In this age of aggregated movie reviews, sites like Rotten Tomatoes don’t just make the thoughts of critics more readily available. These sites have become one of the main channels for movie fans to gauge interest in films, even learning about them for the first time. There is no longer any camouflage available for bad films. At this stage, we’re even getting a bit of a kickback from filmmakers and studios complaining that these sites are the reason why some films have underwhelming box office results. While it is true that some movie critics need to alter the way they review summer blockbusters compared to award season dramas, most of this is simply a reflection on the filmmakers and studios. Don’t make terrible films so people won’t call them terrible.
So far, 2017 has been pretty dry for quality films, but that’s to be expected at this point in the year. There is hope still. We are just getting in the summer blockbuster season, which is another name for superhero movie season nowadays; and some of the entries have been pretty solid. We have, however, already had more than our fair share of disastrous films. To rate the worst of all the clunkers so far, we had to even the playing field a little. We’ve gone through and selected the worst ranked films of 2017 on Rotten Tomatoes, but we decided that a 10-review minimum was necessary to make the list. This cancels out some of the terrible low-budget films that no one saw. Every film on this list had a fair shot at being good, but they each just missed horribly. Here are the 15 Most “Rotten” Movies To Have Come Out So Far This Year.
15 Baywatch – 19%
Along with Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Baywatch is one of the films highlighted in a comment from one of the Hollywood studios blaming Rotten Tomatoes for their bad box office results. The criticism was as follows: “The critic aggregation site increasingly is slowing down the potential business of popcorn movies. Pirates 5 and Baywatch aren’t built for critics but rather general audiences, and once upon a time these types of films—a family adventure and a raunchy R-rated comedy—were critic-proof. Many of those in the industry severely question how Rotten Tomatoes computes its ratings, and the fact that these scores run on Fandango (which owns RT) is an even bigger problem.” When it comes to Baywatch, they may have a point. The audience scores are in the 60’s, whereas the critics have the film at 19%. Most critics saw it as stale and unnecessary, which could have been said before seeing the film. Sure, the movie is not great. But many of the reviewers seem to have made their minds up before going to see the film.
14 Underworld: Blood Wars – 18%
Making a fifth entry in any franchise is almost bound to fail. This task becomes especially difficult when the franchise wasn’t any good to start with. There’s a certain sadness to Underworld: Blood Wars. We see Kate Beckinsale, an actress who just showed off how capable she is in leading a comedy in Love & Friendship, coming back to this same Underworld garbage that’s taken up the bulk of her career. When this franchise is all said and done–which hopefully, it now is–we might look back and wonder what could have been for Beckinsale. Sure, she’s filthy rich; but she’s been totally wasted in this series that has never once tried to make something new and refreshing among the numerous sequels.
13 The Space Between Us – 17%
Asa Butterfield and Britt Robertson are quality actors on their own, but when they’re put into a movie as absurd as The Space Between Us, they are helpless. This silly movie is part sci-fi adventure, part coming of age, part romance, and all garbage. We have to be a bit forgiving with most romances because they often border on eye-rolling territory. But this film heads into that landscape with reckless abandon. There is so much cheese and schmaltz in this film that your eyes will physically hurt from rolling them. Not once does the movie do anything original; and not once does it make you feel anything except boredom and hatred for what you’re seeing. It’s just a ridiculous film that is made infinitely more ridiculous by the fact that the quality of its cast means that the studios actually believed this could have been decent.
12 Mine – 16%
By no fault of its lead, Armie Hammer, Mine–a film about a U.S. solider stranded and forced to fight his way to freedom–is not good; not good at all. Some critics saw this as an interesting concept for a film. Some even used the word unique. Sure, we’ve never seen a guy step on a mine and thus strand himself in the middle of the desert, but we’ve seen plenty of other ways of stranding protagonists in one location (Buried, Phonebooth, The Shallows). We’ve also seen plenty of stranded soldiers. This film is not all that original and it is a trek to get through. The sad part is that there was a chance that it could have been successful. If only the filmmakers relied on the tension surrounding this soldier’s current situation rather than try and build up a ridiculous personal conflict in which his own inner demons might be more dangerous than the exterior threats. No. The guy is literally standing on a bomb. That’s more important and more dangerous than his feelings. It’s not hard to see why so many critics left the film shaking their heads.
11 Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul – 18%
Giving an old franchise a brand new cast can be one of the most difficult things to pull off successfully. Where fans might be forgiving of bad jokes and poor writing with the old crew, watching a new cast covering rehashed material is bound to get torn down. This is what we get from Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. There’s nothing new here outside of the faces. It feels like a poorly done retread and a straight-to-DVD rip-off, when this was supposedly a well-thought-out and well-funded film. The worst part about this sequel is that the writing makes it seem like they didn’t even try. They knew it would make money because there was a dedicated fan base. And, don’t think that it might be that jokes are delivered poorly. They’re not. It’s the jokes themselves that aren’t funny in the least.
10 The Mummy – 16%
It wasn’t hard to see that The Mummy was destined to fail. The promise of a larger Dark Universe created some intrigue, but this first film seemed too eager to get it all started right away. Tom Cruise isn’t the most loved star out there despite his box office success. While people have put up with him running at full speed in the Mission Impossible franchise, it seems like no one has the stomach for him running at full speed in other films. The problems with the later entries in the Brendan Fraser Mummy franchise was never with the lead actor. Let’s be clear about that. The trouble was that, after the first film, no one really cared. It seems as though we’re still in that same place now, and no amount of balls thrown into the air at once nor a promise for the future can distract us from that fact.
9 Once Upon A Time In Venice – 16%
With Bruce Willis, Jason Momoa, John Goodman, and Famke Janssen all on board, it’s quite clear that Once Upon a Time in Venice has an excellent cast. The problem with this film is that it is merely the B-movie version of films we’ve seen way too many times before. It’s a similar Willis to what he usually plays, but it’s almost as if we’re at our wit’s end with him. We’re not; at least not really. We just don’t need to see John McClane redone in so many different ways. It’s not only Willis’ character that is tired either. It’s as if the filmmakers on this just selected a few different movies and stole bits and pieces from them, combining them into this Frankenstein monster of a film. It’s not clever enough to hide its influences and not smart enough to make the homages any good. We’re just left with a cold-dead corpse of a film made up of lifeless and disjointed pieces from much better movies.
8 Kill Switch – 14%
There has always been a danger in making low-budget sci-fi films that rely too heavily on CGI. The most successful low-budget sci-fi movies avoid the complicated shots knowing that they could destroy the movie if done poorly. They focus more on concept and making the audience imagine rather than showing them. Well, Kill Switch tried to show us the end of the world. Surprisingly, the VFX is actually the best part. It’s the story and the execution that fail miserably. Starting off with a decent concept, the film quickly devolves into a first-person shooter video game. Truthfully, it’s about as boring as watching your friend play a first-person shooter. At first, the film tries to trick the audience into thinking that it’s going to be more than it is. In the end, we see that that promise was nothing more than just a long con.
7 Despite The Falling Snow – 10%
There’s actually some decent elements to the film Despite the Falling Snow, but it never does put it all together. The concept–a Cold War spy melodrama–is old and tired, so it had to reinvent the wheel a bit. It did not. It sort of rattled on and gave promises of being something more but never quite reached that level. The love story was there but never fully realized; the conclusion was acceptable but predictable. By the end, the film feels about as cold as the setting. There’s no soul behind the images, even though they often look pretty. Similarly, the performances were strong, but they weren’t contributing to anything worthwhile. This film might be lower on the list than it should be, but, make no mistake, it deserves to be on this list.
6 Bitter Harvest – 10%
When a film tries to cover familiar ground in a new and creative way, it often tells a story within this setting without rehashing the basics, because that’s been done before. The issue with Bitter Harvest is that the ground is not all that familiar. The backdrop is Joseph Stalin’s Holodomor, the death-by-starvation program he used to kill millions of Ukrainians. While it was an honorable attempt by the filmmaker to raise awareness of this event, the love story that dominated the screen felt hollow in comparison to the background. Perhaps this film is too far ahead of its time. It may be that audiences need to have been more accustomed to the Holodomor before seeing a love story try and trump it. Because we were too focused on the background, the foreground was nothing more than just a distraction.
5 Fifty Shades Darker – 9%
For a movie that is completely and utterly about the hardcore and innermost s*xual desires, Fifty Shades Darker is about as tame as it comes. This entry has tried to make the franchise into something it can never be. It introduces subplots that seemed to be thought up and developed on a whim; and the script is laughable. Even the s*x is boring. Most humans on the planet knew this franchise would fail. The reason the books were successful is because they involve the solitary human imagination. The entire experience is meant to be individual and indulgent. On screen, we call this modern p*rnography, and it is meant to be watched alone not in a theater or with your family. Since Fifty Shades Darker is not actually p*rnography in film form, it is nothing.
4 Rings – 6%
The first film in this franchise, The Ring, never needed a sequel. When the studios decided to give it another go, the concept became boring almost immediately. This new entry tries to take the concept in a new direction, but the ideas were clearly not well-thought-out. Sadly, the most effective bits of this film are just the same old bits from the original. Trying to add another sequel to this horror franchise was never going to be easy. Horror films and franchises are judged extra critically by viewers, so it would have been wise to make sure that you had a film before the shooting started. Unfortunately for the original, every sour entry that has followed it–like Rings–has only diminished all the good bits that the first one once had for future generations of horror fans.
3 Arsenal – 4%
Whenever Nicolas Cage is on screen in Arsenal, it is painfully obvious what the goal of this film was from the beginning. Well, at least the goal of casting Cage was obvious. They hoped that his performance would be campy and Cagey enough to make it a cult classic; that it will never be rolled eyes on, even if Cage does give one of his most ridiculous performances to date. The amount of overacting and excessive violence leads us to believe that the director hoped to make a film as over-the-top as he could. The acting isn’t so bad. It’s good; it’s just flat out terrible. The action has no rhyme or reason to it. The choreography is lame, and the actors appear to be going through the motions. The only shining light in this film is John Cusack. The other characters and actors are horrible and the protagonists are almost more insufferable than the bad guys.
2 All Nighter – 0%
Every once in a while, we get surprised. We honestly believed that internet’s love affair with JK Simmons was going to be enough to garner the film, All Nighter, some love. We thought people would try their hardest to find redeemable qualities in the film because their boy, JK, was part of the cast. Maybe they did try; but darn it, this film was just too awful. Getting a 0% (albeit with only 10 reviews) is tough to do. It’s not like this one is getting barely rotten reviews either. It’s bombing. While most critics commend Simmons’ performance–which is excellent even though he plays the exact same character he’s played in every single movie–All Nighter is pure drivel. We’re pretty sure that this was meant to be a comedy, but the director seemed to have forgotten that half-way through.
1 Book Of Love – 0%
This one isn’t just the tie for the lowest rated film of the year so far; Book of Love is also a serious contender for worst film of the decade. There are so many things to hate about this one. Close your eyes and picture an annoying indie drama. Got it? OK. What you’re picturing is better than this trash. The accents are hilariously bad. Honestly! The Cajun accents in Book of Love make Dennis Quaid in The Big Easy sound like a native speaker. It’s sad, too, because we love Maisie Williams and Jason Sudeikis on their own; but for Pete’s sake, they’re in over their heads in this melodramatic and overly sentimental heap. This is easily the worst film of 2017 so far. We’ll be shocked if something worse comes out between now and the end of the year.
Sources: Wikipedia; Rotten Tomatoes; IMDB