I love being a film critic, and one of the great privileges of the gig is being able to share with all of you my choices for the best movies at the end of each year. Yesterday, I posted my top-10 list for 2015, which I hope you enjoyed (and I’ve loved seeing all of your choices, as well). Today, we wallow in the muck with the 10 worst movies of the year, listed alphabetically. Hold your nose and let’s go …
Cameron Crowe’s notoriously troubled romantic drama bears obvious signs of tinkering and re-tinkering. The story of love and redemption in Hawaii is trying to be several movies at once, and jarringly so, and it wastes the considerable charisma of its stars: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams. The dialogue so frequently strains for poignancy that it feels like a parody of a Crowe movie. Aloha means goodbye.
“Chloe & Theo”
You didn’t see this movie. Nobody saw this movie. I’m not sure why I saw this movie — oh, right, it was for a radio show I did (and we didn’t even end up talking about it). Anyway, Dakota Johnson stars as a New York homeless woman who befriends an Inuit man (Theo Ikummaq) who’s traveled from the Arctic to warn us all about climate change. Along the way, they hook up with a lawyer (Mira Sorvino) who helps them spread the word. It’s as terrible as it sounds: awkward, clunky, heavy-handed and consistently cringe-inducing. Feel free to continue avoiding this one.
“Entourage” the movie is essentially an extended version of “Entourage” the TV show. Now, if you loved “Entourage” the TV show, this is probably thrilling news. But if you never watched the show, or only watched it in pieces, or stopped watching it once Vincent Chase and his buddies became obnoxious examples of everything that’s wrong with this town, then you will surely find this exercise pointless. These vapid bros learn nothing, they don’t change, they have no arc and they are never truly challenged.
Ugly, shoddy, poorly written and totally lacking in characterization or suspense, this latest incarnation of the Marvel Comic “Fantastic Four” is a case study in soulless summer spectacle run amok. Even my kid, who is obsessed with all things Marvel, didn’t like it. It’s clobberin’ time, indeed — on the audience.
“Hitman: Agent 47”
The latest big-screen adaptation of the video game about a genetically engineered assassin (which I’ve admittedly never played) is just a barrage of glossy, numbing carnage. And maybe that’s what you’re looking for in a movie like this, especially in late August (which is when it came out theatrically). But if I were you, I’d watch “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” instead — the two films have essentially the same premise, and the latter is at least fun.
If I had to rank the worst movies of 2015 in order, I’d put this shrill comedy at the top of the list — or the bottom, as it were. “Hot Pursuit” isn’t just flat, it’s actively frustrating. It’s simultaneously manic and lazy. It’s vaguely misogynistic but too tame to be truly offensive. And it’s a massive waste of two actresses who are appealing individually and might have had a crackling chemistry together: Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.
“The Last Witch Hunter”
Vin Diesel borrows some of John Travolta’s old “Battlefield Earth” facial hair for this ugly, incomprehensible fantasy-horror flick based on a Dungeons & Dragons character, which I guess Diesel enjoys playing. He stars as a cursed, centuries-old witch hunter who helps protect the Earth from the demons of the underworld under a tenuous truce. I’d rather watch a documentary about Diesel actually playing D&D than this.
Rarely does a movie’s title beg for bad reviews the way “Pan” does, but unfortunately, it’s all-too apt. This garish prequel to the legend of Peter Pan is just bizarre in every way, from Hugh Jackman’s flamboyantly evil performance as Blackbeard to Garrett Hedlund’s delivery as a young Captain Hook, in which he’s essentially doing an impression of Harrison Ford circa 1981. Joe Wright’s choice of contemporary music is inconsistent and jarring, and one of the clunkiest elements of all. But it did give me an opportunity to show my son the video for Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” So there’s that.
“Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2”
I gave this movie zero stars when I reviewed it for RogerEbert.com in April. It’s lazy, flat, unfunny and uninspired. I remain baffled as to why Kevin James likes this character so much that he’d want to play him in not one but two movies, because nobody else does.
Speaking of Kevin James and his questionable career choices, here’s yet another movie in which he’s appeared alongside longtime friend and frequent collaborator Adam Sandler. It’s got kind of a clever premise: Classic video game characters come down from space to wreck havoc on Earth, and a group of nerds who were masters of those games must save us all from destruction. But it cheaply plays on ’80s nostalgia in lazy, obvious ways with a weak script.