The 411 Movies Top 5 01.03.14: Top 5 Disappointing Movies of 2013
Posted by Shawn S. Lealos on 01.03.2014
From Iron Man 3 and The Counselor to The Lone Ranger, Movie 43, Evil Dead and more, the 411 staff counts down the top 5 movies of 2013!
Welcome to Week 407 of the Movie Zone Top 5. My name is Shawn S. Lealos and you have entered my world.
The 411mania writers were given the following instructions: Based on Terry's recommendation, we will do Top 5 most disliked/disappointed movies of 2013 and then will do anticipated movies the next week.
Honorable Mentions: The Hangover Part III, Bullet to the Head, Side Effects, A Good Day to Die Hard
5. Texas Chainsaw 3D
The first half of this horror franchise reboot is pretty good. There's good tension, some good gore, and the acting isn't half bad. But then, when Alexandria Daddario's Heather Miller finds out the truth about her family the movie takes a serious nosedive and expects us to believe that Heather has a sudden, intimate connection to her real family and her relation Leatherface (you know, the guy she just watched butcher her friends). The movie also wants us to sympathize with Leatherface and the Sawyer family in general, a family of murderers and cannibals, which is just ridiculous. Why would I do that? They're fucking murderers and cannibals. The townsfolk that destroyed most of the old Sawyer family should have been given the key to the goddamn city. If only the movie had figured out how to extend the good stuff from the first half into the second half we could have had a pretty decent horror reboot.
4. Movie 43
This ensemble parody has some funny sections (the Hugh Jackman neck testicles skit is funny, as is the exploding diarrhea bit. And the basketball player bit is a highlight) but its overall unevenness makes it tedious to sit through. There just isn't enough good stuff to counteract the bad stuff. I'm still trying to figure out why the leprechaun bit directed by Brett Ratner is supposed to be funny. The movie itself was a good idea in theory but in practice... not so much.
3. Machete Kills
The biggest problem with this Robert Rodriguez directed sequel is that there's just too much shit going on it. There are too many characters, too many things happening, and just not enough focus. There's enough story and plot for Rodriguez to make two movies, and I'm not sure why he didn't do that. I'm also not sure why he didn't make a fake trailer for some other fake movie instead of the fake trailer he makes for the next Machete movie he wants to make. I'm sort of hoping that when I get a chance to see it again that Machete Kills isn't as bad as I originally thought and that it makes enough money on home video and TV to warrant an actual third movie. I would like to see the franchise continue. But Rodriguez and company can't make another one like Machete Kills. They just can't.
2. Hatchet III
Hatchet III is chock full of nasty, gory kills, which is great and all, but that's really all Hatchet III has to offer. There's very little humor and very little energy in its 90 minute running time, and that's a huge problem for a franchise that, in its first two entries, was brimming with both. I think writer-producer Adam Green, who created the franchise and directed the first two movies, made a huge mistake having someone else direct part 3. BJ McDonnell, the director, knows how to make a movie look good, but he just doesn't have what it takes in terms of the rest of the movie making process (yeah, it's his first time as a director, but that fact doesn't make the end result any less terrible). And what the hell happened at the end? Did Victor Crowley actually die? Did Marybeth die? Whatever.
The first part of this action flick is, at its best, a middling Jason Statham vehicle with all kinds of potential to get better in its second half. However, since the second half of the movie focuses on Jennifer Lopez's incredibly boring character instead of Statham's Parker's revenge, Parker is an overlong disaster that just sucks the life out of everyone watching it. While Lopez is fun to look at, she has absolutely no chemistry with Statham and, hey, it's supposed to be his fucking movie, not hers, so why am I being bombarded with her horrendously dull life and personal issues? Who gives a shit? Get to the ass kicking, please. Parker is a disgrace. Don't even bother with it if you haven't seen it. You don't want to see it.
Honorable Mentions: I caught a bit of stick for my review but I just kinda wanted more from Jackass: Bad Grandpa, barring the Herman/Johnny Knoxville old man character for 90 minutes. The Hangover 3 was a superb exercise in killing off a comedy franchise by rushing into the third, instead of having a break and coming up with good ideas.
Monsters University wasn't necessary a terrible film per se, but there was no lack of wonder in an unneccasary prequel which worries me that there's a lot of sequelitis coming out of Pixar with varying degrees of quality, over that magical tap of genius they have somewhere in Pixar Towers being turned on. MU is the prime example. Neither was Evil Dead a terrible film. A perfectly serviceable horror film I felt was more choked by it's ties to the original movies disappointingly. Identity Thief seemed to forget that it was a comedy film and bogged itself down with a completely moronic plot, despite being led by Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy.
5. A Good Day To Die Hard
The fifth outing for John McClane came runner up in our 411 staff awards most disappointing film category and it's richly deserved. The more you think about it, the more A Good Day To Die Hard walks away from being a Die Hard and just another bland generic action movie. Bruce Willis never shows the slightest bit of interest throughout the runtime and teams up with his secret agent son (Wait, what?) to run rough shod over Moscow because... something. I feel dirty almost writing the fact that this film is even related to the genuinely massive amounts of quality we get from the everyman in extraordinary bad situations franchise in earlier Die Hards. A disappointment that was seen coming a mile away and it doesn't fail to go away from it's expectations.
4. Movie 43
I love ensemble films. There's just something about seeing tonnes of stars colliding whether they're on the same level or intriguing mismatches that inspires awesomeness. But Movie 43 is the complete opposite. A black hole of horrendousness and some downright nasty skits completely waste the two year time period to get this cast and film together. A blend of varying levels of comedy segments which promised a great deal but fall massively flat, hitting the big screen with such a thud, it set off pretty much everyone's taste buds with a vile viewing. I love gore and I love dick and fart jokes, but to assemble such a cast only to waste them with some downright awful jokes which aim to shock rather than entertain is inexcusable. Interesting idea on paper blown straight through the head with the shotgun of incompetence.
Granted, I doubt alot of people would have seen or heard of this one, but trust me, this bio pic of the later life of British Princess Diana is probably the worst made film of the year. I can see the potential here with Naomi Watts clearly thinking she was on the way to awards territory playing Britain's sweetheart but she is literally the only name on the cast list. An inept production which makes you wonder how this was seen as fine to show studio executives and a script so bad, it made the likeable and sympathetic former princess, being hounded by the press at every turn, into a manipulative and horrible cow to sit with for two hours. A truly special kind of bad movie.
2. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Now, I loved the first G.I. Joe movie when it was first released. Never going to be an oscar winner but I thought all the characters and action were enough to propel it into a wee more than rewatchable piece of escapism for me. I was pumped for the sequel. I mean The Rock joining up as well. Sounded bloody good. Fast forward to what we ended up with and you can probably tell my disappointment. Trashing away most of the cast of the first film, we're left with a loud and noisy shadow of the first film. Whilst there was some impressive action set pieces again, the additions were pretty much pointless. Bored Bruce Willis wasn't needed really, only to add some starpower even with his limited screen time. The Rock as cool as he is didn't really do enough (or was given) to better Channing Tatum as the lead. In fact, if anything G.I. Joe: Retaliation made the Joes seem like a limp dog and the terrible plot doesn't help make their last ditch heroics seem worthwhile. My disappointment of the year.
1. Iron Man 3
Yeah... this. I get alot of people really enjoyed this but... there's too much here that annoyed me. Coming off the heels of The Avengers and being the one that everybody likes, Robert Downey Jr.'s third singular outing as the mechanical superhero was meant to propel the next stage of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but decided to trap itself in a comedy-action disaster. I see the potential in making Iron Man 3 a bit more of that actually and I wasn't against Shane Black coming onboard due to his track record but it's spiralled so far away from it's original superhero groundings into something horrifically cheesy. I can see they're going for a more personal Tony Stark story too because RDJ hasn't signed on for another singular Iron Man but that story doesn't know which genre it's in. There's too much going in a scattergun plot with the buddy cop scenes with the kid, the comedy action with the suits... throw in a dash of horror with the Extremis virus and you end with a film which doesn't really know which direction it's going.
Think about what this film did from my POV. The concept of Iron Man is ruined by all of his suits being trashed and thrown away like scrunched up tin foil, when in previous films it fights the God of Thunder to a standstill. The big villain promoted The Mandarin was thrown away as a joke as an actor after the impressive build up with the terrorism angle. The real villain is defeated by a powered up Gwyneth Paltrow just to give her something to do. In fact, you could make the case that RDJ's Tony Stark is Normal Man, given the severe lack of time he's in the suit. I'm not even really too much of a comic book fan - the content is morphed into something for the sake of a joke at the expense of the source material.
The departure from the superhero genre into near slapstick levels of idiocy was not my cup of tea. From the sheer awesomeness of the trailer, I was led into getting something better, but I felt like a sucker walking out. Both disappointed and irritated, I can only look back at this with bile. I don't mean to rag on Iron Man 3 on purpose but for it's promises, it fails to deliver for me.
Yet another example of how a movie with so much talent and promise could totally let you down. After his terrific District 9, hopes were high for Neill Blomkamp's follow-up, with a bigger budget and bigger stars. Unfortunately, it seems Blomkamp is actually overwhelmed by this higher budget and sacrifices too much of his story. The theme of the rich living above in a space station utopia and the rest of us on a dingy Earth is far too open and clear-cut to work properly as allegory and Jodie Foster turns in one of her worst performances ever as the strangely accented evil boss. Matt Damon does his best as the hero but the film turns far too much into a shoot-it-up than working properly with its story and its ending is far too pat after all the set-up we've been given. It could have been really great but instead just settles for good, which isn't enough given all it could have been.
4. Machete Kills
The first Machete was gloriously over the top fun with its brutal action and fun in not taking itself seriously. Sadly, the sequel suffers by going way too much in that direction, Robert Rodriguez forgetting you need to have a semblance of story in order to help a parody out. Sure, the idea of Lady Gaga, Walton Goggins and Cuba Gooding Jr all playing a master of disguise killer is fun but the story bounces wildly with way too insane pieces like Sofia Veraga with a machine gun bra and Mel Gibson as some sort of prophet manical millionaire while Charlie Sheen as the President is just a joke without laughs. That it all ends on a big cliffhanger for a sequel that might never happen makes it more wasteful, just bad to see a could have been great romp by the same director collapse into something so terrible.
3. A Good Day to Die Hard
Man, I was so hoping for this one. Something about John McClane usually brings out the best in Bruce Willis and the idea of the rough and tumble New York cop in Russia is intriguing. But we get nothing like the usual formula for the series, just a standard action film as the relationship of McClane and his son goes nowhere and the plot is incredibly confusing. Sure, we get fun pieces of shootouts and such but nothing of the charm that the series usually has and Willis seems to be just phoning it in instead of actually trying. A gigantic letdown to see one of the best action series of all time fall to this terrible low point and that it's time to put the "Yippie-kai-yay" to rest at last.
2. The Lone Ranger
The reason this rates so high is actually because it boasts one of the best scenes of 2013, the grand climax as the Ranger chases after a train as "The William Tell Overture" plays. It's a fantastic sequence, exciting and fun and for fifteen glorious moments, it's the movie we all hoped it would be. Sadly, to get there, we have to endure nearly two hours of a poor film as Gore Virbinski allows an insanely high budget to dominate with pretty pieces that don't mean a lot to the movie. Of course, the real problem is the massive mistake of allowing Johnny Depp's Tonto to be the central character with the bizarre bookends of talking to a little kid and mystical mumbo-jumbo. With a different cast and different approach, this could have been a fantastic western adventure but as it is, it's a huge missed opportunity, a movie that could have been so great but instead turned into as big a train wreck as any of the ones it showcases in the story.
1. The Counselor
Ridley Scott. Michael Fassbender. Javier Bardem. Penelope Cruz. Cameron Diaz. Brad Pitt. Cormac McCarthy. Look at the sheer talent involved in this movie and then try to explain how it could turn into such a terrible, horrible mess. A "thriller" lacking any thrills and a story that meanders in all directions, it was notable for such laughable moments as Diaz having sex with a car (you read that right) and way, way too much dialogue instead of letting the actors let loose. I'm sure it might be interesting to watch on Blu-Ray with extras to try and enhance things but for the amount of people involved in this, you would have expected one of the best movies of the year instead of a turgid Cinemax-style mess that tries to be more than it really is.