Worst Films of 2018
Another cinematic year brings with it another twelve months in which the good is always swiftly followed by the utterly awful, and with CGI sharks, woefully played creepy fiends and yet another re-imagining of a legendary British hero, 2018 has indeed been rife of absolute stinkers. Whilst once again we’ve managed to go through an entire year without leaving the cinema into the free air of mother Earth, at times such an alternative option has felt agonisingly close, and with quite a few rotten apples to sift through, we at Black Ribbon have managed to narrow it down to ten tales of cinematic woe. Feel free to dive in below…
10. Mortal Engines
With the mastermind of fantasy cinema, Peter Jackson, well and truly behind the project and a promise of adventurous world building and an abundance of spectacle, what an absolute let down Mortal Engines ultimately was, a flat, unbelievably dull and cliched steam-punk vision of a futureworld which matched Gods of Egypt for acting levels and made the likes of Valerian and Jupiter Ascending look like the Citizen Kane of science fiction cinema in retrospect. A start of a new franchise, I think not, and judging by the turgid time it has suffered at the box office, Mortal Engines doesn’t exactly manage to pull past first gear.
9. Life of the Party
The first of two movies on this list featuring the agonisingly awful comedic “talent” of Melissa McCarthy, Life of the Party was described as a movie which at least managed to capture that sense of awkward family reunions by being a film which no-one in their right mind really wants to admit to having enjoyed, let alone be a part of. With stale comedic quips and implausible plot twists, it’s fair to say that McCarthy has still failed to redeem herself out of the bad books of Black Ribbon, with Life of the Party not going anywhere near attempting to rectify that.
8. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Winning the award for most amount of shark jumping set pieces in just one two hour film, Maze Runner: The Death Cure, the final installment in the overly dull Hunger Games rip off, young adult science fiction franchise, was stated to suffer primarily from a wavering and uncertain narrative amidst an inclusion of characters which not only come across as the epitome of one dimensional, but seem to be characters so underdeveloped and dull that any of them could have been plucked from the set of either Hunger Games or Divergent without any of the other cast entirely noticing or caring. At least the one saving grace regarding The Death Cure is that the YA movement within the cinematic platform seems to finally be over. Result!
7. Slender Man
With the fundamental creepiness of the character of Slender Man something which could haved indeed be worked around to create an entertaining and crowd-pleasing horror flick, what an agonising leap of desperation the first big-screen adaptation of the lanky, suit wearing murderer really was. Described as “utter pants” in our initial review, Slender Man was seen to have its’ fair share of meaningless cattle-prod scares, awful dialogue and wacky dream sequences, and with a complete absence of empathy for the leading cast who conform unsurprisingly to the a-typical horror movie cannon fodder, the film ultimately became a boring waiting game for the arrival of the titular villain but was more likely to send even the most active of audience members swiftly to sleep. Plus, the use of Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” wins the year’s award for strangest musical selection.
6. The Meg
Look, everyone knew that a film revolving around a central narrative plot point regarding Jason Statham fighting an enormous extinct shark was never going to be The Godfather, and with this in mind, I truly went into The Meg expecting to be fulfilled in ways that only the best B-movie pictures somehow manage to do. What a staggering disappointment therefore to report that The Meg was neither entertaining or fulfilling, with a strange 12A rating threshold to stay within the biggest let down as Statham’s movie instead came across as let’s face it, woefully dull and tame beyond belief. With terrible acting, shocking dialogue and Statham not exactly having the opportunity to be at his bruising best, The Meg deserves to be hated due to it being an opportunity well and truly wasted.
5. Robin Hood
With Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword one of the strangest re-imaginings of the famous British hero in the entirety of cinematic history, one couldn’t have dreamed that within the space of twelve months a film would come along that not only seems to be inspired by Ritchie’s movie, but is undoubtedly so much worse in every single aspect. Of all the famous myths and legends, another version of Robin Hood was something of which was never really needed, and even with a solid cast featuring the likes of Taron Egerton and Ben Mendelsohn, Otto Bathurst’s big screen directorial debut was agonisingly terrible from beginning to end, blending terrible dialogue with a strange, uneven stylistic approach for an end product which made you wish for the dodgy accent of Russell Crowe.
4. Mary Magdalene
Sometimes it just goes to show that in the world of cinema, you can so, so easily go from hero to zero in the space of just a few simple and meaningful hours, and in the case of Joaquin Phoenix, how does an actor drop from levels of excellence within You Were Never Really Here to being absolutely snore inducingly awful in Mary Magdalene, the latest feature from Lion director, Garth Davis. Whilst it may be harsh to judge Mary Magdalene as a whole due to falling asleep for approximately half of its’ runtime, Davis’ movie at least goes down as the holy grail for suffers of insomnia with a simply awful screenplay, insufferable pacing and an almost immediate need to re-watch Monty Python in order to see a film much more cohesive and religiously educational.
3. The 15:17 to Paris
Whilst there is no denying that the central heroic act at the heart of The 15:17 to Paris, the latest from cinematic legend, Clint Eastwood, was something just short of a genuine miracle, the big screen adaptation of the failed terrorist attack failed to live up to similar levels of excellence and ended up being a film which, let’s face it, was rather painful to endure. With Eastwood choosing to allow the real heroes to play themselves throughout the course of the drama, it’s fair to say that acting is something of which none of the central heroes could safely add to their respective CV’s, and with a jaded, wavering screenplay and a full on ninety minutes in which absolutely nothing at all happens, The 15:17 to Paris was an overly dull and quite baffling experience to say the least.
Combining the natural acting chops of Helen Mirren and the directorial skills of The Spierig Brothers, Winchester, was paved even from the trailer as a particularly creaky horror flick, yet after the success of Predestination and the knowledge that even Mirren can sometimes find the gold nugget amidst the dirt, expectations for Winchester were somewhat reasonably high. Unfortunately, what an absolute load of hogwash the movie turned out to be, a unintentionally hilarious broken down ghost train of a movie with zero scares, zero levels of tension and featuring the most jaw dropping statement of the year when the mess on screen was supposedly based on some sort of genuine event. In the words of our orange haired friend across the pond; FAKE NEWS!
1. The Happytime Murders
Another year, another Melissa McCarthy led cinematic nightmare to endure and amongst the most turgid, the most painful and the most absolute horrendous to have sat through within the course of the past twelve months, The Happytime Murders wins by a country mile. Attempting to blend Team America style humour with the universally loved image of The Muppets, Brian Henson managed to dangle his goolies on the legacy of his father’s company with a film so awful and retrograde, along with Gods of Egypt, was the closest I have ever come to walking out of the cinema. Whilst those aged between ten and fourteen may find some of the movie funny, the fact that such an age group were restricted from seeing the movie in the cinema in the first place made The Happytime Murders an absolute box office bomb, resulting in being safe in the knowledge that audiences stayed away from Henson’s movie in their absolute droves. Thank heavens for that.
Next Time: Best Films of the Year – Part Two
“There’s Been Whispers Of A Thief. He’s Got Our Commoner’s Looking Up, Seeing Hope…”
With the unintentional hilarity which ensued during last year’s dire attempt to recreate one British legend in the form of Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, in which a cameo from David Beckham was one of the better aspects of the movie, Hollywood’s obsession with re-hashing well versed tales of adventure and heroism continues with yet another adaptation of Robin Hood, succeeding Ridley Scott’s mediocre 2010 version as the most contemporary telling and one which utilises the talents of Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) in the titular role. Directed by Otto Bathurst, a British filmmaker famous so far for his acclaimed work on the likes of Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders, and based on a debut script from Ben Chandler and David James Kelly, Robin Hood circa 2018 somehow manages to leapfrog in front of Guy Ritchie’s work of nonsensical silliness with relative ease in terms of cinematic woefulness, channelling an off-kilter tonal mix between Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and Monty Python and the Holy Grail as it attempts to redefine the age-old tale with a strange stylistic decision which seems to cater particularly for audiences who are simply after a slice of mindless fun. Unfortunately for Bathurst and co, Robin Hood isn’t a movie which can be branded with such positivity, bordering instead more on the edge of being totally irredeemable as it slogs its’ way through a two hour incoherent mess featuring awfully slim characters, a laughably bad script and feeling that once again a supposed future cinematic franchise dies spectacularly with its’ first attempt. Whoops.
Opening with a cockney-geezer voice-over which instructs its’ awaiting audience to forget everything they know about the tale of Robin of Loxley and be amazed at a fresh new take of the historic legend, hilariously, such a statement is ultimately completely contradicted almost immediately thanks to one of the most lazily constructed and cliched scripts not only this year but in living memory. Introducing our central hero as a toffee-nosed, obnoxious ruling class beefcake who quickly chooses to swap allegiances after four years of war, Egerton is charming to an extent but ultimately feels wickedly miscast as he is simply directed to portray a hooded version of his character from Kingsman, awful accent and all, and therefore loses all sense of belief in a performance which at times crossed into the realm of on-screen pantomime. Joining him on this list of miscastings, Jamie Foxx’s (Baby Driver) role as a dodgily accented prisoner of war turned teacher is the American’s worst on-screen appearance in recent history, whilst joining in on the pantomime sensibility of the film is surprisingly Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One), an actor who aside from slowly being typecast as the turn-to Hollywood sneering villain, pulls off the most OTT and overly camp lead villain performance since Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending. With woefully directed action set pieces which include a jaw-droppingly misjudged opening scene set in a Iraqi inspired third-world war zone, automatic crossbows and all, and a penchant for utilising the “art” of slow-motion to paint over the pants choreography which seems directly inspired from similar tactics used in King Arthur, the latest version of Robin Hood isn’t just bad, it’s a lazy, pointless and amateurish so-called “blockbuster” which makes Guy Ritchie look like the reincarnation of Stanley Kubrick. Avoid like a CGI arrow to the chest.