I’m going to mix it up this year with my “Worst of the Year” list and not only include the “worst” films, but films that were the most disappointing as well. The idea here isn’t necessarily to highlight the truly worst movies of the year. Those would obviously be films like Kirk Cameron Saves Christmas and Winter’s Tale, but since there’s no reason to see those movies to know they’re bad, there’s really no reason to include them.

As for my criteria for deciding the “worst of the worst,” most of it comes down to bad writing (surprise surprise). And bad writing can be broken down into three categories: A) Writers who don’t know how to write. B) A lack of effort in writing the screenplay. And C) The people involved in the film don’t care about the script.

What really gets me is B and C. It’s not really a writer’s fault if he’s bad and someone hired him to write the movie. If he’s giving his best effort, I applaud him. But if you didn’t try hard when writing a movie? Or if the people involved don’t think a screenplay is important enough in the first place? That’s a cinematic criminal offense. So those movies always get the brunt of my frustration. Let’s take a look at the nasty cinematic offerings that 2014 gave us and celebrate their journey into cinematic obscurity.

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10) Interstellar (disappointment) – I avoided all spoilers going into this movie, expecting it to be the culmination of everything Christopher Nolan had learned up to this point as a filmmaker. The scope couldn’t have been bigger. Space. The final frontier. Matthew McConaughey. Interstellar was going to be amazing. That was the plan, at least. Instead, I got muddled pseudo-science, a sloppy narrative, and an ending so ludicrous even the actors looked confused about what was happening (“I’m in a black hole talking to the past. Oh wait, now it’s 50 years later and Saturn has a space station. What????”). The Nolans needed to be put in script detention during the writing of Interstellar but no one had the balls to do it.

That_Awkward_Moment

9) That Awkward Moment (bad) – Here’s some screenwriting advice. If your screenplay is so devoid of an idea that you have to title it, “That Awkward Moment,” you probably shouldn’t make the movie. There’s something in screenwriting known as a “concept.” It’s kind of everything that the movie hangs on. Concepts need to be big and clear. What does “That Awkward Moment” mean? Someone has an awkward moment with someone? You’re going to base an entire movie on that? When movies don’t have focus, they fall apart quickly. Watching this film was a lot like watching a bunch of people dancing without any music. It was ugly.

Wish_I_Was_Here

8) Wish I Was Here (disappointment) – I wish I wasn’t here. Maybe I drank the Garden State kool-aid too fervently when Zach Braff’s first film came out, but I liked it. The main character was on a mission. He was doing something. The film had a point! Wish I Was Here, however, was just a really sad film with people talking about how their lives didn’t turn out the way they wanted them to. The script was mired with more melodrama than 20 years of televnovellas. It was peppered with scenes that didn’t push the story forward. Story threads would show up then inexplicably disappear (the home school stuff). As if a bunch of people mumbling about how shitty their life is isn’t bad enough, we had a cancer-stricken father to deal with. Ugh. This was a brutally bad movie.

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7) Annabelle (disappointment) – Isn’t the defining pre-requisite of a horror movie that it be scary? I hate to use dumbed down language here, but this was really dumb. And it was cheap! From the actors to the set design to the limited locations, everything here felt like they were cutting corners. Some scope, some original ideas, and some scares would’ve gone a long way to making Annabelle watchable, but nobody appeared to be interested in doing so.

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6) The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (bad) – The Amazing Spider-Man is still trying to be 2002 Spider-Man, when all the rest of the super-hero world has moved on. Whereas franchises like The X-Men and Captain America seem to be making bold choices, pushing their genres in new exciting directions, Spider-Man’s still holding on to shoddy special effects, goofy characters, and sloppy narratives. That may have been fine when Spider-Man was the only game in town. But the audience’s tastes have matured, and Spider-Man hasn’t matured with them. I remember a scene in this movie where Spider-Man sneaks into his room with Aunt May about to catch him,Peter still in his Spider-Man outfit, and I just thought to myself – We saw this exact same scene less than a decade ago. Move on!

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5) Obvious Child (disappointment) – There was something so overtly off-putting about this movie that I’m still thinking about it 4 months later. For a film that purported itself to be “important” and “thoughtful,” I was baffled that roughly half the movie had to do with shit. Really? Does every other joke in your film really need to be a shit joke? It was in such poor, but more sadly, lazy, taste, that it was hard to take anything about the film seriously. And the main character was just… I don’t know, a weird combination of annoying and sad. Watching her do her stand-up that wasn’t stand-up at all but rather her talking about how shitty her life was – I guess that was kind of the point, to show her be vulnerable and different – but boy did it make me a) depressed and b) hate her. The only thing obvious about this was its suckiness.

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4) The “Blended” Trailer (bad) – That’s right. I’m putting a movie on here that I haven’t seen. Sound unfair? Sorry, but it’s an Adam Sandler movie. Seriously, go watch this trailer now to see how terribly written it is. Take note of how much exposition they need  just to have the two main characters say: “WE’RE GOING TO AFRICA!” You could’ve cut 90 seconds out of your trailer and 90 minutes out of your movie had you just showed the two families on vacation running into each other in Africa. Instead you have: “My boss canceled and so he needs someone else to go and then you need to go fill in for that other person, but wait, your boss is my boss, oh wait, I’ll call him, zoinks, turns out you know him too? That way if you go and I go… On my god, WE’RE GOING TO AFRICA!” I’m hoping these leaked Sony e-mails finally wise Sandler up to the fact he’s making the worst movies in Hollywood right now. It’s the intervention he’s needed for a long time. If it’s successful, maybe we’ll never have to hear the words “WE’RE GOING TO AFRICA!” again.

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3) Deliver Us From Evil (bad) – I don’t… I can’t… I’m trying… I don’t know how to describe this movie. I thought I was going to get some cool freaky religious cult horror film. Instead, I got a man hanging out at the zoo for a couple of hours. The only common thread I could find in the film was a pale-faced bald guy who sometimes hung out at the zoo. There was also something about a cave in Iraq. Oh, and this is all based on the “real life experiences” of some New York cop. I don’t know what makes me more sad – this film or Eric Bana needing to take roles like this.

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2) The Rover (disappointment) – What? Was? This movie? Let me get this straight. You set your movie in an apocalyptic future. And then the story you decide to tell in that future is, a man gets his car stolen and decides to chase the people who stole it from him?  That’s it???? But wait. It gets better. This world is riddled with deserted cars. So the man could’ve just found another car within a few hours. But no. He wants this car! Oh, I know what you’re thinking. The car must be special then. Like a 1959 Firebird or some other unique car, right? Nope. It was a garden variety SUV. I was so confused by the anorexia of this premise that I waited around as long as humanly possible, positive that an actual plot would surface. Nope. As a director, you get to make 1 movie every 3 years. With that choice, this director decided to do a movie about someone who chases someone else over a car.  I’m speechless.

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1) Transcendence (disappointment) – I’m still not entirely sure how this spec script worked so well and the movie didn’t. I know the film never felt like it got out of first gear. It kept revving its engines and revving its engines, hinting at a big next level, but it never came. There was also an inexplicable stillness to the film. Once we got to this town, our characters seemed content to just… wait around. Nobody was doing anything, particularly our heroine, whose sole purpose seemed to be to wait for Johnny Depp to talk to her. And to be honest, I don’t even know if she was our heroine. By the middle of the movie, so few people had purpose, that it wasn’t clear who our hero was. I’m not going to say that Transcendence killed the spec script, but it certainly tried its best to.

  • Tim

    For me, the worst movie of the year was “Wild.” I wanted to love this movie, but I found it unbearable.

    *SPOILERS*

    You have an incredibly unlikeable main character. I’m sorry, but hiking the PCT and finding some sort of redemption doesn’t change my feelings towards you. You are a formerly drug-addicted, serial adulterer who was a bad person, ruined your marriage, and hurt the people around you. I don’t like you and I’m not pulling for you to make it.
    The hike itself was boring and uneventful. A five minute scene of her setting up a tent? Scene after scene of her eating oatmeal? A five minute scene where another hiker helps her shed weight from her back? And the ONLY conflict she encountered on the hike was not being able to find water for a little while and meeting some creepy hunters.
    And because the hike was so boring, what did we get? Flashbacks. ENDLESS flashbacks.
    And don’t get me started on the CGI fox.

    I am baffled that the movie is as positively reviewed as it is.

    • Midnight Luck

      It is a “thing” it seems.
      just see EAT, PRAY, LOVE to get an understanding of just how ridiculous it is what people like, or what they want out of their Heroine’s. Pampered, idiotic American’s who feel so “Put Upon” by the world.

      That book / movie pissed me off. She was getting a divorce and was lying on her hardwood floors for a minute, decided to go float around to a few different countries to “find herself”, ALL of which is payed for by the Magazines she writes for, and then the Book Deal she bags.
      Now don’t get me wrong, as writers, I know we would all love to have that kind of thing happen to us so we could jet around the world and not have to worry about money.
      But the book and movie make it out like you are supposed to feel so deeply and sorry for her and her “tragedy” she was going through that she couldn’t deal with. All I could think was: “what a pampered, complaining, selfish person”, “imagine all the people in the Real World and their troubles like War, Poverty, struggling to find Food, Shelter, Healthcare, etc”.
      She was such a terrible, selfish person, who managed to get half the universe to buy into her crappy, soporific story. (mind you someone lent me the book, and told me I HAD to read it, and I HATED it. I also saw part of the Julia Roberts movie, but not on my dime, as the book showed me what I was in for, and I wasn’t ever going to pay for that. VOTE with your DOLLAR, I always say)

      • filmklassik

        Love your posts. Like most of the people I admire who write about film/literature/media-in-general, I don’t always agree with your picks n’ pans, but I love your insight and the way you express yourself.

        You, Carson and some dude on here named brenkilco — and a few others too — are what makes sites like this one so useful.

      • peisley

        The movie was so painful it must have set the women’s movement back a few years.

  • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

    Great, now I’m reminded Wish I was Here exists. Thanks for nothing, Carson!

    On the bright side, the Spider-Man one made me seek out some Emma Stone clips. Thanks, Carson!

  • Tsubasa-Eleven

    The Rover – I have the feeling that you didn’t finish to watch the movie, there was something very important for him in this car!
    For me, that movie was a bit to slow paced and confusing, I would give it 6.5/10, but it is NOT about getting his car back, the car is not important, it’s what in the car.

    • http://apairoftools.wordpress.com/ Sebastian Cornet

      But do we know or have an idea right from the start what’s in the car that is so important? Otherwise, it looks like the car is the ultimate goal.

  • Philatelist

    My biggest disappointment at the movies this year: Foxcatcher.

    The first 2/3 are as masterful and atmospheric as any film I’ve ever seen. The last third, though, is so matter-of-fact and seemingly directionless in its execution that it almost invalidates what came before it. All that suspense for no discernible pay-off.

    I loved Bennett Miller’s work going into the film, having directed a brilliant true crime drama and sports movie. My hopes were probably too high before watching his true crime sports movie.

    • Sullivan

      Everyone is raving about Steve Carell’s performance. Honestly, to me, most of the acting was done by the nose.

    • fragglewriter

      Yes, this movie was such as disappointment. The first 1/4 of this movie started off as promosing, then after Mark Ruffalo arrived at the house, it just went to crap. The story was just disconected and the acting was horrible, except for Mark. And the endinging, it just didn’t make any sense. I understand that it’s based on a true story, but it seems that the reasons why some of the actions happend where omitted or the writer guessed at it. I could of also been edited out and replaced. I really don’t know.

    • Midnight Luck

      I have to say I was disappointed as well. It looked like it could’ve been a really interesting story to tell.
      Instead it was incredibly slow, long paced, and dry.
      If the director was trying to be subtle, instead was too slow.
      Maybe it was meant to be a slow build up thing to what happened in the end. And for that, I think they did a good job.
      The problem was, there wasn’t enough to keep us interested as it went.
      Most “True Stories” films, if they were in actuality “True”, would be utterly boring to watch. I understand that, so the scriptwriter, AND Director have to work incredibly hard to find what is interesting, and tease out everything they can from the story to make it interesting to the viewer.
      Maybe DuPont was supposed to be a complete mystery, and he was. Maybe he was just a lunatic, and he was.
      But I didn’t get the impending doom, or the pure creepiness that was there, just below the surface.
      So much could have been done with that, and with this story.
      And sadly, it wasn’t. It was just left there, for the viewer to wonder about.

      I was disappointed as well. So much more could’ve been done with it.

  • Ari

    What about a list of the ten worst and most disappointing scripts of The Black List of this year? Seriously, Franklin Leonard needs an intervention: I can’t see a real movie in the entire list.

    • Joe Marino

      Really? Of the ones I’ve read thus far, “The Wall”, “Tau” and “A Garden at the End of the World” definitely feel like movies.

      • kenglo

        Dude read IN THE MORNING BLOOD…….your cup of tea….

        wazzup and Merry Christmas JOE M!!!

        • Joe Marino

          Merry Christmas, bud! :) And I’ll definitely put it on my read list!

  • rodneybr23

    This is a perfect example of the expression “to each his own”. While I do agree with a few of your choices, esp Transcedence, I have to disagree with others. I liked Interstellar. The movie had a lot of strong emotional beats and I loved the grand scope if it. I liked Obvious Child. I found it funny and honest and bold, esp loved how they handled the subject of abortion. I liked Deliver Us From Evil. I had an idea for a movie similar to this, but I was a little disappointed that the film didn’t go the extra mile, it was loaded with potential. Finally I liked The Rover too. That car was important to him, what one person views as just a piece of metal, another sees it as a treasure. Plus we find out in the very last scene just how important that car was to him.

    I would like to include As Above So Below and Michael Bay’s Turtles to this list. The former was just awful and pissed me off that someone greenlit that crap. The latter was just so disappointing, don’t mess with the turtles!

  • brenkilco

    I avoided Transcendence though I’m just curious enough about it- a quasi-serious, big budget, sci-fi train wreck- to catch it when it shows up on cable. But I am curious, as this is one of those rare cases where the script was considered without the bias of an existing film, as to just what happened. Did rewrites destroy the plot and structure? Or were the defects that seemed so glaring on screen present in the script but somehow missed or glossed over? Execution can elevate a mediocre script to a good movie or reduce a great script to a meh picture. But it would seem pretty hard to take a great script and make a truly, terrible movie. If anyone has both read the script and seen the film I’d be curious to hear his/her thoughts.

    • filmklassik

      Re TRANSCENDENCE… I enjoyed the first 20-25 pages of the screenplay and then it just went bonkers. I mean it just kept getting sillier and sillier. And, crucially, it tried to cover what seemed like 12 hours worth of narrative ground in 120 pages. In fact my first thought after finishing the script was that it read like a goddamn SyFy Channel mini-series that had been reduced to 2 hours.

      I was curious to read it because I’m such a huge fan of the spiritual ancestor of screenplays like this one, a movie called COLLOSUS THE FORBIN PROJECT from (I think) 1970.

      It’s the original computer-takes-over-the-world movie and, for my money, it has never been equaled.

      As for TRANSCENDENCE the movie? I still haven’t seen it, and doubt I ever will.

      • brenkilco

        Colossus is a relic of the day when filmmakers believed that if they were smart enough they could get by without a big budget. Great stuff right down to its creepy, downbeat ending. The best role of Eric Braeden, nee Hans Gudegast. Course if Steven Hawking is right about the dangers of the approaching singularity, pretty soon Colossus will no longer be a cult movie. It’ll be an etiquette manual.

        • filmklassik

          Yeah. It didn’t look cheap, exactly — in fact the production values are pretty good — but it wasn’t overproduced, either, like the majority of today’s “tent poles” are.

          And yeah, Braeden is actually very good in the lead. Would some equally handsome, equally stalwart A-lister like Gregory Peck have done a better job as Forbin? Maybe. But Braeden acquits himself well. COLOSSUS of course predates his decades-long venture into soaps, which I understand is a good and steady living for the artistically unambitious.

          By the way, one (positive) cliche about soap stars is that they are in general very nice people, and, being married to an actress, I’ve had occasion to meet a handful of them, and they ARE in general very nice people. Never met Braeden though.

          • brenkilco

            Braeden was also good playing essentially the same role with an evil twist in one of the Apes sequels. Think he kills Kim Hunter and gets killed by Roddy Macdowell or vice versa. But the really memorable villain role never materialized and for somebody who likes to act constantly I suppose soaps aren’t a bad gig. Though aren’t they becoming an endangered species? His situation reminds me a bit of another actor who died a few months ago Richard Lynch. Great sinister look and voice, around for decades, without ever getting a really memorable role.

            Occassionally see plays at Long Wharf and Yale Rep in CT. A while back caught something with this amazing actress. And the only thing I’d ever seen her in was Die Hard 3 where she has maybe two lines as a secretary. And I don’t remember her name, which says it all. Acting is a tough business.

  • Brainiac138

    Sorry, Carson, you are completely wrong about Obvious Child. This film was about a life crisis in the middle of a quarter life crisis. Like Woody Allen, Gillian Robespierre has written and directed a personal New York film, but it is New York through the lens of someone younger, with less money, less successful, and female – that is why it is important, because it is true, poop jokes and all. This was a star turning film for Jenny Slate, who was an internet sensation before, but has shown with Obvious Child she can carry a film on mostly just her being charming for 90mins. For me, Obvious Child demonstrates the romantic comedy has turned a corner and caught up with the 21st century.

  • drifting in space

    Interesting… I haven’t, nor did I want to, see any of these.

    Man, they don’t make them like they used to.

    Off-topic, I had my wife watch Die Hard on Christmas since she had never seen it. Hope everyone had a fantastic holiday!

    • andyjaxfl

      I’m still waiting for my wife to say “Honey, it’s finally time for me to watch DIE HARD”.

  • Shawn Davis

    I don’t like Adam Sandler much. Blended once again proved why. This movie was horrible!!! If this movie doesn’t nail a Razzie, I’m filing a complaint.

  • Craig Mack

    I watched Annabelle last night and was shocked by how LAZY the writing was here. There was a ‘Popcorn’ scare… not like THROW your popcorn in the air scare… But an actual POPCORN POPPING ON THE STOVE scare… like that was it. WTF?

    Best Genre of 2014:
    1. Starry Eyes
    2. The Guest
    3. Cheap Thrills
    4. Late Phases
    5. Nightcrawler
    6. Mister Babadook
    7. The Town that Dreaded Sundown
    8, Horns
    9. The Canal
    10. The Sacrament

    • Joe Marino

      GREAT list! Really enjoyed “The Guest”, “Horns”, “The Babadook” and ESPECIALLY “Nightcrawler” (my favorite movie this year). The horror and thriller genres really had a strong year of quality storytelling.

      • Craig Mack

        Yeah, the INDIE scene really stepped up… The studio films flopped for me. You can move around my Top 5 depending on my mood.

        • Joe Marino

          Agreed. Although I really enjoyed a couple of the studio films. My favorites I’ve seen so far:

          Nightcrawler
          Captain America: Winter Soldier
          Guardians of the Galaxy
          Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
          The Voices
          The Suicide Theory
          Gone Girl
          The Babadook
          The Theory of Everything
          The Imitation Game
          Horns
          Purge Anarchy

          I haven’t seen Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher or Whiplash yet. :(

          • Craig Mack

            I was trying to keep mine more horror/thriller focused. But GGalaxy, CA and GGirl I really enjoyed.

            I wish they would let me write THE PURGE… I was disappointed by Anarchy.

          • Joe Marino

            What was disappointing about it?

          • Craig Mack

            I just thought it was too unfocused… It was like they heard the criticism of the first and turned the dial too far in the opposite direction… Here’s hoping they settle somewhere in the middle on the next one.

          • Joe Marino

            Gotcha. I’ll be curious which direction they go for the next one: a prequel about the first first purge or a sequel about Omar’s revolution.

          • charliesb

            I actually liked it more than the first one (which i didn’t finish) it had a John Carpenter vibe that I liked. Fell apart at the end though, the “hunting grounds” and their “closing” was cheesy. But I was really feeling it up until then.

          • NajlaAnn

            We enjoyed “The Imitation Game” tremendously.

        • Eddie Panta

          Have you seen the horror movies: CUB or IT FOLLOWS?

          • Craig Mack

            I’ve seen IT FOLLOWS, not CUB… but since they will both be properly released in 2015 I assume IT FOLLOWS will make my list.

          • charliesb

            Really looking forward to IT FOLLOWS, has it been released yet? Or did you see it at a festival?

          • Craig Mack

            Festival. It has (luckily) not hit the torrent circuit yet. :)

    • Eddie Panta

      I’ll go along with this list except for The Sacrament, thought it was lazy filmmaking.

      I didn’t see the Town That Dreaded Sundown yet, but I wish the re-make kept the news / documentary narration that the original had, and added interview style dialogue a la Peter Watkins.

      • Craig Mack

        I really enjoyed The Sacrament… I can definitely SEE the lazy critique, but Act IIb and III were KILLER for me. We all KNEW what was going to happen – it STILL upset me – I think they handled it well.

        • Eddie Panta

          True… I was engaged throughout the whole film. I wasn’t put off by the slow burn start. It’s just that I’ve seen two other movies and a documentary about Jonestown that were scarier then The Sacrament. I thought the “Vice” magazine angle was pandering to a young generation that has little reverence for what came before them. Powers Boothe in Guayna tragedy was really creepy. And the movie JONESTOWN came out in 2013.

    • NajlaAnn

      Thanks for the post. I’ll put these titles on my “To Watch” list.

  • Randy Williams

    Nothing beats the disappointment of your football team not making the playoffs but, I guess
    “The Lego Movie” came close.
    I think it’s my own personal reaction to it. I heard it was inventive, very funny, brought out the child in you. It had a toy which was a prominent part of my own childhood. Super!
    I found it too busy, exhausting. Not funny. Thought the ending cheesy.
    I guess my “inner child” was buried too deep this year to see the light.
    For that, I’m very disappointed.

    • Ken

      Everything is awesome!

  • Eddie Panta

    ROVER

    The story/movie is as pointless as the character’s journey. It’s ending is similar to another famous post apocalyptic movie, The Day After, when the lead fights over a useless plot of land, The leads journey, to get home was meaningless, the place no longer existed, but he refused to let go, which is the point of the pointless story. But, yes, agreed wasted performances, lost interest fairly quickly.

    • Eddie Panta

      Most Disappointing film in 2014:

      SIN CITY 2 – A great example on how the depth of a character isn’t derived from their tragedies.

      LUCY – Here’s to hoping that 2014 will be the end of exposition man at the dias.

      2014 FILMS worth taking another look at:
      Only Lovers Left Alive
      ENEMY

      Most Anticipated in 2015: ( both reboots / sequels )

      STAR WARS The Force Awakens

      MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

      Most Unnecessary Sequel in 2015

      Friday the 13th – Part 13 ( paramount)

      MY MOST WANTED HORROR REMAKES:

      The Girl Who Lives Down the Lane
      FADE TO BLACK
      BAD RONALD

  • fragglewriter

    I haven’t seen any of the movies on the list, but have thought about “Rover” as I was curious how this story would work. I will still rent it on Redbox.
    Christopher Nolan doesn’t make coherent films, he makes visually appealing films.

  • charliesb

    Transcendence was definitely the most disappointing film of the year for me. Bad casting, direction and story telling took an interesting idea, killed it, salted it, and set it on fire. They tried to sell a “cyber” love story without actually showing us an actual love story… terrible film.

    Other disappointments were:
    OCCULUS – such a simple great idea, 2 great leads. Awful execution.
    MALEFICENT – I didn’t expect much, but I got even less than that. Why they changed so much of the story is beyond me.
    HUNGER GAMES 2.5 – Again, the bar was low, but some how this still came up short. This entire movie could have been 15 mins of the next one.
    CAP 2 WINTER SOLDIER – I know I’m in the minority here, but Cap is a boring character, he doesn’t change, he doesn’t grow, he just sits on his throne of judginess and judges people. This film had 2 really great action sequences (elevator, car chase) but I found the characters and story dull.
    GODZILLA – WTF was that? Strangely flat, nonsensical, very, very beautiful looking film.
    NOAH – ???

    Other films I watched and disliked (many I should have known better)

    i, Frankenstein
    Robocop
    Pompeii
    Veronica Mars
    Draft Day
    Legend of Hercules
    Into the Storm
    November Man
    Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
    3 days to Kill
    Divergent

    And this list could be longer. Cant wait to talk about the things I did like. :) And very interested to see Carson’s number one film of the year.

    • Mike.H

      “took an *interesting idea, killed it, salted it, and set it on fire.”.

      The idea alone of uploading your consciousnesses into the web for an eternity would NEVER translate into a watchable film. Borefest science and box office poison.

      Interesting ideas don’t always translate to interesting film.

      • LV426

        The Matrix?

  • jw

    Happened to catch Guardians of the Galaxy last night (unfortunately), and I’d put that up there too. Holy merry mother of… what the hell was that? I mean, this just cements everything I say on a daily basis about creating unique characters, a decent trailer and asking the audience a question inside that they want answered. This is what fills the seats and this movie proves it over and over and over again. $770 million dollars? Wow. If this script landed on AOW here it would be torn to shreds and Grendl would probably have an aneurism in the process. This script was given a $170 million dollar budget and it looked like a first draft. #mindblown

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Carson, I’m with ya on “Interstellar”. That movie SUCKED!! I kinda liked “Wish I was Here”–though I’d readily admit that I get some people wouldn’t like it. For my $$ “Wish I was Here” got good at the very ending where Zach Braff’s character is out in the surf with his wife so he can actually see the smile on her face that he fake remembered earlier in the movie. THAT got me, and made up for the vast majority of the movie that was rather boring. I aslo like the Josh Gad character and how he gets into to Comicon just to score with his neighbor girl that he takes a shine to.

    What about “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”? What a shit movie that was. How can you have Gary Oldman as the main antagonist and have such uninteresting gathering of surviors in what remains of San Fransisco? For my $$ “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was the worst movie I saw in 2014. HUGE dissappointment.

    • charliesb

      I think Koba was the main antagonist, not Oldman. I know people who hated it like you did, but I kinda liked it. It needed work, and a lot of it was derivative, but Caesar sold me.

  • Midnight Luck

    I am happy that I am not overtly “disappointed” and that “bad” missed me quite a few times, as, well, I haven’t seen ANY of these movies except INTERSTELLAR and WISH I WAS HERE.

    Sadly, yes “Disappointed” describes my feeling toward INTERSTELLAR, and quite “Bad”. WISH I WAS HERE was “Boring” and “Disappointing”, not sure I would say it was bad, but the more Boring something is, the closer it does edge to “Bad”.

    I see at least 2 movies a week (when they are in season), and up to 5 or 6 sometimes. Still, I managed to choose correctly by avoiding ALL but 2 of these.

    Not that I haven’t seen a ton of shit as well, like 1. JOHN WICK (“Shit”, “Bad”, “Disappointing”), or 2. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (“Bad”, “Boring”, “Lame”, and “Terrible”, oh yeah, and just plain “Shit”) or 3. GIVER (“Boring”, “Same Old”, “Lazy”, “Poor”), or 4. “ROBOCOP” (“Unnecessary”, “Boring”, “Bad”), or 5. A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST (On DVD) (“Lazy”, “Stupid”, “Bad”, “Boring”).

    I could go on, there were so many Bad, Boring, Lazy, or Unnecessary movies this past year.
    But I won’t. Everyone probably feels about the same.

    There were quite a few good ones, but only One, or Two that REALLY stayed with me and I thought were above the pack. None were absolutely stellar though.

    • Eddie Panta
      • Midnight Luck

        hey I liked BIRDMAN, and I really liked BOYHOOD, and the rest of it, I really have no feeling whatsoever about.
        Oh, but I do still need to watch TRUE DETECTIVE. I keep getting partway into the first episode and then stop. Not sure why. As for the rest, I don’t hate it, I just don’t have any opinion this way or that, and I have no idea what SkrimRakr is.
        Frozen – haven’t seen it.
        Girls – appreciate it, but not jazzed about it, and haven’t seen more than 1.5 episodes.
        iPhone – never owned one. don’t really care about phones. but, I also don’t see the need to spend $750-$1000 on a phone. yeah, a phone, nor do I care to keep-up-with-the-joneses or the latest “thing” or waste my money on stupid stuff, or be an idiot consumer. I am a mnmlst anyhow.
        Jimmy Fallon – loved him on SNL, haven’t seen his show, or that show, or the other show. Not a Late Night talk show watcher. I have better things to do (like write?)
        Serial – No idea
        Star Wars – The latest ones were so terrible, the first were so great, these, have no feeling about whatsoever. No a geek about Star Wars myself, like others are, That is fine for them, I just don’t see the point spending that much time on it.
        Taylor Swift – hmm, don’t really have an opinion.
        Guardians of the Galaxy – OK, yeah, you got me there, I do HATE it, and for oh so many reasons. Script, Story, lazy, stupid, lame, Boring.

        Maybe I missed your point (i do that) or what you were trying to say. Maybe I shouldn’t say my opinions on SS, as my opinion seems to be the opposite or differ most of the time, and many people only like joiners.

        Or maybe you agree with what I said,
        or maybe you just found the article funny (like I did).

        You probably weren’t looking for a breakdown of it all from me.
        Sorry.

        • S_P_1

          I am a mnmlst anyhow.

          Can I steal this and put it on a t-shirt?

          • Midnight Luck

            Sure, go ahead. It is worth sharing.

            –actually, you could say I “borrowed” it from a site I follow:
            http://www.mnmlist.com

            “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”~Picasso

          • S_P_1

            Wow. That website looks like my Final Draft projects – mostly empty. ;(

          • Midnight Luck

            that’s….too bad.
            maybe you should try Celtx.
            Or write with more white space.
            The pages fly by.

            seriously though, he shut down that site after years of running it. He has another called http://www.zenhabits.net, and does most of his thoughts over there now.

            I really liked mnmlist.com, but yes, it is now in neutral.

          • Kirk Diggler
          • Midnight Luck

            S_P_1 was actually referring to me saying “I am a mnmlst anyhow” and asking if he could steal it from me.
            I was just saying I very possibly might have pilfered it from someone else.
            I wasn’t saying I stole a line from Picasso. I just used the quote associated with him in remarking that good artists copy and great artists steal.
            We were talking about the use of mnmlst.

          • Kirk Diggler

            Yeah, I understood the context. I just thought it ironic that Picasso gets credit for the quote but others may have said the exact same thing at an earlier time.

            Have a happy New Year, Midnight!

  • Brainiac138

    I agree with you mostly on accounts except for Under the Skin, which I think worked best with little explanation, little dialogue, and barely any reference to the kind of creature Scarlett was. But, I am sure that is more of a personal preference, since sometimes I really love quiet films. Under the Skin is probably one of my favorite films of the decade.

    • peisley

      Glad for the mention of Under the Skin. It actually lived up to the title and really got under your own skin. I agree a little more explanation of events would have strengthened the story, but appreciated the startling visuals and sense of unbalance. The director may have been going for more of what it would have felt like if you were exposed to alien concepts. I still get the creeps even now over this movie.

  • Ryan Sasinowski

    Man, “Transcendence” was bad. I mean REALLY bad. Terrible casting all around. Worst offender was Kate Mara, who was laughable as a terrorist leader. Every performance was flat and underwhelming.

    I’ll say only two positive things about it: it looked pretty, and it was nice to see a poisoned cake used to kill people for a change. I wonder if I could get a piece to permanently wipe this flick from my memory?

  • andyjaxfl

    OT: Interesting interview with William Monahan (Kingdom of Heaven, The Departed, The Gambler remake) from Yahoo Movies.

    https://www.yahoo.com/movies/the-oscar-winning-writer-of-the-gambler-doesnt-106088204092.html

  • andyjaxfl

    Interstellar is the biggest disappointment of the year for me, mostly because I loved the Spielberg draft. I found Nolan’s script changes to be the weakest part of the movie, and the Matt Damon subplot was quite terrible. I don’t think it’s a bad movie, rather a mediocre one that I’m unlikely to revisit.

    Bad movies I saw this year: Lucy, 300 sequel, Transformers 6, TMNT (I saw it on a cruise. Holy terrible), The Hobbit Hours 12 to 16, Heaven is for Real, Divergent, Pompeii, Knights of Badassdom, The Numbers Station.

    Movies that look bad but I have not seen and will probably not see: Amazing Spider-Man 2, Maleficent, Tammy, Jack Ryan, Expendables 3, RoboCop, Frankenstein, Anchorman 2

    Other disappointments: Million Dollar Arm, Ride Along, Godzilla, The Raid 2, Walk of Shame

    • Panos Tsapanidis

      I had fun watching Lucy, mainly because it was a movie that intentionally didn’t take itself seriously. Bubblegum fun.

  • Panos Tsapanidis

    For me, the biggest disappointment of this year was “The Equalizer”. The script was brilliant, minimalistic, while the movie was a never-ending crawl. Every story change that was made compared to the script was wrong.

    • filmklassik

      Ha! Wow. I enjoyed the movie even MORE than the screenplay. Richard Wenk’s script was professionally-written and moved like a bullet — but it was also by-the-numbers, and — crucially — at no point was the hero ever in any kind of real danger.

      In the movie, however, which I just watched yesterday, McCall seems to be in real trouble at one point, which was most welcome and even, by gum, necessary.

      Because an invincible protagonist is boring (Can I get an Amen?)

      • Panos Tsapanidis

        Booo! :)
        I almost fell asleep in the 3rd act. That’s how slow I thought it was.
        And that OCD they added to McCall was not only as cliché as it gets, but also ruined the badass scene where he locks the door!

        I also think that they could keep the fast pace of the script intact while changing the 3rd act a bit to make it harder for McCall to prevail.

        • filmklassik

          Well, I liked that the movie had a more measured pace than most action movies. In fact I liked that it wasn’t an “action movie” per se (since that genre usually bores me) and more of a suspense drama PUNCTUATED with action (a genre I love).

          But I agree with you about the OCD stuff. OCD has become kind of a cliche these days. It didn’t bother me too much here — maybe cuz Denzel was skilled enough to pull it off so well — but I can go another 3 years (at least) without seeing another onscreen hero who suffers from it.

  • Ken

    I really enjoyed Interstellar. I liked how Nolan explored time dilation, higher dimensions and the curvature of time, etc, which elevated it beyond being just a space-based tale like Gravity.

  • ThomasBrownen

    I was finally able to see Interstellar and I had very mixed feelings about it. The first 30 minutes and last 30 minutes were a mess, I thought, even if there was a lot to like in the middle section. I came back and read Carson’s review of the movie and agreed with it wholeheartedly. Great review of Interstellar!

  • filmklassik

    “Better stories every year…”

    Not quite. The heyday was decades ago. But 2014 was a relatively good year.

  • Meta5

    Staying young at mind and heart has been scientifically proven to improve health.

    Sandler’s juvenile humor attempts to keep us in a youthful mind-state.

    Sandler saves lives.

    • klmn

      I am speechless.

      • Meta5

        Like when you were an infant? Maybe you’ve been watching a bit too much Sandler.

        • klmn

          Watching any Sandler is too much.

    • brenkilco

      Will Sandler movies really make you live longer? Or will it just seem longer?

  • Craig Mack

    Guilty pleasures: Bill Madison, Happy Gilmore, Punch Drunk Love, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds, Grown Ups I & II, Little Nicky, The Longest Yard, Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Waterboy, Bulletproof, The Wedding Singer… Not to mention the dozen other movies he produced that I love… I guess I’m a simpleton that likes to laugh. “It’s too hot out here for a penguin”

  • Sullivan

    You’re not the only one who has a valid opinion despite your pompous proclamations to the contrary. My comment was meant as levity. Get a sense of humour. But now that you targeted me personally, I will state that Carrell’s performance was not all that. It mainly consisted of him standing around and looking, his artificial proboscis at various angles. THAT is not great acting by my estimation.

    As far as the screenplay goes, much was changed from the original to the point where the film didn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    But your opinion is the only one that matters so I’ll leave you to your arrogance.

  • peisley

    Thanks for posting this analysis of the film. I enjoyed hearing his take on it. My advice to someone who hasn’t seen it yet, is to wait after watching the film to view this. The reviewer’s explanation of her letting the deformed man go, makes sense, but it also points out a weakness of the film. I was confused as to whether she let him go, or the alien device rejected him. There’s no scene showing either, and just a little more there would have helped a lot. My take on the story was more along the lines of it being a vampire film. She lures her male victims, but they have to be sexually aroused just right before they’re sucked in by the device. It was very specific about that. The blood red lighting of the chute is like a mouth drinking blood. Anyway, this is destined to be a cult film and over time may hopefully find a wider appreciative audience. Thanks again for the clip.

  • brenkilco

    Except for Virgin and Training Day I guess you could defend most of these choices. Liked or at least appreciated the rest. Didn’t love any of them. And that’s my feeling about most movies this century. Except No Country and a very few others.

  • http://j.nelsonleith.com/ John Leith

    Keaton’s role in Birdman should have ended with him hitting the stage after firing that pistol. Done.

    Hell, they could’ve cut to black at that point.

    Then again, I think Toy Story 3 should have faded to black after they all said goodbye to each other in the incinerator.

  • lonestarr357

    This was Rock’s third directing effort.

    • peisley

      Quite right, but felt like first.

  • scriptfeels

    I can imagine Carson watching blended in a theater where everyone around him laughs and he just inconsolably in tears from how bad the movie is.

  • S_P_1

    I get the most disappointed by really good movies that don’t stick the landing, and as much as I loved watching “Birdman”, the ending was utter trash.

    http://blogs.indiewire.com/animationscoop/is-birdman-is-a-stealth-remake-of-a-1957-looney-tunes-cartoon-show-biz-bugs-20141208

  • Film_Shark

    Spoiler alert – Riggan killed himself on stage and the scene where Emma Stone is visiting him in the hospital is the way he wants the ending to his life to be before dying. He wanted to taste fame so badly once again he was willing to shoot himself on stage to get on the front page.

  • Film_Shark

    The most disappointing film of the year is Jason Reitman’s ‘Men, Women & Children.’ It was complete garbage. All the characters are superficial tropes. He wanted to make the zeitgeist of the Internet Age and what you leave the theater with is nothing but empty cliches. The reason it is so disappointing is that Reitman has hit a few good movies out of the ballpark with ‘Juno’ and ‘Up in the Air’ so you expect more from him. He needs to go back to his go-to screenwriter Diablo Cody and make more films based on her talented writing style. By the way, she started out as a blogger. Dreams do come true if you got the talent.

  • Thought

    Guy Pierce goes after his car because it was all he had left. It was the last semblance of his past existence. I haven’t seen the film and understand what it’s about. Maybe you should rethink some of the films you review.

  • jridge32

    I would add “Inherent Vice” to this list.