Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Reel Opinion: The Best & Worst Films of 2016 - Part 1

This first of a two-part series looks at the Worst of 2016.
The Year in Film 2016 seemed to have a curse hanging over it. By far, the worst part of the year was saying a final goodbye to beloved actresses and actors; many of which were taken too soon. In 2016 we said farewell and adieu to Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Abe Vigoda, Tony Burton, George Kennedy, Patty Duke, Anton Yelchin, Michael Cimino, Garry Marshall, David Huddleston, Kenny Baker, Steven Hill, Gene Wilder, Robert Vaughn, Ron Glass, Florence Henderson, David Margulies, and Alan Thicke…among others.
Back on the screen the curse hung heavy, and not even notable names such as Spielberg, Affleck, and Ang Lee could escape it. The Summer Movie Season suffered the most, where nearly every studio (except for one, more on that in Part 2), forgot how to make a good blockbuster. This Blogger was sober enough to steer clear of obvious stinkbombs like ASSASSIN’S CREED, ZOOLANDER 2, NOW YOU SEE ME 2, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, or anything made by Tyler Perry or Adam Sandler. This list of the Top 10 Worst Films of 2016 are movies that should have been better than they turned out.
This is what happens…
10. BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE – The long-awaited on-screen meeting between two of the most iconic characters in history was a head-scratching entry into Warner Bros.’ bungled attempts to build a cinematic universe with the DC Comics brand. It’s debatable if it was the fault of the studio or director Zack Snyder, but DAWN OF JUSTICE had no plot, incoherent storytelling, bizarre editing choices, breaks in continuity, weird dream-sequences that made no sense, and was overall a very dysfunctional film. Toss in two of the most poorly-executed screen villains of all time, and we have an easy entry into the Worst List.
9. PASSENGERS – Pretend for a minute that Ralphie from A CHRISTMAS STORY got his beloved BB-gun by murdering all of his friends. That’s exactly how PASSENGERS plays out; a main character who at movie’s end gets what he wants by making a despicable decision. It hangs over the entire film, and spoils an excellent cast, an intriguing sci-fi concept, and one of the best-looking films of the year.
8. THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN – Antoine Fuqua’s unnecessary remake of the classic Western stumbled right out of the gate. Only four of the “Magnificent Seven” were actors people actually cared to see, and the cast was then directed to act like modern-day folk who just happened to be wearing cowboy hats. On top of that, the film hung its two-gallon hat on every cliché out of the Old West genre, and it felt more like a goofy TV sketch than a film.
7. INFERNO – Author Dan Brown’s page-turners have not translated very well to the big screen, and the third attempt scrapes the bottom of the latrine. Despite the talent involved (Ron Howard, Tom Hanks), INFERNO came off as clumsy and awkward as characters just bounced around from location to location only to pause long enough to garble out some sort of history lesson. The film wants to be a thinking-man’s adventure, but the final minutes resolve everything by characters punching each other. Let this movie burn in the fires of hell.
6. THE LEGEND OF TARZAN – Director David Yates had his work cut out for him in bringing back a character to the big screen that was past its peak fifty years ago, and he completely fell off the vine. The film was overburdened with plot as characters talked…and talked…and talked some more about shit no one cares about in a TARZAN film like the King being unable to pay off his loans. The stakes are never made clear and there’s nothing to care about, and the finale is a big ball of stupid involving machine guns and explosions. And Christoph Waltz plays the exact same character he always does. Tarzan? More like BORE-zan.
5. SUICIDE SQUAD – Warner Bros. had a chance to redeem themselves by bringing together Batman’s greatest enemies on-screen for the first time, only they made the idiotic decision not to involve Batman. Instead, the Squad fought the most ridiculous villain (which, by the way, came to power thanks to the Squad being put together in the first place), along with a bunch of blobs. The film had no structure (they were still introducing characters in the third act), and the logic in assembling the team didn’t make any sense (they were assembled to counter super-powered beings, only none of them had any real super-abilities). And the icing on the cake was the much-hyped version of Jared Leto’s Joker showed up for a grand total of six minutes…and makes no impression whatsoever.
4. INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE – This sad sack of shit, a sequel to the 1996 smash, had everything wrong with it; the returning cast-members were mis-used (one dies for absolutely no reason), the new cast was dreadfully dull, the plot made no sense and contradicted the original film, and for an alien-invasion/war movie…is overall boring with snoozer action set-pieces. Visual effects were awful in many places (including the terrible-looking closing shot, capped by a weird and awkward final line), and way too much time is spent with a stupid talking orb which has no impact on the story at all, and is instead kicked down the road for a sequel. A sequel which hopefully never happens.
3. MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN – It seems we can’t go more than a couple of years without the once-great Tim Burton soiling the bedsheets of his reputation again. His adaptation of the book of the same name starts off promising enough, but like many of his movies in the last decade, falls apart at the end with a big CGI battle with goofy characters doing goofy things. But even before that, the film is bogged down with character after character standing around talking; telling instead of showing…which makes this fantasy piece an unforgiveable grind to sit through.
2. WARCRAFT – All things considered, this screen adaptation of the popular video game only made one real mistake; it took itself much too seriously. The fantasy world is supposed to be amazing and full of wonder, but WARCRAFT was bogged down with plot and had no energy or sense of fun whatsoever…and a cast that was way too young for their roles (kings and wizards aren’t supposed to look like twenty-somethings) didn’t help. Fantasy, especially wizards and knights and orcs, should never be this shockingly dull. Warcraft? More like SNORE-craft.
1. GHOSTBUSTERS – Director Paul Feig’s unwanted remake of the 1984 comedy classic was a movie made on a big lie. Feig went out of his way to tell the world that he was making a film to advance the cause of women in the industry, but what we got was the exact opposite. GHOSTBUSTERS is basically an exploitation film, where every stereotype is exploited for laughs. The angry black person, make fun of them! Fat people who fall down, make fun of them! Mentally-challenged people who can’t answer phones, make fun of them! And if that wasn’t bad enough, the movie was packed with juvenile humor which included women farting out of their front-end (so much for advancement), and men shitting their pants. Acting was horrible (only one of the four female leads is a legit actress), and it had the most boring villain ever put to film. The overall result is an unfunny movie which shoots for the lowest IQ, and a disgusting attempt at cashing in on a beloved title which didn’t advance anything. Everything about this was wrong and should be treated like explosive diarrhea; flushed down the sewer and never spoken of again.

The Worst Films of 2016



The Best of 2016 HERE 

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