The Worst Films of 2014

worst

 “Hate is a strong word, but I really really don’t like you.” The Plain White T’s said that in their 2006 song “Hate (I Really Don’t Like You)”. I can respect that sentiment, but film is a purely subject medium. Therefore, I don’t just dislike some films; there are some that I actively despise. Here are the films from 2014 that made that cut.

 Dishonorable Mentions (#20-11): Rio 2 (Carlos Saldanha), That Awkward Moment (Tom Gormican), Magic in the Moonlight (Woody Allen), Think Like a Man Too (Tim Story), Blended (Frank Coraci), Vampire Academy (Mark Waters), A Haunted House 2 (Michael Tiddes), Son of God (Christopher Spencer), Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club (Tyler Perry), Devil’s Due (Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin)

winters tale

10) Winter’s Tale

Stars: Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Will Smith

Director: Akiva Goldsman

One thing that I especially learned in this year of movies is that film can be objectively awful, yet subjectively wildly entertaining. Granted, I’ve encountered the “so-bad it’s good” concept many times in the past, but it felt like there were enough of these films in 2014 to constitute an odd trend (The Purge: Anarchy, Pompeii, Need For Speed, Endless Love, etc.). I spared those films from the list because they made me laugh, but I chose to include Winter’s Tale because it was my favorite of the bunch, and consequentially the most awful. Winter’s Tale is a joy to watch; it’s worth watching with the same curiosity that is peaked by driving by a run-over deer on the side of the road. I wanted to know what had happened behind-the-scenes that allowed this adaptation of the popular 1983 novel to make it past the first draft. How are we supposed to be invested in this ludicrous romance when the film itself doesn’t seem to be buying it? Who allowed Will Smith, in an extended cameo as a character I like to refer to as “The Fresh Prince of Hell”, to overact to the max? This is a bizarrely bad blend of Twilight, Nicolas Sparks, and dark fairy tales, and I loved every second of it. I urge you to watch Winter’s Tale, but be sure it’s in the company of friends and hearty drinks.

ouija

9) Ouija

Stars: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff, Bianca Santos

Director: Stiles White

You know that one guy who makes the game not fun for anyone because of his incompetency? Ouija was that player for the horror genre this Halloween, another spooky haunted house film with no spooks whatsoever. Littered with everything that horror detractors loathe about the genre, Ouija plays like an attempt at feature-length product placement that actually makes the product seem undesirable. So Hasbro, you’re telling me that if I buy one of your Ouija boards, my friends and I will be psychologically tormented and picked off one by one by an unknown supernatural entity?? I’ll take 20!!

wish i was here

8) Wish I Was Here

Stars: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad

Director: Zach Braff

Zach Braff doesn’t seem like the type of dude I’d be a friend with if I knew him personally. Granted, I can acknowledge that I’m a little pretentious myself, but if Wish I Was Here is any indication of the inner mechanisms of Braff’s mind, he’s got me beat by a mile. Coming ten years after his debut feature Garden State (which was well-received), Wish I Was Here plays like five of the films that Braff could have made in the interim time between his debut and sophomore effort. It’s an unfocused, unpleasant piece to sit through, as Braff attempts to answer questions about adulthood and dreams, but is bogged down with multiple subplots and unfunny, pseudo-artsy scripting. Braff also makes the cardinal sin of making his protagonist unlikable, as Aidan’s smug and sarcastic selfishness makes his looking down on the lifestyle of others seem highly hypocritical. Braff has intelligent things to say about growing up or the culture of California, and I’m sure that if you asked him to verbally explain his points, he could be very articulate. He doesn’t have the chops as a filmmaker to fill a cohesive whole, and Wish I Was Here will have you wishing you hadn’t paid Braff on Kickstarter to make this mess.

tammy

7) Tammy

Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, Mark Duplass, Allison Janney

Director: Ben Falcone

Melissa McCarthy is a comedic firecracker…when she’s given a role that allows her to shine. Tammy, a passion project of McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone, plays against all of McCarthy’s strengths and highlights what her detractors find unbearable about the comedian. The film features relatively no plot, choosing to be a character piece about a character that I couldn’t stand. Tammy is an obnoxious, unfunny woman-child who constantly makes everyone involved in her life feel uncomfortable, and the film expects me to root for her because I identify with McCarthy as an actress. I didn’t laugh once throughout Tammy, and I was frequently bored by the supposedly wacky “road trip” shenanigans that Tammy and her boozy grandmother (an always game Susan Sarandon) were encountering. Tammy doesn’t work as a comedy or a drama; it’s just an ineffective piece of nothing.

the other woman

6) The Other Woman

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Director: Nick Cassavetes

I found plenty to hate throughout romantic comedy The Other Woman., whether it be the cheap and uninspired gags, the waste of its talented female leads, or the strictly workmanlike retelling of its unoriginal story. This is a film with no flair, no inventiveness, existing less as a creative film and more as a manufactured corporate product. The choice in music, the beautiful locales, the stunt-casting of Nicki Minaj and Kate Upton all reek of a film trying to appeal to broad audiences. Someone didn’t tell that to the person who wrote the script, however, as The Other Woman is another “rich people problems” film that could not possibly appeal to the general audience it hopes to wrangle. Thus, this is a film for no one, and if you’re looking for a romantic comedy to watch from 2014, you can do so much better than The Other Woman.

I frankenstein 2

5) I, Frankenstein

Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto, Bill Nighy

Director: Stuart Beattie

I honestly don’t know what I expected from I, Frankenstein, but I at least wanted to have some fun. That premise had the potential to be the stuff of “terrible film” legend; Mary Shelley’s famously nuanced, tortured monster thrust into the war of angels and demons? There’s plenty of B-Movie fun that could potentially be had from that sales pitch. The biggest, and ultimately most self-destructive, problem with I, Frankenstein is that everyone involved takes the goofy material and plays it straight. There is not a single strand of self-awareness to be found in this otherwise dull and generic action flick. Every actor delivers the ridiculous dialogue like they’re invoking the gravitas of Shakespeare, the music swells with the epic grandiose of Lawrence of Arabia, and no one throughout the entire 92 minute runtime is allowed to crack a smile. There’s mismanaging a film, and then there’s completely missing the point of why anyone would want to see your movie in the first place. Stuart Beattie’s I, Frankenstein is centuries away from getting the joke.

the nut job

4) The Nut Job

Stars: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson

Director: Peter Lepeniotis

I’ve been engaging in hyperbolic language lately, both in my writing and in everyday conversation. It’s a terrible habit, one that I have been doing my best to shake. Having said that, I somehow do not find it hyperbolic to say that The Nut Job is an ideal representation of everything wrong with the Hollywood system today. There are many, many problems present in this lifeless, unoriginal slog of an animated film, but nothing irks me more than the corporate manufactured feel of it all. It’s a hideous amalgamation of DreamWorks’ Over the Hedge and Pixar’s Ratatouille, with a strikingly similar plot structure diluted by humor centered on horrible puns and bodily functions. The voice cast is packed with talent, but they’re all phoning it in in favor of a paycheck. Each frame is packed with nonsensical lunacy, as if an executive saw a Looney-Tunes cartoon and tried to emulate that style, but missed the entire point of why physical comedy is funny. The animation is obnoxious and looks cheap, and the overuse of Gangnam Style dates the film considerably. There’s almost nothing to like here, and that’s coming from someone who’s generally kinder to animated films.

legend of oz

3) The Legend of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Stars: Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, James Belushi, Martin Short

Director: Will Finn and Daniel St. Pierre

The fact that The Legend of Oz exists, let alone received a theatrical release, is perplexing to me. Disney’s Oz: the Great and Powerful did great business last year, but that film understood what made the Oz world so fantastical and fun, even if it took the occasional step off the yellow brick road. The Legend of Oz is so tone deaf to “having fun” it’s astounding; in fact, this animated spawn of hell consistently throws so much unsettling imagery at the screen that it becomes creepy to watch, which will put off the only audience that could enjoy it. Like The Nut Job, this is an unhealthy mix of popular animated properties that the film wants to capitalize on recognition. There’s plenty of Frozen in its monotonous and unnecessary songs,  and the animation is flat and static  without the dynamic energy of some of the superior films it attempts to imitate. I finished Oz in a state of feudal confusion, clicking my red heels together wondering how anyone though any of this was a good idea.

transformers 4

2) Transformers: Age of Extinction

Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Stanley Tucci

Director: Michael Bay

The following is an excerpt from my full Transformers: Age of Extinction review. You can read the rest of the review here.

 “I hesitate to refer to Transformers: Age of Extinction as a film, because it would be more apt to refer to it as a corporate product. This is a film that will be shown in Marketing 101 classes, specifically in the section titled “Egregious and Obvious Mass Presentation”.  It makes more and more sense as time goes on throughout the viewing experience that Bay and company had less interest in telling a fulfilling story with this property and more interest in making money. The horrible use of product placement, the attempts to pander to foreign audiences by setting the final act in China for little reason, and the attempts to sell action figures by giving the new Autobots (including the severely underutilized and unnecessary Dinobots) one discernible personality trait. As the Joker from The Dark Knight remarked, “It’s all part of the plan.””

legend of hercules

1) The Legend of Hercules

Stars: Kellen Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Liam Garrigan

Director: Renny Harlin

There are generally two traits that are characteristic of bad movies. The first trait is for a bad movie to be “offensive” in it’s politics, greed, or messages. The second trait is for a film to be so poorly made and handled that it’s “incompetent”. The Legend of Hercules is a rare breed in that it’s a film so incompetent that it circles around to being offensive. Renny Harlin’s Gladiator rip-off is as slaphazardly put together as a high school play about the subject; cheap sets, fake-looking costumes, acting that wouldn’t look out of place in a “Saturday Night Live” skit. As with I, Frankenstein, the film is taking it’s clear campy qualities so seriously that it becomes to impossible to look at the brighter side of things. Also, I’m tired of trying to make Kellan Lutz an action star; he’s proven to have no charisma, and is only notable as an actor because of his physical appearance. The Legend of Hercules is excruciatingly lazy filmmaking, completely letting down the legend of it’s titular hero.

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Author: Andrew Auger View all posts by
Andrew Auger is a student at Marist College and is majoring in Journalism. He is a huge fan of movies, and considers the late film critic Roger Ebert his idol. He hopes to one day be a prestigious film critic just like Mr. Ebert.

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