10. – FIFTY SHADES FREED
My Score: 1.5/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 12%
The series goes a perfect 3/3 in making my annual “Worst Of” lists. With chapters two and three exiting the mundane “Just Plain Bad” phase of a movie’s life and entering a much more welcome “So Bad It’s Good” mood. Even fans of the book trilogy cannot take these movies seriously. An unquestionably bad movie, that is somehow still incredibly entertaining. Like watching a car crash. There’s a sex scene every thirty minutes or less, anything can happen even if it doesn’t make sense, and you have the two most wooden lead actors in the history of cinema. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan had no chemistry to begin with; they somehow have even less chemistry in the third installment of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. This series built on a house of diminishing returns still managed to make $100 million at the box office.
9. – ACTION POINT
My Score: 1.5/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 14%
The only Jackass alum that is working in Hollywood consistently, Johnny Knoxville, returns to the “genre” that made him famous…hurting himself on camera. If you can call that a genre. Action Point is the story of a fledgling New Jersey theme park that laxed its safety measures in an attempt to compete with more mainstream amusement parks. That sentence, that plot, is amazingly enough, based on a true story. What follows is set-up after set-up of stunts designed to hurt people ala the Jackass TV show. I liked Jackass, and the stunts are funny…for a while. But the stuff in between is coma inducing. Dialogue can be funny too. This movie sports a runtime of 84 minutes and it’s still too long
8. – THE HURRICANE HEIST
My Score: 1.5/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%
A group of thieves attempt to rob a U.S. Treasury during a Category 5 hurricane. That’s your plot, simple enough. Almost sounds like a Sharknado rip-off. Only Sharknado was fun and knew it was terrible. That was the joke and everyone was in on it. Hurricane Heist is like that without all the fun. It’s as if a Fast and Furious movie was made in the 90s. It takes itself too seriously. I wanted some meta humor on what a cheesy premise this is. Never got that. I knew it would be bad, but I thought it would at least be fun, and it just never felt fun to me.
Streaming on Netflix
7. – WINCHESTER
My Score: 1/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 14%
One of the first movies of the year was also one of the worst. Helen Mirren stars as the Widow to the Winchester gun fortune. She spends seemingly her entire fortune on ridiculous add-ons to her home. Creating a labyrinth that no one could follow. That’s a true story, Sarah Winchester really did this. Somehow, we secured the life rights and made a terrible horror flick out of the story. Reports of the Winchester Mansion being haunted are investigated and then the whole thing becomes a gun control narrative. There’s a good story in this movie, just the execution is so lacking. The attempts to scare you are so few and far between that you wonder what the point was. This could have been a slam dunk in more capable hands.
6. – BERNARD AND HUEY
My Score: 1/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%
Sorry Omaha! This movie is directed by Omaha’s own Dan Mirvish and screened at the Omaha Film Festival this past year. I saw a number of great films at the Festival this year. This one really intrigued me, Jim Rash and David Koechner star as friends from high school who reconnect and realize they might not work together as friends in adulthood. Based on characters from a Village Voice comic strip, Bernard and Huey has sort of an odd couple, strange bedfellows vibe. It sat on the shelf for decades before being made, and the story feels dated. It also feels like a Woody Allen movie, and I hate Woody Allen movies. The whole thing felt pretentious to me. There were weird I’m going to date your daughter subplots. I really enjoy the cast, but not in this particular film.
Streaming on Amazon Prime Video
5. – THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS
My Score: 1/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 23%
They’re puppets and they swear, get it?!?! That’s just about the only joke in the entire 91 minutes that are The Happytime Murders. Puppets saying crude things. Melissa McCarthy plays the human detective who is teamed with a washed up puppet cop against her will. The unlikely pairing try and solve a series of murders, meanwhile trying not to kill each other. Joel McHale, Maya Rudolph, & Elizabeth Banks round out a really likable cast in the first big screen venture from the Jim Henson R-rated offshoot, Henson Alternative. The movie is full of clichés, puppet genitalia, everything but humor basically. A bad year for big studio comedies hit rock bottom this year with The Happytime Murders.
4. – GOTTI
My Score: 1/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 0%
John Travolta earned critical acclaim playing Robert Shapiro for the television adaptation “The People vs OJ Simpson”. He has earned worldwide scorn playing mob boss, John Gotti in the film adaptation, Gotti. Directed by relative newcomer Kevin Connelly. If the name sounds familiar that’s because he played Eric on Entourage. With a soundtrack by Pitbull…for some reason, Gotti tells the story of the rise and fall of the infamous mob boss. John Gotti died in 2002. Yet…John Travolta’s version of Gotti is narrating his own story, even seen walking around NY at the end of the movie. He never looks like anyone other than John Travolta. The movie also never bothers to demonize Gotti, he’s made out to be a sympathetic figure here. If you’ve seen any mob movie ever you already know what happens in Gotti. Make an effort to stay away from this, unless you like movies that are so bad they’re good. This movie comes close to that territory. I laughed a lot. I wasn’t supposed to. I said WTF a lot. It deserves the vitriol it is receiving.
Streaming on Amazon Prime
3. – SLENDER MAN
My Score: 0.5/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 7%
The internet mythology of slender man is fascinating to me. Stories have been passed around the internet that slender man is a voiceless, faceless demon that if you murder someone to appease slender man you can join him in a palatial home with everything you ever need available to you. He’s essentially a high tech boogeyman. In 2014, two teenagers in Wisconsin took the stories too literally and stabbed their friend, leaving her for dead. The girl lived and the two other girls are left in a mental facility. So, there’s certainly enough here for a horror movie. The movie does not acknowledge the 2014 incident, which is absolutely the right call, I could further argue that you shouldn’t even try and monetize anything surrounding Slender Man at this point, but sometimes based on a true story stuff is the scariest. But Slender Man doesn’t even bother to try and scare you. A girl goes missing and a group of friends try and find her. If you asked me to name and/or describe one person in this movie, I couldn’t do it. Not even to save my life. I could not remember one name. One facial feature. One personality trait. Nothing happens in this movie. It is utterly forgettable in every way. Which is sad, because the mythology of slender man allows for virtually anything and everything to happen, so how come nothing happened in this movie?
2. – TRUTH OR DARE
My Score: 0.5/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 15%
Horror movies are usually perfect for this list. It’s easy to get a horror movie made. They’re inexpensive in the big picture, and if it hits it can create a massive profit. They’re generally made and starring people coming up in the business. Make us this dumb horror movie, do a good job, turn a profit, and we’ll let you do your own thing afterwards. This is the third horror movie to appear on this list, and it is the worst horror movie of the year. The plot of Truth or Dare is confusing, and I’ve seen the movie. I’ll generalize it and say a group of college kids get roped into a high stakes game of truth or dare. I’ll elaborate and say the rules are never fully explained and also there’s virtually no explanation of how everyone got involved in the first place. It all just kind of happens, and is an excuse to get some grisly deaths on screen. Oh but WAIT! It’s a PG-13 rated, so people die horrific deaths, and most everything happens off camera. It’s just a group of kids being catty to each other. Not good enough to be watched, not bad enough to be enjoyed ironically. To me, it all felt like a made for The CW TV movie.
1. – THE WEEK OF
My Score: 0.5/5 Rotten Tomatoes Score: 26%
Generally, you know after about 30 minutes if something is going to be good or bad. If it starts poorly, and hasn’t pulled out of that tailspin in half an hour, it isn’t going to miraculously recover. It’s DOA. It took me about 10 minutes to know that The Week Of was not only going to be bad. It was going to be on this list, possibly even top it. And here we are eight months later. Nothing out-stunk it. The straight to Netflix Adam Sandler/Chris Rock movie about two families coming together for their children’s wedding has a lot of jokes. Like, it tries really hard to get you to laugh. Only none of the jokes are funny. Adam Sandler is sometimes doing an accent, and sometimes he’s using his regular speaking voice. Chris Rock seems like he’s phoning it in. And the supporting cast is going out of their way to be zany. I’ve said on this show before, I love Sandler movies from the 90s. They’re still gut bustingly funny. But this version of Adam Sandler on Netflix seems tired and miserable. Sporting a two hour run time makes this movie feel like it is actually a week long. An impressively colossal failure.