While 2013 has been a wonderful year for all things film there have been more than a few turkeys. When I started the year I assumed this list would only be the 10 most disasterous pictures of the year but having reached the end of the year and watching over 170 films I found more then enough bad to counterbalance the good. So without further ado here is the first part of my 25 worst films of 2013 list.
25. Admission – This Tina Fey, Paul Rudd vehicle went under the radar in the UK, mainly because of its lack of big name stars. However the reason Admission makes the list is it’s insulting story of unconventional family values. The film follows Portia (Fey), a college admissions officer who lacks any kind of parenting bone. Watching her try to develop one isn’t as fun as you might think, it’s actually ever so slightly nauseating.
24. Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners is a dark, depressing religious drama and thats about it. Starring an excellent Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners struggles to maintain a compelling crime story for most of the films runtime. The first 40 minutes are taut and mysterious but by the 41st minute you understand everything that is about to take place, every little nuance becomes irritating as you await an ending that brings new meaning to the word predictable.
23. Parker – It’s pretty much a right of passage to have a Jason Statham film on your worst of the year list. That being said the opening of Parker is a fun little exercise in camp action with an armed robbery that proves oddly endearing despite the fire, explosions and all around mayhem. In fact Statham is actually quite good in this as well as his other release this year, the morally ambiguous Redemption (also known as Hummingbird). What sinks Parker is the films dire storyline and the addition of Jennifer Lopez as she proceeds to suck the life out of every scene. If anything Lopez proves the most annoying movie character of the year, and thats saying something.
22. Olympus Has Fallen – Of the two siege in the White House films that were released, Olympus Has Fallen was by far the worst, an exercise in cliched dialogue, boring action and scenery chewing performances from the likes of Aaron Eckhart, Gerard Butler and Morgan Freeman. Directed by Training Day’s Antoine Fuqua, this unfortunate exercise in manliness makes its heroes out to be either idiots (Eckhart’s President Asher) or sociopaths (Butler’s Mike Banning). It’s a distressing mess of American ideals and stupid people.
21.Dead Man Down – This Colin Farrell starrer isn’t your conventional revenge thriller, in fact it is so bizarre there is no possible way it can’t be bad. The film follows Victor (Farell) as he tries to avenge his family and protect his neighbour (not kidding) from gangsters. What follows is surreal at best as Victor puts together one of the clumsiest vendettas ever to grace a screen. Not only does the films conclusion rely heavily on coincidence, its just plain weird.
20. The Paperboy – Lee Daniels is a director synonymous with films about racism and while The Paperboy delves into an era and area ripe with it, the film clumsily fits it into a conventional crime drama. Not only is the film put together awkwardly but Daniels has given his performers permission to ham it up. The only two to come out on top in the film are oddly Zac Efron and Macy Gray, the latter of whom is terrific despite the truly dreadful film she was lumbered with.
19. Playing For Keeps – Back in January I thought there wouldn’t be a film worse than Playing For Keeps and for a while it securely held onto the top spot. That being said the latter half of 2013 brought about a flurry of appalling features to match this Gerard Butler sap fest. The film follows Butler as he tries to become a better father to his son by taking the position of his Football coach. Things don’t go to plan as every mother tries to get a piece of his action. Dumb, crass and even a little bit sexist, Playing For Keeps is yet another misstep for Butler this year.
18.John Dies At the End – From the director of Bubba Ho Tep, John Dies At the End is a surreal depiction of an alien invasion but one where literally everything doesn’t make sense. The film follows friends Dave and John as they set about deciphering a series of weird occurances that started when John appeared out of nowhere saying he is from another time. The film avoids any semblance of rules or realism as this tale gets stranger and stranger with strange insect creatures and dissolving faces. Sure it sounds like a barrell of laughs but it really isn’t any fun when you can’t understand one single thing that is happening.
17.To The Wonder – I understood the point of the long drawn out shots in The Thin Red Line, a great war film from Director Terrence Malick. More recently his films have become extended clip shows of birds flying, beautiful horizons and strange storytelling. Tree of Life was bad enough but To The Wonder is a new level of pretentious. Not only do its two lead characters (Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko) wander around rarely saying anything of any importance but they are horrible pod people with no concept of human emotion or conversation. Malick is clearly making a comment on religion and emotional connection but its lost on me as all the pretty pretty colours and pictures don’t mean a damn without a story to back it up.
16. Summer In February – There have been plenty of good films about art this year from Quartet to Renoir. Summer In February is not one of them. This drawn out film about a love triangle between a young artist (Emily Browning) and her two suitors, one a fellow artist (the perpetually dreadful Dominic Cooper) , the other a soldier (Dan Stevens). The film depicts the difference between the artist and the realist only to show its really the realist who is the romantic. The film’s central story is short and doesn’t really support the entire film as Browning bores as a naive and ever so irritating little rich girl and Cooper makes it very easy to hate him. The only plus is Stevens who has moved away from Downton but is still a reliable and entertaining actor.
What do you think should be here? Let me know your picks for some of the worst films in the comments and keep an eye out for part 2.