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

Ted 2 Sucks!


Ted_2_posterWell, I think the title of this review pretty succinctly sums up my reaction to Seth McFarlane’s latest film, Ted 2.  Thanks for reading and have a good…

Oh, really?

Okay, I’ve been told that I have to try to think up at least 300 words to say about Ted 2.  Otherwise, in the eyes of Rotten Tomatoes, we’re not a legitimate film blog.

*sigh*

Okay.

Anyway, Ted 2 is the story of a talking teddy bear (voice by Seth McFarlane) who likes to smoke weed and … well, that’s about it.  He’s just gotten married to Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth) and they’re having trouble because Tami-Lynn wants a baby but Ted, being a teddy bear, doesn’t have any reproductive organs.  So, he and his friend John (Mark Wahlberg) decide to give Tom Brady a handjob so they can still his sperm.  But, it turns out, none of that was important because the state of Massachusetts claims that Ted is not even a person.  Instead, he’s just “property.”  So, now, John and Ted and their lawyer, Sam (Amanda Seyfried), are fighting the courts to win Ted his civil rights.  And then Giovanni Ribisi wants to kidnap Ted and Morgan Freeman shows up and says a few words.  And the film is narrated by Patrick Stewart because it’s funny to hear Patrick Stewart curse and…

Oh!  And Liam Neeson shows up.  He’s a customer at the store where Ted works as a cashier.  Liam wants to know if Trix are only for kids.  The joke here is that it’s Liam Neeson and he’s asking about cereal.  Ha ha.

Oh!  And there’s two guys who shows up at New York Comic Con so that they can beat up “nerds.”  During every scene set at Comic Con, they’re in the background beating people up and insulting them.  And the two guys are gay!  See, they’re bullies and they’re gay!  And they’re beating up random people at Comic Con, just because they can!  Hilarious, right?

Ted 2 spends a lot of time trying to convince us that Ted’s struggle to be recognized as a person is actually meant to be a metaphor for the American civil rights movement.  But, honestly, I get the feeling that McFarlane relates more to the bullies than he does to any oppressed minority.  As he previously proved with his TV shows and A Million Ways To Die In The West, McFarlane is only interested in going after easy targets.  He’s your typical white male hipster who thinks that, because he voted for Obama, he can get away with telling racist jokes.

And, before anyone misunderstands, I wouldn’t mind McFarlane’s humor if it was at least funny or original.  But instead, it’s the same stupid jokes that he always tells.  Seth McFarlane’s comedic technique is to basically drag things out until viewers laugh from pure exhaustion.  Is it effective?  Well, there are people who continue to praise and defend him and Seth certainly has made a lot of money off of his act.  So, obviously, there are people who respond to this.  But to me, Seth McFarlane’s humor just feels lazy.

Ted 2 lasts 128 minutes.  That’s over two hours devoted to a concept that feels more appropriate for a five-minute skit.  Interesting enough, the first Ted was tolerable because it focused on Mark Wahlberg’s Johnny.  Ted was just a supporting character and he worked as a metaphor for Johnny’s struggle to choose between growing up or being a happy slacker.  (The first Ted was all about Johnny falling in love with Mila Kunis, whose character is rather cruelly dismissed at the start of Ted 2.)  In Ted 2, Ted is the central character and once you get over the fact that he’s a teddy bear who drops multiple F bombs, there’s really not much to the character.  It helps, of course, that we only have to listen to McFarlane.  We don’t have to look at his imminently punchable, oddly lineless face.  But, to be honest, even McFarlane’s voice has become grating.  It’s just so self-satisfied and smug.

I saw Ted 2 with the blogger also known as Jedadiah Leland.  Over the course of 128 hours minutes (it just felt like hours), we each laughed once.  Not surprisingly, both laughs were inspired by Wahlberg’s dumb-but-sweet performance.  Now, I will admit that the rest of the audience laughed a bit more than we did.  But still, there was a definite atmosphere of resignation in the theater.  You could literally hear the people thinking, “Oh, Ted just made a joke about black people.  Better laugh now so everyone knows that I get whatever the Hell this is supposed to be.  After all, those tickets weren’t free…”

What’s the word count now?

758?

Cool.

That’s enough words for me to say, “Ted 2 sucks!”

 

Lisa’s Homestate Reviews: New Mexico and A Million Ways To Die In The West


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My family lived in Carlsbad, New Mexico from January of 1991 to July of 1992.  I was only 5 years old when we arrived and 6 when we left so I really can’t say that I remember that much about Carlsbad, beyond the fact that my mom was always worried about rattlesnakes, I was excited about going to kindergarten and that, when my Dad announced that we were moving to Oklahoma, I cried and cried because, even at that age, I knew that meant I’d never get to see my friends again.

So yeah, some of my memories of New Mexico are a little traumatic.  But are they as traumatic as watching Seth McFarlane’s A Million Ways To Die In The West, a film that was shot in New Mexico and which is an early front-runner for claiming the title of worst of 2014?

Written by, produced by, directed by, and starring Seth McFarlane, A Million Ways To Die In The West tells the story of a sheep farmer named Albert (played by Seth McFarlane) who basically spends the entire movie whining about how much he hates living in the old west.  His girlfriend leaves him for … well, look, the plot is stupid.  You knew the plot was going to be stupid when you first saw the trailer earlier this year.  You probably even knew the film wasn’t going to be that good.  However, as bad as you might think the film is, it’s nothing compared to how bad the movie actually is.  And the blame pretty much rests with Seth McFarlane.

Seth McFarlane has got cold, dead eyes and a curiously unlined face that, when taken along with his ever-present smirk, tends to make him look like one of those horror movie mannequins that comes to life once the store closes and murders horny teenagers.  I understand that it’s always been a part of McFarlane’s act to present himself as being an asshole with a heart of gold but, for the most part, that works best when you only have to deal with his voice.  The minute that you see his smug face, which is as immobile as his voice is expressive, the heart of gold part disappears.  All your left with is an asshole who insists on telling the same joke over and over again.  As both a comedic writer and director, McFarlane’s technique is to basically beat the audience into submission, dragging jokes out to such an interminable length that you eventually laugh because you simply cannot believe that you’re wasting so much time watching this crap.  Some people have mistaken that technique for genius.  Those people should be forced to watch A Million Ways To Die In The West in much the same way that Malcolm McDowell was forced to watch violent movies in A Clockwork Orange.

(And I write all of that as perhaps the only woman in the world who was not offended by Seth McFarlane singing The Boob Song at the Academy Awards, if just because the joke was clearly meant to be at the expense of McFarlane and the overage frat boys who seem to make up his fan base.)

A Million Ways to Die In The West is full of familiar faces.  Liam Neeson goes totally overboard as the film’s villain.  Neil Patrick Harris, as usual, is fun to watch, or at least he is until he’s forced to take part in one of McFarlane’s trademark endless musical numbers.  Eventually, Harris’s character gets slipped a laxative and it’s just as disgusting as it sounds.  Giovanni Ribisi plays McFarlane’s best friend and his joke is that he’s a Christian (yes, Seth takes on Christianity — what a rebel!) and that his girlfriend (Sarah Silverman, who deserves better) is a prostitute who is willing to have sex with everyone but him.  Amanda Seyfried has the thankless task of playing McFarlane’s girlfriend while Charlize Theron plays the enigmatic woman who teaches Seth how to shoot a gun.  (Theron gives a far better performance than this movie deserves and it was hard not to wish that the entire film had just been about her character.)  There are also several celebrity cameos — Ryan Reynolds, Christopher Lloyd, and even Jamie Foxx show up.

But, ultimately, the entire film is about Seth McFarlane.  He wrote it, he directed it, and he stars in it.  Seth McFarlane dominates this film and that’s the problem.  What might be slightly amusing in a 22-minute cartoon is not going to be funny enough to sustain a nearly two-hour film.  For a rambling and often aimless film like A Million Way To Die In The West to succeed, it needs a star who is both skilled at comedy and likable enough that he’ll be able to anchor the mayhem.  (Seth Rogen, for instance.)  Instead, we’re given a smirking Seth McFarlane and the end result is a film that somehow manages to be both forgettable and a disaster.

Now, you may be wondering how I ended up watching this film.  Well, originally I wasn’t planning on ever seeing it but then I started to read reviews about how terrible it was and I was like, “This is a film that I definitely need to see for myself, so that I can see if the film is actually a misunderstood masterpiece or if it’s a film that I’m going to have to keep in mind when I’m compiling my annual list of the year’s worst films.”  (Plus, when I arrived at the theater, The Fault In Our Stars was sold out.)  But anyway, I sat through it and I forced my sister Erin to watch it with me and I think Erin may be on the verge of finally forgiving me.

Finally, what was more traumatic?  Leaving behind my friends or watching this movie?

Too close to call.

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Finally! Some Oscar news…


If you’ve been reading this site for the past few years then you know that my favorite time of the year is Oscar season.  I love the Oscars.

Unlike a lot of online film commentators, I don’t them all that seriously.  Again, if you’ve been reading this site for a while, then you know exactly how I feel about a certain self-important (and self-described) awards diva who is fond of saying things like, “I know the game because I am the game.”  You’ll never find me descending to that type of smugness.  I’m a fan, not a wannabe insider.

The Oscars are a big, tacky spectacle and that’s why I like them.  I let others worry about the political significance of why certain films win or lose.  I let others deal in the dreary outrage over the fact that The King’s Speech beat The Social Network.

I just sit back and enjoy the silliness of it all.

So, as you can imagine, I’m excited because today saw that start of Oscar season!  The Academy has announced who will host the ceremony in 2014 and the winner is…

Not Seth McFarlane!

Seriously, I get the feeling that’s it’s going to be a very long time before Seth is invited back to the Oscars.

I’m not a huge Seth McFarlane fan but I have to admit that I wasn’t as outraged by his Oscar hosting performance as some people were.  Yes, the majority of his jokes were lame and borderline offensive.  Yes, there was an undercurrent of misogyny to a lot of what he said and did.

But misogyny is pretty much the fuel that keeps Seth McFarlane’s career alive and that should have been obvious to anyone who has seen anything that McFarlane has ever been involved with.  You have to wonder just what exactly the show’s producers were expecting when they picked McFarlane in the first place.

Regardless, after all the criticism that McFarlane generated, the show’s producers have decided to go in the exact opposite direction with next year’s host….

….Ellen Degeneres!

She’s an almost painfully predictable choice but, with the exception of that season she spent on American Idol, I like Ellen so I can’t complain about her getting to host the Oscars for the second time.

That said, I still think they should have given James Franco another shot…

What Lisa Watched Last Night #72: The 85th Annual Academy Awards


Last night, I had a little party.  Me, my boyfriend, my sister, my best friend, and my 7,000 followers on twitter got together to watch the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

Seth

Why Were We Watching It?

If you love movies then the Oscars are like the Super Bowl.  Seriously, how could I not watch it?

What Was It About?

It was about the best of times and the worst of times.  It was about self-promotion, self-congratulation, and Michelle Obama.  It was about whether or not Seth McFarlane would self-destruct.  It was about rooting for the underdog and checking out who was wearing what.  It was the Oscars and, for 210 minutes, the nation sat entranced.

What Worked?

Brave won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film!  Seriously, that one award pretty much made the entire night for me.  Actually, there were a lot of good winners last night: Ang Lee for Best Director, Christoph Waltz for Best Supporting Actor, Paperman for Best Animated Short Film, and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress.  I was especially happy to see both Lawrence and Anne Hathaway win because, for whatever reason, these two actresses have recently had to deal with some of the most petty criticism that I’ve ever seen.

I also appreciated the fact that Quentin Tarantino, upon winning Best Original Screenplay, managed to spend his entire speech basically patting himself on the back while pretending to thank his cast.  It may not be remembered as the most classy speech in the history of the Oscars but it definitely served to remind us of why we love Quentin.

As host, Seth McFarlane was such a mixed bag that I’ve included him under both things that worked and things that didn’t work.  McFarlane started out surprisingly strong.  Unlike a lot of female critics, I wasn’t offended by The Boob Song and I thought it was actually a pretty clever parody of McFarlane’s public image.  (The joke was clearly meant to be on McFarlane and not the actresses mentioned in the song.)  Unfortunately, as the show went on, McFarlane occasionally seemed to be determined to live up to that parody.

Oddly enough, I really enjoyed Lincoln when I saw it but yet I still found myself happy to see it lose in so many categories.  I think it’s probably because Lincoln was so aggressively hyped and so many self-important Oscar pundits (like Sasha Stone) declared that Lincoln was the best film of the year before they had even seen it.  It was hard not to resent the condescending tone that was taken by many of Lincoln‘s online supporters.  Plus, it’s always fun to root for the underdog.  It’s hard not to suspect that if Ben Affleck had actually been nominated for Best Director then Steven Spielberg and his film might have actually won big last night.  But by snubbing Affleck, the Academy cast Steven Spielberg and Lincoln in the role of Goliath.

On one final petty note, I was happy to see Jennifer Lawrence win because I know her victory probably annoyed the editors of Awards Daily.

What Did Not Work?

I could have done without Michelle Obama showing up to present Best Picture. Yes, I know that Hollywood loves the Obamas but seriously, it felt rather Orwellian to have the First Lady suddenly pop up on TV and tell us why movies are so important.  The fact that she appeared with a few random soldiers behind her just added to the creepy vibe.

The much hyped Bond tribute turned out to be a bit of a bust, didn’t it?

The audience, which never seemed to be that excited about the prospect of Seth McFarlane in the first place, seemed to turn more and more against him as the show progressed.  As a result, once the Oscars hit the 120 minute mark, Seth started to come across as being a bit desperate to get a reaction — any reaction — from the audience.

Daniel Day-Lewis gave a good acceptance speech and all but surely I’m not the only viewer who was curious to hear what Joaquin Phoenix would have said if he had won.

In the end, the show just felt a little bit too bland for my tastes.  Unlike last year, there was nothing truly unexpected.  There were no hints of eccentricity.  No one showed up wearing anything awful.  Nobody made a fool of themselves while accepting their Oscar.  In short, the show was just forgettable.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

When Jennifer Lawrence fell on the way to accept her award, that was definitely an “Oh my God!  Just like me!” moment.  Seriously, I loved her dress but, from the minute I saw it, I knew she was going to have a hard time getting up to the podium.

Lessons Learned

Award shows are a lot more fun when things go wrong.