The 10 Worst Films of 2017

Worst of 2017

The only reason these films are not on the list is that I was spared seeing them…

I am still waiting on a few movies to see before I can list my top ten movies of 2017, but I am more than ready to list the pieces of trash (trash being the most polite word I can think of) of the past year. Movies in the collage above are not going to be mentioned, only because I did not see them.

 

That being said, here comes the reminder of the pains I went through the past year…

 

10.

The Shack

Despite having a nice message, The Shack falls in so many ways that it sadly becomes another forgettable Christian movie. Also, I still don’t see how you can see the title and not think it is a horror film.

 

9.

The Space Between Us

I had hopes for The Space Between us, but was disappointed. Despite nice acting and chemistry between the young leads, the story goes nowhere and we are left wishing Butterfield and Robertson were in another movie.

 

 

8.

The Emoji Movie

 

Every now and then, I feel a little sorry for The Emoji Movie, which was not as hated by me as most of the rest of the human race (even by those who did not see it). Then my mind remembers how bland and boring the film was. And the absolute worst humor imaginable.

 

7.

Split

 

Lousy M. Night, making me almost hopeful that he may be going back to good movie making. At the end, Split is still an utter failure, with premises that I found completely ridiculous.

 

6.

Roland (Idris Elba) in Columbia Pictures' THE DARK TOWER.

 

While watching The Dark Tower, you get a sense that this movie had so much promise, but that every decision made behind camera was the wrong one. I never read the book series (by Stephen King), but I feel that doing so will give me more reason to hate the film.

 

5.

Transformers

Tranformers: The Last Knight. It is a Transformers movie. That alone should be enough explanation.

 

4.

POTCDMTNT

Remember when the Pirates of the Caribbean movies where fresh, new, and exciting? Well, if they make more sequels like Dead Men Tell No Tales, I will forget why I liked the first film at all to begin with.

 

3.Life

 

A solid cast and some neat special effects cannot stop Life from being a rip off of the original Alien, or from having one of the worst end twists I have seen in my life.

 

2.

The Snowman

If you look up all the people associated with The Snowman, you will be as confused as I am. Confused not just at the plot, but at how all these people could make a film the equivalent of eating yellow snow.

 

1.

frozenolaf

 

It may have been a Disney animated “short” (yeah, those quotation marks are as important as ever), but I have seldom felt more anger (even hatred) towards a movie screen than when I had to sit through Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. Sure, Disney pulled the film (which was followed by the far more superior Coco) a few weeks later, but those of us who saw it were left with one of the most excruciating experiences that we are still not sure is over yet. No one asked for this film to be in a theater, and I predict it will have the same future that was given to The Star Wars Christmas Special back in the 1970s.

The Rock (1996)

The Rock

John Mason (Sean Connery) and Stanley Goodspeed (Nicholas Cage) defusing a missile.

The upcoming generation (as well as my fellow millenials) will find it hard to believe there was once a movie as entertaining as The Rock. Afterall, it is hard to find phrases these days like “quality Michael Bay movie” or “entertaining Nicholas Cage film” (the latter has had better films).

Revisiting The Rock since I first saw it multiple times as a child, I realize it does still have flaws. There are the explosions that have come to define a Michael Bay movie, but at least they are there for a reason (as opposed to something like The Transformers franchise, where the explosions are there for us to look at, not because it adds to the story). There are also some rather stereotypical characters (such as the black trolley driver) as well as a huge embrace of the military (which this movie actually does with more heart than any other movie Bay has made). Still, if there is one reason to see this film, it is because of Sean Connery.

This may have actually been the first movie I ever saw with Connery in it (leading me to his work as the best Bond ever). I remember watching him, thinking I was looking at a true myth, a legend. That is actually the aspect of his character. When a war Hero, General Hummell (Ed Harris) finds out that the government will not pay for the efforts and recognition of men who have died under his command, he steals missiles with toxic gas that he threatens to shoot at San Francisco from Alcatraz (which he is holding 81 hostages on). The best person at working with this toxic gas is a FBI chemistry specialist, Stanley Goodspeed (Nicholas Cage). Still, the FBI needs to know how to maneuver under the island, so they release the only known man to have escaped it, John Mason (Connery).

A lot of readers know how it has been a rough many years for Cage (don’t get me started on Left Behind), but there was truly a time when he was a great actor. Here, he does his normal, over the top craziness, but only when needed (he actually only swears one time). Harris’s General is a villain, but not entirely cruel (notice he makes sure the kids leave the island before he takes it over). He does not want to kill so much as just right a wrong. Still, it is Connery who steals the show,  proving his myth and legend as a movie star.

Parents, the movie is rated R mainly for swearing and violence (though it would be violence like that of a hard PG-13 movie nowadays). There is also a brief sex scene (totally not needed) without any nudity, but a lot of sound effects. Skip that scene, and I would say middle school and above.

It is hard to think of any other Michael Bay movie that is better than The Rock. Sure, it had begun with some of the negative aspects we now see too much of in his films, but it is still a blast of a movie over two decades later.

 

Overall: Three and a Half Stars *** 1/2

2017: Halftime Report

movie

Every year, the first half is more difficult to find great movies in (since studios put their best in theaters in the last months of the year). As always, I am not able to see all the films (or avoid all of them), but I managed to make a top five of the year that are so far worth remembering the most six months from now.

However, let us first look at the five movies that I are worth forgetting (at least till I make the worst of the year list in six months).

The Worst

 

5.  Split

I am sorry, but the script was not something I could believe, no matter how great James McCovoy.

 

4. Get Out

Ok, I will get a lot of feedback on this, but I still am trying to find out how this movie is so well rated on rottentomatoes. I admit the movie was funny, but scary? Hardly.

 

3.  Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Javier Bardem makes an good villian, but he entered this tired franchise far too late. It has officially sunk.

 

2. Transformers: The Last Knight

Yeah, no real surprise here. Does this franchise still have fans?

 

1. Life

 

Predictible. Unoriginal. Don’t get me started on the ending.

 

 

Ok, now the best of the year so far…

 

5. Okja

Streaming now on Netflix, this story of a little girl on a quest to save her giant pet pig is no kiddie flick. It is strange and weird, but also beautifully original.

 

4. The Lego Batman Movie

Lego strikes again with originality and humor. Stretching even further into the Lego universe, it is got plenty of entertainment for any age.

 

3. Wonder Woman

DC has not had as many solid hits as Marvel, but this was definetly a big one for the company. Gal Gadot gives a solid performance in a movie that will have both genders rooting.

 

2. Baby Driver

With the exception of Mad Max: Fury Road, no movie in the last few years has had as much road raging action and octane. Not to mention the acting and comedy.

 

1. Logan

Hugh Jackman gives a bittersweet performance in his swan song film of the character he brought to life over a decade ago. Add in a tight script with fine supporting acting, and you have a comic book movie for people who don’t like comic book movies.

 

Here is to the second half of the year…

Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)

Transformers The Last Knight

Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg) gets some down time to take a call from his daughter.

There is undoubtably a lot to hate about Transformers: The Last Knight, but perhaps the thing I hated most was that I did not end up hating it as much as I thought I would (or at least as much as I hated Age of Extinction).

There are only two redeeming (if you want to use that word) qualities to this film: the plot is a little easier to follow, and there are not as many Michael Bay-isms in the film. Sure, there is still humor that panders to the 13-year-old boys in the audience (which I did not seem to see any of the night I saw it), a lot of sunsets that are never-ending, and far too much of the US military. Still, I only counted one scene of advertising (Bud Weiser), and (the one I am most thankful for), no female objectification (which I was really afraid would happen when the 14-year-old girl character was introduced).

The last paragraph is really all that is not bad (I just can’t bring myself to say “good”) in the movie (and really may be the longest paragraph of positivity that the film will see). The rest is what you would expect. Optimus Prime is back, but in some bad guy programmed way (I forgot his evil name and am too lazy to look it up). He is returning from Cybertron (his home world), looking for a staff once given to Merlin (Stanley Tucci, who was smart enough to be in the movie for no longer than four minutes) that helped England during the dark ages 1600 years ago (which I did not know was that long ago, but this movie does teach us a lot about history if it were written by a three-year old). Mark Wahlberg is back as Cade Yaeger, the eventer from Age of Extinction (thankfully, his daughter and her boyfriend are not). He is summoned by Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins, who I never thought until now could be annoying) to help find the staff along with Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock). We also, yet again, get Josh Duhamel as William Lennox and (for reasons I can only attribute to the need of a paycheck) John Tuturro as…whatever his character was.

The action sequences are the same as always, offering nothing new to any of us. The humor is flatter than paper (save one minor humorous scene of Bumblebee’s new voice box being Siri). The innuendo between Wahlberg and Haddock is more cringe worthy than anything I have seen in some time. For a glimmer of a moment, I had a feeling the movie would not stretch beyond its welcome. Yeah, it did.

Parents, if your kids have seen the first films, they are fine here. Still, there is nothing wrong with skipping a movie night and staying home to watch Netflix (it has countless options far better).

According to both Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg, each has said this would be their last Transformers film (though Bay had said that previously). If the title is being prophetic for those two, perhaps it will be the same for the franchise?

(Note: The after credits tease at the coming of the gigantic machine known as Unicron, who was voiced in the 1980s film by film legend Orson Welles just before he died. The only thing that would make me want to see the next film is if Welles is brought back to life to do the voice work. Being that he is dead, and hated the role, I have doubts.)

 

Overall: 1 1/2 Stars

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them

Eddie Redmayne is Newt Scamander, on a trip through New York that is not as he planned it…

Fantastic Beasts and where to find them does what it is meant to do: introduce us to characters that are magical in a magical world. It does not do much more than that, but what it does do is done pretty dog gone well.

For those of you who know nothing about the Harry Potter universe (and if you are one of those, just stop reading now and read the original books, see the movies, and then come back to see this film), Newt Scamander (Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, proving yet again to any naysayers that his talent as an actor is quiet something to watch) is a magizoologist. He arrives in New York in 1926 (in the Wizarding World, this is seventy years before Harry Potter ever attended Hogwarts). A mishap occurs with a no maj (a non-wizard, aka “muggle” in Great Britain terms) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger), resulting in many of Newt’s kept beasts are let loose in New York.

At the same time, Grindlewald (who will eventually confront Dumbledore) is on the loose, killing no majs and wizards alike (whether he shows up or the rumors about the actor who plays him are true, I will not say, though you may have heard by now). Investigations are led by the Wizarding President Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo) and auror (a wizarding version of the police) Perceveil Graves (Colin Farrell). Graves is also trying to get help from a troubled boy named Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller, from The Flash). Graves is also trying to stop the dangers of Newt’s beasts. Assisting Newt and Jacob  are witches Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) and her sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), who can read minds. Others with minor roles include Oscar winner Jon Voight, Ron Perlman, and Zoe Kravitz (daughter of Lenny).

I admit a lot is happening on the screen, both special effects wise (which is obviously something spectacular to see) and screenplay wise (which is not too much to handle, but is close). Creator/writer/household name known everywhere J.K. Rowling wrote Fantastic Beasts and where to find them back in 2001 one for Comic Relief (it is meant to be one of the eventual text books at Hogwarts). I have never read it (though the original Potter series I consumed like oxygen), so I can’t say whether or not it is true to the source material completely or not. However, Rowling herself wrote the screenplay (her first), so really, who are we to disagree with her?

Parents, the PG-13 rating is not meant to say that you can’t take kids to this. If they have seen the original films (and if they haven’t, what are you waiting for?), then they are ok with this. There are a few curse words, nothing at all sexual, and quite a bit of action/peril. It is a little more on the side of the last few films of the original series, which makes sense, since films five six seven and eight were done by the same director, David Yates.

I hear now that we are getting more films to follow-up on Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. This does not excite me so much as it worries me. When The Hobbit films came out, I thought it was a mistake to add so much that it took three films to make the story complete (by the end, it all seemed superfluous). The same could be said for franchises like Pirates of the Caribbean (we are getting another one), Star Wars (kidding! kidding!) and Transformers (totally not kidding, and sadly another is coming out next year). Thankfully, if J.K. Rowling is still doing the writing, I have some hope for the Wizarding World.

 

Overall: Three and a Half Stars ***1/2