Jan-14-2017

Ronin’s Top 13 Worst Movies of 2016

In the words of a much more seasoned critic than I… GOOD F***ING RIDDANCE!

Worst year ever? Sure, there was no genocide or spreading of the Black Plague, but seriously, this one was awful, the worst I’ve lived through. There are plenty of reasons to torch the memorabilia for 2016 — the constant deaths of artists and visionaries, the sad, pathetic funeral dirges that passed for pop music, or that discovery that you can openly brag about sexually assaulting women, mock a disabled person on live TV, and STILL be the people’s choice for President of the United States*. Actually, I take it back — we discovered that you can be the unpopular candidate by over 3 million votes and still scrape into office when only half the country voted.*

*Yeah, this website is going to openly oppose Trump from hereon out. Sorry if that upsets you.

With times like these, it’s only natural to flock to the movies for escape, but even that didn’t always work because the movies this year were an ocean of mediocre and awful with only the occasional island of quality. I was able to see enough to get a full quota for the list, but believe me, I didn’t even get to half of the garbage. As always, I need to have written a Snippet on the movie for it to make this list and those Snippets will be linked in the headers. But enough stalling. Get ready for… Ronin’s Top 13 Worst Movies of 2016!!

#13: The Lobster

I was originally going to put this soooooooooooo much higher (and remember that higher means worse) on the list. The idea of such a mean-spirited movie trying to be an indictment of the online dating culture just made me roll my eyes in disgust. However, when I was looking through the Internet to write this list, I had a revelation:

This isn’t a slamming of the online dating culture. It’s a slam on society for demonizing single people.

Think about how often media presents companionship as achieving true happiness. Even in real life, people are pressured to find a partner by parents, societal customs, and even strangers. Here we have a movie that takes that pressure of being single in a world that demands otherwise to its Orwellian extreme: find a mate in so many days or get turned into a mindless animal. Despite this, I still didn’t enjoy watching the movie, so I’ll keep it on the list for simplicity’s sake. Still, I may have to revisit this one…

#12: Independence Day: Resurgence

I feel bad putting this one on the list because I did rather enjoy it, but it’s objectively pretty bad. Too many characters, not enough memorable ones, and a script that needed to be heavily trimmed. I would have put it as an honorable mention, but that would have meant that I needed to sit through Max Steel or Collateral Beauty**. No thanks.

**I actually read the script for Collateral Beauty when I was working for a Hollywood marketing company. Trust me, it’s not good.

And this is where the movies on this list I actually enjoyed ends…

#11: The Angry Birds Movie

The year video game movies got good… not 2016.

#10: Passengers

Or as I like to call it, “Stockholm Syndrome: The Movie.” Seriously, someone could do one of those recut trailers to make it look like a horror movie and they wouldn’t have to change much. Someone get on that.

#9: The Girl on the Train

It’s a shame to see such artistic talent go to such a huge waste. Actually, I forgot that I saw this until I started making the list. Hopefully next year, the adaptation of a female-led story will prove more fruitful.

#8: X-Men: Apocalypse

I want to show you something. Nothing obscene or insulting, just a picture.

This is fanart I purchased at Silicon Valley Comic Con of the X-Men team from the 90s. These were my X-Men — the ones I grew up on — and they stuck with me through a lot of moral dilemmas and challenges with diversity that I didn’t even realize until I looked back. It hangs above my bed because of how much they meant to me and it has always been my hope that other people would see them as I have.

Unfortunately, there’s no chance of that with this movie, which gives them flat characterizations, an all-around pathetic version of a great villain, an underdeveloped world that seems rather inconsistent at times, and [SPOILERS] chump deaths for great characters like Havok and Angel to really rub salt in the wound. [SPOILERS OVER] I have to wonder if someone high up knew they were going to disappoint, which is why they included that half-hearted tongue-in-cheek scene involving Return of the Jedi. This single-handedly killed all the hope and enthusiasm Days of Future Past gave me. I don’t know what the future holds for our merry mutants, but here’s hoping for better days.

#7: The Do-Over

Can the title be a metaphor for this entire year? Or at least Adam Sandler’s recent career history? Man, it speaks volumes about 2016’s movies that a Happy Madison film wasn’t higher on this year’s list… *shudder*

#6: Suicide Squad

Oh wow, was this one bad. Like physically, tangibly bad. Like stitches and patchwork visible from space bad. I have to wonder if DC and Warner Bros ever had confidence in this movie, given how quickly they jumped into the reshoots and how obvious some of them were. The style and performances of Smith, Robbie, and Davis are the only things keeping it from ranking higher.

#5: Warcraft

Whoo boy, this year really had it out for my childhood, didn’t it? X-Men, DC Comics, and now Warcraft. I couldn’t even tell you how many hours I poured into those games and while I didn’t always understand the story (I was a kid, after all), I grew quite attached to the characters and world, hoping one day to see them fully realized. My younger self certainly deserves better than this. I really hope playing World of Warcraft isn’t the only way to see a true Warcraft story because a monthly gaming subscription is not my idea of fun.

#4: Alice Through the Looking Glass

I don’t like giving more thought to this movie. I don’t like giving more thought to the previous movie. Simply put, I want to forget this exists and move on with my life.

#3: The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

I had to think hard about whether this or Alice was going to take the number three spot, as both are black marks on beloved classics. Eventually I decided that while Alice was dumb beyond belief, it was one bad adaptation in a sea of better ones. This movie, on the other hand, was a far paler and more insulting adaptation that thought of itself as a sendup. A friend pointed out that a lot of the LGBT themes were removed in this remake, which is a slap in the face because the original is such a queer icon. Maybe if the performances weren’t watered down parodies of the originals, there might be some redeeming quality. Instead, it goes down as one of the stupidest things that Fox has ever done, right under canceling Firefly.

#2: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Okay, let’s get something out of the way that I know someone’s going to try and throw at me. Yes, I’ve seen the extended version and it is an improvement, filling in some gaping plot holes and adding sprinkles of much needed humanity. However, the end result is like using a band-aid to fix a cannonball wound as the core problems are still present. Luthor’s plan is still overly convoluted and nonsensical, the movie still needed to be three whole hours long to make even a bit of sense, and our two “heroes” are little more than murdering psychopaths. What’s made Batman compelling in all his incarnations is that, despite being surrounded by chaos and evil, he had his one rule – never to kill – to hold himself above that. Take that away and he’s nothing but a thug. Then again, what can I expect from the director who said that if he was in charge of Batman Begins, he would have had Bruce Wayne get raped in prison. No joke, he actually said that. That alone should have disqualified him from heading the DC Extended Universe, but as we’ve learned this year, rape disqualifies you from nothing.

Should I end it there or do I need to bring up the absolutely toxic behavior of the fanbase? Fan loyalty to the point of blindness isn’t anything new and there can be a bit of leeway given to those groups, especially if they feel that everyone else hates their product. But being obnoxious on every single article that dissects what went wrong in these movies? Starting and propagating unfounded rumors that Marvel is paying off critics? Starting a petition to censor Rotten Tomatoes because you don’t like the reviews your crappy movies get? This goes way beyond being an overzealous fan to straight up unacceptable behavior. What makes it more galling is the sheer ignorance behind it. The petition to shut down Rotten Tomatoes was in protest of their biased reviews… which makes no sense because Rotten Tomatoes isn’t a company. It’s an online algorithm that compiles professional reviews and creates its score based on how many are positive. It’s like blaming a programming language for a virus.

So it is because of all this that I officially present the DC Extended Universe fandom with the distinct title of…

Some might say that an entire fanbase shouldn’t be held accountable for the actions of a vocal minority. I say that if the Steven Universe fandom is forced to own a few people driving an artist to attempt suicide, these guys should have to own some of their group acting like petty tyrants. Or are we calling them “alt-fanboys?”

To wrap it all up, this movie is a perfect representation of this year: ugly, violent, hateful, depressing, sowing seeds of discord, desecrating things that should be held sacred, and all under the direction of a complete psychopath.

#1: God’s Not Dead 2

So something you may not know about me is that I have a three-point scale for judging movies, particularly bad ones: technically (how bad the script, editing, acting, etc. are), personally (how much it angers me personally), and socially (how potentially harmful it is to society). God’s Not Dead 2 hit the benchmark for all of those. It’s one thing to make a disrespectful adaptation, but willfully misinforming your audience to bring them to your side is unforgivable. After last year, I’m now actually worried that some people out there actually believe that the government is going take away their right to pray and arrest any pastors that don’t comply with their standards.

I’m not joking, that’s actually what the movie is saying. There was an after-credits scene I didn’t mention (mostly because I didn’t actually see it, since I bolted out of the theater the moment the credits started rolling) where the police arrest David A.R. White’s character because he wouldn’t submit his sermons for censorship. These people seriously want their viewers to believe that there’s a war on Christianity that people have to fight back against, dehumanizing atheists and people of other beliefs to strengthen their point. There was another movie called Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party that did something similar, portraying the DNC as allies of the KKK and showing them as have actual, honest-to-god dungeons under their headquarters. It was apparently so bad and insultingly dishonest that two critics who I highly respect walked out of the theater, something they had never done before.

There may have been movies that made me angrier this year, but this one physically hurt. I don’t know about God, but I certainly felt dead after leaving the theater, something no other movie this year accomplished. There is nothing redeeming about it, as it makes a mockery out of law, tolerance, and most insulting of all, the very faith it is trying to preserve. It is nothing more than a scare film that preys on ignorance and fear, which makes it my number one pick for the worst movie of the year.

***

Man, this was not a fun year to make the list. It brought up way too many bad memories, but hopefully after this, I’ll feel a lot more cleansed and ready for the new year. Stay tuned next time for my Top 13 Best Movies of 2016, hopefully bringing us some much needed pleasant memories.


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