No matter how much praise or money a movie can earn, sometimes, they’re just not that good. Here are a few films you shouldn’t be afraid to hate. Because, really. They suck.
We’re all for any movie that gives Michael Keaton a showcase role; as his performance in 2015’s Spotlight proved, the instantly iconic work he did in Birdman was no fluke. But, come on, Birdman also kind of sucks. The tracking shots are gimmicky, the characters are selfish and cloying, and the script feels like it was written by a bunch of egotistical Hollywood types determined to prove they’re better than movie critics and social media users. It’s Hollywood’s ultimate “Get Off My Lawn” statement, and the final result is about as annoying as the film’s drum-beat score. How Birdman won Best Picture of the Year remains a mystery.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2014)
The first Avengers movie is every Marvel fan’s dream. The second is pretty much a big-budget nightmare. Not that the final product is necessarily bad, per se. It just seems completely uninspired, and worse, phoned in. Half the time, you can tell that stars like Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans are reciting lines simply because they know they’re going to get paid a ton of money. In the other half, you feel the behind-the-scene tension between Marvel and director Joss Whedon that led to some questionable choices. Maybe that’s why everyone seemed so checked out and miserable during the movie’s now-infamous press tour.
Jurassic World (2015)
Jurassic World pressed every ’90s nostalgia button you could think of to create a fun, if mindless, B-movie blockbuster. But if you take away all that, what you’re left with is a pretty lazy movie with an equally uninspired script. The dialogue sucks, the plot is vaguely sexist, and despite improved CGI, anything that happens in the movie was done 20 times better 20 years ago. It’s nice to see Chris Pratt continue his rise from schlubby TV star to bona fide leading man. But next time he might want to find a better script.
Gravity undeniably made incredible advances in the fields of CGI and cinematography, and we still have nightmares about that intense opening crash. But beyond that and a strong performance by Sandra Bullock (hooray for women leading action movies!), does Gravity have much to offer? Sadly, not really. Like many action films, the movie is bogged down by a script that makes lazy efforts to connect with the audience. The best example: the whole subplot about Ryan Stone’s (Bullock) dead daughter, which feels cliched and, to be honest, way too Hollywood. Gravity would have been much more interesting if we were left to figure out Stone’s past for ourselves, the way The Martian is vague about Matt Damon’s Mark Watney character.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Beyond screaming obscenities at Lily Tomlin, director David O. Russell has become famous for zany and idiosyncratic movies like I Heart Huckabees and The Fighter. But in 2012, he reached arguably the peak of success when he released Silver Linings Playbook, a manic movie about two people suffering from bipolar disorder who fall in love and say a lot of wacky things to each other. If you’re a fan of Russell’s work, Playbook was the perfect storm of success. If you’re not a Russell fan, however, Silver Linings Playbook is a cloying, hyperactive headache of a movie that gets away with far more than it should have. For starters, Jennifer Lawrence is way too young to play the part of Bradley Cooper’s love interest. And Robert De Niro cries. He’s going to get an Oscar nomination for that? Also, the big climax is a dance scene? What the hell is the point of this movie?
The paragraph summary of Spike Jonze’s Her certainly sounds like a winner. A lonely man falling in love with a Siri-esque device? Talk about on-point commentary on our technology-obsessed world. Unfortunately, Her turned out to be a good idea that’s never quite fully realized on the big screen. The budding romance between Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson’s characters feels rushed and awkward, and the final twist feels like Jonze couldn’t figure out how to end the movie. Her certainly gets an A+ for effort, but it’s no Being John Malkovich.
Props must be given to director Richard Linklater for filming one of the most ambitious projects ever captured on screen. Shooting a movie over 12 years is pretty awesome. But, as you might expect, it was also pretty tiresome. Although the movie has a number of incredible and emotional moments, all of which typically involve Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette, it’s also too long, too unwieldy, and at times a little boring. Tighter editing could have made this good movie truly great.
It’s a question asked in comic shops even more than “Why don’t I have a girlfriend?” and “What’s deodorant?” In a battle between two epic characters who have never met, who would emerge victorious? It doesn’t matter why they’re fighting or if the world has much larger problems than fictional deathmatches, it’s absolutely critical to know which hero or villain is quantifiably more badass. So, what would happen if Star Wars threw down against DC Comics? Here’s what we think the outcome would be.
Darth Vader vs. Darkseid
Was George Lucas was influenced by Jack Kirby’s New Gods when plotting A New Hope? Kirby’s comic epic had been out for a few years by the time Luke Skywalker’s journey began, and rumor has it that even Vader’s design references Darkseid’s weird helmet head. Coincidentally (or not), Darkseid is also a guy with a secret son who’s prophesied to defeat him. While Vader can crush throats from a distance and swing a mean lightsaber, he’s basically an old man being kept alive by an asthmatic robot suit and evil. Sure, he’s a deadly threat to human peons, and even skilled Jedi, but Darkseid can shoot reality-destroying beams from his eyes. Victory: Darkseid. Sorry, Star Nerds.
Luke Skywalker vs. The Flash
Luke and the Flash are both guys who harness the powers of a mysterious force to fight for the powers of good. While Skywalker uses the Force and whatever midichlorians he’s got floating around in his guts, the Flash uses the Speed Force to zip around at the speed of light, and occasionally, through time. The question here is whether or not the little bacteria that possess universal consciousness and control the Force can transmit information faster than light. Luke was able to deflect laser beams not long after he picked up his first lightsaber, while he was blindfolded, so the good money is on Luke being able to anticipate the Flash’s super speedy moves. Precognizance wins, so Skywalker scores this one. Plus, lightsaber. Come on.
Han Solo vs. Batman
While Han Solo is a mercenary with a heart of gold, and Batman is a hero with a heart of bat, both are independent rogues who begrudgingly join the team when the going gets tough. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Batman actually loses a fight, even after being beaten to a bloody pulp, but Han Solo’s regular use of deadly force and the trail of corpses in his wake might just anger Batman enough to throw him off his guard. Still, Solo’s own worst enemy seems to be himself and a total lack of preparedness, wherein Batman is the ultimate prepper. In a completely obvious victory, Batman reigns supreme, using Smuggler Spray from his Batbelt.
Wonder Woman vs. Princess Leia
Princess Leia isn’t much of a fighter, despite her scrappy confidence and resilience, whereas Princess Diana is a trained warrior from Themyscira. Both come from lands that were completely destroyed by war, but only Leia has the power of the entire Rebellion at her command. Wonder Woman often seems at odds with her warrior sisters, when she’s not leading them in attacks against the patriarchy. There aren’t enough magic bracelets in the world to deflect the heavy fire from the Rebellion should Leia ever be crossed, but there’s also no doubt that Leia would spill the locations of some secret rebel bases if she went up against Diana’s lasso one-on-one. This one’s a tie.
Chewbacca vs. Martian Manhunter
Both stoic, loyal, hulking aliens from far-off lands, Chewy and J’onn J’onzz would probably be very fast friends before they’d ever come to fisticuffs. Martian Manhunter would have no problem understanding Chewy, and they’d both keep their distance from any terrifying. smoldering fireplaces. The real question is which weapon would be more powerful: a Wookiee bowcaster firing plasma, or arms that can be shape-shifted into giant blades? The only real answer is that the two would be best buds forever, and everyone would win. Sitcom spinoff, please.
Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Ra’s al Ghul
Ra’s al Ghul is an environmental terrorist who seeks to restore the balance between man and nature, and Kenobi is a Jedi who wants to restore balance to the Force. Both are expert swordsmen who know how to return from the dead, or at least use death to their advantage. While old Kenobi just kinda floats around as a wise ghost after he dies, Ra’s actually legitimately comes back to life to strike again, thanks to a weird chemical hot tub. For all of his years, Ra’s never seems to accomplish his goals or become smarter, while Kenobi effectively guides Luke Skywalker to victory over the Empire. Death just isn’t failure when you’re a Jedi. Point goes to Obi-Wan.
Emperor Palpatine vs. Anton Arcane
Like the saddest possible WorldStar video, seeing two decrepit old men go at it would probably be the worst way to spend an afternoon. But if you absolutely had to watch, it would help if both geezers had some form of magic power. Palpatine and Arcane are both known to return from the dead to possess the living, and are both bent on spreading evil through the universe. The Palpatine we know from the original trilogy can barely move, but has some wicked lightning powers, while Anton Arcane seems to cycle through bodies like TV channels, and may or may not be a demon. Still, Arcane regularly has his butt handed to him by the pile of weeds known as Swamp Thing, so even if Palpatine can only give him a really nasty shock, we’re voting for the evil space Emperor.