There’s no doubt that 2017 was an interesting and varied year for movies. From big blockbusters to weighty awards contenders, it was a great year and it was very difficult to put together a list of the best films released in 2017. It wasn’t quite as tough to decide which of the films released in the last 12 months deserved to be placed in infamy as the worst of the year.
Along with my co-hosts on The Popcorn Muncher Podcast – Luke and Patrick – I listed my bottom ten films of the year. We’ve awarded points for the rankings, crunched the numbers and here are, according to the three of us, the 20 worst films that were released in the UK in 2017.
19=. Baywatch (3 pts)
Tom said: “Crude, silly and lacking in any sort of originality. The Rock deserves better than this.”
Luke said: “Baywatch boasts a talented cast, but absolutely no script on which to hang its comedy chops. We’re left with the nadir of terrible improvisational, gross-out comedy.”
19=. Justice League (3 pts)
DC brought its superhero universe together this year with Justice League, which saw the good guys take on ineffectual CGI slab Steppenwolf in order to avert some sort of pixel-based destruction of the planet. No one really talked about the film, because they were too busy talking about Henry Cavill‘s moustache.
Patrick said: “The plotting screams of a movie thrown together in a re-edit, it’s hard to care about anyone when the actors don’t seem to want to be there and the action is flat and boring.”
19=. Christmas Inheritance (3 pts)
In one of Netflix’s bizarre crop of unwatchable festive movies, Christmas Inheritance follows an heiress who must deliver a special Christmas card before she can inherit some money. On the way, she falls in love and discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Probably. I haven’t seen it.
Luke said: “This movie’s only saving grace is that it is better than A Christmas Prince. More on that one next.”
17=. A Christmas Prince (4 pts)
For some reason, everyone decided to watch this on Netflix over Christmas. It follows a reporter who goes undercover in an attempt to find out the truth regarding rumours of a royal scandal. On the way, she falls in love and discovers the true meaning of Christmas. Probably. I haven’t seen it.
Luke said: “This became the festive season’s favourite hate watch, with its comedy performances, scripting and direction almost being so bad they were good, but were still actually terrible to their core.”
17=. Fist Fight (4 pts)
Charlie Day is a wimpy teacher who accidentally gets a more physically imposing teacher, played of course by Ice Cube, sacked in this school-set comedy that also features a bizarre Apple commercial halfway through. Get it? One’s a wimp! The other one’s hard! Hilarity!
Tom said: “Fist Fight doesn’t even come close to funny and, instead, it just sees Day and Cube battling to see who can be the most unspeakably irritating. Personally, I’d say it’s a draw on that front.”
16. Overdrive (5 pts)
Scott Eastwood makes his foray into action movie leading roles as a wise-cracking car thief in Overdrive, which sees him involved in a complex con with millionaire auto-enthusiasts while slashing smug smiles, sleeping with beautiful women and walking away from explosions.
Tom said: “This is simply a fiasco of lazy action set pieces and tedious macho wish-fulfillment, like if Jeremy Clarkson had decided to get behind the camera and make the movie he has always wanted to make.”
14=. The Shack (6 pts)
Charisma vacuum Sam Worthington heads to the eponymous woodland structure after the death of his daughter and spends a weekend interacting with the Holy Trinity. Yes, that Holy Trinity. He presumably learns some sort of incredibly important lesson. Perhaps about the meaning of Christmas?
Tom said: “The Shack is like a preachy weekend with your overly religious grandma, who likes her tea milky, her radiator turned up high and her Christianity fundamentalist.”
14=. Unforgettable (6 pts)
Katherine Heigl makes her long-awaited – by someone, presumably – return to the big screen with Unforgettable, in which she plays the psycho ex-wife of Rosario Dawson‘s new boyfriend, and the mother of his child.
Patrick said: “Heigl is the only one here that doesn’t realise what kind of rubbish she’s in and is all the more terrible for it. The movie has a horribly outdated woman scorned narrative, as well as a domestic abuse element, handled with zero respect or gravitas.”
12=. The Belko Experiment (7 pts)
James Gunn wrote The Belko Experiment years before he hit the Marvel jackpot, but handed over the directorial reins. It’s a tale of violence, set in an office where the employees are forced to massacre each other in order to ensure their own survival at the end of the deadly game.
Tom said: “There’s no doubt as to why Gunn didn’t direct this one himself. It’s a miserable, misanthropic trudge through a world that is even more unbearably horrible than the one we actually live in today. Nobody wants that.”
12=. Assassin’s Creed (7 pts)
One of the most popular video game franchises makes it to the multiplex in Assassin’s Creed, in which Michael Fassbender hacks and slashes at things while wondering about his past or something. It’s boring in the past and boring in the present, which is quite impressive really.
Patrick said: “The split-time narrative barely works in a game that can last 40+ hours so it’s not surprising that it’s a complete mess in two hours. A great cast is wasted on this bizarre mess.”
9=. CHiPs (8 pts)
Terrible comedy CHiPs is another classic television show making the transition to the big screen, but it’s one for which absolutely nobody has any affection whatsoever. The tale of a new highway patrol cop on the hunt for some corrupt colleagues barely hangs together as a coherent story and the jabs at humour come thick and fast, but lack any real sense of humour.
Tom said: “This film has no idea who it wants to appeal to, delivering a bland attempt to mimic the snarky, self-referential success of the Jump Street movies. It has crass comedy and silly slapstick in equal measure, like an insult comic who also does balloon animals for some reason.”
9=. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (8 pts)
Few filmmakers can say they have taken a risk on the scale of Valerian. French director Luc Besson pretty much bet the house on this bonkers sci-fi film, set on an enormous space station that serves as a home for alien species from all over the universe, living together in peace. It’s the most expensive European movie ever made and, perhaps inevitably, it died a death at the box office.
Luke said: “The unspoken hero of 2017 was the person who managed to convince Luc Besson that Dane DeHaan was capable of playing a charming action lead, because this film provides absolutely no evidence of that quality. People appreciate this as testimony to passion-project filmmaking, but that doesn’t excuse it for being a joyless husk of a wannabe sci-fi action caper.”
9=. Geostorm (8 pts)
Plagued by a baffling and confusing production history, Geostorm asks audiences to believe in shouty star Gerard Butler as a genius scientist capable of birthing a system of satellites with the ability to control the weather. What follows is a barmy conspiracy thriller that culminates in some strange and nonsensical weather-based destruction.
Luke said: “A brave man would argue this is actually a pastiche of the disaster movie genre, but that brave man would also be certifiably stupid. Geostorm is a mess of the worst elements of disaster films. It possesses no charm, no wit and absolutely no originality outside of its outrageous premise.”
Patrick said: “The writer of Independence Day manages to outdo Roland Emmerich by making a proper disaster of a movie. This has been in post production hell for a long time and the end result certainly wasn’t worth the wait. It’s pretty funny, though not intentionally, just because it’s so inept and stupid. Bad accents and worse writing make this movie an absolute catastrophe.”
5=. Alien: Covenant (9 pts)
Michael Fassbender, in his second appearance on a bad movies list that doesn’t even include The Snowman, returns to the world of Prometheus twice in Alien: Covenant with dual roles as a pair of identical androids. Ridley Scott takes a whole new crew of xenomorph-fodder to answer a distress call and, in the process, crafts one of the most tedious blockbuster movies of 2017.
Patrick said: “This not only dampens the mystique of the original Alien but it’s also entirely unengaging. I found my mind drifting off to think of other things as I slowly slumped into my chair in the cinema. It can’t decide whether to be a sequel to Prometheus or a prequel to Alien and ends up killing any sense of horror and rendering all of its philosophical mulling as absolute bollocks.”
5=. Rough Night (9 pts)
It’s almost possible to feel sorry for Rough Night. This crass hen-night-gone-wrong tale might have been a little more palatable if it hadn’t been beaten to the punch by the fantastic Girls Trip, which proved to be a far more effective female-centric twist on The Hangover. This film, in which Scarlett Johansson and her friends accidentally find themselves with a dead stripper on their hands, is left looking like a bit of a waste of multiplex space.
Tom said: “There isn’t really a single laugh to be had in this baffling, offensive comedy. It takes talented comedic performers and casts them as lifelong best pals, without ever bothering to test their chemistry in any way beforehand. So instead of a charming group of buddies, this horrifically dumb comedy premise is being told through the vessel of five women acting completely awfully and completely independently of each other. Improvisation requires some sort of chemistry.”
5=. Death Note (9 pts)
Red hot horror director Adam Wingard seemed like an ideal choice to take on an American adaptation of Death Note, about a high-schooler who stumbles upon a book that houses a demon with a taste for violent retribution. The Netflix film was, however, dogged with a white-washing controversy that was promptly overshadowed by just how terrible the movie turned out to be.
Patrick said: “I was really rooting for Death Note. I defended it through all the fanboys crying foul of the trailers and potential direction but it was all for nought – it just kind of sucks. The story is unsatisfying and moves at an odd pace that never lets your mind sink in. Ironically, it’s too slavish to its source material and there was a lot of potential in the core concept to make something original that has been squandered.”
Luke said: “A white-washed version of a classic Japanese anime and manga series in 2017 was bad? Never! Death Note is easy to dismiss for its white-washing, but it’s also a complete mess that doesn’t work as a horror, thriller or, at times, even a movie. For someone with an understanding of the source material, this is a confusing abomination, so I can’t imagine what someone who knew nothing about it felt.”
5=. The Emoji Movie (9 pts)
This one was always going to be on the list. Is there anything more 2017 than a movie about emojis? The film follows TJ Miller as a ‘meh’ emoji heading out on an adventure to reboot himself in the cloud, or something like that. The Emoji Movie is a parade of product placement and references to technology that is already out of date. It’s like Black Mirror, if it were written with a sense of entirely earnest hope.
Tom said: “This film isn’t as bad as everyone says. It’s not the demise of our civilisation or the death of all culture. It’s merely a desperately unimaginative animated movie that substitutes jokes for references to an app your kids have heard of, but stopped using at least a year ago.”
Luke said: “This was the point of the year where studios dropped the act and just nakedly admitted they hate your children and only want them for the cash. It’s not hard to make a passable animated movie, so to make one this aggressively bad just smacks of preposterous cynicism from the studios. It’s not funny and its attempts at being relevant are excruciating. By the time it gets to naked product placement for Dropbox, you just want all movies to be finished.”
3=. mother! (10 pts)
This year’s winner of the ‘Fantastic Beasts Award for Appearing on the Best and Worst Lists’ is mother! – a tale of the nightmarish from the mind of Darren Aronofsky. A permanently terrified Jennifer Lawrence is the woman trying to hold together a household for her husband, who seems to be rapidly becoming intoxicated by fame. Two hours of cinematic noise and fury later, something truly unusual has occurred that has to be seen to be believed.
Luke said: “Aronofsky’s latest vanity project could be admired for its desperate attempts to claw for meaning or significance. It’s two-thirds of an interesting set-up wasted on a final act that doesn’t know where to go. No one is more impressed with this movie than the people making it, which is fitting because it’s an empty mess and waste of a two hour experience made only for the express purpose of having the audience tell the director how smart he is.”
3=. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (10 pts)
Years after the divisive first Kingsman movie, chav-turned-agent Eggsy is back in the spy game for The Golden Circle. An attack on the Kingsman HQ sees Eggsy forced to join forces with the organisation’s American comrades to take on a unique drug lord who has planned her own scheme with ramifications for the entire planet. It’s every bit as loud, crude and messy as the first movie.
Patrick said: “It’s rare a movie makes me consider sitting in the lobby staring at a wall while waiting for my friends rather than having to spend another minute wasting my brain on such a miserable piece of cinematic dog shit. It’s horribly sexist and offensive, none of the action scenes have even a thimble’s worth of excitement, none of the plot elements have any cohesion to one another and worst of all, it brought out a bad performance from Julianne Moore. Even if you can forgive the rest, that last one is unforgivable.”
2. The Bye Bye Man (11 pts)
Incompetent horror movies are not exactly uncommon, with cheap efforts sprung into cinemas on an almost monthly basis. 2017, however, was an uncommonly good year for the genre, which left The Bye Bye Man looking even more terrible. Its central villain is an unusual entity with the power to corrupt those who say or think about his name. The film follows a group of pretentious teens who try to take him out. He also has a CGI hell dog as well, for reasons best known to the filmmakers.
Tom said: “This is such a failure of even basic filmmaking that it’s remarkable it ever made it into any cinema, given the quantity of good horror that goes direct to DVD every year. It’s not scary, it’s not intelligent and the CGI is among the worst I have ever had the displeasure to guffaw behind my hands at while trying desperately to find something to enjoy.”
Patrick said: “This is absolutely the worst movie from a technical, story and execution level this year. There’s a mysterious over-abundance of story elements, some truly terrible acting and an absolute ineptitude in direction. The first shot of the movie is over-exposed, which is the kind of mistake you expect to see on a college film studies project, not a major release movie.”
1. Transformers: The Last Knight (19 pts)
Does the new Transformers film even need describing? The Last Knight bizarrely starts during an Arthurian battle and doesn’t get any more logical or plausible from there, taking in various smashy-robot set pieces, terrible sexist dialogue and Anthony Hopkins saying “bitch” a lot for no real reason. This is an incredibly unpleasant franchise behemoth that we appear to be stuck with for the immediate future. Lucky us.
Tom said: “Money greases the wheels of Michael Bay’s franchise machine and only when that money dries up will we be free of the toxic dust cloud that is every single entry in this leaden, miserable franchise. Everyone involved looks ashamed to even be in the movie and the finale is such a mess of incomprehensible noise and light that I can’t even begin to tell you what happened.”
Luke said: “This was the longest experience I’ve ever had in a cinema. This inexplicably long fifth entry in the Transformers franchise is as nonsensical as it is absolutely terrible. It’s hard to think only nine years has passed since the first movie genuinely wowed me. Where we’re at now is the worst of Michael Bay’s excesses, with terrible writing to match the film’s horrendous visual style and joyless performances.”
And here are our full lists. For our weekly reviews and chat, check out the podcast. If you want to yell at us for what we have chosen or indeed what we haven’t chosen, feel free to pop down to the comments section and scream your heart out.
Transformers: The Last Knight
The Belko Experiment
The Bye Bye Man
The Emoji Movie
Transformers: The Last Knight
The Emoji Movie
A Christmas Prince
Pitch Perfect 3
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The Bye Bye Man