Top 10 Worst Movies of 2018

The most wonderful time of the year is upon us! It’s time to take a look back at 2018 in film!

This year has been another powerhouse year for cinema! There have been numerous surprises (either good or bad), movies making history (Black Panther becoming the highest-grossing film in the MCU and one of the all-time highest-grossing films–featuring a mostly black cast and directed by a black director), and Netflix becoming the future of cinema by releasing its popular original movies in select theaters.

However–there have been plenty of stinkers a lot of people had to endure. Without further ado, let’s dive right into my list of the top ten worst movies of 2018. But first…

Dishonorable Mentions: Insidious: The Last Key, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Leisure Seeker, Mandy, On Chesil Beach, The Seagull, Unsane, Winchester

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(Source: Inverse)

10. The NunThe Conjuring universe is releasing spin-offs featuring its scary entities that the two movies introduced–from Annabelle (as witnessed in the terrible film from 2014 and its solid sequel, Annabelle: Creation, from last year) to The Crooked Man (in which we have yet to see a spin-off of the monster shown briefly in The Conjuring 2). The second film featured a spirit deemed the most sinister of all. The Nun is another big disappointment in the ongoing horror franchise; suffering from cheap scares, forced humor, and not enough atmosphere to carry through its shaky final act. Taissa Farmiga gives a decent performance as Irene, the rookie nun with a gift from the supernatural, but it ticks me off how she has yet to receive her vows before going to Romania. Other than that, I would rather wait for The Conjuring 3 than having to sit through The Nun again.

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(Source: Variety)

9. Death Wish – Remember when Bruce Willis was at the top of the world starring in the Die Hard movies? While he is no stranger for starring in big critical and financial flops, Death Wish continues that particular realm. Directed by Eli Roth, the master of torture porn, Willis stars as a surgeon-turned-vigilante after he witnesses his wife and daughter attacked in his Chicago home. His performance is not the worst in his career, but he is trying a little too hard in this nasty, derivative, incoherent mess of a movie that takes itself way too seriously, and focuses less on the narrative and more on the violence.

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(Source: The New York Times)

8. The 15:17 to Paris – Clint Eastwood is one of the best filmmakers of all-time. At 88, he is still going. The 15:17 to Paris is easily a big down-grade in his directing career. He is no stranger casting non-professional actors. Here, he casts the three people–Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone–who were involved in the potential terrorist attack on the train from Amsterdam to Paris as themselves. The particular sequence is as tense as one might expect from a movie like this, but leading up to it is pure agony. Containing wooden performances from a talent cast, poor pacing, and shallow dialogue. Thank God for Eastwood doing The Mule.

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(Source: The Atlantic)

7. How to Talk to Girls at Parties – This is a prime example of what happens when you adapt a short story by Neil Gaiman into a feature-length film. Its tone shifts so constantly that it’s excruciating. Set in London during the punk era of the 1970s, Enn (Alex Sharp) and his friends decide to go to dance parties and try to lose their virginity. When he falls for a pretty girl named Zan (Elle Fanning), he soon realizes she is part of an alien race.

I don’t mind bizarre and quirky, if done well. It does have some moments that are really funny (i.e. the scene where Enn’s mother talks about her experiences in Hollywood) and charming. Unfortunately, How to Talk to Girls at Parties loses completely its focus of what it wants to be–Romance? Science-fiction? There are times in which it feels like a overlong 90-minute music video.

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(Source: TV and Movie News)

6. Venom – Oh boy–what was Tom Hardy thinking when he signed on to do a project like Venom? One of Hollywood’s toughest actors is trapped in a superhero origin story that would have been alright, if it came out during the time of Sam Raimi’s 2002 version of Spider-Man. When Hardy’s Brock becomes infected with the symbiotes, he keeps hearing voices in his head, resembling Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (Now that I think about it, Hardy would make a much more badass Jekyll and Hyde than Russell Crowe in The Mummy.)

When there is a scene where Venom calls Brock a “pussy” (I kid you not, I almost walked out of the theater from laughing so hard at that), it’s clear on where the movie is going to go from there. The pacing goes all over the place, the humor feels forced, the action is completely contrived, and the actors feel like their sleepwalking throughout the whole film. The chase through San Francisco is watchable at best, it goes downhill from there, even the climactic fight between Venom and Carnage is generic and predictable. With the movie ending on a cliffhanger, like with every superhero movie nowadays, I have a feeling we might see more from the antihero. And I am not looking forward to it.

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(Source: TIME)

5. 7 Days in Entebbe – I enjoy movies that are based on true events; from Schindler’s List to The Social Network to Captain Phillips. I try to steer clear from ones that are unintentionally funny, dull, and devoid of any tension. 7 Days in Entebbe fits right into those categories. This is a preachy, sluggish interpretation of the terrible event. Daniel Bruhl and Rosamund Pike are two gifted, understated actors who are entirely wasted as two people hijacking a plane and putting all of the passengers hostage in Entebbe. There is a dance number that feels adjacent to the rest of the movie. If you want to watch a solid thriller starring Rosamund Pike, Beirut is more worth your time than this pile of garbage.

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(Source: Vox)

4. Sorry to Bother You – The fact that this movie has received a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7/10 rating on IMDb is pretty freaking amazing! Boots Riley’s directorial debut, Sorry to Bother You, feels more like propaganda disguised as a feature film. Centering on the down-on-his-luck Cassius, who finds a job as a telemarketer selling consumer products from the phone. He learns about a CEO named Steve Lift (a wasted Armie Hammer), who has plans to improve labor.

Despite some unique editing techniques, the political satire is forced, the characters looking like they are being controlled like joysticks, the second act feels more like a horror movie, and there’s nothing to laugh at. Easily the year’s most overrated movie.

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(Source: Variety)

3. The Hurricane Heist – Coming from the previews, this movie definitely had the feeling of being incredibly stupid beyond repair. However, I watched it expecting some fun out of its silly premise of two brothers from Alabama pulling off a heist of $600 million during a hurricane. From Rob Cohen, who also directed The Fast and the Furious, not only is The Hurricane Heist absolutely ridiculous, it takes itself way too seriously. If you can get through the actors talking in those silly Southern accents, beware of some terrible special effects and choppy action. What a waste.

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(Source: Yahoo)

2. Flower – Zoey Deutch is one of the most charming actresses of her generation. After her surprising turns in Before I Fall and Everybody Wants Some, Flower is a downfall in her career. Max Winkler–yes, the son of Henry Winkler–directs this disgusting ranchfest of an indie comedy about Erica, a sexually adventurous teenager who develops a bond with her new stepbrother Luke, and is on the road for vengeance after Luke tells her the truth about a schoolteacher. Things soon take a turn for the worse. And boy–they sure do! Nothing about Flower is funny, charming, or pleasant. Such a wasted opportunity from a gifted cast including Kathryn Hahn and Adam Scott.

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(Source: IMDb)

1. Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare – Continuing the trend of terrible horror movies is Truth or Dare, produced by Jason Blum (who was also responsible for producing The Purge, Sinister, and The Visit). There has never been a horror movie I’ve seen this is unintentionally hilarious as well as incredibly boring. Lucy Hale (of Pretty Little Liars fame) stars in this wretched mess as a college student going with her friends to Mexico for spring break. One night, their innocent game of “truth or dare” turns into something supernatural.

With an uninspired screenplay (written by four people, no less!), the characters have no personality, the deaths are stupid, the image of the people doing their worst expression of Jack Nicholson’s Joker will make me laugh for as long as I live, and the mystery behind the curse is not interesting. If anyone can get through Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare without falling asleep, they deserve a medal.

I hope you enjoyed reading what I thought on some of the worst movies of the year as much as I did tearing them into shreds. Please feel free to leave a comment on what you thought of these movies, and I am beyond curious on why you hated or liked any of the movies on my list. And I’m also curious to know what terrible movies you’ve seen from this year. Now–it’s about time to think about the good stuff that came out. Expect my list of the best movies of the year to come out very soon. Stay tuned!

Movie Review: The Mule

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Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood) makes some important life decisions in The Mule. (Source: Entertainment Weekly)

It has been ten years since Clint Eastwood directed himself in a movie. Being a filmmaker for half of a century, winning two Oscars for directing Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby (both of which won Best Picture), starring in more than half of the movies he directed, it’s hard not to be impressed by what he has done for Hollywood. Gran Torino is a prime example of his talents as an actor and filmmaker; blending deadpan humor and hard-hitting drama set outside an all-American city–Detroit–and containing a diverse cast.

After directing big hits, such as American Sniper and Sully, he is back as the director after giving us the disastrous biopic The 15:17 to Paris. Not only that, he is also the main star in The Mule. Based on a true story of Leo Sharp, a WWII veteran smuggling hundreds of pounds of cocaine from a Mexican drug cartel through Michigan, Eastwood and screenwriter Nick Schenk make several changes to the true-life story to stand on its own.

For starters, Eastwood stars as Earl Stone, a 90-year-old Korean War veteran, who is facing foreclosure on his house and his horticultural business. Years of being neglected from his family, he is in desperate need of cash. One day, at a wedding party for his granddaughter Ginny (Taissa Farmiga), he is offered a job driving trucks. Earl doesn’t find that a problem since he had experience with trucks. However, he doesn’t know what he’s in for while driving all the way down to El Paso.

Since he has no criminal history, Earl isn’t worried to earn a little extra cash to cover Ginny’s wedding and college education. He eventually finds out he’s working as a drug mule for a Mexican drug cartel. This gets the attention of DEA agents Bates (Bradley Cooper) and Trevino (Michael Peña). Meanwhile, Earl thinks about his life decisions, especially when his ex-wife Mary (Dianne Wiest) falls ill.

This isn’t the first time this year where a legendary actor played a criminal. We already saw Robert Redford using his polite manners while robbing banks in David Lowery’s magnum opus The Old Man and the Gun. As Earl Stone, however, Eastwood gives another nuanced performance; providing the dry sense of humor and the charisma he is known for in all of his movies. Earl might be stubborn and ignorant, especially with the modern technology being taken over, but he tries to be there for his family after neglecting them for years. Although the two DEA agents might be on his tail, he continues to live his life especially sitting back in the driver’s seat of his truck singing along to old songs.

The movie is not without its flaws. It’s a slow-burning film that might throw off a lot of people expecting something along the lines of Sicario. Yes, the pace does drag here and there, and I would have done without the scene where Earl is invited to a pool party at an estate, run by drug lord Laton (Andy Garcia), where there lots of young women everywhere. Nevertheless, there is a great moral in The Mule about the importance of family and putting one’s own life is put at risk for something dangerous. At 88, Eastwood is still going strong. Nothing can stop him now!

3/4

Movie Review: The 15:17 to Paris

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Spencer Stone (as himself) notices something is seriously wrong on the train in Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 to Paris. (Source: The Houston Chronicle)

Clint Eastwood is no stranger when it comes to hiring non-actors in his movies. For instance, the Hmong community in Gran Torino give such natural performances as different characters. In his latest film, The 15:17 to Paris, he casts three friends who were involved in an act of courage during a terrorist attack on a train to Paris. Two of them served in the U.S. military. One thing in common? They play themselves.

Not only is it their first movie together, I’m positive this will be their last. It’s a shame considering how a legend like Eastwood went from The Outlaw Josey Wales to the Oscar-winning Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby to Gran Torino to American Sniper to Sully. He has never made a bad movie until The 15:17 to Paris.

Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, and Spencer Stone have been best friends since middle school. They would spend more time in the principal’s (Thomas Lennon) office than in the classroom. The mothers of Alek and Spencer (Jenna Fischer and Judy Greer) stick up for their sons whenever they meet up with their teachers and the principal. Years later, while Alek and Spencer join the military, they decide to bring Anthony for a summer vacation in Europe. They have a great time until the unthinkable happens on August 21, 2015 when they board a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

There is so much potential to be had with The 15:17 to Paris. This powerful story featuring three American heroes playing themselves offers so little. The three men are truly terrible actors and the supporting cast try way too hard (what the hell are you doing here, Jaleel White?). Instead, they are trapped in a plot (written by Dorothy Blyskal) wrapped with inept, wooden dialogue and shallow pacing. Leading up to the terrorist attack (the saving grace of this terrible movie), the movie features Skype chats, selfies, and discipline. There is nothing much happening. Once the movie finally picks it up within the last twenty minutes, it showcases the intensity and sheer realism of the event. Other than that, this is a wasted opportunity.

1/4

Movie Review: Sully

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Sully (Tom Hanks) begins to wonder what would have happened on the Hudson River in Clint Eastwood’s latest biopic (Source: ScreenCrush)

Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood are two of the best people working in Hollywood. It’s hard not to get star-struck about them collaborating for the first time to give the audience one of the greatest survival stories ever. Hanks is known for playing characters who are involved in extreme situations. Movies such as Cast Away and Captain Phillips definitely showcase his talents. And Eastwood has been behind the director’s chair (as well as casting himself in half his movies) since the 1970s. 2014’s American Sniper is a wonderful tribute to one of the deadliest snipers in military history. His account of the Miracle on the Hudson won over a packed-house last night with an exceptional character study about a man doing more than just his job.

January 15, 2009. It seems like your ordinary day in New York City. Until US Airways flight 1549, piloted by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) and Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckhart), lands in the Hudson River after a flock of Canadian geese strikes both engines, causing them to fail. The amazing fact? All of 150 passengers and crew survive. With Sully claimed a hero, he is haunted by visions on what would have happened if he failed to save the passengers. He and Skiles face the consequences prior to their hearing with the NTSB.

Sully was more than just a regular guy doing his job. With his hair dyed white, Hanks immerses into the role with subtle heroism. Containing hints of how he became a pilot, the audience learns how he went into the airline business. It proves why he’s one of the most gifted actors working today. As Skiles, Eckhart provides the film’s humor. Combining edge-of-your-seat tension (filmed with IMAX cameras; thanks to Tom Stern’s cinematography) with old-fashioned storytelling, Sully is one powerhouse of a movie!

3.5/4

Movie Review: American Sniper

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Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper”

It’s hard to believe how Bradley Cooper got huge to play the role of Chris Kyle in American Sniper. In order to do the role justice, he had to eat 8,000 calories and worked out four hours a day. In one scene, we see him actually deadlifting 425 pounds a few sets at a time. We see Cooper disappear into the role of the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history. Born and raised in Texas, Kyle never knew he wanted to become a NAVY Seal. After getting married to Taya (the lovely Sienna Miller), he ends up going on four tours in Iraq. His spot-on accuracy with a rifle made him save countless lives. Back home, however, he struggles to get back to his regular self after embracing his part as a sniper.

Clint Eastwood has made a harrowing character study that doesn’t just focus on the war. But more on the effects of war, and how hard it is to let go on what you have fully embraced. The war scenes have a Zero Dark Thirty vibe to them (to be fair, this is a much better film). They are raw and intense, and it feels like we are in the middle of the action. The small parts involving Chris at home are equally powerful. However, using a fake baby instead of a real one sounded a bit lazy. This is Eastwood’s big step-up after Jersey Boys.

3.5/4

2014 Summer Movie Review: Jersey Boys

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons hit the stage in Clint Eastwood's adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, "Jersey Boys"

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons hit the stage in Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “Jersey Boys”

Clint Eastwood is a bizarre choice to direct a musical. He got his start in Westerns; mainly on the television show Rawhide and Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Over the years, Eastwood became capable of not only starring in movies but also produce and direct his own movies. Not to mention his well-deserved Oscar for his 1992 Western Unforgiven. After the successful Gran Torino, Eastwood has mostly been directing some minor hits (Changeling, Invictus, Hereafter). For someone who has never seen the musical, I have to admit seeing the movie version of Jersey Boys once was good enough. It’s not a bad movie, but it could have been a lot better.

The movie starts off in 1951 in Belleville, New Jersey. Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza) tells the audience he’s willing to go for the real story. He meets up with his friend Frank Castelluccio – later, Frankie Valli – (John Lloyd Young) at a barbershop. Frankie’s mother is not appreciating the friends he’s hanging out with, because they like to get into a ton of trouble especially for breaking and entering. One night at a nightclub, DeVito asks Valli to be the singer of his band. A lot of people are blown away by his falsetto voice, and hoping he will become famous one day

“I’m going to be big as [Frank] Sinatra,” says Valli as he talks to his future wife.

Once DeVito forms a quartet featuring Valli as the lead singer, they show their support, especially by mob boss Gyp DeCarlo (Christopher Walken). As they head into the 1960s as the well-known Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, they continue to show their fame despite the rough times they had as a group.

There are solid performances by the Four Seasons, notably John Lloyd Young who perfectly captures the spirit of Frankie Valli with his powerful voice and strong heart. However, he – along with Christopher Walken as the mob boss – can’t hold much drama to make the Jersey Boys‘ sluggish pace faster. Throughout the 134-minute running time, I almost fell asleep once and begged for the movie to move on. Probably there is something wrong with the film’s cinematography, or maybe Clint Eastwood is following the footsteps of Martin Scorsese.

As the music comes into play, Eastwood speeds the pace up with its vibrant colors and energy to have the audience tapping their feet along with the Four Seasons. The finale is all-around fabulous, giving me a reminder on how great music used to be back in the day. With modern music becoming repetitive, it’s always refreshing to hear the classics we know and love. Coming from a fan of music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, I never knew who the Four Seasons were before I heard about Jersey Boys. After seeing the movie last night, I immediately listened to their songs on Spotify. I am happy but sad I went to see the movie. Seeing the Broadway version might be expensive, but hell, I assume $70 to see a play is more worthwhile than $10 to see a film adaptation.

2.5/4