Last year I had a blast watching over 100 movies (143 to be exact) before the year ended, this year I managed a paltry 84 in comparison which almost makes the idea of stating my 50 favourite films of 2014 ever so slightly pointless considering the year it has been and the titles I missed along the way. For instance I am still kicking myself for not having watched Life Itself yet, a film that commemorates as much as celebrates the life of renowned film critic Roger Ebert. I also haven’t seen The Imitation Game despite cries from many of my friends that I must find a place for it on my end of year list. However I will endeavour to stick to tradition and tell you my 50 favourites even if the quality of film in 2014 has left much to be desired.
However first of all we need to talk about what didn’t work this year, the worst of the worst. These are 10 (and a few honourable mentions) films that emerged in one of the weakest years in film history (at least in my opinion) to really depress and enrage audiences beyond belief.
Warning, Spoiler Alert
Honourable Mention 1: 300: Rise of an Empire – I was never a fan of the original 300 but it had its moments, some fine performances and plenty of inventive fighting. Rise of an Empire takes what came before and defecates all over it as director Noam Murro repeats the same tired action moves but with the added pleasure of watching them unfold in ultra slow motion. In fact almost half the film is slowed down for dramatic effect as if the pacing makes a tragic attempt at grandiose storytelling bearable when in fact it just makes it sad.
Honourable Mention 2: Non-Stop – Did you ever have that playground bully that used to tease you incessantly until you just snapped and you did something violent. That is the kind of cat and mouse drivel that Non Stop provides. Neeson, a US Marshall is mocked and picked on by an unknown passenger so much so that he decides to abuse a load of innocent civilians. What a charming little film.
Honourable Mention 3: Walking on Sunshine – Don’t get me wrong, I like musicals. Maybe even more than I should admit so when I came across a musical incorporating the best tracks of the 80s I had to see it, leaving me to wonder what kind of drug can make me unsee it. Cheesier than a Dairylea factory, Walking on Sunshine butchers popular classics in the name of entertainment while forcing you to follow two of the worst human beings ever written. I will never be able to hear Whitney Houston’s classic How Will I Know again without some terrifying beach furniture related flashbacks.
If that gives you any indication of the tripe that follows on the ACTUAL list I beg you to avoid these 10 films at all cost.
10. The Expendables 3 – Sylvester Stallone strikes again with yet another Expendables chapter that feels more like Sly trying desperately to convince people he is still relevant. Both the script and the actors present scream of desperation as Stallone tells a story of experience over youth, something that wouldn’t be played out if the other 2 weren’t about THE EXACT SAME THING. At least I got to see Mel Gibson in something as he proves that even he can elevate a character tragically named Conrad Stonebanks. I mean Stonebanks, seriously?
- Pompeii -How do you make a disaster movie feel less like a disaster movie and more like a colossal waste of time? Why you add a tragic love story for viewers to gag over. Add a hammy Kiefer Sutherland, a truly dreadful Emily Browning and Kit Harington and a disaster that doesn’t start until the 3rd act and you have Pompeii, Paul WS Anderson’s latest attempt at something that doesn’t have zombies. Just go back to what you’re (relatively) good at Paul. Also, Milo the Gaul, you couldn’t pay people to write this nonsense and yet thats what you went ahead and did.
- Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – There was a reason this came out in January. The reboot of this floundering franchise is stunted, predictable and most of all, it’s idiotic. Ryan (Chris Pine) spends most of the film wondering how the Russians are going to collapse the US in one attack and yet he can’t quite seem to figure out that bankrupting a country would do just that. The film ends with a ridiculous attack on the Stock Exchange that could have been prevented from the very beginning by just using some common sense but Ryan is to busy and moronic to do that probably because hes too busy spending most of the films runtime checking into expensive hotels, eating out in expensive restaurants and living like royalty. He is literally the worst spy ever and I’ve seen I Spy with Eddie Murphy.
- Interstellar – Now I know having this here is controversial but I dare you to rewatch Interstellar even if you liked it with the most cynical pair of glasses you have. The plot doesn’t make any sense, the cinematography while stunningly displaying the vastness of space is lazy and completely static meaning many of the film’s action sequences or moments of tension are muted by the fact they all look completely still. However the kicker is the films message, one so heavy handed you feel like you’ve been slapped around by it. If you didn’t figure it out by the end of the film, it’s that love can save the world but the way I see it is that one completely crazy redhead (Jessica Chastain) had a notion that her watch contained a secret message from her father on how to travel to other planets. Because if you can believe that you can believe anything, like Christopher Nolan hasn’t completely lost touch with reality making this overstuffed, overlong piece of pompous garbage. This might mark the end of the Mcconnaisance.
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – All I have to say about this film is that if I were a member of Lizard Squad I would be more offended Sony was going to release this than The Interview. It’s just that bad.
- Noah – I swear at no point in the bible did it mention fallen angel golems helping Noah build his Tardis Arc only to try and murder a load of baby humans for what seemed to be the hell of it. Then again I haven’t read cover to cover. It might just be in the appendices. On the serious side, Russel Crowe should be ashamed of himself for getting involved with a film so tone deaf and ultimately boring that it may have actually turned people away from Christianity just because it gave the impression that stories about God actually sucked the joy out of us.
- The Maze Runner – Considering there is another on the way, I can’t help but think that a large proportion of people went to go and see this unbelievably nonsensical picture. My only hope is that they also tried desperately to wipe any memory of this from their minds as quickly as humanly possible. Being a huge Teen Wolf fan I couldn’t help but watch Dylan O’Brien’s first forray into blockbuster films and what I was given was loads of young adults running away from robot spiders and screaming A LOT. The mythology rich film completely crumbles in its final moments as it forces you to realise that you have been watching a pointless and emotionless tale of man overcoming….man?
- Paranoia – Liam Hemsworth Running, just type that into youtube. It will say wealths more about Paranoia than I ever could.
- Lucy – I love The Fifth Element, it is one of the best Science Fiction films ever made full stop. Lucy, a film also by Luc Besson is one of the worst. A 17 year gap between the two and the only thing that has improved is the visual effects and even the ones in Lucy pale in comparison to the inventive ways visual effects are used in the former. While the concept of Lucy is interesting the film gets more and more outlandish as the film goes on until Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) literally turns into a USB stick. Uh, what?
- I, Frankenstein – Easily the worst film of 2014 and maybe even of the last decade or so, I Frankenstein is a torturous watch. Using the same anti-hero formula of Underworld, a film that clearly inspired this exercise in lunacy, I Frankenstein turns a sympathetic yet monstrous creation into a self involved tool of a man whose only goal in life is to do, nothing? The main character is literally a undead, muscled slob who intends to live out his life doing nothing but actually ends up saving the world in between watching Netflix and trying to get his end away with hot scientist Yvonne Strahovski. The whole message of I Frankenstein is to achieve anything monumental in life you must be willing to be as lazy as humanly possible. Wait, why the hell am I writing this then?
Well there you have it, the 10 worst films to hit cinemas this year. Come back tomorrow for the first part of my 50 Best films of 2014.