Just when you thought that I was done talking about the movies of 2019, with it now February, it turns out that I have some garbage to dig up. The Best of 2019 was only the beginning, now it is time to bring up the stinkers, the disappointments, sh*tstorms, and buzzkills, which I am more than ready to get off my chest once and for all.
#10. ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’
A movie should be as interesting as its subject, and while Zac Efron does his damnedest to capture the sinister and charismatic serial killer Ted Bundy, the problem with ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’ lies in how in-cohesive it tackles its subject. The style is choppy, so you are not immediately sucked in. I was more interested in ‘Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes’ than I was in ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’ than this biopic.
#09. ‘In the Tall Grass’
2019 has seen the resurgence of Stephen King adaptations, and most of them have been pretty decent. Yet, the black sheep of the bunch is an adaptation written by both King and his son, Joe Hill. ‘In the Tall Grass’ is a clunky mess of a film that asks more questions than it answers. The premise involving time travel and the mysteries surrounding what is inside the tall grass is meant to be intriguing, yet turns out to be less than satisfying. Forget ‘Donnie Darko’, ‘In the Tall Grass’ is a real head-scratcher.
#08. ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’
After the madness that was ‘Nightcrawler’, you would think that the collaborative team between writer/director Dan Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rene Russo would make lightning strike twice with ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’, a satirical take on the art world and what binds us to it. Instead of insanity and intrigue, the result is a poorly-written mess that tries (and fails) to juggle three different genres, only to end up full of itself. Art at its most pretentious.
#07. ‘The Hustle’
Let’s admit it! Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson are charming actresses, yet not even their glamour, glitz, and wits are enough to save this female version of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’. The jokes range from try-hard and unfunny to juvenile and disgusting. One would have to be really drunk to enjoy this “dirty rotten scoundrel” of a movie. Michael Caine and Steve Martin did it better!
#06. ‘The Lion King’
If you are going to remake one of the greatest movies in existence, it is better if you just don’t! A … ahem… “live-action” remake of ‘The Lion King’ sounds good in an imaginary standpoint, and I do appreciate Jon Favreau’s attempt at bringing everyone’s favorite animated Disney characters to life with breathtaking photo-realistic CG (I would not be surprised if those efforts nabbed it the Oscar for ‘Best Visual Effects’), but that is the most generous thing I can say about this cash grab. What it gains in visuals, it lacks in life, spirit and emotion (something the original undoubtedly did better). I especially feel bad for James Earl Jones who feels like he is going through the motions of saying Mufasa’s lines again.
#05. ‘The Fanatic’
Oh, John Travolta! Where did your career go? Better question: How did you go from Danny Zuko in ‘Grease’ to Moose in ‘The Fanatic’? I get it! We all make bad moves from time to time, but you have seemed to stray near obscurity. To be honest, ‘The Fanatic’ is not as terrible as critics have made it out to be, but it is quite a baffling one. The only reason it is worth watching is to see what makes it so bad. A movie where the main character’s first line is “I can’t talk too long, I gotta poo.” is something that needs to be seen to be believed.
#04. ‘The Prodigy’
Imagine Damien from ‘The Omen’, but instead of being the son of Satan, he was possessed by Charles Lee Ray from ‘Child’s Play’, now imagine ‘The Omen’, but as a terrible movie. You would end up with ‘The Prodigy’. There is nothing quite interesting in this evil kid movie, nor is anything truly scary. It is instead a sequence of evil kid trope after another in an uninteresting fashion.
#03. ‘The Professor and the Madman’
I don’t know why, but I could not seem to get into ‘The Professor and the Madman’. Despite starring Mel Gibson and Sean Penn, I found this character study to be dull. There is not much to say about it, I just could not find myself interested. What should have been interesting felt like a lengthy exercise, and one I probably would not take again.
#02. ‘The Beach Bum’
Don’t let its neon aesthetic and chill nature fool you, ‘The Beach Bum’ is basically just Matthew McConaughey walking along a beach just being Matthew McConaughey. Throw in drugs, alcohol, sex, and a goes-nowhere plot and you have yourself a snoozefest. I was more intrigued by Harmony Korine’s last film ‘Spring Breakers’.
#01. ‘Under the Silver Lake’
I have never seen a movie as baffling, incomprehensible, frustrating, and uninteresting more than ‘Under the Silver Lake’. What makes this really sad was that I have been looking forward to David Robert Mitchell’s follow-up to ‘It Follows’ after catching its first trailer a few years back. Now that it had a 2019 release date, I checked it out at Redbox, and I was extremely disappointed. ‘Under the Silver Lake’ takes pit stops while trying to keep us engaged in a mystery that ultimately does not amount to anything. What can I say except that ‘Under the Silver Lake’ is the worst movie that 2019 had to offer!