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2016 IN REVIEW – The Worst Movies of the Year

February 25, 2017 Leave a comment

The Legend of Tarzan - Alexander Skarsgård

Alright, so… I went a bit off the deep end this year, I think. I think I’ll exercise a bit more restraint for 2017. No point in stopping this year, though, when I’ve already started!

2016 was a crappy year, so here’s a list of all the crappy films I saw from it – all 43 of them, complete with answers for why I hated them, in approximately the order in which they sucked, in order of increasing suckage – though, really, what’s the difference between placement in 35 and 36? So, some of these are practically draws. Also, as always for these lists, I have included the Rotten Tomatoes score as of this writing, ’cause it’s always fun to see just how hated (or, in some movies’ cases, how confusingly liked) a movie is compared to my own ranking, right?

Anyway, forgive me if I’m a bit jaded and out of it this past year. I think I might write my list of favorite films while having a few beers…

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2015 IN REVIEW: The Worst Movies of the Year

February 11, 2016 2 comments

Chappie - Jose Pablo Cantillo, Chappie (Sharlto Copley)

Here it is! I know, it’s been a long time coming. But it’s finally here: my list of Worst Movies of 2015.

These are the 2015 movies I hated most, for one reason or another. Most of them lost points for being boring, while others lost points for being just plain stupid. There’s a good chance that you will not be entertained by any of these films, and if you do, then it’s most likely for ironic reasons. I saw a lot of bad movies in 2015, though – almost 40 of them! – and while I could’ve just narrowed it down to a Top 10 list or something, I chose instead to just flat out warn you about all the terrible movies I saw from 2015 until the time of publishing this.

I’ve ranked them in order of approximate awfulness, but, as always with these things, ranks can change probably in the future. There’s one thing I’m certain of, however, and that these are just… just terrible. Don’t see the movie on the list? I guess I didn’t hate it that much. Or I didn’t see it. I’m sure that there were plenty of other films I missed that were much worse than these. Heck, I’m sure that my list of favorite movies of the year will have some that people think belong on this list for one reason or another. That’s the internet for you. That list is coming, though, and you can feel free to complain then. Until that time, though, here are the movies I hated most from 2015…
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2015 IN REVIEW: The Fifth Annual One of These Things

January 4, 2016 1 comment

Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens - Starkiller Base Engages

2015 is over. Can you believe it? For me, this was probably the most looked forward to year in movies since 2012, when The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises premiered. In fact, 2015 was in a lot of ways exactly like 2012 and had a lot of follow-ups to major films of 2012 – an Avengers film, a new James Bond film, a Hunger Games film, a new Quentin Tarantino film, a prestige Steven Spielberg historical drama, a new David O. Russell film featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro, a new film about Alfred Hitchcock, an Aardman Animation film, a new Pixar film featuring female leads… Yup, pretty much a repeat of 2012, only 2015 featured even more familiar cash-ins than even then, with even more familiar brands making their return to the silver screen: Mad Max, the Terminator, Jurassic Park, Rocky, The Transporter, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Vacation, Taken, the Fantastic Four… Oh, and Star Wars. Can’t forget that one!

Vacation (2015) - Christina Applegate, Steele Stebbins, Skyler Gisondo, Ed Helms

But a lot of other films did come out this year beyond just major franchises and major brand releases. I can’t say that I saw everything that was released this year, of course, and I do have to make a confession about my film viewing habits this year, too: I saw far more of those major releases over the minor ones than I had actually intended. Oops. I feel like a bad critic, particularly since I am pretty much about to break another record for number of movies I have seen for a single year. (I count Redbox and streaming services and also post-New Year’s views, too, so long as they’re before I complete the year in review, just to let you know.) I had a rather personally tumultuous year, you see, and so I do believe this resulted in me not exactly engaging my brain nearly as much as I wish I had, and so I feel like I got a little lazy in seeking out the particularly great but overlooked films that were released throughout the year. I might very well break my streak of seeing every Best Picture Oscar-nominated film in a year, in fact, which I have managed to maintain since I first did it for 2012. — Hey, look! Another 2012 parallel!

Room - Jacob Tremblay, Brie Larson

As a result, I am going to do things somewhat different this year for my year in review, but only slightly.

The major change: I am no longer covering films that were released solely in foreign markets. You see, when I first decided to start doing these year in reviews, I intended for the reviews of film I missed to reflect what was going on in the world of cinema outside the United States, too. I had good intentions, and the list of films supplied by Wikipedia was pretty extensive, particularly for Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu language films releasing out of India, and I mostly had a lot of fun finding out what was making waves in foreign box offices. However, the process of researching these films was exceedingly exhausting, as trailers were rarely in English, and so I had to seek out synopses for these films before I could even provide any sort of commentary on them. Sometimes this resulted in pure ambivalence that I feared could be misconstrued as condescension. I just don’t think I have the energy this year to do it, and I’d really like to make 2015 the year that I get the year in review completed at least by the end of January again, and so I had to sacrifice researching films I really had no chance of seeing in the first place. Foreign films won’t be completely absent, of course, as I’m still including particularly significant or interesting films that I curated while doing preliminary research, as well as foreign films that at least had limited theatrical releases here in America. So, yeah, I’m not being xenophobic, you see! It just made the most sense to lighten my workload in this area of all areas.

Timbuktu - cast

The minor change isn’t really an alteration of my process as much as it is an alteration of the changing way in which we watch movies. Yes, since this was the year in which Netflix decided to start releasing original films, I am now also including significant films that debuted on streaming media services from here on out, as well. (Many of them also saw limited theatrical releases, anyway, so I’m not sure how much this counts as a real change, like I said.)

Also, this year, I will actually continue to separate my Best of the Year list (or whatever I end up calling it) by genre, as I did the year before, since I find it unfair to judge the excellence of a side-splitting comedy against the excellence of a tear-inducing art house drama and declare one the victor when they set out to do completely different things and may have equally excelled at those goals, different though they may have been. I am still going to rank the Worst of the Year list by level of craptitude, however, ’cause I have no problems ranking my level of gut level disdain for each individual film!

The Ridiculous 6 - Taylor Lautner

That’s really about it, otherwise! I will continue to breakdown these lists into multiple posts, starting with a 3-part review of the films I managed to miss, a review of the middle ground films I saw and didn’t feel especially strong in either direction towards, a review of the most terrible films I saw from the year, and concluding with my favorites (’cause, again, I sometimes still really like fluff entertainment that has flaws as much as I like an expertly rendered cry! I’m dynamic like that). As per usual, here is the schedule:

2014 IN REVIEW: The Worst Movies of the Year

February 15, 2015 3 comments

The Purge: Anarchy - gangster

This 2014 in Review series is taking me a lot longer than I anticipated, but such is life and work. After this, we’ll be getting to my favorite films of the year, but before I do that, it’s time to pass judgment on some of the worst films released in 2014.

These are the movies that bored me, that angered me, that were so bad they left me bewildered as to how they even got released in the state they’re in. For your reference, this year I have also included the Rotten Tomatoes score for each movie. While I cannot say that the order I’ve placed them in is definitive, even for me, they are arranged roughly from worse to worst, ending with my pick for the #1 worst film of the year. I have more picks for 2014 than I ever have in the past, but it was a pretty easy and obvious pick, though some of you might be thinking of the movie I put in the #2 slot. I have my reasons why it went there and not at the top, but you’ll just have to read to find out.

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2014 IN REVIEW: It’s The Viewer’s Commentary’s Fourth Annual Year in Review!

January 6, 2015 1 comment

Guardians of the Galaxy - Awesome Mix Vol. 1

It’s January! That means that we’re all looking forward to a year of new movies while looking back on the year past and nitpicking all the stupid things that we think Hollywood should avoid in the future while totally ignoring the fact that they’re all really going to just keep doing the same stuff over and over again.

And that really was the general consensus regarding 2014, from what I can tell. While 2014 had plenty of films we hoped were going to be good, there weren’t very many movies that we could look forward to with certainty of their excellence, either. Examples:

  • There was a freaking movie based on LEGO blocks…
  • Marvel was hedging their bets on two of their most ambitious films yet. The first was a sequel that completely changed up the series’ tone from the retro sci-fi cheerfulness of its predecessor to a more serious, pessimistic, and shockingly violent espionage flick, despite it being helmed by a duo who were heretofore better known for working in TV comedy and directing You, Me, and Dupree. The second was a film set at a far point in the galaxy with all sorts of weirdness going on, including a talking raccoon and a tree with an extremely limited vocabulary in two of the lead roles.Divergent - Shailene Woodley
  • Hunger Games fever was seeing its first major me-too film adaptations in The Giver, The Maze Runner, and Divergent while the actual Hunger Games film series continued with the first part of the cash-grabby, two-part Mockingjay adaptation. What’s next? Hobbit knock offs?
  • Disney was following up their smash hit, Frozen, with their first ever Disney-branded Marvel adaptation in Big Hero 6, which took serious liberties with the X-Men-related comic book source material, including moving the story from modern day Tokyo to the far future hybrid city of San Fransokyo.
  • No Pixar film, while DreamWorks was churning out an update to a classic cartoon in Mr. Peabody & Sherman, a sequel to How to Train Your Dragon, and a spinoff of Madagascar starring the Penguins of Madagascar… titled Penguins of Madagascar.
  • Teenage romance films in the same vein as the seemingly never ending Nicholas Sparks adaptations, one of which was a remake of a crappy 1980s teenage romance film, one involving a girl on the brink of death while roaming around in a ghostlike form, and, perhaps the most egregious sounding of the three, an adaptation of a novel about two kids with cancer who happen to also fall in love.

The Fault in Our Stars - Ansel Elgort, Sam Trammell (foreground)

  • More reboots:
    • Godzilla. Another one. Made by Americans.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, courtesy of producer Michael Bay, who was meanwhile continuing his Transformers series with a reboot of sorts, too.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past, which actually managed to make erasing the previous series of films from the new timeline a part of the storyline.
    • Veronica Mars, which was a crowsource-funded restart of a cancelled TV series.
    • Left Behind, which also managed to shove in freaking Nicolas Cage in there in one of his most baffling roles of his career. Speaking of which…
  • Christian films reached both an all time high for popularity, at least as far as theatrical release goes, and a nadir for quality, the most offensive being the latest Kirk Cameron atrocity.

Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas - Kirk Cameron's dancing...

Yeah, 2014 looked like it was going to be a pretty bland year, even if you weren’t into the serious dramas and independent film scene, which… I honestly don’t keep up with nearly as much as I probably should when it comes to pre-release buzz.  I can’t imagine that there are that many who do beyond actual paid professional critics, of which I am tragically not.

In the end, it was indeed a pretty off year for films, but I’m actually not so sure that’s a bad thing. While there were plenty of terrible movies, most of those were easy to spot from a mile away, and many of those uncertain major films actually managed to prove themselves to be a non-issue, while some of them actually turned out to be pretty fantastic, in fact! Yet more unexpected gems also emerged from the darkness to surprise everyone with how good they were… or, at the very least, they surprised me. Looking back, 2014 was a year that the expected gave way to the unexpected — and it was refreshing and satisfying.

Godzilla (2014) - It's coming...

On a personal level, 2014 was also pretty great for my film habit, by the way. I managed to buy myself a surround sound system finally thanks to a nice Christmas bonus. (Yay for being freaked out about whether the neighbors will complain!) It was the first year in which I rented a film that was also still playing in theatres — some of them either not available in my area and some just because I was a lazy bum who didn’t want to make the trip. I don’t anticipate me doing this for every release in the future, though, as I still love going to the theatre, and the prices for these films are pretty much comparable despite my TV and sound system not matching that of a theatre, but for things like documentaries or limited releases that are playing just too far away from my apartment, it’s proven to be a pretty convenient medium — particularly when I managed to get some free Vudu rental credit.

Life Itself - Roger Ebert

Consequently, this was also the year that I broke a personal record for the number of films I saw before the year’s end: a whopping 104, either through theatrical release or rental. By comparison, in 2011, the year I started blogging, I’d only seen 32 from that year in total, with some spillover into 2012 for the viewing time frame. With the added incentive of blogging from the very start, 2012 saw an increase to 58 by the time I posted my last year in review entry. 2013 again saw an increase to 68, meaning my 2014 viewing habits increased by nearly 53% from the previous year — and I’m not done yet, as there are still some films I want to see that I’ll likely watch before I complete this review series. I don’t know whether I should be proud or not… but  I choose to be proud. I’ve already told my friends and family, anyway, and it still didn’t inspire them to stage an intervention, so I think I’m good.

So, yeah, I’m actually pretty excited to talk about the films of 2014. I anticipate that it’s going to be interesting and pretty different compared to past years. As always, I’m going to roll this out in stages, first with three entries discussing the films I didn’t see, then an entry discussing just the middle ground films I saw, an entry on the worst films I saw, and, finally, my favorite films from the year. (I say “favorite” because, while they’re all good, in my opinion, I do not rank them in order of excellence but rather personal favor. The “worst” list works pretty much the same way, pretty much, but in the reverse.)

The LEGO Movie - Batman and Benny

For a rough schedule, here’s how I anticipate it working out, though it’s subject to change if I need to space it out (I will have seen over 104 films, after all, and I might choose to break up the middle ground film entry just due to numbers):

2013 IN REVIEW: It Begins

January 6, 2014 1 comment

World War Z - Brad Pitt

Hello, everyone who reads this blog, and Happy New Year! I haven’t written in a couple weeks, mainly because, well, I really needed a vacation and was visiting with family. But I’ve actually been really looking forward to getting back to writing (even if my lazy mindset often convinced me of doing otherwise), and I’m ready to start blogging again. It being January, that means it’s time to look back at the past year in film and, at least for me, reflect on the movies I liked, loved, hated, and, yes, didn’t even see. That’s right — I start off my year in review with a look back on the films I managed to not see and comment on why that was. (If you’re thinking that this involves quite a bit of blind judgment on my part, then I’m willing to admit that, yes, that is indeed the truth in many cases, but never without reason, however sound, but, more often than not, it’s just because money and time did not allow for it.)

Before I get into all that, however, I figured I’d use this opportunity to reflect publicly about what the year 2013 in film meant for me, specifically. 2013 was a pretty big year of changes for me, after all. One of the biggest factors that took place in my life was the fact that, at the beginning of March, I not only remained a bachelor, I also became one without a roommate, as my best friend moved back to our mutual hometown to be closer to his family after his grandmother had passed away within the last year. Fearing change already but also having a very steady job I was not inclined to leave, I faced the challenge of staying where I was while simultaneously moving on in another way. This being a movie blog, I’m not so inclined to talk too much about how this impacted me emotionally and all that schmaltzy stuff, it did nonetheless inspire a special review of what is perhaps the “bromance” comedy of my generation, Superbad, a movie I note again that I unapologetically include on my list of films that have made me cry, and one that my friend and roommate for the better part of 6.5 years had given to me as a Christmas present not long ago on Blu-Ray (he got my DVD copy, which I was more than happy to bequeath, since that movie is actually quite beautiful to behold in HD).

Superbad - I love you!

Part of living alone (apart from two cats) is the fact that, suddenly, things become more expensive. My one room apartment is certainly cheaper than the total of our two bedroom one, but I’m personally paying more. I also have to cook all my own meals now, even when I’m tired from work, or otherwise obtain it in some other manner, whereas before my ex-roommate and I had a system of alternating halves of the week where one of us was responsible for providing both of our meals. This meant that, by Thursday, I was already either tired of the one thing I cooked in large portions so that I wouldn’t have to cook again or I opted for eating out — a factor that not only contributed to some unfortunate weight gain, but also an impact on my wallet.

The Twilight Saga - Bella's Revenge

And that’s why this happened…

How does this relate to movies? Well, I was certainly less willing to go to the theatre for just any movie for a good portion of the year (I got promoted midway through, so that helped), and I began relying upon Netflix delivery (thanks to my closest Blockbuster closing down — you know, before they all closed down) and streaming to fulfill most of my needs, renting at Redbox whenever I came across free rental codes and buy-one-get-one coupons… or a movie I just really, really wanted to see. The impact this had on my blogging was a lot of theme month reviews for me. Girly Movie Month. Guy Movie Month. I even had a period of doing friend suggestions that resulted in my first TV movie review in Ballet Shoes, wound up reviewing a TV special in It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (which I’m actually pretty proud of), and did nearly end up doing a Christian Movie Month due to some annoyances I was having regarding the state of Christian entertainment, but I only popped out a couple reviews — Johnny, Fireproof, and Chariots of Fire. I even contemplated Controversial Movie Month and had even watched a few films in preparation (Brokeback MountainMysterious Skin, The Woodsman, and was also planning on including The Last Temptation of Christ). Let’s also never forget my binge review of The Twilight Saga, borne of morbid curiosity and my giving my willingness stepsister the films for her Christmas and birthday gifts over the years when no one else in my family would. Hell, I even wound up reviewing two Tyler Perry Madea movies this year, including one I had doomed myself to reviewing early on, as if it were some kind of bad omen to look forward to for nearly 12 months.

Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas - Larry the Cable Guy, Tyler Perry, and Kathy Najimy

… Never forget. Never again….

This limitation did, however, also result in my first anime reviews — Macross IIPerfect BlueFrom Up on Poppy Hill, and Tokyo Godfathers — and I think I’ve finally gained a better appreciation for the medium’s potential, even though I never really outright hated it before. Overall, I think the financial limitations ultimately resulted in some solid personal growth for me as an amateur film critic. Luckily, I also happened to have gotten some theatre gift cards at the end of the year (which I’m still using up on some late year releases) from some friends and family, so while my movie habits have not exactly been as current as years past, I felt like I’ve been able to make up for lost time, more or less, so I should still be able to build a sizable list of films I saw, films I hated, and films I loved.

Pacific Rim - Jaeger drop

Awesome…

Regarding the films of 2013 in general, I do have to admit that it was an up-and-down year, but, overall, 2013 turned out to be way better than I expected. With films like The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises coming out in 2012, what we had to look forward to in 2013 seemed to be a bunch of cash-ins and sequels: Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World… heck, even Twilight fans had to deal with The Host. And yet those actually turned out to be pretty good (well… except for The Host, which I currently still have no clue about), with Marvel’s films in particular proving that Phase 2 of The Avengers Initiative is going to continue to be quite entertaining, at the very least. But we also got several original surprises out of the year, as well. Pacific Rim and Gravity were phenomenal sci-fi spectacle films on polar opposite ends of seriousness, and dramas like Mud and The Wolf of Wall Street showing us that even formerly seemingly-irredeemable actors like Matthew McConaughey could, in fact, redeem themselves with great performances. I wouldn’t want to spoil any surprises, but, overall, despite all the downs, the ups certainly made up for much of it, and I was certainly happy for it.

Mud - Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan

And, so, that’s my introduction to my third annual year in review. I look forward to going back in time with you all and exploring both those highs and lows. Just so you know, I’m going to be following the same model as my 2012 in review, only in how it actually ended up. In other words, here’s the order I will be following:

Hope you enjoy the next few weeks! Here’s to an awesome 2014!

* …in order of my favorite

THEATRICAL REVIEW: Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

December 14, 2013 6 comments
Tyler Perry's A Madea ChristmasDirected by: Tyler Perry
Produced by: Tyler Perry, Ozzie Areu, Matt Moore
Written by: Tyler Perry
Edited by: Maysie Hoy
Cinematography by: Alexander Gruszynski
Music by: Christopher Young
Starring: Tyler Perry, Anna Maria Horsford, Larry the Cable Guy, Tika Sumpter, Kathy Najimy, Chad Michael Murray, Eric Lively, Alicia Witt, Lisa Whelchel, Noah Urrea, JR Lemon, Jonathan Chase
Adapted from the musical play by Tyler Perry
Year: 2013

 

I used to think that this would be a sign of the apocalypse – Tyler Perry teaming up with Larry the Cable Guy to make a movie together. When I joked about such a thing happening all the way back in January when I was reviewing the films of 2012, I mentioned that if such a thing were going to happen, I would be among the first to see such an event take place, and it would be my first Tyler Perry film that I would spend good money on to see in theatres. Then, a few days later, God showed that He had a smug sense of humor with me when He deemed that such a thing would happen. And that it would not be released during the apocalypse, but rather during the celebration of His Son’s birth, and yet also on the official release date of December 13, 2013 – which, if you’re reading this far from now, you may not immediately know is also Friday the 13th. Very funny. You win again, God. Also, would you look at that? We’re all still here. I guess I should’ve known that not even Satan himself wouldn’t want his big finale to be upstaged by such a massive bomb as this. Read more…

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