As always with these lists remember this is not gospel or definitive opinion, so by all means feel free to disagree, and share your own candidates for the worst films of 2016, below. It’s been a year filled with very good films and very bad films, and thankfully it wasn’t very hard to compile this list. There weren’t very many movies I’d call awful this year, but these are ten of easily the worst films studios released to audiences
Bad Movies in 2016 that almost made the list includes the silly Lauren Cohan starring horror drama The Boy, the insanely vapid The Angry Birds Movie, the painfully stupid animated film Batman: The Killing Joke, the tedious and lazy X-Men: Apocalypse, the pointless and scare free The Night Before Halloween, the pointless remakes of Cabin Fever, and Gasper Noe’s Martyrs, the Rob Schneider starring animated comedy Norm of the North, the continued murdering of Robert Deniro’s career known as Dirty Grandpa, the sickly sugary and obnoxious Trolls, the half baked sitcom My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, the empty sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass, the moronic and mean spirited Clown, and the insanely awful anthology Holidays.
Now on to the Top 10…
10. Sausage Party
Directed by Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan
Release Date: August 12th
Okay, so “Sausage Party” made a lot of money and garnered some rave reviews? All for what is ninety minutes of a lot of vagina, penis, and food puns, and clunky metaphors about religion and race? Not to mention uncomfortable jokes about rape and molestation. “Sausage Party” watches like a really bad sketch on “Family Guy,” it’s a movie that played much better as a movie trailer, and probably would have been a lot funnier chopped down to twenty minutes. It’s a movie about anthropomorphic food, and their holy land called “The Great Beyond” which is actually their “gods” eating them and devouring them in montages that try really hard to be disturbing. Seth Rogen plays a frankfurter, Salma Hayek plays a lesbian taco, Edward Norton does a Woody Allen impression as a bagel (Get it? Jewish!), and there’s a really long scene in the climax where the food get together and have a massive orgy. They had this same premise in “Tales from the Darkside” that was much more twisted and demented.
Watch Instead: Fritz the Cat (1972)
Directed by Morgan Spurlock
Release Date: September 23rd
For a movie about rats, Morgan Spurlock has absolutely nothing to say about them. Well, he has absolutely nothing new to say about them. The majority of “Rats” revolves around “Ew! Rats are icky!” “Ew! Rats are ugly!” “Oh no! Rats are in the walls!” Wait—rats live in New York City? And they’re eating our garbage? The sewers are their homes? Well thanks lot for the information, Mr. Spurlock, I had no idea! I’ve only been living in New York forever. “Rats” is an unfocused fright flicks for folks that hate rats. It’s exploitation nonsense without an actual point that sensationalizes the rat problem in New York and slums all around the world. Morgan Spurlock doesn’t seek to pinpoint a problem he just wants to show rats crawling around in pipes and being torn apart by dogs. He doesn’t discuss how we can stop rats, or what cities and slums can do to stop rats, or that perhaps the rats are symptomatic of the poverty epidemic. Why bother? Director Morgan Spurlock is much more content filming lab technicians dissecting dead rats, and pulling botflies from their carcasses. That’s the real money shot.
Watch Instead: Deadly Eyes (1982)
8. Suicide Squad
Directed by David Ayer
Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: September 25th
David Ayer’s “Suicide Squad” is a movie so “successful” that DC/Warner are… giving Harley Quinn her own spin off, already. And none of the Suicide Squad are returning for it. And they’re also considering giving Will Smith’s character Deadshot his own movie, too. The sequel has been somewhat of an afterthought ever since. It’s just more of DC/Warner tinkering with properties they have no idea how to handle, and seem insistent on sabotaging left and right rather than leaving them in the hands of people that know what they’re doing. David Ayer’s film is inconsistently paced, convoluted, horrifically written, and filled with no grasp of the idea of structuring even a basic screenplay. The editing is also so bad it borders on amateur. “Suicide Squad” has the basis for a unique movie about anti-heroes. And we get to watch it explode in our faces. DC/Warner takes what should have been “The Dirty Dozen” with mean comic book super villains, and tries desperately to turn it in to “The Avengers”–with morally ambiguous people. But hey, at least Hot Topic made a killing in 2016 with Harley Quinn merchandise! That’s what’s truly important.
Watch Instead: Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)
Directed by Rob Zombie
Release Date: October 21st
The movie built by crowd funding, Rob Zombie brought together a horror movie that scammed his fans big time. Not just by asking them for pledges for nonsensical branded merchandise, but mainly because he’s made promises he can’t keep. Not only did Rob Zombie promise his fans an uncut version, but the current blu-ray release is the original theatrical version. Fans have yet to see the uncut version and it looks like, even those people that backed his film, will have to pay again for another copy. If they ever get it. “31” isn’t even a good enough film for one copy, let alone two. It’s a goofy, moronic, and forgettable stab at “Running Man” with Rob Zombie stuffing a bunch of his friends in to another gory pointless movie. It’s shocking how a man who is a supposed horror fanatic has no idea how to craft a remotely competent horror movie. What shreds of good elements you can find in “31” are either under utilized or poorly utilized. With so many filmmakers at the table working to change the face of horror today, Zombie is that doing nothing but making paper clip necklaces and sharing the credit.
Watch Instead: Slashers (2001)
6. Mother’s Day
Directed by Garry Marshall
Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: September 25th
Ah the plight of the upper class blue eyed blond people. We don’t get nearly enough dramas about their horrific lives. Garry Marshall exits on what is the last of his holiday movie trilogy, centering on a universe where Mother’s Day is just as crucial and important as Christmas. Every cast member embarrasses themselves in ancient sitcom clichés and misunderstandings, such as a character accidentally confiding in a party clown, a wacky high speed chase, a white guy rapping “The Humpty Dance,” the only African American woman in the movie playing the sassy sidekick, and of course, the always trusty Hector Elizondo trying to look thirty years younger than he is. Marshall casts a slew of actors, many of whom deserve better, and many of whom should really stop appearing in movies, and builds a slew of sub-plots around them. Every single plot thread is half baked, under developed, unfunny, shrill, and yes, incredibly racist and homophobic. Watch the two stereotypical Southern people mock Gays, and Indians! But hey, it’s okay, because if the minorities laugh at your racist jokes, it’s not racist. See?
Watch Instead: Real Women Have Curves (2002)
5. Yoga Hosers
Directed by Kevin Smith
Release Date: September 2nd
According to the last hold outs known as Kevin Smith fans, Kevin Smith is now making the movies that he wants. Apparently the kinds of movies he wants to make now are big budget home movies where he’s pushing his daughter Harley Quinn Smith hard to become the next Jennifer Lawrence or something. Despite looping his entire movie universe in to one big web, “Yoga Hosers” is just Smith and pal Johnny Depp pushing their daughters for potential film jobs. They’re placed front and center to tackle all bases in what is a really awful movie. From their off key singing, poor comic timing, and terrible acting, “Yoga Hosers” is almost unwatchable. A pseudo-sequel to “Tusk,” Kevin Smith writes his “Movie for Kids” like someone who sat through every Diablo Cody movie, wrote down every Canadian joke from “South Park,” watched “Mean Girls,” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” thirty times in a row, and then basically wrote teenagers exactly the way you’d expect a man nearing fifty would. Every single cast member in this nonsensical movie stinks up the joint. But hey, what do I know? It’s a “movie for kids,” says the middle aged man who directed it.
Watch Instead: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010)
4. God’s Not Dead 2
Directed by Harold Cronk
Pure Flix Entertainment
Release Date: April 1st
Jeez, Hayley Orrantia, what the hell are you doing in this? For Pure Flix’s second installment in their inevitable “God’s Not Dead” trilogy, the crew behind this go from playing martyrs to just flat out lying to everyone’s faces. In what is one of the most moronic moments of the movie, after Sabrina the Teenage Witch wins her court battle, the writers willfully misinform the audience with cases that are actually more about people forcing religion down people’s throats and something called the Constitution interfering. They’re also now practicing in conveying dangerous messages too, as a skeptic from the original film stricken with cancer goes in to remission and connects her sudden recovery to an almighty power from above. It’s not medical science that helped her, it’s God! And to confirm her suspicions, the Christian rock band from part one insists that God has a plan for her. So, again, all those kids in the hospitals dying from cancer, spending their last hours with their shattered mothers and fathers, all of whom are preparing their funerals? They just don’t believe in God enough. They have no one but themselves to blame.
Watch Instead: Inherit the Wind (1960)
3. Hardcore Henry
Directed by Ilya Naishuller
Release Date: April 8th
Inspired by a music video, Ilya Naishuller’s action movie tries to re-invent the genre, but really does nothing but feel like a nauseating VR demo. It’s almost like a ninety minute cut scene to a video game that just won’t end, and you have to sit through the entirety of this dull, monotonous, and mind numbing gimmick in order to finally get some game play in. “Hardcore Henry” watches like a low rent version of “Robocop” except with all the wit, satire, fun, and allegories stripped away in favor of a clumsy paper thin concept, that’s supposed to pass as a plot, of a partly robotic man who literally does nothing but run around Russia shooting people and destroying property left and right. At first “Hardcore Henry” allows for an interesting gimmick and new form of sucking in the audience, but after fifteen minutes it wears painfully thin and then it’s just a repetitive sequence of head shots, explosions, and random violence that means nothing and has no consequence. What’s going to keep you watching if you don’t care about the characters or the story? “Hardcore Henry” is an ugly gimmick and I’m so glad it failed to catch on.
Watch Instead: Robocop (1987)
2. The Forest
Directed by Jason Zada
Release Date: January 8th
Aokigahara Forest is a creepy part of the world. It’s a forest whose natural phenomenon has helped make it one of the most widely thought supernatural hotspots in Asia. Everything from the densely packed trees and other environmental curiosities make it a place you can easily get lost in and almost have no hope of ever making it out of. People have to follow the trail very carefully, and if they get lost there isn’t a whole lot of hope of being found since cell phones aren’t very functional within these woods. The many trees retain sound killing echoes and natural sounds, and the place has become one of the most popular sights for folks that want to commit suicide. It’s also the subject of a painfully boring, nonsensical, and stupid supernatural drama starring Natalie Dormer who deserves so much better. Dormer has gravitas, she has charisma, she has a unique beauty, and she can make even bit parts in to banner roles (The Hunger Games). But she slogs through a monotonous and confusing mystery involving twin sisters, ghosts, an abusive home life, a lot of flashbacks, and a final jump scare that wreaks of desperation.
Watch Instead: Dark Water (2002)
1. Tie: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice/Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Extended Edition
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Chris Terrio, David S. Goyer
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavil, Amy Adams, Jessie Eisenberg, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Jeremy Irons
Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: March 25th
Warner has had decades to perfectly refine and get the superheroes of DC Comics on to film and in successful adaptations. They did it well with Richard Donner, Tim Burton, and Christopher Nolan and yet they can’t quite recapture that momentum, anymore. Now they’ve turned their entire cinematic universe over to a B grade Michael Bay whose misanthropic directorial style brutally clashes with the god like, fantasy aesthetic fans have loved for decades with the characters of DC Comics. Rather than work against the Marvel mold and embrace the fantasy and science fiction element that sets DC apart, they inexplicably insist in adding even more grit and realism. Which is hard when you have a universe with a flying alien, an amazonian warrior, an underwater superhero, and a green martian.
Zack Snyder hates one of the two titular characters of his movie so much that he kills off one of his most famous side characters “for fun,” and doesn’t mind alluding to rape and torture with one of the character’s major moral centers. Everything about “Dawn of Justice” is so dark and violent, when it should be brighter, more entertaining and much more simplistic. Everyone essentially had their hands over their ears while filming what is basically a loose adaptation of DC’s two most iconic superheroes, all the while Zack Snyder stitches together a pastiche of memorable moments from both characters’ mythology without an inch of context or respect. The writing is painfully inconsistent, the plot makes no sense, and the entire cast either chews the scenery ad nauseum or seem like they were cast in the movie at gun point.
What’s worse is that a movie heavily marketed to children and teens paints both of its title heroes as reckless, violent, dark, and vicious, while the only female character in the movie that contributes anything worthwhile is featured for two minutes. It also doesn’t help neither of our two title heroes are at all likable, interesting, or fun to root for. “Batman v Superman” is so bad it retroactively destroys what little value there was in “Man of Steel.” It’s also put many people off of the prospect of future DC movies being remotely entertaining. I’ve written so much about this movie in 2016, I am crestfallen at how awful this ended.
Watch Instead: The Batman Superman Movie: World’s Finest (1997)
The Disappointment of the Year is…
I defended it, I argued for it, and I approached it with the most open mind, but despite my willingness to give it a chance, my opinion for it has soured since I saw it. I liked it when I first saw it. Months later, I’m fine never seeing it again. It’s an abysmal… uh… Reboot…? Remake…? Sequel…? Alternate Universe Tale…? Let’s just call it a reboot. But at least there’s a Mrs. Slimer and… a running joke about won ton soup. Overall it’s abysmal, unfunny, boring, and a complete missed opportunity.