Sometimes it’s just a matter of bad execution, but more often than not, it’s the case of giving a green light to an already bad concept.
Variety’s film critics Owen Gleiberman and Peter Debruge present their Worst Films of 2017 in a combined list.
Owen Gleiberman’s 5 worst:
1. “Trespass Against Us”
It’s a wacky drama that hardly anyone saw or cared about. Michael Fassbender and Vrendan Gleeson play father-and-son criminals who live in a makeshift domestic trailer camp, where every moment consists of bickering nonsense.
2. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”
Viewers get sucked into a video-game version of Jumanji that then transformed, for no particular reason, into Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan. The four act out squabbling bits and pieces of what might be the lamest Indiana Jones sequel ever imagined.
3. “The Book of Henry”
It’s the tale of an 11-year-old brainiac who lays a trap for a child abuser, all as a way to let the folks around him grieve. It’s never clear whether we should be laughing, crying, or waving a white flag.
4. “Slack Bay”
Calling this an artistic leap forward for French director Bruno Dumont making “comedies” like this one would be like saying waterboarding is more tolerable when accompanied be a laugh track.
5. “T2: Trainspotting”
Twenty years later, the junkies from “Trainspotting” have every right to be older and wearier. Director Danny Boyle made a fatal mistake when he stripped it of energy, recklessness, and drugs. “Trainspotting” was a great movie because it found a degraded joy in throwing your life away. But “T2” doesn’t choose life — it chooses hollow moping by people with nothing left to lose.
Peter Debruge’s 5 worst:
Rather than scrapping (or at least adapting) his raw-nerve concept after the Bataclan shooting, French director Bertrand Bonello withholds any relevant insights or social critique.
2. “The Emoji Movie”
What’s next? “Selfie Stick: The Movie”? A transparently cynical cash-grab inspired by emoticons, this Sony-made CG cartoon was a blatant rip-off of Pixar’s “Inside Out,” offering some generic “be yourself” message while teaching kids they need phones to be cool/attractive to the opposite sex.
3. “Fist Fight”
Whoever thought it was a good idea to build a movie around a misunderstanding between two high-school teachers that escalates into an epic on-campus brawl clearly doesn’t have children. American movies are already far too cavalier about violence, and a comedy that encourages it in such an inappropriate context isn’t funny; it’s downright irresponsible.
4. “The Snowman”
This film features a lame serial killer who signs his crimes by building a snowman in his victims’ front yards. Why not leave behind freshly baked cookies while he’s at it?
Based on a faulty premise (that status-hungry humans would voluntarily agree to shrink themselves), this satire is artless from the opening shot and features a charisma-less lead performance from Matt Damon, whose character just accepts being ditched by his wife, when the film ought to be about trying to win her back.
Disclaimer: This article is the opinion of film critics Owen Gleiberman and Peter Debruge.