Worst Films of 2016
The yearly sound of festive Christmas greetings brings with it the annual delight of Black Ribbon’s year in review for film, a must on everyone’s list to Santa, and to begin this year’s activities we look back at the very worst 2016 has had to offer on the big-screen, not only to get the big bad stuff out of the way first but also due to the fact that with only two weeks left of the year, I cannot see any other film replacing the movies that unfortunately have had the bad luck to land on such a list, a list which ranges from shoddy blockbusters to sloppy sequels, from crappy comic adaptations to sleep-inducing symbolical thrillers and a list which features one of the very worst films of the past decade. So, in the words of Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, “let’s get into character” and examine the very worst films us here at Black Ribbon have had to sit through throughout the course of 2016…
10. Suicide Squad
We begin the countdown with perhaps one of the messiest excuses for a summer blockbuster in recent history, a film which had a certain amount of positive hype after its’ interesting trailer yet fell flat on its’ face come release date. With awful storytelling and less than one-dimensional characters at the heart of it, David Ayer’s Suicide Squad was a resounding flop, one which suffered from a wide range of much publicised problems such as mandatory re-shoots and a complete change of style due to the success of Deadpool, resulting in the fate of the DC Universe being left completely open to opinion. Should Marvel be quaking in fear of its’ comical rival? Not. One. Bit. With even more films next year continuing the franchise you can only hope it only gets better. It can’t get much worse.
9. Zoolander 2
Beginning the foray of sequels that not only were bog awful but were really not necessary at all is Zoolander 2, the follow up to Ben Stiller’s 2001 comedy which continues the tale of the simple-minded fashion mega-star which not only contains perhaps the worst set of celebrity cameos ever seen in a movie (Cumberbatch, what are you doing?) but also suffers from the fundamental issue of being a comedy which ultimately isn’t funny at all. Where the first had a slight sense of charm and a selection of annoyingly quotable gags, Zoolander 2 instead features a ridiculous and wholly boring storyline which cranks its’ way into submission in order to try and give the movie a reason for existing aside from the obvious financial possibilities. Where the first had David Bowie, Zoolander 2 has Justin Bieber and that in itself is a prime of example of why the movie sucks. Big time.
8. Batman V. Superman
Of the two releases from the DC Universe this year, Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice was undoubtedly a shocker. Two and a half hours of a slumbering narrative which attempts not only to find a solid rationale for the titular battle but to set up the basis of the upcoming extended universe is the heart of the movies’ problem alongside dull, uninspiring CGI and performances that range from Henry Cavill’s solemn-looking Clark Kent to Jesse Eisenberg’s OTT Lex Luthor, a portrayal which takes all the good things about his performance in The Social Network and ramps it up way past eleven, becoming incredibly irritating whenever he’s on screen. Where Suicide Squad was similarly terrible, BvS was undoubtedly worse for one reason; it should have been a riveting success particularly when Ben Affleck was actually quite good but instead we can all acknowledge Zak Snyder perhaps isn’t the man to lead DC to cinematic glory.
7. Now You See Me 2
Yet another pointless sequel which bears all the hallmarks of the blueprint for utter cinematic failure. Awful storytelling? Correct, with the concluding twist making not one bit of sense whatsoever and the films’ narrative being so ridiculous it wouldn’t be amiss in an episode of Scooby Doo. Terrible characters? Oh yeah, particularly when admiring the terrible decision to allow the screenwriters to include the Jar Jar Binks of modern cinema with Woody Harrelson’s creepy twin brother being skull-shatteringly awful. If it wasn’t for how loud the film was in its’ respective screening my many dozes throughout the film may have transcended into outright REM sleep, a position which in no way would have risked the chance of seeing anything remotely interesting on-screen. Please, no more CGI magic, I’ve had my share.
6. Point Break
The real horror of this years’ Point Break is now having to say “you mean the original?” whenever anyone asks if I’ve seen it. I mean come on Hollywood, why on Earth does this movie even exist? Where Katheryn Bigelow’s 1991 was a movie based on testosterone-filled action set pieces and a bromance so contagious you would be excuse for thinking it was actually a romantic drama, with surfing, the 2016 version features nothing of which made the original so fantastic. A dull storyline with dull characters fitted together with dull action set pieces and this years’ Point Break was a real drag to endure. Adding to the insult too was the decision to reenact some of the original film’s most iconic images, not only reminding you how good the original actually is but also making you gag at the thought of more inevitable pointless remakes that will be released in the near future.
5. The Forest
Perhaps sticking to what you do best should have been the advice for Natalie Dormer, formerly of Game of Thrones of course, and although broadening the acting pallet is chalk and cheese of Hollywood these days, The Forest is not quite the shining example of riveting success it might have been in another universe. What makes it so bad? It’s a horror which isn’t scary and primarily relies on the cheap thrill of jump scares which don’t make you jump whilst the doppleganger/twin sister narrative twist at the heart of the film doesn’t really make any sense whatsoever when picked apart. In a year of dull blockbusters, The Forest is the one A-List movie which was destined for straight-to-video goodness. Unforunately for Dormer and co., it’s so much worse.
Ron Howard. Tom Hanks. Felicity Jones. What could possibly go wrong? Oh yeah, it’s a Dan Brown adaptation of course. Whilst symbology, ancient hidden clues and a genocidal virus could be classed as the basis for adventure, Inferno is an A-Z in cinematic narcolepsy. Continuing the theme of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons, Ron Howard’s latest is a confusing, shoddy dramatic tale of Dante, memory loss and the end of the world which embraces the notion that if the movie doesn’t slow down, the audience can’t decipher the truly pants storytelling at heart. Although the twist wasn’t expected, due in part to being asleep through most of the film’s first half, Inferno includes the most anti-climatic conclusion seen in recent history with a disease filled plastic bag at the heart of it. That’s right, a flippin’ carrier bag.
3. Independence Day: Resurgence
Yet another terrible excuse for a sequel that really, no-one was crying out for, particularly when twenty years has passed since the original and particularly when in an era where CGI-fuelled blockbusters tend to be actually quite boring, Independence Day: Resurgence is a movie which takes all the worst bits and mushes them into two hours of a laboured and depressingly dull disaster. With recurring actors from the first, aside from Will Smith, seemingly only popping up for the pay cheque and an uninspired choice of younger actors, Resurgence lacks the charm, thrill and general popcorn feel of the 1996 original, resorting to cheap, over-the-top digital effects instead of a narrative and effective characterisation. And still, it isn’t the worst film of the year.
2. London Has Fallen
Unfortunately for Gerard Butler, the two worst films of the year features his majestic Scottish talent and whilst Butler has managed to do some half-decent stuff in his career so far, London Has Fallen is instead up there with the worst he has had to offer. Although not entirely his fault, this xenophobic, ultra-violent mess of a movie is truly terrible from beginning to end, featuring Butler at his most gruesome as well as a plot so intergalactically stupid it is truly surprising to see it actually managed to get past the drawing board. The only good thing about the horror of London Has Fallen is that a sequel surely cannot follow but looking back at 2016, it’s fair to say stranger things have happened indeed.
1. Gods of Egypt
And here we are at last, the Battlefield Earth of the past decade and indeed the worst film of the year by quite a distance. Although director Alex Proyas is renowned for interesting, cult-esque movies in his early career such as The Crow and Dark City, Gods of Egypt is not worthy of viewership by any means. Aside from being perhaps the most toe-curling two hours of cinema I can remember, Proyas has created a movie so stupid, so pathetic in its’ attempts at creating something resembling a historical narrative that Gods of Egypt can’t even be excused of being a movie so bad it’s actually good. Although Butler isn’t in the leading role, his performance is still part of the systematic weakness at the heart of the movie with oak-soaked wooden portrayals across the board whilst the CGI is put to shame by even the most basic of effects seen on the worst television has to offer. There is no hiding it, Gods of Egypt is an epic disaster and will be at the forefront of worst movie lists of recent times for years to come but for now, it’s just the worst film of 2016. Let’s see what next year has to offer.