2013 was a mediocre year at the movies. I scratched and scraped to come up with ten movies to compile my best ten list (which will follow this article). For the first time in many years I couldn’t come up with ten movies I considered great.
On the other hand I had no problem whatsoever coming up with the worst ten list below. I easily could have compiled a second list and that is rare indeed. 2013 was filled with bad sequels, unimaginative action films and humorless comedies. When you see my list below you will note that they are all sequels, horror films (remakes on top of that) and comedies.
Before listing my worst list I first want to list the most disappointing films of 2013. These are films either I expected or it were generally expected to be better than they turned out to be. There are fifteen of them and that is another unusually high number. The films are listed alphabetically: Arthur Newman; A Bullet to the Head; Carrie; Don Jon; The Family; Gangster Squad; Grudge Match; The Internship; Kick Ass 2; Last Vegas; The Lone Ranger; Man of Steel; Monsters University; Now You See Me; Prisoners.
Now here are my choices for the ten worst films of 2013. I cannot recommend enough you not waste a second of your time on any of these movies.
10) THE TO DO LIST – Aubrey Plaza plays a high school girl (who looks ten years too old) who feels pressured to have sex and makes a list of all the sexual things she wants to accomplish over the summer before heading off to college. Hijinks are supposed to ensue but I found the film to be a sad commentary on high school and the lead character is a terrible role model for any young lady in her teenage years. The film is supposedly based on true events in the life of the director and, if that is the case, I feel sorry for her. The film is devoid of any wit or originality and all of the cast looks too old for the parts they play.
9) IDENTITY THIEF – Two of the most engaging comic actors working today, Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, are brought together in this comedy which is so poorly written that if any character had any brains at all the movie would be over in the first act. Bateman plays a man whose identity has been stolen by McCarthy. He sets out to find her and does. She beats him up and runs and he is able to catch her. What does he do? Does he call the police and run her in? No he talks her into going back home with him to clear the whole mess up. Seriously? I just wrote it and I still can’t believe that’s what happened. It’s a hardnosed, unfunny mess with lead characters you neither care about nor want to root for. McCarthy has one beautifully acted dramatic moment which reminds us she is a strong screen presence but otherwise the film is a bust.
8) THE BIG WEDDING – A family reunites for a wedding and the divorced parents have to pretend to still be married so acquiesce to the beliefs of the future mother in-law. Does anyone really believe any family would do this? Of course not so already the viewer is one step ahead of the writers. Robert DeNiro and Diane Keaton star as the parents and they do provide the film’s soul bright moments. Susan Sarandon stars as DeNiro’s frazzled girlfriend who just happens to always show up where it’s convenient for the screenplay. Furthermore we are asked to believe that Topher Grace is a thirty-something doctor who is still a virgin. We are further asked to believe that the groom’s sister would disrobe for Grace ten minutes after meeting him. Kathryn Heigl continues to put nails in her career coffin with the low point coming when we have to witness her vomit on DeNiro. Note to the writers? Vomit jokes stopped being funny years ago.
7) THE HANGOVER III – This film proves once and for all that when a film with the slimmest of story lines becomes an unexpected box office smash, two sequels will have nothing new to add to the story. Part two was virtually the same movie with a different locale. This film goes back to Las Vegas for a good portion of the film and increases the role of Ken Jeong’s role as Mr. Chow but the film goes nowhere fast. There is plenty of talent in the film but everyone is wasted due to a script lacking any humor. Thankfully this will be the last entry in the series.
6) ANCHORMAN II – This mess of a film is what we fans of the original movie waited ten years for? This mess of a movie? This embarrassment to those talented actors involved? I knew we were in trouble when Steve Carell’s character is re-introduced speaking at his own funeral. I understand the film is not steeped to deeply in reality but come on! I watched this movie and never laughed and had only the occasional chuckle. What a wasted opportunity and after ten years they could have torn up this script, pieced it together differently and come up with something better than this.
5) TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D – Less of a remake but a follow up to Tobe Hooper’s 1974 cult classic is more of the same with all the other Chainsaw movies only this one is in 3D! As is the case with most 3D movies these days there is nothing in the process to write home about. This is just another grotesque horror film without the imagination to do something original or at least different. Fans of the original will only enjoy a brief scene at the beginning that reunites most of the original 1974 cast but other than that there is nothing rewarding or even very new from then on. This is a waste and another argument against remakes.
4) A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD – The fifth entry into the once great action series proves once and for all that this series was dead on arrival with the last installment, Live Free or Die Hard. In this film the setting is Russia and John McClane comes to Russia to help his son only to find out his son is with the CIA and, well……like father like son. The film is filled with ridiculous action scenes while father and son bicker constantly. This film gets old 30 minutes into it.
3) EVIL DEAD – This film, a horror remake of Sam Raimi’s 1981 cult classic, falls under the category of, why? There is no reason to remake Raimi’s stylish original and the new version does absolutely nothing to improve upon it. The story is virtually the same only the characters are more cardboard and the violence seems more forced and less stylish. Can we please stop with these remakes? Next time bring Raimi’s version back to theaters for this generation to discover.
2) GROWN UPS 2 – Ah, yes, this wouldn’t be a worst list without an Adam Sandler movie on it. I try. Honestly. I really try to give Sandler the benefit of the doubt. I sit there hopeful and anticipatory of something better than the usual Sandler fare. In this case it didn’t take any more than five minutes to know that this was going to be a bad movie. Sandler discovers a deer in his bedroom (in his bed if memory serves) and in moments the deer is spraying urine all over him. Sandler has yet to learn that the bodily function jokes are not funny and when you run them down the viewer’s throat they get more and more offensive. This sequel is totally unnecessary and some decent talent (of which I exclude David Spade) is wasted in characters that sit around and do absolutely nothing but cash a paycheck. The script is barren of even one original or interesting idea and I got so frustrated I wanted to leave. Watching talented comedians like Kevin James and Chris Rock standing around doing nothing is not my idea of entertainment. Films like this rob the public. The filmmakers should be arrested.
1) MOVIE 43 – By far the worst film of 2013 is this appallingly awful comedy that harkens back to such 1970s skit comedies as The Groove Tube and Tunnelvision. This film is a series of short skits arched from a main story about a hopeful screenwriter who is pitching ideas for scripts to a film executive. His ideas are then transformed into the skits that follow. Each skit (of which there are at least a dozen) is shockingly offensive and unfunny and almost always goes for the gross out punch line. Let me illustrate one story as an example. Kate Winslet (one of many top name actors who must have been paid a mint to be lured into this garbage) plays a businesswoman who goes on a blind date with the most eligible bachelor in New York, a charming, handsome and suave lawyer played by Hugh Jackman. They meet at a fancy restaurant where he shows up wearing a scarf. When he removes the scarf he reveals a set of testicles hanging from his neck. Just to make sure we get even more repulsed there is a shot of a pubic hair falling into Winslet’s soup. That may be the most tasteful scene in the movie. Apparently it took almost a decade to get this film made as all the major studios passed on it and it’s easy to see why. What amazes me is the amount of talent that agreed to appear in this junk besides Winslet and Jackman including Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Halle Berry, Richard Gere (who apparently tried to back out of it), Live Schreiber, Uma Thurman and Naomi Watts. Each segment was directed by different people including Peter Farrelly (who along with his brother have created some great movie comedies such as There’s Something About Mary and Kingpin), Brett Ratner and actors Griffin Dunne and Elizabeth Banks. Shame on all of them for this atrocious and disgusting waste of time and talent and the 94 minutes I lost where I could have done something more entertaining such as watching my toes or watching paint dry.