion of the film saying mean and crude shit to children and their parents, which was already done in a far more clever and superior film titled Bad Santa. The reason Bad Words failed where that film succeeded comes down to the execution of the material. Every attempt to be mean and offensive in this film felt forced and unnecessary, causing me to cringe instead of laugh. Bad Words finally starts to shine near the end when it reveals it actually has a heart, but at that point it is too little too late.

#9 - The Monuments Men
Directed by: George Clooney
Starring: Friggin' everyone

On paper The Monuments Men was a sure fire Oscar contender, originally scheduled for release later last year right in the heart of awards season. Directed by George Clooney and featuring an all star ensemble cast, combined with the story revolving around an attempt to save precious art work during World War II, it was a can't miss....and then suddenly they announced the release of the film was delayed until February of 2014, shocking absolutely everyone. Simply put, any time a release is delayed from Oscar season to the cinematic dead zone of late January/February, it is pretty much a guarantee the work will end up disappointing, and this proved to be true with The Monuments Men. 

The real problem with the film? It is just so damn bland. Honestly, it is difficult for me to even elaborate with too much depth because I barely remember what happens during it, and I saw it only 4 months ago. Years from now I will turn on a cable network and see The Monuments Men on late at night, and after about three minutes of watching I will remember it as "that movie about the art"...and then I will change the channel.

#8 - Devil's Knot
Directed by: Atom Egoyan
Starring: Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon

If you are like me and have closely followed the story of the West Memphis Three for years, you will be bored out of your mind during the film Devil's Knot. If you are not like me and knowing nothing about the case prior to your screening, you will still likely be bored out of your mind during the film Devil's Knot. Atom Egoyan has previously crafted some acclaimed work, which made it all the more shocking when I quickly noticed that the aesthetic of the film felt like something that would debut on the Lifetime channel, not in theaters. What is a heartbreaking and fascinating story about the murder of three little boys and the three teenagers that are erroneously charged with the crime is turned into a forgettable film revolving around a lawyer that no one gives a shit about and the mother of one of the victims. 

If you can tell me why I would care that Ron Lax is getting divorced, I will personally send you a thank you card. Go ahead, explain to me the relevance of not one but two moments included in the film that show he is getting divorced. Does it somehow make him care about dead kids on a deeper level? Is it supposed to show his dedication to his job? Whether or not it is based in fact is irrelevant, perhaps he was actually getting divorced at the time. So what? In what way is the inclusion of this information important? Devil's Knot was already doomed when it attempted to tell such a massive in scope story that has now spanned decades over the course of less than two hours. The fact that any time at all was devoted to a lawyers divorce is baffling.

Do yourself a favor and watch the trilogy of Paradise Lost documentaries instead. Incredibly informative and well made, and every single moment of Devil's Knot that matters is included.

#7 - Rio 2
Directed by: Carlos Saldanha
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway

The first Rio was actually kinda cute. The sequel was a mess, all over the place with a shockingly complicated narrative for a children's film. Too many characters doing too many different things, and none of it was very impressive.

#6 - Pompeii 
Directed by: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: the guy from Game of Thrones.

The love child of Titanic and Gladiator, except 90 minutes long and totally awful. A story about a legendary volcanic eruption and yet we are subjected to countless sword fights for the first 60 minutes, and then 30 minutes of chaos and magma and a love story. 

The good news for Pompeii is that the only aspect I will actually remember is just how stunningly dreadful Kiefer Sutherland is in the film. His performance is embarrassing. Everyone else is off the hook.

#5 - I, Frankenstein
Directed by: too lazy to even look it up
Starring: Harvey Dent

I don't even know how to put it into words. I will give it some credit, I think the film was very self aware and embraced its awfulness rather than try to pretend it was anything of actual value. That notion is the only reason I have four films listed as worse thus far in 2014. Yep, four films are worse than I, Frankenstein. Strap yourself in for a shit show.

#4 - 3 Days to Kill
Directed by: McG
Starring: Kevin Costner

Kevin Costner has cancer, and he is gonna die. Except wait, maybe he isn't? See, Amber Heard wants him to do a mission for her and kill some dudes, and if he does, she will cure his cancer. That's right, she just sort of has the cure in a giant needle, plus she is pretty, so you know, the total package. 

For a while during the film, I forgot about both his terminal illness and also the mission he is supposed to complete because we oddly shift gears to a story of Costner trying to reconnect with his daughter, and the chemistry he and her share is totally, comically non-existent. It is hard to watch, to be honest. The whole film is a strange, boring and laughable mess.

Oh, and the main bad guy he is trying to catch is called "The Albino" because he is an albino. It's really clever, riveting stuff.

#3 - Need for Speed
Directed by: Scott Waugh
Starring: Jesse Pinkman

So a bunch of dickheads drive cars way too fast on normal roads and highways containing innocent pedestrians, nearly killing multiple people in the process, and I am supposed to somehow root for them? I am supposed to think they are cool?

Eventually one of them dies, which was unfortunate because all of them didn't die. One was a good start, but with the others the film continues on, which is a shame. This moment, where the idiot killed himself driving like a fool, is supposed to be emotional and heartbreaking, but it isn't. He probably should have followed the rules of the road and he would still be alive.

After Jesse Pinkman serves his two year prison sentence which lasts for about two minutes of screen time, only to have him walk out like nothing ever happened which seems to totally ignore the consequences of being part of the reason his friend is now dead, he drives cars really fast again and impresses a girl in the process. 

I really wish I could tell you something good about Need for Speed, but I can't. The picture above says it all. It is a total wreck.

#2 - The Legend of Hercules
Directed by: Renny Harlin (?)
Starring: Kellan Lutz

The Legend of Hercules is such a horrendous film that I actually mildly enjoyed watching it. If you view it as a comedy, you can extract something fun from it, but if you attempt to take it seriously it will make your brain bleed. It's just so awful, but it isn't the worst...

#1 - A Million Ways to Die in the West
Directed by: Seth MacFarlane
Starring: Seth MacFarlane, a bunch of other people who should be ashamed of themselves

Horrifically, painfully unfunny. I smiled once in the hour and whatever I witnessed and I laughed zero times. I refused to finish the film because frankly, giving it any more of my time would be something I would always regret. I am totally fine with "offensive" humor as long as it is actually clever. Just kinda being racist isn't funny.

I officially hate the entire career of Seth MacFarlane now because of this insipid pile of shit. The first time I saw Ted, I thought it was a pretty funny movie, but you know what? Fuck that teddy bear and fuck Peter Griffin and whatever else this turd has done to make his millions. That is how awful A Million Ways to Die in the West is, it has completely invalidated his entire reason for being famous, and honestly, I doubt I will ever give him a chance to earn my respect back. It is almost impossible to make a worse comedy film than this.

Those are the ten worst films that have been released during the first half of 2014. Check back soon for my ten best!


  1. I've only seen #1 from that list have Devil's Knot on my radar though

    1. You should be thrilled you have only seen one of these, although the list will be a bit different at the end of the year because I have seen a few more turds since this. Devil's Knot isn't awful, it just isn't nearly as good as the documentaries on the subject either and since I have seen all of those multiple times, it was hard for me to give a crap about a film doing an inadequate job of covering the subject.