Disclaimer: I’m not done with the year, however, I think I can safely say these five pictures are the worst of 2018.
Believe it or not, bad movies have a purpose. Without them, it can be tough to suss out the great, compelling, middling, and just grating of moviedom. They serve as a barometer, a low bar by which we can measure everything else. They’re a chore, they’re a bore, or they’re downright horrifying (and not in the good way), but they give us perspective. It’s easy to watch great movie after great movie and eventually lose sight of what makes greatness come alive. That’s how you get folks trashing A Simple Favor or Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, to name a couple in recent years that ended up one rando’s “worst of” list. They clearly don’t know what lays in the bowels of the big red streaming giant.
In terms of film, Netflix grew up this year, investing in auteurs like Duncan Jones, David Mackenzie, and Alfonso Cuaron, or gems like word-of-mouth hit Cam and forgotten indie The Kindergarten Teacher. They even made it their mission to rescue romantic comedy and holiday family from Hollywood genre hell, putting out Set It Up and Christmas Chronicles (among others) to scores of fans. Unfortunately, they’re also still the one-stop shop for studios and producers looking to dump their unmentionables unfit for theatrical or even a Thursday night Redbox type. Which brings me to my list, a hodge-podge of poor comedies that make up the worst our good ol’ movie business had to offer in 2018. I understand that the world is harsh and this kinda thing ain’t in vogue among film critics anymore, their attempt to spread positivity over negativity. However, we’re all adults here, so fuck that because yes, bad movies do have a purpose.
5. Happy Anniversary
A wannabe rom-com, one of many Netflix put out before finding their groove with Set It Up and others. The problem is that it forgets both rom and com in the process of telling a faux-deep story of two people at a crossroads in their relationship. Another film this year that mistakes cross-cutting for depth and shouting matches for drama. This will neither enlighten nor entertain.
4. The Package
A camping-gone-bad joker that recalls the worst of late 90’s gross out comedy, and features a cast of relative unknowns who unfortunately don’t prove themselves worthy of bigger endeavors. Admirable gall to center an entire movie around a severed penis notwithstanding, The Package is empty on laughs or affable chemistry among its stars.
It’s been a good year for Robert Madden and a bad year for Gillian Jacobs. Madden is a brief, lone bright spot in Ibiza and can now be seen in the terrific limited series Bodyguard. Meanwhile Jacobs is the star of this party-girl dud and had her series Love canceled over the summer. As you can tell, I’m avoiding any actual commentary of this film as there’s barely anything to say. It’s one of those juvenile chores where people having fun on screen does not equal people having fun at home.
This coming-of-age dramedy and quasi-musical went semi-viral around Film Twitter earlier this month, the sure sign that far too many people are judging movies on their morals and progressive ideals. About a pessimistic, obese teenage girl with designs on upending the local beauty pageant, the Danielle MacDonald vehicle is badly acted, thinly written, and broadly executed. Dumplin’ is a cringe-worthy debacle that never offers a reason to root for its lead character beyond the girl’s own mediocrity and humorless eye-rolling.
1. The Week Of
Adam Sandler and Chris Rock have made plenty of bad movies, but this odd couple comedy might be the worst of them if you can believe that. A smorgasbord of wedding movie cliches and soapy drama, The Week Of is borderline offensive in its aspirations toward being, well, an actual comedy. Without a single laugh wrung out of its bloated two-hour runtime, not even the usually reliable Steve Buscemi can save this from being undoubtedly the worst thing produced by Hollywood (or Netflix) all year.
If Netflix ain’t your thing or it feels like I’m cheating…here’s a list of honorable mentions for Worst of 2018, all put out by Big Hollywood and released theatrically.
Unfriended: Dark Web
Holmes & Watson
The 15:17 to Paris