By: Henry J. Fromage and Movieboozer Staff & Contributors –
2018 boasted plenty of amazing cinema… and just as many abominations that amused and horrified. Strap in and prepare yourself for the very worst this year had to offer:
9. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: When you have nowhere left to go but a freaking dinosaur auction/runway show for a crowd of wealthy assholes straight out of Neil Breen film, it’s time to pack it up. The worst offense? NOT ENOUGH JEFF GOLDBLUM!
10. The Happytime Murders
9. The Happytime Murders
8. The Happytime Murders
7. The Happytime Murders
6. The Happytime Murders
5. The Happytime Murders
4. The Happytime Murders
3. The Happytime Murders
2. Speed Kills
1. The Happytime Murders
We were all middle-aged women in a past life who had an asymmetrical haircut and asked to speak to the manager every time a vendor wouldn’t concede to our ridiculous, entitled service demands (and karma is a bitch named *Karen. *This list of godawful movies designed to make your last remaining brain cell commit hari kari aka ritualized disembowelment).
10. Ready Player One: Hands-down one of the worst page-to-screen adaptations I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen the ENTIRE FIFTY SHADES FRANCHISE. Someone call Steven Spielberg because I need to shark-punch him in the face. Like a medium amount. Fuck this entire movie and the pop-culture Iron Giant it rode in on.
9. Ocean’s 8: This movie did for women-led blockbuster features in 2018 what Jeffrey Dahmer did for human rights in the eighties (killed and dismembered them).
8. Incredibles 2: I didn’t know it was possible to undo everything you did right in the first film with it’s sequel, but somehow this flick manages to jam a whole bunch of fucked-up messaging about women (and the role of modern women) who are dealing with how to achieve a work/life/family balance into an animated, feature-length film. But it is. Possible. Yay? Narrator: But it was not, in fact, “yay”.
7. Annihilation: This movie is what happens when you mix LSD with global warming, science-fiction, a novella not quite substantial enough to be adapted into a feature film, and a third act with way more butthole imagery than I’m comfortable with (none, none would be good).
6. Fifty Shades Freed: A testament to either a) how my psyche has slowly been boiled alive by this franchise (and been made subsequently numb to its horrifying messaging regarding toxic relationships and misrepresentation of an entire sexual sub-culture) and/or b) how much incredibly awful cinema I was subjected to in 2018, but this flick is way higher up in the rankings than I thought it would be. Either way, you can’t be surprised it made my list. Freed is a spectacular franchise three-peat worthy of inclusion in our hallowed halls of cinematic dumpster fires. Someone buy Jamie Dornan a drink and some baggy sweatpants (he deserves both).
5. The Predator: Predatory is also easily how this movie’s attitude toward the characterization (and pigeonholing of) women into the lowest common (two-dimensional) denominator could be described. Watch the motel scene again and tell me how cute that rape subtext is with a straight face. I’ll wait. Over here with a cement mallet labeled “Nope, think again.” for anyone who comes back saying anything other than “holy shit that was INCREDIBLY FUCKED UP.” Also just not a great installment in the franchise. I’ll die on this hill but Alien vs. Predator is still the best in either franchise.
4. Robin Hood: My brain before thinking about this movie and how it was obviously once a star vehicle for Jamie Foxx (somehow retooled into a bus going off the cliff of Taron Edgerton’s career) during the “Worst Of” write-up:
My brain after remembering that this flick ended up being a poster-child for the opposite of women’s rights, virtue-shaming, white privilege, privilege in general, and not a little bit of low-key racism:
3. A-X-L: this movie stole the last of my will to live and almost turned me into a cat person. A derivative, Jurassic Park-sized skidmark in the underpants of cinema that makes 2016’s Max Steel look like an Oscar contender in comparison; I implore you to consider a lobotomy before pressing play on A-X-L.
2. Book Club: If you’ve ever wondered what a menopausal book club movie which is BARELY, and ONLY IN PASSING, based on reading a book in the Fifty Shades series that has some SERIOUS issues based in – and around – agency and consent looks like (while giving hollow lip-service to female empowerment) then WHOO BOY HAVE I GOT THE MOVIE FOR YOU.
1. Super Troopers 2: Not since Kingsman: The Golden Circle (whom I was FAR KINDER to in retrospect than I should’ve been) have I been as excited for, and as disappointed by, a sequel than Super Troopers 2. A nostalgic stoner-bro comedy I remember fondly from college achieved the seemingly impossible dream: a crowd-funded sequel over a decade later. It’s major contributor (after watching) seems to have been MAGA-hat-wearing-Satan. I’d willingly scoop out and eat my own eyeballs, Bird Box-style, before re-watching this. R.I.P my eyeballs.
10. Fantastic Beasts: the Crimes of Grindelwald: What’s the point of this franchise? Why are we even still watching this? We’re only on the second of this planned five-movie series, and it doesn’t seem to have any idea what it wants to do. It’s a pastiche of ideas, frenzied world-building, and fractured character development that doesn’t build up in a way that feels remotely meaningful. The adventures of Newt Scamander (lovable as he is) and the rise of Grindelwald just don’t work as two parts of the same story, and both are shortchanged in what results in a fatigued outlier of the Wizarding World mythos desperate to validate itself.
9. Fahrenheit 451: This might be the most infuriating of anything I’ve seen this year. Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 is an excellent novel about the learned toxicity of a society afraid of free thought. HBO’s film adaptation is narrowly-focused, glacial, and fueled by a fatal misunderstanding of the novel’s themes. Where the novel’s societal apocalypse felt timeless and grim, this film is a wheezing, desperate attempt to transplant the story into a finite, compartmentalized “scary future” complete with limp-dick references to Trump’s America that completely deflate what the original novel stood for.
8. A-X-L: A-X-L rubs elbows with the likes of classic camp: it confusingly borrows elements from those early 2000s Nickelodeon movies, features plenty of hilarious bullshit from a ridiculously high-tech robot dog, and even has an identity crisis as it briefly turns into a wannabe slasher for a few minutes in the final stretch. It is consistently and unintentionally humorous for how badly it repurposes ideas from other films and makes its own bad decisions. The tagline of the occasionally-obvious puppet eponymous dog is a throaty “YO, SEND IT.” A-X-L stands for “Attack, Exploration, Logistics.” I’m making this sound way better than it is. Please don’t watch it.
7. Fifty Shades Freed: Freed, indeed. Until the inevitable adaptation of whatever E.L. James and her horny mind come up with now, we are at last safe from from the rancid brand of erotic drama of Fifty Shades. Freed is so bad, it makes the first installment from director Sam Taylor Johnson look artistic by comparison. Even removed from the awful regressive sexual politics of the central relationship, Freed is a horrible romance and a worse thriller that actively begs for validation long before its agonizing final memorial montage in the epilogue. By then, it’s honestly hard to know whether the movie even believes in itself.
6. Life Itself: While it doesn’t quite reach the batty heights of The Book of Henry or Winter’s Tale, Life Itself falls in the same wheelhouse of absurdly overblown [bullhorn] “Drama” that thinks its profundity is as vast as the ocean but is barely as deep as the murderous puddle from Glass. The spectacular, overblown misery porn of Life Itself is a sight to behold, punishing its characters to an absurd degree and driving home that warm, nihilistic promise that nothing matters because “life itself” will get you eventually, and it’s really going to hurt.
5. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony: Watching Tyler Perry’s Acrimony is like walking through a cautionary art exhibit, each installment suggesting a different way in which a movie should not be made. The dreadful dialogue, the hideously obvious green screen in some key moments, and completely unrealistic drama would have been enough. And then the finale, in all of its bizarre Verhoeven-era nuttiness, rolls in like a fucking bulldozer and makes this into one truly special misfire.
4. Book Club: I either have very strong mental fortitude or am completely insane, because I somehow managed to scrub this movie completely from my brain. Felix kindly spoke the sacred words and brought every painful moment of my Book Club theatrical screening rushing back like a freight train of spiny “Facebook posts your mom liked” jokes and painfully forced romance. I’m actually irritated that something as inane as this is even bad enough to be on this list, but it really is that bad.
3. Gotti: Gotti is essentially an open invitation for us cinematic masochists, but it ends up being something of an endurance test. It’s directed by Kevin Connolly (“E” from Entourage), it’s scored by Pitbull, it opens with Travolta in horrible makeup in one of those “Oh, didn’t see you there” monologues at the camera–it’s so completely, profoundly terrible you almost wonder if it was bad on purpose, but it’s not skillfully made enough for that theory to hold water.
2. Speed Kills: As magnificently terrible as a confusingly-plotted mob movie directed by one of the Entourage guys is, Travolta’s other shit film of the year is somehow worse. Speed Kills, envisioned as a nutty VR “experience,” feels more like an extension of something you’d see on Adult Swim, but the people making it actually think they’re making a good drama. It’s absolutely wild, from the unbelievable performances from Travolta, James Remar, and Tom Sizemore, to the jaw-dropping sequence in a catastrophic tropical storm. There’s little about Speed Kills that is actually enjoyable, but this is catnip for bad movie connoisseurs.
1. Peppermint: Insulting. That’s what Peppermint is. It is insulting that the producers and the studio behind Peppermint considered this to be something we are supposed to enjoy. More effort in screenwriting has been put into student films. The editing can barely be legally called that. Every interesting plot point is referenced without being explored. The themes of vigilantism and revenge are confused and undercooked. Every damned thing about this movie feels like a low-effort attempt to squeak by without scrutiny. Nothing has a thematic resolution, no one has an arc, and everything feels a few degrees removed from what could have been an interesting idea. I hate this movie.
Worst Movies I’ve Seen this year in no particular order:
10. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
9. Welcome to Marwen
6. Bohemian Rhapsody
5. Book Club
4. Night School
3. Mile 22
2. Death Wish
BEST Worst Movie I Saw in 2018:
10. Blockers: This one gets the “nails on chalkboard” award of the year for me. This is one of those comedies I dread the most; a slapstick sex comedy led by actors completely unskilled at performing slapstick. Not to mention the decisions the characters are making defies any sense of even the most imbecilic cartoon logic.
9. Sherlock Gnomes: only the second worst Sherlock Holmes adaptation of the year. This one makes the list mostly because I nearly fell asleep in the theater watching it. With all the money and resources spent on animated features, aggressive mediocrity simply cannot be tolerated.
8. 7 Days in Entebbe: You do not have to be a master auteur to know cross-cutting historical events with interpretive dance is a bad idea. Rosamund Pike’s “Deer in the Headlights” facial expression might never heal.
7. Tomb Raider: Somehow managing to be less fun to watch than the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider films, mostly because it throws away any semblance of what made those films different from Indiana Jones movies.
6. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony: Possibly the most entertainingly bad movie on this list. This film is proof that Taraji P. Henson can make the most of anything. I’m convinced she was testing Tyler Perry out by delivering an increasingly ridiculous performance simply to see if he’d call cut. (he didn’t)
5. Blumhouse Presents Truth or Dare: this mess of a horror movie takes a simple and intriguing premise and approaches it from the absolute worst angle.
4. A Wrinkle in Time: Flashy CGI and glitzy costume design isn’t an acceptable stand-in for decent storytelling.
3. Gotti: Probably the worst constructed movie of the year, and unfortunately too dull to be considered comically bad.
2. Life Itself: The only reason this isn’t higher on my list is Antonio Banderas, who gives what might be his career best performance in a movie which in all other respects eats a big bag of schmaltzy dicks.
1. Holmes & Watson: John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell act as if a gun is being held to their heads in every scene, screaming for them to be funny. Who could possibly perform under that stress? (they sure don’t)
Henry J. Fromage
2018 had its share of shit, so, ummm… here’s a pile of it?
10. What a Man Wants: No, this is not What Men Want starring Taraji P. Henson. Instead this is a Korean erstwhile comedy that makes a 19 year old Mel Gibson romantic comedy look like a shining beacon of appropriate intersex relations.
9. Fury of the Fist and the Golden Fleece: Robert Rodriguez killed the “Grindhouse with Bad CGI” genre dead years ago, but here’s this film starring Oliver Stone’s kid for some reason to remind you what its corpse smells like.
8. I Can Speak: Yes, another Korean film- and one that commits the cardinal Korean film sin. No, not mixing genres and tones that should never, ever go together (this is what the best Korean films do). Rather, doing it so ham-handedly you have to wonder if Rob Reiner’s taken whatever’s left of his talent overseas.
7. Life of the Party: Man, I know Whitney and Bobby or Amber and Johnny were bad, but somebody please stage an intervention for Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone before it’s too late.
6. Life Itself: You’ve heard it all about this massive tonal misfire born out of Dan Fogelman’s ever-expanding hubris. It’s all true.
5. I’m So Pretty: How the fuck did our most brazenly feminist comic star in the movie about hitting your head and thinking your pretty and that’s funny because you’re a normal-sized American woman and normal-sized American women aren’t pretty huhrhggh? Who hit Amy Schumer in the head? Was it Ben Falcone?
4. The Trump Prophecy: The true story of a firefighter with the jitters who sees Orcs from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings in his dreams then God tells him Trump will be President and he convinces insufferable rich ladies to hold aircraft up from boarding because they need to pray for literally THE LEAST CHRISTIAN PRESIDENT AMERICA HAS EVER ENDURED shouldn’t be this fucking boring.
3. Gotti: On a lighter note, John Travolta still thinks he can play men decades younger than him and also that we all think his hair is real and also that E from Entourage can direct movies like a real boy. He’s sure seen some Scorcese flicks, though, yes he has.
2. London Fields: I’m truly torn between the next film and this truly epic flop- the kind of movie that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as a Winter’s Tale or an El Dorado, the kind of vanity project, wanna-be hard-boiled Great American Novel ‘really, like really deep, man’ bullshit misfire that only talented people can create when the tightness of their sphincter has really started to cut off that airflow and their back is really starting to hurt in this unnatural position. Plus Jim Sturgess should win all the awards as the greasiest sewer rat-bastard ever put to screen. London Fields‘ majesty is undeniable.
1. Speed Kills: On a lighter note, John Travolta still thinks he can play men centuries younger than him and also that we all think his hair is real and also that he can drive speedboats REAL FAST and you can’t tell it’s green screen and HE’S THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE WITH THOSE ABS THAT YOU CAN’T SEE HIS FACE IN THE SAME FRAME AS and IT’S A VR EXPERIENCE BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT THE KIDS WANT THESE DAYS and goddamn was this movie so terrible and quite possibly the most fun I had in front of a screen all year.