By Sam Adams | Criticwire December 13, 2013 at 10:41AM
The Dissolve kicks off its Best of 2013 coverage with a list of the year's worst films (to which, as noted previously, I contributed). It's a fairly balanced mixed of big-budget flops -- The Internship, A Good Day to Die Hard -- and misconceived indies -- Inside the Mind of Charles Swann III, Ass Backwards -- closing out with Movie 43, whose exclusion on some of the year's other worst-of lists has led some to question their thoroughness.
The list also reveals what we can only describe as a crisis in titular hyphens: By our count, at least three films: Off Label, Upside Down and Grown Ups 2 lack hyphens they ought to have (Ass Backwards is a liminal case) and another, Argento's Dracula 3-D, has one it does not need. Not the worst sin committed by any of these films, but still deserving of inclusion on a complete accounting of their offenses.
The Dissolve's Worst Movies of 2013
1. The Internship. "It was meant as a great leap forward for the integration of advertising and entertainment, and instead, it was a giant shimmy backward."
2. Off Label. "It takes a special kind of commitment to make a doc that can’t even decide for five straight minutes what its subject is supposed to be."
3. Argento's Dracula 3-D. "Argento’s Dracula has blood and nudity aplenty, but otherwise, there’s little of the Argento of old to be found, making this one of the year’s biggest letdowns."
4. Upside Down. "Not many Americans saw this bizarro, visually ambitious, laughably overwrought romantic drama. That’s actually a shame, because for bad-movie lovers, it counts as the year’s best comedy."
5. Salinger. "A literary documentary pitched at subliterates."
6. Machete Kills. "Rodriguez has applied the same shoestring, making-movies-in-my-backyard aesthetic of his low-budget debut El Mariachi to nearly all of his subsequent action thrillers. Time to call him out on it."
7. Somebody Up There Likes Me. "Some admirers cited Wes Anderson or Hal Hartley, but both of those filmmakers use idiosyncratic artifice to heighten emotion, not to evade it."
8. The Last Exorcism Part II. "The ending leaves the door open for a sequel, but this already feels like one last exorcism too many."
9. CBGB. "Punk still lives, but this movie arrived DOA."
10. Inside the Mind of Charles Swann III. "The oppressively twee comedy shamelessly appropriates Anderson’s delicately wrought aesthetic, but in a fashion that betrays a fundamental ignorance about what makes his films emotionally resonant instead of merely cinematic pop-up books."
11. Grown Ups 2. "Some people make sequels because doing so is easier than an afternoon nap on a bed of thousand-dollar bills."
12. A Good Day to Die Hand. "It so perverts the original film’s virtues that it’s like a game of Telephone that starts with Die Hard and ends, to quote The Simpsons, with 'purple monkey dishwasher.'"
13. Ass Backwards. "An indulgent, misconceived mess, a frenetic tumble of post-Bridesmaids gags."
14. At Any Price. Doesn't have any of the cinematic flair or emotional nuance of Bahrani's earlier work. It’s a position paper posing as a movie."
15. Movie 43."[Not] just one of the worst movies of the year -- it was actually several of the worst movies of the year."