As the year draws to a close, it’s time to take one more look back at some of the films that had me slapping my forehead in disgust, impatiently checking my watch or simply had me throwing up my hands in powerless and utter resignation. We take one last look back at the Ten Worst Movies of 2015.
As has been discussed in private with my colleagues and friends or in interviews or podcasts, we have summarized that seventy percent of movies released, on average, are bad. While bad is a broad designation, there are varying degrees that encompass mostly unwatchable movies.
Sometimes, there are concepts that look good on paper but are poorly executed and the result is disappointing failure (Tomorrowland, Mortdecai and By the Sea), simply misguided attempts from major stars that are laughably bad (The Last Witch Hunter and Victor Frankenstein), or just bad ideas that are ridiculously bad (The Duff, San Andreas, Unfriended and The Seventh Son).
While there were so many worthy candidates, we whittled them down to the ten stinkers that sucked all of the joy out of a pleasant night at the movies. Without further ado, here are the films that ended up on the bottom of the cinematic barrel:
10. Love the Coopers
This misguided holiday ensemble film was a disaster from the beginning. Badly cast, no chemistry, and a sappy, silly storyline that equals a movie that is the antithesis of what the holiday represents. Seriously, Diane Keaton and John Goodman as a “couple?” The movie feels like the joke’s on film audience and THEY are the ones getting punked!
Good buddies and former SNL castmates Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have enjoyed a successful run as humorous comedic duo. They’ve hosted the Golden Globes and even had heart-warming return on SNL but their latest film is a true anomaly, a film starring this duo that simply isn’t funny. Maybe they are stretching themselves too thin but I’d rather watch you ladies be “sisters” in comedy instead of EVER watching this lame attempt again!
In the mid-80s, Harry Carson of the New York Giants began a tradition that every time the New York Giants would win a game, they’d throw Gatorade on the head coach to symbolize the victory. Chances are that if Adam Sandler is in your movie then for studios it is the equivalent that your movie is going to be a disappointment. The first of two films on this list, Sandler, his buddy Kevin James along with Peter Dinklage create a mishmash of a story that neither appeals to children or adults. Aliens, video characters, and bad screenwriting spells DISASTER!
7. The Visit
Since the rousing success with his debut film, The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan has been like a filmmaker trying to find his cinematic high. Movie after movie, he’s tried without either changing his writing game or achieving that type of success. His latest is a story that is typical Shyamalan, it has the mood, the “creep” factor and the other ingredients but what it doesn’t have is any common sense. The twist in this story is so obvious that Stevie Wonder could see it coming a mile away. Once you take that away, it easy to see that the Emperor has NO clothes . . . and neither does this head-slapping story.
6. The Cobbler
One of the greatest mysteries in Hollywood is how Adam Sandler continues to get opportunities to tank movies. In recent years, he has been responsible for stinkers such as Blended, Grown Ups 1 and 2 and Jack and Jill. Nevermind that his early stinkbomb, Pixels is also on this list but this story of a man who assumes the identity of others when he puts on their shoes simply takes the cake of badness. When watching Sandler acts it almost appears that there is a sign of resignation that he is giving his best but it’s not remotely good enough. Mr. Sandler, PLEASE stop, there are better uses for both your and our time.
5. The Fantastic Four
It is rare in the golden age of comic superhero films that there is a franchise that has taken TWO cracks and still can’t develop a winning formula. Possessing flawed characters, bad direction and a bad script/special effects, this film was D.O.A. when it opened and even had some concerned that the film would harm rising star, Michael B. Jordan’s career. With all of the money being generated by films in this genre, it’s hard to find those that aren’t successful but this franchise is clearly one!
There is not another recent film that has featured so much credible A-list talent in front of and behind the scenes that bombed so badly. Writer/director Cameron Crowe’s story of a military contractor (Bradley Cooper) returning to Hawaii to organize a traditional blessing for the opening of a new gate appeared to be an exercise of trying to fit a host of square pegs into round holes. Despite Emma Stone, Bill Murray, Alec Baldwin, Rachel McAdams, Danny McBride and Cooper, there was NO saving this film that rambled on incoherently and literally made no sense. Trust me, in the future no one will acknowledge being a part of this movie mess!
3. Rock the Kasbah
From one bad idea to another, writer/director Barry Levinson’s idea of a has-been rock manager finds himself in Kabul, who discovers a young Afghan girl and manages her through Afghanistan’s version of American Idol. Bill Murray feels like he’s playing a caricature of himself with both Kate Hudson and Bruce Willis looking like they wish they were anyplace other than on the set of this woeful film. Much like some of the other films on this list, there appears to be a major disconnect between a good idea and a good film – the two are NOT mutally exclusive!
Nostalgia is a very funny thing. There are films that are remembered fondly from the past but attempts to reintroduce for a new generation always don’t work out as planned. This film would fall under this description as some studio executive thought the idea of bringing back this story after three decades and attempting to recreate the tone would be a good idea. What the filmmakers ended up with was a crass, crude, unfunny story that tested all the patience that this critic possessed NOT to bail out and leave this film prematurely.
1. Jupiter Ascending
The first and only filmmaker that was able to find success with space soap opera was George Lucas and his creation, Star Wars. The makers of The Matrix, Lana and Andy Wachowski gave it their best attempt and let’s just say that the results were the polar opposite of Lucas’ experience. Despite Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum and Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, the screenplay by the Wachowski’s was largely incoherent and an unmitigated disaster. This is the type of failure that could kill a career!