2015 in Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films Of The Year


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There’s always a little bit of risk involved in making a list of the 16 worst films of the year.  People take movies very seriously and, often times, the crappiest of films will have very passionate (and very ignorant) defenders.  I was reminded of this in November when I wrote my review of The Leisure Class and I discovered that there actually are a few misguided dumbfug toadsuckers who actually enjoyed that movie.

But you know what?  Even with that risk, I always enjoy making out my worst-of-the-year list.  Let’s be honest: stupid people tend to like stupid movies.  And it’s important to point out that stupidity.  Only by pointing it out can we hope to defeat it.  I’m sure that some people will disagree with some of my picks.  After all, people initially disagreed with me when I announced that Man of Steel was the worst film of 2013. However, just 2 years later, most people now realize that I was right.  There were also people who insisted, in 2011, that Another Earth was a great movie.  Again, they now realize that they were wrong and I was right.

So, with all that in mind, here are my picks for the 16 worst films of 2015!  For the most part, 2015 was a pretty good year for cinema.  However, there were still a number of terrible films released and here’s 16 of them.

(Why 16?  Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers!)

16) Stockholm, Pennsylvania (dir by Nicholas Beckwith)

15) Aloha (dir by Cameron Crowe)

14) The Lazarus Effect (dir by David Gelb)

13) The Woman In Black 2: The Angel of Death (dir by Tom Harper)

12) The Stranger (dir by Guillermo Amoedo)

11) Get Hard (dir by Etan Coen)

10) Fantastic Four (dir by Josh Trank)

9) War Room (dir by Alex Kendrick)

8) Tommorrowland (dir by Brad Bird)

7) Jenny’s Wedding (dir by Mary Agnes Donoghue)

6) The Gallows (dir by Craig Lofing and Travis Cluff)

5) Tooken (dir by John Asher)

4) The Last House on Cemetery Lane (dir by Andrew Jones)

3) Vacation (dir by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley)

2) The Leisure Class (dir by Jason Mann)

And finally, it’s time to name the worst film of 2015!

And the winner is….

1) Ted 2 (dir by Seth McFarlane)

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(Feel free to also check out my picks for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014!)

Agree?  Disagree?  Leave a comment and let us know!  And if you disagree, please let me know what movie you think was worse than Ted 2!

Tomorrow, I will be posting my 10 favorite songs of 2015!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2015:

  1. Valerie Troutman’s 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw in 2015
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2015
  3. 2015 In Review: The Best of SyFy
  4. 2015 in Review: The Best of Lifetime

Because anything this divisive gets my attention. So, I also watched The Leisure Class…


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First off, I have never watched that TV Show, and based off of Lisa’s description in her review of this film, I’m glad I don’t. It sounds like a seasons worth of footage of that dog from Godard’s Goodbye To Language (2014) pooping. In other words, I had no vested interest in this movie developed by watching the show. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

The movie opens with that title card which would make you think you’re about to watch something like Last Year At Marienbad (1961). Then we cut to a party and meet some of our characters.

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That’s William (Ed Weeks) and Fiona (Bridget Regan). One thing that stuck with me from Lisa’s review about the production of this is that it was shot on film, and it shows. I don’t know if it comes through in that screen shot, but it feels like it’s trying to remind me of Merchant Ivory Productions from the 70s and 80s.

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That’s Edward (Bruce Davison) and Charlotte (Brenda Strong). This is a party the family is having to celebrate the wedding of William and Fiona that is going to take place the next day. William is marrying into this wealthy political family.

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This is Carolyn (Melanie Zanetti) who is Fiona’s sister. She’s the short horny sister whose character is abandoned rather quickly and seems to exist only to give the next character who shows up a foothold in this whole setup.

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Then this guy shows up at the party. He is William’s brother and is about to throw a wrench into William’s plan to marry into this family. William is actually a conman. A lousy conman cause this movie already starts telegraphing the ending of the film to you at this point. Now the brother does have a name in the movie, but let’s call him what he is. He’s Withnail (Tom Bell), minus any lines people will be quoting decades from now. William tells Withnail to leave the party, but of course he doesn’t even for money. He latches on to Carolyn and generally begins acting like a jackass.

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Since night is upon them, they move inside. Then what I can only assume is the boom mic pops in from the upper left hand corner.

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But enough of that little technical goof because we need more characters. We have the parents who seem to be basically oblivious at this point. Fiona is basically the same way at this point. Carolyn wants With to Nail her. And of course there’s our conman William. Naturally that’s why the movie needs a detective character. That comes in the form of another sister named Allison (Scottie Thompson). She tends to stay away from the family and is a lawyer.

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And you can tell she doesn’t like him because of that I just met you, but I already know your kind very well look on her face.

Well, after William tries to get some.

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And so does take me now Carolyn.

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Withnail decides to round up some booze and people to go off to a party!

IMG_4247Now take a good look at Fiona’s hair here. I’ll bring that up later. Now a couple of them, including Fiona jump in a pool.

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Oh, did I say a pool. I meant a plot device to clearly establish that Carolyn is drunk, Fiona is her own woman, and William is in over his head. Well, seeing as Carolyn is drunk and something needs to bring things to a head, we get a car accident.

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You see the look on Fiona’s face. That’s the look of the audience when they realize this scene only works if William has never seen a movie where rich people get away with things like car accidents they are at fault for. I hate when movies depend on their characters existing in a world where movies don’t exist that have covered situations they’re in. But again, they are trying to foreshadow the ending of this movie some more here.

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This is when you need to take another look at Fiona’s hair. I have taken physics before so I’m aware of how hair works when it comes to hydrogen and disulfide bonds, but something tells me being in a pool for all of a couple of minutes doesn’t transform hair from looking perfectly straight to looking like you just had it curled at a salon. I’ll have to ask the lady who does my hair, but this struck me as a continuity error. A minor error like the boom mic, but my only guess is that it was left in to make her character appear more vulnerable and less hoity toity so that we would see her come full circle back to the way she was at the beginning, but worse.

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Anyways, this is when Edward decides to give William a good talking to. So he pulls out a report that apparently shows all sorts of inconsistencies in William’s story. Hmmm…and why he didn’t pull this report out I don’t know… prior to the night before the wedding? The movie never really says. The best explanation we are given is in a scene coming up when Edward makes it clear that he wanted a son to carry on his name, but he only seems to produce girls. Perhaps we are expected to believe that Edward was willing to turn a blind eye to this report that he clearly had before because it meant he would have a son-in-law. Fiona also gets a talking to about how the wedding could affect his and her political careers. But who cares about that because we need another character…apparently…for reasons?

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This is Carla the prostitute played by Christine Lakin. I actually know who she is since she played Jackie on Melissa & Joey. The girl who wanted Joey’s sperm to impregnate her one way or another. Here she plays a pointless character thrown in so that Withnail won’t leave the movie alone. At least I hope that’s the reason because otherwise she’s just a character who brings Fifty Shades Of Grey (2015) into this movie by bringing up nipple clamps. I know what you are thinking. This movie needs a scene that looks like it belongs in a Tarantino movie or something like Funny Games. And it comes next.

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This is when Edward just flips out on the boys and his family. He pulls out a gun, he strips and whips Withnail, and probably give the best performance in this whole movie. Even if it is a bit much.

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Cut to the next morning and Edward with two penises drawn on his face makes his daughter and Withnail offers they can’t refuse. Much to the dismay of William who at this point probably figured he and Fiona would be riding off into the sunset having told her the truth about himself and that he truly does love her. At least Carla leaves the bride with a wedding present.

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Then a little wedding stuff before the movie ends on this shot.

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And that’s The Leisure Class. Why did this movie stir up so much crap over Lisa’s review? It’s a movie with it’s fair share of problems, but those are a dime a dozen. Director Jason Mann tried something probably a little too ambitious for the conditions he was working under, and it never really came together. It happens. It’s his first film. What were people hoping for here? I don’t know. I just know what the finished product is. A forgettable movie that amounts to Withnail Crashes A Wedding.

As for some of the nasty comments that came Lisa’s way. I don’t mind the down votes. That’s what they’re for, but if you only want to hear what you have to think about something then don’t read other people’s reviews of things. You don’t need anyone else’s validation to have an opinion about something.

Well, I’m moving on with my life now.

So, I watched The Leisure Class…


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Well, it had to happen sometime.

After 8 weeks of showing us how the film was made, HBO finally had to broadcast the latest Project Greenlight film.  Over the course of the series, we’ve watched the seemingly humorless director Jason Mann struggle to maintain his “artistic vision” while directing his first feature film, The Leisure Class.  We watched as he fought for and won the right to shoot on film.  We wondered if Jason would be able to pull off the film’s big stunt.  Even more importantly, we watched because we were hooked on the hostility between Jason and the film’s producer, Effie Brown.  Jason resented having to answer to Effie.  Effie resented having to work on something like The Leisure Class.  For 8 weeks, viewers were either Team Jason or Team Effie.

And through it all, we wondered — was The Leisure Class any good?

From the minute that Jason was named as The Leisure Class‘s director, I had my doubts.  A comedic sensibility is something that you either have or you don’t.  At first glance, there was nothing about Jason that suggested he even had a sense of humor.  Once filming started, nothing that we were shown looked all that promising.  The film’s trailer felt more frantic than anything else and I slowly found myself dreading the prospect of sitting through The Leisure Class.

But sit through it I did and … well, it was bad.  Unfortunately, it really wasn’t bad enough to be enjoyable.  Instead, it was just a bland misfire.  If the film was interesting, it was because I related each scene to what I had previously seen on Project Greenlight.  Wow, I thought, Effie sure was mad when they were shooting this scene.  A few minutes later: Is this the scene that Jason was worried would be underlit?  And then later: This is the scene where Bruce Davison wasn’t sure whether he should say pricks or dicks!  I’m glad they were able to make a final decision…

As for the film itself — well, how do you describe the plot of a film that really didn’t seem to have a storyline?  Charles (Ed Weeks) is actually William, a British con artist.  He is about to marry Fiona (Bridget Regan), the daughter of Sen. Langston (Bruce Davison).  At first, Charles was just planning on stealing Langston’s money but now he’s fallen in love with Fiona.  The day before the wedding, Charles’s alcoholic brother, Leonard (Tom Bell), shows up at the Langston estate.  He pretends to be Charles’s best friend.  And then, Leonard gets drunk and encourages a bunch of teenagers to skinny dip.  And then there’s the car accident.  (This is the big stunt that Jason was so concerned with.)  And then Sen. Langston gets drunk and there’s this amazingly ugly scene where he says a lot of nasty things to his wife and his daughters.  And then Langston nearly murders Charles and Leonard but Fiona ends up pulling a gun on him.  And then the next morning, Leonard draws on Langston’s face.  There’s also a prostitute, named Carla (Christina Lakin), who shows up for no reason but at least she gets a few funny lines.  The film doesn’t add up too much, with none of the characters or their actions making much sense.  The script feels like a first draft and, even at only 80 minutes, the movie seems to be way too long.

The overriding theme of Project Greenlight‘s fourth season has been that Jason has gotten nearly everything that he wanted while shooting his film.  Personally, it wouldn’t surprise me to discover that this season was pretty much edited to cast Jason in as negative a light as possible.  (Otherwise, the HBO execs would have to take responsibility of the train wreck that is The Leisure Class.)  Still, it’s impossible to deny that Jason fought a lot of battles and that none of them seem to have made much difference as far as the end product is concerned.

Jason fought to shoot The Leisure Class on film, as opposed to going digital.  He even turned down extra shooting days so that he could get film.  But visually, The Leisure Class is flat and boring.  It may have been shot on film but it still looks like a single camera sitcom.  (In fact, it’s hard not to feel that the film could have been improved if it had taken an Office or Modern Family mockumentary approach.  At least that way, the characters could have explained their often confusing motivation.)

Jason got the cast that he wanted but that cast is let down by a poorly conceived script.  All of the characters are so one-dimensional that it’s doubtful that there’s much anyone in the cast could have done to make them interesting.  I like both Ed Weeks and Tom Bell but the film let both of them down.  Meanwhile, Bruce Davison is reduced to bellowing out his lines.

Jason fought to find the perfect location and spent a lot of time talking about how the Langston estate was almost as important as the characters.  The house looks gorgeous but the film is directed in such a haphazard manner that you never really get to appreciate it.  For a director who spent so much time obsessing over minutiae, Jason’s film is unique for its total lack of interesting detail.

Let’s not forget — when the season began, Jason was selected to direct a broad comedy called Not Another Pretty Woman.  Jason is the one who suggested making The Leisure Class instead.  That said, I have a hard time believing, as some have suggested on twitter, that Not Another Pretty Woman would have been much of an improvement.

Ultimately, Jason seems to be an okay technical director.  He knows how to light a scene.  He understands the importance of moving the camera.  I imagine he could probably spend hours explaining why he chose to use a certain type of lens.  Unfortunately, there’s not a single scene in The Leisure Class that feels spontaneous.  There’s no humanity to the characters.  It’s a cold movie that feels more like a student film than anything else.

From what I’ve read, it appears that there will be at least one more season of Project Greenlight.  And I’m happy to hear that because the show makes for good drama.  I just wish that it would occasionally make for a good movie.

Guilty Pleasure No. 26: Project Greenlight


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Project Greenlight may be the most guiltiest pleasure to be found on television right now.

The show, which is currently airing its fourth season on HBO, was one of the earliest reality shows.  The concept behind the show is deceptively simple.  Every season, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon have held an online competition for aspiring filmmakers.  The winner of the contest gets to direct a feature film, with the understanding that there will be TV cameras present to record every decision, argument, and screw up.  At the end of the season, the film is released and hopefully, a major new filmmaker is discovered.

The pleasure part is obvious.  If you’re like me and you love movies, there’s no way you can’t be fascinated by the chance to go behind-the-scenes of an actual production.  It’s always fun to watch as the director struggles to maintain his (so far, all of the directors have been male) vision against the whims of studio execs who, often time, seem to be annoyed by the director’s very existence.

As for me, I’ve always been fascinated by the casting process.  (Don’t believe me?  Check out this post that I wrote about The Godfather.  And then check out this one too!)  My favorite part of Project Greenlight is always the episode that deals with the casting.  I love seeing who auditions, who gets turned down, and who decides that they want nothing to do with the film.  It’s a lot of fun!

As for the guilty part of this guilty pleasure, it comes from knowing that a show like this thrives on conflict.  As much as Ben and Matt may say that they are only interested in selecting the most talented director, it’s also obvious that the director they pick has to make for good television.  If production on the film goes smoothly, that’s good for the film but it’s not necessarily good for the show.  That’s just the truth when it comes to reality television.

Hence, watching Project Greenlight always leads to conflicting emotions.  On the one hand, you want the movie to turn out to be a good movie.  You want the director to be up to the task.  On the other hand, you’re specifically watching this show to watch the director screw up and make mistakes and piss people off and get into fights.  Gossip lovers that we are, we love the behind the scenes drama but it’s rare that drama actually leads to a good film.

Check out Project Greenlight‘s track record.

Season 1 started way back in 2001!  (Both this season and season 2 are available on DVD and I recommend checking out both of them.)  The winner was Pete Jones, a friendly nonentity who went on to direct the extremely forgettable Stolen Summer.  There was a lot of behind-the-scenes conflict, mostly due to a clash of personality between certain members of the crew.  From the minute the season started, it was obvious that Pete was a nice guy but essentially in over his head.  And, in many ways, Season 1 taught viewers an important lesson: when it comes to the film industry, nice guys get screwed.

However, as chaotic as season 1 may have been, it was nothing compared to what happened in 2003 when season 2 aired!  Whenever anyone wants to make the argument that Ben and Matt purposefully pick directors who are totally wrong for whatever film is being made, they usually point to season 2.  Season 2 featured the directing team of Kyle Rankin and Efram Potelle directing The Battle of Shaker Heights.  The Battle of Shaker Heights was supposed to be a quirky coming-of-age dramedy and a character study, so, of course, Ben and Matt selected two directors who were apparently incapable of human emotion.  And the end result was pure chaos!

Now, I will say a few things in Kyle and Efram’s defense.  When you watch season 2, the overriding theme is that these two directors totally ruined a great script.  Just in case we missed that, the show even featured screenwriter Erica Beeney complaining that these two directors were totally ruining her great script.  Well, sorry — the script for Battle of Shaker Heights was never that good to begin with.  (“It’s about this kid — Kelly — who is really pissed off,” Erica would tell us at the beginning of every episode, as if she was the first person to ever write about a kid who was really pissed off.)  I doubt anyone could have made a good movie out of that script.  Picking two directors who were so totally wrong for the material only served to compound the inherent suckiness of the material.

Season 2 has got a true train wreck appeal to it.  It’s one of those things that you watch with horrified fascination.  (Incidentally, Shia LaBeouf is heavily featured in season 2 and I have to say that he fits right in.)

The third season of Project Greenlight aired in 2005.  It was broadcast on Bravo and it’s unique in that it actually featured a good director (John Gulager) making a reasonably successful film (Feast).  As such, it doesn’t quite work as a guilty pleasure because, from the minute Gulager starts directing, you don’t feel any guilt about watching him.  Instead, the most interesting part of the third season comes early on when a bitchy casting director continually tries (and succeeds) at sabotaging Gulager’s attempts to get a cast with whom he feels comfortable.

(Season 3 has never been released on DVD but, the last time I checked, it was available on YouTube.)

After that third season, Project Greenlight went away for a while but now, 10 years later, it’s back!  It has returned to HBO and, after three episodes, it’s starting to look like this season may be the guiltiest and most pleasurable of all!  Ben and Matt were producing a comedy called Not Another Pretty Woman this time around.  (Pete Jones even returned to write the script.)  Not Another Pretty Woman has been described as being a broad comedy.  So, of course, they selected Jason Mann, an extremely intense elitist film snob.  One of the first things that Jason Mann did was try to fire Pete Jones and replace him with the screenwriter of that well-known comedy, Boys Don’t Cry.  When that didn’t work, Mann abandoned Not Another Pretty Woman and instead requested to make a film called The Leisure Class instead.  And, amazingly enough, he got HBO Films to agree, which means that either nobody had any faith in Pete Jones or everyone has total faith in Jason Mann!

Will that faith be rewarded or will The Leisure Class be another Battle of Shaker Heights?  Will Jason Mann be another John Gulager or will he fade into the same obscurity in which Efram Potelle and Kyle Rankin currently reside?

As of right now, I don’t know.

But I can’t wait to find out!

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Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly