(Source: Lexington Herald Leader)
80. Ted (2012) – Seth McFarlane’s feature debut plays more as a live-action episode of Family Guy, where Peter Griffin magically turns into a foul-mouthed, pot-smoking, beer-drinking teddy bear who befriends Mark Wahlberg. It contains the typical immature humor that is expected from McFarlane. The characters are vulgar, the jokes are nasty, and the premise is trite. Save for one scene in which Marky Mark tries to guess what the name of the woman Ted has his eye on. In a lightning round, he guesses 57 different white-trash woman names, and not getting a single one right. I wonder how many takes that scene must have taken. Other than that, don’t bother with this movie or its sequel (in which I avoided like the plague).
79. The Upside (2019) – The Intouchables is one of the absolute best movies I’ve ever seen. A movie that tells an unlikely friendship that will make everyone laugh and cry and smile for the whole duration. It became the most successful French film ever, and it was honored at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. It’s a movie that definitely should have been left alone.
Director Neil Burger decides to remake this wonderful story into a gratuitous, mirthless, and manipulative catastrophe. Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston are definitely doing their best here. There are a few funny scenes, but when there is a scene involving Hart refusing to replace a catheter that goes on forever, everything just falls apart. There is no charm or surprises that made the original so good.
78. Warcraft (2016) – An adaptation on a worldwide phenomenon had so much potential to become a new epic fantasy classic. Before David Bowie passed away, his son–and director–Duncan Jones showed him footage of this movie. It’s a sweet gesture, but it doesn’t mean the final product is any good. I liked the designs of the Orcs and the visuals are passable at best. However, we don’t know anything about these characters (who have such silly names), the make-up looks unconvincing, and it’s obvious that most of the film was shot on a green-screen. What a wasted opportunity.
77. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) – The last Transformers movie starring Shia LaBeouf is slightly better than Revenge of the Fallen, but Dark of the Moon is nowhere near good. The cars are beautiful than ever before, and I did like Leonard Nimoy doing the voice of Sentinel Prime, and how can anyone not love Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime? However, for the rest of the movie, it’s just as obnoxious and stupid as you would expect. We all know how Bay LOVES to objectify women in his movies–with Megan Fox in the previous two entries and Rosie Huntington-Whitley in this one. One of the action sequences take some of the same shots from Bay’s earlier film The Island. The climax is as generic as it is predictable, and the actors are wasted (not to mention, a horribly miscast Patrick Dempsey).
76. Alice in Wonderland (2010) – Tim Burton’s live-action version of the Disney classic marked the start of the beloved film company remaking their classic animated films. When it hit theaters, I found it to be a visually stunning nostalgia trip. After thinking about it, this is far from good. Mia Wasikowska gives little to personality to Alice, and the rest of the cast is wasted (except for the late Alan Rickman as a smoking caterpillar and Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat). Johnny Depp is being his typical quirky self that we are used to seeing since the first Pirates of the Caribbean. There is also plenty of violent imagery (i.e. decapitating the head of the Jabberwocky and taking an eye of the Bandersnatch’s socket) guaranteed to frighten younger children. This is an incoherent, overblown mess.
75. Cars 2 (2011) – The first Cars is far from PIXAR’s best films. Although all of the humor doesn’t quite hit the landing, it does have a heart, the racing sequences are exciting enough and the voice cast did a terrific job. Cars 2, however, is a massive letdown. Yes, the animation is as beautiful as ever and the character designs are passable. But–the sequel didn’t need a spy conspiracy subplot devoid of any laughs or charm. Another problem is this is Mater’s show, not Lightning McQueen’s. The audience has to suffer through the juvenile humor that is not what PIXAR is known for. Definitely the biggest disappointment of my entire life.
74. Chappie (2015) – Neill Blomkamp blew everyone’s socks off with the 2009 sci-fi classic District 9, a thoughtful allegory of the South African apartheid. Then, it all goes downhill with the substandard sci-fi flick Elysium, with an otherwise rock-solid performance from Matt Damon. With Chappie, Blomkamp creates his own version of Robocop, set in his native Johannesburg in the not-too-distant future. For its budget, the effects are impressive and Sharlto Copley does a great job performing the title character through motion capture. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold up for it being an obnoxious, ugly, and derivative mess. Ninja and Yolandi (of Die Antwoord) play fictional versions of themselves, who come across as annoying as sin. The cast give nothing to do, particularly Dev Patel and Hugh Jackman (who gives perhaps one of the most painful performances I have ever seen).
73. Annabelle (2014) – The title ventriloquist doll made her frightening debut in The Conjuring. Warner Bros. thought it would be a great idea to make a spin-off of Annabelle, which marked as a terrible beginning of a trilogy (also featuring the surprisingly good prequel Annabelle: Creation and the decent Annabelle Comes Home). This film is from the same director of Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, which serves as a good-enough explanation why it won’t be any good. There are some decent scares, but they all come off as silly. The characters make stupid decisions, which is a common necessity in bad horror movies. Do me a favor and watch the two The Conjuring films and Annabelle: Creation if you want some good scares and emotional involvement between characters.
72. This is 40 (2012) – Judd Apatow has directed and produced some of the funniest comedies in recent years. His comedies often show a more humanistic side to the mix. For This is 40, however, everything about it feels sluggish, manipulative, and stale. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are undeniable comedic talents, but don’t give enough flair as a couple whose marriage is beginning to fall apart. There are some funny cameos including Green Day’s lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong and some funny moments, but this is 40 minutes too long.
71. mother! (2017) – Darren Aronofsky is not ashamed to make such bizarre and surreal movies. mother! is a waste of potential. The religious allegory is so in-your-face and obvious, the script feels like it was written by a twisted 10-year-old, and the climax is so busy it will give everyone headaches. Rex Reed went as far as calling this the “worst movie of the century”. Yes, it is bad, but it’s certainly far from the worst movie.