There were a lot of great movies in 2016. There were! Please don’t let this list convince you otherwise. The movies were absolutely wonderful this year. Just not these specific movies. These were bad. So, so, so bad. Just awful.
The Girl on the Train
The trend of more adult-oriented films commanding the box office continued this week with the success of The Accountant, which effortlessly snagged the number one spot. But like The Girl on the Train and The Magnificent Seven before it, Ben Affleck’s latest was strong without being enormous, meaning that word of mouth in the weeks ahead will prove vital to it being a proper hit.
Six months ago, this looked like a very different weekend at the box office. While the strong start for The Girl on the Train isn’t surprising, the weak opening for The Birth of a Nation reflects how the film, once seen as a surefire Oscar-contender, has been affected by a series of real world controversies. There’s an alternate timeline out there where it’s a sizable hit. Instead, the adaptation of a popular mystery novel starring Emily Blunt gets its picture at the top of this article.
In the decade-plus that’s passed since the series ended, it’s become increasingly clear that Lisa Kudrow was the best actor on Friends. Maybe we were too preoccupied with Rachel’s hair and perfecting our Joey impressions to notice it then, but thanks to the generous gift of hindsight, it seems glaringly obvious now. Despite David Schwimmer’s excellent Juice-fueled turn on The People v. O.J. Simpson, and Jennifer Aniston’s typically solid and, sure, occasionally good roles, it’s Kudrow who has proven herself as the most consistently great actor of the bunch. Why, then, has Hollywood been neglecting her so much in recent years? Why are films like Neighbors and The Girl on the Train wasting her on nothing, throwaway roles with a maximum screen time of three minutes?
A year before Paula Hawkins’ debut novel hit the stands, Universal secured the rights to what was sure to be the next ‘Gone Girl’ — a mystery thriller about three women and the disappearance that ties them together. Sure enough, ‘The Girl on the Train’ became a bestseller, and the film adaptation, which stars Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson and Justin Theroux, hits theaters this weekend. As is typically the case, there are some notable differences between the book and film, but just how many changes were made from page to screen?
It’s no wonder Paul Hawkins’ debut novel, The Girl on the Train, novel was quickly pegged “the next Gone Girl,” and that DreamWorks scooped up the rights a year before the novel hit shelves. It’s a murder mystery told by an unreliable narrator full of twists, sex and violence. It has all the makings of a hit. But here’s a hot take: despite topping the bestseller list, Hawkins’ book isn’t good. Piggy backing on the hype of Gillian Flynn’s work, the novel uses a gimmicky narrative structure to glorify melodrama and violence. That could’ve been salvaged as a high-intensity thriller that indulged in the trashy source material, but director Tate Taylor’s (The Help) adaptation falls ill to the same shortcomings of the novel, resulting in a sluggish mess of self-seriousness.
You may not know Haley Bennett’s name yet, but by the end of the fall movie season you’ll certainly recognize her. The 28-year-old actress, who’s appeared in ‘Hardcore Henry’ and ‘The Equalizer,’ has been acting for almost a decade, but its her trio of upcoming films this year that are bound to put her on your radar.
Y’know those back to school ads for Staples? The ones that repurpose the Christmas standard “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” to celebrate children going back class? I always hated those ads as a kid. Going back to school was not a time to celebrate. It was a time for grief and mourning.
We’re so close, guys. So close to the end of summer movie season and the start of the fall, when the weather cools down and the movies start to get interesting again. I don’t know that The Girl on the Train is going to be an awards contender, but it certainly looks like a juicy thriller.
When we talk about a “trend” in Hollywood, what we’re really talking about is someone having a good idea and then a lot of people copying it. When the trailer for The Social Network arrived with a haunting choral version of Radiohead’s “Creep,” it...