Monday, January 18, 2016

BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2015 - PART 2, BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

If you can imagine the previous post was even longer. I was originally going to make one large best and worst list, but it was just too long. So I decided to split them up into 4 parts. The first part was the best films of 2015. The movies on this list are typically films that have some redeeming qualities, but just didn't make the cut. These films are in the fair to middling range. Before I changed it to the biggest disappointments, these probably would have been titled, "Most Ok Movies." They weren't good and they weren't necessarily bad. So next week you will see my choices for the absolute worst/trashiest/should-have-never-been-made-films of 2015.


'Jurassic World' was a decent movie, but it could have been so much more. It's really sad that fans waited 14 years for this movie. Fourteen years...and this is what we got. What did the makers of the film get--the biggest movie in the world...until 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.' I did enjoy the film. However, after reflecting on my original rating, I would change it to a 3-star review, instead of a 3-1/2. I was feeling rather generous that day. It's a popcorn flick--meant to be watched with buttered popcorn and full calorie soda. But there were so many inconsistencies and plot holes. 

The most ridiculous scene for me is when the pterodactyls attack and the people in charge forget that they have kill chips. Huh? Hit the kill chips! The Indominus Rex ripped her kill chip out. The others should still be working right? Oh and the virtual fist bump between the velociraptor and Chris Pratt was hilarious. Admittedly the baby dinosaur petting zoo was fantastic. I could have watched that all day. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of 'Jurassic World' is that director Colin Trevorrow will be directing a 'Star Wars' film. Seriously. How does a director no one has ever heard of get to direct 'Jurassic World' in the first place? Then follow-up with a 'Star Wars' film? J.J. Abrams has been in the business forever. It makes sense that Abrams would get a job like that, but Trevorrow? 

Perhaps I'm upset because if Trevorrow is charge of (and writes) the next 'Star Wars' film we can expect more of the "pissy-male-hating-childless-career-woman stereotype" played by Bryce Dallas Howard. Great, just great. Just when we got Rey (Daisy Ridley) off to a good start, Trevorrow will probably find a way to get her into a princess-slave bikini costume. See my full review of 'Jurassic World' here
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'San Andreas' was a typical disaster flick chock full of cliches. There was absolutely nothing new or original in this film. The only thing surprising about this film is how many good actors are in it for the paycheck. You can see my full review here
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It started out so good. It's not one of the worst films of the year, but it's certainly not one of the best (or even close). The film started out as an  homage to the awesomely 80's original film. Somewhere the film descended into madness. It's just one big mess. See my review here.

THIS
VERSUS THAT:
NO COMPARISON.

THIS:
VERSUS THAT:
NO COMPARISON.

THIS:
VERSUS THAT:
NO COMPARISON.
If only to see Hugh Jackman with a mullet, you should watch 'Chappie,' but do not be fooled into thinking this is a good film. Jackman doesn't usually get to play the bad guy, which is sad because he's really good at it. Neither 'Chappie' nor 'Pan' should take away from the fact that Jackman is a fantastic actor.
Like most fans, I was completely enamored with Neill Blomkamp's 'District 9.' Unfortunately his subsequent films have been extremely disappointing. I guess the old adage is true, more money does not make a better film. 'District 9' was made on a shoestring. Whereas 'Elysium' and 'Chappie' were big budget projects. Perhaps it's not Blomkamp's fault. I read an insightful article about the mechanisms behind the Hollywood machine. Terrible producers can destroy a relatively decent film. I'm not sure if that's what's been plaguing Blomkamp, but he can't seem to get it together. Despite the critical and financial failures of his last two films, somehow Blomkamp has landed the next 'Alien' sequel. I really hope he doesn't screw it up.
I don't even know what to say about this film. It was so incredibly disappointing. I won't even start on how the climax of the film was to levitate a piece of the earth into the clouds thereby turning it into "an asteroid." It's not like anyone has superpowers right? Not like any of these people can fly or have super strength? Ugh. See my review here.
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Besides the awkward storyline, I think the biggest problem in 'Pan' was the casting or lack thereof. The film's cast was heavily male, with Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara) as the only female character that I can recall. This doesn't attract the 'Frozen' crowd. And ain't no way this film passes the Bechdel Test. While I think that is appropriate in some films, like 'Saving Private Ryan,' 'Sicario,' Fury, etc., But given that this was an origins story for Peter Pan, I don't understand why Tinker Bell and Tiger Lily weren't featured more? Also, I really didn't know why Tiger Lily wasn't Native American?
Director Joe Wright's explanation that Tiger Lily's tribe isn't necessarily Native American, but more of an indigenous "people of the [entire] planet?" Isn't everyone on earth indigenous of the planet? Why not just go with a Native American actress? Or at minimum--an actress with a good tan? I don't get it. Tiger Lily is an iconic Native American character. Now I've been called to the carpet on this topic, because I don't "typically" have an issue with characters changing ethnicity or cultures. Here is my standard: non-iconic characters may be culturally changed, but iconic characters should not typically be culturally changed.

If a character is iconic and is typically associated with certain features, then that should be reflected in the casting. This of course begs the question as to what is iconic. When I think iconic I think of characters like Wonder Woman, Black Panther, Hannibal Lecter, or Lt. Uhura. There really aren't that many characters that would fall into this category. I believe that Tiger Lily would qualify. Yes, I understand that depictions of the native peoples in the original Peter Pan story were probably somewhat offensive, but Wright had the ability to mitigate that, but he ended up making it worse.

I'm also not sure why Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman) was given such a prominent role in Pan's origins story, but just go with it. I believe in the original Peter Pan story Hook was the boatswain to Blackbeard. By the time you get to the boys singing Nirvan's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" you just don't care anymore. Although surprisingly I rather enjoyed that part, but overall the story doesn't work as an origins story because it made so little sense.
I'm of the opinion that the Wachowskis can only have so many flops and failures after the brilliantly executed 'Matrix' before you start believing the urban legend that they stole the idea for the 'Matrix' from another writer. It's never been confirmed and the only evidence is two frivolous lawsuits, but I do wonder about the Wachowskis. They haven't been able to write themselves out of a paper bag for years now. 'Jupiter Ascending' is no exception.
Plot: Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) discovers that she's an intergalactic heiress who must defend the earth from transhuman alien invaders led by Balem (Eddie Redmayne). Balem wants to marry and then kill Jupiter so he can lay claim to the earth. Caine (Channing Tatum) saves her more times than I can count, because she's a woman in constant need of saving. If the synopsis of this film sounds ridiculous it's because it is.
I still can't believe how bad this Bond film was. I'm in the minority here, but this is one of the worst Bond films I've seen in decades. See my full review here.
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NEXT UP: WORST MOVIES OF THE YEAR. 

24 comments:

  1. The only one I disagree with is Avengers. We watched it again recently and liked it even more the second time. Not quite up to the first, but definitely an awesome movie.
    Thank you though for placing Jurassic World on your list. Yes, hit the kill chips, idiots! I was SO disappointed with that film.
    I had really low expectations for San Andreas, so it was about what I expected.
    And I was disappointed with the last Bond film. Glad I skipped Spectre in the theater.

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    1. Ha, I know you love the Avengers films. I totally understand! Maybe I need to watch it a second time. I was so disappointed the first time. Yes, I should have had low expectations for San Andreas too. It's a disaster popcorn flick. I'm so glad you skipped Spectre in the theater. It was terrible.

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  2. Jurassic World... like you said "OKAY"... same movie bigger dinosaurs, you think they could have followed the rules from the first two films. My loved it because of the PRATT, he is now the go to actor... since Guardians. Avengers II was a mess and I like it a little more each time I try to watch it... though it might just be the excitement of Captain America: CIVIL WAR...

    Jeremy

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    1. Yes!! I adore Pratt and his wife. They are probably two of my favorite people in Hollywood. They are so lovely. I am very excited about Captain America: Civil War. If it is as good as Winter Soldier was then we're in for a treat. Winter Solider was one of the few times in which a sequel was better than the original film.

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  3. Terminator comparison are hilarious! And you are right - Spectre was absolutely dreadful. Can't wait to see the next post!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I was so disappointed with 'Spectre.' I had such high hopes for that film. I couldn't believe how bad that movie was. Worse yet it made a ton of money.

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  4. Oh goodness, Jurassic World. It's a shame that Hollywood knows some of these reboots will be making billions only because of our nostalgia of the original. I wanted so badly to like it but there was just so many things that were wrong.
    Poor Jai Courtney. I love his off-screen personality but dude can't catch a break. (Though I love the Divergent series....) Perhaps with Suicide Squad?

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    1. I know poor Jai. You know I actually thought he did a good job. I didn't care for him as Kyle Reese, but I could tell he's a good actor. I'm just not a Jai Courtney fan. I hope he can distinguish himself in the Suicide Squad.

      Yes, Jurassic World wasn't terrible, but it had so many issues. I wish it had been a better movie. Like you I think they knew that we would all go to see it no matter what.

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  5. Have you watched Trevorrow's "Safety Not Guaranteed?" It's a good flick. That's how he got Jurassic World.

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    1. Hi Pat, thanks for the comment. I haven't seen that movie, but I guess my point is that I find it unusual that a relatively unknown director would be given Jurassic World and then quickly moves on to Star Wars. Star Wars is such a huge franchise. I'm always amazed how that happens. It seems to happen when someone has connections. Or when a new director reminds an established director of himself. I wish those kind of opportunities would present themselves for more women.

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  6. Thankfully I've only seen three of the films in this list, but I'll be watching them on DVD. The most disappointing to me was Pan because my son was really looking forward to it. He loves Peter Pan and we had a whole family movie night planned. Had to nix that one but seeing Star Wars made up for it. The kill chip would have made more sense if tearing a chunk of flesh out actually affected her. Blood loss alone should have killed her. The acting in Terminator was pathetic and the weak plot was the final nail. Great list Ms. Mariah!

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    1. Ha, thanks!! I'm sure Star Wars surely made up for it! I'm referring to the kill chips in the flying dinosaurs. They should have still had kill chips. That part didn't make any sense to me. Oh 'Terminator' was such a disappointment. The reboot just didn't work.

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  7. I disagree with Age of Ultron. I had two big issues with the film, (Widow's characterization and killing off Quicksilver) but I really enjoyed it aside from those.

    You just made me hate Jurassic World all over again. lol. I didn't realize the director was also doing episode 9. At least Rian Johnson is writing the screenplay so hopefully he can't fuck it up too much. I hated Bryce Dallas Howard's trope of a character so much.

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    1. Ha ha. I think the misuse of Widow pushed me over the edge with Ultron. Oh my goodness Jurassic World was so disappointing! I can't believe how many plot holes were in that film. I really hope Trevorrow doesn't mess Star Wars up. You've cheered me up a bit that Rian Johnson is writing.

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  8. Now...I've only seen Pan and I certainly understand some of the criticism, but I really liked it a lot.

    That being said...a lot of these look awfully messy.

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    1. Oh they were! Pan was ok. I just wish the origins story was better. I had high hopes for that one and was disappointed. It did have some redeeming qualities.

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  9. I wasn't entirely disappointed with Age of Ultron, although compared to other Marvel movies this isn't their best either. As a follow up to the previous Avengers movie, this was a disappointment, as well as the characterization of Black Widow. I am hoping they don't go down that road anymore in the future installments.

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    1. I hope so too, but they made so much money who knows. These superhero films tend to do what they want no matter how many of us hate it. They know people will go see those films. Just like 'Jurassic World.'

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  10. I've only seen Jurassic World. I was definitely disappointed. I expected it to be more fun. Meh.

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    1. Hi Libby! Yes, I had such high hopes for 'Jurassic World.' I really loved the original film. I wished it was better!

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  11. I watch all of these and Pan was definitely the worst. I was too embarrassed to even review it at the Cave of Cool. I did enjoy San Adreas because it was just so goofy and I can watch the Rock in anything. But Spectre was terrible the more I think about it. So much potential in a story of childhood revenge.

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    1. Oh I agree. 'Spectre' had so many problems. I wanted so badly to love that movie! Yes 'Pan' had issues. I wish it had been better. I thought 'San Andreas' was fun, but I hoped it had been better.

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  12. Hi Mariah! WOW we are in complete agreement with ALL of these. Jupiter Ascending is perhaps the WORST I've seen in a really long time. Pan had issues but it wasn't nearly as horrible JA. Jurassic World was quite entertaining but generally it's pretty bad, I can't believe it made a boatload of money!

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  13. I will disagree with one thing, sorta. What I mean is Jurassic World is horrible. The kill chip is just one on a long list of stupid things. It's like everyone who worked in the park did everything they possibly could to ensure people would be killed. At the same time, I found it all sorts of fun. I call it so bad it's awesome.

    By the way, I have seen Safety Not Guaranteed. It's a wonderful little movie with lots of the heart that's missing from JW. Not sure why that's the guy that tabbed for it, but your theory is as sound as any. I'm guessing he got a Star Wars flick because JW made a kajillion dollars.

    I liked Age of Ultron when I saw it in theaters, but the further I get away from it, the less I think of it. Too much going on, too many things mishandled.

    I wouldn't say Spectre was terrible, but it was a precipitous drop from Skyfall, to be sure.

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