The Halfway Report Card: The Worst of the Year so Far
While there have been some real hidden gems in the first half of the 2019 film calendar, the year has some colossal, awful, skin-crawling, gag reflex-inducing, mind-blowing, incompressible, and of course, gross miscalculations of film infamy. Some of the contenders this year are so bad, the Razzies should be telecasted instead of the Oscars. The field is jam-packed with frontrunners, so much so, I’m thinking a spelling-bee type tie might be appropriate, if not humane.
Whatever the case may be, please take a gander at my ultimate list of “Skip-It” films that I have gathered in my collection the first six months of this cruel and merciless year.
The Halfway Mark Report Card: This group was given makeup work
The new live-action remake of the Disney animated classic Dumbo is helmed by the darkly eccentric director Tim Burton and his latest film is like nothing I’ve ever seen from the master of juxtaposition: Safe, almost tepid, and it’s monotonously boring. If you want some fun, charming, gothic, eccentric storytelling with an unusual plot and delightfully different characters, go rent Burton’s Big Fish.
The needless reboot of Hellboy sheds light on a union between director Neil Marshall and Lionsgate that practically screamed perfect-match but is in need of an annulment. The result is a cheap knock off. Nothing is nearly as nuanced as the original, and along with the director/writer’s cluttered visions, you just watch a film that has more in common with Schumacher’s failed comic fable attempts than any of the great ones we have had from the genre in the past decade. It may be an act of desperation or seen as pathetic, but we need to get our ex (Del Toro) back.
Men In Black International
MIB: International is a sterile, stodgy, nondescript, and overall a boring spin-off of a once-beloved franchise(but not really). Even the attempt that would seem to be a sure thing, the pairing of Hemsworth and Thompson, who previously showed some wonderful buddy-comic chemistry in the well-received Thor Ragnorak, has mysteriously left them here. So much so, it’s as if the actors themselves were neuralysed before the film shoot started. I wish there was someone to neuralyse me as I walked out of the theatre.
The Halfway Mark Report Card: Failing Grades
This is one of those films that attempt to create moments of drama out of nowhere, whole in the unlikeliest of places, just to set up an emotional reveal no one asked for, and that absolutely no one cares about. Three writers worked on this script that poorly drawn, the characters woefully underdeveloped, while the dialogue is completely incoherent and mind-numbingly boring. I just wish my Amazon Fire TV remote came with a neuralyser.
The Hard Way
Do you remember that scene in Arrested Development when Michael Bluth opens up a paper bag marked, ‘Dead Dove, Do Not Eat,’ then comments, ‘Well, I don’t know what I expected.’ Well, that’s the same reaction I had for this direct to #Netflix tawdry action film that doesn’t help trash cinema improve its reputation one bit.
The dead on arrival Netflix comedy time waster is filled With nothing but filler. The best parts of The Last Laugh are the stand-up bits that are far too short, that lead to a finale that acts as if arriving at the destination is the same thing as fulfilling the goal that drove the characters in the first place. A missed opportunity for the great Richard Dreyfuss.
Remember the good old days when some films were just never released, buried, and never talked about like an embarrassing family secret(I’m still trying to locate that Paul Rudd film Metal Mayhem when he is sporting blonde locks). Now Netflix buys and streams them all with the end result are movies like Polar. It’s a Canadian John Wick wannabee import based on a graphic novel that’s a lurid mess.
You can admire the director of Locke, Steven Knight, for using awards bait players with an over-twisty script that targets Gen-Z and Millenial’s with a story on how to cope with a tragedy. The issue though is the script needed fleshing out, while most of the characters are retreads, and the plot is so hammy I’m surprised pigs weren’t flying in the sky above considering the eventual reveal.
Of course, Little is a comedy fantasy, and its disingenuous situations could be forgiven if the film was funny. It’s not, it’s crass, it’s weird, and having a child actor hit on adult male characters is just gross and uncomfortable. What made Big work was putting on an adult male body could act like a “beard” and get through everyday work life and let the fun ensue. Going the other way takes away the childlike innocence that makes a film like this work; adding cynicism to a child’s point of view has its limitations. Little is weird, gross, cynical, and uncomfortable.
The Halfway Mark Report Card: This group faces expulsion
My grandfather used to tell me, with great conviction, that if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone or something, then don’t say anything at all. That being said, I am unfortunately obligated to write a minimum of three-hundred words on any article I write for the good people of Ready Steady Cut. Whatever you want to call Chris Addison’s The Hustle — a remake, a reimagining, a lazy retread — either way his film is unoriginal, uninspired, and unworthy of your time
Berlin, I love you
The reason anthology or vignettes films are difficult to not just make, but actually make a successful one, is the rush to unveil every characters backstory in the span of less than a handful of minutes that’s insincere and dishonest. Berlin, I Love You is the worst of its kind because it has no real idea how people talk, interact, or honestly show us how people connect with each other in any real or tangible way. It’s an eye-rolling, tedious bore, that drowns in its own sentimental mouth drool.
Replicas screenplay was so poorly written, it might have the worst dialogue of any feature film from a studio in nearly a decade. The vehicle for the Hawaiian Soft-Breeze is an immediate shoo-in for a host of Razzie awards and when it was released, there was a little over 350-days left. This isn’t so bad it’s good comfort food, Replicas is taxing, frustrating, and tediously boring.
Drunk Parents is the equivalent of being stuck in a crowded party with a new drunk friend who won’t leave you alone and who thinks they are funny and entertaining but is unbearably humorless. It’s so inept, so crass, so humorless, so tactless, it actually attempts to double down on sex-offender jokes as if it had struck a wellspring of situational comedy about pedophilia. This isn’t an edgy comedy or even a dark one; there is no envelope being pushed here because it doesn’t know where the envelope is, to begin with.
There is absolutely nothing fresh or different about Redbox’s dark dramedy, Benjamin. The most creative part of the film is using a magic bullet to make fruit loop flavored milk… yet, even the use of this product placement is outdated. The film is poorly executed, and the script has about as much energy as a sloth looking around for their next meal. When the cast starts to quip back and forth, its an exercise in Simon Says, repeating the exact same sentence that was just uttered so the story remains in neutral. This is serious fluff to kill time for a film that already feels a half-hour too long at its unmerciful 89 minutes. You won’t see a worst movie all year.
M.N. Miller has been a film and television writer for Ready Steady Cut since August of 2018 and is patiently waiting for the next Pearl Jam album to come out.