We all know that movies are great. What this list presupposed… maybe they aren’t? I’ve seen just as much shit as I have seen great works to the degree that I think they deserve their own collated list at this point with all that same TLC that the Great Movies do to recognize my pain and tragedy in watching this crap. And I think you can all take a quick guess as to how many of these movies are from a certain country, which dishes ’em out like no other.
Anyway, given the amount of stuff I’m going through, the low enthusiasm for it all, and the energy I’m trying to conserve for the big event starting tomorrow, I would be forgiven for just using this opportunity to talk shit and snark more than anything. Let’s get this wallow into the circles of Hell that are movies over with…
The 50 Worst Movies of the 2010s
50. Pixels (2015, Chris Columbus, USA & China)
Gets as high as it does on the basis of some magnificent Visual Effects – it was definitely not too far from making the Motors in that category – but the rest of it remains the same sort of obnoxious Sandler and Friends style comedy that I outgrew ’round age… 10.
49. Serenity (2019, Steven Knight, USA)
I’ve grown to feel it’s unfair to call this film bet-hedging against criticisms with how much it doesn’t resemble any human being. It absolutely believes in the core themes of itself and that’s what damns it even more.
48. 47 Ronin (2013, Carl Rinsch, USA)
Treats Japanese culture like some Epcot pavilion except Disney World is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth and Rinsch’s direction is absolutely not.
47. Alice in Wonderland (2010, Tim Burton, USA)
In a long line of movies that are almost exclusively not good (you’re safe, The Jungle Book ’16 and Pete’s Dragon), I’d say that Burton’s Alice in Wonderland edges out as the absolute nadir of Disney’s Live-Action Remakes of Animated Classics phase. Never indulge Tim Burton that much.
46. The Emoji Movie (2017, Tony Leondis, USA)
45. Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2010, Mike Mitchell, USA)
If I was stuck on a boat with these characters for 15 minutes, I’d kill myself. Stuck on an island, I’d kill them all and then myself.
44. Tom & Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (2017, Spike Brandt, USA)
Algorithmic cinema at its most painful, particularly since Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is at the bottom rung of my Roald Dahl rankings, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a movie which I’m not very warm on, I have next to no love for Tom & Jerry, and I have absolutely none for cheap animation.
43. Skin (2018, Guy Nattiv, USA)
Quite possibly the worst Oscar winner that I have ever seen, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves: this is the level of wrongheaded “what the fuck is going on?!”-ness that accomplishes me hating a movie on a level of principle. This movie’s treatment of race is grotesque.
42. Hop (2011, Tim Hill, USA)
Spent way too many summer nights as a water park lifeguard during undergrad suffering this replaying over and over and over on the giant screen. Y’know, for the kids. Don’t get why movie studios treat them like braindead zombies with releases like this.
40. Friend Request (2016, Simon Verhoeven, Germany)
Made by a guy who comes from a background knowing how to make movies but not knowing a single way that humans work, let alone social media and horror.
40. I Melt with You (2011, Mark Pellington, USA)
It’s like if The Virgin Suicides were performed by deadbeat toxic assholes. It’s like the version of Knight of Cups that could have been with a storyteller that understands no nuance and had cinematography that looks like the result of a concussion. The only thing that satisfied me for the entire two hours was occasionally thinking about that joke of bros trying to find a place to pee, one of them being like “just pee on the world”, and the other peeing on his friend’s mouth because “you’re my entire world, bro”.
39. Sabotage (2014, David Ayer, USA)
The Ayeriest of all of David Ayer’s movies: lionizing garbage people, having an absolute lack of commitment in its genre and tone, overlong as all hell, and visually ugly as shit.
38. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018, David Yates, UK & USA)
Don’t know how we got here from a reliable machine line of product that the exact same people involved shot out for a decade for 14 years but I guess it had to break down sometime and I guess JK Rowling’s inability to serve all the different masters of the screenplay had a domino effect on anybody being able to deliver a consistent and fun time. Every time I realize the past year of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have indicated an unprecedented dip in quality after having a reliable but uninteresting house style, I look at this movie and realize no… things could get worse for cinematic universes.
37. Remember Me (2010, Allen Coulter, USA)
Several movies on this list have twists that make me jaw drop in their awfulness but this one truly takes the cake. I don’t know how somebody thinks of doing that to spice up and give their shitty teen angst drama depth.
36. Yogi Bear (2010, Eric Brevig, USA)
Hey, I can hate 3D movies too. You think I want to share space with the worst fucking cartoon from when I was a kid?
35. Mile 22 (2018, Peter Berg, USA)
Wasting the martial arts talents of Iko Uwais should be considered a hate crime and also remember when this movie ended trying to be a fucking multimedia franchise? The worst summer movie of the decade, Michael Bay aspires to be this bad.
34. 2016: Obama’s America (2012, Dinesh D’Souza, USA)
Less a Republican political screed and more D’Souza’s deep and desperate attempt to paint himself and Obama as long-time nemesis just because they both happen to be non-white Americans who are the same age. It’s kind of laughably pathetic how badly D’Souza wants to matter in the same breath as the at-the-time president here.
33. Vampires Suck (2010, Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer, USA)
The question is not how badly a Friedberg & Seltzer movie sucked. The question is why did it take me as long as the year of our Lord 2010 to realize I don’t have to keep doing this to myself.
32. Shaft (2019, Tim Story, USA)
I can’t dig it.
31. Polar (2019, Jonas Åkerlund, USA & Germany)
You give a European art director some Mountain Dew Code Red while telling them to watch John Wick and this is what you’ll get.
30. The Expendables 3 (2014, Patrick Hughes, USA)
In which Sylvester Stallone realizes he has run out of friends to drag into his hang-out comedy and so has brought in new blood that make the action icons’ acting look like Shakespeare.
29. The Last Airbender (2010, M. Night Shyamalan, USA)
I don’t particularly consider it the crime against the rich storytelling of the original tv series that most of this movie’s haters consider it to be. It’s a crime against the sacred art of moviemaking.
28. Gotti (2018, Kevin Connolly, USA)
I feel personally attacked when I see my stock of New Yawk Italian impressions weaponized for this. Why they break-a mah balls?
27. The Legend of Hercules (2014, Renny Harlin, USA)
Thinking my backyard make-believe when I was child had more physical presence than the CGI of this movie and us kids were probably more convincing and restrained performers too. But that’s quite ok because more than any other film on this list, The Legend of Hercules gives me legit giddy so-bad-it’s-good joy to the degree that I wondered if I needed to put it on here.
26. The Amityville Playhouse (2015, John R. Walker, USA)
One reliable discovery when I was following along the Alternate Ending Summer of Amityville marathon… realizing that thanks to the public domain of the name, there’s so many different ways that the Amityville brand has been run to the ground and so there’s always some new way regardless of how we get the same result: people fucking around in a house on camera to get an IMDb credit.
25. Paranormal Activity 4 (2012, Ariel Schulman & Henry Joost, USA)
Dear god, they stretched this so fucking thin. I like to imagine the producers realized how mileage had run out of this that they decided the next step was to add different gimmicks like 3D or Hispanic culture.
24. A Talking Cat!?! (2013, David DeCoteau, USA)
As bad as the visuals are – raw and unrendered with a fixation on one house’s wide shots to the degree that I wonder if this was a covert real estate ad – the worst thing is watching a superimposed abyss form on a kitten’s mouth to mimic visual speech. And as bad as the noisy air conditioning-level sound design is, the worst part of it is thinking a kitten would sound like Eric Roberts.
23. Amityville: Vanishing Point (2016, Dylan Greenberg, USA)
Now this is a movie that I’m not going to say much about because I have mutual friend between the director (though I think they have better things to do than read this list) and because it was directed by a 17-year-old and that’s just no fun to shit on. But… it IS on this list. For a reason.
22. Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013, James Wan, USA)
I guess before James Wan could finally complete his dramatic evolution to good popcorn filmmaker, he had to make one more piece of shit just to know that he could do it. Takes the terrible fiery crash of the first movie’s third act and dugs further under the ground.
21. The Bye Bye Man (2017, Stacy Title, USA)
It is a movie very deserving of its title – not only because it is unintimidating as hell, but because the misery and incompetence of its delivery gets to a point where saying “bye bye” out the door feels like the only sane solution.
20. Annabelle (2014, John R. Leonetti, USA)
Same as James Wan’s career, I guess the Conjuring universe had to bottom the fuck out before becoming the reliable source of spooks that I knew they could be. The tedious manner in which this movie doesn’t figure out how to construct scares is akin to a comedian who gives away the punchline fumbling and says “I fucked up, start over!” or a magician whose cards spill onto the dove cage and accidentally loosens them when he still hasn’t completed the trick. Glad this franchise and Wan got their shit together.
19. Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (2015, Andy Fickman, USA)
When the deepest loathing towards your ostensible protagonist for the crime of just fucking existing goes way too far and somehow you find it possible to monetize into a Vegas hotel commercial.
18. FDR: American Badass! (2012, Garrett Brawith, USA)
I’m not sure but I think the last time I ever saw a certain group of friends I had in my college years was when we watched this movie after a brief pool party together. And they’re perfectly fine people so I’m not sure if it was just life that pulled me away from them or if it was unconsciously how much sitting through this thing felt like a waste of my soul.
17. The Roommate (2011, Christian E. Christensen, USA)
Nothing like sitting through the world’s most boring possible thriller, ain’t it?
16. Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party (2016, Dinesh D’Souza, USA)
Now that Obama was no longer going to be in the White House, D’Souza instead spends time on writing his own prison diary about how much scarier black people are to him in there and then occasionally remembers he’s trying to stop Hillary Clinton’s election so he intersperses it with some good ol’ Drunk History level reenactments of history, except the asshole is being annoying while sober.
15. Amityville Exorcism (2017, Mark Polonia, USA)
That screencap was how I felt. I know that there was practically no money spent on this movie but it looks even cheaper than that.
14. God’s Not Dead & God’s Not Dead 2 (2014-’16, Harold Cronk, USA)
Congratulations to God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness, which manages to have a different director and co-lead and therefore is not good but not bad enough to make this list. In the meantime, Cronk has given us plenty enough to muse over and laugh at, between the cod-Magnolia structure of the first movie giving a window to all the racism and sadism with a smile that the makers believe about non-believers or the fantasy treatment of the legal and educational system in the second movie as something out of the nightmares of an animated character with guilt over something done.
13. Leprechaun: Origins (2014, Zach Lipovsky, USA)
I’d rather take Warwick Davis’ annoying little prick over this indistinct grey blob of a monster, even if the inconsistent digital cinematography and underlighting will not change in any way.
12. Norm of the North (2016, Trevor Wall, USA India & Ireland)
The secret to solving global warming is obviously in the memeification of a badly animated polar bear dancing to “Shut Up and Dance”. That’s why most of this movie’s scene are made up of it, shoveling that exact movement pattern as often as possible.
11. Marmaduke (2010, Tom Dey, USA)
If any movie is destined to remain a time capsule of all of cinema’s worst habits for the 2000s AND the 2010s, it’s gonna be that talking animal movie based on a comic strip of which I don’t know a single person who finds enjoyment out of it. I like my baby dog to have actual good role models instead, so I’ll sooner show him Cujo and The Thing.
10. Point Break (2015, Ericson Core, USA)
Remember when I called Polar “Mountain Dew Code Red” up above. This is regular Mountain Dew but like way past its expiration date to the point where mold is forming onto the soda itself, but you drink it anyway because you’re so extreme and your shithead buddies in the form of this movie’s lead characters goad you into doing it and somehow all of the landscapes you’re looking at now seem mottled and green like through the eyes of Shrek’s digital tears. I swear this makes more sense if you watch it. We are a very far way from charm of Bigelow, Swayze, and even Reeves in the original.
9. Life Itself (2018, Dan Fogelman, USA)
Out of the four major “Does Not Know How Humans” work movies of this past decade – This, Serenity above, The Book of Henry, and Collateral Beauty – this one stands out specifically on how there practically no fun in watching it. It is a joyless thing of frequent and globe-trotting miserablism thinking it can pep it up with irony and meta-observations and what not. It’s not it.
8. The Devil Inside (2012, William Brent Bell, USA)
This is a movie that opts not to finish itself but give you a now-defunct url at the end to watch the rest. Shit was going so wrong on all levels that they just fucking gave up.
7. The Atlas Shrugged trilogy (2011-’14, Paul Johansson/John Putch/J. James Manera, USA)
It only figures that such an unwieldy book with little satisfying returns would make for such an unwieldy set of films with absolutely no satisfying return, besides watching actors try to navigate through inscrutable character names and even more inscrutable philosophies. I have a friend (J.D., if you read this) who is absolutely gung-ho about making me write about these movies at feature review length later on, but the experience of going through them with the thankful breathers between release dates was already body-numbing that I need to mentally prep myself for watching the three of them in immediate succession.
6. Proud Mary (2017, Babak Najafi, USA)
Honestly lucky it’s only this low and not lower. This is legitimately poor filmmaking on the level of competency: sound design is unrefined, shots are not process fully, and the editing doesn’t follow eyelines. This is as bad as my student film. And it’s a studio production. Why do they keep doing this to Taraji P. Henson?
5. Detainment (2018, Vincent Lambe, Ireland)
The worst Oscar nominee I have ever seen. It already comes from extremely shameful and exploitative origins, but on top of that, there is not a single thing redeeming about it as work of art from the confused editing to the child performances to the most miserable gradations of grey and blue I’ve ever seen.
4. Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010, James Nguyen, USA)
Listen, I don’t want to be the one that points out that the midnight movie crowd latched on to the wrong fucking movie but… there is no active joy I get from watching something this blandly low-energy. I don’t know if it’s the repetitiveness of the effects that desensitize me from ironic enjoyment, if it’s the constant chest-thumping effort placed in preaching to us about environmentalism and global warming, or the feeling that I’m being blinded in various different ways by the cheapest DV visuals one could get from RadioShack. It most likely to be how every sequence lasts far beyond its welcome to us, even after we get the point of how bad it is. I just am not laughing with you guys, I want to change the channel instead.
3. Movie 43 (2013, Peter Farrelly et al., USA)
Somebody – probably Farrelly since he was producing this with long-timer Charles Wessler (both of whom we gave a Best Picture Oscar to so look’s like we’re the clowns) – had good blackmail material on so many fucking people. It’s one thing to deal with unfucking comedies, but an endless anthology of unfunny comedies is just unfucking bearable and watching esteemed A-listers go through with it feels like both sides are being punished as a result. Part of me not listing every single director here is just because the list is long, but I also want to extend mercy to those who deeply felt they had no other option.
2. Loqueesha (2019, Jeremy Saville, USA)
The product of a man who definitely likes the sound of his own voice like Saville, where 0 TLC is given to anything else than leaving open windows for him to elaborate on his personal thoughts and philosophies regarding how the world works or should work. Much of which is delivered as an attempt to justify him imitating a loud black woman stereotype for nearly 100 minutes because he thinks it’ll make his wisdom more digestible.
Foodfight! (2012, Lawrence Kasanoff, USA)
A movie where the only thing about that feels like the product of humans is the fact that it was allegedly the subject of a false-burglary embezzlement scam. In any case, its bottomless attempts at trying to make the plot of Casablanca fit grocery items product placement is an evergreen testament of how soulless movies can be if you put work into that son of a bitch. And that’s just what’s wrongheaded about the narrative: look at that fucking clip. Tell me it looks different from what what was shown to Miyazaki Hayao and he called “an insult to life itself”. The proportions of the characters, the textures of the hallway, the movements of even the characters who aren’t supposed to be broke in the membrane, all of that is just so goddamn wrong and the movie is full up of animation on that level (apparently as a result of two different approaches that are incompatible: the animators wanted cartoon squash and stretch, Kasanoff’s fucking foolish ass wanted motion-capture. Motion capture of fucking what?! Thin air?!). I’ve seen too many Italian animated Titanic movies to call this the worst animation I’ve ever seen, but it is absolutely close-up there and it is fucking painful how fascinating an incorrect object this movie ended up being.