I’ve decided to save the best until last and carry on with my cinematic Worst of 2018 – the films I saw not from 2018 but which were the true nadir of my film watching experience this year.
Interestingly, all of these movies came out in 2017, which was otherwise a damn good year for cinema. Catching up, however, these stinkers rose out from the pack. I cannot tell you how much these should be avoided, but I’ll have a go anyway.
5. The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)
There was a time around five or six years ago when I really didn’t like Ryan Reynolds as an actor. Then he made The Voices. Then he made Deadpool. Then suddenly I started to see what people had been telling me for ages – this guy is talented and funny. Then he goes and makes The Hitman’s Bodyguard and I’m thrown back to Green Lantern and The Change-Up and half a dozen risible movies with his name on.
This one should have been better, too. High concept action? Check. Shades of stuff like Lethal Weapon? Check. Samuel L. Jackson at his most motherf*ckery since maybe even Pulp Fiction? Check. But no. This is tired and cliché and terribly written and poorly performed from the get go. Reynolds is smug enough to punch. Jackson feels like a caricature of his own cinematic persona. The whole thing is just no fun.
Which means, of course, we’re getting a sequel. Ugh.
4. The Dark Tower (2017)
Credit where credit is due – it took some serious effort to balls this one up. The Dark Tower, Stephen King’s fusion of creeping horror with Tolkien-esque high fantasy, has mega franchise written all over it. Granted, the first book in the series, The Gunslinger, is a weird, stripped back and distinctly hard to film Western, but you don’t have to adapt it verbatim. Turns out Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower didn’t. And it still turned out to be garbage.
This was one, I think, that just had too many cooks involved in the end. Ron Howard was originally supposed to adapt it, with Javier Bardem in the role of hero Roland Deschain, working as both an inter-connected cinematic and TV franchise, but this all went down the swanney as the studio looked to make a fast buck. No, lobbing great actors like Idris Elba & Matthew McConaughey is *not* enough, guys, not when your script is offal, and your director incompetent.
Absolute trash fire. Burn all negatives. Get a writer’s room. Try again.
3. Geostorm (2017)
GERARD BUTLER SPACE SATELLITES EXPLOSIONS MENTAL WEATHER SHOUTING MORE EXPLOSIONS.
When a film makes Michael Bay’s Armageddon look like Lawrence of Arabia, you know you’re in trouble.
So bad, it’s painfully terrible.
2. The Mummy (2017)
Oh, what could have been, eh? The Mummy was meant to put Universal up there with the Disney big boys, kickstarting the ‘Dark Universe’, a cinematic franchise filled with IP – all of the classic Universal monsters as part of one broad universe. Tom Cruise was headlining it. Russell Crowe was being teed up as Dr Jekyll. Alex Kurtzman, fresh off Transformers and Star Trek cinematic success, was in the drivers seat, from a script by writers such as David Koepp and Christopher McQuarrie. What could go wrong?
Everything, as it turned out. The Mummy makes you yearn for the halcyon days of Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz bantering like they’ve just stepped out of a Howard Hawks movie. Cruise is powerfully miscast as an everyman charmer thrown into a supernatural situation. The script is horrific. Kurtzman’s direction is a mess. Only Sofia Boutella escapes with any dignity as the titular she-Mummy, just about.
The nail is now in the Dark Universe’s coffin with such force, not even Dracula will be bursting his way out of it.
1. The Party (2017)
Sally Potter’s latest piece of pseudo-intellectual, pretentious twaddle.
About as much fun as a bout of typhus.
Check back in soon then for my Best experiences of 2018, before I present a list of my favourite TV shows and movies from this year. It’s all good stuff from here on out…