Wednesday, January 7, 2015
The Ten Worst Films of 2014
The ten worst feature films of 2014:
10.) "Le Chef" - The one genuinely unappetizing offering in a summer of pretty good food porn, this puerile and predictable French comedy featured endless wearying arguments, offensively underdeveloped roles for women, a detour into molecular gastronomy that was obsolete before it began, and a jaw-droppingly retrograde geisha sketch.
9.) "Unbroken" - Angelina Jolie's misguided Oscar bid, with a recipe calling for a hundred pounds of suffering per ounce of redemption. This is not why I go to the movies: to be made to turn away from the screen and cringe time after time by a director intent on flogging me into submission.
8.) "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks" - A pablum-puking piece of politically correct piffle, with a Razzie-worthy lead performance by the loathsome Cheyenne Jackson, who dances, prances and bares his teeth through this two-hour torture-fest with all the subtlety of a dinner theater trouper in Des Moines.
7.) "The Interview" - Strip away the hacking and e-mail scandals and what is the paying viewer left with? A thuddingly unfunny and defiantly artless movie that seems to go on for twice its actual two-hour length. With its bizarre emphases on scatology and homophilia, it looks like it was slapped together on the cheap and shot over a single weekend with no retakes.
6.) "At Middleton" - As parents who meet-cute on their kids' college campus tour, Vera Farmiga and Andy Garcia engage in so many random acts of manufactured whimsy - pilfering arbitrarily unlocked bicycles, taking bong hits in a dorm room, performing an improvised dramatic scene before an acting class - I stopped keeping count. Every line of dialogue is false to its core.
5.) "Hector and the Search for Happiness" - This sophistic saga of one milquetoast man's midlife crisis fills a gaping cinematic lacuna for those who found "Eat Pray Love" just a bit too intellectually challenging. Simon Pegg's vaguely defined yet interminable world tour to study happiness produces enough sententious claptrap and fortune-cookie philosophy to choke on its own vapid profundity.
4.) "Wish I Was Here" - An exercise in unmitigated self-indulgence that firmly establishes Zach Braff as a poor man's Ray Romano. Each scene in this kitchen-sink cholent of a movie ends with a pan to Braff's repellent mug, giving himself the last word and stretching the runtime to an ungodly two hours. Here is a true shonda for the neighbors.
3.) "A Walk Among the Tombstones" - One of the most degrading and dehumanizing major studio movies in recent memory, it wallows in violence against women, putting its victims through the wringer, feigning sympathy, then turning to us for approbation. As for star Liam Neeson, this once important actor has now abandoned any pretense of a quality control filter to chase paychecks from whatever tawdry and trashy rathole they are dangled.
2.) "Calvary" - As black-hearted as any movie this year, aiming to score cheap points with bilious misanthropy and knee-jerk nihilism. Brendan Gleeson plays the priest of an Irish community whose congregants treat him more shabbily - more cruelly, really - than anyone I know would behave toward a man of the cloth. Writer-director John Michael McDonagh leaves no stone unturned in his quest for unremitting bleakness, making "Calvary" a depressing, headache-inducing geek show staged by a man who's clearly lost his way.
1.) "A Million Ways to Die in the West" - In selecting the single worst movie of 2014, I asked myself, of all 25 one-star pictures I saw, which would I least like to sit through a second time? The answer was obvious: the ghastly Western spoof "A Million Ways to Die in the West," two long hours without a single laugh, a single chuckle, even a single smile. Two long hours of silent, open-mouthed, slack-jawed stupefaction at the idea that someone, somewhere thought this would be funny. For the paying audience, a bottomless bowl of insult and degradation.