The Worst Movies of 2015
It was a great year for movies. One of the best in recent memory, in fact, with enough outstanding films to fill three or four top ten lists. But the good in any artistic medium will always be outweighed by the bad, and even as it seems like the number of potential classics grows every year, the number of certified stinkers grows as well. Exponentially; there’s enough cinematic turd burgers from the last twelve months to fill seven or eight top ten lists.
The staff of ScreenCrush restricted themselves to just one, though arriving on the final, terrible ten was not easy, with each of our editors campaigning ferociously for the films that provided them with the most deep hurting.
Without further ado, here they are, presented in alphabetical order, the worst movies of 2015.
Directed by Cameron Crowe
There’s still a good movie left in Cameron Crowe, I know it, but Aloha is not it. Crowe, who has struggled to find his footing since 2000’s Almost Famous, swings for the fences again with this story that harks back to many of his former classics. Stop me if you’ve heard this one: a lovable regular guy messes up and redeems himself with the help of a beautiful young woman. Yes, it’s Jerry Maguire. And Elizabethtown. And We Bought a Zoo. And now it’s Aloha. Except it’s not just your ordinary romantic dramedy. There’s a convoluted subplot about Hawaiian traditions, military installations, a tech billionaire who wants to take over the world (played by Bill Murray), hackers, satellites, launch codes and…what is this movie even about anyway and why is it so complicated? Aloha? Oy.
— Mike Sampson
Directed by Neill Blomkamp
Some of the best movies about artificial intelligence offer a bold look at the future and a realistic take on humanity. Neil Blomkamp’s Chappie does neither, getting lost in an excess of silliness. In the film, a police robot is programmed with the ability to think and feel (okay, not so bad). But then Chappie the robot gets kidnapped by gangsters, played by Die Antwoord members Ninja and Yolandi Visser literally playing themselves. Things get dreadful once the two self-obsessed rappers (they wear T-shirts with their faces on them) train Chappie to be a gangster with guns, tattoos and gold chains. “If you want to be in the gang you have to be cool like daddy,” is a real line in this movie. Not even Hugh Jackman and Sigourney Weaver can salvage it with their forgettable supporting roles. If mankind’s last hope is (spoiler alert) Yolandi Visser getting turned into an AI robot, we’re all screwed.
— Erin Whitney
Directed by Thomas McCarthy
After the clip above, Adam Sandler’s Max Simkin, a New York cobbler with a magic stitching machine that allows him to physically transform into anyone whose shoes he wears, becomes his dad (Dustin Hoffman) and fulfill’s his elderly mother’s wish to have one more dinner with her late husband. In other words, The Cobbler is a movie in which Adam Sandler romances his own mother — and which finds this gesture in no way creepy or weird. This is about as logical as the movie gets too, which is somehow both saccharine sweet and casually racist, and builds to one of the wackiest endings in recent movie history. (No, seriously; it’s crazy.) Director Thomas McCarthy quickly rebounded from this disaster with the terrific journalistic thriller Spotlight, meaning he released one of the very best and one of the very worst movies of the year. That’s a feat that’s never, to my knowledge, been accomplished before by any other filmmaker. Sometimes, being a pioneer sucks. — Matt Singer
Directed by Josh Trank
Hyperbolic film fans will sometimes joke that a bad movie was so painful it almost killed them. That was literally true for me and Fantastic Four, whose novelty Denny’s menu almost closed my arteries permanently. Sadly, the experience of watching the movie itself was even more painful than gorging on four fattening entrees, a fruit smoothie, and a Doctor Doom Lava Cake. Squint and you’ll see the contours of what director Josh Trank was going for here; a revisionist superhero origin that doesn’t take the genre’s well-worn tropes for granted. But somewhere along the way it all went as wrong as an interdimensional trip to the Negative Zone, producing a dark, dreary tale of a bunch of explorers who sit around in windowless laboratories all day doing science and wearing terrible reshoot wigs. Director Josh Trank became so frustrated that he sent out a tweet blasting his own movie. Anyone who saw this disaster knew exactly how he felt. — MaS
Hitman: Agent 47
Directed by Aleksander Bach
A Hitman sequel just makes sense. The first movie was a huge box-office phenomenon and one of the most critically acclaimed motion pictures in history, and it left satisfied fans all over the globe begging for more adventures featuring the movie’s robotic assassin hero. Oh wait, no, I’m sorry; none of that happened, no one likes the first Hitman movie and there was no reason to make a sequel. They made one anyway, because young male demo, and the result was this slickly produced but dramatically inert bore, with Rupert Friend as Agent 47, an unstoppable killer with more lines tattooed on the back of his neck than lines of dialogue in the script. If there was a compelling reason to turn this video game into a movie, the filmmakers didn’t find it. — MaS
The Last Witch Hunter
Directed by Breck Eisner
I really like fun bad movies and The Last Witch Hunter looks like one of those. Sadly it’s just an eye-numbing mess of visual effects and nonsense. The movie follows a very miscast Vin Diesel as an immortal, centuries-old witch hunter who at one point dons a giant braided beard (not his look). He spends his days capturing bad witches in present day New York City with the help of a secret sect of Catholic priests (huh?). To make matters worse, one of those priests is played Michael Caine and their jobs is to guard the witch prison. Yes, witch prison, two words that come out of Sir Michael Caine’s mouth at one point. Still harboring hope? Too bad because The Last Witch Hunter features some of the year’s worst CGI, a dreams storyline ripping off Inception and lot of things that just make no sense, like cupcakes made out of butterflies.
Directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin
Here’s a good indication that Minions was not a good movie: I brought a three-year-old (seemingly the target audience) to see this in theaters. Halfway through, I, bored out of my mind, leaned over and with all the fake enthusiasm I could muster, asked, “Are you having fun?!” Keep in mind now that this is a child who is occupied for hours by banging loud objects together and making pretend horses talk to each other. “No, this is boring.” This is what a three-year-old said while watching Minions. When you’re boring the most easy to please creatures on the planet, you are doing something very, very wrong. — MiS
Directed by Chris Columbus
It’s easy to look at what went wrong with Pixels and focus on the fact that Kevin James is playing the President of the United States of America, because, let’s face it, that’s really stupid. But, in a movie like Pixels something as stupid as Kevin James playing the President is just a drop in an ocean of stupidity. To be fair, Pixels isn’t as stupid as something like Sandler’s Netflix “comedy” The Ridiculous Six (which sadly was ineligible for this list), but it’s stupidity lies in its laziness. It’s like no one even bothered to come up with jokes or tension or drama of any kind. Sandler, who looks like he just rolled out of bed in most scenes, approaches the role of a video-gamer tasked with saving the world with all the passion of an old man trying to get out of a recliner. If anything, Pixels was good for one thing: it may have been the end of the big-budget Adam Sandler comedy. — MiS
Directed by Sergey Bodrov
The only good thing about Seventh Son is also the worst thing: it’s cast, and how poorly they’re used. The mess of a 3D fantasy movie managed to star this year’s Best Actress Oscar winner (Julianne Moore), 2015’s most talented breakout star (Alicia Vikander), the most talked about actor on TV (Kit Harington), and Jeff Bridges. In Seventh Son, Bridges plays a witch hunter who trains an apprentice to capture evil creatures like warlocks, bear-werewolf hybrids, and Moore’s witch Mother Malkin. The movie squanders Vikander’s talents, reducing her to a damsel in distress (but she fights back and wears pants!), Harington is only in the first eight minutes, and Moore literally turns into a dragon. Though the film was originally slated to open in early 2013, timing wasn’t in the best of the cast’s interest. Luckily it didn’t seem to hurt them as badly as Eddie Redmanye’s Jupiter Ascending role (never forget). — EW
Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein
Legendary movie critic Roger Ebert once wrote of the 1994 Rob Reiner film North, “I hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated, hated, hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.” That about sums up my feelings nicely on Vacation, an abhorrent, toxic mess of a comedy. It’s one thing to not laugh along with a movie, but Vacation is actually like a comedy vacuum; it sucks all the fun and laughs out of the room to the point where it actually made angry. As usual, Ebert put it best. I hated, hated, hated this movie. — MiS