2017’s Worst Films

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Though I saw quite a few great films this year, I definitely saw some stinkers. The Mummy and Little Evil won’t make the worst films, but these next top ten will!

10) The Snowman – This convoluted, misogynistic mess of a movie relies too heavily on convenience to move the plot along. Seriously, how’s a raging alcoholic with no driver’s license a detective?

9) The Belko Experiment – Speaking of convoluted, we never learn what the point of the Battle Royale-like experiment is in The Belko Experiment. Instead, we just see a bunch of peoples’ heads explode, which is boring after the second head explosion.

8) King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – One cool, flashy montage is fine, but a dozen?! Guy Ritchie should have just made a 20-minute short film instead of making this lazy retelling of the Arthur fable.

7) Sandy Wexler – There’s nothing likable or charming about Adam Sandler’s titular character; instead, we’re forced to watch an unfunny loser for 2.5 hours (who told Sandler he could make a movie that long?). 

6) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – The great Luc Besson kills all potential in his latest film by focusing on the protagonists’ awkward relationship. Plus the non-existent chemistry between leads Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne digs the film’s grave deeper.

5) Death Note – Adapting an anime to the big screen doesn’t always work, as shown in Death Note. This is a huge misfire. Death Note spends too much time focusing on angsty, horny teenagers killing people and having sex rather than building its mythology and giving a demonic Willem Dafoe more to do.

4) A Cure for Wellness – There’s no point or clear resolution in Gore Verbinski’s overlong style-over-substance exercise, A Cure for Wellness. Verbinski and the screenwriters are desperate to shock their audience with torture and pedophiliac undertones since they couldn’t think of anything interesting to say.

3) Unforgettable – I hate to say this, but this hack job erotic thriller actually had potential. Katherine Heigl makes a convincing ice queen stalker, but Unforgettable is too unrealistic, ridiculous, and generic to take seriously. Save this one for a bad movie night with your friends like I did.

2) Baywatch – Baywatch made me more conservative when watching Dwayne Johnson’s movies. He and Zac Efron had a good time, but I didn’t. Baywatch relies on punch lines and bodily gags that we’ve seen before in better comedies.

1) Wish Upon – Wish Upon is the worst movie I saw in 2017, but I still had a blast watching it. It’s The Room of horror movies! The main characters are all beautifully stupid like in every straight-to-video horror movie, but Wish Upon makes those characters look like Stephen Hawking. How many wishes does it take a person to realize the wish box is doing more harm than good? Clearly more than one.

That’s it for my worst of the year. Thanks to all for reading and making this movie season a great one. What will 2018’s worst be? Stay tuned!

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“Sandy Wexler”

I’m rooting for Adam Sandler. As much as I hate his current movies, I’m rooting for the guy to make another great comedy reminiscent of “Funny People,” “Anger Management,” and “Happy Gilmore.” “Sandy Wexler” is unfortunately not that comeback.

Sandler is the titular character. Wexler is a famous talent manager known for his fierce loyalty and dedication to his clients. Despite his credibility, he lives in the guest house of a mansion, drives a crappy car, and his biggest client is a poor man’s Evil Knievel (Nick Swardson). That’s until he meets a beautiful zoo performer (Jennifer Hudson) and launches her stardom.

Props to Sandler for scrapping his traditional tiresome mean-spirited behavior and attempting to be more sentimental. Unfortunately, “Sandy Wexler” is an uneven and uncomfortable failure. I laughed maybe once, but I can’t even remember the joke.

“Sandy Wexler” is told in a non-linear, mockumentary structure that’s more self-indulgent than clever. It’s just an excuse for Sandler’s friends Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, Dana Carvey, Chris Rock, and David Spade to have cameos. Sandler also attempts to portray Wexler as a lovable ne’er-do-well, but how are we supposed to root for a guy whose biggest flaw is being a compulsive liar?

Jennifer Hudson shows off some great singing chops, but her soulful performance doesn’t mesh with Sandler berating incompetent extras or fleeing angry attack dogs repeatedly. Several jokes in the film are overdone in a 130-minute run time, so the film could have trimmed at least 30 minutes altogether.

I’m not kidding when I say I want Adam Sandler to redeem himself. With “Punch-Drunk Love” (my all-time favorite romantic comedy) under his belt, the man is quite talented. But this 50-year-old actor has to realize that the childish voices and violent temper tantrums aren’t what people want anymore. Fingers crossed he takes the hint before his next movie.

Grade: D

“The Do-Over”

I hadn’t watched an Adam Sandler movie since “Just Go with It,” which was released five years ago. I said, “Never again,” but five years later, here I am.

Sandler plays Max, a charismatic (and insane) old friend of Charlie’s (David Spade). Max convinces the miserable Charlie to ride on his yacht one day and the two catch up until it explodes! Charlie wakes up and finds that Max faked their deaths to give them a second chance at living how they want to live. And of course, there’s a price.

I wanted to watch “The Do-Over” because I wanted to see what an action-comedy from Sandler and Spade would be like. Well, it’s bad. This movie has all of the usual tropes in an Adam Sandler movie:

-An obscene amount of product placement.

-Casting of Sandler’s friends including Luis Guzman, Sean Astin, Nick Swardson, Torsten Voges, and Jonathan Lougran.

-Gross-out body humor.

-Racism.

-Dick jokes.

-Violent gags.

-Cruelty towards women and kids.

-Adam Sandler being a violent psycho.

There’s more than that in “The Do-Over.” This movie is incredibly uneven. It begins as a tale of men having a mid-life crisis, as Spade is the textbook example of pathetic. It’s more uneven in its second hour when the action starts. That’s when there’s a confusing conspiracy and a dark subplot involving cancer, while still telling gay jokes? Lovely….

There are a couple of mildly funny lines where Sandler pokes fun at himself, but I would have liked more of this humor and less of his usual shtick. But I’m back on the wagon, so don’t expect me to review any Adam Sandler movies moving forward.

Grade: D-