I tend to be pretty selective in the films I choose to watch. I’m not one of those guys who has to see absolutely everything, and would probably never pay to see something that’s been universally panned on release. Yeah I know, critics are sometimes wrong, and sometimes they miss something that, for whatever reason, strikes a chord with me, but I tend to wait until these movies appear in DVD bargain bins or crop up on Netflix. I’ve made a couple of ill-advised purchases recently, and some other celluloid disasters have now popped up for streaming, so I’ve now, six months into 2014, I’ve now seen enough terrible films to rank my worst of 2013. If you wanted to check back on my list of last year’s best films, you’ll find it here.
Worst Films of 2013
10. G.I. JOE: RETALIATION
The first G.I. JOE wasn’t great, but it was colourful and had a certain goofy charm about it. It was undemanding and fun. RETALIATION tries to take the story back-to-basics, but in doing so becomes downbeat, conventional, brown and worst of all, boring. Not even Bruce Willis’ scowl or The Rock’s biceps could make this one memorable.
The problem with OBLIVION wasn’t the way it was executed – on the contrary, it’s really slick and glossy, with good action and some memorable sequences. What is the problem is the casual plagiarism in the film. I know modern sci-fi is rarely original, but Oblivion brazenly cherry-picks ideas from other better cerebral sci-fi movies, and mashes them together into a bit of a mess.
8. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
The latest unnecessary DIE HARD instalment could just be called Angry Old Bruce Willis Shouts at Russians for 100 Minutes. There is carnage on a large scale, but the action is messy, confusing and ill-coordinated, Bruce Willis looks disinterested, Jai Courtney makes no impression whatsoever and there’s an appalling appropriation of Chernobyl for the plot.
7. THE COUNSELLOR
A good cast and good filmmakers a good film does not make. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something so misjudged on every level – tone, character, story, aesthetic, nothing works. It’s disheartening to see Ridley Scott, one of the most prolific and successful directors on the planet, fall short for the third time in a row following ROBIN HOOD and PROMETHEUS. My full review can be found here.
There are movies so bad that they’re good. SHARKNADO is not one of them. The truly ridiculous premise just isn’t taken far enough, with the titular angry fish storm only on screen for about a quarter of the film’s run-time. The rest is buildup, and time wasted with snore-inducingly boring characters. The script, as strange as it sounds, isn’t even bad enough for a movie like this.
5. JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
Bryan Singer clearly didn’t have his head in the game here. He can’t have actually tried, and produced something so lacklustre and scattershot. The designs either look cheap or have all been stolen from elsewhere, the story lurches around, all the performers are out-acted by the beanstalk. My full review can be found here.
4. THE FROZEN GROUND
Aside from the film sitting not-so-pretty at number one, this is probably the most morally insulting movie on the list. I still find it staggering how writer-director Scott Walker got everything so wrong with this movie. I don’t think it was intentional, but his ineptitude made this one of the most inappropriate, ill-judged and uncomfortable true-life murder-mysteries ever made. My full review can be found here.
3. MOVIE 43
MOVIE 43 is appalling in almost every way, but it’s horrifyingly hypnotic because of this, which is why it’s only the 3rd worst film of 2013. Every scene is offensive to some extent, the connective tissue between the sketches is tenuous at best, and the only laughter prompted is laughter of sheer embarrassment.
2. A HAUNTED HOUSE
A HAUNTED HOUSE is appalling in almost every way, and in addition, it’s really boring! Its a succession of scenes of absolutely nothing happening, and the only reward is a fart gag, and not even a good one. Maybe Marlon Wayans is trying to poke fun at the fact that most real found-footage films are snore-inducing, but that doesn’t make its perfect imitation of this dullness any less annoying.
1. WORLD WAR Z
Here we have it, the mother-load of everything wrong with the Hollywood film industry today. An actor-producer’s ego at the forefront. Extensive, narratively crippling re-writes by too many writers. Characters who disappear from the film for huge stretches to make more room for Brad Pitt’s mid-life crisis hair. A complete lack of suspense. A huge budget that still results in something boring to look at. A massively ignorant, borderline antisemitic statement used to justify the location of the film’s central action scene. A potentially interesting, low-key finale utterly wasted. My full review can be found here. SSP