Top 20 Worst Non-2016 Films Viewed in 2016

Posted: January 3, 2017 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists

The start of a new year marks a horde of film critics and bloggers posting their best and worst lists of the year. I’m no exception, but when it comes to 2016, I still have a few titles to scratch off my list before I put anything in writing. I am however ready to look back on all the films I saw in 2016 that were not released in 2016 and am starting things off with the worst first time viewings. I’ll note write from the start that I generally don’t seek out bad movies, but none the less I did find twenty stinkers which earned my scorn.

 20. King’s Row (Watched February 16th)


This story of small town melodrama is actually kind of amusing in how over the top it is (not to mention because Ronald Reagan has a lead role), but as a film it’s pretty dumb. This is an extremely basic movie with simplistic characters and morals. The corniness is further enhanced by director Sam Wood, who leans into schmaltz fully. Fairly watchable, but highly laughable.


19. Moulin Rouge (1952) (Watched April 26th)


First off, no, the Baz Luhrmann film is not a remake of this John Huston effort. This is actually a biopic of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. It’s also a very boring movie. It’s abundantly clear that Lautrec is a jerk early on and the film does little else with him until the end. The movie looks pretty, but it doesn’t offer much else.


18. Robocop 2 (Watched January 26th)


From what I can gather, Robocop 2 has its share of defenders. I can’t say I share their enthusiasm. Some of the satirical elements remain, but the film drops the ball on exploring Murphy’s humanity and burns through a series of half-baked ideas that never go anywhere. The action scenes are also subpar and on the whole, this is just a lame retread of Paul Verhoeven’s original film.


17. The Mummy’s Ghost (Watched October 12th)the-mummys-ghost

The second to last film in Universal’s Mummy series, The Mummy’s Ghost is a tired sigh from a franchise which is clearly out of gas. There’s nothing of substance here, we just watch the monster wander around killing people until the movie ends. The film does earn some major points for a darker and more ballsy ending, but that doesn’t make up for the lack of story and atmosphere.


16. The Mummy’s Tomb (Watched October 12th)the-mummys-tomb

Almost everything I wrote about The Mummy’s Ghost also applies to The Mummy’s Tomb. This film actually predates Ghost, but it almost seems more creatively bankrupt. Though the set-pieces are marginally better than what the later Mummy films would offer, this is still an uninspired movie about a dude in bandages killing people while offering nothing else. This is lacking the interesting ending that gave The Mummy’s Ghost an edge and it also wastes its first ten minutes on a fucking recap of The Mummy’s Hand, which is significant given the film’s only an hour.


15. The Front Page (1931) (Watched September 17th)


An unfunny comedy marred by a lot of the problems that tend to plague early sound films (stiff performances, limited visual creativity, poor sound, general awkwardness). The film would eventually be remade into the incredible His Girl Friday in 1940 which made a lot of smart changes while also injecting a ton of wit and energy to the proceedings. That legacy certainly doesn’t do The Front Page any favours, but even without that shadow, The Front Page would still be quite lousy.


14. The Alamo (1960) (Watched August 14th)


If you’re the kind of person who wants to come out of a three-hour historical epic knowing a little more about the real event, John Wayne’s The Alamo is not for you. This is a highly simplistic movie which lacks insight and instead just presents a series of vague speeches about freedom along with some perfunctory battle scenes. The fact that the film not just stars Wayne, but was also produced and directed by him, is also notable, particularly given that Wayne’s Davy Crocket is always right and loved by everyone. Yeah, Wayne had a bit of an ego. The climactic battle of the Alamo is a pretty good set-piece, but most everything else is completely forgettable.


13. Benny and Joon (Watched March 6th)


Yes, Johnny Depp gives a fairly amusing performance, but basically everything else here is crap. At best, this is a formulaic and shallow story which goes nowhere. At worst, it’s an offensive portrayal of people with a mental disability as just being quirky souls who need someone to love. Either way you slice is, the writing is sloppy and the filmmaking tremendously uninspired.


12. Three Smart Girls (Watched May 4th)


A simplistic musical comedy about a group of virtuous young girls trying to stop their naïve father’s marriage to a selfish gold digger and instead see their parents come back together. The lack of depth isn’t really a problem, but what is a problem is the lack of laughs or memorable music. The film doesn’t even have a sense of energy or fun. The result is a boring little slog that doesn’t offer much.


11. Shrek the Third (Watched November 13th)


I haven’t been a fan of the Shrek movies since I was a kid, but even by the low-standards of that series Shrek the Third is a failure. This is the epitome of a cash-grab sequel. It doesn’t have any new ideas, few (if any) of the jokes hit, and the film just rushes through one dumb action scene to another. It’s abundantly clear that no one involved really had an interesting idea with what to do for a third Shrek movie but the producers smelled money so they plunged ahead anyway. The only people still earning their paychecks are the animators.


10. Enchanted (Watched November 5th)


Anything interesting that could have been done with moving the traditional Disney princess into the real (live-action) world is squandered on a bunch of rom-com clichés, lame jokes, and TV movie production quality. The enormous charm of Amy Adams goes a long way in making Enchanted watchable, but she can’t save the film.


9. Champagne (Watched September 9th)


I’ll be honest, I barely even remember this early Alfred Hitchcock film. I don’t think I can describe a single thing that happens in the story. I do remember being really bored and I also remember all the jokes falling flat. It’s worth noting that Hitchcock himself considered Champagne his worst film so I feel I’m in good company. In the film’s defense, though, there are a few interesting shots and that do occasionally raise interest.


8. Rich and Strange (Watched April 30th)


Another early Hitchcock effort, this time one which came at the beginning of the sound era. The tension between silent and sound cinema is felt throughout as some sequences are totally silent and others have synchronized sound. The film is thus a weird mix of title cards and spoken dialogue, uneven performances, and scenes of visual freedom contrasted with immense visual constriction. It’s totally random which scenes are silent and which aren’t too. Beyond all that, this is a really dull cautionary tale that doesn’t work and the ending stretches on forever. Quite possibly Hitchcock’s worst film.


7. 101 Dalmatians (Watched November 5th)


An unfunny movie for tiny children that I’m sure I’d have hated even as a tiny child.


6. Carousel (Watched September 8th)


I’ve seen so many bloated musicals lacking in story from the Hollywood studio system that it takes a special something for one to stand out as being particularly bad. Some rapey vibes and excuse making of domestic abuse? Touché, Carousel. Musical fans might be able to look past these issues and the awful characters to appreciate the musical numbers, but I doubt it. There are better movies if you need a Rodgers and Hammerstein fix.


5. Finian’s Rainbow (July 6th)


You would hope that Fred Astaire’s final musical would be something special, or at least decent, but nope, Finian’s Rainbow is total crap. The main storyline involves a leprechaun searching for his pot of gold (seriously), but there’s also about 6000 subplots, including one about a white racist who is turned into a black man. This is a weird movie, but it’s also a boring one. And while there is a lot of singing and dancing, none of it is particularly good. The fact that just four years after directing Finian’s Rainbow Francis Ford Coppola would unleash The Godfather is fucking staggering.


4. Gigi (Watched April 3rd)


This is the third bloated musical I’ve listed in a row and the last one that will be featured in this list. So, what gives Gigi the edge which makes it worse than Carousel or Finian’s Rainbow? Well, the fact that it’s a Best Picture winner certainly invites a greater amount of scrutiny, but more than anything are the film’s uncomfortable sexual politics. This is a film which opens with an old man in a park surrounded by children singing “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” and goes on to present a level story which starts between an adult man and a teenage girl. Is that why we should thank heaven for little girls? Because they grow up into hot women that men can fuck? That’s pretty damn gross, and if you think I’m making leaps, consider the lyrics, “Thank heaven for little girls/For little girls get bigger everyday” and, “They grow up in the most delightful ways”. Ugh.


3. Jaws 3D (Watched October 1st)


I had at least hoped that Jaws 3D would be fun in how lame some of the 3D effects were, but for the most part the film is just boring. Much of the runtime is just centered around some boring SeaWorld employees (just because one has the last name Brody doesn’t mean he’s interesting) just hanging out at the park. When the film finally does deliver some shark action, the results are not nearly fun enough. The set-pieces are weak and there isn’t much in the way of a body count either. I mean shit, this is a movie about a shark loose in SeaWorld, that should at least be fun in a schlocky sort of way.


2. The Mummy’s Curse (Watched October 12th)


The final film in Universal’s original Mummy series is terrible and overall the series has to be the worst of Universal’s Monster movies. This entry does absolutely nothing new with the formula. The Mummy Kharis murders people, then at the end he is defeated. There are no fun characters, interesting set-pieces, sense of atmosphere, or even cool kills. One last thing about these Mummy sequels: fuck the titles. Whether it be The Mummy’s Hand, Tomb, Ghost, or Curse, the actual title has no bearing on the film at all and they’re all interchangeable.


1. Jaws: The Revenge (Watched October 2nd)


(On Jaws: The Revenge), “I have never seen it, but by all accounts, it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” – Michael Caine, star of Jaws: The Revenge.

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