10 Worst Movies of 2017

The best part of being a film critic is you get to see everything. The worst part of being a film critic is … you get to see everything, whether you want to or not. Earlier this week, I posted my list of the 10 best films of 2017. Here are my picks for the 10 worst, in alphabetical order. And yes, there are many, many more than 10, but I thought I’d spare you from having to slog through them all. Enjoy — and feel free to chime in with the worst movies you saw this year.

“Baywatch

Certainly, you don’t expect greatness from a movie based on the jiggly TV series “Baywatch.” But this one’s just thoroughly uninspired. And it doesn’t know whether it wants to function as a winking parody of the show or a straight-up action movie. (The “Jump Street” movies pulled off the tricky feat of balancing a little bit of both.) Even massive amounts of shirtless Zac Efron can’t save this thing from drowning.

Watch the What the Flick?! review here

“The Book of Henry”

This movie is all kinds of batshit crazy, so much so that I almost want to recommend that you see it, similar to last year’s “Collateral Beauty” — which was on my list of the worst movies of 2016. The plot is almost impossible to explain, and I certainly wouldn’t want to spoil its myriad twists and turns for you. Basically, it’s about a mom (Naomi Watts) who plans a revenge killing based on the diary scribblings of her brilliant and misunderstood son (Jaeden Lieberher). Director Colin Trevorrow’s follow-up to “Jurassic World” is a humdinger.

Watch the What the Flick?! review here

“The Book of Love”

Not to be confused with the aforementioned “Book of Henry,” although it also has an insane premise and wastes a solid cast. And it’s also about recovering from tragedy with the help of an extreme scheme. Filled with contrivances, false emotions and even flimsier accents, it strains mightily to tug at our heartstrings while also enticing us with whimsy, and fails on both fronts.

Read the review here

“CHiPS”

Here’s yet another movie based on another era-defining TV series. The nostalgia behind them may be strong, but the results are lame and flat. This only resembles the television series in that it features characters named Ponch and John and they’re California Highway Patrol officers. Gay panic abounds in writer-director-star Dax Shepard’s big-screen take of the ’70s cop show. But women also are treated horribly here, especially Shepard’s real-life wife, Kristen Bell. Worst of all, it’s just not funny.

Watch the What the Flick?! review here

“The Comedian”

Like “CHiPS,” this just flat-out isn’t funny. And that’s a problem when your movie is called “The Comedian.” For a while, I thought it was intentionally unfunny — like it was trying to say something about the status of entertainment or pop culture or something. But no. This apparently was a passion project for director Taylor Hackford and Robert De Niro, who stars as an aging comedian enjoying newfound fame. But it’s just lifeless and cringe-inducing, and it strands an incredible cast including Danny DeVito, Harvey Keitel, Edie Falco, Patti LuPone, Charles Grodin and Cloris Leachman.

Watch the What the Flick?! review here

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul”

Maybe I just know too much. Nicolas and I have read all the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books and seen all the movies. But I never appreciated how good those previous films were until I saw this one. While none of the first three movies fully captured the spirit of the popular Jeff Kinney books that inspired them—a silly and smart mix of cynicism and heart—they came way closer than this new installment does. This wacky family road trip is all about hackneyed misadventures and gross-out scatological humor — material that already seemed stale when the “Vacation” reboot came out in 2015.

Read the review here

“The House”

The pairing of Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler — with a supporting cast that includes Jason Mantzoukas, Nick Kroll, Michaela Watkins and Rob Huebel — should be comedy gold. In theory, these actors should be able to just show up, be themselves, tap into their formidable improvisational abilities and let the laughs flow freely. In reality, though, movies require scripts. They require actual characters and dialogue and narratives that evolve in ways that are logical, or at least engaging. “The House” has none of that.

Read the review here

“I Love You, Daddy”

This movie would have seemed creepy long before all the revelations came out about Louis C.K.’s long history of sexual misconduct. It actually never even got a theatrical run: The film’s distributor, The Orchard, wisely pulled it before it ever saw the light of day. But it played at the Toronto International Film Festival, and critics received copies of it for awards consideration, so it merits inclusion here. Beyond the ickiness of the relationship between an infamously predatory director (John Malkovich) entering into a relationship with the 17-year-old daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz) of Louis’ character, the juxtaposition of a black-and-white, ’40s-screwball comedy setting with profane, raunchy humor just never works.

Watch the What the Flick?! review here

“The Mummy”

The plane crash is pretty cool. Tom Cruise never half-asses these things. But the rest of the movie is just a mess. Worst of all, it’s no fun, and it doesn’t have nearly enough open-handed Tom Cruise running. This does not bode well for Universal’s plans for launching a classic monster cinematic universe.

Watch the What the Flick?! review here

“The Last Face”

Sean Penn takes African strife and turns it into a two-hour perfume commercial with this overlong, pretentious slog. Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem star as beautiful humanitarian aid workers who fall in and out of love across various war-torn regions. Penn relies heavily on slo-mo, dissolves and lens flares, yet the actual Africans recede into the background. Clearly he’s well-intentioned, but he veers awkwardly between gauzy artfulness and shrieky melodrama, and Theron is saddled with all kinds of clunky explanatory voiceover tying it all together.

Read the review here

“The Layover”

I am baffled by the rampant misogyny here, given that it’s directed by William H. Macy, whose track record (at least in front of the camera) is pretty unimpeachable. The crass, lazy “Layover” trots out all the worst tropes about women tearing each other apart over a man. In this case, it’s Alexandra Daddario and Kate Upton as lifelong best friends and total opposites who compete for the same blandly hunky dude (Matt Barr) who’s sitting between them on a flight to Florida. This movie depressed me.

Watch the What the Flick?! review here

3 Comments on “10 Worst Movies of 2017

  1.  by  Kelley D Bradley

    Unless some other dogs open by years end, here’s my 10 Worst List

    I LOVE YOU, DADDY (2017)
    ALIEN: COVENANT (2017)
    LIFE (2017)
    THE CIRCLE (2017)
    THE DINNER (2017)
    TABLE 10 (2017)
    THE LITTLE HOURS (2017)
    BITCH (2017)
    1922 (2017 – Netflix)
    WHITNEY – CAN I BE ME (2017 – HBO)

    •  by  Christy Lemire

      Oh, right, The Dinner! Forgot about that one. And Bitch was … misguided, but at least it had an interesting premise. Thanks for sharing!

  2.  by  Acrylic Sweater

    A lot of these movies above, are just re-make’s of some very tried and trusted old formula. And the question is, are the movies bad, because they’ve used the same formula too many times? Or was the execution of these movies truly horrifying as well? In some cases actually, the execution was perfectly professional, and no shortage of ‘acting talent’ in any of the above either. It might be that a formula was just too old, too worn out? I heard someone comment about Dunkirk movie. War movies are old and worn out too as a concept. Within that worn out concept, there are some very worn out cliches. Like, this mandatory ‘scene’ now that has to happen in all modern WWII war movies. It’s the ‘quiet’ moment. They sit together and take out photographs of their girl friend at home and cry. As someone pointed out, Dunkirk didn’t do that. It threw that scene out (sort of like the twenty lines of dialogue in an Aaron Sorkin movie, that didn’t). It’s almost mandatory now in WWII movies, that men have to cry about their loved on, but one doesn’t always have to check the required check boxes.

    The thing about a ‘Christmas movie’ (I never thought that ‘Die Hard’ was a touchy subject for grown men wearing Christmas-y acrylic sweaters). There’s a mandatory thing in Christmas movies, like there is in WWII ones. People always live/work in ‘the big city’. But they come from the small town. They are then meant to return home to experience holidays in the small town. That’s the formula. That’s the rule. It’s been done well, and not so well. People return to the small town and discover to their shock, the things they thought were HUGE, are smaller than they remember. The 2017 movie ‘downsizing’ by Alexander Payne made the horrendous mistake of trying to better that old concept – by trying to make the people smaller too – so their ‘world’ would get bigger, as a result. But actually, thinking about this latest Alexander Payne movie, and Christmas movies in general, . . . imagine that someone for once, broke with all of the conventions. Instead of traveling from a big town to a small town, what if they travel from a small town to a big town? I went back to check out Christy’s review of ‘The Night Before’, from YouTube channel. I don’t own an acrylic sweater as it happens, to my shame. But it’s a movie, that was an omission in Alonso’s ‘list’ of Christmas movies.

    In ‘The Night Before’ they turned the convention upside down. The guys’ home is a big city. That is where they return home to for their holidays. New York is their childhood backyard, completely familiar to them, where their family is. ‘The Night Before’, had interesting use of cinema and urban environment combined (you have to go back to Scorcese or ‘Mean Streets’ to find the last time, that was done in a way that was new and fresh). At one stage, a guy gets his phone mixed up with someone else’s. They have to follow the ‘find my phone’ app, to re-locate it. Urban environment, childhood memories (good and bad), and geographical mapping technology all gets mashed together in one narrative. If one was to try and do a ‘Mean Streets’ now, it would probably have a ‘find my phone’ app, in it. Or similar, or it wouldn’t be real.