by Jason F. Koenigsberg
Another year of going to the movies has come to a close. Before the long-awaited Best Movies of the year list is completed (trust me, that one takes a lot more thought and effort) let us take a look back at the most innocuous, worthless and wretched films of the year. Whenever people find out that I am a critic and tell me “hey, you’ve got a great job!” I’ll just point them to this list as a small sample of some of the putrid films I have to sit through that they do not unless they choose to of course, but it is my proud job to advise people what to skip. Well here are the films I think everyone should avoid from 2018.
When people came up to me and told me how much they liked Venom, my gut reaction was to ask, “Do you just like anything that has the Marvel label before it?” It is not the worst Marvel movie ever made, but definitely one of the messiest. An overlong first act and then really ugly special effects throughout the second half that made the film seem rushed like it was in a hurry to finish up and that the talented actors Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams were in a hurry to get their fat paychecks and go work on a better movie.
9. 15:17 to Paris
Certainly the oddest film of the legendary Clint Eastwood’s career and in my humble opinion his worst as a director. He has a scene where we sit and watch the three main characters eat gelato for some reason. The gimmick, oh I mean the decision to have the real-life heroes play themselves on screen in their movie reminds everyone how valuable professionally trained actors are. We may not like them as people or complain about them, but even the actors that seem like they sleepwalk through their roles are usually better than these three guys. Clint’s hero worship reached the lowest of lows, so much so that his mediocre film The Mule in theaters now looks like his Oscar winnerMillion Dollar Baby (2004) in comparison to 15:17 to Paris.
8. Hurricane Heist
2018 took a concept that was used before in a 1998 action flick Hard Rain dumped in January during the peak of Titanic‘s reign at the box office and made the twenty-year-old turkey look like an underrated classic that needs to be rediscovered. Ugly special effects and miscast actors only highlighted the weaknesses of this shoddy caper movie.
7. Tomb Raider
This Tomb Raider was more coherent and grounded in reality than it’s predecessor. Unfortunately, it was also a lot less interesting and fun to watch. The day after I saw this picture I barely remembered anything about it. Seventeen years after the Angelina Jolie movie, I still recall some of its wild images. The original may have been inept, but it was memorable and with special effects extravaganzas that can go a long way. Plus no disrespect to the gorgeous and talented Alicia Vikander, but Angelina Jolie embodied the role of Lara Croft in a way that maybe no other actress could have.
6. Hotel Artemis
An interesting concept about a futuristic dystopian Los Angeles that has a hotel which harbors the worst criminals from the police and organized crime if they can pay the steep price for membership. It tried to have a social message about the racial and class divide in our country, but it was wasted on a subpar plot that looked like the director, cinematographer and set designers just wanted to recreate the look of Fight Club (1999) and did not really care about much else. Most surprising is that the usually selective Jodie Foster said yes to this script. Do NOT check in at Hotel Artemis, even for a couple of hours.
5. The Meg
Jason Statham+a Giant Shark=Boring. I would have thought that the equation of Jason Statham+a Giant Shark=Fun. But there was no fun to be found in The Meg. Not even as a guilty pleasure. This movie took itself way too seriously and the script provided no help for anyone involved. There are no shark attacks until the second hour of The Meg. All they do is sit around and talk, and it is boring. A waste of time, talent and a chance for some serious shark carnage. Made me think more fondly of the Renny Harlin flick Deep Blue Sea (1999). That movie was at least aware everyone had seen Jaws (1975) and there was no reason to cut short on the action, it just gave the ticket buying audience what they paid to see.
4. The Predator
This is by far the most disappointing film of 2018. The almost always reliable writer and director Shane Black’s worst film of his career, and this is also the worst Predator film of the series not including the AvP atrocities. Once again it starts with a bad script, the backbone of any decent picture, The Predator felt like it was written by a fifth-grader. The generic acting did not help either, Olvia Munn as the least convincing doctor of biology to work at Johns Hopkins and Boyd Holbrook as one of the most boring and nondescript faces to ever lead an action movie. Everything about The Predator is interminably inept.
What could have and should have been one of the biggest roles of John Travolta’s career not only goes down in history as one of his worst movies but also does an injustice to the infamous John Gotti and fails to capture his power and how prominent he was as a figure of organized crime, New York City and Italian-American culture. From the opening shot with Travolta looking at the New York skyline then turning to the camera as if “oh, I did not see you there” and start talking to the audience, I knew I was in for a long two hours. The shame of it is, two hours is hardly enough to compress his life and legacy and that of his son John Gotti Jr’s into one comprehensible piece. Anyone interested in learning about the life of John Gotti is much better off checking out the 1996 HBO movie Gotti starring Armand Assante or the A&E documentary Gotti: Godfather and Son directed by Richard Stratton that premiered last summer.
2. Bohemian Rhapsody
The most uncomfortable movie of 2018. The message of Bohemian Rhapsody is that Freddie Mercury had it all, talent, fame, money, love, adoration from fans around the world, but because he was gay, he lost it all and died of AIDS. That was how I felt as I walked out of the theater and that disgusting and immoral message still upsets me the more I think about this film. I wish I could erase this movie from my memory, but alas it exists and made hundreds of millions of dollars. The scene that enraged me the most was Freddie Mercury’s house party where the other members of Queen were there WITH THEIR WIVES, very important to make note of that, and they were all not having fun while Freddie flamboyantly carried on and partied hard without a woman by his side. Not to mention all of the historical and factual inaccuracies. Bohemian Rhapsody is a textbook example of everything wrong with the recent trend of biopics. It coasts by on its lead performance by Rami Malek and the fact that it had full freedom with use of the entire Queen catalog at its disposal. Queen’s music is timeless and could make anything sound good as proven here, but on a deeper level, this movie is reprehensible.
1. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
There is one moment in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that was beautiful and heartwrenching. It is where we see our heroes escape on a boat from the island of dinosaurs as it is being destroyed and as the boat pulls away we see a lone brontosaurus standing on the edge of the water. It stands on its hind legs and we see the dinosaur get covered by smoke and fire. We watch it die and that one outstanding shot proved that director J.A. Boyana still has talent left in him and earned this film the half star in my review. Otherwise, I stand by the thrashing I gave this film back when it debuted. It is badly written, badly acted, and unlike even the worst films of this series did not even have one scene or set piece that was memorable. It had one beautiful shot that saved it from my infamous ZERO STAR rating which fortunately no film received this year.
Worst Movies of 2018:
- Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- The Predator
- The Meg
- Hotel Artemis
- Tomb Raider
- Hurricane Heist
- 15:17 to Paris