I have not seen every movie released in 2017, so if there seems to be a glaring omissions of worst movies of the year candidates, it is most likely that I did not see all of the worst movies. Certainly, having Sundance in January saves me from a lot of January’s worst movies. Occasionally there is a film that everyone else hates but I love, so if you see something missing from the worst movies list, look for a review. Maybe it’s one of the lucky ones, but I can save you some time with some of the common worst movies. I missed Fist Fight, The House, Daddy’s Home 2, The Bye Bye Man, Before I Fall and Phoenix Forgotten.
17. The Hero – Sam Elliott is great. No disrespect to Sam Elliott. But this movie can’t commit to any of the work Elliott devotes to the character of an aging western star who can’t keep up with Hollywood.
16. Friend Request – Would make a great double feature with Ghost in the Machine. The theme is: technological horror films that don’t actually understand the technology on which they’re based.
15. The Book of Henry – My greatest regret of 2017 is that I did not title my review “The Book of Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer.”
14. Goodbye Christopher Robin – Here’s one movie that might no longer exist now that Disney owns 20th Century Fox. They might not like a tell-all about the dark side of the creator of Winnie the Pooh. Someone should still make a good movie about A.A. Milne though.
13. Alien: Covenant – I went with Prometheus. A prequel wouldn’t be my preference, but it was different enough and had that killer surgery scene. Covenant is everything wrong with prequels: explaining things that don’t need explanations, and blatantly aping the superior entries in the franchise.
12. Mark Felt – The same year that The Post gave me hope about the media exposing corruption, the movie about the actual Deep Throat was so boring, it couldn’t even qualify as an HBO movie.
11. T2: Trainspotting – It’s not like I had high hopes for a Trainspotting 2. It was something Danny Boyle talked about for so long it seemed like maybe the actors just did it to shut him up. I certainly did not expect the sequel to the most vivacious, groundbreaking post-Pulp Fiction movie of the ‘90s to be dry and boring, even though that was the point.
10. Rings – It shouldn’t be this hard to make a Ring movie. Just have people try to pass on the tape, or video file now, and have Samara crawl out when they don’t find a recipient in time. DO NOT, under any circumstances, have yet another protagonist investigate the disappearance of the actual Samara yet again.
9. A Cure for Wellness – I really wanted to go with Gore Verbinski’s weird passion, but he lost me with a protagonist who makes everything harder for himself, yet cannot figure out the twist I called 30 minutes in.
8. Unforgettable – This wannabe thriller makes Sliver look like Basic Instinct. It just has no personality, with TRL music that’ll be dated by next week and Katherine Heigl delivering all her lines in monotone. They throw in three sex scenes but none of the panache that made ’90s thrillers awesome. At least Ray Liotta can still claim he made the good Unforgettable.
7. Catfight – “Satire” that tells you what it’s satirizing the entire time. Social farce that’s proud of itself for exploiting taboos. It’s a shame because I really give Anne Heche and Sandra Oh credit for doing a real knock down drag out They Live style fight, but that’s a misdirect. The film is about an absurd war, art scene and the media. It’s more The Brink than Dr Strangelove.
6. Big Bear – Unfunny bachelor party comedy with five unfunny dude bros. So I guess it is sort of like the indie equivalent of a bad studio comedy, but at least none of them sexually assaulted anyone in real life, that we know of. Unlike…
5. I Love You, Daddy – No one outside the industry is currently able to see this since a few thousand did at the Toronto Film Festival. The Orchard cancelled the release after Louis C.K. admitted to masturbating in front of women. Even if his scandal hadn’t come out, his movie would be problematic. It’s clearly filtered through a man’s perspective about how hard it is dealing with women and their independence and feminism. I can’t imagine a climate in which this ever would have been entertaining. At best it’s just sad, but now it’s sinister.
4. Wonder Wheel – Woody Allen’s worst movie. Ever.
3. Bitch – A female writer/director wrote a movie in which she plays a suburban mother who turns into a dog, naked, barking and covered in feces. Man oh man, is it a commentary on society, but self-hating misogyny isn’t even the most insensitive movie of the year.
2. Pitch Perfect 3 – Honestly this is worse than Bitch because this is a studio movie selling it to girls, not an indie auteur making herself a naked dog covered in shit that no one will see. But even this is not the most insensitive movie of the year.
1. The Assignment – What could have been a landmark action movie with a trans hero is a disaster of blatant exposition and high school drama club fake beards. You’ll never unsee the pre-op Michelle Rodriguez as a full frontal man. Seems more like exploitation than badass progressiveness. Gotta give Michelle Rodriguez credit for really playing it as a man but you can see how her gender fluid intentions fell into the wrong hands. It’s also a boring exposition dump of a movie where people explain things because there’s no budget for any action. Rodriguez walking around shooting people in brief spurts is not style, and Walter Hill should know this.