Whilst 2014 was a solid year for films, there were of course a handful of real turkeys lurking amongst the hits. For every Boyhood or Gone Girl, there was an ill-advised remake, a lame gross-out comedy and an Irishman swearing in drag.
Amongst all of the usual rubbish, Michael Bay has also been up to his usual tricks and Jason Reitman has pulled off a frankly enormous misstep with a film that simply doesn’t understand its subject matter.
Here is the dreck I saw this year so that you didn’t have to – the 20 worst films of 2014. If any of these turn up in your Christmas stocking, you better hope someone kept the receipt.
It wouldn’t be a list of bad films without a mention of Adam Sandler. However, placing mercifully low on this list is Blended, which sends Sandler and Drew Barrymore on a jolly to Africa. There’s racism and general offensiveness, but very little in the way of comedy. (Full Review)
19. Let’s Be Cops
Boasting two of the leads from stellar sitcom New Girl, it seemed that Let’s Be Cops could be a surprise comedy hit. However, there’s something unpleasant at the heart of the film that leaves it looking very exposed on lack of laughs and occasionally utterly repugnant. (Full Review)
18. The Nut Job
Few would argue that 2014 has been a vintage year for children’s films. One of the worst family movies was The Nut Job, which takes a semi-original idea and turns it into a charmless, unamusing snoozefest. (Full Review)
17. Men, Women and Children
It’s clear that Jason Reitman doesn’t really understand the internet. In Men, Women and Children, he guides a talented ensemble of actors through a bizarre script that chooses to illustrate its overblown action through a series of pop-up text boxes. It’s every bit as dull as that suggests. (Full Review)
16. 300: Rise of an Empire
In one of 2014’s pixels-vs-pixels films, the unique visual style of the original 300 movie is flogged like the proverbial dead horse. The leads are free of charisma and the CGI head-lopping is utterly yawn-inducing after about half an hour. Also, as was common in 2014, Eva Green took her clothes off for no good reason. (Full Review)
As a spin-off of The Conjuring, there was real horror credibility behind jumpy chiller Annabelle when it rolled into cinemas before Halloween. Unfortunately, with threadbare characters and a lack of tension, this proved to be yet another nail in the coffin of mainstream horror cinema. (Full Review)
14. Ride Along
If you want to see Ice Cube do his best “intimidating face”, go watch 22 Jump Street. If you want to watch Kevin Hart squeal for a couple of hours, his stand-up is on Netflix. Under no circumstances should you unite the two and watch Ride Along. You will regret it. (Full Review)
13. Sex Tape
Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz star as a couple who film a marathon sex tape and accidentally upload it to the Cloud. Arriving in the wake of the enormous hack of celebrity nude pictures, fortunate topicality did nothing to disguise the fact that Sex Tape is distinctly unimaginative and gratingly unfunny. (Full Review)
Remember Melissa McCarthy’s genuinely funny turn in Bridesmaids? She recycles that character for Tammy, but without the script to match the performance, this is unusually lacking in charm or humour. (Full Review)
Since the release of the RoboCop remake earlier this year, a number of defenders have popped up. They are simply wrong. This sanitised new film kills all of the social bite of the original in favour of badly written emotional scenes and unbearably lazy action sequences. The Lego Movie packs three times the satirical punch. (Full Review)
10. Walking On Sunshine
Jukebox musicals rarely make for cinematic gold. In the case of Walking On Sunshine, it seems that the nadir of the format has finally been found.
The film follows a bland bunch of women as they prepare for their friend Maddie’s (Annabel Scholey) wedding to a hunky local man. However, there’s a spanner in the works as Maddie’s sister (Hannah Arterton) recognises the groom as an old flame.
Completely lacking in any heart or charm, the film is instead content to have its cookie-cutter characters butcher campy 80s pop music. It’s a lovely vacation for the cast, but a holiday from hell for the audience.
You can read my full review of Walking On Sunshine here.
9. Endless Love
The sun-baked romance genre is usually dominated by adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels. However, in 2014, it found a new low in the shape of the impressively boring, cliché-ridden mess that was Shana Feste’s Endless Love.
Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde are completely free of charisma and form an inert couple. It’s as if they simply cast the two most attractive people they could find, regardless of whether they had any chemistry whatsoever, and pointed a camera at them for a few weeks.
If you’ve ever seen a romantic drama before, then you know how Endless Love is going to pan out. Cliché piles on top of cliché until the entire film coalesces into one, enormous platitude.
You can read my full review of Endless Love here.
8. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones
This was not a good year for found footage movies. Devil’s Due and The Quiet Ones were both poor additions to the subgenre, but by far the worst was silly “sidequel” Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.
The genre’s traditional camera-obsessed protagonist becomes increasingly overrun with strange, supernatural powers after discovering an abnormal mark on his arm.
By the third act, the silly special effects raise more laughs than scares and the film ends up as little more than a generic ghost train ride. If 2014 is the year that marks the death of found footage, The Marked Ones is a terrible swansong.
You can read my full review of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones here.
7. God’s Not Dead
Of all of the films that hit UK cinemas in 2014, God’s Not Dead was perhaps the most baffling. I have no idea why an evangelical film, featuring cameos from a Christian rock group and the cast of Duck Dynasty made its way into UK multiplex chains, given that its most prominent cast member was former Hercules Kevin Sorbo.
The film is an equal opportunities offender, showcasing the worst side of every human demographic. Atheists are horrible to Christians. Christians are horrible to Atheists. Men are horrible to women. Women are horrible to men. Healthy people are horrible to ill people. Ill people are horrible to healthy people.
By the time the rousing musical finale arrives, the film has become a genuinely laughable state of affairs. I hope there is no God because I’d hate for him to have had to see this.
You can read my full review of God’s Not Dead here.
6. Pudsey the Dog: The Movie
Simon Cowell hasn’t cracked the movie business yet. On the strength of charmless Britpic Pudsey the Dog: The Movie, he’s never going to get there.
David Walliams voices Britain’s Got Talent’s dancing dog in the most grating way possible and is accompanied by many equally infuriating animals voiced by comedic talents who deserve better. John Sessions hams it up commendably as a villain who is way too surreal for the intended audience.
The plot is wafer-thin and the jokes are non-existent. This is less the dog’s bollocks and more like a pig’s ear.
You can read my full review of Pudsey the Dog: The Movie here.
5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Jonathan Liebesman is the man responsible for directing this terrible reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it’s clear that producer Michael Bay was pulling the strings.
Everything about the film screams Bayhem, with pointless explosions, leery direction and cringeworthy stabs at “banter” at the heart of every scene. Megan Fox struggles as April O’Neill, taking ages to join the dots on revelations the audience worked out long ago.
The finale is a standard pixel on pixel smash-em-up, with nothing to entertain and even less to provoke emotional investment. There’s even product placement for Victoria’s Secret in the credits.
Naturally, it made a sackful of cash and a sequel is already on the way.
You can read my full review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles here.
4. Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie
Popular BBC sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys is simultaneously an enjoyable broad comedy and a love letter to sitcoms of the past. Its ramshackle production values are charming on television, but they proved to be a big problem with big screen transfer Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie.
Whilst the expanded canvas of a feature length outing did wonders for The Inbetweeners, it exposes the inherent flaws of Mrs Brown’s Boys and amplifies its idiosyncrasies so much that they rapidly become insufferable.
Amongst the lack of jokes and depressingly uncinematic production, Brendan O’Carroll performs double duty as a ninja instructor named Mr Wang, which is every bit as racist as it sounds.
You can read my full review of Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie here.
With the exception of the terrific The Babadook, 2014 has been a really poor year for horror. The absolute worst example is Ouija, which takes an object that is sold on the shelves of toy stores and attempts to make it terrifying.
Ouija is an hour and a half of supposed horror lacking anything approaching a coherent scare. The plotting is utterly slapdash and even the jump scares don’t work at all, with Olivia Cooke failing to make an impact in the lead role.
The script is full of leaden dialogue and uneven storytelling, especially as the ridiculous finale kicks in and removes any of the internal logic to which the film did previously adhere.
You can read my full review of Ouija here.
2. Transformers: Age of Extinction
Michael Bay makes his second appearance on this list as the director of Age of Extinction – the latest entry in the seemingly endless Transformers franchise.
The cast refresh has done nothing to alleviate the problems with the series, with Mark Wahlberg saddled with awful material and Nicola Peltz subject to all of the leery camera work that plagued previous entries. Not even the reliably excellent Stanley Tucci comes out unscathed, forced to deliver one of the most depressing moments of product placement ever committed to film.
It’s about an hour too long and completely wastes its key asset – the Dinobots – by having them fight predominantly in the background as Bay’s sketchy human characters desperately grapple for emotional nuance that simply isn’t there.
You can read my full review of Transformers: Age of Extinction here.
1. That Awkward Moment
The worst film of 2014 – That Awkward Moment – is one of the few films that has ever left me feeling genuinely offended. Marketed as a “romcom for men”, the film is misogynistic, homophobic and leaves a really bad taste in the mouth.
None of the characters, male or female, resemble real humans in any way and the laboured jokes are often hideous, whether sexist or scatological in nature. Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B Jordan are all capable of better and the female cast probably wished they could be anywhere else.
It might not be the worst film of the year cinematically, but it may just be the most unpleasant film I have ever had the misfortune to sit through.
Now that’s an awkward moment.
You can read my full review of That Awkward Moment here.
Do you agree with my worst films of 2014? Do you want to defend any of the films or suggest others that could be included? Let me know in the comments section and keep coming back to The Popcorn Muncher for more from my Review of 2014.