By: Henry J. Fromage and Movieboozer Staff & Contributors –
2017 boasted plenty of amazing cinema… and just as many or more affronts to the very idea of film. Strap in and prepare yourself for our MovieBoozer Staff and Contributors’ Bottom 10 Lists of 2017… the very worst theaters had to offer:
10. Unforgettable: Pretty forgettable, though I absolutely adored Katherine Heigl as a 90s erotic-thriller-esque villain. Too bad this movie never crosses the line into The Boy Next Door so bad-it’s-amazing territory.
9. The Circle: What a mess of movie. And Tom Hanks as a bad guy? Suurrreee.
8. The Emoji Movie: Not the “WORST MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!” but certainly one of the worst of the past year. “And Sir Patrick Stewart as Poop” was inspired though.
7. The Belko Experiment: I loved the concept but the execution (pun intended I guess) was just garbage. Pointless and ugly.
6. 9/11: This was a movie, released in actual movie theaters, about September 11, 2001 starring Charlie Sheen, Gina Gershon, and Whoopi Goldberg, among others. It’s exactly what you would expect, but worse.
5. The House: Proof that you can’t just put funny people in a movie without paying attention to any other detail and automatically get a funny movie.
4. Bad Moms Christmas: Further proof that you can’t just put funny people in a movie without paying attention to any other detail and automatically get a funny movie. Unfunny, unnecessary sequel.
3. Rough Night: Even worse than Bad Moms Christmas.Look, if you want to see a raunchy comedy with a female cast just skip these and watch Girls Trip.
2. 50 Shades Darker: I have a theory now that I’ve seen all three films (I’m the real kind of masochist) that the 50 Shades trilogy’s main narrative is Anastasia’s relationship, not with Christian Grey, but with buttplugs. When you think about it, it really is the most consistent and complete arc of anything that happens in this asinine and demented universe. This film is in-between her initial aversion to them and eventually going all in (get it? get it?) and feelin’ good about it in Freed. Seriously, the buttplugs are treated with way more weight and screen-time than the helicopter crash in this one.
1. The Book of Henry: The most insane thing I watched in 2017 (and I saw mother! and A Cure for Wellness) But it contains my absolute favorite line of dialogue of the year: “We are not murdering the police commissioner, and that is final!”
10. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
7. The Assignment
6. Transformers: The Last Knight
5. David Lynch: The Art Life
4. Justice League
3. The Incredible Jessica James
2. The Little Hours
1. The Fate of the Furious
10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
9. The Bye Bye Man
8. Fist Fight
7. The Book of Henry
6. Rock Dog
5. The Assignment
4. Beauty and the Beast
3. The Emoji Movie
1. The Mummy
10. Justice League: There’s no “justice” with what they did to this “league”. Anytime I close my eyes I can see the ghost of Henry Cavill’s melting face laughing as his dead eyes scream from behind a mask of computer generated imagery. Anyone who says Skynet isn’t real hasn’t seen what our soon-to-be robot overlords did in the name of cinema here.
9. Transformers: The Last Knight: “Good night, sweet prince…” I gently whisper as I close the eyes of a long-dead franchise running on the fumes of Bud Light and Michael Bay’s last ‘gasm. Someone’s got dirt on Anthony Hopkins and they’re not afraid to use it, is all I can say about how they roped that legend into this cinematic CGI dumpster fire.
8. The Mummy: All DC wants in this world is to be as good as Marvel so instead of firing Zack Snyder like five films ago they decided to take a giant Cleveland Steamer on the chest of cinema with this lackluster fecal fuckwittery of a franchise mulligan. As good as Tom Cruise is in the Mission Impossible reboots is as bad as he is in what the DC was hoping to launch here with their extended Monster Mashup Universe. Unlike the OG Brendan Fraser franchise by the same name, I’m okay letting this Mummy unravel on the cutting room floor.
7. Geostorm: Gerard Butler is the King of Bad Action Movies but even Geostorm fucks that up by sticking his ass in spaaaaaaaace while a generic action/spy/environmental “thriller” with -1000% feminism plays out on Earth. If you’ve ever wanted to watch what happens when The Day After Tomorrow and Armageddon bump uglies with capitalism then WHOOOO BOY HAVE I GOT THE FLICK FOR YOU. Plus Geostorm taught me that all it takes to get engaged is for the President to tell someone to marry you SO SUCK IT, MA, I TOLD YOU I WON’T DIE ALONE.
6. Fifty Shades Darker: E.L. James’s thinly veiled Twilight fan fiction makes an encore appearance this year as we watch Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele bang like disgruntled sock puppets for another two hours while entering ever deeper into a relationship so toxic even teens who voluntarily choose to eat Tide Pods would take a hard pass on this shit.
5. The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature: I actually recommended this to Hawk Ripjaw because he has a sick love of terrible movies and I’m an enabler. Plus I had to review this dark, terrifying, politically relevant “children’s” flick with possibly the most thinly veiled Trumpersonation of all time. Weirdly, much like last year’s Purge: Election Year, Nutty By Nature is both chilling and relevant in turn. Bad. So so bad. But in the most hilarious way.
4. King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword: I honestly don’t remember much of this flick other than the fact that Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law were in it and one of them was a wizard? The first in a planned franchise of six films before this tanked at the box office, the only thing this had in common with Arthurian legend is that there’s a sword in there somewhere with a dude named Arthur. A SciFi Knight’s Tale this was not. Dracula Untold clocked in better than this shitsicle.
3. Atomic Blonde: This movie managed to dunk a neon-soaked hipster assassin in a gangster-ridden acid bath of hugely narcissistic proportions. Imagine taking your eighty-one-year old father to see this spy flick only to not be able to make eye contact for a week afterward because his only commentary on the film was that “I didn’t expect the ladies to be so friendly with one another.” Way worse than the time I took him to see Crank. Smash Spring Breakers together with the Cold War and you’re halfway to the awkward, tone-deaf shitshow this flick put me through but with 100% less of the laughably bad James Franco in it. Pass the mashed potatoes next holiday dinner, Pops, and let us never speak of this again. *facepalm*
2. Kingsman: The Golden Circle: I can’t express my abject disappointment in this franchise more than by putting the sequel to 2015’s spectacular James Bond-ian delight, Kingsman: The Secret Service on this list but, coupled with not a little bit of misogyny you just can’t ignore, more than one person who worked on Golden Circle SIGNED OFF ON PLACING A ‘MUCUS MEMBRANE’ TRACKING DEVICE ON A WOMAN VIA FINGER DOWN HER PANTIES AND UP HER CERVIX WITH A TELESCOPING X-RAY SHOT FOR MAXIMUM GROSSNESS. Taron Egerton actually refused to do it and had the woman’s own significant other come in and swap him out. So there’s that, but still. *Whaps studio upside the head with a newspaper* NO. BAD. NO.
1.Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets: This has never happened before but, in a real Cinderella story for the ages, I have a tie for wurst movie of the year and here’s why: Valerian is my new benchmark for bad, the shitstick by which I measure all other cinematic skidmarks. It used to be Interstellar because the combination of Matthew McConaughey and black holes being defeated by the power of love used to drive me into a rage-spiral only best expressed through the use of ALL CAPS. Then Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne came along and I think I blacked out because during my review I lost a large chunk of time from my life and later came to covered in blood and sitting in a dark room alone with Valerian playing on a loop.
1. Shape Of Water: That said, Shape of Water robs me of the ability to coherently speak due to its staggering levels of self-indulgent, and highly disturbing, narrative dissonance. YOU CAN’T MAKE ME BELIEVE IN AN INTERSPECIES LOVE STORY IF THEIR BIG ROMANCE PRIMARILY INVOLVES LINING UP EGGS ALONG AQUAMAN’S TANK FOR BRING-YOUR-PET-TO-WORK SNACK TIME BEFORE YOU, UGHHHHHHH, BANG HIM GIVE IT UP AND SWIPE LEFT ON TINDER LIKE THE REST OF US, BISH. Oh, yeah, I wondered when the all caps button would get stuck again. No. Just no.
10. Salt and Fire: I remain firmly convinced that acclaimed, talented director Werner Herzog is most definitely fucking with us on Salt and Fire. This thriller/environmental tale is so random, so far up its own ass, and so absolutely wacky that it absolutely must be seen.
9. The Evil Within: The 15 years that this movie took to make are pretty obvious when you actually watch it, as it’s clearly a stitched-together piece of shit where no one except for the FX artists really appeared to know what they were doing. It is kind of sad, because director Andrew Getty clearly wanted to make a good movie, he just didn’t pull it off. It doesn’t help that this features one of the most insensitive depictions of mental illness since… almost ever.
8. Fifty Shades Darker: Apparently there is something romantic about a woman being psychologically and sexually abused as part of a BDSM relationship by an extremely rich and attractive man—oooh, I get it. Actually, this is an very incorrect and frankly dangerous account of a BDSM relationship. Kids, those are fun but this series is not how they actually work. The relationship depicted here is controlling, codependent, abusive, and very creepy. Also it’s a shit movie and a significant step down from the first in terms of writing and directing (which was already terrible).
7. Valerian:Valerian is an exercise in delayed gratification that never actually gratifies. Its creative visuals hint at a movie we never get to see, as inventive worldbuilding gives way to a seemingly finite supply of narrative creativity in a plot that gets steadily less interesting and more generic as each minute passes, propelled every step of the way by a painful lack of chemistry between two very charismatic actors in severely miscast roles. It’s not only disappointing, it’s disheartening.
6. Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween: Tyler Perry has always used his Madea character as a means to deliver a wholesome message. Madea herself is an aggressive ex-con with wisdom always at the ready, and that’s mostly fine for fans of the franchise that respect that tough love. But that’s mostly gone from Perry’s Halloween sequel (a holiday he hates anyway), leaving just a loud, hateful character in an angry, aimless, dreadful movie. This is bad even by Tyler Perry standards.
5. The Bye Bye Man: Apart from the fact that a character that’s supposed to be frightening is called the fucking Bye Bye Man, Stacy Title’s horror movie is a series of ideas for scares kind of just strung together by a boogeyman narrative that is as forgettable as it is stupid. “Don’t think it, don’t say it” is also probably the laziest way to convey the threat of a character that basically invades your mind, which itself isn’t a well-executed concept anyway.
4. The Snowman: The crew didn’t even have time to make the entire movie (seriously—about 15% of the script was not filmed), leaving the editing team to cobble together something coherent enough to call a legitimate movie. There are also none of the exciting cat-and-mouse games the trailer teased, and the movie takes itself so seriously it actually comes back around to be hilarious. Unfortunately it’s not in on the joke, not even with a main character called Harry Hole.
3. Transformers: The Last Knight: I have strong feelings toward the X-Men films and their lack of actual continuity, but at least those movies toss in “time travel” as a dumb half-assed explanation, as opposed to the Transformers “oh shit, we were hoping you weren’t playing close enough attention to notice” method. The Last Knight rampages through series continuity, obviously making things up as it goes along, and makes zero sense. It’s boring, stupid, incoherent, and insulting.
2. The Book of Henry: There is a certain joy to describing the plot of The Book of Henry to others. To witness the interest in their eyes at a charming family drama centered on a savant, to gentle confusion when the savant dies of a brain tumor, to outright shock when the savant left behind detailed journals to train Mom to be a sniper and permanently punish the next door neighbor for abusing his stepdaughter. It really is that crazy, and the possibilities for good drinking games is a deep, deep mine.
1. Kuso: Completely vile and horrible, Kuso starts with a promising disaster movie-cross-rock opera, but almost immediately pivots into a collection of vignettes specifically engineered to disgust. For no reason other than to disgust. It’s nasty, offensive, aimless, clumsy, and the ultimate example of filth for filth’s sake. It’s completely wrongheaded in every possible way and I do not wish to ever have to think about it again.
Worst Movies I’ve Seen This Year in no particular order:
American Assassin, Sleepless, The Great Wall, and All Eyez on Me.
10. Bright: I will admit that I had a lot of fun watching this. But only if you admit that it was a bad movie. The world-building much left to be desired.
9. Ferdinand: The dialogue was bad, the pacing was bad, the voice cast was underutilized or miscast, the animation seemed off more than once. I could go on for a long time with everything wrong with this. Just don’t see Ferdinand.
8. Jigsaw: This was terrible, but I had so much fun watching this. I only recommend this to people who are fans of the Saw franchise. It will be a mess if this is the first film you see (not that Jigsaw isn’t already a mess).
7. Murder on the Orient Express: Kenneth Branagh took an interesting story/ concept and made it so boring and contrived. The ensemble cast gets lost in the mess with barely any getting enough screen time to register a good performance. When I saw this in theaters everyone laughed when Penélope Cruz had any lines.
6. Ghost in the Shell: Take an amazing sci-fi film with incredible visuals, ideas, and characters. Then water it down to the most by the books Hollywood action film. Now you’ve got the American Ghost in the Shell!
5. Boss Baby: A mess of ideas that fails to come together by the end of the movie. The fact that this got an Oscar nomination breaks my heart. Dreamworks Animation is in a downward spiral.
4. The Star: Getting more and more celebrities to fill in a voice cast won’t save a movie. King of the Hill already did a better version of this called “The Manger Babies.”
3. Father Figures: Painful to watch and incredibly unfunny.
2. Fifty Shades Darker: Fifty Shades of Grey had some semblance of a plot. This one was just so freaking boring. The only reason it isn’t last on my list was because it was at least laughably bad.
1. Death Note: The most unfaithful adaption I have seen of any movie since World War Z (and Ghost in the Shell). Even if you don’t compare it against the source material, this fails in every way as a “movie.”
10. Justice League
9. The Snowman
8. Tommy and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
7. Going in Style
6. The Circle
5. The Bye Bye Man
3. Daddy’s Home 2
1. Swamp Ape
(Dis)honorable Mentions: Bright; The Mummy; Unforgettable; Boo! 2: A Madea Halloween; The Book of Henry; A Dog’s Purpose; The Emoji Movie; Wish Upon; Sandy Wexler; The Glass Castle
Movies I (Thankfully) Didn’t See: Transformers: The Last Knight, 9/11, Naked, Leatherface, Slamma Jamma, Pitch Perfect 3, Tulip Fever, The Evil Within, The Last Face, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, Let There Be Light
10. Bright: This film made my list not because it is poorly written (though it is), but because they take a somewhat intriguing premise and do absolutely nothing interesting with it. David Ayer is going to have to work hard in the sequel to sell it on me. Maybe without Max Landis’s influence it’ll work? Watch This not that: Highlander (1986) an urban fantasy action film that knows it is corny, so instead it just tries to be fun.
9. Tulip Fever: This is a movie that wants so badly to be a critically acclaimed bawdy costume drama, and like Bright has a fairly interesting setting that it is trying to capture. Sadly, some really bad writing and a wet sack of cement performance by Dane DeHaan make this film often comically bad. Kudos to Christoph Waltz, who seems to be in on how terrible the movie is and just resolves to soldier through it anyway. Watch this not that: Restoration (1995) with Robert Downey Jr. and Ian McKellen, a sex-filled costume drama with stakes and interesting characters.
8. Justice League: At least Batman V Superman was consistent(ly morose and drab and awful). This film so obviously shows the last minute attempts to make it more cheery and fun that it becomes a tonal mess. Zach Snyder got this whole DC Universe off to the wrong start and never compromised his vision, there is no excuse for Warner Brothers taking three films to intervene. Watch this not that: Superman II (1980) Try to get the Richard Donner cut of the film, but either one will remind you that Superman is at his best when not taken too seriously.
7. The Evil Within: Product of the deranged mind of a strung-out heir to a multi-million dollar fortune. The Evil Within was 12 years in the making and probably has the highest quotient of creative and horrible ideas. Normally this would make the film a missed opportunity, but the ideas are so at odds with each other that it becomes something truly to behold. Easily the best unintentional comedy of the year. Watch this not that: actually watch this, and laugh your ass off.
6. The Assignment: Director Walter Hill has a track record of making divisive films, and this one, in which a male assassin is forcibly given a gender reassignment by a mad scientist… is positively bonkers. The movie goes wrong pretty much everywhere, but damn is it fascinating to break down. Watch this not that: Tangerine (2015) for a daring film involving the trans community that works.
5. Wish Upon: What if you could wish bad things about your enemies and the wish could come true? What if they conveyed this concept with the worst script, cast, and direction possible? Watch this not that: Kazaam (1996) sure it is painful, but at least it looks you in the eyes while it fucks you.
4. The Snowman: Literally unfinished, not that it would matter, because The Snowman would be a mess of a serial killer thriller either way. Never in my life did I think I’d feel sorry for Val Kilmer…. Watch this not that: In Order of Disappearance (2014), an enjoyable and similarly snowy Scandinavian movie about killing.
3. Salt and Fire: Director Werner Herzog’s career worst film, one wonders what the fuck he was thinking, as this movie never settles on a tone, or even a plot. Michael Shannon must have taken the role for the free trip to South America. Watch this not that: literally every other movie Werner Herzog has made. Though I’d start with Aguirre: The Wrath of God
2. 9/11: Charlie Sheen stars in this supremely pathetic film that actually tries to cash in on the 9/11 attacks. It was even released on 9/11. Made cheaply and with a cast that includes Luis Guzman and Whoopi Goldberg, this movie is baffling to consider, and insulting in every way. Watch this not That: The underrated Reign Over Me (2007), a drama that effectively deals with the trauma of the disaster without feeling exploitative.
1. Kuso: You know what makes a good movie? Just doing a bunch of random unconnected gross out gags with no real connecting theme other than they coaxed a bunch of celebrities to appear. If Movie 43 killed everyone in the hospital with an airborne staph infection, Kuso would be the burning pile of corpses left behind by the ensuing plague. Watch this not that: The Greasy Strangler (2016) similarly gross and random, but in a way that is comical and at least somewhat artistic.
Henry J. Fromage
2016 had its share of shit, as always, but I was able to avoid much of it…? Never fear, though, shit finds you in this biz.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, The Senior Class, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Leap!, The Mummy, Fabricated City, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, War on Everyone, Fifty Shades Darker, Two Lovers and a Bear, Beauty and the Beast, Mr. Church, Wonder Wheel, Daddy’s Home 2
10. Mother’s Day: RIP Gary Marshall- you stuck to your celebrity-stuffed, impressively trite guns to the very end. Alas, what horrors you would have wrought when you got around to MLK Day…
9. Friend Request: The only computer/internet-oriented horror film lately that surprisingly wasn’t good, this smacked of the antiquated teen-dollar chasing garbage horror films of yesteryear. Stick it on the shelf right next to One Missed Call.
8. The Snowman: How this many distinguished names could churn out something so lifeless and alllmostt comically inept (look elsewhere if you’re after So Bad it’s Good) is beyond me.
7. A Quiet Passion: I love Terence Davies, but this attempt to add a modern, progressive flair to the old comedy of manners while also delivering the dramatic depth befitting perhaps the most somber of the all-time great poets is the dampest of squibs. Tone soup.
6. Wilson: Woody Harrelson tries his abrasive best, but a character and story that should rise to his level of winking depravity instead descends to erstwhile crowd-pleasing, anonymous pablum.
5. Just Getting Started: This is how Soylent Green happens. I don’t want to be the one to point this out, but how many movies does 80 year old Morgan Freeman have left? Why is this one of them?
4. The Evil Within: The story of the making of this, consuming the last 15 years, a not insignificant portion of the fortune, and apparently the sanity of producer and director Andrew Getty, is better than the film, which is fairly incoherent and sometimes unintentionally and darkly hilarious, although impressive in some of its nightmarish imagery. It’s certainly not good, but worth canonizing in lists like this.
3. The Book of Henry: I would have taken Star Wars away from Colin Treverrow, too. He might be a lizard person.
2. Justice League/Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: The yearly GDP of some Pacific Island nations sunk into monuments to hubris and the limits of CGI. It’s okay to let these franchises die. Really, it is.
1. Tulip Fever: It’s somehow fitting this over-edited to the point of hilarity, much-delayed transparently Oscar wanna-be is the last will and testament to the career of Harvey Scissorhands. Good riddance.