Monday, 30 December 2013

The Worst Films Of The Year 2013


I managed to avoid a lot of the more celebrated cinematic clunkers this year, a bit like metaphorically sidestepping dog turds on the pavement. So I'm pleased to say I can only imagine the unspeakable toe-curling horrors and brain-damaging inanity I swerved by giving a wide berth to the likes of: Movie 43, Grown Ups 2, Scary Movie V, The Big Wedding, 21 And Over, Run For Your Wife, Bula Quo and Diana. But alas, it's always the case there's still plenty of celluloid swill I had to endure, the following pitiful selection are the very worst offenders, and not a single film listed below was awarded more than a derisory two stars from me on Letterboxd this year:

THE WORST FILMS OF 2013:


1) PAIN AND GAIN
By some distance the very worst film I saw all year, the only reason I awarded this hideous, hateful hatchet-job of a film a solitary 1/2 on Letterboxd was because that site shamefully doesn't have the facility to award zero marks. In so many ways I feel horribly cheated! 
Pain & Gain is the very worst of Michael Bay's vulgar excesses on super-strength steroids. A garish, grating, gruesome (in every sense) farce, which in the deft hands of the Coen Brothers might possibly have been a blackly comedic crime caper with a moral conscience. Instead Bay handles the material with all the subtlety and finesse of a rampaging rhino high on PCP wielding a hefty sledgehammer. It's loud, lewd, over-stylised, cynical and monumentally crass. It's shameful enough Bay trivialises a tragic true story of kidnap, torture and murder via vapid visuals and puerile slapstick, but he does so in such a vile, venal, completely unpalatable manner it truly beggars belief. Here's a film that is so crude, shockingly misjudged and staggeringly dumb that it would insult the intelligence of particularly dim-witted plankton. Bay has been accused of cinematic hate-crimes in the past, but here he goes all out to offend and discriminate without the slightest hint of irony or satire. Pain And Gain is beyond tasteless given its real crime background, wallowing in an open cesspit of racist, sexist, homophobic, toilet humour. It's a film that rages with barely disguised contempt for its audience, a movie every bit as meat-headed and incompetent as its intellectually-challenged protagonists. And as for those protagonists it's quite some feat to make usually charismatic stars like Wahlberg and Johnson so deeply repellent, although this is surely a by-product of Bay's moronic insistence on turning everything up to eleven like an overactive infant with a sugar rush, rather than through any palpable directorial skill or artistry. Utter gutter cinema.

2) I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2

Well, in the great pantheon of pointless, unwanted sequels, here's a non-theatrical follow-up to a largely worthless remake of an infamously grotty 1970's grindhouse nasty. I Spit On Your Grave 2 is a vile, repugnant, barrel-scraping exercise in sadism and suffering in the fallacious guise of female-empowerment and cack-handed catharsis. It's the same rape/revenge template as previously, but now with extra humiliation, torture and freshly added Hostel-patented xenophobia. Upping the ante with its brutality and cruelty in both the rape and revenge departments, this is a film which has such a hateful misanthropic worldview, a hollow sordid soulless void, where Biblical inspired psychotic vengeance is celebrated almost as much as the lip-licking misogyny and leering barbarism which precedes it. Lowest common denominator garbage then for fans of genital mutilation and long forgotten British soap stars clearly desperate for a gig.

3) UFO (aka ALIEN UPRISING)
You have to admire the ambition of director Dominic Burns, attempting a mash-up of Independence Day, Skyline and District 9 on the budget of your average 'You've Been Framed' entry. Unfortunately the lack of funds, coupled with a script that largely seems to be a mechanism to link together various punch-ups, arguments and baffling flash-backs / flash-forwards, helps fashion a film that is by turns incoherent, ugly, bizarrely edited and awash with repellent characters. Still, for all its multitude of faults I suppose it's not everyday you get to see an alien invasion film set in a Derbyshire housing estate and briefly featuring Jean Claude Van Damme...........although that's not any sort of recommendation you understand!

4) UPSTREAM COLOR 

One of the great joys of cinema is experiencing the way certain films connect with you on a personal, intellectual or emotional level. For many Upstream Color is one of the year's most cerebral, challenging and striking pictures. As far as I'm concerned however, it's a movie that simply washed over me, its popularity and endless five star appraisals simply baffled me, its enigmatic appeal utterly eluded me. Frankly, it was like I was watching a completely different film to everybody else.
I'm afraid, for me, Upstream Color is like a jigsaw with wrong and missing pieces, it just doesn't fit together and ultimately becomes a fruitless and pointless challenge. It's like a bad student film, all terribly earnest, sterile, and yes....completely tedious. I had absolutely no emotional connection with anybody involved, nor the slightest interest in where the meandering, angular plot eventually wound its way towards. The opening segment with its sinister Cronenbergian mad science parasitic vibes, was initially intriguing, but once the psychic pig came on board, not only had this film high-jumped the shark, it had disappeared so far up its own arse, it had virtually turned itself inside out, and was actually becoming a real chore to make it to the end of. I have no problem whatsoever with movies devoid of traditional linear or narrative structure, I enjoy a cinematic conundrum as much as the next film fan, but for me this film wasn't any kind of mental challenge or intricate bamboozlement, it was just terminally dull, abstract chinstroker toss of the very worst variety. It's bewilderingly overrated pseudo-intellectual wank. It's a cautionary tale about the perils of ingesting maggots....or something. It's The Emperor's New Clothes from the racks at Matalan. It's one of the very worst and most insanely overrated films of the year.

5) TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D
From the very start of the year came this - the latest pointless attempt at defiling the memory of Tobe Hooper's seminal horror classic, which manages to not only be the dumbest entry in this series, but is further scuppered by being presented in entirely redundant 3D. Yet again modern filmmakers entirely miss the essence of what makes the original film and its masked monstrosity so utterly terrifying by conjuring up an inane and unbelievable back-story and attempting to draw audience sympathy to the plight of the chainsaw wielding psychopath by introducing some utterly moronic and implausible family bonding. Dim-witted, ugly and dispassionate - that's the film, not Leatherface (or Jed as he's really called....I shit you not!), this is an entirely idiotic and irrelevant cash-in, and needless to say, the scariest thing about it is the depressing fact that a follow-up has already been touted.

6) THE BLING RING

The Bling Ring is a superficial satire employing selfie-obsessed vapid teen culture to condemn the shallowness of celebrity. It's a film every bit as vacuous as its air headed brattish protagonists whose pursuit of vulgar consumerism and gaudy glamour is basically portrayed by endlessly repetitive scenes of designer clothes and tacky trinkets which is like being trapped inside some hideous, endlessly looping shopping channel targeted at tasteless morons. As a satire on the vapidity of fame and fortune, and the moral malaise of youth, it's about as biting as a toothless flea with intimacy issues. To be honest, I found every single person involved so deeply annoying and unlikeable I was hoping they'd all get shot in the face by some trigger-happy neighbourhood watch guard as they went about their brain dead burglary spree.
A film with absolutely nothing to say other than the rich and famous are dumb and people who aspire to their lifestyle are even dumber, this somehow actually makes Spring Breakers appear deep and profound.

7) HOLLOW
I must confess I was initially intrigued by this low budget British found footage fable because I know the area where it was shot really well - a region rife with fascinating local legends and macabre myths. Unfortunately the film itself tends to just use its Suffolk backdrop (the ancient coastal area around Dunwich and Leiston) as a casual afterthought, spending much of its turgid duration as a dour relationship drama between two young couples holidaying in the region, who just happen to randomly stumble across sinister secrets from the past. I found these four leads intensely irksome and unsympathetic, the breakdown and bickering of their group dynamic a real endurance test. Added to this the desperately uninspired way the video documentation of their story was shoe-horned in, and all goodwill to this project rapidly diminished. When the so-called horror element finally kicks in via a few moderately creepy scenes of spooky hooded figures and shadowy threats in the pitch black rural night, it's all a bit too little too late as frankly the coked-up cretins couldn't die soon enough as far as I was concerned! 

8) THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY


More thoroughly uninspired and derivative found footage folly, which attempts to breath new life into the classic Frankenstein story by suggesting it was all factual rather than fictional. Whilst at times this mirrors the plot of Trollhunter, that's where all similarities end with that particular modern classic of this increasingly haggard sub-genre. Instead, The Frankenstein Theory spends much of its dull, dragging duration with our pitiful protagonists cowering in a remote ramshackle shed, isolated and alone, whimpering and bickering about scary noises from outside. Should really be retitled The Frankenstein Dreary.

9) AFTERSHOCK
Aftershock the latest Eli Roth offering to get a UK release this year (he wrote, produced and stars) is lewd, crude, tasteless, and relentlessly piles on the misery. Think The Impossible with added rape, murder and mutilation and you get the general grubby vibe. It's a sort of disaster movie infused with the xenophobic paranoia and cynical nastiness of the Hostel films, affording lots of low-brow, grimly misogynist scenes of suffering and sadism, which is tawdry, tacky and technically inept. The first act is cringe-worthy travelogue with Roth and his creepy middle-aged mates hitting on girls young enough to be their daughters, the remainder an increasingly desperate attempt at misanthropic shock tactics and debasement. Grim in every sense. 

10) AFTER EARTH
After Earth is an ill-conceived and idiotic vanity project by the Smith dynasty, clearly intended to raise Smith Jnr's profile, yet his morose, charisma-free performance matches the dreary, nonsensical sci-fi slog he finds himself trapped in. After Earth is not only monumentally dumb and devoid of logic or impact, but it's just boring as hell with it. There's a scene early on in the exposition heavy prologue where mankind is colonising a new planet and Will Smith is hacking genetically engineered creatures to pieces as spaceships hurtle around in the alien background..........that's the film I wanted to see, not the turgid interplanetary trek dumped upon us instead. Surely the final nail in Shyamalan's career coffin?

WORST OF THE REST: 
 

11) SHARKNADO
12) ALL SUPERHEROES MUST DIE
13) RED DAWN
14) A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
15) COMMUNITY
16) GETAWAY
17) THE VATICAN EXORCISMS
18) G.I.JOE - RETALIATION
19) INSIDIOUS CHAPTER 2
20) FRIGHT NIGHT 2: NEW BLOOD.


WORST ACTION FILM: A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD

WORST HORROR FILM: I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2

WORST COMEDY: PAIN AND GAIN

WORST SCIENCE-FICTION / FANTASY: AFTER EARTH

WORST SPECIAL FX: SHARKNADO

WORST SCREENPLAY: PAIN AND GAIN

WORST DIRECTOR: MICHAEL BAY  (PAIN AND GAIN)

WORST ACTRESS: BIANCA BREE (UFO aka ALIEN UPRISING)

WORST ACTOR: JOHN TRAVOLTA (KILLING SEASON)

2013'S BIGGEST LETDOWN WHICH SHOULD’VE BEEN GREAT BUT REALLY WASN’T: PACIFIC RIM.
 

No comments:

Post a comment