I didn’t really hate any movies in 2016 the way I hated most of my bottom list from the previous year. That’s mostly just luck of the draw. 

I didn’t really hate any movies in 2016 the way I hated most of my bottom list from the previous year. That’s mostly just luck of the draw. There were fewer big Oscar bait movies this year, instead the prestige movie scene was mostly full of smaller movies and nothing really got under my skin; burrowing into a festering hate wound. Instead this list is mostly dominated with mediocre summer blockbusters, movies that felt unnecessary, samey and boring. Frankly the worst movie on this list isn’t even the number one because at least it was impressively awful, it had a flavor to it. 

10. Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

Jack Reacher 2 feels like an episode of TV; specifically it feels like NCIS, except not as good. There’s a cheapness to everything about the production. But what gets it on the list is that it has one of the worst subplots I’ve ever seen in a movie. Cut that out and this movie is passable if forgettable.

Tom Cruise is at his best when he doesn’t have to pretend to have human emotions and this movie does not give him that luxury.

9. The Jungle Book

Such a dull remake, The Jungle Book wastes an opportunity to incorporate more material from the book, but is instead devoted to sucking the fun and creativity out of the original Disney movie.

The part where Mowgli finds a cowbell that summons the spirit of Christopher Walken (who bursts into a full musical rendition of “I wanna be like you”) is easily the highlight of the movie for me because it’s completely insane and out of place in this movie that is mostly a no fun zone.

8. Max Steel

I kinda like this movie, but it’s garbage and not in an interesting way. This is just lazy, as the script really feels unfinished. It has one of the most bizarre one sided romances I’ve seen in a movie. This is a made for kids cable TV movie that somehow found its way into theaters.

7. Ghostbusters

It’s just not that funny, and it’s too slick and corporate to be that charming either. But the real problem is all the Ghostbusters shit in it. God the action and effects in this feel stale. 

6. Suicide Squad

This is the best Will Smith performance I’ve seen in a long time; too bad it’s wasted on this trash fire of a movie.Suicide Squad is a movie written by committee that never finds its own identity. This is a fat snake eating its own tail. So much great material to draw from and we get this sloppy mess. What a waste.

5. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

For a while this was the bottom of my list (as it would deserve because it is awful) but it’s actually so bad it starts to round the bend and instead becomes really funny to me. It’s still too long and boring to get off this shit list, but goddamn, if you don’t find the “Martha” scene fucking hilarious I don’t know how to talk to you.

4. Independence Day: Resurgence

The climax is so stupid it almost salvages everything, but again this movie is too morose and boring to be fully salvageable. Also annoying, a lot of this movie is just annoying. This needed way more of the sci-fi nuttiness we start to get at the very end, and way less beat by beat retread of the first movie. Also really could have used Will Smith; like seriously how can you go ahead with this movie without getting him on-board?

3. Arrival

This is the one prestige movie that just didn’t gel with me at all. There are good ideas here but I’ve seen them done better elsewhere. A lot of my problems with this movie has to do with how things are framed. So much is given weight and import that I don’t feel like the movie earns, which makes things that might not bother me feel super pretentious and obnoxious. I don’t think the movie found great solutions to depicting the  more complicated ideas in its story. 

So I wasn’t impressed or pleased with the filmmaking choices, but ultimately the bait and switch of this Alien communication story really being a story about motherhood was one that was always going to have an uphill battle connecting with me. It’s not the kind of story I like; I’m into stories that push forward to the next step of an idea, not ones that take a right turn into a completely different one. The latter only serves to frustrate me unless it’s done in a remarkably well or insane way. This just left me cold.

2. X-Men: Apocalypse

This is one that’s grown more and more sour in my mind as time has gone on. It’s basically the combination of the problems of Suicide Squad and Independence Day: Resurgence.  Bloated beyond belief, full of extended cameo sequences that serve no purpose to the overall story, a retread of character arcs from previous movies, a bunch of young “newbies” that are supposed to be the source of fun and energy but are just annoying, and a boring overpowered villain whose evil plan results in whirling CGI garbage.

It’s not as bad as X-Men: The Last Stand, but it’s just a bummer.

1. Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange has the stench of competence on it. It’s totally fine but it was also the least worthwhile movie I watched all year. It’s just Iron Man again, except this time I don’t buy into the pathos at all. Steven Strange is an arrogant jerk then he reads some books and can do magic and then uses an infinity gem to outsmart a big purple cloud, the end. 

I just have zero interest in the watered down visual style this movie brought to the table. The best Doctor Strangecomics are defined by their crazy psychedelic visuals and this movie completely dropped the ball on depicting that stuff. 

Sure I didn’t care about the characters and I thought the script was dumb, but it’s the utter failure of the spectacle that really gets to me. Not that it looks objectively awful, but it’s got no visual character when it’s working from material that was full of visual character. 

This was the most useless movie I saw all year, the least important, the most forgettable. That sums up what bad movies were to me 2016, giant blockbusters that didn’t even have the decency to be big dumb and stupid fun.

Special shout out to Jason Bourne which got disqualified because I fell asleep during it, but fuck that was a dour, unpleasant piece of shit.