By Josh Melo
Josh Melo's 10 Worst Films of 2015
For every great film that found its way to the local cinema, there were about 5 other pieces of garbage that managed the same feat. After watching the below list of films you may find yourself wondering, “how the hell did someone think that THESE movies were entertaining?” Well, fret not. You’re not alone.
Whether it be a film festival flop or an overhyped summer blockbuster, this list covers the worst films 2015 had to offer! Take a look!
10. Jupiter Ascending
Oh Wachowski’s, how the mighty have fallen. Yet again the quirky siblings swing for the fences but fail miserably. Jupiter Ascending had the potential to be a surprise smash. An epic sci-fi universe with an expansive mythology weaved seamlessly throughout its core and an A-list cast to bring it to life. Instead, we got a meandering story that doesn’t really say much and a cast full of overacting performers.
The endless action sequences weren’t enough to keep this romp around the galaxy watchable, let alone fun. It also doesn’t help when you cap your space epic in the exact same fashion twice in quick succession. The universe was ripe for exploration but the storytelling decisions put forth by the Wachowski’s sunk this spaceship long before it could take off (pardon the puns).
On the plus side, Sean Bean doesn’t die!
9. Seventh Son
Seventh Son finds itself in a similar position to that of Jupiter Ascending, a world ready to be explored by eager audiences hungry for a new fantasy epic only to have the massive potential squandered. If you take everything that fans loved about the Lord of the Rings saga (realistic creatures, massive battles in exotic locales and likable characters) and replace them with childish imitations you have a crappy fantasy film. Then dump excessive amounts of CG on top of it and a drunk Jeff Bridges and you have Seventh Son.
Jeff Bridges doing a terrible Gandalf impression could be funny, but combined with a shitty plot that’s more hole than anything else it just grates on you. None of the characters are remotely memorable and the action is so generic you’re more likely to have a better time sleeping through the film than actually watching it.
Less terrible, more overwhelmingly disappointing, Spectre failed to capture the magic of recent Bond films while delivering what is perhaps the most monotonous spy film of the year (of which there were plenty). In an attempt to bring back some of the camp the Bond of yore was known for Director Sam Mendes succeeded only in returning 007 to his female objectifying ways.
The plot of Spectre was meant to tie in the disparate stories of the last 3 Craig Bond’s but instead adds another confusing mess to his legacy. Ranking with Quantum of Solace as one of the worst of the franchise, there is little to like about the latest Bond.
The supporting cast are there one second, gone the next. The Bond girls are treated with even less respect and the villain is virtually non-existent. Were it not for the OK action sequences Spectre would have fallen a lot further.
7. The Lazarus Effect
2015 was a sad year for horror enthusiasts. Aside from the divisive It Follows, fans of the genre had to satiate themselves on the piss poor Sinister 2 and Paranormal Activity Whatever the Hell This One is Called. Than came along The Lazarus Effect (it may have actually come about before either of those films, foggy memory). A non-sequel horror film lead by Olivia Wilde, color me intrigued!
My intrigue was soon replaced with crushing boredom and profound sadness. A team of scientists stumbles upon the cure for death and in the process murder one of their team members (Olivia Wilde). She inevitably returns as a crazy super demon whose sole purpose is to kill others, which she does.
The kills are choreographed removing any sense of suspense the film may have had, the story takes a turn for the stupid when a religious aspect is introduced in the later stages and the finale is wholly underwhelming. Even Olivia Wilde’s barely dressed reanimated corpse could save this film from revelling in the abysmal.
6. 50 Shades of Grey
In the time leading up to 50 Shades of Grey I found myself thinking two things. 1. This has the potential to explore sexuality in a way few other films have before it, or 2. This could be incredibly crappy. My second thought was right on the money.
Shying away from the risqué nature of the source material (which was also trash but that’s beside the point), 50 Shades of Grey instead comes off as a creepy stalker story where the victim of the abuse eventually succumbs to Stockholm syndrome. It’s a chore to watch that doesn’t deliver on literally any of the (shallow) promise it (might have) displayed in early marketing. When you consider that the acting from everyone other than Dakota Johnson was appalling, it’s surprising that this film didn’t end up at number one on the list (which says a lot about what I thought of the next 5 films).
With all that being said, I can’t wait to rip apart the next two entries in the franchise!
5. The Hateful Eight
I have never been a fan of Quentin Tarantino’s work, but I have always been able to appreciate what he has done for cinema. When I first heard about The Hateful Eight I was looking forward to it, than he started going on and on about how shooting the film on 70mm film was the greatest thing ever. It smelled of an elitist cinephile mentality I loath, yet I still eagerly anticipated the release. After leaving the theatre my worst suspicions were realized.
The Hateful Eight is a stage play. An incredibly boring stage play that thinks it is amazing. Clocking in at around 3 hours (differing depending on whether or not you caught the “Tarantino is full of himself” cut or the regular version), The Hateful Eight wastes two thirds of its screen time introducing us to a mystery and characters that are deemed irrelevant by the time the final act rolls by.
Instead of capitalizing on these great characters, Tarantino chooses to let the camera linger on objects of absolutely zero import (see the opening 5 minutes) and than wraps up his story in lazy bullshit hoping the goodwill he has gained from his prior films is enough to get him through this one.
The entire film feels like a university lecture from Quentin Tarantino, where about two and a half hours in he suddenly realized that he was supposed to be writing a film, so he decided to throw a bunch of gore at his students in the hopes that the last couple of hours will be forgotten. Sure, one can marvel at the boldness of introducing theatre elements to a film. That doesn’t change the fact that the film was garbage.
A plodding pace, a nonsense story and a boring setting make The Hateful Eight one of my worst film experiences of 2015. Had it not been for the solid performances, this could have easily landed lower.
4. Fantastic Four
Speaking of films that think they’re better than they are, let’s talk about Fantastic Four! After months of rumors of a hellish shoot and conflicting reports on an absent director, Fantastic Four was not expected to be a massive hit. Than came the first trailer and the naysayers began to change their tune. Maybe this could be a solid hero flick? Could all of the negative buzz around the movie be typical media bullshit?
Nope, the movie is unfinished crap. Dismal effects work, a story that has clearly been tampered with and some of the most phoned in performances of the year culminate in the disaster that is the Fantastic Four.
For literally years, director Josh Trank went on about how unique his vision of a superhero movie was. When his film landed in critical and commercial hell he even went so far as to lay the blame at the studios feet, distancing himself from the movie that he was shepherd to for a number of years. In all honesty, the stories surrounding the movie were more interesting than the movie itself.
Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara and (actors name) have gone on record implying they want nothing more to do with the movie, and it shows in their performances. Slow, emotionless, wooden, whatever you want to call it I’m sure it applies.
“Blackhat is a Michael Mann crime thriller about the dangers of our modern, computer reliant world? It has Chris Hemsworth and Viola Davis as leads? Hell yea, I want to see it!”
That was more or less the conversation I had with myself while heading to the local Cineplex just under a year ago. The conversation I had with myself once I left went something like this,
“Holy shit that sucked! When the hell is Star Wars coming out?”
Dismissing the fact that I talk to myself, Blackhat is a terrible film. Slow and unnecessarily long films rule the day when it comes to my worst of 2015 list and Blackhat fits the bill perfectly. Chris Hemsworth has never been less charismatic than he is here and Viola Davis seems to be in physical pain at how boring the proceedings are.
In the same vein as Quentin Tarantino, Michael Mann has chosen to try and mask his films shortcomings with beautiful cinematography and camera tricks. Nothing could cover up the fact that Blackhat was built over a giant plot hole from which resistance is futile.
An evil, German, goat Santa that kidnaps children and murders their parents? That sounds fucking awesome!
Only it’s not. For those craving holiday fare outside of the equally terrible Love the Coopers (which didn’t make this list simply because I avoided it like the plague), I’m sorry. Krampus takes an interesting idea and executes it with the precision of a 3 year old wielding a machine gun.
Neither scary, funny nor full of holiday cheer, Krampus is best watched with copious amounts of alcohol or not at all. There is no gore to speak of, all deaths happen off screen, the creatures, including Krampus himself, only appear once or twice (though they do look great) and the conclusion of the film leaves you scratching your head as to why the hell you just spent all that time and money watching the film.
Krampus avoids topping the list only because of my undying love for obscure German folklore but even that couldn’t save it from becoming the second worst film of the year.
1. The Treasure
Absolutely no one will have heard of this film, which is a blessing. Trying desperately to catch an early screening of Sicario (which made my top 10 of 2015) at TIFF, I ended up settling for the first available film with half decent reviews. That just so happened to be The Treasure, an independent Romanian film from a director wreathed in awards from his home country. Sitting down in the crammed auditorium I found myself cautiously optimistic. Dear god was I wrong. What ensued was perhaps the most laborious 2 hours of my life.
The Treasure takes place almost entirely in a backyard, where 3 men walk back and forth with a metal detector searching for a lost treasure one of their ancestors may or may not have left behind. There is very little dialogue to help ease the gradual pace of the film and the short conversations that do take place are neither interesting nor important.
This is undeniably the worst film of the year. No story, no message, no character… just no good.
Hated my worst 10 of 2015 as much as I did? Take a look at my top 10 of the year to see if we have even more in common!