It has been a long time since I have cared so little about what movies might win the Best Picture Oscar than this year. 2014 might have had some big blockbusters and two perfect films, but it had a giant load of mediocrity for the bulk of the year. While the Razzies tend to pick out the most obvious commercial failures, this year’s list of dud films would not be complete without the ten movies below.
It is important to note that while I’ve seen a great number of movies from 2014, I tended to avoid horror movies (on principle) – I’m certain if I had bothered with the latest movies from the overdone franchises of horror there might be some alterations to the list. But, for cinephiles and those who value their time, these are the 10 films too annoying, painful, boring or poorly made to bother watching from 2014:
10. Behaving Badly (reviewed here!) – The sex comedy Behaving Badly was so poorly received that even Selena Gomez appearing in it couldn’t scare up interest in the film at the box office. Behaving Badly is what happens when humor from audacious animated shows like Family Guy and South Park becomes the norm; by the time live action goes as surprising and raunchy, it’s passé. Behaving Badly might have been a cult film fifteen years ago, but in 2014, it’s utterly forgettable,
9. Listen Up Philip (reviewed here!) – The Academy and art house movie viewers usually love films about miserable people and writers at a point of crisis. Sadly, Listen Up Philip is just a collection of the worst stereotypes of writers and smart people. I never thought I’d see a year when Jonathan Pryce was in one of the worst movies of the year, but there it is . . .,
8. Expelled (reviewed here!) – While the major studios were duking it out during Oscar Pandering Season, one chose to dump one of its worst creations during the same time. Alas, hoping all the attention the big dogs would get vying for serious box office dollars might allow a concentrated fan effort to make an upset was not a marketing technique that worked. Instead, this droll comedy represents one of the year’s biggest conceptual failures: the entire premise is a slacker gets expelled from school and then has to apply himself to get back into school. The Herculean efforts made by the protagonist to get expelled make his ridiculous efforts to avoid boarding school all the more unrealistic, especially when he sees that the place he is threatened with ending up is incredibly easy to escape from! With no significant performers, performances, or ideas, Expelled is gut-wrenching to watch,
7. Horrible Bosses 2 (reviewed here!) – At the other end of the spectrum from Expelled is Horrible Bosses 2. Packed with talent, this limp sequel parades out as many of the stars from Horrible Bosses as it can to remind viewers what they liked about the original before degenerating into a disappointing and decidedly un-funny hostage caper movie that adds nothing worthwhile to the franchise. Seldom have so many truly funny and smart individuals been part of something that falls so short of humor and was so very dumb,
6. Authors Anonymous (reviewed here!) – I’m not sure if I should admire Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting for taking her time off as one of the highest paid actresses on television to appear in an indie film or lament that when she made the effort, she was put into essentially the same role. Either way, Authors Anonymous might be the best proof that when you’re at the top of the industry, it’s time to experiment and spread your wings (when there’s no risk to your finances or career for trying). Unfortunately, Authors Anonymous is neither ambitious, nor smart; it is not funny, nor does it allow any of the performers in it to truly showcase their talents – it is more a string of jokes that fail to land and missed opportunities than a film painfully bad to watch,
5. Vampire Academy (reviewed here!) – My only guess is that Vampire Academy was in production before Beautiful Creatures (reviewed here!) proved that not all supernatural teen lit translated into box office gold. Vampire Academy was so unmemorable that when I began assembling this list, I found I could not remember what was so bad about it. So, I picked up a copy, popped it in the Blu-Ray player and by the time the characters started talking to one another, I remembered! The dialogue is horrible, the acting is atrocious, the story is so familiar it has become an archetype - complete with the requisite and obvious reversals. The only reason to pay to see this film would be if a Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of it was produced,
4. Bad Neighbors (reviewed here!) – I know I am in the minority of the world’s population on this one, but I did not find Neighbors funny. Dumb frat guys behaving badly, tormenting a working family . . . this is a horror movie disguised as a comedy and while Rose Byrne might have had a good year at the box office, it’s hard to imagine she or most of the rest of the cast is proud of this “comedy,”
3. Happy Christmas (reviewed here!) – Forgettable and neither complicated, nor entertaining, Happy Christmas was the last straw for me with actress Anna Kendrick. Kendrick either has one way to perform or she does not have the wherewithal to stand up to directors to challenge her to do more than appear on screen and keep her mouth partially open. Seriously; I know Anna Kendrick has a nice smile, but at some point, viewers need something more from her than reaction shots where she looks surprised, with her mouth slightly agape. Yet Happy Christmas seems to hinge on that one note of performance. As little as I ever root for the career death of anyone, as one who loathes how Lena Dunham has become the voice of fauxmanism (that’s "faux-feminism" or "a dumbing down of the fight for equality and civil rights," for which Dunham has become the poster woman), when Girls comes to its inevitable end, one hopes anyone who thinks of hiring Lena Dunham again might just check this film out and be assured that investing in her future is not worth it,
2. The Wait (reviewed here!) – Jena Malone did not have a good year in 2014. Her character in Mockingjay – Part 1 (reviewed here!) was virtually absent until the last few moments (and allowed her to show off none of her talent!) and Inherent Vice (reviewed here!), was delayed into 2015 in most markets, which meant that the most time she had on the big screen was in this lemon. The Wait is, as its name suggests, a ponderous film in which very little happens. At least Malone’s career will not suffer much from the film’s release . . . it did not get a wide-enough release, so most people will never see it to know how bad it was,
. . . and . . .
. . .the worst movie of 2014 is . . .
1. Making The Rules (reviewed here!) – Robin Thicke acting vehicle. Need I say more? Given how few people witnessed this cinematic atrocity, I probably should. Frances Conroy appears in her worst supporting role since supporting in Catwoman, Jaime Pressly plays Abby a lonely housewife obsessed with former boyfriend played by Robin Thicke and what is supposed to be a steamy, sexy drama about temptation is just another stupid, escapist trashy romance novel that isn’t smart enough to acknowledge itself for what it is. At under 80 minutes, at least Making The Rules does not make us suffer watching its terribleness long, but when that is the best that can be said about a film, it is hardly a ringing endorsement!
For other lists, please check out my:
Worst Ten Episodes Of Star Trek: Enterprise
The Top Ten Episodes Of Frasier
The Top Ten Episodes Of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
To see how all movies I have reviewed have stacked up against each other check out my Film Review Index Page where the movies are organized from best to worst!
© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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