TheWrap Critics Pick 10 Worst Movies of 2015

TheWrap Rewind 2015: From “Stonewall” to “Pixels,” reviewers Alonso Duralde and Inkoo Kang recall the most cringe-worthy releases of the year

Last Updated: December 16, 2015 @ 9:50 AM

Alonso Duralde’s picks of the worst movies of 2015: I was not required to watch Netflix’s “The Ridiculous 6” — since it didn’t open theatrically, the way “Beasts of No Nation” did, it’s technically TV — so I spared myself the grief. Fear not: Adam Sandler still managed to make this list twice.

10. “Rock the Kasbah” Because when you adapt a doc about a young woman in Afghanistan defying convention to become a singer, the fictionalized version should really be about an over-the-hill white guy. Bill Murray makes a much more credible Bill Murray in his new Christmas special.

9. “The Cobbler” It used to be that Adam Sandler working with a legit director (like Paul Thomas Anderson or Judd Apatow) would lead to impressive results, but his collaborations with Jason Reitman (“Men, Women and Children”) and now Tom McCarthy prove otherwise.

8. “Entourage” Remember those insufferable alpha-bros who wore out their welcome on HBO? Now they’re puffing out their chests on the big screen, where their problems and conflicts somehow appear to be even smaller than on TV.

Sony

Sony

7. “Pixels” Meanwhile, back in the Adam Sandler Death of Cinema compound, he continued to crank out the lazy, cynical comedies for which he’s become famous, this time managing to waste a promising premise while also reaching heretofore unreached levels of on-screen sexism, even by Happy Madison standards.

6. “Fantastic Four” The Denny’s tie-in meals had more staying power than this misbegotten superhero extravaganza, one where panic and compromise were so apparent in every frame that they should have gotten a screen credit. Not even the Comic-Con crowd could rationalize this dud into becoming anything but an embarrassment for all involved.

STRANGE MAGIC

5. “Strange Magic” When Disney bought the “Star Wars” universe from Lucasfilm, they also got stuck with this poison pill, a passion project of George Lucas that, once completed, became what may be the very worst animated feature ever released with the Disney name on it. Its lack of visual taste is matched only by the overbearing pop songs wedged into the plot every two minutes or so.

4. “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” The only unanswered question from the first one was apparently, “Are audiences gullible enough to sit through this non-comedy a second time?”

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Sony Pictures Entertainment

3. “Aloha” OK, yes, the hacked Sony e-mails didn’t help the advance buzz on this latest Cameron Crowe catastrophe, but the garbled script and questionable casting choices (Emma Stone as half-Asian?) pretty much doomed this stinkburger-with-pineapple from the start.

2. “Pan” Of the many story-before-the-story prequels to which an idea-starved Hollywood has subjected us in recent years, this turgid tale of how Peter Pan got to Neverland (the answer involves flying pirate ships and “Smells Like Teen Spirit”) was an actively vexing viewing experience that gave Hugh Jackman the opportunity to ham his way into one of his very worst performances.

Will Ferrell Get Hard Kevin Hart

1. “Get Hard” You don’t have to turn on the news to know that racism and homophobia are alive in well in the world – just endure this miserable “comedy” about white-collar dupe Will Ferrell assuming that Kevin Hart can teach him how to avoid prison rape. Perhaps worst of all, there’s not a laugh to be found, even if you’re the kind of troglodyte who immediately chuckles at the idea of dropping the soap.

11-20 (in alphabetical order): “Blackhat,” “By the Sea,” “Chappie,” “Do You Believe?,” “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” “Poltergeist,” “Ricki and the Flash,” “Stonewall,” “Taken 3” and “Victor Frankenstein.”

Me and Earl And the Dying Girl

Inkoo Kang’s picks:

10. “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” As if the trope of the “manic pixie dream girl” isn’t annoying enough, this hateful, hollow cancer drama slowly kills off a female character so its male protagonist has something to write about for his college-application essay. That’s just a big colostomy bag full of NOPE.

9. “Our Brand Is Crisis” Sandra Bullock mugs her way through a comedy that isn’t sure whether it’s slapstick or arch, hopeful or cynical. “Bizarre” is a nice word for this pseudo-intellectual mess. “Bungled” is more accurate.

8. “By the Sea” If you’re going to withhold a secret from the audience for two long hours where nothing happens, you’d better make sure the reveal isn’t embarrassingly obvious or hilariously offensive. Writer-director Angelina Jolie is 0 for 2 on that count.

Sofia-Vergara-Reese-Witherspoon-in-Hot-Pursuit

7. “Hot Pursuit” Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara give into their worst comedic instincts in a screechy, laughs-free insult-flinging contest. Everybody loses.

6. “Stonewall” There’s not a single human moment in this whitewashed, “straightwashed” retelling of one of the most important chapters of American progress on gay rights. No wonder its intended audience spurned it; Roland Emmerich made it clear he wasn’t interested in the people who made the events of his movie happen.

5. “The Letters” There has to be a better way of convincing the Vatican to canonize Mother Teresa than making a little-seen movie about how she was pretty much the best person who ever lived. I wish the creative team behind “The Letters” had found it.

20th Century Fox

4. “Hitman: Agent 47” As stilted as an early edition of Donkey Kong, this assassin drama continues Hollywood’s tradition of making unwatchably flat and emptily violent movies out of video games.

3. “Pixels” I saw only one of Adam Sandler‘s three movies this year (I’m a critic, not a professional masochist), so “Pixels” will have to suffice for his representation on this list. The usual criticisms about Sandler — that he’s lazy, bullying, and unfunny — apply here. There’s a bit more pandering to the audience than usual in “Pixels,” but his gambit to appeal to gamers’ ’80s nostalgia consists of portraying them as socially awkward losers. Game over, try again.

2. “Little Boy” Dopier than a cannabis dispensary and just as skunky, this faith-based film is based on the premise that the 129,000 people killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki by America’s A-bombs were part of God’s gift to one very special white child. Who wrote the screenplay, Donald Trump?

lost-river

1. “Lost River”: Hey girl, Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut — a ponderous aping of Nicolas Winding Refn — is actually more turgid, pointless and demeaning than “Pixels.” Vanity project, thy name is “Lost River.”

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