Crash! Landen’s Worst 10 Films of 2015

Coff! Kaff! Hack! Koff! It’s been a while… And boy is this blog dusty… SO dusty in fact it’s not working properly. I’ll see what I can do, but if it’s beyond repair, then it’s beyond repair…

Okay, Im back! Seems to be working a little better after making some space. The sign over the door still isn’t working, but I’ll get to that.

I saw a lot of CRAP this past year. I did my best to avoid the biggest bombs, but finding actual “good” movies was a supremely difficult task for me this year, which is why I’m first starting with my annual list of celluoid radioactive waste. This is the absolute bottom of the barrel when it comes to my cinematic viewing choices. Keep in my mind, these are my opinions so I cannot be wrong. It’s my list. The only criteria I have is that I have seen the film* and that I was so aggravated by it that I felt the need to put the film in question onto this list. So without further adieu… Here is my look back at 2015’s cinematic nether-regions (at least with the films that I’ve seen. There are probably far worse films, but like I said; I avoided them for the most part*).

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10. Avengers: Age Of Ultron “What?! A Marvel film on the list?! What?!” Yes! I’l admit I laughed throughout, but the humor was largely there to attempt to cover up all of the film’s fallacies. I’ll admit when it comes to subject matter that has been engrained as part of my childhood that I may not be the most objective of viewers, but, I do try to be. I try not to be that fan that overreacts to any detail leaked online 2 years before the film’s release. I remember when pictures of Heath Ledger were ‘leaked’ and the nerd populace had a collective stroke at the outrage that Christopher Nolan was perpetrating upon them, only to crown the director as a genius auteur and the actor’s performance as award-worthy after the film was released. I was not one of those people. When James Spader was announced as Ultron, one of my all time favorite Avengers villains, I gave it a chance. I have never cared for the actor, but I had not yet seen the film. Of course I was disappointed, though (hence the #10 spot). Again, having read various comics featuring Ultron growing up, I had a perception of how the character should be like in general. What I remembered was Ultron as a raving psychotic machine who ended EVERY sentence with an exclamation point. Spader plays a lackluster lounge singer that specializes in boring the audience with monologues and the WORST part.. and really, I should have known this from the casting of Spader (but, again, I gave it a chance until actually seeing it), but just as with Zack Snyder’s version of Watchman’s Dr. Manhattan, this director chose to not give the villainous automaton a modulated voice. Sounds like a stupid criticism, right(?), but if you don’t get the villain right, first and foremost, in a superhero/action flick then you’re not going to get the movie right. That’s not the only misstep for the film, though. Besides the mis-castings (there were others) the storyline was tedious and never mounted any suspense. Being a nerd, I was also annoyed at some of the things that a nerd would be annoyed at, like the whole hammer lifting gag and SUDDEN SPOILER ALERT having the VISION being the one that can also lift the Mjolnir. Yes, I was out of my mind on that one and not just because they gave no reason as to why the Vison, an android, is worthy other than he lifts the hammer. So he (it) is more worthy than Captain America (which makes me wonder why Steve Rogers would not be more worthy than Thor himself since they have portrayed him as an arrogant buffoon in all of the Marvel films). Anyway… Not, the worst film I’ve ever seen, but not deserving of making 18 billion dollars on its first weekend (which is what it made, right?).

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9. Wyrmwood Not much to say. I hate putting low/no budget films on my ‘Worst’ lists, but this movie was deserving. It was as obnoxious as it was poorly written, but I guess I shouldn’t expect much from a film about zombies and a girl that develops telekinetic zombie controlling powers from an apocalyptic mad scientist.

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8. Blackhat Couldn’t get through it. Wasn’t this Michael Mann. He films are generally far too angstily (is that a word?) melodramatic for my tastes. Chris Hemsworth playing a hacker even more arrogantly than he plays Thor probably doesn’t help matters, but the director does nothing to make anyone care about any of the proceedings (anyone meaning me). The film reminds me of that turd from the 90s Hackers, starring Johnny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie. Jolie was insanely hot in that film. Did that slip out? Anyway… The film just bored the hell out of me and was that sort of  film where the filmmakers approach real world technology like they’re making a 1950s B-movie.

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7. Paper Towns Oh God. This one should probably be lower on the list. I can’t really put this one into words other than saying that the characters were so annoying that I needed to either punch them all in the face or have some punch me in the face. Repeatedly. It’s a film where the film builds Cara Delavigne’s character up into a legendary (yet irritating) figure and in the denouement tell you, the viewer, that it’s WRONG to think of someone that way. “SO wrong. Noone’s mythic. We’re all the same looking to figure things out for ourselves.” BASH!… And I couldn’t get through most of it. Probably not the target audience, anyway…

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6. Jurassic World In the original Jurassic Park I learned that a T-Rex can run up to 35 mph. In Jurassic World I learned that Bryce Howard can outrun a T-Rex… In high heels. And apparently after being set up as an idiot when it comes to “the great outdoors”, she becomes a din-expert and probably saw the original film, like the rest of us since she just came up with this idea with a flare and used it in exactly the same way as Sam Neil used it. Is that meta? I hate meta. This movie also spent WAY too much time reminding everyone what a great flick that original Spielberg film was, instead of trying to make a great film. I KNOW! ” But, Crash!, this made 3 zillion dollars in its opening weekend! How do explain that?” People are idiots! That’s how I explain it! PLEASE NOTE: I was there in the theater on the film’s opening night. Draw your own conclusions on that one.

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5. The Grizzly Maze Wow. Let’s look at the cast… Thomas Jane. Scott Glenn.Adam Beach. All really great actors. The lovely and talented Piper Perabo. I’ll watch her in just about anything. And, uh… Jame s Marsden… Um, yeah, well… But how the hell did ALL of these actors get roped into this pile of Grizzly poop? Just a horribly written film that makes those exploitational low budget horror films (like Grizzly) look like Oscar— nay— legitimate films.

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4. Electric Slide Looked cool. Shot well. All style, no substance. Skipped over story to get to ‘the cool’.

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3. Cop Car Kevin Bacon’s worst film where he plays a murderous sheriff that has his police vehicle stolen by two potty mouthed kids played by two horrible child actors… I have to remind myself of what I always say about actors (especially child actors)… Always blame the director (and editor), because they’re they ones that are really responsible for an actor’s performance. Or to blame, as is the case here.

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2. Knock Knock Knew nothing about this one other than it starred Keanu Reeves. Most critics will decry Reeves wooden acting style, but he generally comes off as a fairly likable dude onscreen and that can go a long way, even if his films are never that good (with some exceptions). But, I gave this one a shot… Then, the credits rolled and the Lion’s Gate logo appeared. Aw, crap! Then Eli Roth’s name appeared as director. F*ck. Do I need to say more? He wrote it, too. I KNOW. I know. I’m contradicting what I said earlier about giving a film  a shot until it actually unfolds before me. But… It’s Eli Roth… I tried. I really did try. I might’ve made it a half hour in until I could no longer tolerate the lead character’s stupidity necessary for an Eli Roth film to work… Did I say that? None of his films work. Not really… Anyway… The acting was horrible (maybe Reeves’ worst acting ever and remember; I like Keanu), the characters abrasive, the film goes exactly where you think it will. And that it’s shot in one house for the entire film doesn’t help it from looking televisual. Just another spiteful, cynical little film made by a guy blatantly ripping off the films that he admires while not fully understanding why those (better-made) films work. Maybe, he’ll make a ‘good’ film one day, but I doubt it.

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1.  Fant4stic* Okay, I’m going to contradict myself again. I’ve talked about being open to a film until I’ve actually seen it, from the tenth spot all the way down to my number two (which is what this film inspires every time I think about it… Number Two), but as with the Avengers, the source material means too much to me to be objective. And when I say ‘source material’, I don’t mean the current offering from Marvel comics. I discovered Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in a big box owned by my babysitter (which is a fairly long time ago in people years) and that was probably why I have been a lifelong comics collector. That initial exposure to Stan and Jack gave way to the likes of Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler, Joe Sinnott and Big Bad John Byrne doing their stints on the Fantastic Four… So, I almost feel like one of those Harry Potter fans feel like when the film they’re watching isn’t following every letter that was written by the author… Almost… I can certainly understand their ire. But, I digress, what am I trying to say? Josh Trank, after his success with Chronicle, an extremely overrated film (at least to me), was set to the task of resetting the Fantastic Four franchise. He does so, by thumbing his nose… no, he just gave the middle finger to longtime fans with a legion of changes to the story and the characters to where the film looks more like an attempt at yet another superhero team than an actual re-imangining of the FF. That might’ve worked if it were, but it is not. It’s the Fantastic Four. And it’s not a good sign when all during the filming, there are stories, legitimate or not, of Trank pitching tantrums and nearly coming to blows with his actors and producers and even less of a good sign when he’s tweeting how bad the film is and how it might’ve wound up had he gotten his way (he also quit/got fired from  helming one of the next Star Wars films because of Fan4stic… allegedly). Then there’s the less than 10% rating on Rottentomatoes.com… which brings me to my second bit of hypocrisy involving Fant4stic: I’ve only seen the trailer…. …. …. …. …. …. Yup. Have not seen it, nor will I. The trailer alone was enough for me to put it in the top … er, bottom spot. And yes, I did see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It didn’t make it onto the list.

I will post my Best of 2015 shortly (meaning maybe tomorrow).

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