ComicMix Six: Box Office Democracy’s Bottom 6 Movies of 2015
As much as I loved my top 6 movies, I loathe these movies. The competition for worst movie of 2015 was so fierce I had to leave off The Last Witch Hunter, a movie so bad it made me dislike Vin Diesel, Hollywood’s most perfect man. That said, none of these movie are even close to as bad as that wretched animated Oz sequel from 2014, I won’t even name that movie for fear that the parade of angry Kickstarter backers will find me again.
- Fantastic Four – There are a lot of good reasons to make a movie that costs $120 million but it’s quite apparent that spite isn’t one of them. Fantastic Four is a movie that only exists so Fox retains the rights to the franchise presumably so they can sell them back to Marvel for some insane price, because they clearly have no interest in making a good movie. Fantastic Four is a stunningly boring movie considering it’s supposed to be about dimensional rifts, super powers, and existential threats. The movie we got was directionless and drab, and you’ll never convince me that the ending wasn’t hastily written on the back of a napkin on a late day of reshoots.
- Tomorrowland – I’m aware that historically Disney theme park attractions have not made good movies— for every Pirates of the Caribbean there has been The Haunted Mansion, The Country Bears, and even a Tower of Terror. A good ride is pretty self-contained and probably shouldn’t leave the audience wanting a lot of extra backstory. Tomorrowland is a movie that is nothing but endless interminable backstory waiting for a moment of satisfying action that never comes. That a movie this boring came from the collaboration of Brad Bird and George Clooney is a crime against the entire film industry and I hope we’re free of this lazy style of creative malfeasance once and for all. (We are certainly not.)
- Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – Holy cow, what a batch of hot nonsense this movie was. I’m generally okay with a sequel being a little hard to understand for people who haven’t seen the original movie; it lets the movie push some boundaries in exchange for not having to retread the same expositional grounds. What I’m not okay with is being completely lost while watching the sequel to a movie I saw the first time around. The Scorch Trials was a series of flimsily connected events that I never saw the narrative thread for. Why were there alien fish monsters in glass tubes? Why was the desert filled with zombies? Where were they ever going? Why did it take days and days to get from the city to the forest and 20 minutes to get back? The Scorch Trials has no interest in answering any of these questions and it’s only surprising performances by Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Tudyk, and some truly awful pieces of filmmaking keeping this from being much higher on this list.
- Home/Minions – Good children’s movies are some of my favorite things to watch but similarly I hold a special enmity for the bad ones that feel like cheap attempts to get easy money from parents who need two hours of relief. Home is a movie with nothing new to say and no interesting way to say it. The main character is Sheldon Cooper turned one notch higher and a little girl separated from her mother that never quite makes you feel badly for her. Pixar made me cry for the personification of human emotions and the plight of a dinosaur farmer this year but Home couldn’t even get me a little sad for the ruined life of a small child. That’s not an ok way to tell a story.
While Home is a bad movie, Minions is the expression of a bad system. Minions exists to make money and sell toys and the quality of the movie is a distant afterthought. Minions is a commercial broken up with borrowed bits of slapstick (none more recent than Honey, I Blew Up the Kid) but is counting on the notion that none of their target audience has seen it before. I had more fun riding the tie-in ride at Universal Studios than I did sitting through Minions, but I suppose I didn’t have to sit and watch the ride for 91 minutes.
- Hot Pursuit – Hot Pursuit is a comedy that has neither a clever plot nor any funny jokes. I’m tempted to just stop there and move on to the next entry on this list because there’s really nothing else a comedy could give you after it fails at that but Hot Pursuit just kept on failing. Almost every character was completely unbelievable as a human being that exists on the planet earth and the only one that felt real was Sofia Vergara’s character and that’s not because it’s actually realistic but because she plays this exact same character so often that I’ve come to accept it as truth in some kind of bizarre pop culture Stockholm syndrome. Hot Pursuit felt like torture to watch at 87 minutes, long and that was despite shelling out extra money that week to see it in a theater with reclining seats and waiter service. Booze and a brownie sundae couldn’t save Hot Pursuit, and it’s a rare movie those won’t help at least a little.
- Pixels – There’s a time when I would consider Pixels a special kind of bad but it isn’t. It’s exactly the kind of bad that Happy Madison puts out on a consistent basis. In 16 years they’ve put out one mediocre movie (Funny People) and 37 pieces of unwatchable garbage. They share similar casts and similar jokes and never aspire to be anything even remotely substantive. I don’t think every movie needs to be some profound meditation on the human condition, but they could at least give me a new dick joke or something. Pixels is a cynical movie that seems to hate its target audience. It doesn’t treat its subject matter seriously. It makes Wreck-It Ralph look like Citizen Kane. It was excruciating to watch and I’m quite happy I’ll never have to watch it ever again.