Congrats, 2017! You have given us a cornucopia of bad films! Here is The Reelness’ 10 Worst Films of 2017, with a special shout out to Scarlett Johansson for making our naughty list twice. You go, ScarJo!
10. Justice League
This follow-up to “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice” has Batman enlisting the aid of Wonder Woman to assemble a team of superheroes to battle the latest in DC Comics’ lineup of world-destroying villains, Steppenwolf. The pros: Gal Gadot’s charismatic Wonder Woman and Ezra Miller’s comic relief as The Flash. The cons: an exceptionally weak, directionless and formulaic story; over-reliance on underwhelming and at times, surprisingly fake looking CGI (the CGI removal of Henry Cavill’s moustache makes Superman look super weird); a listless, phoned-in performance from Ben Affleck (who looks like he’d rather be ANYWHERE but in this film) as Batman; and a complete lack of character development for the rest of its lengthy all-star cast. The movie feels rushed to the big screen to satisfy superfans in the wake of the vastly superior, Wonder Woman, and wow, what a colossal disappointment. C-
9. Kong: Skull Island
If you are in the mood to see some incredible visual effects and truly horrifying monsters, than this first installment of the latest retread of the King Kong series is for you. If, however, you are seeking an actual story, look elsewhere, because this hot mess express is one of the worst written movies ever, with an exceptionally weak script, cartoonish character development and acting so poor it makes me want to take back Brie Larson’s Oscar for ROOM. This is not so much a film as it is an empty, glitzy, slow motion music video, surpassed in awfulness only by 2014’s Godzilla, which, guess what, was written by the SAME writer, who is ALSO writing the upcoming sequel, Godzilla vs. Kong. Sigh. (Effects and monsters: A, story: F) C-
8. War Machine
This Netflix original film, based on the Michael Hastings fact-based novel about the U.S. military’s post 9/11 action in Afghanistan, stars Brad Pitt as General Stanley McChrystal, the leader forced to resign in 2010 following a controversial Rolling Stone article in which he sharply criticized Vice President Joe Biden and other high ranking officials. The film is intended to be comic satire and is loaded with a big name cast (Tilda Swinton, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Michael Hall) but it is just weird, boring, and embarrassingly bad, made even worse by Pitt’s horrendous cartoonish accent. This one is one military mission best aborted. D+
7. Ghost in the Shell
This live action remake of the 1995 Japanese animé (itself based on a very popular Japanese manga), stars Scarlett Johansson as a futuristic, first-of-her-kind, crime fighting human/robot hybrid, who ends up battling her creators after uncovering the awful secret about how she came to exist. While the visual effects are truly impressive, that is all this tired film has going for it. Both the Jason Bourne knockoff story and Johansson’s performance are bland, tedious and lifeless. D+
6. Bad Moms Christmas
In this sequel to 2016’s very funny and charming Bad Moms, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn decide to “take Christmas back” when THEIR moms (Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines and Susan Sarandon) arrive for the holidays. What made the original “Mean Girls for Mommies” so fun was the spot on casting, realistic, heartwarming and hilariously raunchy story. This time, sadly, we have none of that. The script is exceptionally weak, the jokes corny and tastelessly crude (with the exception of Hines, who slays as the clingy mom) and, until the finale, completely lacking heart. This sequel is as bad as the original was good. Bah humbug. D
5. The Disappointments Room
Kate Beckinsale stars as an emotionally troubled mother trying to start a new life with her husband and son in, of all places, a haunted house in the country (great idea!) in this silly psychological horror film. A ridiculously weak, disjointed story underscored by equally weak acting will have you rooting for the ghosts to breathe some life into this disappointment of a film. D
4. Rough Night
This weak Bridesmaids/Weekend At Bernie’s knockoff is one of those comedies that, based on the trailer, had potential to be hysterical. Sadly, the trailer jumped the tracks and landed squarely in terribletown, made even more frustrating that such talent (Kate McKinnon, Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz) is horribly wasted on a tedious, barely amusing script with only a handful of chuckles. The one bright spot – Demi Moore, as a wonderfully creepy swinger. Rough movie. D
3. A Quiet Passion
Quite terrible. This biopic of iconic American poet Emily Dickinson stars Cynthia Nixon as the famed death-obsessed recluse whose popularity soared after her own death. Nixon is on point as the sad sack artist, and the stilted language, costume and set design do accurately capture the mood of the mid-to-late 1800s, but director Terence Davies, with his lingering camera shots and awkward silences, presents a one-dimensional portrait of Dickinson that is as pretentious as it is boring. Bring back the rest of girls from Sex And the City, Cynthia, because this movie should be registered as a sleep aid. True Dickinson fans will loathe this film. Non-fans will loathe themselves for wasting time watching it. D-
2. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
This sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s cheeky, self-mocking spy movie parody is everything the original film happily wasn’t – a bloated, patience-trying, cleverless film that takes itself way too seriously and looks more like a way too long, CGI-hyped-up Night of A Thousand Stars whose laundry list of stunt casting – Julianne Moore, Halle Berry, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Elton John – should all be mortified to be associated with one of the year’s worst, most craptacular films. This sequel succeeds only in tarnishing what originally looked like a promising franchise. Yuck. D-
1. The Bye Bye Man
This low budget horror film, written by three-time Survivor contestant Jonathan Penner (who also has a cameo role) and directed by his wife, is about a group of Wisconsin college students who uncover a demon who stalks his victims when they utter or even hear his name. Uh, yeah, ok. Don’t let the brief appearances by Carrie Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway fool you – everything about this dumpster fire of a film is awful – the disjointed, senseless storyline, the weak acting and the not so special effects. Don’t watch it, don’t see it. F
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