Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 21 Worst Movies Of 2013

We’re at the halfway point of the year… here are twenty of the year’s worst, excluding a few dreary titles I honestly just didn’t feel like drudging up or discussing, because talking about bad movies is kind of soul-deadening.

21. Much Ado About Nothing – The narcissist behind-the-scenes approach to the Bard’s play (let’s film it while drunk at my house!) can be easily ignored when there are so many issues at play here, in this Shakespearean adaptation so ugly and anti-cinematic that you wish it were in audiobook form. A proud cast of c-listers and Whedon-ites reveal exactly why they aren’t getting cast by anyone else with their embarrassing slapstick and uncontrollable mugging. Like being at the lamest, most boring, whitest party ever.

20. At Any Price – A tacky Tennessee Williams-esque melodrama about an ethically-compromised farmer and his racecar-driving son. Dennis Quaid really lays the country bumpkin act thick with this one, and Zac Efron continues to convince he’s a handsome automaton.

19. Kings Of Summer – A couple of white kids and their extra-weeeeird Ethnic friend come of age in the forest, eventually broken up by the arrival of a cute young blonde. Loaded with sketch-comedy digressions that suggest a jokey mentality in search of a narrative.

18. Saving Lincoln – One of the many recent Lincoln pictures, this one tried to frame campy performances by a host of confused-looking actors in front of a green screen, using olde-timey photographs as the background to every scene, a “groundbreaking” technology that heavily degrades the viewing experience, making it look like everyone is posing for a theme park photo.

17. Identity Thief – Director Seth Gordon seemed to be in love with finding new ways to make Melissa McCarthy both look like shit, and be the butt of the joke. She seems to have more agency, and is naturally funnier in “The Heat,” but here, you can feel the movie gawking at her, and you can sense the genuine displeasure from costar Jason Bateman.

16. Arthur Newman – A complete nothing of a movie that wastes the talent of Emily Blunt, casting her as a vintage MPDG alongside the typically milquetoast Colin Firth. This movie kept changing tones and approaches every five minutes, as if it were directed by four different filmmakers as some sort of avant-guarde experiment to liven up a deadly dull script.

15. Disconnect – “Beware the internet! It’s gonna get you!” – This message brought to you by 2005.

14. Frankenstein’s Army – This soon-to-be-released oddity is a fascinating experiment in bad ideas, a WWII found footage film CLEARLY shot digitally, with the camera flailing around as steampunk beasts jump in front of it and shake back and forth. I’m stunned that no one thought this was a bad idea.

13. Admission – Tina Fey and Paul Rudd play to their worst instincts in this dull would-be comedy about an admissions officer experiencing a load of bullshit problems trying to get an awkward egghead savant (Nat Wolff – never again, I hope) into an Ivy League school.

12. Girls Against Boys – Gender Studies 101 horror crap about a fiendish female murderer who brings a young ingénue under her arm to tackle the problem of every guy being a grabby asshole douchebag. Juvenile.

11. Assault on Wall Street – Uwe Boll brings a weird sense of verisimilitude to this turgid drama about a wronged man who plans a shooting at the heart of the financial district. Starts as a lecture, soon becomes a blind advocacy for bloody terrorism against the 1%.

10. The Brass Teapot – A couple discovers a magical teapot that grants them money when they inflict pain on each other. Feels like it should be about something, but the would-be metaphor keeps arbitrarily altering the rules that it just plays as an unfocused, scolding farce. Could we stop with the Michael Angarano, Hollywood?

9. Now You See Me – Blatheringly nonsensical magic thriller has absolutely zero internal logic, and an empty moral locked within a stupid twist that leaves even the actors incredulous. Good cast, and you get to see all of them deliver some of their worst, and least-convincing performances in the same movie.

8. Aftershock – Earthquake horror film keeps switching genres, and all of them are exceedingly familiar. Hampered greatly by characterizations from a couple of leads, including Eli Roth, that become completely inconsequential and unnecessary when the carnage starts. Endlessly grisly, pointless violence.

7. The Hangover Part III – An absolutely fascinating non-comedy that shows a director and a cast utterly bored with characters and a concept that wore out their welcome a movie and a half ago.

6. Lil’ Bub And Friendz – Was a great article at the AV Club a few months ago about why we don’t hold documentaries to the same stylistic standards of narrative films. If we did, this glorified cat calendar-turned-movie would likely never exist.

5. Gangster Squad – Relentlessly both ugly and ridiculous, the film feels like it’s aiming for a comic book tone, but with absolutely zero sense of humor. Everyone is giving an outsized, idiotic, hambone performance, none of which belong in the same movie.

4. Man of Steel/Star Trek Into Darkness – These were the same movie, right?

3. Kiss Of The Damned – Absolutely amateurish vampire garbage borrowing liberally from Near Dark and The Hunger, but using a script pissed on by the “True Blood” writing staff.

2. Black Rock – Utterly inept mumblecore thriller about three spoiled white girls and the three AWOL soldiers who have their wires crossed and who can’t control their phallic violent urges because hadji violence gun machismo racism dead eyes murderer. I’m not the one to rage on about this sort of thing, but this shit is super unpatriotic.

1. The Purge – The year’s most relentlessly ugly, most poorly written film. With a premise that immediately calls its own implausibility into question, while also being ambiguous enough to feed on the worst, ugliest, and racist urges of our society. A cancer on the film community.

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