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The Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of 2014 So Far

Features
by The Playlist Staff
July 1, 2014 2:52 PM
52 Comments
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We’ve said it before, notably as a lead-in to our recent Best Films Of The Year So Far feature, but 2014 is looking to be a pretty good year for the movies, with a lot more to celebrate than commiserate being unveiled this past six months. And if we can say that the week that “Transformers: Age of Extinction” is the big release, you know we must really mean it. However, as the song goes, along with all the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain sometimes, and how would we even know how great some of our high points were if we didn’t periodically experience the lows? Even in the best years, there’ll be a few films that stick in our various craws, and so in our bi-annual attempt to exorcize those demons, here’s a rundown of the films our staff members most disliked this year, thus far.

A word on our format this time around, though. When we’ve run these brief wallows in cinematic ordure before, there’s often a degree of confusion around whether the picks are subjective or objective, and whether they’re consensus agreements or the unshakable impression of one single Playlister whose opinion the rest of us would like to sidle away from quietly. So to try and minimize that this year, we’re going with personal choices, but in two categories—each has chosen the film that we believe belongs in the realm of the empirical, objective, worst (i.e. with the fewest redeeming features) and also, with more up-front subjectivity, a film that personally disappointed us due to whatever peculiar cocktail of expectation we felt going in. It’s not a perfect system, and no doubt you’ll all find a lot to disagree with, which is what the comments section is for, but hopefully this way you get some context for our choices.

Not only that, but, as borne out by our “best of” being much, much longer, the fact is that it’s far more likely that a majority of us will have gone to see a film we hear good stuff about than bad, with the result that oftentimes achieving a consensus around the worst films of the year is difficult, because few of us seek out films that those we respect strongly caution us away from; no one but the worst masochist goes around trying desperately to see films they believe they’re going to dislike in advance, unless they really have to. There are more than enough great movies to occupy anyone’s time. As a result, all the below are eclectic and highly personal choices reflecting the dodgy end of our individual experiences of 2014 at the movies so far. Enjoy, or be appalled, as you will.

Katie Walsh
Worst: “Walk of Shame”
I was suspicious of “Walk of Shame” when it was announced, purely on premise alone. A plucky news reporter gets stranded in downtown LA without a car or phone? Quelle horreur! Whatever shall she do? As an Angeleno, this premise sounded preposterous and somewhat classist/racist. And guess what? It is! The film, written and directed by Steven Brill, manages to stereotype and offend in order: prostitutes, taxi drivers, Middle Easterners, drug dealers, black people, bus drivers, homeless people, Latinos, Jews, massage therapists and Asians, but above all, white women, because they are ultimately the biggest dummies in this film. The entire movie is premised upon the cognitive dissonance of an attractive, upper middle class white woman like Elizabeth Banks traipsing about lower class ethnic neighborhoods, inappropriately dressed. FUNNY, RIGHT?! So hilarious, ‘cause like, why would she ever be in a crack house? Banks is clearly game for the pursuit, but it’s only in service of situations that are racist, classist and terribly unfunny. The rest of the cast are just along for the ride, with Gillian Jacobs as her particularly mean best friend, completely uncharming playing cold and bitchy, instead of her dizzy, fizzy “Community” character. As much as the film tries, it just never gets there, with stilted timing and five-year-old regional jokes. If there’s anything more pathetic than a trying-to-be-raucous wild film that just comes off as hideously boring as “Walk of Shame,” I’m really glad I don’t know what that is.

Disappointing: “They Came Together”
I didn't even watch the trailer for "They Came Together," so sure I was that I'd like the spoof take on the rom com from the team behind the classic "Wet Hot American Summer." I was certainly not expecting to hate this movie with every fiber of my being within five minutes, and have to talk myself out of walking out several times, in order to write this piece. While the "film" (I am loathe to use that term as this is basically a Funny or Die short bloated to a torturous 80 minutes) has myriad problems, most of them all go back to the sheer contempt that this film has for the romantic comedy genre, and the Nora Ephrons that have governed and cultivated said genre. David Wain and co. didn't bother writing a single joke, because "yuk yuk isn't it funny that we're making fun of romantic comedies and this particular woman's work; poop, fart, penis, butt, boobs, cynical smirk, repeat." That's literally the only joke—romantic comedies are like this, am I right??—for the entire movie. Every supporting character delivers their lines with a derisive, sneering irony, while even the one-two punch of likability that is Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd portray their characters as if they are suffering traumatic brain injuries. What made something like 'Wet Hot' work as a spoof was that it clearly came from a place of love for '70s summer camp movies, and the giddy joy at making an entry of their own. This is just a mean, nasty takedown of rom-coms, which feels inherently sexist, because the message is that media tailored to a female audience is inferior, and needs more completely random poop references to be funny. And the fact that it's so terribly, cringingly unfunny is the ultimate rub, because despite the nonsensical, sexual and scatological content, so effortfully shoehorned in, "They Came Together" contains not one truly funny moment, and that's probably the greatest insult to this group, and biggest disappointment to their fans.

Drew Taylor
Worst: "A Million Ways to Die in the West"
The western comedy is a notoriously difficult genre hybrid, one that takes a certain amount of finesse and delicateness to successfully pull off. So it should have come as no surprise that Seth MacFarlane, a proven enemy of subtlety, would bungle his widescreen western comedy "A Million Ways to Die in the West." Part of this has to do with MacFarlane's seemingly boundless ego—not only did he co-write and direct this overlong, unfunny slog, but he also had the gall to star in it too. (As a testament to his narcissism, MacFarlane cast Amanda Seyfried and Charlize Theron, two of the smartest, most talented, and, of course, most gorgeous, actresses around, to play characters who spend the whole movie fighting over him.) Everything about "A Million Ways to Die in the West" is a wrong-headed miscalculation: from the distractingly awful cameos from Bill Maher and Christopher Lloyd (reprising his "Back to the Future" role) and Jamie Foxx (as Django, no less) to the fact that MacFarlane plays a character with contemporary neuroses with zero explanation as to why he's this crazy modern man trapped in the west. It's just exhausting. Not that it will matter much to MacFarlane. He's got "Ted 2" lined up next. And we all know how much the kids love a foul-mouthed bear. At the very least we can take heart in knowing that MacFarlane won't actually appear on screen. Thank god.

Disappointing: "Maleficent"
This was supposed to be it: a bold live action retelling of Walt Disney's immortal animated "Sleeping Beauty," except this time told from the point-of-view of its unforgettable evil sorceress, Maleficent (embodied, with devilish glee, by Angelina Jolie). The original animated film's lush widescreen look (it was projected on 70 mm, in the super-stretchy 2.55:1 aspect ratio) and Mary Blair and Eyvind Earle's medieval-meets-modern artistic aesthetic would be updated with state-of-the-art visual effects and 3D photography. And even better: like their similar "Alice in Wonderland," the entire movie would be suffused with at least a volatile, subversive dose of rah-rah feminism. But none of this would come to pass. Instead, the movie, uneasily and artlessly directed by former production designer Robert Stromberg, was a witless blur, turning the iconic villainess into an easily malleable wimp, largely defined by her relationship to various male characters. The attempt at depicting a meaningful relationship between Maleficent and future Sleeping Beauty Aurora (Elle Fanning) meant absolutely nothing, and the feminist subtext was non-existent. Maleficent is basically a rape victim, and spends the rest of the story plotting her revenge in all sorts of really flimsy ways (yawn). Worst of all: Maleficent's coolest power, the ability to turn into a fearsome dragon, was robbed of her and given to a male character. So much of the movie is concerned with how a character had robbed Maleficent of her beautiful wings. But it was the dopey filmmakers behind this oddly structured bore that really took away Maleficent's magnificence. For a Disney freak like myself, "Maleficent" was absolutely crushing.

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52 Comments

  • Honestly | July 19, 2014 5:42 PMReply

    You clearly have no taste in films. I fear to know what you'd rate as the "best movie of 2014" God forbid. A long way down: Beautiful. The other woman: Hilarious. Noah: Breathtaking. Edge of tomorrow: Amazing. When you find your talent.. If you have any that is.. Then rate movies you clearly don't understand. The writer of this post has the most pathetic taste in movies clearly. Stop writing false crap and giving people wrong advice please?

  • huj? | July 19, 2014 6:31 PM

    Wait, who has not taste in film? all of them or the person who just subjectively wrote about Noah? (different from the person who also included Noah in their most underrated picks?) Huh?

  • Catheter squirting | July 15, 2014 11:10 AMReply

    Disappointed with superhero movies and 4th generation reboots? And you call yourselves movie fans!

  • rodie | July 9, 2014 11:33 PMReply

    They Came Together would have been a lot funnier 10 years ago. You know, when these types of movies were actually made and popular. The problem is the rom-coms this film is satirizing have fallen out of favor years ago. It'd be like making a spoof comedy about an NSYNC-style boy band right now. Like, what?

  • Madison | July 9, 2014 12:44 AMReply

    I've been saying Snowpiercer was all smoke and mirrors for months now, I still can't understand the good reviews and audiences. The characters are more shallow than a teaspoon, they're all literally walking cliches and the plot is full of holes. I cannot believe that people can be so impressed by art direction. Perhaps I should have learned that lesson from Moulin Rouge and Gatsby, but I always think people will see through the frills.

  • john | July 8, 2014 10:00 PMReply

    Your entire article lost all of it's legitimacy when you put Edge of Tomorrow and (for me) Godzilla on this list. You must be one boring bastard if you can't enjoy either of those movies. It sounds like you hated/disliked literally 95% of the movies that have come out this year. You have a stick so far up your ass it's incredible how you can sit down to watch those movies. Maybe that's why you dislike them so much. 'Edge of Tomorrow disappointing'. Give me a break lmao. I got to remember to come to this site when I want a good laugh from dumbass bloggers or critics or whatever you call yourselves.

  • Joe | July 9, 2014 1:01 AM

    Have to agree wholeheartedly with John. Edge of Tomorrow was amazing and entertaining. Sci-fi, action, somewhat complex, mystery, it was just so good. How could you not like that movie? But obviously this critic has completely opposite taste as me because at the end of the same paragraph they say they didn't like 22 jump street either. Really invalidates the whole list for me,

  • mksm79 | July 8, 2014 11:33 PM

    What a sad, sad little man you are.... dammit! Wait! I've been suckered in by a troll! Clever, clever...

  • Dumbsas John | July 8, 2014 10:21 PM

    "You must be one boring bastard if you can't enjoy either of those movies"
    You know this was written by individual people with their individual, subject picks, right?

  • WashingtonDcbeast | July 8, 2014 4:39 PMReply

    WOW i guess only feminist cunts and fags write reviews nowdays. couldn't bother reading about your views on ^^^^^^ nobody gives a lopsided deadbeat shit talk about the movies next time please thanks.

  • Pshaw | July 7, 2014 5:46 AMReply

    LOL! This is exactly why I have a rule to see movies the critics pan and skip the ones they recommend. You don't actually grasp the concepts of those big words your thesauruses find for you, and your arrogant hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  • Slits | July 8, 2014 11:36 PM

    Aaaaaand this is why one shouldn't read the comments section. Because the internet has given a soap box to readers like this one. Although it is great comedy to watch people hurl the insults at an article on a free website that they are under no obligation to read. But then again a reader such as this probably has a good old whinge whenever Facebook changes something in their layout.

  • TallBoy6t6 | July 6, 2014 12:20 AMReply

    I kind of admired "I, Frankenstien" bizarro lunkheadedness (Frankenstien walking away in slow motion from exploding demons at the climax actually worked for me) and there were enough explosions, Keifer Sutherland chewing the hell out of any piece of scenery, and an oddly actually emotional last 3 minutes in "Pompeii" to make it at least okay.

    Winnar? That Awkward Moment. It was painful. Utterly freakin' painful. Runner up is Tammy. Also painful.

  • Pffft. | July 5, 2014 8:14 PMReply

    No black films or movies directed by women. Total bullsh*t.

  • anthony | July 8, 2014 10:02 PM

    Did Tyler Perry come out with another movie this year? hmm you're right. I am surprised there were no black films on the list of most disappointing films of the year.

  • Kinanswer | July 6, 2014 12:44 PM

    You were upset to find no "black films" or movies directed by women in the "The Worst And Most Disappointing Films Of 2014 So Far" article?

  • Steven Millan | July 5, 2014 4:38 AMReply

    Add X-MEN:DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and WOLF CREEK 2 on 2014's Worst and Disappointing Films list(along side OCULUS and THE QUIET ONES),since I badly suffered through those mentioned films(as if I was enduring Chinese water torture).

  • Real Jew | July 4, 2014 7:37 PMReply

    Edge Of Tomorrow is on this list so everything was invalidated

  • Super Mensch | July 5, 2014 8:15 PM

    Read the whole thing man, REEEEEEAD.

  • AddictedAICN | July 4, 2014 2:26 PMReply

    I don't know what I'd say is the worst, but the first thing that comes to mind disappointment wise was "Muppets Most Wanted".

  • Frank | July 3, 2014 10:54 AMReply

    Captain America 2 and Lego Movie. Both were vastly overrated garbage.

  • Drag Me To Taco Bell | July 3, 2014 7:58 AMReply

    Thanks for including "Only Lovers Left Alive" on this list. Although it got off to a good start, it ran out of steam quickly. Talk about a one-joke, one-idea movie. One of Jarmusch's weakest films.

  • JB | July 2, 2014 9:47 PMReply

    Huh. I was coasting through this little snarkfest until your Malificent review. It's so off the mark about so many things that I can't trust the rest of the article. You say they failed to develop a loving relationship between Aurora and Malificent and that the feminist themes in the film are nonexistent. Not weaker than you'd like; nonexistent. I think you must have seen a different movie than I did. And now I can't know how many other mischaracterizations you make about the other films in the article. The clock has struck thirteen.

  • J | July 2, 2014 7:26 PMReply

    i am not trying to defend Seth don't really care for him the only cartoon i like of his is American dad but i do think it's bs that your badmouthing him for staring in a movie he wrote there are a lot of people who done that like Matt and trey and spike lee

  • J | July 2, 2014 7:28 PM

    and yes i know some one is going to reply and say well they where good actors or directors or whatever that's not point the point is Seth is receiving crap for doing something other people have done i think the person hate him before writing this

  • Ollie | July 2, 2014 5:40 PMReply

    They Came Together was hilarious and confirms that rom-coms are the very worst genre

  • steve w | July 2, 2014 3:53 PMReply

    Katie Walsh - Walk of Shame - Trying to figure out why it matters if anyone insults drug dealers. Oh you mean those GOOD drug dealers. Now I get it.

  • Proletariat | July 2, 2014 3:36 PMReply

    Ah, an article seemingly written for the sole purpose of destroying any respect I have for the writing on this site. Hey lets write a bitchy article where we take mediocre movies and call them terrible for obnoxious non-reasons!
    Spiderman 2 cost a billion dollars, so it should have been brilliant right? But it was merely "meh", therefore it is a cinematic abortion.
    Lovers Left Alive is a critical darling, what if we publish some contrarian bullshit just to stir the pot?
    Maleficent is a summer blockbuster instead of the fulfillment of my specific vision of feminist empowerment?

  • The Sound Of Your Voice | July 2, 2014 3:46 PM

    Uhh, you know this is subjective and a lot of the writers don't agree with each other, right? Only Lovers Left Alive was loved by many of the writers here and so was Edge of Tomorrow. There's no conspiracy here. This list wasn't made by committee. Try reading?

  • Jagernaut | July 2, 2014 2:29 AMReply

    FRANKENSTEIN was M. Shelly. Wollstonecraft was her mom.

    Where do I send an application here?

  • Tom Kelly | July 1, 2014 6:49 PMReply

    I wish you critics would stop picking apart every movie as though it was based on some unknown standard of perfection. Many of us like movies for their diversity and imaginative fun with no standard in mind. BUT that's not your job, I guess... I liked Walk of Shame...and Maleficent tremendously. And I'm still going to see Million ways to die in the West... So there..

  • Jon | July 7, 2014 12:38 AM

    I think the last time I went to a movie cause of a critic was Babe. No, not about the baseball legend, I'm talking about the movie about a stupid talking pig!
    This is a movie all the critics were climaxing over!

    Why? CAUSE IT WAS DIFFERENT!

    Sorry to burst anyone's bubble in here protecting critics but...critics should not be employed ever! And, It has absolutely nothing to do with taste or interpretation or artistic likes & dislikes.

    A critic job is to watch movies! They will never be in a theatre because of why we're there!

  • Spacetree | July 2, 2014 10:46 PM

    All art is inherently subjective, Manni. Just because a critic might have an educated opinion about a work doesn't mean it is the end-all opinion on said work. Besides, if you want to experience a work and have the means to do so, why would you accept the experience of someone else? What does that give you?

  • Steve | July 2, 2014 10:36 AM

    I wish Internet commenters wouldn't get their panties in a wad every time a critic doesn't have glowing things to say about films they enjoy. Enjoy what you want. And if you don't care about critics' opinions, do read them.

  • Manni | July 2, 2014 5:20 AM

    Oh boy, you're gionna have SO MUCH fun! Never listen to critics, what do they know about movies, huh? Just go, and enjoy the hell out of "Million ways to die in a west"... Good luck ;).

  • Ryan Gosling's Pot Dealer | July 1, 2014 6:42 PMReply

    It seemed like the person who wrote the parts for Walk of Shame, A Million Ways to Die and Maleficiant were more concerned with those films (cringe as I type the words) "gender politics then with their entertainment value. No one goes to the movies for gender politics. Go write a "think piece" for Salon or something.

  • Jim | July 1, 2014 5:59 PMReply

    Worst: Jack Ryan
    Honestly wasn't a bad film at all, but out of all the films I've seen it was the lowest ranked, maybe tied with nympho part 2, which sucks the life from me.

    Most Disappointing: Godzilla
    I don't know what they were thinking with the little plot change up with Bryan Cranston's character, but they could have made a fantastic father son movie that would have given much needed character to ATJ's man. Trailers made it look quite arty and somewhat psychological, but we got typical action movie fair.

  • Jim | July 1, 2014 5:55 PMReply

    It's funny becuase Oliver's picks are actually two of my favourite films this year. The new spidermans resonate with me so much and yeah the second was a bit messy but it was still better than a lot of films this year. For the life of my I don't know why people hate Dom Hemingway. I saw it at a festival and the entire audience laughed through the whole film, and I'm not exaggerating. Basically the entire film. It was hilarious.

  • cirkusfolk | July 1, 2014 5:23 PMReply

    I've been careful to avoid films I assumed were gonna be bad, save for Transformers, but I can't even say that was horrid. As far as disappointing? That easily goes to The Rover.

  • Rob | July 1, 2014 5:17 PMReply

    Blah, blah, blah. We hate everything. Totally worth a whole article being written about it.

  • StopWhining | July 8, 2014 11:38 PM

    Oh shut up. Not like anyone twisted your arm to read it. Go get real problems.

  • RP | July 1, 2014 5:03 PMReply

    Ben: I think you're crazy. Respectfully, RP.

  • BB | July 1, 2014 5:40 PM

    Crazy enough to look at "I, Frankenstein" and think "yes, yes it does deserve some bullying"? Definitely.

  • Patrick Devitt | July 1, 2014 4:16 PMReply

    Worst: 'The Legend of Hercules' - An absolute bore.
    Disappointing: 'Sabotage' - 'End of Watch' was very good. The plot sounded fun, but it turned out to be the third worst film of the year.

  • Anna | July 1, 2014 3:38 PMReply

    Worst for me was a toss-up between A Million Ways to Die in the West and Transcendence, with Jersey Boys very close and winning for most disappointing.

  • Soupy Sayles | July 1, 2014 3:34 PMReply

    The only disappointing aspect of EDGE OF TOMORROW is its box-office. I enjoyed it more than I expected!

  • Nikki | July 1, 2014 3:32 PMReply

    I wouldn't call Amanda Seyfried or Charlize Theron smart. Talented and beautiful yes. But smart? No.

  • Steve | July 2, 2014 10:39 AM

    Based off all of those personal conversations you've had with them, right?

  • Steve Glansberg | July 1, 2014 3:29 PMReply

    Worst for me so far was That Awkward Moment, and most disappointing is a toss up between Transcendence and Noah. But I have to echo Rodrigo's sentiments on Edge of Tomorrow. I just don't see why that movie has been getting a pass from critics. In addition to the criticisms he named, I thought the ending was an absolute disaster! In the last five minutes of the movie, my star rating for it plummeted.

  • DG | July 1, 2014 3:21 PMReply

    Worst for me worst is a tie between Nympho 2 and Grand Buddapest, the latter of which I seem to be the only one to completely against

  • Sunnyt | July 1, 2014 3:08 PMReply

    THANK YOU FOR THIS LIST!! I was looking at renting a couple of these on VOD but I will save my money.

  • Derek Diercksmeier | July 1, 2014 3:04 PMReply

    HATED They Came Together.

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