Movies! I saw a lot of them this year. Some I loved—we'll get to those next week—and others I felt absolutely nothing about. Some, though, I truly despised. Here's an incomplete and highly subjective rundown of all the movies I saw this year that didn't cut the mustard, or anything else, for that matter.
A quick note before we begin: I still haven't seen some of the worst-of-the-worst. We're talking The Emoji Movie, The Greatest Showman, Geostorm, Cook Off!, Justice League, Daddy's Home 2, A Dog's Purpose—and many more. I wish I could've seen every bad movie this year—no, really!—but if I had, this list would be so long that I'd probably just be linking to the Wikipedia entry for every film released in 2017. But: even if I had seen every film released this year, I think these would've stood out.
A Cure for Wellness
Blech. I could barely make it through this one—not even the allure of Dane DeHaan (who landed in a much better movie later in the year, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which some of you didn't like and I don't really care if you did, so there) and quasi-weirdo Hollywood auteur-ish guy Gore Verbinski could drag this one out of the morass. Also, the color palette! It drove me crazy!
Beauty and the Beast
My favorite thing about Bill Condon's atrocious and thoroughly unnecessary money-grab remake of the Disney classic was that, after the movie, my friends and I sat down with a few bottles of wine and watched the original cartoon. It holds up! My second-favorite thing was the "Be Our Guest" scene, which was psychedelic and enjoyable in the moment. The rest of this movie was absolute dog-shit.
Song to Song
I had to pee so bad during this goddamn movie. So bad! And it just went on and on anyway, like someone who wishes to live their life—wait for it—song to song. Terrence Malick's bellybutton-obsessed music industry jeremiad was packed with ridiculous and self-indulgent bullshit, as well as one (and only one) amazing scene involving Val Kilmer and a bucket of what may or may not be uranium. That scene was 90 seconds long. The film was, like, five hours long. Some say that underestimating Malick at this point in his career is a fatal mistake, and possibly suggests you don't care much about film as an art form. A rebuttal, if you'll allow me: Fuck you.
Points for originality, I guess? I can't believe I'm saying that about a remake of a beyond-stale TV cop action-drama, but Dax Shepard's surprisingly inert swing-and-miss seemed to be reaching for something thematically unique, even if every part of the execution was as enjoyable to watch as, well, an actual execution. Watching ChiPs is like watching someone throw their back out while taking a shit: you appreciate the effort, and you feel sorry for everyone involved, but it's still embarrassing.
This one hurts, a little: Charlie McDowell's previous feature, The One I Love, was a surprisingly gripping and whip-smart sci-fi film dressed up in mumblecore clothing, and I anticipated seeing what he could do with the intriguing conceit behind this film. (In one sentence: What if we were able to find out what happens when we die?) Unfortunately, The Discovery was marred by languid pacing, a flimsy script, and a total absence of chemistry between the film's leads, Jason Segel and Rooney Mara. Oh well.
This year saw the release of a tight, thrilling, and thoroughly campy slasher flick masquerading as a sci-fi film that drew from one of the most iconic alien-based franchises in film history. That film was called Life, and I saw it by accident when Power Rangers was sold out. I never got to see Power Rangers, but I did get to see Alien: Covenant, on purpose. I hated it.
I ate nachos while watching this, I think. That was good, at least. The only funny thing about Baywatch was this article about Baywatch. I'd rather read it a thousand times over than think about this movie on its own ever again.
Another one that was hard to make it through. I interviewed Demetri Martin around the time this movie was released, and it was a great interview. He's a really nice guy with some interesting perspectives on things and has lived a fascinating life—you should read it. Unfortunately, this movie felt so dated in its tone and approach that I was tempted to call my parents midway through and start yelling at them about the Iraq War.
The Book of Henry
You know what? This movie was so bad that I think I loved it, actually. Never mind.
Some nice lighting. I like when stuff gets bloody. Otherwise, the worst movie of Sofia Coppola's career (and I liked The Bling Ring). I don't even see how this is up for debate.
The Hitman's Bodyguard
I interviewed Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson around this one, too. They were great to talk to. Ryan Reynolds spilled the beans on how this movie got a last-minute rewrite when they were both cast—pivoting from "hard drama" to "buddy comedy." It showed. It also doesn't even matter how I felt about this one, because it was the number one movie in America for a while (did you even realize that?) and it'll probably get six sequels. Hollywood, folks—ain't it a trip?
Maybe the worst film of the decade. I don't like casting matters of taste as a you-versus-me thing, typically—everyone should like what they like. But if you enjoyed watching this excruciating, messy, self-indulgent paean to the dubious notion of the necessity of destruction for the sake of male creativity, you're a monster. (I'm a monster, too, but only because I saw it twice. Long story.)
Blade Runner 2049
Spoiler alert: This one's appearing on our "Best Films" list, too. People liked it a lot! I did not. The cinematography was incredible, and who knows, maybe I'll buy it on Blu-Ray just for that. But nearly everything else about Denis Villeneuve's latest (a rare miss for him, amidst a sterling track record) was a joyless slog. Some franchises don't need to be revived.