It hit me last night that I’ve never posted a 2015 Worst Films list, and that I’d better get down to it today. I’m figuring we’re still in a New Year’s Eve hangover mode and that 2016 doesn’t really begin until Monday, 1.4. The problem with worsties is that I rarely see movies with really bad advance word. Reverse Tolstoy: All good movies have qualities and undercurrents that are very particular and specific to themselves while all bad movies exude pretty much the same poison. So it’s probably better to just ask HE readers to post their own hate lists. Please, fire away.
What was my absolute personal worst, a movie I despised more than all the other toxic releases combined? I’m going to go with John Eric Dowdle‘s No Escape, which I paid to see at the Westside Pavillion last August. Review quote: “This is the kind of movie that makes you feel nauseated and humiliated. You want to escape before the closing credits start and hide your face and not look at anyone else who was in the theatre with you. You just want to run down to the garage and get the hell out of there.”
And: “No Escape caters to the fears of every whitebread moron who’s afraid of visiting anyplace the least bit exotic or even a wee bit unfamiliar, and who prefers to go on Carnival Cruises and visit Disneyland France and Cancun and Club Med hideaways.”
My second most hated viewing experience was Magic Mike XXL. Excerpt from my 7.3.15 review: “I called Steven Soderbergh‘s Magic Mike ‘one of those summer films that comes along once in a blue moon — a fun romp filled with yoks and swagger and whoo-hoo, but also sharp, wise and shrewdly observed, and flush with indie cred.’ Magic MIke XXL, by contrast, is a film that smirks and piddles around but also pisses on you. A big yellow stream shooting out of the screen and onto my lap.”
After these the most intensely negative reaction I experienced was in response to Lenny Abrahamson‘s Room. It doesn’t follow that Room is therefore one of the year’s worst. I’m not saying that. I’m saying it put me through hell. From my TIFF review: “Room is agony. The story sucks and the emotional currents, while strong, just fret and shudder and play out in a vacuum. It’s a film about confinement, confinement and more confinement. Okay, with a nicely delivered spiritual uplift moment at the very end. But the feeling of physical and psychological entrapment is nothing short of lethal. I for one felt like a dog in an airless box.”
I also half-despised Mortdecai, which is to say without any great passion. I saw Hot Pursuit in Prague last May and, like almost everyone else, found it grating and appalling. I chose not to see (and I will never see) Insurgent. I wanted to see Chi-Raq but not really so I skipped it. I intentionally avoided Point Break, The Ridiculous 6, Pixels, Vin Diesel’s The Last Witch Hunter, Taken 3, The Wedding Ringer, Terminator Genisys, Hector and the Search for Happiness, The Boy Next Door, etc.