Worst Films of 2019

This was a top-heavy year for movies, but the bottom of the pond was also teeming with activity,  We saw a whole slew of films that had big stars and enormous budgets, several of which were absolutely atrocious.  I can’t remember seeing so many productions waste so much money and talent.  We’ve talked about the best, now let’s talk about the bombs.

The 10 Worst Films of 2019

Netflix

10.  6 Underground

Just another ride on Michael Bay’s vomit comet.  The action gets cut so fast and furious that I wished for some dramamine and several snorts of laughing gas to get through it.  Ryan Reynolds leads an elite group of privatized secret agents who seek to topple a cruel dictator.  To get this done, everybody deletes their identities and [fijgijqroe;nfv0[vjq’pvekmfdaeavcffg…whoah, my bad.  Fell asleep on the keyboard.  The Deadpool-style one-liners land with a soft thunk.  Bay’s Dutch angles give the viewer an excellent look up an assortment of nostrils.  “To the degree that I do understand, I do not care,” Roger Ebert once observed.  With 6 Underground, I didn’t understand, and I still didn’t care.  

 

Lionsgate

9.  A Madea Family Funeral

Let’s have a moment of silence for the 100 minutes this cinematic root canal took from my life.                                                  [AMEN]  This Madea delivers two bad movies for the price of one:  Roughly 50 minutes of this plot contains a stilted melodrama between a family of beautiful catalog models.  The other 50 minutes belongs to a bevy of belching, billowing, braying blowhards who fill every scene with their formidable stench.  Madea heads up this brigade of cacophonous twits, barking out torrents of gibberish until we’re too exhausted to be offended anymore.  By the end of this thing, you’d rather be in the casket than in the audience.

 

Aviron Pictures

8.  After 

The movie industry has long assumed that young love has to mean dumb love, but it’s never seemed dumber than After.  Hell, this is flat-out dumberer.  People in this movie speak and act so awkwardly that I half-expected them to be aliens posing as humans.  The Coneheads blended in better, and they just came here from France.  The male lead in this is a cringey, creepy douchebag, while his female counterpart is spoiled and shallow.  You root for them to get together and stay together because they both suck so bad.  “My life before him was so simple and decided,” she says in the opening narration.  “After him, it’s just…after.”  After this claptrap is over, the only thing you’re gonna need is booze.  

 

Lionsgate

7.  Rambo: Last Blood

This is one of the most wrong-headed movies Sly Stallone has ever made.  Dear readers, from the man who gave us Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, that is truly saying something.  Last Blood kicks off with Johnny Rambo in retirement mode–do the action figures from this installment come with a rocking chair and a broom?  Anyway, Big Bad John lives the sweet life in West Texas, and everything’s hunky dory until his adopted niece gets kidnapped by cartel scum.  That means it’s high time for Ol’ Rambo to pull that bandana taut and start ripping out throats.  Ermagerd, you guys…the violence is so ugly.  The dialogue is sooo bad.  This franchise has never been Masterpiece Theater, but this is next level bad.  To put a cherry on top of this repugnant sundae, sex trafficking is way too serious of a subject to be in a movie this stupid. 

 

Photo by Shanna Besson
Photo by Shanna Besson

6.  Anna

So many things about this movie feel more played-out than your old Chumbawumba CD.  I don’t even know where to start:  The beautiful, broken young woman with nothing to lose gets recruited to be an assassin.  She gets tired of all the killing and wants to quit this lifestyle forever.  But–wouldn’t ya know it–there’s just one last job, and–aw jeez Louise–it turns it be way more than she expected.  Thankfully, she gets knocked down, but she gets up again.  No, you’re never g…okay I’m done, I swear.  I’ve never yawned so much during a movie with so much bone-crunching action.  Worst of all?  This pile of hooey was directed by Luc Besson, who gave us The Professional.  

 

© 2019 Paramount Pictures Corporation.
© 2019 Paramount Pictures Corporation.

5.  Playing with Fire

This one feels destined for the $1 bin at Best Buy, and it probably should’ve started there.  John Cena’s rippling biceps star in this hackneyed kiddie movie about a smoke jumping grouch who gets stuck with three adorable orphans.  If that sentence doesn’t turn you away, let’s try this one:  A toddler gleefully poops her britches, and that’s probably as good as it gets for the whole movie.  You want to pay money to watch Cena change a diaper while wearing a hazmat suit?  That’s officially your funeral.  Poor Judy Greer gets wasted as the obligatory love interest, even though her character seems way too smart to for this batch of obnoxious, hyper-masculine yahoos.  

 

Warner Bros. Entertainment

4.  Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Godzilla fans keep telling me to lower my expectations.  After all, they say, this ain’t supposed to be Doctor Zhivago.  And I get that.  Could we at least make it interesting, though?  Can the characters say and do some things that make sense?  For a $10 ticket, would it be possible for a movie about monsters to have…oh, I don’t know…more scenes of monsters actually fighting?!?  Or you could just quickly cut away to actors looking in fake-wonder at a green screen. That’s great, too.  On the subject of actors, don’t tell me to lower the bar and cast great people like Bradley Whitford, Charles Dance, and Millie Bobbie Brown.  You’re just daring me to expect more.  As I type this, it’s early in the morning.  I could be cranky because I haven’t had my morning donut.  But if it wasn’t for the absolutely horrid trio of all-time bombs coming up, this Godzilla could easily be the worst movie released this year. 

 

© CBS Films
© CBS Films

3.  Jexi

Now’s where things start getting good.  Or, I mean bad.  Aw, screw it–you know what I mean. Adam Devine plays a hapless dude who spends every waking minute glued to his phone.  The tables get turnt when his newest gadget features an AI assistant who reveals herself to be a control-freak psychopath.  Jexi (voice of Rose Byrne) starts to ruin his relationships and meddle with his job.  This could’ve–and has–been made into a better movie, but Jexi is painfully unfunny.  Like, you can feel all the joy draining from your body.  This also has the single worst scene of the year.  I’m going to spoil it–once again, you pay to see this garbage, that’s on you:  Devine has sex with the damn phone.  No, I’m not kidding.  Kinda brings to new meaning to “lightning charger,” amirite?  Heyyoooo!!!  I’ll show myself out.  

 

© 2019 Universal Pictures

2.  Cats

Our cat likes to unspool an entire roll of toilet paper, chow down, and then barf it all right back onto the rug.  This task accomplished, he swishes his tail and looks to my wife and I with supreme satisfaction, as if to communicate that this is his planet, and we’re lucky just to draw breath upon it.  Everything I just described is more entertaining than anything you’ll see in Cats.  This isn’t just a bad film, it’s a cinematic abomination.  With every scene, the movie seems to gather momentum, like a rumbling, tumbling snowball.  By the end, it’s a meow-sterpiece of incoherent incompetence.  Famous faces get retouched with a heavy dose of CGI, rendering them all into good old-fashioned nightmare fuel.  It’s hard to say who’s the most frightening, but I’m gonna go with Dame Judi Dench as Old Dueteronomy.  You can’t unsee it, and you can’t pluck out your eyeballs with a salad fork, so your best bet is to never watch this Cats in the first place.  

 

© Aviron Pictures

1.  Serenity

It takes something special to top a list like this, and Serenity is exactly that.  This movie was so bad, I think it broke my brain.  As the end credits scrolled, I sat in a strange stupor, like a Deadhead on too many shrooms: “Whoah.  I don’t feel so good, man.”  It wasn’t real, but it was also, like…too real, you know?  You’re probably thinking: It’s hyperbole.  He hasn’t had his morning donuts yet.  Well, you’re wrong.  This is one of the worst Hollywood productions ever unleashed on the public.  Matthew McConaughey is a deep sea fisherman; Anne Hathaway plays a femme fatale with a dark secret.  Djimon Hounsou co-stars as–hell, I don’t even know–some dude with a goatee.  The middle of this movie has a plot twist that’s so mind-bogglingly stupid it’ll make you want to give up on society for a while.  With every other film you’ll see here, I’ll wave a caution flag in your face.  Not so with Serenity.  See this movie.  Please.  Let the hate its badness flow through you.  Public awareness is the only way to prevent something like this from ever happening again.  

 

Dishonorable Mentions

 

The Hustle

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a pristine 80s movie that never needed to be remade.  Unfortunately, this barrel of bad apples is what we got.  Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson make this list twice, and that’s too bad.  They’re both great actresses with sharp comic timing.  I’d love to see them team up in a better movie.  Here, it’s the audience getting hustled.

 

© 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc

Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King

These three Disney rehashes cost over $600 million total, and they add absolutely nothing to the legacies of their classic forebears.  This is corporate filmmaking at its worst, wherein all creativity gets filtered out in favor of bloodless arithmetic. None of these films are bad, just immensely disappointing.  Even more egregious, all three are helmed by great directors:  Tim Burton, Guy Ritchie, and Jon Favreau are way too smart and skilled to get stuck in neutral for projects like this.  A live-action Lady and the Tramp has already premiered on Disney+, and remakes of Mulan, The Little Mermaid, and The Sword and the Stone are all coming soon.  How long will it be before audiences get sick of expensive leftovers?  

See also:

Plan 9 From Outer Space

Author: Todd Wofford

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