A lot of people are saying that 2016 was the worst year ever, that it was just a shit year but not THAT bad, or that it just came and went like any other. Honestly, I’m inclined to believe that they all have their points. A bit overblown at times, but fair nonetheless. There was death of a lot of great icons in various fields that were inspirational to many, political upheaval in a buncha different places, and in the case of what I’m writing here, a buncha shit movies. Thankfully, there weren’t that many movies I saw in 2016 that were truly terrible and I’m thankful I missed out on some of them from what I hear, like Nine Lives, Norm of the North, Collateral Beauty, and others, but there were still some I saw that were pretty bad in their own right. Now bear in mind, this is just my opinion here. If you like these movies, that’s fine, but for me, the movies I have here on this list kinda range from “disappointingly average” to “pointless” to “basically shit and shouldn’t exist”. Some of these movies I have done reviews for, and some I haven’t yet, I will get to them at some point, but I want to get this out of the way so I can get to reviewing the 2017 movies I’ve seen and of course other 2016 movies I’ve seen but haven’t reviewed yet, as well as some other stuff. I also decided to extend the number from three to five for this list, because honestly, I don’t think “just three” could do it for me this time. Anyway, here we go:
5. The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again
Remakes, in general, have a pretty mixed reputation, if not awful. Like any other movie, depending on how they’re done, they can range from awful to average to even good standout movies. Sometimes they might make you look back at the original and either appreciate them more and/or question why they had to be remade in the first place. In the case of this movie here, I think all these points are warranted and then some.
I love the original Rocky Horror, and I don’t think this movie is all that bad, the cast do great with the material because it’s pretty much the exact same as the original film, but that’s just about it. It doesn’t really do anything new other than the addition of the in-movie audience watching the remake along with the actual audience watching it as a metaphor for the fans of anything Rocky Horror-related, instead of the giant lips on a black screen while the opening credits roll. Sure, it’s great to see Tim Curry appear as The Narrator as a “passing of the torch” kind of thing, but he doesn’t really do much other than sit in his chair and repeat lines said by Charles Gray in the original but without the energy and spontaneity (yes I know he’s gotten older and has had some recent health issues, but there could’ve been something done to work around it). The cast do great with the material, the standout obviously being Laverne Cox as Frank N. Furter, but all they can really do is give a different inflection than what has been seen before rather than doing anything new entirely. And while the movie looks neat and different from the original in regards to production design, costuming, makeup and other stuff, making it somewhat unique in appearance. However, with it being released on TV instead of theaters it also kinda suffers from its “TV movie quality” in that it looks cheaper than the theatrical film released 41 years ago that didn’t exactly have a big budget at the time for a movie of its caliber (yes I know Rocky Horror is kind of an homage to B-movies and looks sorta cheap, but it’s a bit more obvious here in that regard).
Some Rocky Horror fans might get something out of it, but for me and probably others, it didn’t really do anything special other than just be another rendition, and for anyone approaching Rocky Horror for the first time, they’d more or less be confused with what’s going on, especially with some of the self-awareness elements here. All in all, much like how the original stage production that’s gone on for years with different casts coming and going, it’s really just another rendition of something that’s been done before, but since it’s a movie adaptation, it doesn’t do anything to make it stand out on its own and just leaves with a feeling of appreciation for the original movie more.
4. X-Men: Apocalypse
You know a movie that’s the third part of a trilogy might have some problems in of itself when it tries to do some commentary about how “the third part isn’t that great”. The X-Men movies have had their fair share of ups and downs over the years. The past couple films have done fairly well, especially DOFP and Deadpool. With this movie being built up from story elements established in First Class and DOFP, and coming out alongside Deadpool in the same year, it’d be an interesting payoff, right? Not exactly. In fact, X-Men: Apocalypse is fairly disappointing.
Apocalypse is an apt title for this movie, because shit rains down here and not in a good, epic kind of way like one would think. Actually, it kinda falls more in line with other pieces of media that try to be epic with the “Apocalypse” subtitle and sound more awesome than they actually are, but really are kinda disappointing with some entertainment value and at worst, annoying, kinda like Resident Evil: Apocalypse. The main villain is pretty lame despite a great actor playing him. While having an ensemble with a lot of talented actors portraying pretty great characters from the comics, only a select amount are focused on, the most annoying of which is Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, who despite being a great actress, her character here is not really warranted all this attention and even the movie ironically kinda points this out yet does it anyway, especially considering she’s gone on record to want out of the X-Men movies, and for crying out loud, let her go and let someone else take a shot at being Mystique. For other characters that aren’t given much focus, they seem to come and go, and at worst, be treated in a disposable and disgusting way as if they’re nothing, like Havok, Jubilee, and especially Archangel (seriously in comics he’s the one affected the most by Apocalypse and the ones that come close to that kind of arc are Storm and Magneto? And this movie may or may not have killed hiim off and not even be a member of the X-Men? Da fuq?) and a few others here and there.
While riding high on the previous installment, providing a fresh start for the series despite the “rights issues” between Fox and Marvel regarding the X-Men (and FF), it seems like Bryan Singer, Fox, and others want to have their Marvel cake and eat it too, in short trying to copy the MCU formula by making this more of an installment of a cinematic universe they’re trying to establish instead of making a unique film in its own right like they’ve done before and a conclusion to whatever trilogy they were doing that started with First Class and continued with DOFP. There can be a balance between the two, but it’s not the case with this movie. Plot elements are thrown in left and right, some are given focus while others are in there to provide buildup for future installments, and while that kind of stuff can be fine at times, with this movie it’s just more obvious and ends up being pretty distracting. Honestly, the apocalypse in this movie came and went, like a rainy day, making a movie about the X-Men fighting Trump more epic in comparison, despite that Trump: Apocalypse trailer being more of a satirical thing at the time (though nowadays, it might as well be a preview of what’s to come in the real world lol).
3. Ghostbusters: Answer the Call
This one was a bit tough to put on the list for a number of reasons. For one, if I included it, some people might accuse me of being a “woman-hating misogynist asshole”, and if I didn’t, others might say I’d be betraying the original Ghostbusters. Here’s a funny thing about that: I can have a different opinion than either of those, and so can other people. Why? This movie really wasn’t worth all the hate, at least in those aspects. No, this movie is on the list because it’s disappointingly average at best and a corporate cash-grab at worst. Yes, it would’ve been great to see an actual Ghostbusters 3, with the surviving original cast returning (minus Harold Ramis RIP), maybe even pass the torch onto the next generation or something, but that’s not what happened here. Instead, we got a reboot that didn’t have any idea what it wanted to be, with the title not able to make up its mind with it being called Ghostbusters when released in theaters (I guess as a way to make it as if the original didn’t exist) and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call in promo material, end credits, and home media release, constant references to the original being distracting (especially the cameos from the original cast) and any new elements not really standing out and being kinda dull or atrocious (looking at you, Fall Out Boy rendition of Ghostbusters theme song). Heck, not even the friggin logo was changed to make this different from the original, so what was the point in all this?
With things being the way they are right now in the world, of course this thing gets a lot of hate going around. Some having legit reasons, like the idea of remakes in general being a mixed bag, and some have outrageously stupid reasons, like this movie is automatically bad because it has women in it. Look, you could replace the entire cast of this movie, both men AND women, with dogs and cats (living together, mass hysteria; hey you know I had to put it in there somehow), and this movie would pretty much be the same. There are some neat effects, the action can be ok and even kinda better than the original, and some funny moments, but it’s just kinda bland and boring and the attempts to try to do that weird ad-lib thing in other modern comedies ends up not being funny and a bit annoying.
It’s not like the people making this thing did any better. Both cast and crew try to point fingers and shift the blame onto “the haters” or whatever, when really they ought to have known they were making a movie that was beneath their talents and deserved better. The production company behind this, Sony, was probably the worst at this, reveling in all the “controversy” and hate, hoping it’ll help sell the movie, when in reality it actually didn’t and it backfired on them. The only person that tried to do damage control in any way was the original movie’s director Ivan Reitman, who pretty much summed up that the hate for this movie comes from people just not liking remakes/reboots of beloved classic movies. Like the previous movies on this list, this movie came and went, with busting feeling kinda meh. But hey, at least Ecto Cooler came back (briefly, anyway, I can’t seem to find any more anywhere else).
2. Bad Santa 2
The previous movies on this list may have some entertainment value. But this one? There’s hardly any in it. The original Bad Santa may have been vulgar at times, but it had heart and effort put into it to make it funny and heartwarming. With Bad Santa 2, though, it’s just a rehash of what’s been done before, only lazier and more blatant about it. Even Billy Bob Thornton said it wasn’t going to be that great before it even came out, and that’s just sad. The whole movie is just full of shock humor, which if you don’t know is akin to jump scares in horror movies, coming in briefly just to get a reaction with the bare minimum of effort and a desperate ploy for laughs since this is a “comedy”.
There are some interesting moments in it though, despite being outweighed by all the crap in it. Billy Bob Thornton and Kathy Bates are great and the heist planning is interesting, since the original didn’t show any planning for the heists pulled in that film at all, they just ended up doing the robbery after working 30 days at a mall. Other than that, there’s nothing really more to say about it. It’s a crap sequel that doesn’t do anything to elevate itself from the original. Nuff said.
1. The Do-Over
When thinking of the bad movies I saw in 2016, I should’ve just left it to Bad Santa 2 being the worst of them. That way, I wouldn’t have seen this piece of shit. But I did, out of morbid curiosity, and so it’s the worst movie of 2016 that I’ve seen. What the heck happened to Adam Sandler? I hadn’t seen a movie of his since the first Grown Ups, and even that movie was dull at best and pointlessly stupid at worst when I look back on it. I’ve heard horror stories of how he’s fallen from grace and that his movies nowadays are crap, the exception being the Hotel Transylvania movies, which from what I hear are ok, and so I’ve avoided his bad movies as much as I could. In the Sony email hack, it was revealed that even Sony thinks his recent movies aren’t that funny, and yet they’re the ones producing and distributing them. Recently he made a deal with Netflix to distribute his films on their streaming service, originally the number being four now expanded to eight, and I think that was a pretty bad decision on Netflix’s part, from what I’ve heard about The Ridiculous Six and what I’ve seen with The Do-Over (haven’t heard much about Sandy Wexler).
The movie tries to paint Adam Sandler as an action hero, but really he’s just an unlikeable asshole who tries to use his cancer as an excuse and his attempts to get a cure being justified through his antics, which range from unfunny to just plain gross, weird, and probably offensive, even illegal, yet he gets off scott free because he gives out the cure for cancer, which I call bullshit on. As per usual with other notably bad Sandflicks, it features unlikely “heroes” who somehow date hot women out of their league, go to some tropical or exotic location as an excuse for Sandler and friends to go on vacation and somehow make a movie around it, stupid product placement, having obscene amounts of shock humor just for the sake of it and not really trying at all, Sandler’s friends showing up in the movie because they can’t seem to get any other roles outside of Sandler flicks, talented actors not typically seen in Sandler movies showing up randomly that don’t contribute much to anything, and just being unfunny from beginning to end. Oh and as an added bonus it’s a shameless ripoff from a previous, not to mention better, movie Sandler has done, Funny People, only without the talent of Judd Apatow and some restraint to make this movie less shitty.
But it’s not just the quality of the movie that makes it the worst of 2016 I’ve seen. No, it’s also what it represents to me that makes it bad. You know how Jim Sterling talks about how Steam just allows crap games to show up on their storefront, lazily cobbled together with little to no effort, and when they’re the ones that get attention, it makes the idea of anyone trying to put out their own games with actual effort look bad? That’s what this movie is, along with probably The Ridiculous Six, Sandy Wexler, and whatever other crap Sandler’s got cooked up if this movie is any indication of what they’re like. It’s like the movie equivalent of Digital Homicide games. Netflix allowed this movie to exist, and the only way I could see that happening is that no one, not even Sony, wanted to release this in theaters, which probably saved a lot from the trouble of doing so, yet it got out anyway on a streaming service that people pay for on an annual monthly subscription. Sure, people can choose not to see it, but it’s still there regardless. It’s a shame, really, because Netflix does have good quality original productions, both TV shows and movies, and yet it has this crap on it. Syfy original movies have more effort put into them than this, because at least they have a “so bad it’s good” vibe to em. I don’t know what could be good about this thing.
People give the Iron Fist show crap, but honestly, while I do like that show and acknowledge its problems, I dare those people to watch this movie and figure out which one is truly worse. With these kinds of movies showing up, Netflix might as well be renamed “Sandflix” in that regard, because this movie shows that just about anyone could get paid to make a shitty movie with minimum effort without even trying and it’ll somehow get on there, and expect money in return, leaving anyone else that’d like to put out their mark and actually make a decent movie be nothing more than leaves on the wind, and not in a good way either like Wash from Firefly/Serenity would put it.
So there we go. The worst movies of 2016. Sorry for this list being late and all, but at least I managed to get it out when I did. 2016 was a hell of a year, and 2017 isn’t showing much mercy either, but the best that can be done is at least look at the good stuff while also trying to make some goodness happen too. As Stan Lee would say, “Excelsior!”