26.1.22

Bottom 20 of 2021

Well, here we are again! Back at it with another Bottom 20 list after yet another unusual COVID year at the movies. But enough chit-chat, on with the list....

HONORABLE MENTION

No Time To Die (2021)

It's too classy to make the bottom list, but this long-awaited 25th James Bond movie was still a severe disappointment. The second viewing really crystallized how bad that screenplay and that story is. Guys, you should have retired gracefully with Spectre.

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

The Power of the Dog (2021)

Turned it off after about 30 minutes. I have no interesting in this story or these characters. I hate everything about the film's vibe.

Last Night in Soho (2021)

The first time I tried to watch this film I turned it off after about 20 seconds. I could just tell it wasn't going to do anything but piss me off that night. Second time i tried, I made it 20 minutes. Maybe one day I'll finish it.

Sentinelle (2021)

I saw this. According to my notes. Gave it lowest possible rating. And yet, I had to look it up, to even remember what it is. Olga Kurylenko has lesbian sex in it and I still have no recollection of having watched it.

THE LIST
20) The Matrix Resurrections

I debated whether to put this film MUCH higher on the list (we're talking top 5 of the worst) or not include it at all. In some ways it doesn't deserve to be on this list, in other ways it's such a crushingly disappointing and ineffective film that it's impossible to ignore. There's no clever idea to justify reopening this Pandora's box. There's no essential new chapter that just had to be told. On top of that Resurrections has lost everything that made the first film unique. Sole director Lana Wachowski's sister Lily, who co-directed the original trilogy, said it best, when she explained why she didn't return to this 4th film. "I felt like it was a step back," she said. I couldn't agree more. That's exactly what it feels like.

19) Don't Look Up

I know a lot of people think this is a really clever satire and just what we need to wake people up and make them realize the world's in trouble. I think they're dead wrong. I think this is a horribly misjudged film that will have the opposite effect on those who aren't already wise to the issues of our time. I'm not sure how you can watch this film and think it's a clever satire. More often than not it's simply a fairly accurate representation of reality. This happened. For real. That's not satire. That's a documentary. Except of course a real documentary never approaches its subject dripping with mocking contempt for the very people it hopes to educate.

18) The Little Things

I see where they were going with this. Unfortunately this film wasn't made in the early 90's. If it had been, I might not have judged it so hard. As it stands now, The Little Things came 25 years too late. In the wake of countless classic serial killer movies, TV-shows and true crime stories in all shapes and forms it simply doesn't have anything useful to add to the conversation. At best it's derivative, but often it's almost embarrassingly ineffective.

17) Red Notice

I gotta admit, I though this was a slam-dunk. I like The Rock. I love Ryan Reynolds. Gal Gadot is beyond beautiful. Obviously that's not enough. You need these people to play likable characters. You need to stick those characters in a decent plot. And you need to bring your A-game if you want to play on the same field as The Indiana Jones movies and the Mission Impossible franchise. You also need to make your $200 million movie look like a $200 million movie and not a cheap discount product for the streaming sheep who can't tell the difference.

16) Fast & Furious 9

Remember when we all laughed at the Fast & Furious franchise's increasingly ridiculous stunts? Remember when we said "what will they do next, go to space!?" Here's the thing: Dumb-as-a-doornail Vin Diesel has the internet. What he doesn't have is a sense of irony. He didn't know we were kidding!!! He thought we wanted the film to go to space! So that's what he made happen! We did this! We only have ourselves to blame, so let's be clear: We DON*T want any more Fast & Furious movies. We don't want more stupid characters stuffed into the same film, regardless of whether they're dead or alive, OR have any function in the plot. We don't want any more freakin' family dinners where everyone pretends Paul Walker is still alive. And we DON*T want more Vin. You got that?

15) The Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad was a flawed but fascinating mess of a film. The Suicide Squad removed everything that worked on that film and added..... a "the". This is what happens when the internet #MeToos a decent guy like James Gunn. He runs off and ruins another franchise with his increasingly unwelcomed trademarked shenanigans.

14) Army of Thieves & Army of the Dead

Bit of a cheat on this one, but I couldn't decide which was worse, Zack Snyder's bloated zombie heist movie or the obnoxiously chirpy spinoff prequel focusing on the most punchable character from the original film. To be fair, Snyder seems like a sweet guy, and we know he can put an effective film together. This, however, isn't it. And don't get me started on the fact that the entire Army of Thieves plot is built on the fact that neither Snyder or director/star Matthias Schweighöferloferlafer knows there's a difference between a bank-vault and a safe.

13) Beckett

I'm not sure what happened on Beckett. Dull story, dull movie, dull lead. Seriously, John David Washington looks like he's never acted before. Watch Three Days of the Condor (1975) instead. That's what this movie is reaching for.

12) Monster Hunter

Paul W.S. Anderson, what were you thinking? You can obviously still drum up a decent budget. You got that leading lady who hasn't lost a step and will always takes your call. And we have very low expectations, regarding the intellectual level of your next project. And you still manage to disappoint?! There's no story! Was there even a script? Be honest, did you just have the title? Seriously, don't make another videogame adaptation again. What about Four Musketeers? Yeah, make that!

11) Infinite

Hey Mark? You know what your recent movies are? An unfunky bunch. Now stop phoning it in! Get your head the game! Don't be so freakin' bland!

10) Die in a Gunfight

Cool, modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet with the breathtakingly beautiful Alexandra Daddario and some serviceable, nondescript dude? I'm in! Die in a Gunfight certainly has style, but that's about all it has. It fails to make anything else work, but what's especially problematic is that it never sells the core love story. That's kind of an essential part of the whole Romeo & Juliet thing, don't ya know.

9) The Ice Road

I had high hopes for this ice-based action flick. It starts off well, but then veers off the road and ends up plowing through a school full of children, some pregnant ladies and a bunch of nuns. As it gets dumber and dumber, and more and more frustrating, you'll find yourself wishing Liam Neeson from Taken would show up and stop this Liam Neeson by ripping his still-beating heart out of his chest and eating it. Watch The Grey instead.

8) Bad Boys for Life

This garbled, witless mess of a film came at least 15 years too late. Martin Lawrence has all but disappeared from our screens and our minds, and Will Smith has gone from cool playar to uncle-you-wished-they-wouldn't-invite-because-you-just-can't-today. We didn't want the bad boys to come back, we didn't need them to come back, and they didn't have much to come back with. Let's get Lawrence back to bed and call Jada to come pick up Smith.

7) Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City

It's ironic that you watch a zombie film and then begin to wonder if everyone who made it is braindead! The Resident Evil franchise was in dire need of a reboot, but this limp, uninspired attempt won't do. The characters are dull, there's nothing scary in the film at all, and the story is virtually non-existing. Paul Anderson, come back! I didn't mean any of those things I said!

6) Chaos Walking

This should not have been made, for one reason: The core concept of this story is perfect for a book, but when it's translated from the page to the screen it simply does NOT work. We're in a world where everyone can hear men's thoughts, and then a woman shows up and no one can hear her.... Right, you can imagine how that would work on the page, but you can't imagine how profoundly obnoxious this concept is when brought to life on film. There's a host of other problem with the film too, but it's the fundamental flaw in the core concept that brings it to its knees. Even the presence of Daisy Ridley couldn't make me watch this again.

5) The Green Knight

I fully admit, I should simply bow to this film, excuse myself and be content with the fact that it wasn't for me. But where's the fun in that? Instead I'll say this: I absolutely fucking hated everything about the film. I know, I know, it's art! It's symbolisme! It's oh so clever, and when you sit on that trendy café with all your douchebag friends you can all agree that it's brilliant and the fact that you can't explain any of it is brilliant too. YOU can agree on that. I don't have to. This is pretentious douchebaggery of the cuntish order, masquerading as art. I'm not fooled. I see through it like a pair of non-prescription glasses. David Lowery goes on the Avoid-At-All-Cost-Director-List.

4) Cosmic Sin

Bruce Willis made the bottom of the list last year, and sure enough here he is again. Willis has made almost 20 of these shit-tastic direct-to-video movies in recent years and he has another 10 or so lined up. I saw 2 of them in 2021, and the only reason you won't find the other one here is that at least it tried. This one may have tried too, but the problem is, I have no idea what it tried. All I know is that it succeeded only in looking like a cheap, incompetent amateur production. The man formerly known as John McClane has officially flushed his career into the toilet. I don't know why or when he stopped caring. I do know when I stopped caring. I can't imagine queuing up another Willis film anytime soon. At least that means he won't make the bottom list next year.

3) Black Friday

Wow, this one pissed me off. I was hoping for a fun little indie horror film, worthy of having Bruce Campbell in the cast. Instead I got a cheap looking, charmless, disrespectful piece of shit amateur movie with no coherent story.

2) Titane

Yes, yes, we got the press releases from Cannes. This was supposed to be THE most shocking and daring film of the year. I'm assuming the velvet ropes have insulated that particular crowd from truly shocking and daring film, so they think this movie qualifies. Sure, there's an unexplained sex scene with a car. There's some body horror stuff with insistently unattractive lead Agathe Rousselle, including many unwanted closeups of leaking orifices, but aside from that the only truly shocking thing is how trivial the core story is, when you get past all the aggressively disgusting nonsense.

1) Malignant

I almost knew it the moment I had finished this film. Surely no other film of the year could be so laughably inept, this HAD to reach the no. 1 spot on the "worst of" list. And sure enough. Here it is. The movie starts bad - completely unscary and really badly written - then it takes a turn for the worse, and the finale is so ludicrously bad you'll wonder if this was meant to be a satire all along. I wish the filmmakers were that clever, but everything else in Malignant indicates that they're not.

WRAP-UP

Phew, well, we made it through THAT list. Now on to the more fun stuff: The BEST films of 2021. Stay tuned....