I like what “Goodnight Gracie” has to say about blind faith being pointless, but I wish it was just a better movie. At four minutes, “Goodnight Gracie” doesn’t tell a story but just unfolds events. This happens, and then this happens, and blind faith is dumb! Roll credits. I don’t mind a movie insisting that most times it takes more than faith to get out of a bad situation. Pretty much every time, faith isn’t enough. It’s also about getting up off your ass and doing something about your predicament that can help you or someone else next to you. Director Stellan Kendrick has a lot of ideas about the futility of blind faith, it’s just “Goodnight Gracie” never quite comes together as a cohesive narrative.
Written by Jamie Hannigan and directed by Brendan Muldowney, Pilgrimage is a period piece peppered with action sequences that make logical sense within the confines of its story. Here the monks are working with knights and others to battle enemies and bring the sacred relic their guard to a higher Catholic Church power. The story is simple at its based, but the characters added, including a mute stranger helping the monks, create a mystery and help the tension along with the twists that take their time to come and be revealed. This way of developing the story works well with the time period its set in and the group of characters involved. The characters created here have some background in terms of their archetypes, but not that much information on who they are as people and where they come from or what their goals are besides keeping the relic safe or obtaining the relic.
“I’m Not Ashamed” is a movie in desperate search of a martyr. Brian Baugh’s “I’m Not Ashamed” takes the true story of Rachel Joy Scott and completely sidesteps facts in favor of a sickeningly exaggerated tale of faith, and persecuted Christians in America. Rachel Joy Scott was the first victim of the Columbine massacre, and drew particular attention for a piece of art she made before the massacre that centered on two tear soaked eyes and their thirteen tears. Allegedly it was prophetic of what occurred in Columbine and represented the thirteen lives lost on that day. “I’m Not Ashamed” works over time to turn Rachel in to a female Jesus Christ who literally sacrificed herself during the Columbine massacre for some kind of holy purpose we will never understand. The writers turn Rachel in to a potential prophet taken down before her prime, and by turning the entire day in to a case of angry atheists taking their anger out on others rather than turning to God.
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…
One of the many aspects that I love about Ray Comfort’s mercifully short documentary about challenging the views of atheists is that Comfort just eventually gives up. Mid-way through his hour long masturbatory self-promotion fest that doubles as an ego shining for Comfort, he just outright gives up trying to convince his interview subjects and spends about five minutes badgering them in to submission. He relentlessly bugs them in to admitting begrudgingly that they believe in a God, and that they are simply in denial. Ray Comfort is beyond the capacity of accepting that atheists exist, and spends at least a good stretch of the final half of the film insisting: “Come on, you know God exists. Admit it. Admit it. You know it in your heart. You just like to sin, that’s it. Admit it. Do it. Do it!”
Father Malachi Martin is fighting for the soul of those who have been possessed. In his battle, he encounters fake and real cases. One of the latter is the one of a young girl he truly believes is possessed. Hostage to the Devil tells the life story of Father Malachi Martin through interviews and videos of his work. Written by Rachel Lysaght and Marty Stalker with Stalker also directing, the film has a very even style with the interviews all shot about the same and the way they are shown with straight on interview style and overlays on photos and images gives the film a very straight forward feel.
There’s a war on Christianity. Atheists are evil. Atheists lack hope. Atheists are atheist because they’re in a lot of pain. Atheists don’t want you to practice religion. It’s immoral to demand religion not be preached in public schools. “God’s Not Dead 2: Delusion Boogaloo” is the sequel to the painfully moronic surprise hit of 2014 where evangelical Christians bathed in the pools of their own martyrdom and victim complex for two hours. “God’s Not Dead 2” is another orgy of delusion and martyrdom that stretches the truth about evangelical Christianity, further depicting an alternate reality where evangelical Christianity is equivalent to being a Morlock. Evangelical followers of Christianity are misunderstood by a lost society littered with conniving atheists that just won’t let them say “Merry Christmas,” gosh darn it.
In one of many depictions of protests I could not help laughing at every time it popped up, Christian students of protagonist Grace silently sit outside the courtroom as a show of support. All the while a whole group of atheist protestors stand two feet away holding up signs and screaming at them. These atheist monsters are filmed with quick cuts and without sound, emphasizing how monstrous and evil they are for attacking young women displaying their right to protest. See? Complete alternate reality. Melissa Joan Hart plays Grace Wesley a well meaning history teacher who is chastised and crucified by her school for making a very quick literary comparison in class between Gandhi and Jesus Christ.
When she’s reported, the den of atheist vipers known as the PTA and ACLU begin to look for ways to strike her down for making a seemingly passive contrast of figures with similar ideals. When Grace won’t apologize for speaking he who shall not be named in a public school, she has to stand trial and put her faith to the test. “God’s Not Dead 2” is kind of a brilliantly manipulative movie that relies a lot on subliminal visual cues to sway their audience’s emotions. There are a ton of mentions of Salvation Army, there’s Jesse Metcalfe, who gives a piss poor performance as a young atheist lawyer assigned to defend Grace. When we first meet him, he’s disheveled, unshaven, and a bit slovenly.
And did I mention he’s a condescending ass? “You pitiful Christian maggot, I mock your value system and scoff in your direction conveying a sense of superiority. Pshaw.” But naturally as the film progresses he becomes more and more of a believer and by the time the film ends he’s a well dressed, clean shaven, and kept up lawyer. Ray Wise (known all over pop culture for playing slime balls on TV and film) plays the evil atheist/opportunist of the film who gazes deviously at everyone, considers every idea of morality as an opportunity to make money. He even wears a red tie most of the time. See… red is bad. Like devil, bad. Ray Wise played the devil once in a cult TV show, did I not mention that?
Not only is “God’s Not Dead 2” just stupid, but it’s providing its devout audience with information that could be potentially hazardous to their health. In easily the worst bit of nonsense depicted in the film, Amy, a character diagnosed with cancer in the first film finds out that she is in remission. She’s happy and the Christian rock band from the first film, are happy for her, because prayer helped. Forget the doctors, and medical science, but prayer helped ward her cancer away making her a true believer. So if it’s not made clearly enough in the film, if you or someone you love is dying from cancer, they’re just not a good enough Christian. You only have yourself to blame, all you small children in terminal wards across the world.
“God’s Not Dead 2” was released on April 1st, 2016. Without a hint of irony.
One of the most important cinematic accounts of journalism changing corruption since “All the President’s Men,” director Thomas McCarthy’s “Spotlight” garners an understated brilliance in where it explores a long legacy of corruption that’s not only been widely under reported but somewhat accepted. McCarthy manages to draw immense thrills and paranoia from a film that’s very much the antithesis of sensationalism. “Spotlight” is a gut wrenching and mind blowing account of a group of reporters tasked with uncovering one of the largest scandals in world history, a scandal that’s left thousands of victims in its wake.