Thursday, January 9, 2014

DrogeMiester's Top 10 WORST Movies of 2013

After released my top 10 best movies of the year a few days ago, it's now time to reverse course and review the top 10 worst movies of the year. Before we go any further, there are some movies that looked so bad that I purposely avoided. A few examples of those would be Movie 43, Scary Movie 5, Grown Ups 2, and The Smurfs 2 (I saw the first Smurfs and hated it -- I had no desire to see the sequel). So I suppose this could be called a list of movies that were most disappointing because for one reason or another I decided to give these movies a shot, but meh, semantics. I'll keep the current title. There's a lot of movies that I complained a lot about, so this should be fun for me as it gives me one more time to publicly rant and complain about these movies.

10- Star Trek Into Darkness

I'm not one that shies away from being a part of a minority, but it brought me some relief when it came out that Trekkies had voted Star Trek Into Darkness as the worst Star Trek movie ever made. Yes, you heard that right. Star Trek Into Darkness is the worst Star Trek movie ever made according to Trekkies. And no, I didn't just make that up. Let me tell you why. First off, it suffers from much of the same problems as the first one. It doesn't feel like a Star Trek movie. Star Trek is a series that focuses more on deep, thought provoking principles and less on the action. Into Darkness was an action movie with little thought. Into Darkness is led by a whiny, stuck-up Kirk that doesn't shine a light to William Shatner.  Into Darkness has a great Spok, but Spok's relationship is awful and is hard to watch. Those are all similar problems that the first one had. Here's why this one was a lot worse. Most Trekkies will agree that Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn is the best Star Trek movie ever made. Into Darkness is a cheap, poorly done remake of Wrath of Kahn. Benedict Cumberbatch is actually a fantastic Kahn, but his character is completely messed up in terms of the writing. Also, I won't get into the ending of this movie, but it is extremely insulting to the Star Trek universe. It's like if they remade Empire Strikes Back and completely made a mockery of the iconic Luke and Darth Vader. Star Wars fans would hate that. That's what Into Darkness does to the Star Trek universe. And they do it all in the name of "this is an alternate universe." Cop-out. And that's why Trekkies hate Into Darkness. For me, hate is a strong word, but this is definitely deserving of this list. When my favorite scene of the movie is the villain beating the crap out of the hero, you know the movie has problems.

9- G.I. Joe: Retaliation

What normally happens when you make an embarrassingly awful movie that is just painful to watch, that in general is considered a hated movie? Normal movie franchises will put that movie in the rear-view window and try to do better with their next project. Completely disregarding that logic is how we ended up with this G.I. Joe sequel. The first G.I. movie was a complete and utter disaster. In making Retaliation, at least the filmmakers realized this and did a complete makeover -- cast, director, everything. Well, except for their most popular character in the previous movie. They bring him back... even though they killed him in the first? What? Yeah, no explanation; he's just back. And oh yeah, Channing Tatum became popular since they finished the film, so they shot five more minutes with him. Then killed him. What? I kinda appreciate the effort actually. They tried to make a likable movie. I like Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson. I also love Adrianne Palicki (she's in my current favorite TV show Supernatural). For a while in this movie, I was kinda enjoying it, but then it just sputtered out and died. It's a movie that will somewhat entertain you, but after a week you'll have forgotten you actually saw it. Yeah, in creating this list, had I not kept track of all the movies I saw this year, I would've totally forgotten this movie happened. It's just so forgettable that it feels like it actually came out five years ago. I even had to go re-read my review to remember what I didn't like about it.

8- Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

The Percy Jackson series is very comparable to the Inheritance series when you compare their movie adaptions. The Lightning Thief and Eragon are both decently enjoyable movies unless of course you have read the books and realize that the movie completely butchered the book. I have read and love the entire Inheritance series and in my personal opinion is that Eragon is the one of the worst book-to-movie adaptions ever. That said I have never read the Percy Jackson books, so I actually somewhat enjoyed The Lightning Thief. The big difference, of course, between Percy Jackson and Inheritance is that Eldest was never made. For some reason, Sea of Monsters was. Being that I enjoyed the first movie, I gave this one a shot, hoping it would be the same story. Boy was I wrong. Making it through this movie was like trying to walk through a huge pool of sludge. The acting wasn't horrible, but the pacing and execution of this movie was just so off that it was incredibly boring. I have a desire now to actually go read the Percy Jackson books, but I may be done with these movies if they end up making more. When the best part of your movie is Nathan Fillion complaining that Firefly got cancelled, you know your movie has problems.

7- 47 Ronin

A Japanese Samurai movie based on the true story of the 47 Ronin? Sounds interesting right? Unfortunately this movie is a disaster. And I'm not even talking about the reports that Universal could lose as much as $175 million on the project. The movie was postponed re-shot at least once each, and the result of that looked like they gave up on trying to fix it more, deciding to just take the hit as they knew this movie was going to be bad. The truth about the matter is that there was practically nothing redeemable about this movie. The story was slow and boring. For a Samurai movie there was surprisingly little action, so it wasn't even one of those movies you could just turn off your brain and enjoy an action-packed movie. The acting, especially with Keanu Reeves, was really flat; the actors looked bored with movie. They decided to make the awful decision to make this a fantasy movie mixed with a Samurai movie. Towards the beginning the Samurai are walking through the woods and suddenly there is this huge, weird mythical creature that starts chasing them and the whole scene you are just wondering what in the heck is happening. Not to mention that for such a high-budgeted movie, the CGI is surprisingly lazy. If you are going to spend so much money making a movie, at least make it look pretty. Nope. Sad story is that the radio station I listen to has been constantly giving out free 47 Ronin tickets. Poor people. Worst prize ever from a radio staion.

6- The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

I usually like magic movies. Now You See Me made it on me best movies of 2013 list. I also usually like comedy movies, and with a cast of Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, and Olivia Wilde, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone seemed like a home run. I couldn't have been more wrong. The biggest problem is that it was supposed to be a comedy and I didn't laugh. All the jokes fell flat and were just stupid. It's a good thing that Steve Carell redeemed himself with Anchorman 2 later in the year, because he was just outright putrid in this. There were others in this movie that did a decent job, but the problem is that they were given nothing to work with. The story is about a duo of magicians that do the exact same act every time and their biggest new rival is a sadistic magician that likes hurting himself? Why would anyone in real life watch either of these magicians? Add to that, you have a story that extremely unoriginal and predictable. The best part of the movie was when the end credits rolled and I got to listen to Imagine Dragons.

5- R.I.P.D.

R.I.P.D. is a movie where there are a lot of monsters that are secretly hidden on earth and two agents have to go stop those monsters. Sound like Men in Black? Yep, that's what this is. Except Men in Black is actually a fun movie. The whole premise of R.I.P.D. is just awful. The Rest in Peace Department consists of losers in life who are given a second chance to redeem themselves. They just have to go out and find the "deadies" that slipped through the cracks and avoided judgment. Because apparently there have been too many people dying that have caused some to slip through the cracks. Yup. That's actually the plot of the movie. Add to that, our two main losers are played by Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds. Not bad actors, but the two just have zero chemistry and Jeff Bridges' voice in the movie got really annoying really fast. Also the CGI was embarrassing. The first Men in Black did a better job. All these could've been forgiven to a certain degree if this was a PG movie directed at kids. However, they tried to make this appeal to both adults and kids. Turns out they end up missing both. It's too stupid for adults and has too much adult content for kids. Swing and a miss. Thus the movie is labelled as a cheap Men in Black ripoff.

4- Walking With Dinosaurs

Remember the show Mystery Science Theater 3000? If you don't let me refresh you. You have a group of characters that get together and purposely watch really stupid movies, but throughout the movie they make hilarious commentary and thus the whole experience is a blast. Now imagine if a crew like that sat down and tried to do a dinosaur documentary, but instead of doing hilarious commentary, they tried to be completely serious. Yup, that's what we got with Walking With Dinosaurs. Apparently the documentary this is based off of is a really good documentary, but the movie is just embarrassing. You have these really well done CGI dinosaurs that are cool to look at and learn about, but suddenly you start hearing voices coming from the screen. They are supposed to be coming from the dinosaurs, but the dinosaurs aren't lip-synced at all, so it just seems weird. Add to that, only four of the characters get voices and apparently the rest of the dinosaurs just don't have the ability to talk. Thus we get the Mystery Science Theater 3000 feel. The movie tries to be educational at first, but then they just stick with doing this weird love triangle of a story line with very little drama or substance at all. This movie might be entertaining for a 3 year old on a weekday morning, but for everyone else it's worth skipping. Just check out the actual documentary.

3- After Earth

These final three movies come from three of my least favorite directors currently still making movies. At number three is a man whose career started off very strong, but somewhere along the lines he forgot how to make movies. And for some reason, he keeps trying. Yes, I am talking about M. Knight Shyamalan. Going into this, I was nervous about giving Shyamalan another chance, but I was also hopeful that it would be a success because Will Smith helped with making of the movie. Can't go wrong with Will Smith, right? The man is notorious for being very selective with the movies he acts in, and thus most all of his movies end up being really good. Or at the very least, his acting job in the movie is good. Unfortunately, though, it appears that not even Will Smith is perfect. Yes, I put a lot of the blame on Shyamalan because all his movies now just suck, but I will also blame Will Smith for this disaster because he had a big role in this with both writing and acting. Poorly written? Yes. Poorly acted? Yes. That's the first time I've had to say Will Smith's acting was bad and hopefully that will be the last. The rest of the movie? Horribly boring and dull. We got on a post-apocalyptic binge this year due to last year's "end of the world" drama. There were several interesting movies like this that happened. After Earth was the worst. Yes Will Smith was bad in this movie, but his son Jaden was even worse. I thought the kid did great in The Karate Kid, so I have nothing against him. But this was just a terrible performance for him. Also the movie was probably the most generic and predictable sci-fi movie I've seen in a long time. It tried to have heart, but it had none. Sadly there was zero chemistry between Will and Jaden, and that's embarrassing.

2- Pain & Gain

Michael Bay is my next victim. I don't know who let Michael Bay do a crime drama, but that was a very bad idea. Personally, I love crime dramas. One of my favorite current shows is Criminal Minds. I also love other shows like NCIS, Bones, Numbers, Castle, Sherlock, Luther, and Psych. There are also plenty of crime drama movies that are excellent, so it's really unfortunate for me when a crime drama comes around that had so much potential, but ended up being a complete disaster. Pain & Gain is based off a true story of a Sun Gym gang in Miami in the 1990's. And when I say "based off a true story" I mean in this instance it was very, very, very loosely based off a true story. The movie tries to get you to believe that it's extremely accurate. In fact, it shoves it down your throat the whole movie. Don't listen. It's so far off the actual events that it is despicable and borderline offensive. If you want to read the true story of the Sun Gym gang, you can do so here. It's a very long read, but worth it. Basically what happened is that Daniel Lugo and Adrian Doorbal were genius criminals. The two of them led a small gang of three to five people wherein they kidnapped, tortured, and forced a very rich man to sign over everything he had to them. Then they tried to kill him, making it look like a suicide. By what can only be described as a miracle, the man survived crashing his car, having his car explode, and being ran over twice. He fled the country for a while, and when he was brave enough to come back, no one believed him. A certain detective finally decided to investigate, and after a long investigation, the gang only got caught because they tried to do it a second time, but made some critical mistakes along the way. Lugo and Doorball got the death penalty, while the other minor players served from 10 to 20 years. In terms of the movie adaption, had Michael Bay taken the Prisoners or Zodiac type of approach, this movie would've been amazing. But no. First off, all the characters were portrayed wrong. Lugo was portrayed as an idiot. Doorbal was portrayed is a whiny freak show. The rest of the gang were all combined to form one fictional member of the gang. The victim of the whole thing was portrayed as a crazy idiot. The movie was a comedy, which was totally absurd. The movie actually actually makes you sympathize with the gang to a certain extent while making you think the victim was a lunatic. There's a reason why the actual family threatened to sue Michael Bay for this movie. It's an outright offensive disaster. No, I don't fully blame Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, and Dwayne Johnson, except for maybe taking on the roles. I fully blame Michael Bay and anyone else who worked on the production of this movie.

1- Man of Steel 

And here it is! Man of Steel is my least favorite film of 2013. If you knew me or talked to me about this movie throughout the year, you'll know this doesn't come as a surprise at all. I love Superman. No, I have no allegiance to the Superman comics, let's get that out right now, but what I do have allegiance to is the Richard Donner Superman movies, specifically the first two. Yes they were made in the late 70's and early 80's and thus are a bit cheesy, with less than superb special effects. But the story is just absolutely beautiful. The characters are very well written and very well acted. Specifically, the actual character of Superman is the best written Superman ever. First off, is he perfect? No. He's pretty unstoppable, but there are a lot of mental and emotional challenges that he has to go through as a character who is one of  the last of his kind on a planet that is not his own. At one point he even gives up his powers to try to become a normal human being, not knowing what his purpose is. So beautiful. So touching. There is also a lot of messianic symbolism that comes with the character Superman. He loves the people. He protects the people. He saves the people from evil. The people love him back. He is their savior. I could go on about these movies and this character for a long time, but I'll stop. Overall these Richard Donner Superman movies are some of my favorite movies ever made. I expected Man of Steel to be a bit different. I was actually really excited for the movie. But when I finally sat down in that theater, I quickly became appalled and offended. Every second of the movie was painful for me to watch. They almost literally got EVERYTHING wrong. It was as if Man of Steel was written for the intent purpose of pleasing those who hated the Richard Donner Superman movies, because all the beauty and all the symbolism that these movies brought to the movie and character of Superman were completely destroyed and twisted around in Man of Steel. Superman wasn't a messianic figure. He was a whimp. He hid from the world and only came out because Zod threatened to destroy the earth. The people didn't love him, they treated him like a Batman-esque fugitive and tried to arrest him. That's great for Batman, but not for Superman. Superman didn't care for the people. In fact, when Zod came to fight him in the city, Superman was personally responsible for millions of dollars of damage to the city and millions of deaths. Speaking of which, the movie was non-stop action that was way too over top. The villain Zod was ruined. None of the actors did a terrible job, but none of them shined a light on the performances by the actors in the Richard Donner Superman movies. I haven't even begun to mention all the confusing scenes, all the plot-holes, and all the over-the-top product placement. After reading this huge paragraph, it's probably hard to imagine that I have only scratched the surface with my complaints on this movie, but I think I've said enough. Not only was this my least favorite movie of the year, but I don't know if I've ever watch a movie in which I was more offended and appalled as I watched. I'm not going to give the absolute on this final statement, but instead I will say that Man of Steel is one of the worst movies I have EVER watched. It's as if they let my least favorite director Zack Snyder do a Superman movie. Oh wait. That is what they did.

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