Time for my TOP 10 BEST and 10 WORST MOVIES I've seen this year.
*Note this year I am woefully behind on seeing movies so there are some that I am pretty sure would have made both lists that I haven't yet seen so I will note the likely candidates in the footnotes.
I am ranking the movies in order in both categories. As with all critiques there is a pretty good chance you will disagree with me on some or all. I probably can agree to a few moving up or down the list a little either way but I’m far less likely to agree that the movies listed are on the wrong list.
This first post is the 10 WORST Movies of 2015.
Read the reasoning behind each of the movies so you get a better understanding of why I chose each movie for the list and why it belongs there.
After you are done please let me know your thoughts, if I missed your favorite or least favorite movie or anything else you have kicking around your head.
I will be following this list up with my Oscar Predictions next month. Enjoy.
planetMitch note: we'll post Barry's “Best of 2015” tomorrow – watch for it!And the WORST movie of 2015 is...? What would you think is the worst? Click To Tweet
10 – The Martian
I assume this is the pick I will get the most heat from.
I love space movies, I love Ridley Scott, I love science so this should be a slam dunk.
And yet it was anything but.
I am not a Matt Damon fan (ready for more hate mail) but I have tolerated him in movies I like so his presence doesn’t explain my disliking of this movie. Maybe I am unfairly judging this movie due to the talent behind the camera. Perhaps that's true.
I feel this movie is flawed on so many levels it's hard to point them all out. I haven’t read the book (for future notes I never read the book before the movie so I can actually enjoy the movie) so I don’t know how they tell the story in the book. In the movie the story should be told by Mark Watney (Damon) and not be told by Watney, the shuttle crew and mission control all at the same time. This takes out all tension, suspense and anticipation. I mean Matt Damon being stuck on a foreign planet that will take nothing more than a small miracle to survive should be compelling.
The audience should track his story and wonder if anyone knows he is alive. The routine, mundane existence should be the audiences existence. This would make the moment when they communicate through the robot so dramatic (which it wasn’t because we knew mission control knows he is alive and they drive reaching out to him= no suspense). Additionally, Ridley Scott is responsible for creating some of the most visually interesting movies of the last 30 years.
This movie felt like a cheap quickie where he didn’t put his whole creative powers behind. Also there are scenes in the movie that are so forced as to be unwatchable. If you saw the movie you will remember (whether you realize it or not) the scene when the commander runs into the lunch room to pull a photo off the wall to show where something is on Mars. Many of the performances of the other actors weren’t great (I normally love Jessica Chastain) and there were weird subplots like the budding relationship between two of the shuttle members comes from nowhere and seems out of place in the movie.
I found myself bored, laughing at the wrong places and dissatisfied by this movie.
Not worth spending your time but if you are picking from this list pick this one as they get worse from here.
9 – Avengers Age of Ultron
Marvel is the new Pixar.
They have lost their way (not I have yet to see Ant Man this year) and instead of cranking out movies that are above average they are getting worse (this is being masked by the still high grosses that don’t tend to fade until a few films down the line as the movies continue to decline in quality).
I loved the first Avengers. They took a tough concept of a large group of popular characters and made it work.
Not an easy task. How did they choose to follow that up? Well they made this movie. Everything they did right they mostly did wrong in this movie. When you have so many super heroes one of the most critical things you need is an equally evil and compelling bag guy. Ultron is sadly not that. Maybe he could be but this movie mad a huge mistake. They never set the terms for Ultron as to what powers he had, what could stop him and what exactly he could do. They try to portray him as invincible (which is great but if there is no way to defeat him then what)?
There is a moment in the movie where it seems that two new characters could kill him but choose not to (why? just because). He creates an army of himself(?) and can move from unit to unit so you can never really kill him? The audience spends too much time trying to figure out what is going on and what the rules are that it takes away from the movie. Imagine watching a war movie where you have no idea who is fighting, what they are fighting for, how they can or cannot be killed etc you would quickly tune out to the stakes being fought over. Because Marvel is moving toward the whole Civil War theme they tried to lay the seeds for the fractions between the hero characters. Again that’s not bad in and of itself but it just seems like extra plot lines that don’t serve the story I paid to watch.
This movie was a hot mess and I enjoyed very little of this movie.
If you haven’t seen a preview for Captain American Civil war watch out. That could be worse. Over 60 characters with screen time. Yikes!
8 – The Intern
I like Nancy Meyers.
Enjoyed many of her movies that she has written or directed (Father of the Bride and What Woman Want) but this is not her finest hour. I have said for years that Robert DeNiro has been mailing in performances for the better part of a decade now and that isn’t far from the same here.
Anne Hathaway’s character is a hot mess and as such her performance isn’t good either.
This is a movie written and directed by a woman and yet marginalizes all the woman in the movie, show the men (better yet boys) in the film being horrible toward woman and yet all of them are redeemed and frankly makes a woman look completely helpless without a man needing to bail them out on everything they do.
Robert DeNiro’s character was a “Jesus” character that was perfect in every way with no growth in the movie, no character flaws or conflict. He was perfect and everyone in the movie knew it and worshipped him. Anne Hathaway was a founder of a hugely successful startup and yet basically couldn’t manage people, have a conversation, be a mom, be a wife, be a leader, be a friend or rather yet be anything.
This movie could have been enjoyable and fun and had all the talent to make it so. Instead they found a way to make this a horrible and insulting movie I hope none of you see.
7 – Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials
The first movie I rather enjoyed so I was looking forward to this movie.
I felt the same way about the Divergent series as I enjoyed the first and the second film (Insurgent) dropped off a ton.
The Scorch Trials not only dropped off it rather fell off a cliff. The whole tone of this film seemed way off.
The whole finding human zombies seemed out of place and not part of the movie. Leading up to that they are being chased and entered the only “hole” in the desert and somehow the people chasing just lost them? It seemed like another story that was put together with the key scenes and they neglected how to tie those parts together into a coherent and plausible story.
My advice is to skip this one and watch the first film if you feel like entering this world again.
6 – The Gift
The acting talent in this movie should be enough to carry a movie like this. Jason Bateman is so likable yet has some range that he normally is worth tuning in. Rebecca Hall is hit and miss for me but again does great work. Joel Edgerton is the odd man out for me as I don’t particularly love him. As it turns out he wrote and directed the movie as well so this is his baby.
The story line is has a familiar feel to other movies about the odd guy that befriends a couple and things go wrong. I’ll give this movie some credit as there are some twists and turns that make it above average to many of the movies that are similar. That would be worth noting if it didn’t fail at most points in-between. I love movies like Star Wars, animated movies such as Monsters Inc and many other completely ridiculous setups for which I can suspend belief.
This movie for me fails at this point and in doing so wrecks the movie.
The basic plot is an old acquaintance of Jason Bateman (Edgerton) reconnects with Bateman and his wife. Edgerton plays a socially awkward loner guy that immediately gives you weird vibes. In real life if this strange dude walks up to your house (which is nothing but windows and makes anyone look like a peeping tom) and starts showing up unannounced to try and hang out with you wife what would happen? Predictably Bateman hates this and wants to make it stop. What should happen first is his wife should be super creeped out and demand it stops right away. What happens in the movie? She finds him charming and sweet. She invites him in? She defends him.
I am no expert on woman so there very well might be woman would would react to a guy like this in her manner. However, I assume if that woman exists she is very strong, forceful woman who you wouldn’t want to f*&k with. Hall’s character is timid and meek at best. So the whole time I was watching the movie I felt like everyone was making bad and irrational decisions and they were forcing me to follow a story that was simply too far fetched.
The twists and turns didn’t make up for the faults so I say skip this little gem.
5 – Get Hard
I give comedies a LOT of leeway.
Comedy is hard (no pun intended) and as such often misses more than dramas.
However, there are comedies that fail so bad that we need to call them out so they don’t wreck the genre. Hence Get Hards presence on this list. Will Farrell can be as bad as he is good and Kevin Hart might be too repetitive but they both have great comedy in them.
This movie however felt like they didn’t bother writing a script, just let the actors improve everything in one take and whatever they spit out funny or not was just put in the movie. Very few laughs and a lot of uncomfortable scenes.
If you want to laugh tonight watch Americas Funniest Home Videos instead.
A good kick to the nuts is funnier than this whole movie.
4 – Furious 7
I am a late “fan” of this franchise.
The first movie in the series I saw was the 4th and I have yet to see Tokyo Drift so I am not a super fan. The films did get better production wise as they went along but the series became a hit due to some simple yet strong storylines and great characters.
This franchise is more or less a character franchise like the Bond movies. The audience wants to see their favorite characters doing something cool, entertaining or dangerous. To make the comparison back to Bond movies many fans love Bond but don’t like the movies or forget the movies themselves. The good movies have great villains and the best movies have great villains and a great story.
The closest the F&F franchise got to that was Fast Five. Hands down the best in the series. In that movie the had a bad guy (drug lord) but the added another “bad” guy in the Rock. This increased the stakes and made for a great three prong story featuring our favorite characters figuring out a great heist.
Furious 7 lost the bad guys altogether. They inserted Jason Statham (whom I LOVE) as a rouge character of sorts that like the main team now is invincible and mythological. What are the stakes? They have set it up that our main heroes cannot be harmed so we now have to ramp up the ridiculous action to compensate.
Statham seems to be everywhere exactly at the right time the whole movie. No one is chasing him so he only exists to chase the heroes. No triangle to balance things out. The stunts were again cool as heck but the jumping the car from building to building just jumped the shark for me. In the 6th movie where Vin Diesel jumped and caught Michelle Rodriguez was a smaller version of this.
They have taken it too far and have made it a comic of itself. Sure it made buckets of money but partly that was due to Paul Walkers death but more so it is due to the fanbase. Fans always want to love their favorite series. They are willing to shell out money well past when the quality is there. However, they will leave with time if this is the crap they want to spit out.
Not sure whether to give 8 a chance or just cut my losses now with the franchise.
3 – Jurassic World
Jurassic Park is one of the movies that impacted me in such a profound way that I am a super fan of this series.
Well maybe just a super fan of the original.
The Lost world was mostly a disaster however Steven Spielberg had some really cleverly executed scenes that were fun to watch. The 3rd was just plain ridiculous. When they announced this film I was cautiously optimistic.
Then when they cast Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard I thought they could have something here.
I knew little to nothing about Colin Trevorrow but he has since become one of the hottest directors in town. Let me be one of the first to say it that this is a BAD thing.
He will be directing the next Star Wars movie (Star Wars Episode VIII) and I can say with much certitude that it will be worse than Star Wars Episode VII (regardless if you liked it or not it will be worse).
There is no excuse for how bad this movie was on every level.
I am not going for hyperbole here but rather honesty.
This would have been the worst movie of the year in any other year but there are still two clunkers to get to. Everything that made Jurassic Park wonderful they took out. Everything that makes for a great action adventure movie they took out.
Part of the appeal of Jurassic Park was the fact that it COULD be real. That was the big hook.
We wanted to go to Jurassic Park and they gave us a glimpse of what that would be like and that is why we loved the movie. Addition to that they gave us characters we wanted to listen to and be a part of.
Jurassic World decided those were all old fashioned ideas and for movies today they would throw that out the window and deviate from that path.
Chris Pratt is a Velociraptor trainer- yep like a monkey or lion tamer. He is the best in the business. I guess it’s safe to say he is the only one stupid enough to be in that business but at least there is a reason or he has background to be an expert right?
Nope he was in the Navy.
Doubt he had much interaction with dinosaurs on the open ocean so already we just have to listen to the filmmakers because they know better. We can’t question them because we are dumb.
This type of filmmaking is ruining movies and I am really ticked off about this movie.
Howard’s character is another typical cold woman who is career oriented, afraid of kids and supremely talented (but again with no explanation or demonstration of this in the movie.) Dr Hammond was a super rich mega mogul whom had made a fortune doing many things over his lifetime and we believed him. Both his backstory and what they showed us made us bond with him. He had ambition and yet he loved his family and his grandkids. He was just shortsighted and when his grandkids were in peril we felt for him (even if we knew it was his fault). In the original there was a bad guy (or a group of them) so there was human antagonization.
This time the best they offered is the scientist breaking the rules in creating the new dinosaurs and that creates the problem. Because the dinosaurs aren’t evil and they just do what they do it’s hard to hate them so we are left just passively watching. Not good filmmaking. I won’t drag this out but when Chris Pratt is running with his Velociraptors and they encounter Indominus Rex (that was the best name you could come up with?!) they talk to each other and turn on Pratt. Really that is a major plot point! The dinosaurs just have a conversation and start more rampaging because they are friends? I call baloney.
Another scene that boils my blood is when they bring back T Rex to save the day and they have Howard’s character running down the street and they pan down to show her running in high heels (also notice that everything she wears is practical and white.) This is supposed to mean what? The T Rex can almost outrun cars so this just asks us to forget that and enjoy the fact that a woman can run in heels?
This movie is one hot mess from start to finish and if you liked it I challenge you to watch it again and see how it could have been better.
You will see that just about every choice they didn’t make would have in fact made this a better movie.
2 – Entourage
I never saw the series on HBO or on DVD so I am not invested in the characters.
In my opinion if you make a feature film you better appeal to more than your TV audience.
If they achieved that then this series is way worse than I think it is. This movie is one of the worst films not only of 2015 but of any I have ever watched.
No character is likable.
No motivation for just about anything in the movie.
When the highlight of the film is whether or not an MMA fighter will or won’t go on a date with someone you did something wrong. If you want to watch this movie just know you are not only wasting two hours of your life but better yet telling everyone in the world that your time is worthless and you hate humanity.
Maybe that is overstating things a little. Maybe.
1 – 50 Shades of Grey
Full disclosure I have not seen the entire movie. Maybe it gets better. Maybe I am unfairly judging the movie. But I doubt it.
In general I never walk out of movies or turn them off.
I feel in most cases I can learn from the good and bad so there is value in watching.
This movie is one of the few that breaks that rule.
If I had to guess I maybe made it 15-20 minutes in (I know none of the “good parts” happened by that point) and that was like 12 hours of watching this movie.
Where to begin.
Terrible acting. Period.
The acting is so bad that you find yourself cringing while watching.
The dialogue. I am not sure if worse dialogue has ever been written for a movie.
I mean any movie.
8 year olds, high school, experimental or anything.
The plot line. So a guy became super rich and successful doing something (no idea what or what he is good at). He is super busy but yet never does anything. Finds woman who are passive and vulnerable and forces them into signing NDA’s so he can do whatever he wants to them without them being able to tell anyone. Any woman willingly sign up for this and this is fantasy.
OK. If you made it through this movie you are either the most patient, tolerant or foolish person on Earth.
If you just want to watch simulated sex scenes there is no scene ever shot that is worth sitting through this movie to get to.
Never, ever, ever watch this movie.
(cover photo credit: snap from the video)