The 10 worst films of 2013

Photo Credit: Photo by Peter Mountain – © Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc. All Rights Reserved
December 23rd, 2013

While I work tirelessly on my "Best of the Year", i'd say that my worst list is pretty much set. I hate to say it was a terrible year at the movies, especially since as the year went on we started getting some really groundbreaking pieces of work (Gravity and 12 Years a Slave ring some bells), but lets just say the first third of the year wasn't a dream come true and the summer, which I think i'll always remember more for an eerie prediction that Steven Spielberg and George Lucas made about mega-budget movies flopping (and then several mega-budget movies in turn ended up flopping shortly after), wasn't hugely memorable either. I see that many of the movies on the list have been hold-outs from the first 6 months of the year so the year did get better but there were definitely some areas, particularly the blockbusters, where i'm hoping for better in 2014. But while you wait for the best, here's a helping of the worst for your holiday viewing; maybe show them while the relatives you hate come over for company, or if you're looking to get rid of beer bottles during New Years, you'll have a reason to throw them at the screen. Enjoy!  


(Photo by Ben Rothstein – © 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. - All Rights Reserve)
10. Grudge Match- The geriatric boxing comedy that nobody asked for, complete with nothing but incredibly stale and overused pot-shots at the old, short, fat, and stupid. Even the eventual boxing match looks half-assed. 


9. Grown Ups 2- Sandler, Rock, Spade, and James find a new way to define the term lazy, screwing around for an hour and a half finding all the ways they can to tell pee and poop jokes while mocking fat kids, butch women, and gays. It’s not so much bad as just another example of comedians who have stopped trying. Miserable.


(Photo by Alan Markfield – © 2012 - Open Road Films)
8. The Host- Here’s a surprise: Stephanie Meyer’s writing isn’t terrible. Unfortunately directors who seem to know how to bring her work to the screen rank as very few. Andrew Niccol turns what is a compelling story of examining humanity on the page into a goofy, soulless bore on screen.



(Photo by David Lee – © Focus Features)

7. Admission- The script tries to be several different things at once (funny, oddly enough, is never one of them) while Paul Rudd and Tina Fey do nothing more than phone-in performances. It's a mess, it's unbearably boring, and it's one of the few comedies I can recall that doesn't even produce a smile let alone a belly laugh. This college-comedy is a comedy drop-out.



(Photo by Bob Mahoney – © 2013 - Universal Pictures)

6. Identity Thief- “The Heat” at least made it seem like Melissa McCarthy might have a movie future but this was all lame jokes (“Sandy is a girls name”), throat-punching, and McCarthy overplaying every scene without much of a net as a character that tries to be both sympathetic and shameless but winds up being neither.



(Photo by John Johnson – © 2011 Twenty One and Over Productions, Inc)

5. 21 and Over- Another college comedy that misses the point of the comedy part and instead winds up being another in a long line of obnoxious, offensive, mysoginistic, and vile movies about guys who think that getting loaded and peeing on people, breaking into a sorority and forcing the girls who live their into kinky sexual acts, and degrading their Asian friend basically because he's Asian is hilarious. In a year filled with garbage comedies, this still stands out in the worst way possible. 





4. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane- A horror movie that should have went straight to DVD, director Jonathan Levine (“50 50”) shows considerable non-skill here, oogling the hot young things in this high school horror movie but then lethargically setting up and carrying out kills. No one in the movie is likable and the killer is obvious after the first five minutes.



2013 - Paramount Pictures)


2013 - Universal Pictures)

3. Hansel and Gretel + R.I.P.D- I put the two together because they each seem so similar. Both refused to show themselves early for critics, both seemed to have production problems long before that decision was made, both have nearly no laughs, few thrills, plots that barely hold together, and some really godawful special effects, and both have acting duos, majorly slumming it in roles that are doing them no favors, who will probably look back on their experiences with these movies as some of the least fun they've ever had on set (actually Jeff Bridges has already said as much publically). Having had to watch both, I commiserate with them.




2012 - erbp)

2. Upstream Color- Over his decades long career, Terrance Mallick has done well in crafting stories where dialogue isn’t so important as following the images on the screen. Shane Carruth tries to do the same thing here but the result is absolute torture; nothing more than random scenes that I defy anyone to put in any kind of coherent fashion. This is the kind of pretentious indie film that gives Indie film a bad name.



(Photo by Peter Mountain – © ?Disney Enterprises, Inc. and Jerry Bruckheimer Inc. All Rights Reserved)

1. The Lone Ranger- I read an article recently about how this movie was actually a good indictment of the American industrial complex and at center Depp gives a great performance as an Indian shamed into selling out his own people. Heady stuff for a family film where Depp seems to spend most of his time doing his own Indian minstrel show, doing painfully unfunny bits like talking to and trying to feed the stuffed bird on his head, while his stiff co-star Armie Hammer brings nothing to the table at all. There's also endless runaway train sequences, bland villains who might as well be twirling a long mustache, bland plotting, a bloated running time, and in what was the tipping point for me, a scene of senselessly slaughtering Indians followed in the very next scene by a return back to the "fun." For me this movie came to define everything that was wrong with this summer, a huge budget for something that was unbearably misguided. If this is meant to be a history lesson, its a light one at best but if its meant to be entertaining, then we really are in trouble.