While I’m not finished with 2014 yet (have yet to see Selma, Inherent Vice, American Sniper, among others), I’m confident these five films are my personal worst of last year.
As it turns out, the great cinematographer Wally Pfister is no great director, at least not right now. This techno-phobic Johnny Depp thriller desperately wants to be an intelligent treatise on technology gone awry. Instead, the fascinating concept of the “singularity” is reduced to yet another science-fiction/horror hybrid where an all-powerful sentient being decides the Earth is better off without the human race.
4. Dracula Untold
Universal Studio’s attempt at kickstarting their own movie universe fails due to a derivative plot, and a visual style that apes Game of Thrones without delivering the nuance that makes that compelling television series, well, compelling. The story of Vlad the Impaler is an interesting one, but all possible originality has been sucked away. We’ve seen this before.
Another sweet Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore romance can’t save this film that aspires to be a comedy. If you enjoy African stereotypes, endless vacation montages, and a myriad of jokes that take thirty seconds to realize they’re jokes, this is the movie for you. It wasn’t for me. It’s been a while since Sandler tried anything more than appealing to the lowest common denominator, and “Blended” doesn’t buck the trend.
2. Sex Tape
Non-existent chemistry between Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel and a formulaic, often cornball script prevents this sex comedy from achieving any notable laughs. It doesn’t help that the film’s definition of “funny” is “crude” and not much else. Diaz snorting coke with her boss is only funny if the consequences are funny. Here, they’re not. They’re only frustrating.
1. Ride Along
The worst movie of 2014 is Ice Cube’s return to box office clout and Kevin Hart’s emergence as a bona fide star, financially speaking of course. Barring a somewhat ingenious cameo during the climax, this comedy is old hat from beginning to end. Every buddy cop cliche in the book is flaunted as a valued trait, and there’s only so many times a film can rely on Ice Cube’s angry rants or Kevin Hart’s miniature mug for a laugh.
Still to come: The Most Underrated Films of 2014, The Most Overrated Films of 2014, The Best Films of 2014.