Here is a link to my watchlist and my picks for so bad it’s good movies of the year.
Alright, starting off with dishonourable mentions:
Anna, Antrum: The Deadliest Movie Ever Made, A Dog Called Money, Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea, In the Shadow of the Moon, Isn’t It Romantic?, Men in Black: International, Motherless Brooklyn, Murder Mystery, Red Joan, Under the Silver Lake, Wonder Park, Yesterday
16. The Lion King
I already tore this film a new asshole, but this was a massive breaking point for me when it comes to Disney’s live-action remake trend. Mulan looks different enough to interest me, but if we’re just gonna get the same movies but in live-action I’m out. This is also a showcase of just how good the elements were in the original Lion King to tell the story, because this is nearly the same fucking movie and it sucks. The only thing keeping it from being lower is the groundbreaking photorealistic animation, but a movie is not a tech demo, and when you take a story that means a lot to a lot of people around my age, do something more spectacular and/or interesting with it, Disney!
15. Tall Girl
Hey, are you tall? This movie is not for you, then. I’m not saying that people are immense dicks about height, especially teenagers, but the way this film depicts it is just bizarro land and yet it’s trying to be relatable and connect to the young crowd. This is another Netflix original disaster in their list of teen comedies they churn out every year, and a lot of them just fail to make the leads likeable or create a situation you can feasibly care about. It’s trite, easy to predict, full of annoying cliches and loathsome characters and a poor way of standing out by picking an out of nowhere insecurity and amplifying it to ridiculous proportions. There are definitely women out there who are made feel like shit over their height, but this really does not get that.
14. Dark Phoenix
The Fox X-Men franchise has had its turbulent issues, but none moreso than the last two films in what will close this series thanks to Disney’s current ownership of the characters. This is easily the worst, and one of the worst films in the series overall. It manages to avoid The Last Stand’s issues by actually focusing specifically on the Dark Phoenix plot, but also falls into the same issues with weightless shock deaths, making Xavier way too involved in the proceedings and diminishing Jean’s culpability by overstating her vulnerability. But it also has a whole slew of new problems-characters go in and out of the movie randomly, the direction is so, so dull and with very little drive or impact. I wanted such a seminal series in the pantheon of superhero movies to end with a bang, but with New Mutants finally dropping with little fanfare or excitement, this is s a lost cause.
This is a Tamil-language Indian movie looking at an important social topic of how society views those with disabilities and the difficulties in their care. This is very well intentioned and overall a good thing to tackle. This movie handles it with the grace and serenity of a sledgehammer to your nuts. It does that thing a lot of “message” movies do by baiting your sympathies putting the characters in ridiculously contrived scenarios. On top of that, however, it’s a very dehumanising depiction of a disabled person, making her a burden to the father and the story much more focused on him. And also, goddamn the performance from the actress is awkward and seriously uncomfortable. It has a really weird, mean-spirited tone and doesn’t ever try to depict the humanity of disabled people, which makes the whole thing a real misfire in what it attempts.
12. The Dirt
This musical biopic on The Motley Crüe is kind of a misguided mess. Ignoring how generally ugly and poorly shot the film is, it’s a really sanctified depiction of this band. Their antics are shown with childish glee, ignoring the very real consequences their cycles of abuse and self-serving hedonism really hard. It’s also intensely misogynistic, managing to depict a man hitting a woman as sympathetically as possible to him. Also it compares heroin to women, which was…a thing. It’s clearly trying to be “real” and “edgy”, but it comes off as a glorified love letter with none of the authenticity or grit that makes these kinds of movies entertaining to watch.
11. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Again, spoke extensively about this film, and pretty recently, so I don’t feel like repeating myself. Still, it’s a sure sign of what happens when a trilogy doesn’t have even a vague outline of where it’s going to go. They were definitely hit a series of blows with Carrie Fisher’s passing and Treverrow being fired, but how outlandishly rushed, terribly fan servicey and wholly unsatisfying character-wise it was, especially for easily their best character, it really goes to show that the Disney Star Wars Trilogy did not have enough to guide this saddle into victory. Hopefully Star Wars’ success in television will refocus Disney’s priorities there and they don’t try to make anymore films for the time being. I won’t hold my breath, however.
A lot of the problems with the Disney remakes is that they’re almost word-for-word the same as their animated counterparts. Some, however, do something…slightly?…different and fail in new, fascinating ways. This is Tim Burton at his most tuned out, churning out his usual attempts of gothic whimsy with an insufferably boring family and a Dumbo that’s offputting instead of charming. The attempts of softly poking fun of Disney’s recent merges is as limp as can possibly be, and this ignores its attempts at referencing the original film. No heart, charm or even sense of fun appears in any of this film’s running time, it just saunters along to its weird and tone deaf ending.
9. Last Christmas
This is a film based on the George Michael song of the same name, kind of. All I can say is whatever twist you are thinking of when you hear this, this is exactly the kind of hackneyed twist they go for. And Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding are really trying to bring some warmth and life into this, but they have very little chemistry together and their characters are awkwardly written. Particularly with the annoying and all too sanitised ways they try to characterise Clarke as a wreck. The jokes are poorly thought out and not well executed, writer Emma Thompson is here with a terrible accent and ties to a weird running thread about Brexit. The lead does something horrible and I’m expected to forgive her. This movie is awkward and terribly presented, but it’s that twist that really lands it here. A terrible send up to George.
Another Netflix dump, this one based on a web comic I’m assuming is good. This has probably some of the most tone deaf uses of violence. This movie jumps from goofy to high octane gritty action so much it’s hard to connect with anything going on. The character writing is about as subtle as a brick, with a particularly bizarre moment involving Vanessa Hudgens explaining her extremely disturbing encounters with a Santa Claus. There’s a nonsensical twist here too, but this one also balances an ugly production, bizarre and unfocused camera work, some pretty aggravating depiction of T&A which annoy rather than titillate. Mads Mikkelsen tries so hard to give this lead gravitas, but he’s let down by a lameduck script that rushes to the point, while still managing to be slow on the uptake, and filled with irritating, insulting tropes while it attempts to claw your eyes out with obnoxious overstuffed frames and bloated action set pieces.
M. Night Shyamalan had a pretty decent film with Split, and with its strengths the premise of combining it with Unbreakable to make a sequel to both was a heart-stopping delight. And then you watch the film. It’s not just that Bruce Willis is so fucking checked out here I’m amazed they didn’t just move him Weekend in Bernies-style in some scenes. It’s not just after a pretty fun if cut short fight sequence we spend most of our time in this fucking mental hospital with some of the most who cares side characters out of the guards and orderlies they try so fucking hard to give personalities. It’s not even that the ending is a complete mess, with nonsensical plot turns and an ending that is laughably dead on arrival. It’s that they think they’re saying something really clever and have you dazzled with their attempts at reminding you of the good movie you could be watching in the colourful cinematography and references throughout. A commentary on superhero films is something we desperately need, it’s a pity it was said back in the early 2000s and saying it again here but louder ain’t doing M. Night’s career any favours.
I really love Octavia Spencer, and the prospect of her as a horror villainness was too tempting to turn up. Sadly, this wasn’t it. Framed through some of the most unsympathetic teens you’re expected to care about, Ma’s antics are more uncomfortable and weird than really horrific. The film has a weirdly cynical bent when it comes to her origins, and she flips between comically unhinged or deranged master planner. It’s a terribly written script with bad performances from everyone sans Spencer, who tries her best to make the material even remotely worth the price of admission. Sadly, awkward attempts at horror and some of the most blatant and annoying set-ups ever committed to cinema will not be making you come back to this. Guess Blumhouse should stick to Jordan Peele movies.
5. The Goldfinch
Adapting novels is hard because they have more leeway in terms of story structure and pace. This is a lesson, I’m presuming, was not learnt in the production of this movie. This may have some of the worst pacing I’ve seen all year, and that would almost be forgiveable if the story had any sort of nuance or connective tissue with its characters. The inciting incident with the terrorist attack is so haphazardly, laughably framed, most of the leads are incredibly loathsome and never grow on you, and even the production is awkward and feels stagey, especially the “abandoned” Vegas housing lot the lead moves into. It’s tired, confused about its point, meanders for fucking ever and has some of the blandest and most unimpressive cinematography I’ve seen all year. Nothing worse than a movie that tries hard to be profound and falls flat on its ass.
4. The Silence
Hey, remember Bird Box?! Remember A Quiet Place? This is neither of those films, as you could likely freaking tell. Ignoring how derivative it is, The Silence just doesn’t do a good job with this premise. It’s plodding and dull, with very little investment in the scenario and absolutely fuck all scares. The creatures are laughably ineffective, and there’s a huge set piece that really tries to tug at your emotions but comes off as flat and laughable. Even the usually reliable Stanley Tucci is really off here, like he’s embarrassed to even be around. A poor and really derivative horror outing, perhaps we can get passed the “Sensory monsters dystopian” trend, which I guess exists for some reason.
You know, I really like Neil Jordan. Even his movies that don’t work overall, I tend to find them interesting. I even liked Byzantium, his last film which was not that positively received. But his return to the big screen after 7 years was not a welcome one, and managed to make a joke out of one of my favourite actresses. I do not know what Isabelle Huppert was thinking here, but her performance does not come off as even remotely convincing. It’s awkward and stupid and pantomime-y as hell. Sometimes she appears to be a robot designed after Mommie Dearest! Even ignoring that it’s a slog of a thriller with a protagonist too stupid to realise the obvious until it’s way too late, with hints and clues feeling disconnected from how the narrative plays out. An absolute mess of a film capped off by an embarrassing performance from a great actress.
Well, I was prone to dislike a pro-life movie, but one this hilariously badly made just adds an extra cherry on top. Based on the heavily-scrutinised accounts of Abby Johnson, a former director of a Planned Parenthood branch in Texas turned anti-abortion activist. When the film is not showing you over the top gore like it’s a Hostel movie, it’s doing some really lame attempts of showing PP as more reasonable just so it can pull the rug from under you later-it has no interest in treating this story with any level of credulity. It looks like crap, it’s lamely shot, none of the actors show any conviction in their parts especially the PP director who gives Johnson her job. It’s propaganda framed as a Lifetime movie, and if you’re stupid enough to fall for it, you never needed a movie like this to make up your mind for you.
Never in my life have I come across a movie as vile, loathsome mean-spiriI’m joking I’m joking. It’s not my worst film of 2019. Don’t kill me. That honour actually goes to:
1. The Haunting of Sharon Tate
Like, I don’t think anything actually works in this film? And while Once Upon a Time….in Hollywood also did the whole fictionalising of the Sharon Tate murders, I at least felt it had some respect to her as a person and not exploitable trash like this is. Ignoring how confused and all over the place the basic idea is presented, the acting is so, so bad all over the map, there’s awkward ADR that’s readily apparent even to my dumb ass. The scenery is dull as shit, not consistent and even has contemporary stock footage even though it’s set in 1969! It’s an absolute trainwreck and uncomfortable to sit through, but just how much it shits on its namesake and her legacy is something that elevates this as one of the most uncomfortable watches I’ve had to sit through all year. Legitimately hateful and terribly made, it’s a winning combination.
So, that was my worst. What is my best?