“The point is not to avoid all Stupid Movies, but to avoid being a Stupid Moviegoer.” – Roger Ebert
I imagine many occupations are ones where you can say you “learn on the job”. As a (potential) movie critic, I can say that you never stop learning.
Still, I am not immune to making mistakes, and the following are the fifty movies of the 2010s that left that taste in your mouth that you are grateful to get rid of, but cannot forget the experience.
In short, I would rather watch the Sharknado films.
After the huge success and universal claim of the Toy Story sequels, Pixar decided to go with Cars 2 (2011), which skidded off the road completely. The first film was a fine (and underrated) tale of finding where one belongs. The second had something to do with car spies or whatever. All the more reason why I avoided the third film.
I should confess when I was in High School and heard that there was going to be a stage musical about the land of OZ before Dorothy arrived, I thought it sounded stupid. I was obviously wrong, and Wicked was amazing. When OZ: The Great and Powerful (2013) was announced, I had that same feeling, and I was right that time. It isn’t that it had bad lessons to teach us: It was that the lessons were already in the original.
Cars 2 was the beginning of a small sour point in Pixar’s career, but it did not disappoint me as much as Brave (2012). Like Cars 2, it is no where near being mentioned when talking about the best of the Pixar canon, and the fact that it beat Wreck it Ralph at the Oscars for Best Animated Feature in 2013 still infuriates me today.
I don’t entirely fault director Josh Trank for Chronicle (2012): It was one of his first films and he was stretching his wings. The same can be said for the actors (I totally forgot that Michael B. Jordan was in this film). The “found footage” story of how three High Schoolers got there superpowers and what it does to them is well intentioned but forgettable.
When you have a writer/director like James L. Brooks attached to a film, it is nigh impossible to avoid it. This makes How do You Know (2010) all the more tragic (which is not what you want a Rom Com to be). All of the cast (including Jack Nicholson in his only role this decade) were given a script that needed its screws tightened drastically.
DC had enormous pressure this decade, trying to play catch up with Marvel. While not all of the MCU offerings were great (Thor: The Dark World missed this list by a hair or two), they at least had more than enough that were passable. The same cannot entirely be said for DC, and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) is a prime example. Lets just be honest: the fight scene between the title characters is all that was memorable, and the introduction of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), whose later solo film would be DC’s best to date. Oh, and don’t get me started on Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.
Even great actors can give bad performances, and Maggie Gyllenhaal is a great actress. In Won’t Back Down (2012), where she plays a single mother trying to get her daughter the best education in a system teachers have lost their drive, she over does the performance. I come from a family of teachers, and I don’t know many of them who talk about this film much anymore.
Probably the most forgettable film on my list, Priest (2011) would have gone higher (or lower?) had I remembered much about this vampire flick.
Tom Hardy was probably the best choice for playing Eddie Brock, but Venom (2018) ended up being an origin story that would not see more promise coming in the future (unless, of course, the MCU could get their hands on it). Also, the movie suffers from one of the most important factors needed in a comic book film: it has a lackluster villain.
Speaking of lackluster villains, the idea of having gang of them sounds promising on paper, but the stories behind Suicide Squad (2016) are almost more intriguing than the film itself (I had to google the villain Enchantress, she is that lame). Will Smith may seem an odd fit as Deadshot, but he at least dodged a bullet (pun intended) by skipping on another film later to be named. Even Jared Leto’s Joker is beginning to be put in the rearview mirror. The only true gem of the film is Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.
I was one of many who was bought by the trailer of The Goldfinch (2019) that it could be an awards contender. Alas, word got around quick that the movie was all over the place with its story, and everyone in the talented cast could not save it.
When Jurassic World brought us back loads of 90s nostalgia, I was happy. It wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done. When Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) came out, my head was shaking in shame. Cloning dinosaurs is one thing: humans is another. It was the franchise’s lowest part since the third movie giving us a Raptor yelling “Alan!”.
What was so broke about the 1992 animated classic that Disney decided to fix in the live action Aladdin (2019)? I know most will say money, but it’s not like the original did not make a lot of money. Anyone who thinks Will Smith (who is indeed charming and talented) passed off as the Genie doesn’t truly appreciate what Robin Williams did in the original. I would call it my least favorite of the live action remakes (The Lion King would be on this list if the CGI was not so spectacular), but…
Tim Burton is easily one of the most stylistic directors we have, but what he did with Dumbo (2019) was just…off. The first half was remade nearly every way (“Baby Mine” was a huge let down), and the second half was totally out of left field weird. Throwing in Michael Buffer yelling “Let’s get ready for DUMBO!!!!” was the final nail in the coffin.
Iron Man 2 may have been very sub par, but it was not the worst thing Jon Favreau did this decade. That goes to Cowboys & Aliens (2011). Though a somewhat interesting concept, the film takes itself too seriously and leaves us without any whimsical fun.
When it comes to the greatest movie trilogies, the original Lord of the Rings is one of them (the only other trilogy that comes to mind first is the original Star Wars). That said, making The Hobbit Trilogy (2012-2014) was nothing short of a money grab. The original Tolkien book was my favorite growing up, and maybe could have been two movies at most. A shame, because I did like Martin Freeman as Bilbo.
Throughout the decade, I have seen Dwayne Johnson (you know, The Rock) in films that made me feel he deserves much better. Films such as San Andreas (2015), where he plays a helicopter pilot trying to save his family from one big earthquake. He is beyond a charming screen presence, and should be given scripts worthy of it.
I have yet to read a Stephen King novel, but I have heard one of his best is The Dark Tower. I have also heard that the film version of The Dark Tower (2017) is one of his worst adaptations. That is an understatement. Matthew McConaughey cast as the villain was one risk that did not pay off at all.
Sometimes, I go to a movie and I really want to like it. Me before you (2016) was one such film, and I should have realized how wrong I was when I soon realized I would be the only one in the theater. I am all about romantic films that may get your eyes wet, but this was not one of them.
I have always stated that “Christian” movies are hardly ever good (though I try my darnedest to defend those I like). The Grace Card (2011) is melodrama with more sap than pancakes at a third rate Bed and Breakfast. To the person who got me The Grace Card as a Christmas gift, I hope my inclusion of it on here is not going to ruin our friendship. Perhaps you forgot you gave it to me in the first place.
Another example of a very forgettable rom com, the situation in which the main characters of Life as we Know (2010) it is as fictitious as any film in any genre. You could read the plot on IMDB and put the pieces together in your head and you will find out what happens by yourself.
As wonderful an actor as Robert Downey Jr. is, his performance in the first Sherlock Holmes in 2009 the only redeeming thing. In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), even he can’t save the film. Thankfully, we will always have the immensely better version with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Maybe I asked too much of The Meg (2018). I mean, I know all movies about sharks will forever have to live under the shadow of Jaws. Maybe I have seen too many movies to see what was going to happen a mile away. Maybe I am just not a fan of Jason Statham (who has been playing the same character since I first saw him in The Transporter). Or maybe, just maybe, The Meg was chum.
I was such a huge fan of director Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 (in 2009) that it made Chappie (2015) all the more disappointing. It takes so much from District 9 that it lacks originality, and resulted in a movie that needed many more rewrites.
I am getting to a point in my movie going that I can start predicting what the pitch meetings would be for certain movies. When I look back at The Tourist (2010), I can guess that, after the producers said “Let’s get Depp and Jolie”, nothing much was said.
Eventually, you knew M. Night Shyamalan would make his way on my list. With After Earth (2013), M. Night makes Will Smith (who is on this list yet again, though here will be his last) as charmless as he has ever been. It is also proof that Jayden Smith does not have much of his dad’s acting chops.
As a huge Doctor Who fan, I am reminded of how the tenth doctor (David Tennant) once said that time travel is like a “big ball of wibbily wobbly, timey wimey…stuff”. I thought of that when I saw Terminator: Genysis (2015), which tries to be new by…pretending the best films of the franchise did not happen? What? Why?
Of all the films on the list, I have used The Emoji Movie (2017) as a punchline the most. The concept of what is in our phones seems cool, but holy moly the execution of the idea and the jokes are beyond meh.
Alien is one of the greatest sci-fi horror films ever made. Life (2017) is nothing more than a rip off of that classic. It also had one of the worst plot twists I have seen in sometime. Perhaps the worst since Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes remake in 2001. We were better left off alone indeed.
Joey King is a great actress, but she is handed one of the weakest scripts of the decade in The Kissing Booth (2018). Some high school rom coms can work (such as the underrated gem All the Boys I loved before), but this ain’t even close to working. I know a lot of teen girls were a fan of this (my little sister being one of them), but it is one I predict they will look back at and realize it was not as good as they thought.
Another Netflix original, The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) was known mainly for being kept secret from the public until it’s trailer was released during Superbowl LII, coming out on Netflix after the game. I am highly doubtful I am alone when I say it should have stayed secret.
Am I the only one who thinks this franchise has totally lost its charm? When we first met Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow, we were smitten. Now, with the latest being Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017), that charm has expired. This franchise has sunk.
Speaking of bad franchises. I have heard good things about Bumblebee, but after 2017’s Transformers: The Last Knight (and another film to be named later on), I could not trust in Optimus and company anymore. What I hated that most about the film was that I could not hate it more.
This one is kind of cheating, because I actually did not finish Zookeeper (2011). I take pride in saying that I have never walked out on a movie in my life, so seeing Zookeeper at home keeps that streak alive. I just came up with a game: I decided to guess what would happen at the end of the film, and checked the results on wiki. I was pretty close.
I stated before that Josh Trank must indeed be a talent director, and it does seem clear that Fant4stic Four (2015) was not at all his fault entirely (as he would famously tweet about how the studio messed up his vision). In any case, the result would be arguably the worst superhero film of the decade.
A raunchy comedy to say the absolute least, I saw Hall Pass (2011) only because my brothers and I could not find another movie that weekend. Though unmarried at the moment, I venture to guess that this idea of guys getting a chance to go away from their wives for a time is something no sane woman would agree to.
The animated series was just after my time, so my experience with M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender (2010) was not as offensive as it was to those I know who cherished the TV show. Still, even those without any knowledge of the original material need not try hard to see this film for what it is: an atrocity of epic proportions.
The original Ben-Hur with Charlton Heston was an epic that won 11 Oscars (one of three to have that record), and ranks as one of the best biblical films ever made. The Ben-Hur (2016) remake is lazy, boring, and offers nothing new to the viewer.
Roland Emmerich is second only to Michael Bay when it comes to directors who blow things up real good. In White House Down (2013), he blows up most of the White House, as well as government and the sense behind it. After seeing this, for the briefest of moments, I considered moving to Canada.
Remember when I said Will Smith dodged a bullet?
Emmerich strikes again, but this time, he hit me (as well as anyone else who lived in the 90s) right in the core of my nostalgia. The original Independence Day was a staple of my childhood, but Independence Day: Resurgence (2016) was like dumping sewage on the first film. The end of the film sets us up for a sequel that, undoubtedly, no one will be asking for.
This (as well as many of those in my bottom ten) was one of those times I went to see the film because I had to see if it was as bad as I had heard. Well, on that basis, The Snowman (2017) did not disappoint. A murder mystery that is so bad it is bizarre.
Before seeing Gotti (2018), the answer to “What is the worst mob movie ever made?” was not easy to come to. I am a fan of John Travolta, but it is clear this is another film he would wish was not a part of. The dialogue of this film crosses that line of “so bad it is funny” to “so bad it is just bad”.
Coco was a wonderful Pixar film, but those of us who saw it in the theater may remember there was a hurdle to climb in the shape of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure (2017). The theater I went to had to put a sign out saying that Coco would start much later than normal due to this “short” film before it. Olaf’s Frozen Adventure was around 20 minutes long. Disney clearly should have put it on TV, and not to waste the time of those of us who did not ask for it.
The Wachowskis wowed us with The Matrix, but very little else. I can’t remember much of anything story wise from Jupiter Ascending (2015), because the story goes on so many tangents. It also does not help when you have the talented Eddie Redmayne giving one of the most obscure performances of recent memory.
I skipped Dark of the Moon, but two of my brothers wanted to go to the movies, so I had to see Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). In an early review, I mention how, at the time, I recently was recovering from a kidney stone. While the kidney stone was clearly more painful, I had more faith that it was going to end, unlike this film.
A huge shout out to my friend James and his family. We saw Slender Man (2018) because they are a fan of horror films, and nothing else was playing. I remember taking a brief 5-10 minute nap during the film. I woke up, asking if I missed anything. I did not. Seeing this film with James and his family is an ultimate testament to our friendship.
Seriously, just google about this movie, and you will see why anyone in the cast of Movie 43 (2013) never talks about it anymore.
You would think Nicholas Cage would be the worst thing about Left Behind (2014), but not at all. Everything about this film is horrible. The acting. The pacing. Direction. Acting. Yeah, I said it twice. I have heard great things about the book, so I would safety say that sticking to the book is better.
There is propaganda, and then there is Death of a Nation (2018). You can say you agree with Dinesh D’zousa or you don’t. I can’t see anyone saying that he is talented as a film maker. It shoves everything down our throats without waiting for us to swallow. The only thing I take from this film is that it made me break a rule I hold sacred: I actually had my cellphone on during the movie. Perhaps in hopes I would be asked to leave.
One name has been missing from the list so far, mainly because I know by now what his movies will bring me (though I still have to see Uncut Gems). Still, one night, in the past decade, a thought in my mind occurred: What if I watched a movie reviled by all in hopes to show that I am truly willing to be a paid movie critic? I went on demand, and, for about 90 minutes, I watched Adam Sandler in Jack & Jill (2011).
Never had 90 minutes felt so long (Gone with the Wind is nearly 4 hours, and it seemed shorter). It swept all the Razzies, which seems the only reason it was made. It is utter garbage, yet I managed to come out the other end alive.
Here is to hoping I never have to think of this films again.