So 2016 was an interesting year for films, there were sequels and reboots galour, but there were a few hidden gems. During the year I saw exactly one hundred movies at the cinema, more than double my previous amount, and there was definitely an interesting mix.
Over the next few days I will rank every film from one hundred, the very bottom of the pile, right through to the best film I saw this year (let’s face it, those that have read this site on a regular basis for a while will already know what it going to be number one). So we start with the bottom ten films, a list filled with movies that I either almost fell asleep during, or almost walked out all-together, but which film will follow Pompeii (2014) and Vacation (2015) as the worst film of the year?
Please note that as the list progresses over the next few days, there are a few films (four or five) that were actually released in the tail end of 2015, but I am including them as they were only a few days old at the time that I saw them in 2016. Any film that was re-released in 2016, or was shown before another feature (for example, at the cinema I attended there was a showing of “Man of Steel” before “Batman vs Superman” that I attended) will not count in this list.
But anyway, to find out which film was the worst, start browsing below……(please note that in all lists after this, the films will be ranked going up, rather than here where they go down)
Cast : Chris Hemsworth, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon and Sheridan Smith
Plot : Several years before she was defeated by Snow White, Ravenna (Theron) killed the child of her sister Freya (Blunt), causing the latter to become filled with hate and determined to make anyone suffer. She forbids the love of two of her students, but this doesn’t stop Eric (Hemsworth) and Sara (Chastain) falling for each other and they successfully hide it for many years, but they are soon discovered and forced to fight to the death. Eric witnesses Sara being killed and goes into a deep despair after escaping.
Skip forward to after Ravenna is defeated (the events of the first film), and Eric hears that despite being victorious, the mirror is stolen from a vault and is being taken to Freya, and it’s up to Eric to stop it as soon as possible.
So why Bottom Ten? : In a year that was full of sequels that were either put out many years too late, or were entirely not needed, this was perhaps the biggest surprise because the original film wasn’t even that good. Doesn’t it say it all that other than the generic plot of “a hero has to save the day” I couldn’t actually remember what the plot of this film was until I re-read it. That’s how instantly forgettable “The Huntsman : Winter’s War” really is.
I saw this film in April and even though the year was still in it’s relative infancy, I was convinced that this would be bottom of the list as it is devoid of anything other than poor acting from a cast that is fairly capable, a plot without a soul, and more CGI than you can shake a stick at. It’s just so effortless, and by that I don’t mean that everyone involved has achieved greatness without much effort, I do genuinely mean that there seems to have been no effort put into this at all.
Cast : Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill and Jermaine Clement
Plot : Sophie (Barnhill) is living in an orphanage and has a very large imagination. One day she hears a noise from a nearby alley and witnesses a giant (Rylance). The giant notices her in response and decides to abduct Sophie, taking her back to his house in the middle of nowhere.
She is understandably furious about this, that is until she realises that the giant is actually friendly and means her no harm. He is instead a catcher of dreams to give to children, but despite being a giant, he is dwarfed by other giants in the area, and they all bully him mercilessly.
The giant and Sophie decide that this can’t go on and so they come up with a plan to end his misery once and for all.
So why Bottom Ten? : Visually “The BFG” is great, I have no issues with that at all. The room in which BFG keeps the dreams is unique and lovely, and the visual representation of the character is exactly what you would expect from anything directed by Steven Spielberg, however, that is pretty much the only aspect to the story that I did like.
Whilst visually excellent, the pacing is shocking throughout. I’ve never seen the original version of the BFG, nor did I know the story, so imagine my complete surprise when all of a sudden they decide to go and see the queen. It destroyed what little momentum had been gained up until that point.
However, the one thing that dragged this into the bottom ten was Ruby Barnhill’s drony and ear-wrenching pronouncation of “BFG” every few minutes. It got to the point where I came very close to walking out because it was that annoying.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid this version of “The BFG” then consider yourself lucky and don’t bother watching it.
Cast : Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair, Toby Jones Stephen Fry
Plot : Professor Hardy (Irons) is very impressed when he receives a complex mathematical formula from an Indian man called Ramanujan (Patel) and he convinces the hierarchy at Cambridge University to offer him a place on his course. Ramanujan accepts the invitation, albeit it slowly, as he realises that it would involve leaving pretty much everything behind.
Ramanujan struggles to adapt to English life and soon feels homesick. This isn’t helped by his failure to understand that his work needs to be checked before it can be published. The stress of this, as well as an oncoming illness, may result in him going home before he can finish.
So why Bottom Ten? : There is only one reason that this film is on the Bottom Ten list and that is the main character. Basically the character is so arrogant at being right that he refuses to accept that his work needs to be proved. He just works on the opinion that his work doesn’t need to be checked for accuracy because it came out of his brain. He is such an unlikable main character. I actually found myself seriously hating the character, and even when it’s shown that his calculations are wrong (albeit not far off), he still refuses to accept that he isn’t right.
There is also the problem that, and this may have just been me not paying attention, they are constantly going on about how partitions are important….but they never explain why.
Between those two things I can confidently say that had this been any other year, there is a strong possibility that this would have finished bottom. I have nothing more to say on the film.
Cast : Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson
Plot : It has been several years since John Clayton (Skarsgard) left behind his days as the mythical Tarzan and relocated to England with Jane (Robbie). He is perfectly happy but he is soon asked to return to Africa in order to see what King Leopold of Belgium has allowed to happen in the mining camps, headed by Rom (Waltz).
Jane re-acquaints with the locals, whereas John finds settling back in with the animals to be easy, but both are soon captured by Rom, although John does manage to escape. He now needs to go on a mission to get Jane back.
So why Bottom Ten? : One of the most forgettable films of the years was so unremarkable that I had to look up what the plot actually was, it’s that inconsequential. Everything just feels so generic and it doesn’t capture your imagination at all, not in any respects at all.
The problem with “The Legend of Tarzan” is that it is just so needless and by the numbers, nothing ever feels like a struggle for the title character, and even the cast don’t seem that interested in what is going on. Christoph Waltz in particular is a terrible antagonist here, and he still seems to be riding the wave that he has been on since his double success with “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained”, and the reason that I say that is that other than those two films, I can’t once recall anything of his worth watching.
“The Legend of Tarzan” is one of those films that you’ll see advertised on TV on a wet Sunday afternoon and respond by skipping to the next channel.
Cast : Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt
Plot : In 2005 Michael Burry (Bale), a laid back hedge fund manager, realises that the housing market is about to plummet and a lot of people are going to lose a LOT of money. The heads of the company largely ignore what Burry does, so he bets a lot of the company’s money on the market crashing, causing a lot of anger and people quitting once they find out.
No-one believes Burry is correct and he is written off by nearly everyone, everyone except for Jared (Gosling), and he himself starts betting on it, as does his friend, Mark (Carrell). As other people start to get wind of it, how many people will start believing the theory, and more importantly, is there anyway that it can be stopped?
So why Bottom Ten? : This is quite possible the most patronising movie I have ever seen. You can tell exactly what a movie is going to be like when it starts randomly interrupting at various points to basically explain what the hell everyone is on about. For example, they start talking about something (I can’t remember what and I don’t care to watch this film again in order to remember) and then the filmmakers go “So, you’re probably wondering what that means, well, here’s Margot Robbie in a bathtub to explain”. I was just sat there at the end and was angry at basically being expositioned into submission.
The film itself is just boring, and it takes what should be a rather serious situation and one that makes you in angry into one where you’ve probably slouched in your chair and are looking blankly at the screen of your choosing.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. The acting from everyone concerned is fine, no-one puts in a bad show, but there’s only so much they could do with such a tedious script and setting. Infact, I find it strange that a cast was this good and yet produced an awful movie. If you were to do a star power to movie quality ratio, this would quite comfortably be the worst film of the year.
Cast : Ben Still, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig
Plot : Famous people are being killed by an unknown assassin all over the world, with each of them posing with Derek Zoolander’s (Stiller) signature facial expression. Zoolander and fellow model Hansel (Wilson) are long retired from modelling and are largely uninterested in being involved in the world again as both are suffering from depression, but they are eventually talked into it by Valentina (Cruz).
They eventually meet up with Sting (himself) who tells them the story of “Adam and Eve…and Steve”, and that Steve was the world’s first supermodel, with Derek and his son being direct descendants, but Zoolander is less than impressed with the story, and is mortified with his son’s obesity. Derek eventually relents, realising that his must protect his son, but that might mean having to trust his old enemy, Mugatu (Ferrell).
So why Bottom Ten? : I really struggled to try to make that plot sound like it made sense.
In a year that contained a LOT of sequels, very few were are out of time as “Zoolander 2”. It takes balls to release a sequel nearly 20 years after the first film came out, but that’s what Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson attempted to do, afterall, this is their twelfth film together. The problem is that the first film had a lot going to for it, including being genuinely funny, but this most certainly wasn’t the same.
“Zoolander 2” lost all of the charm of the first movie, as well as the warmth. It seemed almost like a sequel that was there purely to give the members of the cast something to do for several weeks/months. There is just nothing likeable about the whole film. It’s not funny, it’s definitely not witty, and it’s just a waste of around 90-100 minutes of your life.
The very fact that this was a mainstream movie and only has (at the time of writing) a rating of 4.8/10 on IMDB should tell you all that you need to know.
Cast : Emma Greenwell and Tom Hughes
Plot : Mary (Greenwell) is an ambitious garden designer who is in love with nature, but her first job doesn’t go to plan as all of her designs are stolen, although she does meet environmental activist Christy (Hughes).
She decides that the only logical step forward is to enter the Chelsea Flower Show, and although she is accepted based on her designs, she has no idea how to get the money or elements to the garden together, how will she find it all?
So why Bottom Ten? : “Dare to be Wild” is everything that a film shouldn’t be. It is preachy, it is pointless and it is unimaginative, but worst of all, it is painfully boring. I don’t even really know how I am going to fill a few paragraphs by talking about a film that I was desperate to be over, and yet it would never end.
The film is just so unimaginative and whilst it looks lovely in terms of it’s environment, there is very little to back it up as it preaches at you about how important the environment is, and how putting together a garden full of natural elements for the Chelsea Flower Show can change the world. It’s not an exciting concept in the first place and I only went to watch it because I had two hours to kill, but even then I never imagined that it would be as bad as it was.
Characters are inconsistent beyond belief, and yet somehow not a single one of them is anything more than a one-dimensional. I genuinely couldn’t give any less of a fuck about any of them, or any of their problems if I tried. It is actually causing me physical discomfort to talk about this film.
Cast : Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Moss and James Purefoy
Plot : In a dystopian future there are several high rise apartment blocks that are the epitome of living. Everyone on the outside is jealous of those on the inside, but little do they know the complicated web of politics that are within. That is what is awaiting Robert (Hiddleston), a local doctor.
Robert seemingly fits in quite nicely at first, getting invited to parties with the rich elite at the top of the building, whilst comfortably befriending the poor families at the bottom. It isn’t until power and food starts getting unevenly distributed that things start turning south for everyone, and it isn’t long before people start living in the equivalent of a post-apocalyptic world that’s contained within a building.
So why Bottom Ten? : I first started to rank films in around the late March period of this year, and the first movie to occupy bottom spot was “High Rise”, and whilst it has since moved off of the bottom spot, it is still a far from likeable film, and any other year would have seen it comfortably at the bottom of the list.
This film is just a big mess and makes largely no sense. I just might not have been paying attention, but there is precisely nothing about this film that I can look at and not question. For example, the families at the bottom of the building know that if they stay that they will probably get killed off, but they don’t leave, even though no-one is trying to stop them leaving.
The acting throughout is terrible from everyone except Hiddleston, and Jeremy Irons becomes the only actor to appear in two of my bottom ten this year in a main role (he was lucky it wasn’t three). Luke Evans is his usual boring and uninspiring self, and the vast majority of the characters are very in consequential.
Just because it’s not bottom anymore, it doesn’t mean that I hated it any less.
Cast : Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick
Plot : Mike (Devine) and Dave (Zac) are a pair of party hard brothers that ruin every family occasion with their antics, and because of this their sister is very reluctant to invite them to her wedding in Hawaii, and demands that they bring dates. Not able to find any quickly, the brothers place an advert online, as well as going on TV, and this soon attracts the attention of Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza), two girls that are somehow bigger slackers than the brothers.
Once on Hawaii, the girls stop the act and make it clear that they’re only there for a free holiday, and it seems like a matter of time until the inevitable trouble strikes, that is unless romance can actually blossom from the “dates”.
So why Bottom Ten? : There was a time that MADNWD (I’m just going to call it that from now on) was actually the worst film I saw during the year. I’ll grant you, it wasn’t a long time, maybe two weeks, but even so, it was just diabolically bad.
It’s your typical “now it’s time to grow up” nonsense that always ends in the same way, with the lead character/s finally becoming mature and learning a life lesson, but the difference between this and most similar efforts is that it’s just lifeless. This ranges right from Zac Efron somehow cruising through Hollywood based on his looks alone, right through to Kendrick’s insistence of playing every single character that she ever portrays in the exact same way, regardless of genre.
The jokes are just not funny, everything falls flat, and this almost feels like a truly unfunny tribute act to other films with a wedding as a big theme, but this isn’t one of those good tributes.
So, “MADNWD” was the worst film I saw during the year, or so I thought. Little did I know that within two weeks I would see a significantly worse film. But what could beat such a piss-poor excuse of a film, I’ll tell you what…….David fucking Brent!
Cast : Ricky Gervais and Doc Brown
Plot : Several years after getting fired on the documentary “The Office”, David Brent (Gervais) has decided that it is time to pursue his dream of becoming a rock and roll star. He goes on extended, unpaid leave from his job
So why Bottom Ten? : I commented on the entry for “Zoolander 2” that you’ve really got to time your film releases well, but neither that, nor “DBLOTR” actually thought about that. For those that aren’t in the know, David Brent was Ricky Gervais’ break into mainstream comedy as he proved to be highly popular in the BBC show “The Office”. The comedy was perfect for the time, and the way that some of the cast have gone on to star in big films in Hollywood (Martin Freeman in the Hobbit and Marvel franchises, and Mackenzie Crook in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy) just shows that the show had something. It didn’t stick.
Whilst “DBLOTR” is based in same universe as the TV show, it shares very little in common with it and it is just tasteless drivel. I’m quite laid back normally, but I could feel myself getting excessively angry as I was watching this. I don’t get angry often, but it took every single part of every single little cell in my body not to walk out of this.
It’s hard, say nigh on impossible, to come up with any positives relating to this film at all. The songs are offensive (and don’t tell me that’s the point of them, it’s just needless), the comedy is anything but funny, and there isn’t a single redeeming feature of, and I don’t use this phrase lightly, this absolutely clusterfuck piece of trash of a movie.
And that is why “David Brent : Life on the Road” is by far, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst film that I have seen at the cinema during 2016.