Friday, January 22, 2016

My Top 10 UGH Movies of 2015

Hello and welcome to my third annual UGH movies list! What defines an UGH movie, you ask? Well, it's a combination of movies that were disappointing, bad, overrated, or just plain annoying. JUST KEEP IN MIND (caps for emphasis) the fact that this isn't a "worst movies" list. I, for example did not watch Pixels, as I generally avoid watching movies I know I will hate, so I would be ill-prepared to make a list of that particular variety and have it be fully representative of my taste and what have you. Call it self-preservation on my part. I don't want to cause myself pain. So, effectively, this is my own kind of worst movies list, as it mostly consists of the most disappointing movies, but not a "worst" list in the conventional sense.

Now that I've gotten that bit out of the way, I'm so excited to start making angry poop noises at these movies, so I'm going to just jump right into it. But first, here are a few dishonorable mentions:

Jupiter Ascending
Directed by The Wachowskis

I didn't expect much, and that's just what I got. Unintentionally funny and bad, this is one of those movies destined to become a cult hit due to its sheer stupidity.

Directed by David Gordon Green

When this movie ended, I was like "k". It wasn't funny, interesting, sad, dramatic, or anything else. It was just a pointless movie with boring performances and an aimless plot that goes nowhere and leaves no lasting impact.

I'll See You In My Dreams
Directed by David Haley

Read my bit on Manglehorn. Copy/paste.

The Gallows
Directed by Travis Cluff & Chris Lofing

This movie sums up everything that is wrong with found footage horror movies. Clich├ęd, uninspired, and not even remotely creepy.

The Nightmare
Directed by Rodney Ascher

A horror documentary that had tons of potential that was totally lost in its silly made-for-tv reenactment scenes. It could have been so much better, but screwed itself when it decided it needed to try jump-scares. Seriously. A documentary with jump-scares. No narrative or driving force, just jump-scares and lousy reenactment scenes.

The Ridiculous 6
Directed by Frank Coraci

I knew it would be bad, but I watched it anyway. It was bad, but didn't hurt as much as I thought it might. But it was bad. Really, I mean it. Bad.

And now for the main event. Are you ready? You better be, because this is happening. Right now. It's happening right now and you can't stop it. Nope. No stopping it. Main event happening now, no stopping it. Ready yet? Okay cool. That was misdirection.

10. The Harvest
Directed by John McNaughton

Michael Shannon is a terrific actor and Samantha Morton is a pretty damn good actress, too. One of these two is good at more exaggerated, psychotic performances, while the other knows how to play it cool and handle subtly emotional performances. One of the lead roles is a crazy person, while the other is quiet and extremely well tempered. So, naturally these actors must have been given the appropriate roles, right? ...right? Let me give you a hint: NOPE. With an already dull and idiotic screenplay, the least this movie could have done was cast these two very talented actors in the appropriate roles, but no, apparently that would have made too much sense. Instead, we get to see a seemingly endless 100 minutes worth of Michael Shannon meekly shuffing around in the background like a whipped puppy who just crapped on the floor, and Samantha Morton screaming, squawking, and hamming it up more than a group of squealing pigs eating sausage in a pork factory, wearing scarves made of bacon. It was so infuriating seeing how misused these two were, and seeing as how they would have been the only redeeming qualities of the movie in the first place, it makes it that much worse.

9. Crimson Peak
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

Oh the wasted potential. I had been looking forward to this movie for, well, since it was announced. I was bummed to see Wasikowska being cast in the lead, but that didn't detract from my overall excitement. Del Toro, Chastain, and Hiddleston was far too awesome of a combo for me to let a little stiff acting get in my way of enjoying it. But by the first trailer, I started having my doubts. It looked like a visually pleasing film (which it is, I would probably put it in my top 5 best looking movies of the year), but it felt a little goofy. But no matter, it's just a trailer, that doesn't mean anything. But then I actually watched the movie, and...well, the trailer was right. Firstly, it's not a horror movie, at all - no scares or atmospheric tension to be found. Secondly, the plot is so obvious and spelled out for you, none of the "twists" the movie throws at you could even count as anything but inevitabilities. And thirdly, what the crap was with the dialogue? Seriously, if you watch this movie, half of what the people say in it is so stiff and forced, you might expect it had been ripped from the volumes of Christopher Walken's private audio diaries. Its easy to be drawn in to the style of the film, but sadly, that's virtually all it has to offer.

8. Entertainment
Directed by Rick Alverson

I am still torn on this one even after a couple months, but ultimately, I find myself looking back on this movie as a largely unpleasant and hollow experience. Turkington gives a committed lead performance, and though I applaud his immersion and ability to craft a multi-faceted character, it's a character that's annoying, regardless of the specific facet you're focusing on at the moment. I wasn't drawn in to the characters plight and his own personal hell, I didn't empathize or even loathe him: I just didn't want to sit through him being there anymore. And then, by the end, nothing has changed, nothing is learned, and the entire 2 hours feels like a waste of time. Maybe I am missing something here, and maybe this kind of dry anti-humor just isn't my bag (baby), but that doesn't mean I have to pretend that I enjoyed something that I truly couldn't find any merit in. I almost want to say it's good, but I can't, and I feel I may need to watch it again to better understand it, but I really don't want to. And you can't make me.

7. In The Heart Of The Sea
Directed by Ron Howard

So, I don't feel the need to go into great detail just what was wrong here as I already wrote several hundred words on why this movie was an upsetting failure, but here are a few dozen more, just for fun. Chris Hemsworth is wooden, and should not be in movies, period. The Moby Dick story has been done to death and just doesn't thrill like it's meant to. The movie is told in a way that separates the audience from the events of the film itself, rendering it totally dull and lifeless. The whale looks silly, and the whale attack scenes are far too frequent and don't seem realistic. I could go on, but I'm tired of writing about this dull, upsetting movie. But hey, at least the trailers were good.

6. The Good Dinosaur
Directed by Peter Sohn

Coming off the success of the wonderful Inside Out, I let myself fall into the trap of actually expecting a halfway decent follow-up for Pixar. But that is not what this movie is. This is an irritating Lion King knock-off, with terrible character animation (the backdrops are nice), one-dimensional characters, and a stupid, forced western genre send up that doesn't fit the story at all. I can't even begin to understand what they were attempting to do when they made this movie, with the exception of them just using it as an excuse to make Sam Elliott say "hyah" and then have an idiotic looking animated T-Rex proceed to gallop off in a puff of dust. Yep, this movie may suck total ass, but at least it features a galloping cowboy T-Rex. Because that's something that we all secretly wanted, apparently.

5. Experimenter
Directed by Michael Almereyda

I didn't have high expectations going into this movie, but I can't say it wasn't very annoying to me how weak it turned out to be regardless. Peter Sarsgaard is usually really good in his movies, even the crappy ones (like Green Lantern, for example), but here he felt more like a reanimated corpse with a cheesy glued-on Abe Lincoln beard, droning his way through the most boring timeshare presentation you've ever heard. Any intrigue that may have been found in the subject of the film is lost in the films disinterested manner. I can't even say I retained any information, as it was about as exciting as a PowerPoint presentation. A really bad one.

4. Cooties
Directed by Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion

When will I ever learn that a reasonably entertaining trailer does not equal a reasonably entertaining movie? Because the sooner the better, I'm getting really sick of this crap. This is one that has not a single funny moment, nor any that are creepy, unique, or anything but painful and dull. You would think a zombie movie about a bunch of kindergarteners tearing everything up would be at least reasonably interesting, but nay. This seemed like a good idea that could have been a fun setup, but the characters are dull, the plot is predictable, and the zombies themselves are very generic. This is just an upsettingly typical and unfunny movie. Not to mention the fact that it doesn't really even have an ending, as if they were counting on it going on to having 3 sequels. Yeah. Sure. It would be like if I just stopped making my list right now and called that the ending. But I won't, because I'm not an idiot.

3. The Tribe
Directed by Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy

It's hard for me to put into words just what I hate about this movie, and that is probably due to the fact that there aren't words used in this movie (apart from the unsubtitled use of sign language) but that isn't going to stop me from trying. I have heard many fans of this movie praise it for its otherworldly nature and how intriguing it was, but that doesnt paint the right picture. It felt more like being trapped in a giant elevator filled with awful people doing horrible things and speaking a language I don't understand. So I suppose that is a little otherworldly, but it's not a world I am interested in having any involvement with. Its just an unpleasant thing to sit through, and it's never very hopeful going into a film knowing that even those who like it say that they totally understand why someone could hate it. I like to consider myself a pretty open-minded person when it comes to movies, and i can be very patient, but that still wasn't enough to get me through this unpleasant thing.

2. Max
Directed by Boaz Yakin

There's a line that must be drawn when making a family-friendly movie. It needs to have something there for the kiddies as well as for the adults who are, you know, the ones who are actually paying to let this movie happen to their famity. But mainly you want it to be appealing to kids: not seem as if it's been made by them. The one-dimensionality of every character in this movie is an indication that the filmmakers don't feel young people (or the older people who are just here because doggies, freedom, Jesus and 'MURICA) have the mental capacity to process anything more than that, and honestly, given the success this movie had among *ahem* a certain crowd of people, I might say they were right. But as a semi-educated man of sound mind and ability to be even remotely reasonable, this movie is just plain doodoo. Its the idiotic, one-note cinematic equivalent of that weird kid who likes to sit in the corner with a perpetually runny nose, playing with his own poop, eating crayons and paste all day. You accept that it can exist, and it's existence doesn't offend you, per se, but you really don't want to have to see it, be near it, or smell it. This should have just been a harmless dog movie, not a half-assed patriotic Jesus dog movie that has nothing more to say than that anyone who isn't deeply in love with America is a murderer or a drug dealer - and oftentimes, even both.

1. Soaked In Bleach
Directed by Benjamin Statler

And now for the biggest offender of the year. One of the two Kurt Cobain movies of the year, and in case you couldn't figure it out by now, this is the one you don't want to watch. Ever since his death, there have been skeptics who have come to conclusion that his suicide wasn't actually a suicide. Granted, people have a weird love affair with conspiracies, but in this case, it really does seem like a possibility. There are a lot of things that point to Courtney Love being responsible for his death, and as I am always interested in a bit more information on the subject, and as a film entirely covering this subject, I thought for sure it could bring some new evidence to light that might better make the case clearer to me. But no, this movie didn't bring anything even remotely new to the table, it just presented everything people already know about the topic in a dull, made-for-tv like way that is uninspired, supremely lazy, and very petty and childish. First off, the choice to cast actors who look nothing like Kurt and Courtney to play them in the films reenactment scenes was pretty awful, especially considering how little the actors even speak in the film. Couldn't they have, like, cast people who looked a little more like them if they weren't planning to do anything with them apart from having them just stand there and look like famous people? It was an idea that could have worked far better. And this points to one of the main problems here: this movie knows what it wants to do, but has no idea how to do it. It's obvious that the people who made this movie and offered consultation had plenty that they wanted to say, but they didn't present it in a way that made it seem like anything they said was even worth a damn. It takes an interesting case and spends 80% of the time basically just throwing mud at Courtney Love, instead of actually selling the point they are trying to make. But really, what bothers me about this movie the most isn't so much that it was a terrible film that doesn't back it's own theories, because in many ways, it doesnt make *too* many missteps. The issue I have with it is in how it takes something that could have been a great film - or even documentary - and slaps it together so lazily that it feels more like a lost episode of some lousy '90s mystery program than the great, dramatic and informative film that it should have been. Its not so much that it doesn't give any real answers, but that it doesn't even ask the right questions. This film barely scraped the surface of what it could have done and then just sort of folds it up and calls it good. If this movie were a lawyer, the case would be closed forever, it would have lost, and probably be held in contempt of court for how it dealt with one of its lead witnesses. Just sayin'.

And that's all I have to say about that. Agree/disagree? Leave me some feedback, I'd love to see how many people wildly disagree with me and my overuse of words like "poop".

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