0. Garm Wars: The Last Druid – It’s pretty crazy to forget a worst movie of the year when the only thing you’re any good at is seeing them. But to forget the absolute worst is something else entirely.
I’d like to say that my mind was protecting me from the trauma or something cliche like that, but it’s not true. I just didn’t write it down, I guess, even though that’s sort of unbelievable considering how much more fun this would be to write down than any other movie title of 2015.
Garm Wars is obviously terrible, as such a title suggests. Without any intention of not being terrible. It doesn’t even make enough sense to talk about. It’s not like I don’t want to. But I don’t even really know what happened. And neither will you. Mostly though in your case, because you will never see it.
Reason to watch it anyway: Garms! I mean, probably. You sort of have to take their word for it.
1. Beyond The Reach – See, the desert is very dangerous. Like, if you take somebody’s socks away from them, that’s pretty much a death sentence. But just in case, you should maybe sit in your car and watch.
It isn’t all that’s wrong, so totally completely wrong (but not in that fun way you might be thinking of) about Beyond The Reach. But it might be the easiest to translate. Michael Douglas sits in a car and watches the guy he wants to kill try and make it out of the desert alive. Michael Douglas has a gun. Like definitely. He’s used it already. It’s kind of why he’s in the desert, for hunting. With a rifle. Made for long range shootings. But, you know, that’s not how you kill someone and get away with it. You go out to the desert with them, frame them for a murder no one will believe they committed, take their socks and watch your brilliant plan play out from the comfort of an SUV.
What this plans lacks in viability however, it more than makes up for in uncinematicness. Because who doesn’t want to watch someone watch someone else run across a desert.
And when all that excitement is over, there’s a unbelievably stupid ending that doesn’t even bother to tell you what happens because what this movie needs is more nothing.
Reason to watch it anyway: Michael Douglas does a Wall-E impression. For no reason. And oh boy does it go on for a really long time.
2. Charlie, Trevor And A Girl Savannah – The newest movie theater in Hollywood is a converted playhouse with one screen. It feels a little like a small school auditorium that isn’t usually used to show movies, but got a donation specifically for that purpose and so had to do what it could. It shows three or four movies a day, once each, and they are almost always things you have never heard of existing and will never hear of again. But I was parked nearby, where parking is not plentiful nor easy, and the movie was starting soon and this theater takes MoviePass. So I went.
I don’t say these things to explain away seeing a terrible movie that, had I known anything about it beforehand, I would have known was terrible and should have therefore avoided. Of course not. You see that is not something I do. I might even do the opposite. I mention it because I only went to that theater once in 2015 and I feel as though maybe if I’d gone more often this entire list would be full of all the movies I saw there and maybe Charlie, Trevor And A Girl Savannah wouldn’t even be as bad as all of those.
But having seen Charlie, Trevor And A Girl Savannah, I feel safe in saying that would never be the case.
Reason to watch it anyway: The director, who also plays Charlie, who is definitely the third lead, the supporting actor, despite the placement of his character’s name in the title, is Larry Beale from Even Stevens. And Larry Beale from Even Stevens was a pretty great Disney Channel villain, as such things go. This does not translate into anything being better about this movie though. Still, seeing Larry again was a nice surprise. Moreso even than seeing Eric Roberts and Emily Meade, two people who have been great in terrible things before, but I guess you can’t expect people to keep doing that all the time.
3. Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus – I probably need to tell you, I really like Spike Lee.
His other 2015 production, Chi-raq, which came out just months after Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus, is not a good movie, but there are some great things in it. And if nothing else, I can always find those great things in his movies.
But they never showed up in Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus. There’s all the regular bad though. Terrible acting, weird plot set ups, repetition of ideas that were never subtle… Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus has so many of them all. And maybe worst of all it looks dreary and stagnant, which has never happened in a Spike Lee movie.
Plus, it is a vampire movie! Sort of. I mean, it can’t even commit to that.
Reason to watch it anyway: There isn’t much. Maybe you like Martha’s Vineyard but it has always seemed too white for you?
4. Everly – The definition of insanity is performing the same action over and over and expecting different results. So what then does it mean to watch the same action over and over and expect different results?
Everly has one idea: to shoot a whole action movie in one hotel room. And it does that. At the expense of trying every last nerve you have keeping the title character in that room. It will defy every bit of logic you have. Which makes it sound like it is trying a lot of different things, but no. Mostly it is just people coming over to kill her and being thwarted by the same things. Either someone off screen shooting them in the back or Everly dispatching them effectively by accident. Because see, Everly doesn’t know how to use a gun, she just picks them up briefly and they go off and kill everyone and then she drops it with squeak. Because she’s a girl you see, and girls can‘t use guns! Unless they are ironic super killers because then that’s totally surprising, because girls can’t use guns, silly!
Reason to watch it anyway: Girls use guns! That’s crazy! Where else can you see such a thing!
5. Faith Of Our Fathers – Christian movies have an obvious problem. They only exist to get their message across, that’s where the money comes to make them and to promote them. It’s odd, seeing as how most of the money paid to see them is from people who do not need this message told to them. They must just appreciate it simply being said. But of course, more often than not, that message is the only thing the movie is concerned with accomplishing.
That Faith Of Our Fathers is one of these movies (there were plenty of them this year, and more to come) is not a surprise. And it isn’t enough to make it one of the worst movies of the year. But since the plot involves two guys on a car trip (one a believer, one not, obviously) as well as their fathers’ letters to each other which treads all of the same exact ground, it becomes all that the movie is. There isn’t any room for anything else. Sure, the non-believer guy gets them into some trouble and acts all crazy-like because how could he not without Jesus, and the believer guy has to stand up to his nagging soon-to-be wife even though she’s pretty much always in the right to be complaining about him disappearing right before their wedding. But these things are barely there, even for a movie that isn’t interested in such superfluous luxuries as character and plot to begin with.
Reason to watch it anyway: Stephen Baldwin is their fathers’ commanding officer who is somehow still alive and way younger than anyone who was in Vietnam could be. It feels weird even saying this, but he’s kind of good in it.
6. This Is Happening – Another road trip movie!
This is one is a brother and sister having terribly expository discussions while they look for their grandmother who has run off. And you’ll never guess who plays the unruly grandmother… oh, you got it already? Weird.
It definitely fancies itself a comedy, but there aren’t really any jokes in This Is Happening, just quirky things characters do for no discernable reason except for there to be a movie. Which is debatable.
Reason to watch it anyway: Mickey Sumner is OK as the sister. Better than everyone else anyway. Unless you’re into Cloris Leachman doing the same things she’s been doing for twenty years, only doing it in a much less nuanced way.
7. Agent 47 – This one was pretty much guaranteed a spot here from the interrogation scene the trailer is built around alone. Why is Agent 47 facing away from the observation glass? Why did that smug cop who looks like a math teacher even bring the rifle in there? And why is it pointed at the suspect? And why is it loaded? These are the sorts of questions you can ask yourself forever after Agent 47. After just the trailer!
But then there was another trailer that spoiled the only thing that could be considered in any way interesting about Agent 47, though that is using the term very loosely.
Reason to watch it anyway: You are a Hitman saga completist and what are you going to do? Spend thousands on therapy to cure yourself of that or just assume there won’t be anymore after this because how could there be oh my God it made money somehow? Sorry, you may be in trouble.
8. Beauty And The Bestie – It’s not a terribly impressive record, but this will probably wind up being the highest grossing movie in Phillipenes history. Its star, Vice Ganda, has done this four times before, all in the last five years, so it wouldn’t even be a surprise. Unless, you know, you saw any of them.
We complain a lot about the stupidity of America, especially its comedy. How it’s dumbed down and playing to the lowest common denominator and all that. But there has never been anything quite like this made on American soil. And maybe not just because of how low the comedy is.
Because it isn’t necessarily devoid of ideas. Nor is it predicated on a terribly flawed one, the way a lot of bad movie can be. Said star Vice Ganda even seems like he can act. At least as much as such a movie might demand of him to.
But that is how poorly made Beauty And The Bestie is. There is sped up action that isn’t even action. There are weird meta jokes that seem to be exclusively for the crew. Action scenes that are worse than watching two six year olds pretend to shoot at each other. And there are extended sequences where squeaky sound effects keep happening for no apparent reason. Like it can go on for minutes. And of course, at the center of it all is the main character, a transgender salon employee, who no one can resist calling ugly at any opportunity.
It’s not even that it is offensive, though I suppose it certainly could be. But that isn’t really the problem. It’s just an ingrained ineptitude that envelopes everything. It’s the most poorly made movie on this list, which really only speaks to how bad everything else is about anything preceding it.
Reason to watch it anyway: It’s a very odd portrayal of a transgender character. At first, it seems as though no one will even mention it, that it might just be a dream movie that exists fifty years before it possibly could. A comedy with a protagonist who is transgender, but that isn’t the point of the movie, that’s just who the character is. And in the end, it might even try to return to that ideal. But in between, watch out.
9. The Last Five Years – I didn’t remember that this was what it was called, but I saw this play in Minneapolis a few years ago and hated it then too. It’s a cloying attempt to infuse a modern mumblecore type story with musical tropes both sincere and ironic. But the songs are mumblecored too, they never approach any sort of grandiose staging the way the musicals it is trying to emulate/foil and it has no aspirations to do so.
The thing about the production I saw in Minneapolis though, is the guy wasn’t quite as terrible an actor. The character was still too much of an asshole stand in for the writer for anyone to really come off as anything less than insipid, but at least the guy I saw could do that. The actor in this has no hope. What’s weirder still is he didn’t seem to be so much of a great singer that you could see someone trading off acting ability for it. And to make this even worse, maybe as worse as it could possibly be, he has to do all of it opposite Anna Kendrick, which besides obviously being great at both acting and singing, makes the character he is barely playing seem like an impossibly larger asshole. If you could find it in yourself to care about any of that, that is, which will probably be difficult.
Reason to watch it anyway: Anna Kendrick is a reason to watch anything and she sings a lot in this. She alone should be enough to make it not one of the worst movies of the year, really. THAT’S HOW BAD THIS GUY IS!!!
10. The Gallows – It’s deflating enough at this point when anything turns out to be a found footage movie. But The Gallows is not content in simply deflating your hopes, even if you didn’t have any to begin with. It wants to stomp those hopes down into the ground, in tiny pieces that will never rise again. Because The Gallows has put its framing device into the hands of the most annoying character 2015 has to offer. He will never stop talking and it will never not be annoying. They might as well have played a loop of feedback.
Not that the people actually on screen are so much better. It may be obvious what their characters are supposed to be but it isn’t always easy to make out because nobody seems to know how to act any of these obvious things.
And none of this touches on the story. It’s not complicated, of course, nor would you want it to be, so that isn’t a failing on its own. And never mind that the title refers to an actual gallows built on a high school stage because of course when twenty years ago somebody died on a gallows putting on this same weird play, the school would ever even consider putting it on again. That’s not it either. It’s that the daughter of the guy who died in that original production wants revenge by playing the lead in the same play and killing some people who have randomly showed up the night before to ruin the theater and cancel it. Which means her original plan was just to be in the same play and someone would die again? I guess maybe it’s more complicated than I thought.
Reason to watch it anyway: Kathie Lee Gifford’s daughter is in it? Actually, she isn’t the worst thing about The Gallows. She might even be the best thing about The Gallows. So maybe that shouldn’t be a question mark? Nope, it definitely should.
Stonewall – I bet you had no idea the Stonewall riots were caused by a lover’s spat.
The Loft – This movie really believes it’s got one heck of a twist in store for you. Which it does, in that it tricked you into you watching it.
Beyond The Mask – A Christian superhero movie set during the Revolutionary War. And that’s making it sound like it makes any sense.
(The Ridiculous 6) – This is where The Ridiculous 6 would go if it had been released in a theater, which it wasn’t, so rejoice. It may not seem like it now, but this was a victory for all mankind.
Vice – Thomas Jane does his very best to get Bruce Willis to look up from the tablet with all his lines on it. (It doesn’t work.)
Point Break – Congratulations on getting the world to not notice a major Christmas Day release. Because we should really all be talking about this for most of 2016.