We are mere hours away from the end of another year filled with glorious cinematic treats. But you’ll read about those on the other list. This post is all about the hideous filmic-crimes that have attacked like a plague of locust upon our beloved silver screen. And there ain’t no Moses to save us…
Here are my worst 10 films of 2017.
(Before we begin, be sure to subscribe to our weekly movie discussion podcast Torn Stubs)
10. Baby Driver – I don’t totally dislike this film about a get-a-way driver called Baby (getit?) but I just wish it was… grittier. Writer/director Edgar Wright has taken his influences from Point Break, Reservoir Dogs, The Driver and The French Connection, but Baby Driver is really slick and too safe. The film is lit far too brightly and Baby’s scar from a childhood car accident is barely there at all. The inclusion of the white Apple headphone cord lends this a SuperBowl-Half-Time advert feel and choreographing the actors movements to the music is fun at first but does gets tedious as the film nears the third act. The PR machine caused the film to become widely over praised. A one-two-step in the right direction, a greenlit sequel should darken the world and grit-up.
9. mother! – Javier Bardem makes the first of two appearances in my list of least favourite movies of the year in this baffling, boring, far-too-long art exercise that feels stuffy and claustrophobic. Darren Aronofsky has never been anywhere near the top of my favourite filmmakers list and as much as I love surrealist, arthouse cinema, mother! was just too random and allegorical for my liking. Shapeless, frustrating and at 121 minutes, at least 30 minutes too long. Y’know what could have been cut out? My eyes, so I never have to endure this again.
8. Beauty and The Beast. I’ll give you this right off the bat; I’m not a Disney fairytale fan. I dislike all the sickly sweet BS but at least the animation is usually spot on. So once you strip away the ink and insert a live-action-cast, what have you got? Humans running around a green screen. Have we not suffered enough with the Star Wars prequels? Is it really live action when 90% of the film was created in a computer? Emma Watson isn’t any less irritating here as she was in Harry Potter and why was Ewan McGregor asked to do a French accent when there are plenty of French actors readily available? Put on the original if you have to… Better yet, watch Twin Peaks.
7. The Dark Tower – The equivalent of taking a genre-blending 8 book series filled with wondrous locations, characters with depth and philosophical ideas and reducing it to a 1990s style cliched made-for-TV movie… oh wait, that’s exactly what this is…
Idris Elba does his best but an actor can only emote what is on the page and unfortunately, there ain’t all that much on the page here. Matthew McConaughey is on auto pilot but refuses to kamikaze into the titular tower (shame) and the over use of CGI is troubling. GCI does not equal quality – when will Hollywood learn? What could have been a stunning piece of genre filmmaking with the potential to be a cultural tentpole is nothing more than a weak wank in the woods.
6. The Beguiled – The ying/yang theory is never more at play than with Colin Farrell’s releases this year. While The Killing Of A Sacred Deer features on my top 10 favourite movies of 2017 list, slumming it here on the list of ten worst is Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, based on the book of the same name by Thomas P. Cullinan, where Farrell plays a wounded soldier cared for by a secluded group of women. The film is taken so seriously by all involved and drench in an unnecessary amount of tension that every revelation and side ways glance became unintentionally funny. A wider audience would have been achieved had it been billed as a comedy.
5. Alien: Covenant. The Alien series of films began well with the one-two punch of Ridley Scott’s classic horror-in-space Alien and James Cameron’s war-in-space Aliens. The subsequent sequels and spin-offs are nothing more than watered down acid-blood meaning we haven’t had a decent Alien film since 1986, and there are more bad ones than good. And Alien: Covenant is no less weak. Scott returns for a third shot (after 2012’s Prometheus – the first prequel, which makes this a sequel to a prequel but still a prequel…) but he needn’t have bothered. In part a shameful re-tread of his 1979 original – this is pure box-ticking-filmmaking from a director who really should know better. Blandly choreographed actions scenes peppered with philosophical ramblings from a self-indulgent Michael Fassbender are clear indicators that this franchise has no more juice left. A shockingly boring cinematic experience that I wouldn’t suffer again, not for all the money in the world…
4. Justice League – The signs were all there in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice – this was not going to turn out well. Justice League is a bigger mess than Superman created in the 3rd act of Man Of Steel. No character gets an arc; wild over use of GCI; too much crash-bang-wollap; Ezra Miller is, can and has done so much better than this and Ben Affleck is sleepwalking, constantly looking for an exit. Zack Snyder is nothing more than a music video director with access to a large budget. Five movies in and the DC universe is not working. Time to fly-backwards around the Earth, reverse time and start again.
3. Live By Night. A paint-by-numbers 1920’s set gangster story of some sort of double cross, blandly directed by Batman himself, Ben Affleck, an over-hyped filmmaker who was way more interesting in Kevin Smith’s View Askew movies (Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma). However cool it was to see a model-T-Ford car chase, that just wasn’t enough to save this piss-poor Michael Mann/Brian De Palma wannabe from fading into the background and re-emerging in the discount DVD bin at your local supermarket. Save your time and money and put on The Untouchables.
2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge. Johnny Depp continues to shit over his legacy as the greatest actor of his generation in this fifth instalment in the Pirates franchise. Where once there was an awesome, bi-sexual campness in his portrayal of Jack Sparrow, now there is only self parody; as if he was nothing more than a Jack Sparrow impressionist annoying the fuck out of guests at an engagement party. I hope he got paid well. As for the rest of the film, a forgettable plot about curses or something involving Javier Bardem’s titular Salazar – his work here more wooden than the plank (I thank you) – begs the questions why are these still being made? And why are they so piss-poor? Disney are so careful to keep the quality of Marvel and Star Wars films sky high so why not their beloved Pirates franchise? The ship has a leak, let it sink and forget about it.
1. La La Land – On the back of bleach bottles, we are warned not to let the contents come into direct contact with our skin for it will cause irritation. Take all the bottles on the shelf at your local Morrisons, open, pour and rub into your eyes. The pain and burning sensation you experience is still no match for what I felt when watching this sickly, badly written love story. That it is made by Damien Chazelle, the talent behind Whiplash – the kinetic jazz drumming movie that has personality and bite – is a crying shame. While that film promised a career of interesting and enjoyable work, this watery and weak love-letter to a by-gone Hollywood era is nothing more than an ITV1 Sunday night drama with a budget. Forgetable songs, thin singing voices and a criminal waste of my time makes it the worst movie of 2017.