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The Worst Movies of 2017

Welcome to the Worst. 

There’s a lot to celebrate in 2017 that was awful. One of them, however, wasn’t movies (or tv, or video games). So I hesitate to put out a list of the worst of 2017 without a little bit of context.

First, no easy slams. Sure, there were your Monster Trucks and Geostormsbut those films were always kind of destined to be cringy and terrible.

Second, I’m not going to fall for the trap of mistaking something that wasn’t made for me with something being objectively terrible. I actually kind of liked The My Little Pony movie (its strong anti-Trump themes were incredibly refreshing), and while by the end of 50 Shades Darker I really just wanted Christian Grey to have died in that helicopter crash, I recognize there are people who love this story and these characters. And I’m not going to crap all over them just because something isn’t to my taste. And in the year of The Disaster Artistwe can hopefully celebrate the weirdos who put out strange independent films because of their passion.

Third, besides, there are much worse things. And so I’ve tried to concentrate on them– collecting 10 “films” that should’ve “worked” for me. Several of these are big budget movies or done by experienced filmmakers who should know better. Others are by directors capable of much better. In fact, if there’s one common theme for these, it’s the “Spider-Man Rule” of movies– “with great filmmaking power comes great filmmaking responsibility.” So I’m going to hold these people to higher standards, especially if their efforts were backed by hundreds of millions of dollars of budget.

Let’s be clear that what gets produced in Hollywood is a zero-sum game: the money put behind any of these films is money that didn’t go to un-produced films.  And while I’m glad the streaming outlets are putting resources behind great films, let’s also recognize that giving money to Woody Allen or David Ayer (#9 and 10 on this list) is money that didn’t go someplace else to someone more deserving. I can at least give props to someone like David Lowery who put the money he made from Pete’s Dragon into making his passion project (#8 on this list). I only wish it had turned out better for him.

So, then, here you are: the worst of 2017:

10. Bright – Yes, I’m including streaming movies on here (they’re in my best-of list, too, so it’s only fair), especially since this was a BFD that Netflix was making this blockbuster-type movie. I just don’t know what went wrong here, but this is almost incomprehensible. I like the idea of mixing high fantasy and gritty urban, but this was not the way to do it. The attempts at social commentary fall so flat they’re almost laughable. Will Smith, how do you keep ending up releasing movies in December that end up in my worst of lists? You’re on notice for 2018.

wonder wheel9. Wonder Wheel – It’s like Woody Allen is inviting us to say, “Hey, maybe it’s time we talked about how this filmmaker treats his female characters.” Not a good time for this conversation for you, Mr. Allen. And Jim Belushi and Justin Timberlake. I’m just left flabbergasted. And if this ended up on your best of list, I’m even more flabbergasted. Just go read this.

8. A Ghost Story – A piece of pretentious nonsense that decides to put its “message” in the mouth of its most abrasive character, a know-it-all drunk hipster, and beat you over the head with it in a ridiculous monologue. Also, that didn’t need to be Casey Affleck under that sheet. It could’ve been literally anyone. And while I didn’t know about the allegations about his treatment of women before I reviewed Manchester By the Sea, I did know about them here. And it’s baffling to me this ends up on anyone’s best of list. Oh, except that scene where Rooney Mara grief-eats a whole pie was legit.

7. The Book of Henry – What the hell was this?!?! This is apparently the movie that got Colin Trevorrow fired from making the next Star Wars, and after seeing it, I don’t blame anyone for making that call. And inexplicable turn takes this from tearjerker over death of savant child to. . . dead child walking his grieving mother through how to kill their abusive next door neighbor and get away with it. Wow. Just wow.

6. Transformers: The Last Knight – We don’t expect much from Michael Bay and his Transformers movies, and this reaffirmed that. We had Grimlock, King of the Dinobots, review the movie for us, and his summary was, “Grimlock small dinobot brain, but even Grimlock know that super dumb.”

Snowman-Poster5. The Snowman – Why, Mister Police? We Gave You All The Clues. When the audience laughs at what are supposed to be tense moments, you know you have a problem. This was supposed to be Zodiac meets Let the Right One In and instead is more Manos, the Hands of Fate.

4. The Emoji Movie – Still unclear why this movie got made, except that somehow it managed to beat the far superior Atomic Blonde (in my top 10) at the box office its first week in release. America, this is why we can’t have nice things. My daughter (the target demo for the movie) texted her friends she’s never cringed so much in a movie. Smart kid.

3. Downsizing – Small review: this movie was b.s. You can read the rest here.

2. Split – This set the bar for bad movies all year long. It was so bad, it actively ruined several other movies for me, specifically in its attempts to tie itself to Shyamalan’s Unbreakable. I don’t expect much from him, but I don’t expect it to be this bad.

1. mother! – throughout this list I’ve gone after a lot of hacks: Bay, Shyamalan, Trevorrow, Ayer. But Darren Aronofsky should know better. This was impeccably shot and put together by a filmmaker who knows what he’s doing. But what he’s doing here is 100% bad.

And there it is. A load of terrible movies.

Agree? Disagree? Did I miss something egregious? Let us know what you think, and may 2018 give us better than these ten sorry flicks.

Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween Wins the Weekend Box Office

Earning an estimated $21.7 million, Tyler Perry’s Boo 2! A Madea Halloween won the weekend box office with easy, besting the next film by over $8 million. It’s not too surprising at how well the film did as this is the creator’s films tend to open with over $20 million and this is the seventh of eight to do so. It’s unknown how well this film will do as it opened in the middle of the pack for the director’s films. All together, the director’s films have earned almost $1 billion collectively.

In second place was the $120 million budgeted Geostorm which brought in just $13.3 million in its debut weekend. At the foreign box office the film has earned $49.6 million. With poor reviews from both audiences and critics, the movie will need to rely on the foreign box office to make up ground. It opens in China next weekend followed by France and Italy on November 1. The movie’s life hangs in the balance and will likely be decided by the Chinese box office.

Happy Death Day dropped to third place with a 64% drop from its debut weekend. The movie earned an estimated $9.4 million to bring its domestic total to $40.6 million. The film has also earned $12.9 million at the foreign box office for a worldwide total of $53.6 million on a $4.8 million budget.

Blade Runner 2049 came in fourth place adding in $7.2 million to its domestic run to bring it to $74 million. Worldwide the film has earned $194.1 million on a $150 million budget. Adjusting for inflation, domestically the film is about $9 million behind the 1982 original. It debuts in China and Japan next weekend where I expect it to do quite well.

Wrapping up the top five was another new film Only the Brave which opened with an estimated $6 million on a $38 million budget. This was despite positive reviews and an “A” CinemaScore.

Another big opener, The Snowman, opened at #8 with just $3.4 million. Bad reviews all around probably have killed this film.

This past weekend was a week one earning $30 million less than the same weekend last year. October is down about 13% compared to last year.

In comic adaptation news….

Kingsman: The Golden Circle added $3 million to its total to come in at #10 and bringing its domestic total to $94.6 million and $344.8 million worldwide. The film opened in China with $40.3 million an improvement over the original film. The first film brought in about $75 million from the market overall. The sequel lags the first film by about $70 million worldwide but doesn’t open in Japan until January 5. The first film brought in $7.5 million there.

We’ll have a more detailed look at this year’s comic movie releases in an hour.

Movie Review: The Snowman


Mister Police. You could have saved this movie. It gave you all the parts.

Even a stellar cast led by Michael Fassbender and featuring Oscar winner JK Simmons couldn’t save this movie. Director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) used his keen eye to capture the stark beauty of its setting of Norway, but even that couldn’t make up for some pretty glaring problems.

Fassbender plays Oslo detective Harry Hole on the trail of a serial murderer whose signature is always leaving behind a snowman. Given the pedigree of the film — based on the novel by Jo Nesbø, directed by Alfredson — one would hope the end product would be better.

Instead, it is cliched and predictable. Any mystery where you can correctly guess who the culprit is so early in the film is just not worth it. Our audience even laughed at several key moments that were meant to induce dread or show menace — always a bad sign that your film may be sliding into Tommy Wiseau’s The Room territory.

According to director Alfredson, they ended up not being able to shoot 10-15% of the script, leaving it “like when you’re making a big jigsaw puzzle and a few pieces are missing so you don’t see the whole picture.” When a director as skilled as Alfredson feels robbed of the tools to make their vision a reality, that’s a bad sign. Or perhaps it’s a sign of a director making excuses for a film they know not to be up to snuff.

Either way, it’s troubling. And it would be hard to conceive of this film being 10-15% longer. Clocking in at just under two hours, it feels interminably longer.

And while most of the actors here are fairly solid, an almost unrecognizable Val Kilmer pulls us out of the movie with a jarring performance that seems just off. Given the actor’s battles with throat cancer, it’s obvious his lines were dubbed in post production. But the vocal performances don’t always quite line up, making it seem more like an old kung fu movie. You hope Kilmer is able to fully recover from his health problems, because this would be a shame to be his final on-screen performance.

It’s sad that a film that should have been The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo meets Zodiac meets Let the Right One In is more Manos! Hands of Fate. Like that film, this should be enjoyable to hear the Rifftrax commentary, but not for much else. At a time when your options at the theaters includes Blade Runner 2049 and the surprisingly fun and campy Happy Death Day, don’t choose The Snowman. 

Overall Rating: 2 out of 5