Matt’s Worst Movies of 2017

1. The Boss Baby

A horrible concept executed poorly. Even when suspending your disbelief, “The Boss Baby” makes absolutely no sense. There’s no internal logic to the movie. To paraphrase the Principal from “Billy Madison,” everyone that watches the film is dumber for having seen it.

I wish I could get this 90 minutes of my life back.

 2. Pitch Perfect 3

I suspect co-writer Mike White scribbled down the screenplay for “Pitch Perfect 3” after having 4 martinis on a flight from San Francisco to L.A. The plot is gossamer-thin and there’s hardly a script to speak of.

The Bellas are back, and after seeing this travesty I wish they had stayed gone. There is almost nothing funny about this movie, and the musical numbers (which are the reason we go to see these films) almost universally fall flat. In fact, the only thing that “Pitch Perfect 3” is good at doing is making you question whether you really did like the first two movies, after all.

 3. CHiPs

What do you get when you take immensely likeable actors Michael Pena and Dax Shepard and have them make a standalone comedy based on the popular 70s television series? As it turns out, a homophobic, unfunny pile of garbage that makes you like both the actors and the show less than you did before you saw it.

4. Leatherface

“Leatherface” is a deeply unpleasant movie. I know, I know: horror movies are supposed to be unpleasant. But on a spectrum of horror films, this one leans in the direction of very, very unpleasant. And it’s also no fun.

This is at least the second time that someone has tried to tell the origin story of the titular character, who debuted in Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” The first one was 2006’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning,” a film that I remember seeing but don’t remember disliking as much as I hated this one. The difference, I guess, is that Hooper was involved with executive producing “Leatherface,” whereas he had no involvement in the other film. But so what?

In “Leatherface,” we are introduced to the character as a child, when his murderous family, the Sawyer clan (led by his mother Verna (Lili Taylor)) is celebrating his birthday with, well, murder. After the family kills the wrong person, young Leather is taken away from his family to be put in a juvenile detention facility full of other murderous youth. In a shocking (not) turn of events, the boy escapes with a group of other demented killers for a blood-soaked road trip, eventually making his way back to his family home in Texas.

There’s not much to like here. Lots of gore but nothing unique or inventive. And for a film promising to tell us how Leatherface came to be, we get very little insight into his character and what motivates him. In fact, when he does begin killing it actually doesn’t feel true: in other words, nothing that came before Leather’s first kill explained how he got there (other than his family ties). Yuck.

5. Fifty Shades Darker

Why do I keep going to see these misogynistic, offensive piles of trash? The second movie in the “Fifty Shades” series is as bad as, if not worse than, the first one. Ugh.

6. I Do… Until I Don’t

Writer, director and actor Lake Bell follows up her directorial debut “In A World” with a movie that is the very definition of sophomore slump. “I Do. . . Until I Don’t” is ten minutes of semi-interesting, if unoriginal, observations about love, marriage, and relationships stretched out over 90 minutes. The talented cast, featuring Bell, Ed Helms, Paul Reiser, Mary Steenburgen, and Amber Heard is squandered.

7. Daddy’s Home 2

“Daddy’s Home 2” is a movie designed for idiots. Specifically. As in laboratory-tested, focus-grouped, workshopped and engineered to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

In the very best comedies, jokes are either constructed (with the film carefully laying the foundation that leads to the payoff) or they’re experiential (relying on the audience’s outside knowledge about the world). In movies like “Daddy’s Home 2,” you get neither. Instead, a joke is someone getting hit in the face with a dodgeball. Or a snowball. Or a tree. Or a kid on a swing. Or Christmas decorations. For movies like this one, the film treats it as the absolute height of hilarity for a person to get hit with something or fall down. “OH!” or “OUCH!,” the audience exclaims. And sitting among them, I feel my hope for the future of humanity quickly draining away. This is “Ow My Balls!” as blockbuster entertainment.

All of that being said, the movie’s not unwatchable. Maybe it’s because I found myself being so amused at how effectively this laugh-cue extravaganza appeared to work on my fellow audience members. Maybe it’s because Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, and Mel Gibson are still eminently watchable, even in a poor excuse for a comedy like this one. Or maybe it’S because the movie tries so shamelessly to ingratiate itself to the public as a classic Christmas movie like “Christmas Vacation,” “Elf,” or “Surviving Christmas” (Louisa and I continue our quest to single-handedly make “Surviving Christmas” a beloved holiday movie). It’s probably all of these things.

 8. Baywatch

Like “CHiPs,” “Baywatch” is another decent idea with a likeable cast (Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron) that is a lifeless, unfunny mess of a movie.

9. Rough Night

“Rough Night” is another attempt to cash in on the recent popularity of female-driven comedies like “Bad Moms.” It also features the worst caricatures of men committed to film in recent memory. Have the people who wrote this movie ever met a man? Wait, you say, one of them IS a man? Huh.

10. Transformers: The Last Knight

Like the one that came before it, “Transformers: The Last Knight” starts out kinda okay with a story about giant robots that fought alongside King Arthur and others in the middle ages, but soon enough it reminds you why you hate these movies. Because they are loud, nonsensical, ugly, poorly-filmed pieces of trash. At least this one didn’t do as well at the box office as its predecessors. Maybe they’ll stop making these soon? One can hope.