By John H. Foote
It must be remembered that no one sets out to make a dreadful movie. No one. Something goes wrong somewhere, usually starting with the script or the director, and like a domino effect, it all collapses in on itself, leaving disaster on the big screen.
Of the 292
When big, expensive blockbusters fail, the impact on the industry is staggering because that failure will prevent other films from being even made. My question remains unanswered, can these people that green light these disasters not read?
One little victory. This is the first time a Transformers movie did not make the list. Every year there has been one, it has made my list, but this year Bumblebee proved what I thought impossible, a good film can be made of Transformers movies. With a heartfelt performance from the great Hailee Steinfeld, Bumblebee is
The Ten Worst Films Of the year are…
10. (PART 1 of tie) ON THE BASIS OF SEX
Ruth Bader Ginsberg deserves so much better than this. A feisty pioneer for human rights and female equality, this ferocious woman, who in her eighties still sits on the highest court in the land deserved a movie that explored her accomplishments but also that asked, and answered what drove her? What made her such a tireless Fighter?
10. (Part 2 of tie) PROUD MARY
At a time when a New Black Cinema is sweeping America, bringing honest, powerful films about life being black,
9. MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN
Mamma MIA!….here we go again, torture, oh where do I begin? Sing that to the title tune or this mess and it pretty much sums it up. Without Meryl Streep until a heavenly cameo at the end, the film flashes back to explore how Donna came to the island. Only once was I interested by a single scene and that was icon Cher singing the ABBA hit “Fernando”. The lady can sell a song, even if it has nothing to do with the film. For the most part unwatchable.
I love that Jennifer Garner is branching out with her range, good for her. She is hysterically funny on Camping, brilliant as a control freak keener, by far the best thing in the HBO show. Here she is a vigilante killer after her family is massacred, she wakes to devastation and then begins to train,
7. CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
In hell, my hell, I am strapped to a chair while this idiotic film plays on a loop for eternity. If I had to hear Ewan McGregors’wide eyed idiot say “Pooooooo” one more time I think I would have rammed screwdrivers in my ears. Just a horribly wrong mess of a film, using CGI to create the animated characters, but the performance of McGregor, all earnest and trying to be filled with wonder, was excruciating, it is an absolute travesty. The story is
6. THE SISTERS BROTHERS
I so loved the book, given to me by my sister in law, but Iso hated the film, which had none of the books’ dark humour, and instead was a grungy, nasty depiction of the old west. Why would, everywhere they went, woulda hunted gunfighter announce to the room, “We’re the Sisters Brothers” placing a target on each of them before they are one minute in the room? JoaquinPhoenix and John C. Reilly are the brothers, Jake Gylenhaal is a well-spoken young man they encounter in their strange quest for gold, along with inventor Riz Ahmed. Greed is their undoing, lousy writing and direction kill the film. Ahmed gives a lovely performance, as does Gyllenhall, but the two leads are embarrassing. And that spider that crawls into Reilly’s mouth and poisons him? Why? What narrative point was made? My biggest disappointment of the year.
Even before the film opened
4. SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY
Understand the worst five are interchangeable, they could move from 4th to first depending on the day. The idea to make an origin story for Han Solo was not a bad one, what killed this film was casting, and a terrible story. Do you want a cocky, smart ass, younger Han Solo with the same charisma as Harrison Ford? Cast Chris Pratt. Period, end of story. He could have played this part in his sleep. Should they ever do a younger Indiana Jones movie, and they will just cast Pratt. Do it right. The boring actor cast as Han Solo does not even deserve to have his name mentioned but suffice to say he lacked anything remotely considered charisma, he brought no sarcastic humour to the film, and worst of all was dull, dull, dull. Now in fairness, the script did not help him, and Donald Glover blew him off the screen as a young Lando. Ron Howard obviously lost control of the film, and it controlled him. Howard has never been a great Director but is usually a very good one. Apollo 13 (1995) and Frost/ Nixon (2008) were brilliant films both, Best Picture nominees! He won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind (2001) but should not have. And he absolutely should not direct another Star Wars film…like ever? Proof a Star Wars Film could sink lower than The Phantom Menace (1999).
3. MORTAL ENGINES
Stupidity runs rampant through this dumb, dirty looking post-apocalyptic nightmare of a movie that just never takes off. After the last Great War, the major cities of the world are now on wheels. Yep, wheels, meaning they move from place to place waging war on other cities. No one learned. Watching this ugly, grim-looking film was an exercise in torture. At post time it is believed to be losing in excess of one hundred million dollars. That is one hundred low budget films that will not be made because of this monstrosity.
2. A WRINKLE IN TIME
When oh when will Oprah Winfrey realize she cannot act? It was not enough that she ruined Beloved (1998) one of the greatest books of the 20th century by demanding as
The truth be told I would watch this again rather than the next four, but only because it would be fun to point out the oh so obvious flaws in this train wreck of a film. Directed by Kevin Connolly, best known as ambitious E, in Entourage, the terrific HBO comedy, I question how he landed this gig? Does he have a powerful relative in the business? Is the Irish mobbehind him? Connolly was completely the wrong director to make this film, his choices are wrong, and within ten minutes of viewing time, you backward know it isgoing to be a rough road. John Travolta seems like inspired casting as the nasty John Gotti, who openly defied the New York Police as the “Teflon Don” called such because nothing would stick to him. The legal system knew he was a killer, knew he ran the mob, but they could never get him on anything. Travolta plays him not with an edge, but rather with a streak of smugness and does not begin to touch upon his savagery or penchant for cruelty. a vicious man and Travolta can portray fearsome (Get Shorty) but his work here seems to be to posture, to wear the beautiful suits Gotti was famous for, but to do little else. A fascinating life made bunk, garbage, and infamous as a film deemed unreleasable and unwatchable. Both true.
John H. Foote is a well-recognized Canadian film critic/historian who has been an active critic for 30 years. His deep love for the movies began at a very young age. He began his career as co-host of the popular TV show Reel to Real where he remained for nine years. While on TV he began dabbling in education, eventually ascending to Director of the Toronto Film School, where he also taught film history. After leaving the college to care for his wife, he returned to teaching at Humber College where he taught both Film History and Method Acting Theory. John has written two books: “Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker” and the upcoming “Spielberg – American Film Visionary”. He is currently working on two books, one about the films of the seventies and another on the films of Martin Scorsese. Through his career he has worked in TV, radio, print and the web. John has interviewed everyone in the industry (more than 300 interviews) except Jack Nicholson, he says sadly. Highlights include Martin Scorsese, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep Robert Duvall, Jane Fonda, Francis Ford Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.