Saturday, January 7, 2017
TOP 5 MOST DISAPPOINTING FILMS OF 2016
Greetings, Movie Fans!
As you can see, I did not get around to these lists last year. I was late getting to a vast amount of titles from 2015, and by the time I did I deemed it to be far beyond an acceptable deadline; in a way, that kind of sucks because there were easily enough great films from last year to make one. Who knows? Perhaps I shall one of these days.
Moving on . . .
So, hey, how about that shit-show of a year we all called 2016, huh? Not to make light of anybody passing away from this world, but I honestly would not have been shocked if Vegas had started taking bets on "Who's It Gonna Be Next?" in Hollywood (or did they?). Regardless of how long one's particular grieving period is, over time we all start to recognize that, even though it's not always easy to see, there was good to go with the bad. Outside of yet another mediocre summer blockbuster run (I say "summer", because in Hollywood it is about nine months long now), 2016 had a pretty impressive and enjoyable catalog. Impressive enough, in fact, that my Top 10 for 2016 was one of the most difficult ones I have put together in quite some time.
HOWEVER, you see the title here, so before counting down to the gold, first comes the obligatory sewage bath.
To be clear, and as I have stated in the past, these are not likely the worst films of 2016; far from it, I'd be willing to wager. I'm sure there are some real gems out there that movie-goers wouldn't even use the theater tickets as toilet paper. You see, those types of films are the ones my gut instinct tells me to stay away from, so I rarely end up seeing the year's garbage. That being the case, my "Worst" list each year comes from films that I felt could have and should have been decent movies, only to just, well, not be, at all. For me, those kinds of movies are significantly more painful to the cinematic soul than films that suck so bad you can almost get a laugh out of the whole deal.
So with that brief introduction out of the way, it is time to let the fun begin!
Here are the Top 5 Films from 2016 that, to me, were the Most Disappointing:
5. LIGHTS OUT
Horror movies are finally starting to get exciting for me again. There are some fresh new faces making their way onto the scene that actually "get it", and by that I mean can take a modest or low budget and turn it into something more than mind-numbing and shameless cash-grabbing crap. 2016 had one of the best-looking lineups so far this side of 2010, and "Lights Out" was looking at first to be one of those. I want to feel bad for putting this film on the list at all because it was not all terrible; the acting was decent, the story was lacking yet passable for modern horror, and the big baddie had some due credit for being creepy enough. The major flaw that derailed the whole feature for me is how quickly obvious it became that there were no smaller ideas or diversions to back up the big rule the movie set for itself - the lights are going to go out and bad stuff is going to happen, most likely from behind *insert jump scare here*. The saddest thing of all is there were a few glimpses of some really cool avenues to explore, but by the time the film started to do that, it was over and too late for any real redemption.
4. INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
I know, I know - how could this be considered disappointing? How could something that was clearly dead long before it crash-landed have had nearly enough positive expectations to end up on this kind of a list? Well, there is that "nostalgia" word that gets thrown around a lot. I will gladly admit that when the news first broke and the first few images of "Resurgence" started to appear that my pulse picked up a few paces. Let's all be honest with each other here, while the first "Independence Day" is one the purest definitions of junk food for the heart and mind, it is so blissfully "'90s" that it cannot help but come up in almost any conversations surrounding that decade of film. Hell, I mean, sure, it has started to show its age in some places in terms of special effects, though for the most part, it still holds up very well; and knowing how far that technology has come the past twenty years, I could not help having some optimism for the sequel, especially with Emmerich returning to helm. Nevertheless, all that anticipation was flushed in an impressive hurry once it was revealed that a certain original cast member wasn't going to make it because he was busy making a hardly less shitty movie coming out that same year, followed shortly after by a plot that looked to be effortless and dumb even compared to most new blockbuster standards. So, needless to say, when I finally got around to seeing "Resurgence", my Bar of Hope was set just above the moldy cellar floor, and by some cruel act of the cosmos, this tub of boiling feces still somehow managed to trip over said bar and face-plant into the concrete. Literally, the only good thing I could come up with to say about this thing is that, yeah, the alien CGI did look pretty cool, but not one thing more. I could try to touch on the big pieces of the bad side, though I think it might be faster for you to just watch it; though, seriously, don't watch it if you've spared yourself this long.
3. THE INFILTRATOR
I acknowledge that crime dramas revolving around drugs and drug families have been done to absolute death over the years, however that does not mean that these films cannot be good if they have all the right pieces.
Let me check the list on that:
1. Director Brad Furman - credits include "The Lincoln Lawyer" (I have heard decent things) and "Runner Runner" (Uh oh. Red flag.)
2. Stars include Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, and Benjamin Bratt. (Should easily make up for #1)
3. Set in the 1980s during the reign of Pablo Escobar. (Neat!)
Hey, two out of three, I like those odds! Wish I knew ahead of time that ratio turned out be Furman's bad movies versus good ones. Ugh, I am still stumped to this day with the level of talent lent that "Infiltrator" turned out to somehow be one of the most boring watches I would have all year. The cast, to their credit, did try to make it work, but with a script and plot that was so achingly by-the-book that I could have called out loud what was going to happen and when, that is a crystal clear sign that the filmmakers did not have the wits about them to take advantage of what they had. Honestly, there's just no excuse.
2. SUICIDE SQUAD
Remember that aforementioned actor that was too busy to return to the "Independence Day" series?
Well . . .
Nothing seems to strike doubt into the hearts of movie-goers these days faster than terms like "re-shoots", or such phrases as "Rated R downgraded to Rated PG-13", or "Warner Bros. fronting another live-action DC Comic adaptation." All joking aside, if there was one film that Warner honestly could not afford to fuck up this past year, it was "Suicide Squad", and yet, here we are, so good on ya, WB. My initial thought after the final credits rolled was something along the lines of "Eh, you know, it could have been worse", and I absolutely hold that to still be true, even with the ever-collecting evidence over the past few months suggesting that if all slicing and dicing the studio morons had done prior to release didn't happen that the end product still would have fallen short of anything spectacular, because David Ayer has proven to be competent as both a writer and director. At the end of it all, we may never know what Ayer's true vision was for "Suicide Squad", though that hasn't stopped the rampant conspiracy theories that Warner Bros. is paying him to lie because they fucked up. Regardless of all that, what we got stuck with is a clearly manipulated mess that should be have been chock-full of interesting characters and backstories, and a blast to watch in general, but instead ended not being any of those things. I believe my maintained intrigue throughout was to see if it would somehow still finish cleanly, or go down in an epic ball of flames. Sadly, neither one of those happened, and the result is another DC disappointment that will likely be forgotten in no time at all.
And the #1 Most Disappointing Film of 2016 is:
1. THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS
I feel I said more than enough in my full review, so I'll simply boil it down to this:
Biggest. Misfire. In. Recent. Memory.
I will still defend that "Pets" is still barely good enough for the youngsters to get something out of it, but I am likely not going to leap at the opportunity to join them. To be honest, this movie pisses me off more with each day that goes by. To have a sure thing set on your lap and unabashedly waste it in order to get by on the bare minimum of cute animals and one-liners makes me want to boycott Illumination altogether (if only I didn't have a cursed soft spot for "Despicable Me"). Given their competition, it dumbfounds me how they thought getting away with something like this was remotely feasible, yet economically speaking, they totally did get away with it, so what the hell do I know? I mean, other than the sure sequel I'll be happy to skip?
Thank you all for reading!! I hope you enjoyed this list of roasts and will return for the actual Top 10 good stuff!