By John H. Foote
THE 25 WORST FILMS OF THE DECADE
It struck me that while composing this list of the very worst of the decade that I included films from actors such as Adam Sandler, Al Pacino, Angelina Jolie, Robert De Niro, Kristen Bell, Salma Hayek, Ryan Reynolds, John Travolta, Christian Bale, Tom Cruise, and Oprah Winfrey as well as directors such as Ridley Scott, Bryan Singer, M. Night Shymalan, and incredibly three from Terrence Malick. Does an artist truly, have a right to make something so terrible it is obscene…yes they do.
I have always maintained no one sets out to make a terrible film, they hope for the best and let the chips fall where they may. A great film is created first on the page, then on set as the actors bring the characters to life guided by the directors vision, at which point it is then cut together by the film editor and director, finding the rights beats and pauses, the right scenes to follow the other, bringing to the screen the vision of the filmmaker. It is then unleashed on critics and audiences, where it is scrutinized and either applauded or condemned.
My belief is with this amount of talent working on a film, there is no way it should be as bad as it is, but the films here are utterly wretched. Massive budgets, huge stars, but apparently no one decided to write or read the script, which is where it all starts and without a decent script, the chance of even a decent film is low.
So here they are, the bottom of the barrel for this decade, the bad beyond belief, the worst twenty-five of the decade. Understand none of these films is as dreadful as the previous decades, Battlefield Earth (2000). Horrific.
25. GROWN UPS (2010)
A hellish experience with Adam Sandler and friends doing their riff on being parents. Bad, just bad.
24. LAST CHRISTMAS (2019)
Did they need to take the George Michael lyric so literally, “Last Christmas I gave you my heart”? I had it figured out the moment he walked on screen. Like a chunk of coal in my stocking. I adore Emelia Clarke, Khaleesi in Game of Thrones, but man, she is awful here.
23. ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (2016)
Unnecessary in every aspect. A Disney cash grab. I am angry I will never get my two hours back, and that everyone involved did not know better. You expect this sort of hell from Disney, anything for a buck, but the talents within…should have known.
22. SONG TO SONG (2017)
Artistic masturbation from Terrence Malick. Great actors wasted, improvisations filmed and then cut altogether by the isolated hermit. Such a waste of talent and this was not even his worst film this decade. Does genius fail like this…
21. HELLBOY (2019)
Made you miss Ron Pearlman and Del Toro….badly.
20. JUPITER ASCENDING (2015)
Take every science fiction film ever made, throw them in a blender and this might be the junk that emerges. Cliched, horribly acted, and just a piece of utter garbage. Eddie Redmayne might have got a note from the Academy to return that Oscar.
19. X MEN – DARK PHOENIX (2019)
This sounded the death toll for this franchise, but far too late.
18. AFTER EARTH (2013)
Not even Will Smith and his son (so winning in the remake of The Karate Kid) could save this M. Night Shyamalan science fiction thriller. Not remotely interesting, not a bit thrilling, just painful to watch.
17. WHEN IN ROME (2010)
An unfunny, unromantic romantic comedy starring cute as a button Kristen Bell. Maybe voice work and TV commercials are where is best for her.
16. FANTASTIC FOUR (2015)
Fantastic? Nope, not even one of them. Not a single second of the film. How many times has this one been tried…too many. Unwatchable.
15. JACK THE GIANT SLAYER (2015)
Bryan Singer was way out of his element here and it showed. Dreadful.
14. ABRAHAM LINCOLN – VAMPIRE HUNTER (2012)
The title says it all. What a terrible insult to that great President. Hell this insults vampires.
13. GREEN LANTERN (2011)
The worst comic book hero ever made. Dressed or painted in a puke green suit super suit, it was funny when it should not have been. I mean THE WORST. Ryan Reynolds should be ashamed and stick to romcoms.
12. KNIGHT OF CUPS (2015)
More artistic masturbation from Malick, the guy never learns. Great actors again wasted, and left on the cutting room floor. Does not inspire a whole lot of trust in him does it…..
11. DIRTY GRANDPA (2016)
Did Robert De Niro think this would be funny? He is a grampa who just lost his wife and chases young girls around the beaches of Florida hoping to get laid…just days later. Once one of the greatest actors in movies, how low can you go? Aubrey Plaza is kooky, and looks great in a bikini, but…
10. THE DARK TOWER (2017)
This could have been a great film, this should have been the greatest Stephen King adaptation ever made, instead, it is a butchered adaptation of the book without any of the greatness. A mess. Great cast, what happened….
9. GOTTI (2018)
Travolta is a great actor in the right role, but this was so clearly the wrong role. Directed by Kevin O’Connor, Eric on HBO’s Entourage, so out of his element.
8. A WRINKLE IN TIME (2018)
Oprah in her dream role, God. May the higher power convince this egomaniac to stop acting, because clearly, she cannot. SO bad, so self-indulgent, every time Oprah came onscreen, I gagged.
7. GODZILLA KING OF THE MONSTERS (2019)
When the other monsters bow down to the giant lizard I laughed out loud. I wasn’t supposed to but confess to laughing most of the movie. Godzilla has gotten fat.
6. TO THE WONDER (2012)
Malick for the last time…terrible, pretentious, arrogant.
5. EXODUS – GODS AND KINGS (2014)
Ridley Scott attempts a remake of The Ten Commandments. I said attempts because it is hopelessly terrible. Not even Christian Bale as Moses can save this. The production design is superb, but nothing else. At all.
4. MALEFICENT – MISTRESS OF EVIL (2019)
Another Disney sequel which means a useless cash grab, art goes out the window….this mess is about money. Taking your money. STealing your money because you get nothing in return. Nothing.
3. THE MUMMY (2017)
In remaking the great Universal horror film, Universal made the mistake of allowing Tom Cruise to turn it into a vanity production. Too bad, the mummy, a female was terrifying but instead we get a Cruise actioner. He is at his best in the hands of a director who can control him, and one who makes clear he is not producing or writing.
2. THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE TRILOGY (2010-11-15)
The most appalling, disgusting trio of films ever made. I mean that there are elements of these films that will make you feel ill. A scientist in each attempt to create a centipede by attaching human beings together, mouth to anus, mouth to anus….get me? IMagine feeding time…..Bad enough?
1. JACK AND JILL (2011)
Though The Human Centipede trilogy was my first choice for worst of the decade, I rewatched this and, no question, this is worse. Al Pacino, really? Portraying yourself? Pacino falls in love with Jill, portrayed by Sandler. Ugh. Adam? Adam? Adam? You so want respectability as an actor, and for something like Uncut Gems (2019) you certainly deserve it. For this, you should be run out of the business with Pacino beside you. Wretched.
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.