Battleship Pretension’s Ten Worst Films of 2022
Battleship Pretension’s Ten Worst Films of 2022
Dishonorable mentions: Holy Spider, The Man from Toronto, They/Them, Thor: Love and Thunder, Triangle of Sadness
10. The 355
Generally, unless it’s from a director with whose work I already have a negative association, I try to enter into every movie with hope and optimism. So, in the opening scene of Simon Kinberg’s The 355, when the movie introduces its ridiculous MacGuffin (a computer program that only exists on one chip and has the ability to take control of any other computer system in the world from any distance), I thought to myself, “Okay, cool, so this is like a throwback to 90s Bond movie type stuff.” But it very soon becomes clear, over and over again, that no such thought was put into this picture. It’s just completely unoriginal.
Sissy is a wholesale rip off of a much better film from four years ago, New Year, New You a film in the Hulu’s “Into the Dark” horror anthology. To give the film some credit, it does do a good job of showing how additive positive feedback from social media can be, and how far some people will go for that high. But that is about all the film has going for it. Good horror requires imagination and Sissy utterly lacks imagination. The kills are boring and have been seen in countless times in better films. The end is a total mess when Cecelia “Sissy” has to try to over up what she has done, and it devolves into mistaken identities and bumps on the head. Sometimes even one good kill or one fun moment can make a horror movie worth watching, but Sissy brings nothing inventive to the screen.
Co-written and directed by Valérie Lemercier, Aline follows Aline Dieu, a Canadian pop star who goes from child prodigy to mega-superstar, while she struggles with stardom and romance with her manager. On the surface, this movie is a fictional re-telling of pop star Céline Dion’s rise to stardom that seems fine enough as a loose music biopic. However, the biggest problem with the movie is it also stars Valérie Lemercier as Aline… in every facet of her life… even as a 12-year-old child. Lemercier was in her mid-’50s when she played this role. Let that sink in. This movie is too goofy to be taken seriously and too serious to be taken as goofy. And what remains is this middleground of bad choices with nothing to say.
7. The Whale
Though by far master-of-extravagance Darren Aronofsky’s most restrained film, The Whale is as indulgent as its frame is narrow. Indulgent in cultural stereotypes, in heightening the othering of obesity, and most of all in accentuating its characters’ roles in the narrative into their entire being. Only Brendan Fraser – understandably lauded for his even, nuanced, resigned portrait of self-destruction – finds anything beyond the page to play, while even Samantha Morton and Hong Chau – two of the best and most resourceful actors working – cannot escape the designs into which they’ve been cast. The overwrought metaphors in Samuel D. Hunter’s self-adapted screenplay add even less, and the cumulative effect of all of this cautious ostentation is a film that seems to constantly apologize for itself and its own worst ambitions while denying itself any of what could be its best.
Roland Emmerich’s career has, in many ways, modeled the precipitous and destructive descent of this disaster film’s titular celestial body. Cementing his fame with big budget studio spectacles like Independence Day and Stargate, Emmerich began declining when he started believing he could direct serious dramas (Anonymous, Stonewall). Ultimately, he crash landed in 2022 at the lowest point of his career with Moonfall, an independently produced film that fails spectacularly at philosophical musings while also looking like complete garbage despite its reported budget of $130M+. In a day and age where conspiracy theorists are fueling nutjob political campaigns and the scientific method is under attack, it’s a curious choice (if we’re being kind) for Emmerich to spend so much money and effort on a movie in which a wacko conspiracy theory is not only true, but also fuels the efforts of a conspiracy theorist (John Bradley) who is ultimately validated and rewarded for sticking to the claims that got him expelled from the larger scientific community. Putting aside the massive yolk that suspension of disbelief asks of the viewer – Moonfall depicts an Earth where its trees are being uprooted by the gravity of a descending moon, but where, curiously, its satellite phones and GPS still operate perfectly – Emmerich’s biggest crime in making this movie is in assuming that not only is there existential resonance to be mined in the film’s premise, but that he is also capable of mining it.
The latest…(checks notes, sees Memory and Marlowe)…one of the latest iterations of the “Liam Neeson has a particular set of skills” genre, Blacklight adds “pretending to be a walking corpse” to Neeson’s skillset. Not literally, of course; in his most recent teaming with Honest Thief director Mark Willians, Liam Neeson is Travis Block, an FBI fixer who just wants to retire and spend more time with his granddaughter, only to find that plan challenged by a corrupt FBI director (Aidan Quinn) who desperately wants to get rid of a journalist digging too deep on the death of an AOC-like activist. At this stage in his career, you know what to expect from Neeson, but Blacklight is truly a low point, with a derivative and lazy script, characters that lack any charisma or intelligence, and action sequences seemingly edited by a blender in an attempt to cover up the fact that the 70-year old leading man is no longer capable of even the most basic of stunts. By now, Neeson has done so many of these brainless B-movie action joints that even he can’t pretend to care anymore.
Uncharted is a disappointment from start to finish. The film has three credited writers. You can feel them actively working against each other to make anything exciting or new the most generic and dull contrivances and set pieces. Uncharted thinks it is rebooting Indiana Jones but instead it is the worst bits of The Davinci Code, National Treasure, and Now You See Me. An unnecessary over reliance on CG means that nothing in the film ever has any stakes. It is the kind of film that features a Papa John’s (in Spain) because there are ancient pirate secrets hiding behind its frescoed walls, I guess. Perhaps the most disappointing part of Uncharted is its misuse of a very talented cast. Tom Holland brings his usual fun and charm to the role of Nathan Drake, but despite his best efforts he cannot save the film from its terrible script and boring plot. Despite its nearly two hour run time, there is nothing to hold the viewers interest and it ultimately feels utterly forgettable.
Despite what you might have heard on TikTok, the summer of 2022 was decidedly not the summer of Morbius. While Morbius was hyped by Sony to be the followup to the successful Spider-Man: No Way Home, it was rather another limp attempt from the movie studio to create a Spider-Man-less Cinematic Universe to rival the MCU. Jared Leto’s self-serious Dr. Michael Morbius sucks the life out of whatever small inkling of energy there is, while Matt Smith’s Lucien “Milo” was the only character who got the memo that this movie should’ve been campy fun instead of a half-baked and uninspired slog that feels more like a corporate mandated placeholder.
2. The Bubble
At his best, filmmaker and occasional stand-up Judd Apatow can combine sharp comedic timing with enough sentiment to keep his characters endearing. “The Bubble” does not achieve this. This Covid-era satirical wannabe may feature a strong cast of comedic performers, but it’s also Apatow’s worst effort as a director or producer. Leaning into the worst sensibilities of what this era of comedy has to offer – letting scenes run way longer than they have to for the sake of seeing every improvisation play out long after the comedic momentum has vanished, here’s a film that has no idea how to approach its subject. Is a look behind the scenes of Hollywood during a chaotic period ripe for some smart humor? Sure. Instead, the choice to equip each performer with one tired quirk and let that play out for an excruciating 124 minutes does nothing but render all of the opportunity to be incisive squandered with next to no moments left to even smirk at.
1. Bullet Train
Somehow, the standard for comedy in major studio pictures has sunk so low that a jaded “Really?” can completely take the place of an actual joke or retort and audiences don’t riot. It’s easy to blame the early-MCU Favreau/Whedon movies for this but really it’s the fact that, over a decade ago, people saw a kind of disaffected quippiness actually work in those movies and thought it would be easy to replicate. And we let them off the hook! Anyway, that’s about the level of humor you can expect from the entirety of David Leitch‘s new action “comedy,” Bullet Train.
Battleship Pretension’s Ten Worst Films of 2022
Battleship Pretension is a movie discussion podcast started in 2007 by Tyler Smith and David Bax. Since then, we’ve done live comedy shows, written reviews, commentaries and more.
Battleship Pretension is a film discussion show and a film review website founded by Tyler Smith and David Bax. Beginning in March 2007, Battleship Pretension the show (known to fans simply as “BP”) embodies the type of laidback, free-flowing conversations had by lovers of film around the world. Battleship Pretension the website is dedicated to being a destination for those seeking worthwhile opinions on current releases, be they foreign, independent, studio pictures, theatrical, home video releases, etc. From its meager beginnings in Los Angeles, Battleship Pretension has amassed a worldwide audience and readership. From Germany to Korea to Australia, people have tuned in to share in Tyler and David’s love of film. As Battleship Pretension’s following continues to grow, the purpose remains the same: Reach out to the international cinephile community, invite them to join in the discussion and perhaps even start one of their own.