So You Saw The Shaynie’s-My Favourite Movies From My Favourite Categories. Now Here’s The 10 Worst I Saw From 2015
Welcome to the very first presentation of the Tragedies, the yin side to the Shaynie’s (my favourite movies from my favourite categories) yang. But unlike the Shaynie’s-which celebrate a year’s best movie achievements and entertainment-the Tragedies are the ten movies I considered either the most disappointing or just the absolute worst. It’s my version of the Raspberries, only without the nominations. Or the presentation ceremony. Or the budget.
I’d like to say enjoy, but there was precious little to enjoy about these cinematic train wrecks.
- Hot Pursuit: Lukewarm Chase would have been a more accurate description. This story of an anal retentive, by the book cop (Reese Witherspoon) trying to get the wife of a drug lord (Sofia Vergara) to Washington D.C. to testify was supposed to ride the coat tails of other female buddy movies like the Heat. But there was zero chemistry between the two leads, Vergara spent most of the time clicking her tongue and rolling her eyes and Witherspoon looked stupid trying to convince everyone she had a stick inserted in her rectum. Unfunny and boring, Hot Pursuit was a huge disappointment.
- Poltergeist: File this one in the most unnecessary remake category. Usually, a remake will try to bring something new and fresh to the table, but too often Poltergeist simply xeroxed pivotal scenes from the classic yet somehow managed to rob them of their weight (when you stick closely to the original plot, there isn’t exactly a whole lot of surprises headed the audience’s way). On the few occasions where the remake wandered from the original’s path, it was underwhelming at best. And somehow, the whole thing seemed to take place on a smaller scale then Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, despite having special effects three decades more advanced.
- Lazarus Effect: Lazarus Effect was, at best, a made for TV movie that should have aired on one of those crappy cable channels nobody wants but has to buy to get HBO Canada or the Food Channel. Starring Olivia Wilde and a bunch of actors culled from TV shows, Lazarus Effect looked like it had a production budget of twenty bucks and none of it was invested in script writing. The story was predictable, the characters wooden and unoriginal and the movie was just plain boring. Lazarus Effect was the first horror movie I suffered through in 2015, and it turned out it was just a taste of the disappointment the year’s “horror” movies had in store for me.
- Terminator Genisys: You know how fondly you think of the first two Terminator movies? The ones directed by James Cameron and were actually, y’know, good? Yeah, following Terminator Genisys, they never happened. Gensisys wiped those two movies from Terminator continuity entirely, ignored the third and fourth installments altogether and left the entire franchise up in the air. Everyone and their brother had a time machine in this movie, everyone was jumping around the Space/Time continuum like they were Dr. Who and every model of Terminator made an appearance for absolutely zero reason. The acting was wooden and the characters unlikeable, an aging Schwarzenegger was reduced to comic relief for most of the film and the entire thing made absolutely no sense. I went into Genisys with low expectations and was still let down. I may not get the chance to be disappointed again though; Paramount suspended production on planned sequels following Genisys’s terrible North American box office performance. It looks like after three decades and five films, Arnie’s chrono-travelling cyborg has finally run out of time (sorry, couldn’t resist).
- Crimson Peak: This was 2015’s last shot at providing me with my scary movie fix before I waved good-bye to the year. Directed by the legendary Guillermo del Toro and starring an impresive cast, the trailers looked brilliant. They were also Hollywood’s biggest bait–and-switch job of 2015. You know how the commercials sold Crimson Peak on TV? Like it was a supernatural story centered around a demonic house that consumed the souls of those trapped within it, a malevolent evil constantly hungry for new pain and fresh sacrifice? How it told the story of a young girl who became trapped in the horrific madness, forced to unravel the terrifying mystery behind this ancient house and the family that owns it before becoming yet another victim. Sounds awesome, right? Too bad the movie had absolutely nothing to do with any of that, but was instead a boring and predictable detective story that included a single ghost as a set piece, told a mystery that could be solved in five minutes and didn’t even try to throw any surprises the audience’s way. Jessica Chastain was awesome as the deadly, domineering matriarch, but everything else was boring stacked on top of more boring. Crimson Peak was the last horror movie I saw in 2015, while the aforementioned Lazarus Project was the first. They were perfect bookends of horrible with nothing but bad in between.
- Chappie: Chappie was supposed to succeed where Transcendence failed in 2014. It was supposed to be an entertaining yet thought provoking examination of the human condition in the face of emerging technological superiority and the ethics behind creating independent intelligence. Supposed to be. It turned out to be a meandering tale about the human misuse of force (Seriously Hollywood, I can just turn on CNN or CPAC for the real thing-I don’t need to lay down eleven bucks and give up two hours of my life to know that people are inherently jackasses) that got bogged down beneath the weight of its own self importance and never got around to even asking the question that it claimed to be answering in the first place. When director Neil Blomkamp gave us the brilliant District 9 in 2009, he set himself up as the a film maker who would use sci-fi to illustrate the big issues and make us ask ourselves the tough questions. But following Elysium and now Chappie, his star hasn’t just faded; it’s fallen.
- Sinister 2: I soooo wanted this to be good. After being burned by horror movies most of the year, I was hoping the sequel to 2012’s surprisingly decent Sinister would renew my faith in Hollywood’s fear factory. No such luck. The awkward, stumbling deputy who befriended Ethan Hawke’s doomed writer from the original returned, still without a name and still just as much of a putz as he was in the first one. Which would be fine for a supporting character but this is the hero who was supposed to go mano et mano against an ancient Pagan god that’s been preying upon and corrupting human beings for thousands of years. It was a lazy storytelling premise that undermined the entire movie. He didn’t have to be Rambo or even Fox Mulder, but at least give the man a name. Sinister 2 didn’t even add anything new to the franchise’s mythos, instead choosing to rehash details uncovered in the first one. The only thing that was scary about this flick was that someone with a big fancy title and big fat annual salary thought it would actually be scary.
- Seventh Son: When a movie’s original release date is moved back to give it a less competitive slot on the calendar, it should be a sign of how bad that film probably is. When the same movie is only offered in 3-D to wring a few extra dollars from every ticket sale, you know the studio has already thrown in the towel. A fantasy movie that looked like it might have had a hint of potential, Seventh Son fell flat on its face from the opening credits. The portions of the plot that weren’t recycled from previous fantasy movies about witch hunters were predictable and boring as the movie stumbled from one pointless CGI scene to the next. If you didn’t guess how this movie was going to end ten minutes after the opening credits it’s probably because you fell asleep. And judging by their performances, the veterans of the cast wished they were asleep too. Former Oscar darlings Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore looked like they were sleepwalking through a miserable work-week, just trying to make it until they could pick up their paycheques at the end.
- Pixels: Let’s hope movie studios learned their lesson from this failed exercise in 80’s nostalgia and aren’t giving Adam Sandler anymore movie money. This action/comedy was designed to appeal strictly to fans of video games designed before 1982, which excluded the most popular games of the video game revolution. After Pac-Man and Space Invader you had, what, Frogger? While this may have appealed to movie goers in their fifties, anyone not familiar with long forgotten names like Atari and Coleco had no way to relate to this film’s entire raison d’etre (a fact reflected by Pixel’s dismal box office). Most of the leads looked bored (especially Sandler), and while Josh Gatt’s portrayal of a stereotypical gaming geek/conspiracy nut was initially amusing, it wore thin well before the movie’s halfway point. Pixels was essentially a mildly amusing twenty minute walk down pop culture memory lane wrapped in an hour and half of pointless cliché and suck.
- Fantastic Four: When a director tweets that fans shouldn’t blame him for the hot mess of movie that bears his name the day before said movie is scheduled to be released, that’s a really bad sign. When that movie is a summer blockbuster that’s been getting hyped since the Superbowl, you know it’s catastrophic.
The problems between director Josh Trank and Fox were well documented and the fallout from their divorce (which saw Trank thrown off the project before the movie was even completed) cost him his gig directing this December’s Star Wars: Rogue One. But even if Trank completed his “vision,” it probably would have been just as bad since they messed everything up across the board. Deliberately. They decided to take the Fantastic Four, who’ve spent 75 years being bright and shiny beacons of scientific exploration and knowledge, a family of super heroes living on the frontier of innovation and progress, and make it a gritty Batman film full of brooding, darkness and body horror. Not only did they turn Dr. Doom, one of the greatest comic book villains of all time, into an angry science student with an axe to grind, but they also made the final confrontation between the heroes and villain into the lamest, most anti-climactic fight scene ever. This movie failed on every level because it chose to. Making the conscious choice to be such a colossal failure makes Fantastic Four the granddaddy of 2015’s movie Tragedies.