It felt really great to get back to the movie theaters in 2021, after having been away for most of 2020 because of the pandemic.
Like always, though, there were a good deal of bad movies in 2021, too. They weren’t confined to the theaters, either.
Here were my lowest rated movies from the last year.
10. Don’t Look Up
“Don’t Look Up” is a classic example of “it’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” While the threat at play in the movie is about a comet, it’s really a metaphor for the climate crisis, and the difficulties in making progress to solve the issue.
It’s a good message, but the execution was rather poor. The humor is rarely funny, often in an awkward spot between being too obvious for a smart satire, but not exaggerated enough to capture the absurdity of the situation.
The film’s dramatic elements are a let down, as well. The film earns just a few points for its talented cast making the most of the film and director Adam McKay’s snappy style.
I can appreciate ambitious stories in films, and “Bliss” certainly offers one. There are some good ideas at play, but those ideas are never fully realized well in this feature on Amazon Prime.
The film is severely undercut by awkward pacing, with a first half that feels far too rushed and a latter portion that’s too slow for a climax. The film’s third act is especially messy. Plus, the film’s dialogue is also bloated with exposition.
Unlike the last MCU movie to get released in 2021, “Eternals” was a largely lifeless affair. The movie spends so much time spinning its wheels with a repetitive “getting the band back together” adventure, and then ends with a forgettable finale.
Many of the film’s attempts at deeper themes and serious points are often hurt by poor humor attempts. The characters themselves aren’t too memorable, the action is just OK and it’s ultimately just boring.
7. Red Notice
“Red Notice” feels like such a factory-line produced comedy. Every part of the film feels so generic and formulaic, that it comes across like it was calculated in a board room.
There’s a second act that goes on far too long, an immensely dumb twist, weak action and comedy that plays it too safe. It doesn’t help that the leading trio are just basically playing exaggerated versions of themselves.
“Boogie” was a film with aspects of a sports movie, a family drama and a coming of age story. Sadly, it failed at nearly all of these. The writing simply didn’t hold up with these elements.
The sports moments felt cliche, the main romance was awkward and the family situations were melodramatic. What really hurt the movie, though, was the unlikable titular character, Boogie himself. By the end of the movie, the character is without much of an arc.
It was also noticeable how the film makes it seem like the main character is in danger of not getting a scholarship for basketball because he might miss out on one school. There are 350 DI college basketball programs in the country. If he is as good as the movie shows, he’d get a damn offer.
5. The Woman in the Window
This Amy Adams vehicle was a convoluted mess, with much more focus on style than substance. While there are some good visual elements, the storytelling and plotting are quite poor.
Additionally, the film lacks urgency and suspense, while also having a twist that turns out to be a dud. The only bright spot in the film is a final brawl that involves a hand rake.
4. Halloween Kills
“Halloween Kills” is a film with a lot going on, while having little idea of where to go. The latest in the horror franchise was an aimless installment, coming across like a disjointed group of scenes, rather than a coherent movie building to something.
This is partially because the movie branches out far too much by following several other characters, some new and some from the original 1978 picture. It ends up being too much for the film’s structure.
The film is also lacking when it comes to suspense or genuine scares. There’s some brutal kills, but that’s about all. What there is, though, is a moment with a mob at a hospital that’s unintentionally funny.
3. Home Sweet Home Alone
Filmmakers of a sequel trying to set their work apart from the original is a good thing. However, the concept the makers of “Home Sweet Home Alone” used in their attempt was the wrong one.
The film makes the robbers a sympathetic couple who let a situation get out of hand. The problem is watching them get severely injured simply isn’t funny or enjoyable to watch. It’s the polar opposite of the conniving, but bumbling, villains of the first two.
Another detriment is how the film has an overall mean spirited-ness. It went beyond simply familial frustrations and being overwhelmed by the holidays. The characters were simply unlikable, including the film’s protagonist Max.
2. Tom and Jerry
“Tom and Jerry” felt completely like a soulless cash grab. There is so little heart or charm with this movie, that it felt like the filmmakers could’ve swapped Tom and Jerry with any other cartoon characters, and it wouldn’t make a difference.
In part, the whole concept of Tom and Jerry works against itself in a feature. Prey Vs. predator animated situations work best as shorts, where the prey foils a predator’s plan.
In a full feature, though, it’s harder to pull off. This film certainly doesn’t do its titular characters any favors with this issue, as the whole movie revolves around a low stakes affair of a new, third character having to get a big event right to save their career.
What also hurts the film is Jerry being completely unlikable. Audiences are supposed to side with the prey, from Jerry, to Tweety Bird, and even the Road Runner and Bugs Bunny. That’s not the case with this one, as Jerry right from the beginning and onward is always screwing people over.
1. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
The sequel to “Escape Room” is the type of film where it gets worse and worse as it goes on. What beings as an already below average horror flick wears an audience down with bland, boring adventures through room after room with generic characters.
The film probably could have gotten away with this, though, if it had some entertaining gore. However, that’s completely lacking here with a PG-13 rating. There’s not even a limb getting lost.
On top of that, and the various rooms being mostly let downs, the movie’s ending is just insulting. The film ends with a stupid plot twist, followed by an awful set-up for a potential sequel.
There’s no payoff in this whole tedious feature for audiences, and it makes the ending message of “hey, we got your money this time and we we’re going to make another one in two years!” upsetting.