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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Year-End Recap: Biggest Disappointments & The Worst Films Of The Year


On January 1st, I will be publishing my Top Ten of 2015 over at WhySoBlu.com and eventually on this site as well.  Leading up to the Top Ten, I will be posting a number of lists reflecting my thoughts on the films from this year.  The following post features what I consider to be the biggest disappointments of the year, along with what I believe to be the worst films of the year. Disappointments may not be bad films, but I certainly expected more, while the worst is only in reference to what I managed to see (sorry Paul Blart 2). With that in mind, here we go:


Biggest Disappointments (Alphabetical):



Johnny Depp supposedly stuns us by ditching funny makeup and costumes to play Whitey Bolger, a role that required...more funny makeup and costumes, in this by-the-numbers, forgettable gangster biopic.


I keep hoping Neill Blomkamp will deliver a film as strong as his debut, District 9, but we keep getting ambitious ideas that go nowhere. It's a shame, given his superb handling of visual effects.



Given that Crimson Peak sat high on my list of most anticipated films, it is a shame that Guillermo del Toro's gothic romance horror drama was merely decent and not better. The visuals are superb, but the narrative came up lacking.



While I may not call this film absolute garbage like so many seemed to want to do from the start, I will say I was sad to not see the doubters proved wrong by the results. This studio disaster falls completely apart in its second half, making the supposed 'casting controversy' the least of its issues.



Here's a film I merely liked, but wanted to much more from. While the visuals present a film that is half visual effects and half artistic paintings from J.M.W. Turner, Ron Howard sadly doesn't follow up his brilliant Rush with another underseen gem.



As one of those who was convinced the Wachowski Starship had yet to make a bad film, it was unfortunate to see how messy their attempt at a space opera turned out to be. A lot of good elements are here, but they do not add up in the right ways.



Michael Daugherty, director of Trick r Treat, got my hopes up high for this Christmas-themed horror film. While I liked it enough, more could have been done.


Macbeth

Everything about Macbeth screamed "this will be amazing", but this latest adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy was really for experts only, despite the incredible visuals.



Ian McKellen delivers, which should go without saying, but the concept for a film like this could have led to such a better film. Instead, Mr. Holmes was far too dry for my liking.



Given how surprised I was with how much I enjoyed the first Ted, it was sad to see this sequel basically serve as the film I was expecting the first time. A lot of moderate gags and a story that is far too loose.



Brad Bird directing an original Disney sci-fi adventure film starring George Clooney should equal a thrilling success, but the film, while enjoyable, is not nearly as great as we expect Bird films to be.



The Worst Films Of The Year:


Before we get started, here are some films that just managed to miss this list: 


10. Pixels


Pixels had one of the best high concept ideas for an Adam Sandler film in some time, but not even director Chris Columbus could keep this thing from being just another lazy Sandler comedy.



Ideally Sam Raimi's Ghost House Pictures company could have turned Poltergeist into a fun remake that captured what worked about the original film. That didn't happen.



Rupert Friend seemed like a good casting choice, as far as Agent 47 was concerned. It is just too bad even the simplest of video game premises cannot be properly turned into a film. 



The original Vacation may have had a bit of a mean streak running through it, but it was also funny. This sequel/reboot does a horrific job at trying to make the same concept work and almost never finds a good beat to land on.



When John Cusack left, he apparently took all the fun and sentimental qualities found in the first Hot Tub Time Machine with him. This comedy sequel replaces the humor with a nasty sense of how to make certain gags work and they never really do.


5. The Ridiculous 6

Adam Sandler managed to earn two spots on the worst-of list this year, which is quite a triumph. With a huge cast, this comedy western may have had some potential, but combining lazy joke writing with a 2-hour runtime did not lead to good things at all.



After years of delays, the 'Jeff Bridges does another funny accent in a fantasy film' turned out to be every bit as bad as it looked from the beginning.



It is all well and good to see Vince Vaughn try to find a way to make a comedy with adult themes, it is just a shame this incredibly dull film attempted to inject a whole lot of raunchy material to push it into an even deeper hole.



Not only is there a lack of people being taken in this absurd sequel, Liam Neeson has gone from trying to help to causing nothing but destruction in order to clear his name. Not helping is the incredibly bad direction that relies on close-ups and very tight editing to make sure we can't see how little everyone cared while filming.



Terminator Genisys is basically everything that is considered wrong with the Hollywood blockbuster machine. I had thought Terminator Salvation was enough to kill my interest in this world, but Genisys is really the death nail that I hope finally seals the Terminator universe shut for good. Please don't be back.

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And that does it for this list. Tune in for more this week, including more runner-ups, some shout outs and the final Top Ten of 2015!

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