In the past, I've forgone the standard "Worst of the Year" list in favor of a list of the "Worst Movies I Didn't See" in that given year (2010, 2011, 2012 can be found at the links). I switched gears this year, partly because I saw more movies this year than I have recently and thus saw some of the stinkers that would have propagated that list previously and partly because it feels kind of wrong destroying movies that I didn't see. I don't know, it was always a fun piece to write so maybe I'll go back to it in the future, but for now, I'm going to roll with the typical "Worst 10 Movies of 2013" instead. I got my eyes on quite a few more bad movies this year than I have in years past (that last statement should be read while the sad buzzer from The Price is Right plays in the background) so I had PLENTY of movies to choose from for a worst-of list. Please enjoy and feel free to leave your own worst in the comment section.
Movie 43 (Box Office Total: $8.8M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 4%)
It is a point of pride that I finish any movie I start and this especially pertains to any movie I see in a theater. In the first 29 years of my life, I was UNBEATEN when it comes to walking into a theater and finishing the film, no matter what. Then Movie 43 came along and wrecked my perfect streak. Now, I went to see it strictly because I knew it was terrible and I thought it might be fun to write a "10 Movies That Are Actually Worse than Movie 43 ", only that turned out to be an impossible list to put together. I left 20 minutes in. It is the most disgusting, foul, vomit-inducing "movie" I've ever had the misfortune of encountering. It is probably the worst movie ever made. But since I couldn't finish it, I don't feel like I can definitively pass the judgment on it it so rightly deserves. To make a "worst-of" list without including it, however, would be a significant misstep. So here it sits.
(Two other movies I couldn't complete this year: Upsteam Colors had great potential and I can see why it made numerous Top 10 lists this year but it is just sooooo overwhelmingly "artsy" that I just lost my desire to stick with it. At times it made Terrence Malick look like Michael Bay. I also bailed out on the documentary Salinger because, despite centering on one of the most interesting subjects in the world (reclusive author JD Salinger), no film in recent memory has had less to say or been more boring in saying it.
10. The Counselor (Box Office Total: $16.9M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 34%)
I don't think any movie on this list had more going FOR it coming in than The Counselor did. I was legitimately excited about it in the months leading up to its release. Great cast (Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt), great director (Ridley Scott), great writer (Cormac McCarthy). Unfortunately, McCarthy's DENSE, novel-esque, and pointless script completely railroaded everything else in the movie and the result is one of the most verbose, beat you over the head with wordiness movies EVER. A complete waste of time.
9. On the Road (Box Office Total: $720K Rotten Tomatoes Score: 44%)
I'm not a fan of the works of the Beat generation, especially the literature and poetry (so basically, the music is good and that's where it ends), so this wasn't really up my alley. Even still, I can appreciate a good film that isn't geared toward me if it is, in fact, good. On the Road most assuredly is not. It took me three days to get through a two hour movie and if I hadn't watched it over Staycation when I literally had nothing else to do, I would've quit.
8. G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Box Office Total: $122M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 28%)
The BEST thing about 2009's G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra is that it was so bad that it wouldn't warrant a sequel. And then they made a sequel. And then they delayed the sequel so that they could convert it to 3D. This is an all-around bad movie. Not even The Rock can make it watchable. It is a slight improvement on the first film, though, so maybe by the time G.I. Joe 23: This Time Duke is Really Dead reaches us in 2037, it'll be a decent movie.
7. R.I.P.D. (Box Office Total: $33.6M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 13%)
There are a lot of movies on this list that fit the bill of, "Does not need to exist" but R.I.P.D. takes the cake. It feels like a movie that's been sitting on the studio's shelf since 2005 and clearly the entire pitch was just, "We're going to make Men in Black but with ghosts instead of aliens." It's awful, it's needless, and it wastes Jeff Bridges, a crime against all humanity.
6. Carrie (Box Office Total: $35.2M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 49%)
Okay, maybe this one challenges R.I.P.D. for the title of the movie that least needs to exist. I'm not a big fan of horror movies because I find that they are either A.) not scary and therefore incredibly dumb or B.) terrifying and therefore cause me to not sleep. Carrie fell into the first category, a scare-less, spine-less, needless remake rife with awful acting and miserable scare tactics. Just go watch the original.
5. A Good Day to Die Hard (Box Office Total: $67.3M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 14%)
For the record, I don't mind the other Die Hard sequels. None of them come close to touching the greatness of the first one (best action movie of all-time) but for the most part, they're decent enough. This one is not "decent enough." It is tired and lifeless but worst of all, it takes John McClane, an American movie character icon, out of his natural environment and send him off to fight Russians in Chernobyl. Just a terrible idea.
4. Kick A** 2 (Box Office Total: $28.7M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 29%)
There are obviously three films from 2013 that I felt were worse than this one. However, I don't hate any of them as much as I hate this one. And I mean that. I actively, and on a daily basis, hate this movie. The popular trend this summer was to bash on films for their depiction of "destruction porn", that being the total annihilation of a city with no regard to the loss of human life that these scenes would result in. I guess I kind of get that except that I never heard those same critics complain about this movie which contains more mean-spirited, wanton disrespect for human life than any other movie this year. Hate, hate, HATE.
3. Now Your See Me (Box Office Total: $117M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 50%)
I've not seen Now You See Me on any other "Worst Of" lists this year and I guess I get that. If you completely turn your brain off and pay absolutely no attention to the RELENTLESS FORCE of plot holes that drive the entire thing, you could be convinced that this is a decent movie. This is precisely why Now You See Me ranks so high on my list. Rather than actually making an honest effort to make a decent movie, the whole of Now You See Me is designed to fool the audience into thinking it is a decent movie. It is wit-less, ambition-less, and painful to watch if you're paying ANY attention. I will, however, tell everyone to see it so that we can all talk about how terrible it is. So, there's your homework.
2. The Host (Box Office Total: $26.6M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 8%)
I have no idea if the novel this movie is based on is any good. I'm leaning towards "no" because Stephanie Meyer, of course, also wrote the Twilight books which also made for historically bad films. We've found the common denominator. Regardless, as a "film", there are few (ever) that I found to be less boring and more unbearable than The Host. Have you ever read a 500 page book that could've been boiled down to a 12 page short story? That's The Host in a nutshell. There is no character progression or plot development, it just drifts from one scene to the next and before long you start to realize it's just the same thing happening over and over again. Once upon a time, Andrew Niccol wrote and directed an excellent sci-fi film called Gattaca and ever since then he's done more and more to make it quite clear that this was just luck rather than skill. Terrible, terrible movie.
1. The Lone Ranger (Box Office Total: $89.3M Rotten Tomatoes Score: 31%)
Where to begin with The Lone Ranger? The plot is needlessly dense. The runtime is excruciatingly long (a full hour needs to be cut out AT THE VERY LEAST). Most of Johnny Depp's dialogue is worthless. The Lone Ranger himself is played as a complete moron rather than a brave hero. The villains are cliche. The plot device through which the entire film is framed (an ancient Johnny Depp explaining the myth of the Lone Ranger to a kid) is painful and unnecessary. Is that enough? Because I could keep going.
Even with all of this, without taking into consideration things such as budget, scale, and opportunity, there were probably worse movies this year than The Lone Ranger. Not many of them, mind you, but they probably exist. Adding in those factors, however, jumps this movie up a number of levels on the Bad Movie Spectrum. Disney spent $215 million on this movie, slated it for the vaunted July Fourth opening day, and pushed it HARD for the better part of 15 months. What they should have gotten with this film is a tentpole blockbuster, an exciting spectacle that people talk about all summer and tell their friends to go see. Instead, director Gore Verbinski and his increasingly obnoxious muse (Depp) took that money, flushed it down a sewer, lazily stumbled through a TWO AND A HALF HOUR film and topped it off with an expensive, "eye-catching" train sequence that felt like the only scene in the film that anyone put any effort into. The Lone Ranger is a failure on every level but moreover, it is a complete waste of opportunity on an EPIC scale.
Well, those are my picks. What movie am I leaving out?