2013 has been a decent year for films. But inevitably, in amongst the quality come a load of absolute turkeys. There’s always pathetically unfunny Hollywood fare, lacklustre action and horror movies that don’t really understand the genre.
In that vein, here are the 20 worst films of the year. Look out for body-building kidnappers, racially stereotypical animated aircraft and a comedy that forgot what a joke is.
20. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
19. Hansel & Gretel Witch Hunters
The main crime committed by this fantasy-comedy was that it didn’t understand its target audience – combining a kid’s revisionist fairytale premise with adult language and bloody violence.
18. This Is The End
Nothing more than a self-indulgent parade of jokes about dicks and drugs. It seems that Seth Rogen and a whole host of talented comic actors have finally disappeared up their own backsides.
17. Don Jon
An arrogant debut as writer-director for Joseph Gordon-Levitt who wastes his considerable talents on a half-baked script and a facile moral message that drives a plot so predictable that Nostradamus would double over laughing.
16. The Counsellor
A whole roster of talent is wasted by a Cormac McCarthy script that is pretentious, weak and relentlessly boring. Even the cartoonish explosions of violence aren’t enough to save this enormous disappointment.
15. Dark Skies
By-the-numbers, generic horror that has one of the most derivative scripts in recent memory and a supernatural threat cribbed straight from the Slender Man internet meme. Simply an amalgam of scenes and tricks ripped from other, better horror movies.
The first big example of Disney exploiting their Pixar properties in order to do some sinister money-grabbing. It might be the most pathetic cash-in ever made and manages to be both unoriginal and slightly racist with its hideous caricatures of characters.
13. Bad Grandpa
The team behind Jackass present a lame-brained comedy of the highest order. It takes a TV character and tries desperately to drag it out to feature length, with desperately unfunny, crass results.
Dim-witted, unbelievably boring action-fantasy that suffers from some intolerably awful acting and a plot that seems to go absolutely nowhere. It’s like a less original, less witty Men In Black.
11. A Good Day to Die Hard
Just missing out on the top ten is the latest disappointment in the endless disintegration of the Die Hard franchise. This fifth instalment is arguably the worst yet. When an action movie resorts to constant scenes of heroes falling through panes of glass, you know a series is out of ideas.
10. Pain & Gain
Supposedly marking Michael Bay’s diversion into lower budget filmmaking, Pain & Gain is one of the nastiest films of the year. Turning a real-life tragedy into a barmy crime comedy, it’s both ludicrously unfunny and stunningly insensitive.
Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie are fine as the dunderhead bodybuilders who resort to kidnapping a rich man to live the American Dream, but the script simply does not give them the material to work with.
It’s rampantly homophobic, sexist, abusive towards overweight people and generally treats humanity with a huge amount of contempt. It doesn’t have a single redeeming feature and might even be worse than the Transformers films. That’s really saying something.
9. The Hangover Part III
Ah, The Hangover. The first movie in this franchise was a shocking success, milking its ridiculous premise for big laughs.
Then came the sequel, which was essentially the same film, but more racist, more homophobic and a lot less funny. The Hangover Part III is the final entry in the trilogy and, remarkably, it forgets it’s supposed to be a comedy.
For most of its runtime, the film is a mundane, uninteresting heist caper rather than a comedy. Whole sequences pass by without even a sniff of a joke and even John Goodman doesn’t come off well.
Thankfully, this should be the last film in this awful franchise and never again will I have to see Ed Helms with tits.
8. The Purge
One of the biggest disappointments on this list, The Purge had a great premise. If, for one night a year, all crime was legal, what would happen?
Unfortunately, the film takes that clever idea and turns it into an hour and a half of bumping into stuff and random, indiscriminate acts of murder that don’t make any sense.
It’s completely free of nuance, replacing the wider societal implications of Purge Night with loud noises and generally violent mayhem.
In better hands, this could’ve been one of the movies of the year.
But ultimately, hampered by bad writing and characters that did not act like human beings, The Purge was one enormous missed opportunity.
7. Insidious: Chapter 2
James Wan’s Insidious was a big hit a few years ago, with both audiences and, bafflingly, critics.
For my money, it squandered its quality haunted house opening act with a barmy descent into stupidity. The inevitable sequel is, impossibly, even worse.
The jump scares are obvious minutes beforehand and Wilson’s descent is an over-acted mess that apes Jack Nicholson in The Shining with very little success.
If you really admire James Wan’s work, avoid this like the plague and watch his other 2013 horror film The Conjuring. It’s brilliant.
Royal biopics are usually awards-baiting. The King’s Speech won virtually everything a few years ago and they have a long history of success.
However, in the case of the biopic of the People’s Princess and her romance with a heart surgeon, its sheer awfulness somewhat got in the way.
Diana is let down by arguably the worst script of the year, full of pointless platitudes and clunky attempts at coquettish humour.
Naomi Watts gives a decent enough performance in the title role, but she can’t rise above the terrible material and ends up becoming more of a media caricature than a fully formed character.
5. Grown Ups 2
It’s difficult to put into words the level of hate I have for Adam Sandler. He is box office dynamite, despite the fact that he hasn’t made a decent film in about a decade and the scars of Jack & Jill are still fresh and raw.
On that note comes Grown Ups 2, which isn’t just an unfunny comedy movie, but a complete mess as it follows Sandler and friends as they meet up for some sot of reunion… or something.
It feels more like a collection of badly written sketches flung together into an incoherent pattern than an actual work of narrative cinema.
There are absolutely no laughs and an absence of any imagination whatsoever. It’s just fart joke after fart joke, with nothing in between to redeem it.
4. After Earth
Nepotism is a depressing stain on the career of Will Smith at the moment. Family vehicle After Earth is a perfect example of how sci-fi cinema can be really, crushingly boring… especially if you cast your son.
On an Earth where everything has adapted to kill humans, one child must find a MacGuffin that’s far away from him. This is plot, ladies and gentlemen, at its finest.
The film plays out like a video game where Jaden Smith is the player, having an exhilarating time. Unfortunately, the audience is the player’s friend watching, bored, over their shoulder as they have all of the thrills.
This is a plodding, monotonous story and the characters are woefully under-written. The awful direction courtesy of flop-maker extraordinaire M Night Shyamalan doesn’t help its cause either. Hopefully Will Smith will stop prioritising Jaden’s career trajectory and go back to making decent, interesting films.
If After Earth felt like a dull adventure video game, Getaway is more reminiscent of an endless Need For Speed car chase.
Now imagine an endless Need For Speed car chase with the irritating voice of Selena Gomez constantly wittering in the background and you’re getting close.
The film depicts Ethan Hawke as an ex-racing driver forced to commit vehicular felonies to protect his wife from a kidnapper.
There’s just nothing about Getaway that works. It manages to make 90 minutes feel too long, is devoid of wit despite its B-movie premise and has a plot that never manages to get from 0-60 at all and is woefully generic.
Even charismatic leading man Hawke can’t rescue this turd from disappearing in its own exhaust smoke.
2. Scary Movie 5
The endless Scary Movie franchise has reached its lowest ebb yet, with the utterly awful fifth instalment, starring High School Musical’s Ashley Tisdale.
Parodying recent horror films like Mama and the remake of Evil Dead, as well as awards contender from a few years ago like Inception and Black Swan, Scary Movie 5 never really knew what it was trying to make fun of.
Every joke either has some sort of lavatorial punchline or, alternatively, someone gets a frying pan in the face.
That’s the entire scope for humour here.
1. Movie 43
Every time I see a “worst films” list for this year, I immediately scan to the end and, often, it isn’t Movie 43 that I see there. This baffles me.
I can only conclude that critics either didn’t see Movie 43 or have forcibly removed the part of their brain that remembers it with a rusty kitchen implement.
Featuring an unbelievably star-studded collection of sketches, it is an exercise in how far Hollywood stars will go for a pay cheque. It features such horrific occurrences as Halle Berry dipping a tit into some guacamole and Hugh Jackman nursing a pair of neck testicles.
I wish I could forget the horrors of Movie 43 and go back to a world when this wasn’t a blot on the filmographies of some quality talent.
Unfortunately, this did happen… and it was irredeemably awful.
Do you disagree with my selections? Comment below with your worst films of 2013 and check back in the coming week for more of my Review of 2013.