The BP Bottom Ten of 2016
This list was compiled from the individual bottom ten lists of Jim, Craig, Alexander, Sarah, Matt, Ian, Julie, Marya, Rudie, Aaron, Scott, Tyler, and David. Each film was weighted according to its placement on each individual list. As such, a film that appeared on only two writers’ lists could still wind up on the finalized list if it placed particularly high. Conversely, a film could conceivably be on everybody’s list, but not make the final list, due to low point value.
10. X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men Apocalypse has the same problems that so many other comic book films have: a poorly fleshed out villain, over reliance on CG, and hurried plot lines. X-Men Apocalypse has another big hurdle in its way: Director Brian Singer, who seems to only have had two good X-Men movies in him. I understand the instinct to take an iconic villain like Apocalypse and make a film around him, but the problem is that they don’t have the time to really build out his character. So we are stuck with a stupid Egyptian opening sequence that doesn’t give us enough information about him to understand why he feels humanity has lost its way. He just becomes a “big baddy” who goes around “being bad” and collecting his four followers. Even the talents of Oscar Isaac can’t make Apocalypse a character of interest. The rest of the X-Men are pretty standard fare. Quicksilver gets another showy scene of saving people with his super-speed. Angel reappears and still basically a pointless addition, much like in X-Men: Last Stand. And the Phoenix saga is once again hinted at. We do get a major character development when we finally learn how Professor X becomes bald, so at least there is that. There are several solid performances in X-Men Apocalypse but overall it was another bland, messy comic book film that doesn’t move the franchise forward. -SB
9. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
The Tom Cruise stamp of quality wasn’t all-encompassing (we could all excuse a supporting role in Rock of Ages, right?) or entirely bulletproof (Oblivion is a noble effort and all, but c’mon), but for decades it ensured a sort of baseline quality and professionalism. If Cruise was going to star in something, it would at least be well-made, with a shred of personality. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is the first Tom Cruise movie in the past twenty-plus years to completely fail that test. It has no tension, no romance, no excitement, no flavor. Its sole vaguely-interesting action scene occurs at the very end. Its plot is a warmed over wrong-man premise with a dash of surrogate-parent anxiety. It asks nothing of Cruise or his capable costar, Cobie Smulders, beyond simple blocking and legible line readings. The lighting is flat and sour. The erratic editing establishes no mood. The dialogue is painfully blunt. I can’t imagine this film giving anyone pleasure; worse, I can’t imagine it giving Tom Cruise pleasure. It’s impossible to imagine the guy who’s built an entire franchise around nearly killing himself with absurd stunts watching the finished cut of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and saying, “yes, this is good. This is exciting. People will love this.” And maybe that’s the saddest part of all. -SN
Jean-Marc Vallee’s Demolition wants so badly to be taken seriously as an exploration of the human condition. The problem is that it doesn’t seem to have met any actual humans. Instead, writer Bryan Sipe appears to have cobbled together a story from various other movies that are infinitely more acquainted with how people actually act under emotional strain, somehow managing to glean only the worst elements from all of them. Demolition is desperate to be seen as important and thus throws as many emotions and themes at the wall as possible, seeing what will stick. Unfortunately, very little actually does, and we are left with a mess of quirks and cliches piled on the floor. -TS
7. Jason Bourne
Jason Bourne isn’t just one of the worst movies of the year, it is one of the most disappointing. Symbolizing Hollywood’s big budget blockbuster wasteland in 2016, Jason Bourne seemed to be primed as a bright spot—Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass were back to steer the formidable action franchise back from whatever the hell The Bourne Legacy was. Instead, it is an objectively worse film than the previous side quest, a re-hash of themes, narrative, and style that (like the rest of the season) added nothing new. It probably could have even been accepted as that if it also wasn’t incredibly dumb as an action thriller—seriously, a flashdrive folder for the most covert CIA operations made clearly accessible as “Black Ops”? Worse yet, Jason Bourne gives us what we don’t want in the form of clunky backstory to the title character, explaining how he got tied up in all this mess in the first place. This not only doesn’t improve our understanding of Bourne, but makes the franchise actively worse. Say what you will about The Bourne Legacy, but Greengrass and Damon taking on the creative and script responsibilities from Tony Gilroy was a terrible misjudgment and (hopefully) the death of Bourne. -AP
Passengers is proof of something. It’s just hard to pin down exactly what it is. Is it proof that misogyny is so ingrained that the many, many people who had to sign off on a big-budget studio release like this—from standpoints creative, financial, marketing and more—failed to even register how toxic and offensive its lessons are? Or is it proof that these people saw all this and assumed audiences were too dumb to notice, too apathetic to care or both? Or is it simply proof that they didn’t care themselves? In any case, the result is the most gobsmacking insult to morality to have tarnished movie theater screens in 2016. When interstellar voyager Jim (Chris Pratt), having been doomed to a life of solitude by a technical glitch in his hypersleep chamber, makes the decision to awaken Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) and thereby obliterate her right to her own life as she had chosen to live it, it’s an ethical violation that a smart, mature, honest film could have spent dark and juicy hours unpacking. Instead, screenwriter Jon Spaihts and director Morten Tyldum only feint in that direction before turning instead toward a hackneyed, life-threatening narrative MacGuffin and hoping that, in all the artificially heightened stakes, we fail to notice what a repulsive copout the reconciliation and subsequent happy ending are. At the very least, this is a stark example of the systemic laziness of conventional cinematic storytelling. More than that, though, it’s a metaphor for the way the stories of female victims of abuse, violence, rape and assault (among other affronts) are often overshadowed by and held subservient to the benefits and redemption tales of their attackers, like the Stanford man who received a six-month sentence for the rape of an intoxicated and unconscious woman because the judge worried that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.” With its glossy spectacle and forced uplift, Passengers paints its allegory with an unforgivable coat of tacit approval. -DB
5. Yoga Hosers
If Kevin Smith’s misguided 2014 film Tusk was a fumble, Yoga Hosers is a fumble that’s been picked up and run into the wrong end-zone in front of horrified onlookers screaming that a horrible mistake has been made. A quasi-sequel to Tusk, Yoga Hosers follows two Canadian teenagers known as The Colleens (played by Smith’s daughter Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp) as they do battle with a malevolent force: evil, sentient bratwursts brought to life by a deranged Nazi scientist (it’s worth noting: Smith plays said bratwurst, making this one of two films on this list to feature a stoner comedian playing a talking sausage). Yoga Hosers is clearly a love letter from Kevin Smith to his daughter, which made the Smith-and-Smith press junkets genuinely touching and charming. But the film itself is appallingly unfunny and rudimentary, both thematically and technically. Even by Kevin Smith standards, Yoga Hosers displays a surprising lack of craftsmanship. With special-effects that seem like they never finished rendering, mind-numbing dialogue, and shots where even the staging feels awkward, the film is a half-baked idea lacking even the superficial varnish to make it feel like a real movie. But above all, Yoga Hosers lacks any perspective. It is meant to be a silly comedy, but even silly comedies can have an interpretation of the world and of humanity; but Yoga Hosers seems to have nothing to say and no one in particular to say it to. -CS
4. Patriots Day
3. Sausage Party
Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon’s Sausage Party is that terrible combination of being neither as smart nor as funny as it obviously thinks it is. Using the animation style and story framework of Pixar films to create singing and dancing food products, the makers of Sausage Party are ultimately more concerned with exploring themes of shedding our religious delusions. This would be fine, if not for the film’s completely uninspired sex and drug jokes, liberal use of profanity, and half-baked commentary, all adding up to a film that appears to have been crafted by a group of 13-year-olds laughing at each other’s lame jokes. -TS
2. Batman v Superman
After years of development and millions of dollars, director Zack Snyder delivered quite a whimper with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. With many, many disjointed scenes and clumsy character moments, the superhero movie seemed to be more interested in a grand scale than actual storytelling. And because of its structure, BvS loses a lot when it comes to mythology, scene construction and pace, action, and overall coherence. -RO
1. Suicide Squad
What a God-awful mess!! The third film in the DC Extended Universe offered some hope with a few fun and exciting trailers, but once Suicide Squad was in theaters, it’s hard to believe that it was even worse than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. At least, that movie had something on its mind, while Suicide Squad was nothing more than a two-hour trailer with a series of incoherent scenes and a pop song soundtrack that telegraphed what those scenes were about. Why can’t Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment get their shit together?! Audiences and fans are waiting for something good, or at least watchable. -RO
Jesus…not good reading if you work for DC or the WB.
Yeah those were garbage, but I feel like none of you went the extra mile to see the REAL bad films of 2016. Where’s:
Norm of the North
Big Fat Greek Wedding 2
God’s Not Dead 2
I mean really, your list is “Top movies that a lot of people were disappointed with so it’s super safe and boring to list them.”
Go crazy. Watch filth. Live in the sewer. It’s the only place you’ll see Meet The Blacks, or Cell, and isn’t it more interesting to have seen things OTHER than what everyone else saw?
I saw GOD’S NOT DEAD 2. It was on my personal bottom ten list, but I think I was the only one.
I think that considering many people involved in the BP Fleet (such as myself) don’t do film criticism full time, there has to be a selectiveness to what people see and, for both the purposes of staying relevant to the cultural conversation and recognizing the demographic visiting the website, the choice between seeing Suicide Squad vs. Norm of the North isn’t too much of a choice (I say this speaking on my own behalf and not on the behalf of anyone else)
boy, it seems like nobody hated Hardcore Henry as much as i did.
I did! But I don’t write for BP…
Hot take: Sausage Party’s twenty minute food orgy is more satisfying than watching Damien Chazelle manually pleasure Hollywood for more then two hours.