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The Films of 2016: Ranked and Reviewed

The Films of 2016: Ranked and Reviewed header

Page 1: Worst Movies of the Year

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Worst Movies of 2016 | Below Average (#150-101) | Above Average (#100-51) | Top 50 Movies of 2016

It is an annual tradition for me to rank all the theatrically released films that I've seen from a year. It is a practice I enjoy and one I am not aware of any other critic doing. You may wonder why someone who sees as many movies as I do would attempt such a demanding undertaking. I see no better way to close a year than to reflect on everything and establish both the very best
and the very worst that contemporary cinema has to offer. It also makes sense and order of that vast middle ground from the "pretty good but not great" to the "pretty bad but not terrible." As Salieri said (in a certain Tony-winning play and Oscar-winning film, anyway), mediocrities (are) everywhere. And like him, I absolve them.

Box Office Mojo has records for 732 films released in 2016. The Oscars' annual reminder list deemed 336 features eligible for Best Picture. I chose to stop at 200, which includes nearly every Oscar-nominated feature and around two-thirds of North America's 200 most-attended films. I could easily keep watching more and more of last year's movies, but the further we move away from it, the less meaningful this becomes. Plus, after the Oscars, it really feels like it's time to move beyond 2016. Think of this as my substantially expanded nominations ballot for Best Picture, which the Academy only accepts five titles on.

Unlike 2014 (which is the last year whose ranked and reviewed feature I completed...and don't worry, 2015 is still happening...probably!), the Academy and I were mostly in agreement in 2016. Only a couple of the nine Best Picture nominees seemed undeserving of that recognition and neither of them were anywhere near as disappointing as my two least favorite nominees from a year earlier (The Martian and Mad Max: Fury Road). But enough babbling. Over the next four weekdays, I will count down from 200 to 1, giving you one sentence of original commentary plus a link to my full review of the film if I wrote one.

The Worst of the Worst

Go fig: the movie with the prolonged gagging climax was the worst of the year. See Gigi (Bella Heathcote) expel a swallowed eyeball in Nicolas Winding Refn's truly awful "The Neon Demon."

200. The Neon Demon - Another disappointment from Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn with an indefensible final act. Full Blu-ray Review

199. Cell - You won't believe just how awful this ludicrous Stephen King B-movie is. Full Blu-ray Review

198. Gods of Egypt - A vast waste of producers' money and your time. Full Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD Review

197. Moonwalkers - Violent, vile, and witless space race fiction.

196. The Brothers Grimsby - Another disappointing Sacha Baron Cohen vehicle that believes crudeness is interchangeable with comedy. Full Blu-ray Review

195. Dog Eat Dog - Deliberate or not, this bizarre crime drama does nothing you'll appreciate. Full Blu-ray Review

194. Morgan - Sci-fi tale of genetically engineered AI bores you for nearly its entirety. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

Though timed to fall, Tyler Perry's "Boo! A Madea Halloween", #191, is bad any time of the year.

193. Precious Cargo - Mindless action flick
does nothing memorable other than starring Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Full Blu-ray Review

192. Why Him? - Utterly unappealing comedy squanders talent and realizes none of its potential. Full Film Review

191. Boo! A Madea Halloween - A broad, flabby, and unfunny mess. Full Blu-ray Review

190. Hardcore Henry - Feeling like a much drawn-out theme park ride, this super violent first-person action thriller never transcends gimmickry.

189. Lights Out - Unsettling concept is stretched far too thin. Full Blu-ray Review

188. The Dark Horse - Lifeless New Zealand drama fails to inspire as intended. Full DVD Review

187. Triple 9 - Hopeless, bleak, and seedy crime drama. Full Film Review

If 90 minutes of weiner and bun jokes plus ethnic stereotypes is your type of comedy, then you might just join the critics who sung the praises of the crude, unfunny "Sausage Party."

186. Sausage Party - Animated comedy is extremely crude but rarely funny. Full Blu-ray Review

185. Zoolander 2 - Unfunny follow-up has no success justifying its untimely existence. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

184. Army of One - A fully unhinged Nicolas Cage isn't enough to make this comedy worth your time. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

183. Alice Through the Looking Glass - Bloated, effects-laden sequel disappoints in the same ways as its predecessor. Full Film Review

182. The 5th Wave - An uninspired Hunger Games knock-off. Full Blu-ray Review

181. Norm of the North - Crude animation, gags, and characterization drain any appeal from this polar bear in New York tale.

180. The Hollars - Schmaltzy, inauthentic indie squanders a talent-rich cast. Full Blu-ray Review

179. The Dressmaker - Broad, scattershot storytelling keeps this period Australian tale from succeeding. Full Film Review

178. Dirty Grandpa - Minimal wit sneaks into this parade of crudeness.

"Independence Day: Resurgence", #177, proved that simply making an untimely sequel to one of the biggest hits of the '90s did not guarantee an audience would care.

177. Independence Day: Resurgence - This joyless sequel to a bona fide cultural phenomenon disappoints and depresses. Full Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray Review

176. Nine Lives - Family feline comedy is short on imagination,
wit, and surprises. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

175. The Wild Life - Generic animated comedy-adventure does nothing to make an impression on you. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

174. Fire at Sea - Dry Italian documentary completely fails to keep you interested in the plight of ocean migrants.

173. The Family Fang - Limp dramedy squanders talented cast and significant potential. Full DVD Review

172. The Comedian - Unfunny and unappealing comedy is not the De Niro comedyback vehicle it wishes to be. Full Film Review

171. The Finest Hours - True sea rescue drama gives you little to care about. Full Blu-ray Review

If you ever thought the 1977 "Pete's Dragon" would be better with less music and more lumberjacks, then David Lowery's bland yet acclaimed 2016 remake may be your kind of movie.

170. Pete's Dragon - A bland remake with zero regard for its source material and nothing interesting in its place. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

169. The 9th Life of Louis Drax - All over the place tonally and never satisfying. Full Blu-ray Review

168. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 - Untimely sequel lacks the rampant appeal of the crowd-pleasing original. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

167. Storks - Tries hard, but doesn't win you over with either humor or heart. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

166. Equals - Mundane love in dystopia story fails to excite. Full Blu-ray Review

165. Criminal - For a film about a brain transplant, this action movie is sure short on gray matter. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

164. 13th - Historical look at systematic oppression ignores some glaring issues to pass blame and make flimsy points.

2016 was a rough year for Ben Affleck and though an okay fall performer at the box office, "The Accountant", co-starring Anna Kendrick, was as bad as things got creatively.

163. The Accountant - A dull and ridiculous action movie.
Full Film Review

162. Our Kind of Traitor - Another John le Carré novel makes for a drab, dull spy movie. Full Blu-ray Review

161. The Forest - Model January horror movie plays best to low expectations.

160. Blair Witch - Well-meaning, homagey reboot has but a tiny fraction of the original's imagination-driven scare power. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

159. God's Not Dead 2 - Like its far more profitable predecessor, well-intentioned Christian drama is overdramatic and fairly absurd.

158. The Boss - Sporadically diverting comedy doesn't have a strong story to support its large lead character. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

157. Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life - Crude kid-oriented comedy is short on imagination and wit. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

156. Nerve - Creative premise gets wasted on stupidity. Full Blu-ray + DVD Review

155. Ghostbusters - Remake of the comedy classic regrettably has more effects and action than laughs. Full Film Review

154. Office Christmas Party - Holiday workplace comedy is never even close to as funny as it wishes to be. Full Film Review

153. The Music of Strangers - Documentary profiling a collective of international musicians completely fails to hook.

152. Regression - Well-intentioned yet unsatisfying procedural fails to disarm with satanic ritual abuse. Full Blu-ray Review

151. Elstree 1976 - Slightly underwhelming documentary turns our attention to the little people still reaping the benefits of Star Wars. Full DVD Review

One of my favorite movies of all time yielded one of 2016's weakest comedies in 2016's "Ghostbusters" starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon.

Continue >>
Part 2: #150-101

Jump to a Page:
Worst Movies of 2016 | Below Average (#150-101) | Above Average (#100-51) | Top 50 Movies of 2016

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Posted March 22, 2017.

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