Now I saw fewer films this year that I hated than the ones that I loved. Most of the films I saw this year were simply good but not great such as Iron Man 3, White House Down (that’s right a Roland Emmerich film) and The Wolverine. So this list is surely not complete as I avoided some films that were obviously going to be terrible. Really what we have here are films that I either hoped would be better than they looked in the trailers or that I got roped into going to see for one reason or another.
5. Jack the Giant Slayer
So I had the opportunity to go to an Alamo Drafthouse on a trip and the only movie they were showing that I hadn’t already seen was Jack the Giant Slayer. I still had a great time at the theater and the pre-show actually helped make the movie better because trailers for the original stop motion Jack the Giant Slayer were on display. Still at the end of the day director Bryan Singer brings us wooden characters, a hilariously amateur story (not in a good way mind you) and sub-par special fx. Now had the fx been purposefully lo-fi to homage the original film I might have been able to appreciate what was happening on screen but that was obviously not what the filmmaker was going for especially since the overall budget for this film was over $20 million.
4. Texas Chainsaw
The marketing for this franchise reboot was so well done that I was actually excited for the premiere. The ads promised a return to drive-in grittiness and true gratuitous horror movie roller coaster fun. The film that actually played in theaters featured one of the dumbest and most horribly acted stories put on big screens in the last ten years. Sure horror movies aren’t known for stellar plot or acting, especially those in the slasher sub genre, but they don’t usually strive to do everything wrong. Great action and horror moments might have made up for the films shortcomings everywhere else but so much of the gore was cheap CGI that it all just looked cartoony and ineffective. The My Bloody Valentine reboot really did this right with campy 3-D and humorous storytelling mixed with scares, gore, and entertaining use of 3-D. The 3-D in Texas Chainsaw was mostly centered around a terrible looking all CGI chainsaw, laughable really.
3. A Good Day to Die Hard
So Bruce Willis openly said in the press that he’s tired of doing action films. Well he really didn’t need to say it because it couldn’t be more obvious than when you watch his performance in A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest installment to what was once a fantastic franchise. The aging actor phones in a performance for a film that has no plot, excitement, or even secondary cast to save itself from Willis’ disinterest in the proceedings. It’s a sad day when you can say that a Die Hard film is boring. Even the worst of the first three was still fun to watch because Willis brought so much charisma and humor to the everyman hero. In this film he just comes off as a grumpy old man.
2. The Hangover III
To be fair I was never as over the moon about the first films in this franchise as many people were. Sure I drank the Superbad cool aid and a few others but this one along with The 40 Year Old Virgin never seemed as funny to me as fans made out. This third film in the franchise is dumb in the worst possible way. The characters get no development and no growth outside of the cardboard “hey it’s the last movie in the franchise lets tie these characters up” sort of way. The worst failing of the movie though is that it’s just not funny. I didn’t like the first film but I will admit there were a couple of snicker inducing scenes. The only funny scene in this entire film is the mid credits sequence, that one is funny. The best thing this film does is own its mythology but even that just isn’t well rendered.
1. The Rambler
The Rambler starring Dermot Mulroney and Natasha Lyon had a limited theatrical run after doing the festival circuit and is readily available on home video for your torture. I say torture because without a doubt this is the worst movie of 2013. No I didn’t get around to seeing The Host or Jobs but if I do I guarantee that they will no compare to the eye gauging horrible-ness that is The Rambler. This film wants to be surreal and slick and otherworldly like Natural Born Killers or some other similar ilk. What this film is missing is a sense of purpose, character, direction, editing, storyline, and virtually any other element it takes to make a film. This movie wouldn’t even work as a silent art video installation because all of the surreal scenes are completely derivative. Mulroney is nothing short of annoying in this film and he’s not even bad enough to make you laugh. The whole thing starts out sad and an hour in I was angry that I was even in the theater.