Now that we’ve gone over the best films of 2014, it’s time to take a look at the garbage. This isn’t a ‘worst of’ list though. There are far too many terrible movies to sift through and do I really need to tell you that Blended was despicable dreck? Or that Annabelle was a cynical, boring cash grab? You already know that right? So let’s not dwell on the obvious piles of garbage. Instead, we’re going to take a look at the biggest disappointments of the year, the films that could have, in fact should have, been great but were instead miserable failures. Actually that’s a little harsh. Some of the movies listed below aren’t even bad exactly; they’re just massive letdowns. But that makes them even worse than something like Annabelle. Did anyone expect that dopey doll movie to even be halfway decent? I certainly hope not, but if you did, seek help. We expected something from these movies though and they just left us cold and empty. That’s a far greater crime than merely being bad. So let’s yell about these flicks one more time and then move on.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Not a bad movie by any means. In fact, when I saw it in the theater in May, I walked out liking it. Sure, it wasn’t great: there were too many villains, the plot was an absolute train wreck, and there were some tonal inconsistencies but overall I thought it was a fun flick. Actors were good, action scenes weren’t bad, and it nailed some of the emotional moments. As time went on though, The Amazing Spider Man 2 greatly diminished in my mind. Part of the problem is that X-Men: Days of Future Past came out a few months later and wiped the floor with it. Then Guardians of the Galaxy set it on fire and pissed on the ashes. Both movies were able to cover more characters in less time than ASM2 while also being more fun, entertaining, and intelligent. They highlight what an utter mess this movie is. Character motivations are completely unclear or unbelievable (Hey Spidey, how bout you just tell your fucking friend that your blood won’t cure him?), there’s way too much breaking up and getting back together between Peter and Gwen, and the dumbass backstory with Peter’s father feels cobbled together from twelve other movies. The whole thing plays like Spidey’s greatest hits with no concern at all for solid plotting or decent character motivations. It just throws the big moments we know from the comics up on the screen and hopes they’ll be enough to please audiences. That don’t cut it these days. Here’s hoping Marvel gets the character back cuz Sony clearly doesn’t have the slightest idea what to do with him anymore. Like I said though, it wasn’t all bad. If the entire movie had been Paul Giamatti in a mech suit screaming in a completely unintelligible Russian accent, it may have made my best films of the year list.
Into the Woods
As a theater geek, I was predisposed to hate Into the Woods the second it was announced. It’s my favorite musical of all time and I did not believe there was a chance in hell that Disney would be able to adapt it with all its dark themes intact. And guess what? I was right. The movie version of Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece is a perfectly competent, reasonably entertaining film but one that has absolutely nothing to say. I enjoyed some aspects of it without being moved by it at all. Of course, I hate a lot of the changes they made (WHY DOESN’T RAPUNZEL DIE? WHY? FUCK TANGLED!) but those are more personal critiques. They bother me but I can understand why the filmmakers chose to change certain aspects of the show, even if their reasons were FUCKING STUPID. What I can’t understand is why they chose to dumb down the stuff that was already there, why they decided to make certain scenes more playful when they should have been dark and twisted, and why they decided to rush through the second act like it was an action movie. The actors were good, the direction solid, and some of the songs catchy but this movie had no teeth.
I expected Horns to be one of the best horror flicks of the year but it didn’t even come close. It has the same main problem as Into the Woods. It adapted Joe Hill’s brilliant book faithfully (for the most part), but presented all of the events from the novel without having a clue what to say about them. It also toned down the darker aspects in order to make this strange story more palatable for the masses, which was a dumbass decision. This was always going to be a niche movie. Alienating the target audience to attract more mainstream viewers only served to insult both groups. Fans of the novel were disappointed that the darkness had been excised in favor of obnoxious sex jokes and obvious music choices while the casual moviegoers still didn’t know what the hell to make of it. Not only did it dumb stuff down though; there were times where the flick seemed downright afraid of the source material. Exploring the idea of evil, where it comes from, and how we can use it were the main ideas of the book but the movie just slapped a pair of horns on Daniel Radcliffe’s head and expected us to think that was mischievous and edgy enough. It was a film made for no one, with no opinions or ideas of its own, and no sense at all of what had made the novel such a solid read. Didn’t mean to turn this into a ‘the book was better’ rant though. Sorry about that. The movie failed on its own terms too. It looked cheaply made, the dialogue was terrible, and the special effects laughable. Also, if you’re a non-book reader who saw this and didn’t figure out who the killer was the second he arrived on screen, then I’m guessing this is the first movie you’ve ever seen.
The biggest disappointment of the Oscar season by a substantial margin, Foxcatcher is a mediocre docudrama that would have been just as effective had it aired on Lifetime. It provided as much insight into the true life story of Olympic wrestlers Mark and Dave Shultz and their twisted benefactor John DuPont as Liz and Dick provided insight into the lives of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Seriously, you want to know what happened between those three guys? Just read the Wikipedia page. It has way more details. Then there were the actors. Channing Tatum grunted and banged his head against walls while Steve Carrell put on a prosthetic nose and called it a day. It was two performers screaming “look at me, look at me” and nothing more. What really bugs me about Foxcatcher though is how many people were taken in by it. People have told me it was searing look at ‘the dark side of the American dream’ like that means something. First of all, how many fucking movies are we going to get that expose ‘the dark side of the American dream’? Aren’t we done with that tired theme yet? Second of all, what? How? Just because the movie has fucked up characters who talk about making America a great country again while destroying their own lives does not mean the flick actually has anything to say. This was just a lurid true crime story stretched out over two hours and dressed up to look way more important than it is. It is the absolute worst example of Oscar bait.
Believe me, I know I’m breaking my own guidelines for this list with my final choice but hear me out. I am fully aware that no one expected Leprechaun: Origins to be a good movie or even a watchable one. It was forever destined to be crap. Still, there is one aspect of it that I was extremely disappointed by, one thing that I figured was guaranteed to be in the movie. Just one thing. What is that you ask? Well, call me crazy but I expected there to be a GODDAMN LEPRECHAUN in a movie called LEPRECHAUN. I know, I know, I ask too much sometimes. My standards are pretty high. Seriously though, what the fuck? How do you botch the title character that badly? I don’t care that you put a mentally disabled gargoyle in the movie and called it a leprechaun. If I made a movie called ‘Santa Claus’ and cast a sewer rat in the title role, would you call bullshit? I think you would. And to prove my point, here’s a picture of the flick’s ‘leprechaun’:
And here’s the only appropriate response:
That aside, Leprechaun: Origins is the worst film I’ve ever seen. No hyperbole. It is the absolute worst. I have never seen a movie so incompetent, boring, idiotic, lazy, and cynical. I would rather watch all four of the above movies on this list twenty times in a row than sit through this turd one more time. I hate it and I want every copy in the world destroyed.