by Ken B.
Before I spend time writing about the best 10 movies I’ve reviewed this year, it is time to expunge the demons created in this reviewer’s mind by discussing the worst 10. It is worth reminding new readers to this site (all, like, 2 of them) that these are the worst 10 movies I reviewed in 2013, not the worst 10 movies of 2013, since only a fraction of the stuff I’ve seen this year were actually released in 2013 (actually, no 2013 releases ended up making the final list). Additionally, I should vocalize the implied statement that the following list is comprised of my opinion only, and I am not attempting to formulate any factual statements.
May these movies not touch you, dear reader, unless you are channel surfing during a bout of insomnia between infomercials for Persian bathmats.
10. THE THREE STOOGES (Farrelly & Farrelly, 2012)
It was a genuinely bad idea to make a Three Stooges reboot in the 21st century, set in the 21st century, with 21st century cameos. While my impressions of the classic comedy sketches are in no way affected majorly by this, it’s worth wondering who over at 20th Century Fox thought this movie would be good. 92 minutes is far too long for good Stooges material (relative brevity is the key to the classic bits), and even the attempt to remedy this by dividing it into three segments still does not enhance the few and far between laughs I got out of this.
9. WAITING FOR FOREVER (Keach, 2010)
A poor result of my failed experiment that was Capsules of Netflix, this movie with extremely amateurish writing but decent acting and a good soundtrack treated what was essentially stalking as a legitimate romantic option. It doesn’t help that just as soon as the film develops a bit of intrigue or involvement, it ends.
EDIT (9/7/14): The original link took you to the now defunct Capsules of Netflix website. Now it goes to my Letterboxd review, which I uploaded it to after I found out that I did indeed still have the text of the review in my archives.
8. HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET (Tonderai, 2012)
Filmed before Jennifer Lawrence had a solid and respectable career growing, this 101 minute thriller is genuinely devoid of any real thrills. The story takes a somewhat interesting twist in its dying moments, but it isn’t enough to make up for the clichés, bad character development, and general disinterest that it carries with itself prior.
7. JINGLE ALL THE WAY (Levant, 1996)
After writing this review, I found this movie was guilty of massive hypocrisy. Intending, I assume, to be a brutal smackdown of the commercialization of Christmas, it turns out 20th Century Fox actually signed a deal with a toy company to create and sell replicas of the hot toy depicted within the film.
6. SAHARA (Eisner, 2005)
Sahara meant to be a fun, breezy action comedy with Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, and Penelope Cruz. Instead, we have a bumbling, predictable, boring wannabe action comedy with Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, and Penelope Cruz.
5. SEASON OF THE WITCH (Sena, 2011)
While I did review this movie in March under the particular influence of a nasty cold and NyQuil (which is strange, since I’m rarely that sick, especially that late in winter), I don’t think a repeat viewing would do anything to fix my complaints – a bad script (I didn’t hear the main character’s name until an hour in), wooden acting (Post-2002 Nicolas Cage!), and some of the worst lighting from a major studio movie I’ve seen in a long, long time.
4. UPSIDE DOWN (Solanas, 2012)
Here is a movie that has terrific visuals. Here is a movie with a plagiaristic plot. Here is a movie that is horribly paced. Here is a movie that could have been good. Here is a movie that is instead excruciating.
3. LICENSE TO DRIVE (Beeman, 1988)
Teen movies from the 1980s can range from the intelligent and insightful to the idiotic and pandering. This is from the latter group. License to Drive is not merely unfunny, it assumes that any kid watching it is stupid. This is indeed the cardinal sin when writing for those under 20. We, collectively, aren’t the unintelligent people that too many screenwriters and authors appear to think we are.
2. FILM SOCIALISME (Godard, 2010)
And now, some may call me unintelligent by placing this film on the list. But let me say that Jean-Luc Godard, at one time, created very good films. This one glance I’ve had at his most recent work is incredibly disheartening. Uncannily ambiguous, pretentious, and shrouding a good and needed message (lack of real communication anymore) in plain inadequacy, I do sincerely regret the time I spent on this.
1. ALPHA AND OMEGA (Bell & Gluck, 2010)
There was only one movie I saw this year that I felt necessary to give a classification under one star. Due to a great scheduling misfortune, it was also the first film reviewed this year, and in the 100-ish movies I’ve seen since and the 85 I’ve reviewed, there, of course, has not been one that I would recommend less. Choppily animated on a paltry budget for an animated movie with an insultingly simplistic plot, this movie (again) horribly underestimates the intelligence of kids, albeit much younger ones than the target audience of License to Drive.
And there you have it. The bottom 10 movies I reviewed in 2013.
The best 10 list will be revealed in two parts. Tomorrow (Dec. 30), I will reveal my honorable mentions and #6 – 10. Overmorrow (Dec. 31, and that’s a real word), I will announce the top five.