The Ten Wurst Films of 2017 (If Only They Tasted Better…)
Article by Ray Schillaci
Sometimes a movie can be so awful that it catapults itself to the sublime and the ridiculous, as in Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. Then there are the tragedies of cinema: missed opportunities, complete misfires, and awkward misguidedness. Here are the movies I found from bad to worst.
I know, there will be those that will argue over my picks and wonder why a favorite of theirs is listed and not something like The Emoji Movie or Monster Trucks. My answer is, why even bother? They’re not even worth listing. Also, films well crafted with uninteresting stories and characters continue to be my pet peeve, and that’s why some high profile films have made it to my list. Never needing to be watched again. With that said, I give you my 10 Wurst list:
10) Dunkirk – One of the most disastrous military moments in history that could have been a lot worse, became one of the greatest acts of bravery when over 800 civilian vessels rescued the troops battling the Germans at Dunkirk. This most significant part of history was barely captured by writer/director Christopher Nolan, who was too interested in dogfights, blowing up docks and ships while bursting our eardrums with the barrage of noise of what his sound team conceived as a realistic battle (but experts will tell you that neither the gunfire or the bombs are as bombastic as the sound effects created).
Nolan’s film is so far removed from any kind of emotion. There is not one character I found myself concerned for. Nolan’s excuse, it’s a depiction of the event. So was Tora! Tora! Tora!, but we still cared for those in dire straits. Once again, actor Tom Hardy has his face covered and his voice muffled throughout most of the film. Yes, the film is handsomely mounted like some sailfish on a basement wall, but there’s nothing about it that makes me want to run out and see it again, and again.
9) Blade Runner 2049 – A hand-held tour to all the answers the first one had us asking. Did we really need a follow-up? Not really, and Denis Villeneuve proved it, concentrating on all the flaws from the first one – minimalist acting and a muddled storyline that dragged on way too long. Sure, the visuals were wow, but within fifteen minutes, did anybody care? Obviously not audiences, since the box office tanked. Similar to its predecessor, but no chance of this one becoming a cult hit. It neither breaks new ground or has one dynamic performance. Missing? Rutger Hauer.
8) The Dark Tower – This set of Stephen King’s stories was hard enough to tackle…but they didn’t even try. It was a clear case of slapping together other hit genre movies and just putting the Stephen King label on it. How can such an original story feel so derivative? King’s fantasy/science-fiction/horror/metaphysical/western took us on a wondrous quest with a gunslinger and his supernatural enemies while looking for “The Dark Tower.”
Instead, we get gunslinger Idris Elba, who would have been decent if he was given something to do, while Matthew McConaughey slithers away, chewing up the scenery with his worst impression of a flamboyant Satan. Action scenes resemble a bad TV movie, and whatever world the filmmakers were trying to create comes across dated and nothing we have not seen before. This was the one so many were looking forward to, but IT ended up being the surprise hit. I couldn’t even recommend The Dark Tower as a rental.
7) Transformers, the Last Knight – I wish it was Transformers: the Last Sequel – We Promise. Somehow, Michael Bay merged the giant toy robots with the Arthurian legend and Stonehenge, and not a bit of it makes any sense. But, why should it? It’s a Transformers movie and Michael Bay. All that’s needed is choppy action, bombastic sound, transforming robots, and human characters that have no character. This sequel you couldn’t even call silly fun or a time waster. It’s a brain dead jumbled mess. And, we can understand Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: Age of Extinction, Daddy’s Home 2), Josh Duhamel (Transformers franchise, Movie 43), Stanley Tucci (Men of Respect, Who’s That Girl), and John Turturro (Exterminator 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon) wallowing in this crap because they’ve flagrantly done it before. But, Anthony Hopkins? For shame!
6) Bright – This one has a generous audience score on RT. I can’t imagine why. Perhaps it’s the same confusing case where Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi received a low audience score, because of bots submitting negative reviews. So, maybe the bots are at it again giving this turkey a high score. Director David Ayer and writer Max Landis could not come up with anything better than a rehash of a late ’80s movie, Alien Nation, as mentioned in my recent review.
A buddy cop movie with a typical drug bust story except one of the buddies is an orc and the drug is a wand. That’s right, a fairy tale set in an urban setting replete with orcs, elves, and fairies. But, there’s nothing fancy about this. It’s all very bland TV fare with Will Smith slipping from one disgruntled hero (Hancock, Suicide Squad) to another. I saw this one for free, and still wanted my money back.
5) The Bye, Bye Man – This wannabe horror film is so blatantly derivative, it made me want to go back and watch all the other films it reminded me of. The filmmakers managed to throw in every horror trope one could think of, but without one ounce of panache. A drab tale of an urban legend whose name people dare you to say. Think “Bloody Mary”, “Freddy Krueger”, and any other number of better ideas for movies. We forecast the killings way before they happen, and the only thing you should say if somebody suggests watching it is, “bye, bye.”
4) The Mummy – Getting down to the wire, this one is close to reeking. It was so odd to hear that Tom Cruise was starring in The Mummy reboot. Yes, it sounded like an interesting idea infusing more action than ever before with some all new scary effects. But, this film couldn’t scare a 6 year-old child. This time out, the mummy is an Egyptian princess unearthed that’s supposed to usher in a new era of evil while killing Tom Cruise, and then resurrecting him to stand by her side, because he’s…Tom Cruise.
One cannot count how many stupid moments peppered this 2017 turkey. Cruise truly phoned this one in. The mummies were so cartoonish, and the main mummy, although a woman, was no threat, even when she lashed out. It was a dull, boring affair that can barely hold any interest. In fact, I had to hit the rewind button several times because I kept falling asleep.
3) Better Watch Out – Now we get to the films that in my book were totally unnecessary to ever have been made. Films that not only had what little of a bad story they were trying to tell, but were repulsive in nature to where some viewers left the theater or turned off their TV. As mentioned in my recent review, I found Better Watch Out tasteless, and that’s not in a good way that should make you want to check it out.
A babysitting job that goes drastically wrong with a pre-teen boy. Let’s see, this was suppose to be a home invasion/Bad Seed/comedy/horror, and it’s practically none of these. Perhaps the Bad Seed part. And, if you’re not familiar with that 1956 film, by all means check it out for some real filmmaking and acting.
Yes, the acting is commendable, but the film is deplorable. Bad jokes, slight-of-hand horror that misses it’s mark and too many parts where you know the writer and director were winking to each other saying, “yeah, that’ll be another gotcha moment,” but it actually isn’t. This is one Christmas themed horror/comedy that gets instead of any stars, four lumps of coal.
2) A Cure for Wellness – This one was a toss up. Couldn’t figure out if this or #1 was more offensive and nonsensical. But, this one actually had a better start. Although, as it progressed, director Gore Verbinski decided to take all the effects he couldn’t do in The Ring and shove them into this dismal failure.
A young and upcoming executive is sent to a retreat to retrieve the CEO of a company. That executive ends up a patient of the clinic/retreat, and discovers something is in the water. The whole story stinks like bad fish. If you’re into eels shoved down your throat and slithering out of toilets then this is for you. How can a film this gorgeous be so ugly? Verbinski tops the madness of his version of The Ring, and in the meantime makes us want to gag way too many times.
1) mother! – Ostentatious, pretentious, clap-trap masquerading as an art film. It amazes me how “legitimate” actresses refuse to do any kind of nudity until they meet up with some schmuck that claims to be an artiste. Then they’ll freely whip off their clothes without a second thought. Scarlett Johansson did it with Under the Skin. To this day, I cannot fathom how someone made a boring movie with Johansson naked throughout most of the film.
Writer/director Darren Aronofsky actually gets Jennifer Lawrence to wear see-through outfits, and, at one point, has her top ripped off. This is by no means a reason to see this film. In fact, I cannot give you one. Once you see the first five minutes, you know what to expect for the next 116, so the rest of your time is a waste.
Yes, this film is so awful, I have to dedicate five paragraphs! It’s rumored that Aronofsky wanted to make a film that people would hate. Really? Why? So we can be enamored by your phony brilliance? The studio had no idea what to make of the film, and marketed it like a modern day Rosemary’s Baby. Talk about false advertising.
Then, there’s the filmmaker’s intention to explain himself and his film. The riddle of the whole mess is that it’s an allegory. Some have suggested that it’s a tale of The Bible, and we all know how Aronofsky’s last biblical tale went…south with Noah. It was a disaster. There’s also the thought that the film is about creativity and the price of fame. That perhaps JL’s character represents inspiration, and how one can literally burn out their creative flame. But, Aronofsky insists it is biblical and about mother nature. That’s right, Jennifer Lawrence is Mother Nature and we’re destroying her, eating her children. SPOILER (not really, but I guess I have to say that for the masochists that will put up with this dribble): Oh yeah, he actually goes so far as to have a mob eat Jennifer Lawrence’s baby. Talk about baby-back ribs! What a crock.
Aronofsky’s film comes across like a lot of half-baked ideas wallowing in excess, gore, and repulsive behavior condoned all for the sake of his art. I loved Aronofsky’s Black Swan and The Wrestler. I felt his mix of art and storytelling was right on. But, I found π and Requiem for a Dream excruciatingly hard to watch. The Fountain is another over-indulgent excess along with Noah, which gets downright ridiculous. But, with mother! Aronofsky tops all his excesses to appease pseudo-intellectual hipsters and leave the rest of us in the dust contemplating, “why?”
There, you have what’s coming to all of you that paid your good hard-earn money for these piles of poo passing themselves off as entertainment. We can only hope that Aronofsky gets off his high horse and comes back to Earth to make another decent film, Michael Bay and his army of writers get writer’s block and can no longer deliver a Hasbro movie, and producers actually read what the hell they are investing in and display caution. I wish you all a better year at the movies!