At the halfway point of 2018, there’s a lot to be grateful for in the movie world. Marvel is firing on all cylinders and we’re coming out of one of the strongest Oscar races in years. However, there has also been a collection of absolute rubbish in cinemas so far this year. Netflix’s original output has been a minefield of nonsense and there have been some very questionable blockbusters. If you’re in the hunt for something a little more positive, please go and have a read of our best films of 2018 so far list. There’s some gold on there.
All three hosts of The Popcorn Muncher Podcast listed our five worst films of 2018 so far. We’ve awarded points for the rankings, crunched the numbers and here are, according to the three of us, the ten – okay, eleven – worst films that have been released in the UK during the first six months of 2018.
9=. Death Wish (2 pts)
Bruce Willis takes on the role once played by Charles Bronson in Eli Roth‘s remake of the revenge classic Death Wish. It’s a pro-gun tale of the world’s least convincing big screen doctor taking revenge on the people who wronged his family during a home invasion that went horribly wrong.
Tom said: “If this isn’t already Donald Trump’s favourite movie, then I’ll be stunned. It’s an ugly, sickening look at the worst of America’s obsession with vigilante violence and hero worship of anyone willing to indiscriminately murder bad guys.”
9=. The Cloverfield Paradox (2 pts)
Any time a high-concept sci-fi is announced, people assume it’s a Cloverfield movie. The Cloverfield Paradox, which debuted straight after the Superbowl, has a lot to do with that. Unfortunately, many said its innovative release was all it had.
Patrick said: “The idea of taking spec scripts and using the brand to promote them on a wider scale is a great idea. It just doesn’t work when the movie sucks. This somehow manages to over-explain itself into a corner, while remaining vague enough that everything feels pointless.”
9=. A Wrinkle in Time (2 pts)
Disney’s mega-budget fantasy blockbuster based on a beloved American novel absolutely fell flat at the box office, both in the US and in the rest of the world. Ava DuVernay‘s ambitious adventure just didn’t find its audience and, for many, A Wrinkle in Time just wasn’t good enough.
Luke said: “The only memorable impact this film has on its viewers is to burn the name Charles Wallace into their brain. This is as bland as blockbuster filmmaking can get, with little drama to speak of and a waste of its star talent.”
6=. Fifty Shades Freed (3 pts)
The BDSM-themed literary phenomenon that is the Fifty Shades trilogy came to its cinematic conclusion with Fifty Shades Freed, which sees protagonists Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan dealing with married life and a kidnap plot.
Luke said: “This offers up the lamest material the franchise has to offer, with a story that is beyond bland and sex scenes that are blander. It may sound like a creepy thing to say but, if a horror film is supposed to be scary and a comedy is supposed to be funny, then a sexy film should be sexy.”
6=. The Hurricane Heist (3 pts)
Released as a Sky Cinema movie in the UK, this seemed to have an interesting premise on paper, revolving around bank robbers hoping to use a hurricane to cover their tracks. Unfortunately, it failed to channel the sense of fun that they were no doubt aiming to achieve.
Patrick said: “Sometimes you hope a movie is ‘so bad it’s good’, but then it turns out to be just plain bad. I’ve not seen a movie that is so fundamentally stupid in a long time, right down to casting a Brit and an Aussie as all-American brothers.”
6=. Father Figures (3 pts)
Imagine casting Ed Helms in a movie and then not allowing him to be funny. That’s pretty much the jam in Father Figures, in which he and Owen Wilson head off on a road trip in search of their biological father and laughs. They don’t find either of those things.
Tom said: “There are few things more tedious and irritating than a comedy that isn’t funny. One of those few is a comedy that doesn’t even attempt to be funny. That’s the world in which this snooze of a road trip sits.”
4=. Super Troopers 2 (4 pts)
Super Troopers 2 got made because lots of people wanted it to be made. Fans of the 2001 stoner comedy raised a load of money on Kickstarter in order to allow a sequel to happen and the result is this utterly hideous laugh-free zone of a movie. It seems to think culture clash jokes about Americans and Canadians are the height of comedy gold and spends most of its running time reprising skits from the first film, with very limited comedy success.
Tom said: “I seldom find stoner comedies particularly funny, and Super Troopers 2 is a particularly poor example of the sub-genre. Perhaps fans of the first movie will find it to be the nostalgia shot that they want but, for me, it was just a tedious 90 minutes spent in the company of some loathsome characters and setups for improvisation that never bore any sort of fruit. I just hope I don’t have to watch another one of these in 20 years’ time.”
4=. Solo: A Star Wars Story (4 pts)
It’s the Star Wars movie that nobody was waiting for. Just six months after The Last Jedi divided the fanbase in two, the galaxy far, far away came back with Solo: A Star Wars Story. Telling the story of the eponymous space outlaw before we met him in the original trilogy, and plagued by production problems, no one was quite sure how this would turn out. The result was blockbuster mediocrity, at best, and a black mark on a beloved franchise, at worst.
Patrick said: “The moment you slump in your chair during a movie, you know there’s a problem. When you put your head in your hands out of sheer embarrassment, there’s an even bigger problem. Solo is such a misguided project from conception to delivery, putting so much on Alden Ehrenreich’s shoulders that he crumbles. It has a third act of pure sequel bait that honestly made me feel embarrassed for the production.”
2=. Monster Family (5 pts)
Sky Cinema’s first original movie, Monster Family essentially transpired as Hotel Trannsylvania from the bargain bin. Featuring an enormous array of British comedy talent, it follows a family who are transformed into monsters by an evil witch. What follows is a slapdash, unentertaining story told through some particularly poor animation.
Luke said: “The story doesn’t make sense, the animation is sloppy, the voice work is phoned in and, I swear to god, if you look closely you can see none of the dialogue matches the lips. Sky must have banked on everybody watching animated movies regardless of quality – anything to keep their bored, hyperactive kids busy for an hour and a half – but they probably didn’t bank on people hating their kids enough to force them to watch this monstrosity.”
2=. Show Dogs (5 pts)
There are bad comedies, and then there’s Show Dogs. This is a film in which dogs are police officers. Not sniffer dogs, or companions for officers, but bona fide members of the force with their own caseload – and nobody says anything about it. Will Arnett is the unlucky human forced to team up with a canine officer, voiced by Ludacris, to infiltrate a dog show where a panda is being illegally sold. That’s the level of plot on offer, and it never finds a way to be interesting.
Tom said: “This is a real head-scratcher of a movie that is as boring as it is incompetent, with barely a single laugh on show during the running time. The CGI work on the dogs is poor, the script is route one terrible and every live action performer on screen looks absolutely miserable at the fact they’re in the movie. I imagine a lot of agents were very nearly sacked after filming wrapped on this one.”
1. Mute (9 pts)
After the sobering under-performance of Warcraft, Netflix seemed like a good move for Duncan Jones. The streaming service was bound to offer him the freedom to make Mute exactly what he wanted it to be… and it did. Unfortunately, the tale of a mute bartender travelling through a criminal underworld in search of his missing partner failed to resonate with viewers or critics. As the only movie to appear on more than one of our lists, it takes the wooden spoon from us at the halfway point of 2018.
Luke said: “Mute is the worst of the big Netflix originals, not because it lacks ideas or style, but because it has so many of them that it makes the movie unfollowable and unwatchable. It’s a melting pot of bad story, bad acting and bad style. It’s hard to judge who comes out of this worse – Duncan Jones, Paul Rudd or Netflix’s reputation.”
Patrick said: “Oh Duncan Jones, how the mighty have fallen. Mute is objectively terrible, but it’s also frustrating to see a good filmmaker make such dross. This is just a dumpster fire. Its central ideas around the voicelessness of children are woefully underdeveloped, the sci-fi setting has zero bearing on the movie – other than to let you know Jones really likes Blade Runner – and everyone gives woefully bad performances. This was apparently Jones’s dream project, but to everyone else it’s a nightmare.”
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.
Super Troopers 2
Fifty Shades Freed
A Wrinkle in Time
Solo: A Star Wars Story
The Hurricane Heist
The Cloverfield Paradox