Hollywood peddles movies like a chef flings noodles at the wall. Does it stick? If so, perfecto. If it splats on the floor, well, movie moguls have enough dough to try again. The one thing audiences can be certain of is that each year, Hollywood is guaranteed to serve up a few dozen bowls of badly cooked noodles, films guaranteed to cause indigestion. So before Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony honors the best movies of the year, Westword is joining the chorus of grumbling as we bemoan the seven worst movies of 2013. See also: Three bad movies that deserve to win a Golden Raspberry
7) Smurfs 2
The original Smurfs were charming; they were trippy; they lived on mushrooms and spent their days singing "La-la, la-la-la-la," while the diabolical wizard Gargamel and his wicked cat Azreal conspired to boil them. All was smurf-tastic, until Sony Pictures made Smurfs 2 and smurfed it up with 3D animation and live actors who drain all joy from the franchise. They hired Neil Patrick Harris (you know, Doogie Howser, MD) to play a smurf-sympathizing, do-gooder dad, so saccharine any sane person would ditch the family, hop in a time machine, go back to the '80s and drink toxic gimlets at old Gargamel's pad. Ah, remember the days? Back then people were people, cartoons were cartoons, Doogie Howser was Doogie Howser, and Gargamel wasn't a live-action, antisemitic stereotype.
6) The Last Stand
After Arnold Schwarzenegger quit governing California, he should have whizzed away like a pin-pricked, inflatable sex doll destined to float limply in the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, he returned to Hollywood to make movies. In The Last Stand , he plays a traumatized, jingoistic cop who overcomes stiff muscles to bust a Mexican drug lord -- who is, incidentally, much sexier than the recently detained El Chapo. The next time Arnie threatens to lumber around on the big screen, let's flex our muscles and shout out, "Oh, what? You think you'll be back? See ya later, Terminator." Continue reading to see the rest of the worst movies of 2013.
5) Before Midnight
The first two films in Richard Linklater's Before trilogy, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, are legitimately romantic: The first film is about love at first sight, and the second is about a budding affair. Both deliver. In the trilogy's third film, Before Midnight, the lovers, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, are older and they have fallen out of love. They bicker and bicker and bicker. They whine; they chastise each other; they talk about breaking up, but unfortunately, they do not. If Linklater makes part 4, we can only hope he takes a cue from Lars Von Trier's Melancholia and hurls another planet smack-dab into Earth; it is the only fate these whiny characters deserve.
4) After Earth
A lot of fathers and sons bond over a quaint game of catch, a construction project or a fishing trip. What makes lousy throws, hammer-smashed thumbs and empty fishing nets tolerable is that neither party pretends to be pro. Unfortunately, when Will Smith chose to star in After Earth, with his son Jayden, it was no home video. It was a $130,000,000 father-son bonding catastrophe foisted on the movie-loving public, which had to bear with Jayden's crinkled brow and Will's unbearable looks of suffering. The narrative is trite: "If you don't make it, we will die." "Who cares if you do?" the audience says to the screen. Sure, it's great that Will Smith loves his son, but are there not cheaper, less public ways to prove it?
Shane Salerno, the stalker who made the documentary Salinger, interviewed 150 alleged friends and fans of reclusive author J.D. Salinger. Most talk about how all he wanted in life was to be left alone to write and how he resented people nosing into his life. On top of the documentary's absolute lack of respect for Salinger's dignity and privacy, the film is one hour too long; how could it not be with 150 talking heads and repetitive reenactments of Salinger writing in front of a slide show? Reread Catcher in the Rye; avoid this film. Continue reading to see the rest of the worst movies of 2013.
2) Oz the Great and Powerful
You think Dorothy wanted to go home in The Wizard of Oz? Try sitting through Oz the Great and Powerful at a theater. You'll be digging in your bag for some ruby red slippers and clicking your heels till they bleed. The film's colors are garish, the set-up is slower than the 1939 classic (and that's saying something), and the wizard is an entirely unsympathetic character. The best thing that came out of Oz the Great and Powerful is Temple Run: Oz, an endless runner game for smart-phones, tablets and more. When the merchandise is better than the movie, something's rotten in Oz.
1) The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger was just as racist and boring as most audiences thought it would be when they first saw the previews and opted not to go. Disney needs to leave American Indians alone (Pocahontas, please!). Johnny Depp pulls out the usual quirks from his moldy bag of tricks; Tonto might as well be renamed Willy Wonka Jack Sparrow Edward Scissorhands Junior. In a wacky revisionist take on history, the movie manages to pit greedy miners against a strange union of Indians and settlers, skirting around the actual history of the Wild West: genocide.
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