2013: The Year in Movie Fails

Here’s my arbitrary list of American/international market movies that really bit the big one, for  being anticipatedly horrible or for failing to live up to expectations. If you disagree with any of these, that’s fine—but you’re wrong. Just saying.

Before we get to my reviews, though, here are…

Crappy movies in 2013 that I didn’t watch because I knew they’d be crappy: A Good Day to Die Hard, Grown Ups 2, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, The Host, Jobs, White House Down, and That Other Movie That Is Basically The Same as White House Down.

And now, in no particular order:

Will Smith played someone named Cipher Raige, which sounds like the name of an angry mid-90s nu-metal band.
After Earth
I paid $14.50 to watch a Will Smith action movie in which Will Smith is not involved in any action at all (not even so much as an alien throat punch), and in which the dubious talents of The Smith That Squints were unnecessarily forced upon the world. M. Night Shyamalan has truly perfected the meta-twist, in that he keeps tricking people into seeing his films.

Man of Steel
Man of Steel‘s main crime was creating unnecessary gravitas (thanks to the Dark Knight-ification of superhero movies) at the expense of completely ignoring Superman’s ethos. Superman destroys a huge chunk of Smallville and every skyscraper in Metropolis, and then lazily/uncharacteristically snaps General Zod’s neck. Superman never fought for truth, justice, or the American way (which includes red underwear over one’s costume, goddamnit), but he did fight for Zack Snyder’s love of slow-motion and then fast-motion (*magic jazz hands*).
And sadly, Henry Cavill’s chiseled jaw, beautiful blue eyes, lush brown locks, perfect teeth, Adonis-like chest—sorry, where was I? Oh, that stuff didn’t make up for his lack of on-screen charisma.

The Lone Ranger YAWN. Is this movie over yet?
Did you hear that deafening splat way back in July? It was the sound of Disney’s big budget Western flopping like a giant Bluefin tuna that cost entirely too much money to produce. An overlong, boring, and repetitive script, a leading man who was as charismatic as potted meat, and Johnny Depp’s culturally insensitive/phoned-in weirdo-in-a-costume schtick led to one of the biggest critical and commercial failures of the year. And you don’t wait to play the William Tell Overture in a Lone Ranger movie when it’s almost three-quarters of the way over. You just don’t.

The Internship
A two-hour Google commercial in which Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn tried and failed to bank on the comedic success of Wedding Crashers. Google “crappy movies of 2013” and this one would come up in your search.

Only God Forgives
Sure, this is a color-saturated, visually “interesting” film (subjectively speaking, if you’re into the sight of Ryan Gosling repeatedly shoving his hand into his murdered mother’s viscera), but it’s not enough to sit through through Kristen Scott Thomas’s creepily Oedipal dialogue and the mistaking of angry staredowns and knee-jerk violent reconciliations for character development. And despite all the blood and gore and fist fights and throat-cutting, the movie isn’t exciting at all.
God will never forgive Nicholas Winding Refn for this movie.

Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor
I hate-watched this in order to better and more accurately criticize the films of Tyler Perry, a member of the time-honored Horrible at Writing Female Characters Club. Tyler Perry turns a black Christian stage play into a Movie of the Week and goes heavy-handed on the morality. His parable about what happens when a good Christian woman commits adultery is completely lacking in nuance but super-heavy on slut-shaming with extreme consequences (i.e., don’t join the Mile High Club with a billionaire or else you’ll get CancerAIDS). On the plus side, Kim Kardashian puts forth a tour-de-force performance as a vapid Botox victim.


The Hangover III
The Hangover II was disappointing in that it closely imitated the highly successful formula of the original movie without adding any freshness. The Hangover III failed in that it focuses on the highly successful caricatures (and the location) of the original movie, but does away with the effectiveness of bizarre characters in small doses—there’s too much Alan and too much Chow, and they’re no longer funny. To tout another agenda: I hope directors strive to rise above needless fake giraffe violence in film.


I got what Danny Boyle was trying to accomplish with this film—wait, did I? No, no, I didn’t. There was violent sex and stolen paintings and psychotherapy and shaved labia and the movies Spellbound and Memento looked sidelong atTrance like the weird kid in the cafeteria who eats his dandruff. Not even Rosario Dawson’s boobs salvaged this.

Gangster Squad
What could go wrong in a film that has Sean Penn hamming it up in horrible prosthetic makeup and Ryan Gosling’s cartoonish 1940’s “bah, see?” accent?
This film already suffered from bad publicity due to an untimely shoot-em-up preview and a last-minute reshoot, but they would’ve been better off cutting their losses altogether. What with the poor writing and cliché character development, I could’ve just watched L.A. Confidential and pretended this never happened.


The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
This was better than An Unexpected Journey, but some of the same issues stand with this movie as with the first installment: a) the Hobbit in question is still grossly underplayed in favor of very long barrel-riding sequence; and b) the action scenes feel like watching a walkthrough of an action RPG video game. Then there’s Tauriel, who was written into the script to provide the story with a “strong female character,” but who then gives up her badass orc-killing because she falls in love with a hot dwarf. And the climactic scene between Bilbo and Smaug—the supposed crux of this movie—was about as compelling as Legolas’s dead eyes.

Really, the “desolation” in question refers to the laid-to-waste source material, due to all the filler $cene$ added to turn a 310-page $tory into nine hour$ of $creen time.

The Canyons
Any film which uses its status as a Lindsay Lohan comeback vehicle to comprise 90% of its audience marketability is bound to have issues. And yes, I watched this movie due to rubbernecking syndrome, and I went slowly past the burnt-out shell of her career.
Not even James Deen’s cock salvaged this.

One thought on “2013: The Year in Movie Fails

    I sat through a Q&A with Danny Boyle in which he explained (at some length) that Trance was a feminist yarn about an abused woman who does what she needs to in order to escape her boyfriend: wipe his memory, program him to get into debt and steal a painting, and then get her boobs out.

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