Jokes at the expense of Adam Sandler aside, I want to highlight the true stinkers of the past year, because despite the greatness, a lot of movies left me angry, sick, or incredibly disappointed. Some of these were awful on first viewing, some got worse on repeat viewings, and one I actively considered walking out on. Feast your eyes:
5. Sausage Party (Dir. Conrad Vernon, Greg Tiernan)
You can’t say Sausage Party didn’t try. Its deeply religious story, about what it’s like to find out that everything you believe in is a complete lie, is thought provoking and challenging. But it’s also incredibly tasteless, trading jokes that should make you laugh out loud with pure shock tactics. It’s loud, filthy, and bombastic in ways that make me never want to watch it ever again. Having said that, I’m glad that I saw it. On first viewing, the surprises and sheer audacity of it ensure that you have a good time. On second viewing however, the film completely falls apart – the poor animation becomes evident and distracting and the humor is lost once you know all the surprises. I couldn’t even make it halfway. I still trust in writers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. I hope their next outing is as strong as their past work.
4. X-Men: Apocalypse (Dir. Bryan Singer)
The X-Men series is one I absolutely want to love. The cast is impeccable and its source is rich with wonderful stories, however I can’t help but wonder if Bryan Singer is simply running out of steam. After helming the first two films he took a break, then came back for what may be one of the best films in the series (Days of Future Past). That film’s followup feels like an afterthought. The main trio of Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence are either not given enough to do or just wander through the film like zombies who showed up to cash in the paycheck. This series needs a new voice to inject some life, much like what Matthew Vaughn did with First Class. It was a sad year for the X-Men, but at least we got Deadpool.
3. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Dir. Zack Snyder)
I’m a sucker for superhero movies. I’m also a sucker for Batman, and even enjoyed Batman & Robin as a kid in all it cheesy glory. I was excited to see Ben Affleck put on the batsuit and kick some ass, and even thought Jesse Eisenberg was an inspired choice to play Lex Luthor. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. This film is a mess from start to finish and completely butchers the essence of Batman and Superman as characters. Man of Steel disappointed me on so many levels that I should have seen this coming. But, like the Superman of the comics, I like to hope and believe that there is still some good in this world. It just can’t be found in the DC Extended Universe.
2. Suicide Squad (Dir. David Ayer)
The trailer for Suicide Squad was released and there I went again, hoping that DC made the first good movie of their failure of a shared universe experiment. Again, I was oh so very wrong. This villainous spinoff was even worse than Batman v Superman. For this I can only blame the director and the studio who both seemingly wanted very different things out of this movie, creating a sickening mash-up of styles and ideas that never came together in a coherent way. Oh, and Jared Leto for playing the worst version the The Joker I have ever seen in my entire life. DC Films has a knack for ruining their characters when adapting them for the screen. Case in point: Killer Croc. What on Earth were they thinking?
1. Blair Witch (Dir. Adam Wingard)
The winner of both the “Movie That Made Me Sick” and “Movie I Almost Walked Out Of” awards is Blair Witch. Not only was it a bad movie, but it was the most disappointing due to the talent behind the camera. Written by Simon Barrett and directed by Adam Wingard, the stellar team behind You’re Next and The Guest, this was supposed to be the sequel to The Blair Witch Project we all deserved. Instead we got a rehash of the first film with sickening GoPro visuals, a pointless drone camera, annoying characters, and zero effective scares. This was lazy filmmaking on every level. I’m hopeful Wingard can bounce back with this year’s adaptation of Death Note.