Well kids, we’re halfway done with my 2017 worst lists. Today’s list? Movies! You may have seen that title and wondered, “Why only three? Surely there have been more bad movies than that this year.” Based on what I’ve heard, you’re right. (And don’t call me Shirley.) However… I really haven’t seen that many movies this year. I’ve only gotten to the theaters three times this year (I have plans to go out and see at least two more movies, but I don’t anticipate them being bad) and I haven’t watched that many movies at home. All-in-all, it’s been a pretty sparse year for movies. I have several movies I’ve been meaning to see; I just haven’t seen them yet. But I have seen these and I regret it every day. To make my list, I simply had to have seen the movie this year. It would help it they were all released this year, but beggars can’t be choosers. So, in release date order, here are the three movies that really just sucked balls:
- Unfriended (Premiered April 17, 2015):
This is a horror movie in which a suicide victim haunts her tormentors via the internet. Yes, you read that right. And it was the most un-scary horror movie I’ve ever seen. Honestly, it works better as a critique of cyberbullying and online culture. All the characters are unlikable, and intentionally so. But even here it fails because all it says is “hey, sometimes teenagers are assholes” with no commentary beyond that. It’s also a great commercial for Mac computers (or a terrible one, given the haunting and being this movie). The acting is nothing special, but I suppose I wasn’t looking for much when I turned this movie on. I think the biggest issue is the entire movie is so un-horrifying and then suddenly there’s some gratuitous violence at the end. I get why the violence occurs, but after a pretty dull build-up it’s jarring. I can understand the idea that went into making this movie: they wanted to make a unique horror movie, perhaps even a new twist on the found footage genre. Unfortunately, it fails on all fronts. Give it a watch if you need a laugh, though. It’s certainly funnier than the next movie on this list.
2. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates (Released July 8, 2016):
I was certain this movie was destined for hilarity. Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Zac Efron, and Adam Devine? That seemed like a cast with lots of potential. Unfortunately, the writing wasn’t very good. The story seems like it should be funny, but the jokes are crass and simplistic. All the main characters are assholes, which is normally a concept I like (see: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Wuthering Heights), but here it falls short. Supposedly this is loosely based on two real brothers, and, if they’re even remotely like their movie counterparts, I am sincerely sad for their families. This is just another movie that’ll get lost in a sea of forgettable comedies, and for good reason.
3. Split (Premiered January 26, 2017):
One of the three movies I’ve seen in the theaters this year (so far), this movie was a letdown on all fronts. I knew this was a risk going in, as M. Knight Shyamalan’s twists are no longer the clever resolutions they once were. However, as a fan of crime shows that really dig into the mind of the perpetrators, I was intrigued. However, it seemed early assumptions that this might miss the mark from a mental health perspective were correct. While only a couple of the main character’s personalities (he has dissociative identity disorder) were responsible for abducting and harming these girls and the rest of him was wholly good, I still had an issue with this portrayal. Kevin’s psychologist doesn’t seem nearly as interested in helping him as she is hypothesizing that having DID makes him superhuman. The typical treatment goal for this disorder is to reintegrate the personalities into the core self. Neither character has any interest in doing that. I also hated the supernatural twist. You see, it turns out the psychologist’s theory is correct and Kevin develops a personality that is literally a bulletproof monster. I don’t know whether this negates the bad portrayal of mental illness or only worsens stereotypes, but either way I very much disliked it. There’s also this strange notion that the wounded (AKA mentally ill) are somehow superior to everyone else. This comes to a head when Casey, one of the abducted girls, is spared by the Beast because she has scars from her uncle’s abuse. This comes across as almost abuse apologia, since Casey would be dead had her uncle not harmed her. It also explicitly suggests that mental illness is somehow a benefit. As someone with mental illness, uh, no. No, it is not. It really just seems like M. Knight fundamentally misunderstands psychology and mental health. This film only adds to the “mental illnesses are quirks trope.” This movie was a problematic mess from start to finish, no matter how good James McAvoy’s acting was.
-1. An Elf’s Story: The Elf on the Shelf (Premiered November 26, 2011):
I chose not to include this one on the list proper because it’s not really a movie. It’s a Christmas special that’s only about twenty-three minutes long. But it’s really bad. In fact, it’s so bad it’s hilarious. The story is weak, the characters are annoying, the animation is crappy, and the music is half-assed. In fact, I’m pretty sure the entire special only has one song and it’s called “Extravaganzalorious.” So… yeah. I only happened to see it because it came on after How the Grinch Stole Christmas. What a waste of money.
Do you agree with any of my picks? What were the worst movies you watched this year? Tell me about them in the comments!