M.N. Miller’s Film Year in Review: The 15 Worst Films of 2020

January 3, 2021
M.N. Miller 0
Film, Ranked

The Worst Films of 2020

Yes, it has been a rough year for everyone and there have been some gloriously steaming piles of pure garbage along the way to take our minds off our circumstances. Here is a list of my Top 15 worst films of 2020. Please, don’t say I didn’t warn you about them.

15. The Rhythm Section

It’s hard to believe the stars of this vapid spy thriller fell for a script that is so lazily strung together, it’s the film version of a couch potato. The Rhythm Section is so cocksure, it never offers any evidence on why its characters come to their conclusions.

14. Superintelligence

It doesn’t take an AI to figure out that the professional marriage between Melissa McCarthy and director Ben Falcone has to end. Superintelligence is another nail in the coffin of McCarthy’s once stellar comic career. This movie is nothing but artificial filler.

13. Dolittle

Dolittle clearly has a target audience — the youngest of children. It’s perfectly benign for the family and manages to tell only 10% of the flatulence jokes that Murphy’s version did. The issue is that the creators simply mail in laughs and adventures for special effects.

12. Ava

Here’s a classic modern hit(wo)man film about using an innocuous excuse to kill someone who’s the world’s best. There isn’t a single scene, character, or action here you haven’t seen in countless others. The only thing new Ava brings to the table is a case of angina.

11. The Last Thing He Wanted

This is the last thing a cinephile wanted. How does a Dee Rees film with an all-star cast become such a muddled mess? It’s the script’s poor ambition and convoluted twists that are an uneven match for Anne Hathaway’s paranoid, frenetic portrayal.

10. Emperor

In the grand tradition of Harriet comes Emperor — a film that takes an important historical figure and turns his story into a generic, witless action picture filled with cartoonish characters, tepid dialogue, a contrived plot, and equipped with a half-dozen or so white saviors. The story deserves so much better.

9. War with Grandpa

This is a massive misfire on so many levels. Robert De Niro somehow ended up in this clunker, which must have been for the money. In The War with Grandpa, no one comes away unscathed, including the viewer. It’s a family comedy about lessons without the burden of having any.

8. Downhill

The team behind Downhill doesn’t seem to be burdened with the guiding principle to make things interesting or fresh. All you have is a set of endless scenes of surreal nonsense, pure jibber-jabber, that’s like traveling on a gondola ride to nowhere.

7. Bad Therapy

While watching Bad Therapy I started to think I had taken part in the Duncan Principle. Director William Teitler’s film is one of the most painful movie-going experiences I’ve had in my entire life. The script is foolish and out of touch. The jokes don’t work and fall flat immediately after leaving the actor’s mouth. This is a dark comedy film equivalent of soft dim light.

6. The Bay of Silence

The enigma behind this morose mystery is how the script made it from page to screen. The Bay of Silence is essentially two different films smashed together, like puzzle pieces that barely fit, with a reveal so weak it wouldn’t qualify for an episode of Law & Order.

5. John Henry

I mean… Wow. If only Ludacris’s Thanos-like jaw was the most ludicrous part of this urban crime western. John Henry is a tactless, tasteless, head-scratchingly dumb, and boring action film that can’t get out of its own way.

4. Disturbing the Peace

Disturbing the Peace is bad on so many levels, I can only assume Guy Pearce lost a bet or had pledged a fraternity. An homage to NC-17 films of the ’70s? Maybe, but the result is on par with a lost episode of MacGyver with p**n-level production quality and acting that’s just mystifying.

3. Survive the Night

Hey, look kids! It’s a couple of falling stars, make a wish.

2. The Kissing Booth 2

The white privilege that practically drips from the screen in Netflix’s The Kissing Booth 2 is insufferable. This is the Heaven’s Gate of rom-coms, that must have been edited by laid-off MTV producers because it never met a music montage it didn’t fall in love with.

1. (Tie) Buddy Games/The Stand-In

I’m not sure which one was worse — both are unbearable cinematic, soul-sucking banality quality, but the fact that Buddy Games was reportedly a passion project of Josh Duhamel’s for nearly a decade is eye-opening. There’s so much to hate here and so few characters left to write. Buddy Games and The Stand-In are both egregious, repulsive, and unfunny misfires — the worst films of 2020.

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