Every year, there’s a lengthy list of movies deserving the title of worst. It’s never a problem coming up with 10 names, but it is tough to trim that list down to just 10.
It would be easy to fill up the list with z-grade horror movies or low-brow teen sex romps. To make my 10 worst, the movie must have fallen completely short of how good it could have been. Those are the real failures of 2016.
Here’s my list of the movies that gave films a bad name in 2016:
1. “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”: A pair of hard-partying brothers use the internet to find dates. Zac Efron stars.
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You can tell from the title “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” that the film deals with two guys who don’t want to be alone at their sister’s nuptials. There’s a lot the name doesn’t tell you. Mike and Dave need a story that doesn’t insult anyone over the age of 3.
2. “Warcraft “: The release has achieved a lofty goal: There hasn’t been a movie as unrelentingly bad since “Jupiter Ascending” managed to surpass the bloated and pitiful “Battlefield Earth” as the worst big-budget science fiction film of all time.
The special effects with the Orcs work OK, but there are times during battle scenes where the computer-generated characters have a glitch. The landscape looks like it was lifted off a game screen.
3. “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping”: The movie never should have started.
The film’s uninspired plot about a rapper who struggles with his second album has enough material to fill a three-minute sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” And even then, there would be about a minute of failed comedy.
“Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” offers no insight into the music world, fails to create any interesting characters, uses music that sounds like variations on the work Andy Samberg did on “Saturday Night Live,” and never finds the kind of snappy commentary that makes the mockumentary style so brilliant. All the film does is give Samberg a chance to mug for the camera and show that he’s much better in small doses.
4. The Bronze”: The makers of “The Bronze” were so lazy, their solution to every weak character, stupid plot point or uninspired camera shot was to toss out more obscenities. Granted, it’s a little shocking to hear Melissa Rauch, best known for playing Bernadette on “The Big Bang Theory, “ toss out the F word with every other breath. That quickly becomes annoying and then incredibly painful.
This is the worst sports comedy since “The Benchwarmers.” In more skillful hands, “The Bronze” could have been a winner. Because of its thin script, bland characters and stilted direction, “The Bronze” doesn’t even deserve a participation trophy in the cinema Olympics.
5. The Boss”: The production is about as funny as getting fired on your birthday. Not only is this movie devoid of any humor, it promotes both the forced labor and physical abuse of children. Try laughing at that.
Melissa McCarthy has not shown the ability to pull off a role where she starts as an unlikable character but wins over the audience by the finale. All she manages to do is create an unlikable character who just gets more unlikable until the final credits mercifully roll.
6. “Ghostbusters”: There’s something strange in the neighborhood and it’s the way director-writer Paul Feig handled the reboot of “Ghostbusters.” Instead of taking the classic franchise and making it a unique product, he settles for a story that lacks originality. The only sparks of interest are the endless cameo appearances and references to the original film.
Should someone ask you “Who you gonna call?” tell them it’s the original “Ghostbusters.” This reboot is a spirited effort that ends up a pale specter of the original.
7. “Blair Witch”: It wasn’t a smart script or great acting that made “The Blair Witch Project” a box-office sensation in 1999. It was the the creative way the movie was put together and promoted that created buzz around the quirky indie.
The found-footage style was original when it was used with “The Blair Witch Project.” It not only offered a different way of looking at a horror film, it added to the suggestion that the movie was the product of a group of people with cameras running for their lives. But today, it’s so overused it makes films annoying and cheap.
8. “Suicide Squad”: A group of villains that includes the Joker (Jared Leto) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) go on a mission.
“Suicide Squad, “ the latest fumbled movie offering based on a DC Comics franchise, has only a few things going for it. The most noteworthy is Robbie, who brings a wonderful crazy energy to her role. The character has been immensely popular since debuting in “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992, and Robbie is flawless.
9. “Alice Through the Looking Glass”: The sequel to the 2010 release “Alice in Wonderland” should have been called “Alice in Blunder Land.” From a complete disregard of Lewis Carroll’s book to a convoluted tale of time travel, the sequel falls apart faster than Humpty Dumpty on a trampoline.
The action picks up three years after Alice’s (Mia Wasikowska) previous trip to Wonderland. Her life as the captain of her father’s ship (the most unbelievable part of a movie where anything is supposed to be possible) is threatened. That problem is put aside while she returns to Wonderland to find The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) fading away from grief.
The sequel faces many of the same problems as the original film, plus some new stumbles of its own.
10. “Batman v. Superman”: Holy bloated muddled mess! The first 45 minutes of director Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is such a confusing menagerie of worn-out and worthless story points that only a well-staged battle and the appearance of a female savior in Wonder Woman keep this latest comic-book-inspired film from being the biggest failure in the genre.
Leaving out big chunks of this movie would have been a blessing. At its heart, the promised battled between the DC titans has some punch. The blow is just softened considerably by worthless plot points that take the super out of superhero.