Like all years, Hollywood gives audiences movies that are good, OK and just downright bad. Here’s my take on the latter for the past year.
First up, here are few that didn’t make the cut:
- Fantastic Beasts Crimes of Grindelwald
- Super Troopers 2
- The Nun
- Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom
10. Welcome to Marwen
One of the final releases of 2018 was unfortunately an easy candidate for this list. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, “Marwen” is a poor attempt at adapting the true life story of a man who went through a horrific experience. The complexities of mental health are oversimplified, the film spends way too much time in the imaginary world of Marwen, the script is weak and the female characters are poorly handled.
9. Mortal Engines
“Mortal Engines” was one of 2018’s holiday releases and it ended up being a total flop. Really not all that surprising. The world doesn’t really make sense, the story is convoluted and is largely boring while the dialogue and characters are weak. “Engines,” to its credit, had some nice visuals, but it was nowhere enough to save it.
8. Night School
When a comedy movie isn’t funny, it can be difficult to make it all the way through. “Night School” is such a film, and unfortunately, it’s nearly two hours. The film goes in random directions without consistency while most of the humor is forced. This concept actually had potential and this cast is talented when it comes to comedy, but the execution was a mess.
7. Pacific Rim: Uprising
I really enjoyed 2013’s “Pacific Rim.” So imagine my disappointment when I watched its sequel this year. This sequel had plot holes that invalidated the first one, weak action which lacked the impact and scale of the original and wrote out several main characters from the 2013 film.
The picture also couldn’t figure out what to focus on. Sometimes it was a redemption story about a washed up soldier trying to live up to his family name, while at others, it was about a rookie pilot in seemingly a young adult novel story. There’s even a random love triangle subplot thrown in there that goes nowhere. Probably my biggest disappointment from 2018.
Sitting through “Tag” was painful. See, the film was actually inspired by a true story of a group of seven or eight friends who play the game of tag in a goofy, lighthearted way. It could have made a charming comedy that’s a little quirky.
Nope, screw that. Instead, “Tag” makes the game so overly competitive and extreme that it just feels ridiculous and the humor is reduced to nothing but mostly slapstick and forgettable quips. Plus, the actors didn’t seem to have much chemistry and there was a lack of camaraderie there, not to mention Jeremy Renner was miscast. To make it all worse, the movie throws in the weakest attempt at trying to tug at heart strings.
5. Truth or Dare
“Truth or Dare” seemed like the most run of the mill horror movie. There’s no style and it’s never really all that scary. In fact, whenever someone asks “Truth or Dare,” they have this goofy looking grin on their mug, and it’s laughable. This aspect being funny wasn’t done in a self-aware way, though, as that giant smile was meant to be serious. It doesn’t help that the movie is also loaded with meaningless melodrama between the characters.
4. Mile 22
“Mile 22” was headlined by Mark Wahlberg, and he was completely miscast. The character he’s playing is introduced as a socially awkward genius whose mind is always racing. I noted in my review how these types of characters usually have reserved performances, considering they’re often serious and they’re mind doesn’t really shut down, for example, Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game” and Ryan Gosling in “Drive.”
Wahlberg, though? He plays the role like he’s at a bar and wants to argue about sports. Every moment he’s on screen, he’s screaming, swearing, acting like a smart-ass or making one-liners. It makes the character unlikable and detracts from the movie’s serious tone it’s going for.
The rest of “Mile 22” has action that’s not all that well shot or edited, some faux-political jargon, and a poorly executed framing device. It’s a generic action flick that thinks it’s smarter than it really is.
3. Show Dogs
“Show Dogs” might be the hollowest movie 2018. No other film felt more like it came off the assembly line without substance than this one. “Show Dogs” has a completely generic fish-out-of-water story, phoned in acting and poor humor. Absent from the movie, meanwhile, is passion and heart.
2. The Happytime Murders
The comedic concept of puppets, mostly associated with family programming, involved in drugs, murder and sex is all “The Happytime Murders” had to offer audiences. It loses its luster about 10 minutes in, and it doesn’t help that it’s not even a real novel idea, considering things like the show “Crank Yankers” or a sketch on “Chappelle Show” that also involved puppets exists.
All the humor was low-hanging fruit, too. Even the 2016 movie “Sausage Party” had humor not just based around raunchy comedy, as that picture at least satirized religious zealots and geopolitical situations. It’s not the worst concept, but the execution makes it one of the worst films of the year.
1. The 15:17 to Paris
“15:17 to Paris” had its heart in the right place, but the whole thing was a total mess. Even with Clint Eastwood sitting in the director’s chair, the film still suffered. The plot was all over the place, the pacing was off, there were needless flashbacks and the script was abysmal. Worst of all, though, was the acting.
The three main characters were actually played by the three real life people who stopped this attack. These guys were incredibly brave and deserve every accolade. However, the fact that they weren’t professional actors was painfully obvious in every single scene. Then again, they, and the supporting cast for that matter, weren’t helped by the poor script.