Louisa’s Worst Movies of 2016

1. Yoga Hosers

I won’t sugar coat it: this movie is the very definition of bad. Just when I thought director Kevin Smith was starting to get his groove back, an utter piece of garbage like “Yoga Hosers” comes along. There are zero reasons for this movie to even exist.

Don’t let anyone tell you this is “the female version of ‘Clerks.’” It’s far, far, far from it. This movie is a complete mess of incoherent, undeveloped gags and ideas. Nothing made me laugh, and most of the jokes that were clearly supposed to be funny weren’t met with so much as a chuckle from anyone in the audience. When the best ‘jokes’ in the film are your actors saying “aboot” in a funny Canadian accent, then your film has no substance.

The campiness simply didn’t work. While I find the idea of two empty-headed teen convenience store clerks battling a crudely animated Nazi bratwurst army with yoga poses as enjoyable as the next guy, I was so bored that I was contemplating taking a nap 20 minutes in. The movie is so poorly directed and poorly executed that I truly hope it’s not the final nail in Smith’s filmmaking coffin.

Let’s talk about the other elephant in the room: the dreadful lead performances. I appreciate Smith wanting to cast his daughter Harley Quinn Smith in the movie and I hate to dash the pie-in-the-sky acting dreams of a 16 year old girl, but she and Lily-Rose Depp were both as stiff as a board as the two Colleens. Wait, they didn’t have any acting experience before this movie? Wow, you could’ve fooled me! CGI mannequins would’ve been better choices as leads. Johnny Depp was dreadful and he looked as though he was trying to keep a watchful eye on his daughter instead of his lines. Cutsey bits with the teenage girls singing were super repetitive and exhausting.

Before you dismiss this review as being written by a cynical old fart, I’ve been a fan of Smith’s for decades (I even LOVE the oft-maligned “Mallrats” and enjoyed the over-the-top bizarre “Tusk“). But “Yoga Hosers” is as bad as movies come.

I’d rather spend eternity eating shards of broken glass than to watch this disastrous piece of mediocrity ever again.

2. Independence Day: Resurgence

If there is any justice in the movie world, the incoherent “Independence Day: Resurgence” will die a quick, swift death at the box office. This movie so lousy that it doesn’t deserve to be viewed by anyone.

I’d like to tell you the plot of this disaster, but I honestly have no idea what it is. There are some cool looking aliens, decent enough special effects, and a talking (yes, talking) giant alien metal sphere. Is this some sort of elaborate studio joke? The film is packed with cacophonous mayhem, with quick cuts and probably no more than two pages of dialogue. It’s little more than a rapid-fire parade of good looking, racially diverse millennials flying fake animated sci-fi jets and delivering such pithy gems as “Get ready for a close encounter, bitch.”

All of the magic and intensity from the original film is gone. The sequel is set in present day but the world, thanks to all of that alien technology, looks like something out of the distant future. It’s confusing and weird on all levels. Hollywood had 20 years to get it right and they failed.

Sure, director Roland Emmerich throws us old timers a bone and shoves original “Independence Day” alums Jeff Goldblum (David), Bill Pullman (Whitmore), Judd Hirsch (Juius), Brent Spiner (Dr. Okun), and Vivica A. Fox (Jasmine) into pointless supporting roles, but their appearance will only cause you to long for a better movie. The only sentimentality I had was thinking how Will Smith had the good sense to opt out of this garbage.

The ‘updated’ cast is, how can I put it lightly, better suited for daytime television. Some of the new actors play the grown up kids of the original characters (Jessie T. Usher as Dylan Hiller and Maika Monroe as Patricia Whitmore). All of them, including new additions Liam Hemsworth (Jake) and Angelababy (Rain) have zero chemistry as they stumble over their clunky characters. How the filmmakers were able to woo the talented Charlotte Gainsbourg into a bit part will forever be a mystery.

Popcorn movies are supposed to be fun, but this one was trying on every level imaginable. I left the theater emotionally exhausted. Every ridiculous cliché is here: stranded kids on a school bus, a baby in danger at a hospital, and of course a cute dog that faces peril. I actually laughed out loud at every one of those moments in the movie. Silly can be fun (see “London Has Fallen“) but here, instead of going the campy route, it’s played straight and it fails miserably. There’s no emotional heft to the story or the characters and as a result, I had zero emotional response to any of them; I didn’t care if they lived or died.

Worst of all, the film’s ending actually sets it up for a sequel! Vote with your wallets, folks, and tell Hollywood that we don’t want another crapfest like this. I simply cannot stress how god-awful this film is. Yes, it’s even worse than “Mother’s Day.” You have all been warned.

3. Everybody Wants Some!!

I am one of those rare film nerds who isn’t a fan of director Richard Linklater‘s 1993 opus to disco-era slackerdom “Dazed and Confused.” I’ve seen it several times (most recently last year) and it still doesn’t speak to me. “Everybody Wants Some!!” is pretty much the same lame idea of taking a trip down nostalgia lane except instead of a 1970s high school the setting is now a 1980s college. And even I think “Dazed and Confused” is the far better movie of the two.

There’s not much to like about “Everybody Wants Some!!” It feels incredibly stale, nothing more than a tedious exercise in inferior mumblecore that rambles aimlessly all over the place. The film never finds anything important nor even mildly amusing to say. It’s as if Linklater, so desperately wanting to recapture some of his college nostalgia, simply turned on his camera and let his dull actors unskillfully riff on vapid 80s references. There’s a particularly painful early scene (masquerading as effective content) of a group of guys singing along to Rapper’s Delight on the radio. It goes on for such a long time that I started uncomfortably squirming. In retrospect that was the first clear-cut clue that this movie was going to suck.

I hated almost everything about this movie. Is it because I’m not a guy and I don’t “get” the bro humor? Must I understand the comaraderie of sports teammates to find these guys likeable? No, it’s because it’s not funny, the characters are pointless, and there’s no direction in the script (or on screen). The movie often confuses taking a wistful look at the past with compelling content. Sorry, but simply blasting a classic rock soundtrack while laughing at the old school video games and short shorts does not a good movie make. Yeah, it may bring back pleasant memories, but that’s all it does.

Even the film’s premise has no direction! The movie starts with good guy freshman and All-American baseball player Jake (Blake Jenner, the biggest failure in the cast, is woefully inept at carrying a movie) moving into the Texas college team’s testosterone fueled house. There’s lots of sex, lots of profound marijuana fueled conversations, lots of record spinning, lots of fighting, and even some ping pong matches thrown into the mix. Think it sounds fun to hang out with these guys for a couple of hours? It’s not.

The formulaic caricatures start with a by-the-book checklist of cookie cutter characters. There’s a deep-thinker stoner (Wyatt Russell), the angry and slightly deranged loser (Juston Street), the token black guy (J. Quinton Johnson), and two obnoxious alpha male team ringleaders (Ryan Guzman and the admittedly charismatic Wooderson rip-off performance from Glenn Powell). Adding to the tedious story is a stupid romantic subplot about fine arts major Beverly (an irritating performance by Zoey Deutch) and a mildly mean-spirited one revolving around the bullying of a sissy hillbilly teammate (Will Brittain).

I can’t even begin to describe how truly god-awful this movie is. It’s a complete waste of time, it becomes increasingly more of a chore to sit through as it rambles on, and I regret not walking out before it was over. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

4. Mother’s Day

Do you really need to read a review of “Mother’s Day,” the latest holiday-centric, career killer ensemble film? Don’t we all just expect these movies to be awful since the bar is already set super low? In what’s billed as a supposed ‘celebration of mothers everywhere,’ this stinker of a movie is not even worthy of a rental. In fact, if you take your mom to see this junk it’s more like an insult than a ‘celebration.’

This dud is a poor excuse for a ‘comedy.’ It’s not funny, it’s not heartwarming, it’s not touching, it’s just plain bad. The movie feels like it was made in a by-the-book sitcom factory, churned out on an assembly line for the low IQ set. It’s uninspired and vapid to the extreme. This is a stupid movie made to pander to stupid people. Even the storyline setups, all designed to ensure the characters’ lives eventually intersect, are overly clichéd.

Jennifer Aniston and Timothy Olyphant play a friendly divorced couple with two sons (and he with a new twentysomething wife), whose paths cross with gym owner and widower Jason Sudeikis (who has — wait for it– two GIRLS! Wow, I wonder where this story is going?!??).

The always unpleasant Julia Roberts, wearing a harshly styled redhead wig, is a popular Home Shopping Network saleswoman. A big deal is made of the fact that she’s a childless career woman. Jump to another dopey storyline about bar waitress Kristin (Britt Robertson) and her wannabe comedian boyfriend Zack (Jack Whitehall), new parents with a baby girl. Kristin mentions that she was adopted and never knew her birth mother. What’s that you say? Is she planning to track down her birth mom? How did you know?! Bet you can guess who her mom is too!

The storyline that takes the cake centers around Jesse (Kate Hudson) and Gabi (Sarah Chalke), two sisters who moved from Texas to Atlanta to escape their bigoted parents Flo and Earl (Margo Martindale and Robert Pine). Jesse is married to an Indian man (Aasif Mandvi) and has a son while Gabi is gay and a married mom herself. An unexpected visit from their rv-loving mom and dad causes all hell to break loose. Martindale and Pine play the parents with a bizarrely cartoonish, over-the-top delivery style. They talk like simpletons and at times it feels like they are yelling their lines so the 70 year old racist homophobe in the back row of the theater can hear them clearly. Their dialogue is particularly antiquated and pointless; their story borderline offensive.

Loni Love shows up as a wise-cracking African American friend — it’s like you could practically hear the film’s producers worrying that they needed to cast a black character because wait a minute, this story is set in Atlanta! There are a few other cameos from Hector ElizondoJennifer Garner and Jon Lovitz (I feel like they deserve to be mentioned so they can be publicly shamed for participating in this crap). No doubt this is a talented cast, but it’s also a cast that gives the impression that they are simply giving up on their careers. Were the actors that hard up for a film role that they agreed to be in this rubbish? It appears so.

The characters repeatedly mention the city of Atlanta for no reason whatsoever, leading me to believe the producers must’ve had an agreement where they got paid whenever Georgia was mentioned in the movie. It started to get funny after the fourth or fifth mention (if you are forced to go to see this movie you can play a game and keep a running count of the mentions)!

Ensemble holiday movies can be mildly amusing (“New Year’s Eve“) or even first-class instant classics (“Love Actually“), but taking on Mother’s Day feels like a desperate money grab of the worst kind. I wasted nearly 2 hours of my life watching this film but at least my sacrifice can do some good in the world. If I can keep just one person from seeing this movie, my work is done. If you love your mom, give her a call, send her a card, take her to lunch. Don’t take her to this movie.

5. Boo! A Madea Halloween

“Boo! A Madea Halloween” is the very first Madea movie I’ve ever seen and I won’t be upset if it’s also the last. This movie is severely lacking in humor, focused direction, competent acting, and most of all, subtlety. It’s almost as if the actors (screaming their lines and playing to the balcony) and the director (Tyler Perry, a man with a tremendously mundane directorial style) were in some sort of bizarre contest to see who could be the absolute worst at their jobs.

When pushover dad Brian (Tyler Perry) suspects that his defiant teenage daughter Tiffany (Diamond White) will attempt to sneak out of the house to attend a college frat Halloween party, he calls on his aunt Madea (also Perry) to babysit overnight and keep an eye on her. Madea shows up with her gray-haired entourage in tow, including the pot smoking Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis), Brian’s dad Joe (Perry again), and the really weird Hattie (Patrice Lovely). Tiffany of course slips down the back staircase and heads to the party. Madea inevitably crashes the event looking for her and calls the cops to shut the place down. Angry and seeking revenge, the fraternity brothers plot their revenge by trying to scare all the oldsters.

This movie portrays the elderly as being really, really gullible and really, really stupid. They act like complete morons when they think they’ve seen a g-g-g-ghost, hooting and hollering and falling down stairs. They are fooled by flickering lights, malfunctioning television remotes, fake zombies and evil looking clown masks. It’s a stupid idea filled with lame gags and dumb jokes. Worst of all, there’s zero suspense because the movie has already spoiled the surprise — that this is all part of a fake haunting.

Madea is mildly funny but mostly one-note; there’s just not much to this over the top character. Yes, she looks funny and she talks funny, and she has a no-nonsense demeanor with a violent streak, but this shtick is best suited for a short skit and not a feature length movie. “Boo!” feels like a one-note television sketch that runs on and on and on and never really goes anywhere. This isn’t perceptive nor inspired comedy; it’s lazy, self-referential, and tired. The story could’ve been scripted by a 5 year old. Get ready to watch the same jokes stretched out, repeatedly recycled, and overplayed to the point that they shrivel up and die a quick death in this poorly written ‘comedy.’

I chuckled at only a few jokes while the rest of my audience laughed indiscriminately at every pathetic punchline or lame attempt at physical humor. When I did laugh, it was mostly in relation to Aunt Bam and her pride about scoring a medical marijuana card. She’s by far the most amusing character in this movie, and that’s not saying much. I saw absolutely nothing funny about Miss Hattie, a ridiculous, stereotypical character with the most irritating voice I have ever heard. The most odious of the characters was Joe, a complete jackass of a man who drops the “n” word at will and makes despicable references about how he enjoyed beating his kids until they ended up on life support. Call me crazy, but I don’t find jokes about child abuse funny. Not. At. All.

There’s also a painfully drawn out bit where Madea and Aunt Bam poke fun of a chubby kid who is trick-or-treating with his mom. “You need to take your kid trick-or-treating for a treadmill and not candy,” Madea cracks. I find zero humor in the mean-spirited bullying of an overweight child. Is this what passes for comedy nowadays?

6. Office Christmas Party

It’s easy to get suckered in by “Office Christmas Party,” a movie with a who’s who cast of accomplished comic actors and a fun sounding holiday theme. You’ll want to buy a ticket because you expect laugh-a-minute escape. Don’t. This dreadful, unfunny ‘comedy’ is one of the worst movies of the year.

When obnoxiously uptight tech company CEO Carol (Jennifer Aniston) decides to shut down the underperforming branch run by her flaky brother Clay (T.J.Miller), he rallies the troops to host the Christmas party to end all Christmas parties in an attempt to close a deal that will save everyone’s jobs. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that mayhem quickly ensues, and the epic party rapidly spirals totally out of hand. This movie feels like nothing more than a thinly veiled excuse for the filmmakers to set up shop and throw an epic party with a huge studio budget.

Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn, two actors who are obviously hell-bent on proving that they’ll do anything for a paycheck, play office lovebirds is the most completely awkward, ill-fitting way possible. I never once believed their romantic inclinations and instead saw two people who were super uncomfortable to even be in the same room together.

Rob Corddry and Vanessa Bayer are wasted and confined to irritating supporting roles, akin to being punished by being made to sit in the corner for trying too hard at making goofy faces. The usually amusing Jillian Bell is far off her game as a two-faced pimp and Courtney B. Vance would probably like to forget everything he is forced to do in this movie.

Kate McKinnon, god bless her, is the only saving grace in this film — but even she can’t make jokes about parrot secretions and HR handbook violations funny enough to warrant more than a few polite chuckles.

This movie is altogether dreadful, rotten, and is stuffed with lame, stale jokes that continuously fall flat. All you need to know about the quality of the jokes here is that the funniest bit is a one-liner about farting and cheese.

There’s absolutely no reason to see this movie. It has no point, it’s grossly uninteresting, the actors have no chemistry, and the plot is paper thin. This party is one big, boring yawn, and I sure wish I had turned down my invitation before it was too late.

7. Inferno

The opening scenes of the Ron Howard directed “Inferno” give a crystal clear picture of what’s to come in the next two hours: a confusing, incoherent jumble of a movie that easily earns its spot as one of the worst films of 2016. Not only is this unsophisticated movie a complete and utter mess, it’s not even entertaining.

Tom Hanks is back as Harvard smartypants Robert Langdon, a popular character from the fictional series (“The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons”) by author Dan Brown. This time Langdon is chasing clues from Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” in a race against time to stop the release of a toxin designed to wipe out half of the human race.

The hidden clues are uncovered with little fanfare, and half of the situations make no sense whatsoever. There’s a bunch of nonsensical double-crossing and more than a few gaping plot holes. This chaotic movie reaches heights of absurdity that are rare even for a dumb pop culture thriller like this — and that’s even if you already readily suspend disbelief.

Langdon wakes up with amnesia in a hospital in Italy, where he joins up with young doctor Sienna (the horribly miscast Felicity Jones). What follows are many noisy shootouts and chase sequences (that have zero suspense whatsoever), and scene after scene of scholars attempting to decipher hidden meaning in numbers and works of art. Yawn.

Hanks is America’s likeable everyman, which means he can (sort of) carry the movie — but his charisma can only take this material so far. He doesn’t get much help from his dreadful supporting cast (led by the irritating and wooden Jones and the caricature acting turns from Ben Foster and Omar Sy) either. Thank goodness for Sidse Babett Knudsen, who adds a brief glimmer of professionalism and chemistry to this dreck. If only she had been paired with Hanks instead of Jones in a larger role.

This is a stupid story with a lazy plot and an inarticulate screenplay with oversimplified dialogue. It’s poorly directed in what amounts to nothing more than cinematic debris. This certainly isn’t a movie anyone wanted, which in turns means that it’s also a movie that nobody needed.

This mess earns a half star because I did enjoy the film’s setting in Rome, Venice and Florence (which are among my favorite cities on Earth), and one extra star because I still love you, Tom Hanks.

8. Storks

The quirky and original story idea behind the new animated film “Storks” should’ve made this family friendly movie soar. Instead, it never really gets off the ground. The end product delivers a movie that’s not very creative, not any fun, and not any good.

After an unfortunate mishap at the baby factory caused storks to give up on the baby delivering game years ago, the birds now deliver consumer packages instead of infants. Junior (Andy Samberg) is the top delivery stork at Cornerstore.com and is on the fast track to become the new boss. When Junior’s human friend Orphan Tulip (Katie Crown) accidentally activates the baby making machine and creates a little girl, the pair scramble to deliver the kid to her new family before angry CEO Hunter (Kelsey Grammer) finds out.

The story sounds charming and original, and it is. That’s not the problem. The real issue stems from the dreadful script and god-awful dialogue. The bright and peppy visuals can’t take away from the ridiculous, overly talky nonsensical ramblings, poor direction, and overall lazy filmmaking.

The movie is just plain dumb too. It has something that’s even more stupid than the truck driving octopus from this year’s “Finding Dory“: a pack of wolves that can join together to create everything from a bridge to a working submarine to an airplane.

Everything about the movie feels awkward and uncomfortable, from the lackluster voice talent to the unlovable and off-putting characters. Pigeon Toady (Stephen Kramer Glickman) is one of the ugliest and most annoying animated characters in recent memory, and Jennifer Aniston should never be hired to voice an animated character ever again. Like never ever. Her emotionless monotone as mom Sarah is proof that she has no business doing vocals. Thank goodness for Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key as a pair of over-excited wolves. If not for them, I probably would’ve walked out.

Warner Animation Group is competent enough at creating pleasantly colorful animation, but even their artists can’t save this bummer of a movie. Your kids deserve better.

9. Nine Lives

It’s awful, but it’s not as awful as you fear it will be. That’s just about the only positive thing I have to say about “Nine Lives,” the new ‘comedy’ from director Barry Sonnenfeld. I wish the film had taken a more ridiculous, tongue-in-cheek approach to amp up its preposterous premise but instead it aims for a sincere, heartwarming tale with just too much stupidity thrown in for it to work on a campy level.

Billionaire businessman Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is ruthless in his pursuit of being the biggest and best. When his workaholic ways get in the way of — wait for it — spending quality time with his loving family (Jennifer Garner and Malina Weissman), Tom decides to buy his daughter a cat for her birthday. Felix (Christopher Walken) is a creepy, weird old coot who runs the Purrkins Pet Shop (groan). Some mishaps occur and Tom finds himself in a coma — and his soul trapped in the body of the kitty, Mr. Fuzzypants.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens next.

Something that really bothered me is that the movie misses a prime opportunity to speak out in favor of animal adoption. Instead of showing Tom going to the local shelter, the cat is purchased at a pet shop. At least he takes an older cat, but the animal is portrayed as a gift and not a truly loved member of the family. Mr. Fuzzypants is ultimately treated as disposable and replaceable, and several little kids were wailing towards the end of the film (no spoilers here but let’s just say the cat makes use of his nine lives).

If you think the story sounds bad, wait ’til you get a load of the dreadful visual effects. Clearly the animation department didn’t care about their craft and slapped the CGI together as half-assed as possible. It’s jarring to see a real animal turn into an animated animal in the span of 3 seconds, and it’s even more awkward when the cats don’t even look the same! The animators couldn’t bother to do a passable job so the ‘fake’ cat looks absolutely terrible in every single frame. In each scene he’s jumping around, making ridiculous faces, and slamming / running / jumping into walls / cabinets / furniture ad nauseam. All of the lunkheads in my audience, from kids to the elderly, responded to these lowbrow pratfalls with roars of laughter. You can’t say the movie doesn’t deliver the goods to its core audience.

I’m embarrassed that I purchased a ticket so I could review this movie because that’s another undeserved $12 sale towards its box office gross, but the actors across the board should especially feel shame for their participation in this mess. Yes, even the ones who are currently surviving in Hollywood only by scraping the bottom of the acting barrel (Jennifer Garner, I’m talking to you). Christopher Walken doesn’t seem to know where he is or what he’s doing half of the time so he’s forgiven due to his age. Garner and Walken I can understand, but Kevin Spacey? Why oh why did you agree to do this?

10. Zoolander 2

The fact that this sequel exists is more insulting than anything else: insulting to audiences everywhere because it’s not worth you wasting one second of your time on watching it. Nothing more than an endless parade of very unfunny celebrity cameos, “Zoolander 2” is a long, boring and tedious gimmick that simply doesn’t work. Why did the world even need a sequel to “Zoolander”? It’s one of the worst excuses for a ‘comedy’ ever made, and part 2 isn’t any better.

Instead of having a good script, it feels like director / star Ben Stiller just sat around a called up all of his Hollywood friends to cast them in his movie so they could pal around on the set. This movie feels as old and lame as the t-shirts that Hansel (Owen Wilson) and Derek (Stiller) wear during one of the (many) gags that don’t work. There’s no satire, no quotable lines, no humor and no redeeming qualities to this movie. Will Ferrell (Mugatu), Kristen Wiig (Alexanya), and Penelope Cruz (Valentina) are squandered, and any film that dares waste Wilson qualifies as a crime against movies in general.

Shame on the talented cast who wasted their time with this junk. And please don’t waste yours.

WORST MOVIES OF 2016: (DIS)HONORABLE MENTIONS

These awful movies came very close to making the list of my Top 10 Worst of the year:

11. Papa Hemingway in Cuba

12. Max Steel

13. Assassin’s Creed

14. Divergent: Allegiant

15. Love & Friendship

16. Eye in the Sky

17. Criminal

18. Jason Bourne

19. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

20. Hillary’s America

21. Dirty Grandpa

22. Pete’s Dragon

23. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

24. Ride Along 2

25. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

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