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FEATURE: Worst of 2017

December 31, 2017

Dishonourable Mentions:

Live by Night \ Patriots Day \ Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk \ Power Rangers \ Baywatch \ Despicable Me 3 \ Suburbicon \ Geostorm \ Breathe \ Death Note

20. The Hitman's Bodyguard


The Hitman’s Bodyguard feels like a missed opportunity to play up to the one-joke premise teased in the early marketing material; that being a comedic roast of 1992’s The Bodyguard but with two of the biggest stars on the planet playing it for homoerotic laughs. It might not be fair to hold that against the film, but it’s probably a stronger approach than the film we’ve been dealt.


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19. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword


King Arthur is a terrible movie; an unfocused wreck that throws itself between the sensibilities of its filmmaker as a crime caper comedy and a dull as dishwater fantasy epic. The efforts the film does make to over explain this origin story are dumb at best and insulting at worst. It’s obvious this has been hacked up by the studio in some way to save face, leaving many reveals such as the identity of who’s playing the unseen Merlin an eternal mystery that will never be answered. Though unintentionally funny at points, this quest isn’t worth the journey.


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18. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge


Really, what else is to be said of the film beyond lamenting its once admittedly novel presence in popular culture? So detached from its high-spirited humility that the walking joke of Jack Sparrow being little more than a drunken idiot parading as a legendary captain is now completely lost on a series dedicated to retconning his presence into something that it never was – and who’s antics have only grown more tiresome as the years have moved on.


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17. Alien: Covenant


There are moments of grandeur and some neat twists and visuals at play here, with an effective intensity to some of its action, but its handling of themes from gothic literature and poetry mean little when its being piped into a film of such little to say beyond allusion. Whereas the original film dwelled on happenstance and corporate greed, Covenant's determination to make sense of its plot overrides all of its more conceptually interesting divergences. It doesn’t feel like there’s a specific audience for it to find great pleasure in, and as such lacks identity. There is little new to be mined from a title that has long since lost so much of its unusual ambiguity.


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16. The Greatest Showman


The most damning statement to make of The Greatest Showman is that behind all of the flash and spectacle – never mind the egregious misrepresentation of the central figure – it’s an incredibly empty, shallow and bloated piece of junk that parades as inspirational and uplifting but leaves nothing in the way of genuine emotion, insight or even a structurally sound or compelling story.


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15. Flatliners


While not a classic, at least the original Joel Schumacher film had a heightened operatic goofiness to proceedings with its Brat Pack cast to keep it engaging. Flatliners 2017 it’s a slick but empty-headed and boring film that never justifies itself or rewards the audience in any way.


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14. Fist Fight


Fist Fight isn’t even worth getting angry about. More than anything else it’s just a tiresome slog to get through with a bad pace, uncreative visuals and stock characters of limited definition, played with restricted range by its performers. It’s just dull.


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13. Rings


It’s with good reason that Paramount has been pushing the release of this bomb back from well over a year since its initial release date, there was simply nowhere else to put it that would make it stand out or turn a profit against other horror movies that would clearly make a killing were this the only competition it was facing. Though Samara has continued to flourish in Japanese cinema with feature after feature, Rings will make you wish that she never reaches western shores ever again.


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12. Ghost in the Shell


Despite its problematic handling of race, Ghost in the Shell is just kind of boring and predictable. Its borrowed elements leave none of its visuals memorable, with a storyline so tired and conventional that it’s not enough to recommend as an engaging experience.


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11. Kingsman: The Golden Circle


There’s a substantial lack of growth too much of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, and as stale as its call-backs are and the generally rancid depictions of its female characters, it’s too much of a bore to even get greatly worked up over once it’s all over. It runs too long with too little going on, and as none of the characters really change there’s little to be gained from any of it looking backwards. It might be colourful and silly enough for some to work as a second rendition of the first film, but those whose patience’s were already tried to begin with should probably steer clear.


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10. Justice League


It’s taken years for Warner Bros. to get this off the ground in some form, but this really isn’t the Justice League film that anyone deserves. Complacent, compromised, shallow and lazy, beyond the formless moments of minor thrill to be had at Snyder’s typical imagery and posing there is just nothing to be had or gained by watching its indestructible characters bounce off the scenery.


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9. Fifty Shades Darker


Fifty Shades Darker is a boring, eventless and forgettable slog that’s even worse than its predecessor, but only by not trying nearly as hard to overcome the difficulties of the wooden and droning material. There’s no vision or creativity on show beyond delivering a product that will make its money back based solely on an already committed audience demographic and the recognition of a title, ending on a similarly serialised final note to lure back whoever is left in the audience for the final instalment.


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8. The Mummy


The Mummy isn't just abysmal on its own terms, it’s an embarrassment for the desperate Universal as their mindless cash grab for whatever audiences will pay for at the moment. There’s nothing to recommend on any level conceptually or viscerally because it’s very clear that the only discussion the studio wants is speculation on where this franchise might be going. The truth is there doesn’t really seem to be a goal beyond selling tickets and sorting out the specifics later, and the only debates to be had will be of when Universal will cancel this monster.


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7. The Circle


The Circle is one of the emptiest techno-thrillers to emerge in years, a film that looks as slick and sharp as the Apple knockoffs it's emulating, but offers nothing in the way of emotional connectivity with the audience beyond cold and calculated stabs at commentary that never even land.


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6. The Snowman


The Snowman is a hatefully boring splat of empty nothingness. It gets by on the bare minimum requirements most of the time, but the half-baked destination that it leads too just isn’t worth the effort required to stay awake as it slowly drags its feet to the climax. The lip service it pays to Scandinavian industrial practices and the evolution of technology in the police force never informs its themes or makes a statement beyond just presenting it. There is no franchise to be mined here, and proof that as a passing fad the movement has reached its end.


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5. Bright


Bright stops and starts with a dull plot, unengaging characters, a broken structure and a maligned and ill-advised premise and world. Writer Max Landis might have disowned the project shortly after it entered Ayer’s hands, but his non-committal fingerprints are all over this and it smells rank with half effort and unrealised potential.


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4. The Dark Tower


What might have been the start of King’s epic saga ends with one of the most depressing adaptations of his work ever made. Nothing about The Dark Tower is ever engaging or works, pleasing nobody going in to see it and killing all incentives for continuation dead, arriving with all the flaccid anti-hype that preceded it. Over explained and underdeveloped to a point of monotony and scheduled emotional beats that land no punch and leave no impact.


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3. Assassin's Creed


Assassin’s Creed is a film that doesn’t seem to care very much about whether or not it's been about anything at all. It's nothing more than an empty brand exercise, conceived and created simply because it was expected to exist at some point, and should have been much better given the team behind it.


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2. The Emoji Movie


The Emoji Movie will hopefully be swept away by the fog of memory, but it will stick out as one of the lowest points in 21st century Hollywood, where the clasped hands of producers and advertisers ran rampant with greed and a complete lack of ambition beyond immediate recognition, and the dollars of lazy parents who won’t know any better. The sound you hear as it closes isn’t an obnoxious two-year-old pop song, but that of the bottom of the barrel being vigorously scraped – or we can only hope it’s already been reached.


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1. The Book of Henry


The Book of Henry charts entire new territories of bad; a rancid, malformed and sick minded pileup of inept decision making on a creative level for any major studio to make. It’s hard to see anyone involved in the production of above voting age coming out of this clean. For writer Gregg Hurwitz, this might be the last we hear of him in any major production. For Naomi Watts, she may have to find something challenging to scrub her pallet clean. But for Colin Trevorrow, this might come as a wakeup call with red alarms blaring at the mention of his name like a swollen asterisk. Had a name such as his not been attached to said production it might have fallen to the wayside of the mainstream press, but instead stands today under scrutiny and ridicule as the most god-awful piece of unfathomable garbage to be released this year.


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