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The 10 Worst Movies of 2016

January 1, 2017

Worst things first: I couldn’t make it through five minutes of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, so I’m not including it in my list of the 10 worst movies I saw in 2016. I’ll just take the world’s word for it that it was almost as much fun as Tom and Martha Wayne’s night at the opera. Anyhow, here are the most painful cinematic experiences I endured over the last 12 months. (Click on highlighted titles for links to my longer reviews, and check out my list of the year’s 10 best movies.)

10. Jackie  America needed this movie like JFK needed a hole in the…  never mind. Still, that joke isn’t as tasteless as this unintentionally kitschy portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman, auditioning to be an automaton in Disneyland’s Hall of First Ladies). It’s even more tone-deaf than Mica Levi’s irritatingly discordant score.


9. Shut In I wish I would’ve stayed shut in my house rather than endure this waste of 91 minutes—and the talents of Naomi Watts and Room‘s Jacob Tremblay. It’s not so much a horror movie as a borer movie. Hey, what do you expect from a guy who opened his first movie review for U.Va.’s University Journal in 1986 with the immortal line: “House for sale. Boo-tiful condition.” Actually, that piece was co-written by my fellow future professional film critic Arnold Wayne Jones. Yes, it took two people to come up with a pun that bad.

8. Ghostbusters I felt the same way about a female-centric Ghostbusters as I did about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign: I loved the idea, but I was seriously underwhelmed by the execution. In this case, it was a guy’s fault: cowriter-director Paul Feig, who stranded his supernaturally talented cast with gags so lame, they barely even qualified as jokes. Forget about paranormal investigators: He should’ve called a script doctor.

7. Maggie’s Plan had to do with an annoyingly self-indulgent grad student (Greta Gerwig) wooing an annoyingly self-indulgent professor (Ethan Hawke) away from his annoyingly self-indulgent wife (Julianne Moore), then scheming to reunite them. Bruce’s plan was to walk out halfway through the movie before these characters could annoy him even further with their self-indulgence. Bruce’s plan worked.

6. The Legend of Tarzan You, Tarzan . Me, Bruce. Your movie stinks like a wet sack of Cheetah’s monkey crap.


5. Suicide Squad Margot Robbie, aka The Legend of Tarzan’s Jane, reunites with Will Smith, her co-star in one of 2015’s worst moviesFocus, with an even more unfocused mess. Is it a dark supervillain saga? A lighthearted superhero romp? A dessert wax? A floor topping? And what the hell is Jared Leto’s Joker (barely) doing here? The joke’s on you if you paid to see this act of cinematic hari-kari.

4. Knight of Cups Terrence Malick, please, just stop. Yes, you can get any actor you want to appear in your movies on the strength of long-ago masterpieces like Badlands and Days of Heaven. But your meandering meditations on meaninglessness don’t make sense to anyone but you. And I’m not even sure you understand them anymore.


3. Independence Day: Resurgence Will Smith may have starred in two of the year’s biggest turkeys between Suicide Squad and Collateral Beauty, which I refused to see based on the staggeringly awful trailer alone. But at least he was smart enough to stay away from this utterly needless sequel, which fizzled like the dud that it was.


2. Bad Moms When I recently interviewed Bob Weinstein for a New York Times story on Bad Santa, he commented on how many “Bad” movies and TV shows had followed in the wake of the original:  Bad TeacherBad Judge, Bad Moms. (Not to mention Bad Santa 2, another utterly needless sequel.) Bad Moms belongs in a category all its own—an insult to moms, dads, and the childless alike. So of course, get set for Bad Moms 2, coming to theaters Nov. 17… an early favorite for my 10 worst movies of 2017 list.

1. A Bigger Splash Dakota Johnson gets 50 shades of naked. Ralph Fiennes shows his penis, which bears an eerie resemblance to Voldemort. Matthias Schoenaerts has too many vowels in his last name. Tilda Swinton can’t speak. And neither could I after being assaulted by this aggressively artsy-fartsy mega-turd. I can’t top my original assessment: What makes a bigger splash? Oh yeah, a giant piece of shit!

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3 Comments
  1. Deborah Skolnik permalink

    Great roundup! Happy to say I only wasted my eyeballs on Ghostbusters.

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