As with every year, the day before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates the best films 2014 had to offer, the Razzie Awards will mock the year’s very worst cinematic turkeys. In much the same way, what better way to precede The Apple Box’s upcoming Best Movies of 2014 feature than looking back at the year’s very worst?
There were plenty of bombs and duds over the year, although several took similar shapes. The larger-than-usual number of spiritual and religious movies in 2014 also meant that, by the law of averages, there were a greater-than-usual number of bad ones. A few comedies were so preposterously stupid, they left you with that punch-drunk sensation of feeling dumber for having endured them. And just as in previous years, vampires, giant robots, and Wayans brothers all found their way onto this list.
These are the worst movies of 2014.
Dishonourable Mentions: Vampire Academy, Into the Storm, God’s Not Dead, Dr. Cabbie, The Legend of Hercules, Addicted
AGE OF EXTINCTION
Michael Bay has a consistency for creating truly awful movies that rivals Uwe Boll, and his Transformers movies are almost surely the worst mainstream movie franchise of the last decade. Swapping in Oscar-nominee Mark Wahlberg for paper bag-wearing Shia LaBeouf should help matters, but the mess just has so much going against that it’s just a bucket bailing out a ship. Age of Extinction may be better than Dark of the Moon, but that’s really not saying much.
Are four Underworld movies not enough for you? Then check out this insipidly derivative tale of a gothic, centuries-long war between gargoyles and demons. It comes from the same creator, the same cinematographer, the same producers, and even brings along Underworld alumnus Bill Nighy, who gives the same performance. Simultaenously overly complicated and boringly banal, I, Frankenstein is an insulting grave-robbing of Mary Shelley’s original creation.
Sometimes, all it takes to make a mediocre movie terrible is one aspect being truly abysmal. The directing and score are perfectly okay, and the acting really isn’t bad at all, but the writing in this nonsensical, rambling, preachy, uneven excuse for a conspiracy thriller is so bad, it makes all the other adequate facets seem just as hysterically bad. Despite its lean 91-minute running time, it’s next-to-impossible to make it all the way to the end of Persecuted and not laugh at least once at just how insanely clunky the whole thing is.
7. THE OTHER WOMAN
Cameron Diaz has a history of starring in terrible comedies that think feminism means being as disgustingly chauvinistic and immature as dumb “guy movies.” As bad as the Charlie’s Angels movies and The Sweetest Thing were, The Other Woman may be the worst offender yet. Characters are clever in one scene and moronic in the next, nobody behaves like a rational person, and every man in the film exists merely to represent one fault or another of the entire male gender. An uncomfortably long shot in the movie of a dog slowly defecating on the floor is richly symbolic of this whole steaming pile of comedy.
6. LET’S BE COPS
Normally, the only Wayans that make truly abominable comedies are Shawn and Marlon, but this tone-dead debacle starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. is an incredible exception. Johnson and Wayans, both capable of being so brilliantly funny when given smart material, flounder pathetically in this misogynistic, homophobic, puerile comedy too extreme from children and too infantile for anyone old enough to pay for their own ticket. The more brain cells you have, the more offended you’ll be.
5. AMERICA: IMAGINE THE
WORLD WITHOUT HER
Propaganda comes in all forms, but some of the most invasive and caustic has come in the last few decades, in the guise of documentaries that tell just one side of an issue. One of the most insulting attacks from a right-wing director since 1984’s The Silent Scream, Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World Without Her tries to argue why the United States is the world’s greatest country by not just ignoring faults outright, but by even going so far as to argue that the country’s mistreatment of Native Americans and African Americans over the centuries has been necessary to create the perfect nation. Blatantly offensive and intellectually disgusting, there’s more historical truth to be found in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter than in America: Imagine the World Without Her.
4. A MERRY FRIGGIN’ CHRISTMAS
You might think that a good enough cast can save any comedy. If so, you clearly haven’t watched this painfully unfunny lump of coal starring Joel McHale, Robin Williams, Lauren Graham, Clark Duke, Candice Bergen, Wendy McLendon-Covery, Tim Heidecker, and Oliver Platt. A son who has been psychologically tortured for decades by his Machiavellian father is guilted into forgiving him one Christmas Eve, in between being fed squirrel meat and hitting a lisping, hobo Santa with his car. It’s especially criminal for this to be one of the last movies completed by the way-too-good-for-this Robin Williams.
3. NO GOOD DEED
From its very first scene, No Good Deed makes you want to check you watch to see how much time is left. Like a Lifetime movie adaptation of a Lois Duncan book — albeit with less realistic dialogue and more simplistic characters — there isn’t a shred of intelligence in the entire screenplay. Every stupid thing a character can possibly do, they do. Everyone has the reactionary problem-solving of a teenager in a pre-Scream slasher flick. It takes a bad home-invasion movie for you to root for the villain to succeed in killing his victims just so the film will end, but No Good Deed is that bad.
2. A HAUNTED HOUSE 2
A Haunted House was the second-worst movie of 2013, its the sequel arrived with the expectation that there was practically nowhere to go but up. Unfathomably, A Haunted House 2 is actually worse. The pretence of parodying modern horror movies is abandoned for the most part, in favour of crotch kickings, animal torture, and inter-mouth vomiting. Six-year-olds will find the humour childish, the movie runs 82 minutes too long, and even fans of the original won’t find much to laugh at here. You’d be better off just bashing your head into a wall for an hour and a half.
1. LEFT BEHIND
Nicolas Cage is no stranger to appallingly atrocious movies, but it’s truly spectacular how bad this reboot of the popular religious franchise is. The dialogue is unbelievably wooden, the direction (or lack of any) is downright clumsy, the acting is more exaggerated that an SNL soap opera parody, its fear-mongering is so blatant it’s borderline offensive, and the special effects look like they cost about $15. There’s not a single redeeming aspect to the movie. It starts badly, it continues badly, and it ends badly. You almost have to admire the dedication of those who made it: it’s hard to create a movie with such a consistent lack of quality throughout, but Left Behind pulls it off. There was no movie in 2014 worse.