Crash! Landen’s Worst 10 Films of 2016
Every year I try to come up with the Best and Worst 10 films that I have seen in the past year, which has become increasingly more difficult given that I’m far more selective than I once was. Why watch a sequel to a film that I didn’t like (Independence Day 2, for instance) or watch a film by a filmmaker that consistently grinds out cinematic vomit (I’ll regret that comment later…)? I’m finding, though, that even with perspicacious selection skills, that it is far easier to find celluloid grunge than it is to discover something worthwhile. Making a film that resides in the lower tier of the quality scale, at least for me, appears to be the norm, not the exception. Having to come up with 5 great films was difficult. Making this list, the WORST list was… Well, I could have probably catalogued the Bottom 50 for the year easier than I came up with my Top 10. It almost sounds like I hate movies, doesn’t it, but that’s not true. I feel you just have to sift through an awful lot of crap to find the hidden gem. These are not one of those….
#10 Central Intelligence… For me, the best part of the film was the tagline on the poster. It’s a comedy, though, so what you find funny and what I find funny may be completely different. I thought it was dumbed down, sort of repulsive in some parts and was definitely was not in the target audience.
#9 The Darkness… Derivative of quite a few better horror flicks; mainly Poltergeist, predictable and just stupid. I thought it might be interesting given that Kevin Bacon was in it, but I was so wrong. SO, so wrong.
#8 Into The Forest… Probably should be lower on my list. It’s like they started out to make one of those ‘breakdown of society/apocalyptic’ films and just lost interest, turning it into some sort of a rape survival with really questionable logic and a complete lack of conflict, but that’s just me…
#7 Criminal…Apparently, one film about a guy being downloaded into another guy’s body was not enough for Ryan Reynolds (see 2015’s Self/Less). This was the weaker of the two to be kind. It’s amazing that the cast consists of Kevin Costner, Ryan Reynolds, Gal Gadot, Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman (in his most abrasive role ever;he shouts the entire film… almost literally every sentence), but is as uninteresting a ‘thriller’ as I’ve seen in quite some time. Hopefully all of these people will be in good films again in the future.
#6 Backtrack… Technically a 2015 release, but didn’t open in my area until 2016, hence it being on the 2016 list. Adrien Brody has been in a few of these SyFy Channel style ghost stories lately. All of them have been forgettable with twists taken from better more well know films or with twists that are so apparent from the start that you really can’t call them twists. The movie proves that Sam Neill just loves collecting a paycheck (as do we all).
#5 Captain Fantastic was not fantastic. I like Viggo, he takes on interesting roles. I guess you can give him that, the premise was interesting: a father raising 6 kids as multi-lingual, historian, math genius, scientist survivalists. Contradicts itself repeatedly, scolding society while ultimately engaging in the same.sins. Has a hypocritical moral arrogance about it that I just didn’t care for. It’s hard to get behind a film where the director is constantly putting matters of opinion and idealogical beliefs as fact, especially when some of those facts are so wrong that they could even be considered offensive.
#4 Suicide Squad… I’ve never really been a fan of the government controlled supervillain team from DC comics. It never made much sense to me logically, even if I liked the comics that they first appeared in together (Legends, the 1980s DC Comics limited series). But the filmmakers maybe should have looked at that series to try to understand how to make a coherent story. If you combine Joel Schumacher Batman & Robin garish neon colored visuals with typical Frank Miller ‘grim and gritty’ comic book tone, I think this is what you would get. For me, not a good combination. There is (mindless) action in this, so at there was something going on onscreen as opposed to Miller’s film The Spirit, where absolutely nothing happened for most of the running time. Much of the film is spent on introducing each and every one of its 79 characters to their own classic rock/oldie tune cranked up so loud that at times it’s difficult to hear any of the poorly written dialogue that the actors are delivering. The plot as far as I could tell, was the team being put together to stop one of its team members. No, really… I did manage to stay awake for the entire movie, which is more than I can say for #3 (and others) on my list.
#3 The Colony… Could. Not. Get. Through. It. I tried on 2 occasions. Stopped at almost the same point about a half hour in. Maybe there was an important story there, but I couldn’t get past the pretentious stilted acting(and I mean everyone onscreen… or Hermione as a stewardess. I think with a little more effort they might have made a good comedy out of this… I’ll never know.
#2 Mojave… Another good example that it’s usually the director that makes the film, not the actors. Garrett Hedlund made an appearance in the Coen Brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis (with co-star Oscar Isaac playing the titular character). That’s one of my favorite movies of the last few years and I highly suggest seeing it if you have not. this might be Oscar Isaac’s worst film by some distance. Mark Wahlberg turns up in a cameo, bit why he wanted to make an appearance in this is baffling as I doubt Isaac will be highlighting this in his acting resume. It’s completely forgettable and there’s never any reason given to like either of the two main characters who are supposed to be carrying a movie.
#1 Everybody Wants Some!! Sigh… Did Linklater HAVE to soil a great Van Halen song (from Women & Children First) by using it as his title for his crap film? Based on his films I’m guessing he listened to a lot of Gary Numan and Pat Benatar… Never been a big fan of writer/director Richard Linklater, even if I’ve occasionally liked some of his movies. Way too pretentious for my tastes. It’s amazing that here he combines ‘obnoxious jock’ behavior with pretension, which makes for a whole host of characters, each defined by one cliched trait, that are extremely hard to listen to or more importantly hard to empathize with. If you can’t find anything likable about a character, even if that character is an anti-hero (or possibly a villain in a lead role), then it’s going to be hard to stay with that film. As with The Colony, I found that I would rather be spending my time with something a little more appealing, like slamming doors on my fingers. Maybe it’s just me, though. There are people that actually liked the film Dazed And Confused (to which this is the “spiritual sequel” to that one as the poster purports) which is unfathomable to me, but as film critic Mark Kermode commonly states “There are other opinions available.” Now to make the list for my Best 10 of 2016…
10 Cloverfield Lane * 13 Hours * A Hologram For The King * Anomalisa * Anthropoid * Arrival * Backtrack * Batman vs Superman: DOJ * The BFG * Bloodfather * Cafe Society * Captain America;Civil War * Captain Fantastic * Cell * Central Intelligence * Coming Through The Rye * The Confirmation * Criminal * Dad’s Army * The Darkness * Deadpool * Demolition * Doctor Strange * Don’t Breathe * The Driftless Area * Eye In The Sky * Everybody Wants Some!! * The Family Fang * Fathers & Daughters * The Fifth Wave * Finding Dory * Genius * The Girl On The Train * Green Room * Hail, Caesar! * Hell or High Water * The Huntsman: Winter’s War * I Am Not A Serial Killer * Into The Forest * Intruders * I Saw The Light * The Jungle Book * The Lobster * Midnight Special * Miss Peregrine’s Home For peculiar Children * Mojave * Money Monster * The Neon Demon * The Nice Guys * The Revenant * Room * The Shallows * Star Trek: Beyond * Star Wars:Rogue One * Son Of Saul * Suicide Squad * Sully * Synchronicity * Term Life * X-Men: Apocalypse * Zoolander #2