2017 has come to a close and whilst I’d argue that that 2017 has been one of the best years for films ever, that doesn’t mean we haven’t had our fair share of bad Cinema experiences, watching disappointing and weak films last year. I have compiled a list of ten films, that I think I would’ve been better off not watching. Some of these films had great potential and completely wasted it, whilst others are just outright awful all round. Let’s get started.
10. xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
The third xXx film was close to not making the list, simply because it’s a forgettable film that was released at the top end of year. It wasn’t until I was compiling the final draft of my list, when it suddenly sprung to my mind leaving me with the decision to save another film I had in mind, from making the list and replacing it with this one. I would give a brief overview of the films conventional and massively dull plot, but if I’m completely honest I can’t remember what it was and I have no interest reminding myself of it, nor do I want to bore you with explaining the convoluted mess that it is. The film doesn’t work on many levels, Vin Diesel for some reason thinks his braggadocious characterisation of Xander Cage is something people will find entertaining and “cool”, but it only ended up providing fuel for some big unintentional laughs through out the film. The actions sequences are dumb and over the top, but not in a guilty pleasure fashion akin to Diesel’s Fast & Furious Franchise. So that just results in an action film that isn’t very entertaining beyond the odd few laughs at it’s stupidity.
09. The Mummy.
I found this reboot of The Mummy to be massively disappointing. I was optimistic before watching it, the idea of the Dark Universe, a cinematic universe featuring all of Universal’s monsters was something that heightened my intrigue greatly. In retrospect, the decision to make this film the starting point for a new cinematic universe is one of it’s biggest downfalls. The script is bogged down with so much expository dialogue, that it just becomes clear that instead of being its own individual story that subtly connects into a larger universe, the script becomes more focused with introducing the larger elements of this work in progress (at the time of writing, currently suspended) cinematic universe. I usually enjoy every Tom Cruise performance due to his dedication to doing in camera stunt work. Although with this film, even the stunts couldn’t bring me mild enjoyment. The film is more focused on being a Tom Cruise action movie, instead of being an interesting retelling of The Mummy. Sofia Boutella’s performance as Ahmanet/The Mummy is the one positive aspect of the film, but she just isn’t given enough to do, she’s wasted. The script has six credited writers and it absolutely shows, the screenplay tries to juggle so many different tones and there is no clear direction and focus with the narrative. It attempts to be an action adventure, a horror and a comedy all in one and it’s just a mess. Then once the third act arrives the film just grinds to a halt, So Russell Crowe’s Dr Jekyll can give us an exposition overload and explain how this universe works and the history behind his monster hunting organisation, Prodigium. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the final twenty minutes of the film just sucked the life out of me, I was bored beyond belief. The film ends so poorly that my initial intrigue in the Dark Universe had disappeared by the time the credits rolled, and as it stands currently the development of more films in the Dark Universe has been put on hold (rumoured to be completely scrapped) and after this half assed attempt, maybe that is for the best.
I have always liked Dwayne Johnson and over the past few years I’ve really grown to like Zac Efron. Both of those actors have a likeable presence, and both of them are usually capable of providing laughs and entertainment even if the material they are working with is lacking. Notice how I used the word “usually”. This film that is based on the television show of the same name, is the first time I’ve witnessed (in recent years) these two actors being unable to salvage some entertainment value and laughs from a bad film. The story is as bland and uninteresting as you’d expect, not to mention predictable in every sense of the word, but the biggest problem this film has is it’s just not that funny. People don’t typically watch comedy films for a fantastic story, No, people watch comedies to laugh, so the fundamental thing this film had to get right was making me laugh consistently and make me enjoy my time watching it and it failed that. Therefore it has earned a spot on this list.
07. Transformers: The Last Knight.
I have said this many times before and I’ll say it once more. I grew up watching the Transformers animated series and I loved it. I even loved the first live action film and still to this day will defend it as a fun summer blockbuster. Over time I’ve began to notice the flaws with the two sequels that followed it, Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon. Then came Age of Extinction, an abomination that left me walking out of the cinema angry back in 2014. The latest instalment, The Last Knight isn’t as bad as Age of Extinction but that isn’t really saying much. Comparing the two films is like comparing a large lump of sh*t, to a slightly smaller lump of sh*t. At the end of the day it’s still a lump of sh*t, regardless of the minor differences. By this point you could make a checklist of negative things to expect in a Transformers film and The Last Knight ticks all the boxes, is it bloated and too long? Yes. Is the script a mess and the story convoluted?Absolutely. Is 70% of the dialogue filled with exposition? Of course. Is there out of place humour that just is not funny at all? Obviously. Does it take a well respected actor and make them look silly? Yeah you see where this is going. The only slightly redeeming factor this film has is the IMAX presentation, but even that was ruined by the alternating aspect ratio that became very distracting. No film should ever feel difficult to sit through, Transformers: The Last Knight is a cinematic endurance test that you should avoid.
A Taken rip off starring Jamie Foxx, that’s what I thought after watching the trailer for Sleepless. Little did I know the film would end up as boring as it is. This is one of those films were you can predict every moment and see where the story is heading from a mile away. The action sequences were poorly shot and edited which also doesn’t help. I just remember being so frustrated and irritated whilst watching Sleepless, it’s not offensively bad, but it is horrifically dull.
05. The Babysitter.
I had no real idea what to expect when I chose to watch Netflix’s recent horror comedy The Babysitter, but what I got was a film that thought it was funnier and more clever than it actually was. There were a couple enjoyable moments but ultimately the film doesn’t execute it’s tongue in cheek style with the level of finesse needed to make this film good, or at least memorable in a positive way. The script is lacking in all areas, the story is paper thin and doesn’t develop it’s own ideas enough. This is one Netflix Original film that you do not need to see.
04. The Dark Tower.
We got many Stephen King adaptations in 2017, 1922, Gerald’s Game, IT all great films. Well The Dark Tower is the one that fell short. I had never read the books this film is based upon, but I’ve heard from many that this is regarded to be King’s magnum opus. If that were to be the case then you’d have no idea of that by simply watching this film. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, two great actors in the lead roles. A Stephen King story that I’ve heard many describe as his Lord of the Rings. The film was ripe with potential. So why is it on this list? Because of the script and direction. I had no real clue what was going on half the time, it felt as if a number of ideas had been mixed in a blender and thrown onto a page to then be shot. I’ve heard this one film tries to incorporate elements from multiple books in The Dark Tower saga and it does feel that way. The story lacks cohesion and it seems as if the direction given by Nikolaj Arcel wasn’t strong enough for a film of this calibre, and no disrespect to him but I think a more experienced director was needed for this particular adaptation.
03. The Book of Henry.
I watched The Book of Henry last week and it was so bad it managed to make a late climb all the way to the third spot on this list. There is so much wrong with this film, so much that doesn’t make sense, that I could be here for ages trying to explain it all. It’s one of those films that seems okay at first and then at a point starts to progressively get worse and worse at a rapid rate. I’m going to tell you what happens in this film because that’s the only way I can truly let you understand how much of a mess it is. It follows Henry a smart young kid who suspects the girl next door is being assaulted by her stepfather. After many failed attempts to notify his school and even child line of this suspicion, Henry out of nowhere suddenly has a seizure and is diagnosed to have a brain tumour. We then see Henry sketching in a notebook on the hospital bed, a few scenes later he dies. Bare in mind this is all at the half way point of the film. His mother then finds the titular ‘Book of Henry’, this notepad that he’s being writing in and she discovers that before he died, Henry outlined instructions for his mother to follow, so that she could kill the stepfather. As you can probably guess, the mother then begins to follow this guide, as well as an audio guide that he pre recorded before his death. One thing that really didn’t make sense to me is how she speaks to this audio recording, and he responds to what she is saying as if it wasn’t pre recorded. It just literally makes no sense. This is an original idea that spiralled out of control during the scripting phase. It takes itself so seriously with it’s ridiculous plot, It’s one of those films you have to see to truly believe how terrible it is, but despite saying that I wouldn’t recommend you watch it at all.
Geostorm could’ve been a guilty pleasure disaster film that remained dumb, but still managed to be enjoyable. As you probably gathered due to it’s inclusion on this list. It’s not that. In fact it’s barely even a disaster movie. It made me notice what would make the worst type of disaster movie, one that barely has any disaster set pieces within it. The film doesn’t commit to those sequences nor does it commit to being a silly yet fun disaster film. The poster (the one pictured above) depicts Gerard Butler facing down a tsunami wave the size of a skyscraper. I was prepared to indulge in such a stupid concept. I wanted to see Gerard Butler vs. The Weather Disasters, that’s what I paid to see. I didn’t even get that because he spends the whole film up in space away from the mayhem that’s occurring back on earth. Geostorm is the type of bad film that just makes you tiresome and really uncomfortable in your seat. Don’t force yourself to experience this dull film.
01. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.
So here we are, my worst film of 2017 is Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. The film that managed to send me dosing off in and out of sleep multiple times throughout it’s run time, despite being so unnecessarily loud. The film actually tested my inner strength and resolve. I may have looked at my watch more than I looked at the cinema screen, the whole time I was contemplating walking out. This film displays the WORST editing I have ever seen in any film or television show. The median shot length is probably half a second. I honestly have no idea how someone could spend hours editing footage, and be proud and happy with this as the final product of their work. There is a sequence in this film where Alice fighting a creature called a Bloodshot. There’s a moment within the sequence where she lifts her gun and starts firing at the creature as it runs towards her. The film cuts between so many different shots, whilst trying to depict the one action of her lifting the gun and firing, that I can’t even count how many shots there is within this seven second moment. I estimate there is at least fifteen shots it cuts between. APPROXIMATELY FIFTEEN SHOTS IN SEVEN SECONDS. Who the hell thought this was a good idea. It’s like the editor was having a seizure whilst piecing these shots together. If you suffer from epilepsy then I think the film will actually be a danger to you. In almost every scene you struggle to see what’s going on due to the choppy editing, and that’s even in scenes in day light. As the for the scenes at night, good luck. You can’t see anything but darkness and an onslaught of muzzle flashes from gunfire. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said the film was loud either, it sounded like the speakers in the cinema were going to blow. The sound design and mixing just consists of a soundscape of loud noises, it’s most definitely headache inducing. I remember walking out of the cinema when the film ended and I thought to myself, that’ll probably end up being the worst film of the year and I was correct. To make matters worse just when we thought at least this franchise is finally done, The film ends in a way that does leaves the door open for a potential sequel. I hope to God that sequel doesn’t come to fruition.
So that’s my ten worst films of the year, I’m sure you had a number of different selections to me and I’d love to hear what they are. Feel free to tweet me (@terrellegraham) your list of worst films for 2017 and stay tuned for my favourite films of 2017 list.