Every year moviegoers get sucked into seeing that one movie that seems like it was created purely to inflict the most pain possible on its audiences. Like that Fantastic Four reboot from a couple years back. It looked like it had potential. It had a promising cast, including Miles Teller, Kate Mara, and Michael B. Jordan. And the director was a promising up-and-comer, whose first movie, Chronicle, received critical acclaim. But holy eff did that thing SUCK. And not like standard Twilight movie suckage. Fantastic Four is easily the biggest, gooiest zit on the face of the modern superhero genre. And it still made like $50 million. Considering its budget, that actually isn't great, but considering a single movie ticket is only fifteen bucks, that is a crap ton of disappointed seat holders.
This year will undoubtedly have a similar garbage film (or more). Arguably, the first six or so months of 2017 have screened its fair share of stink bombs, but the last half of the year promises to have just as many, if not more. So, in order to save you from wasting your hard-earned dolla dolla bills on some cinematic dud, we have lovingly created a list of fifteen upcoming movies that you should avoid this year.
15 Daddy's Home 2
Ah, the sequel no one asked for. The first Daddy's Home movie starred Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as a dad and a step-dad, respectively, fighting for the affection of their children. It was ridiculous, over-the-top, threw Will Ferrell through a wall, and really not all that funny. It was a pretty resounding disappointment, especially after the success of The Other Guys - the first collaboration between Marky Mark and Ron Burgundy. And yet, for some inexplicable reason, we are being given a sequel to Daddy's Home instead of The Other Guys. How does that make any kind of sense? It's pretty safe to say that the only time Daddy's Home 2 will be worth watching is when it inevitably comes out on Netflix and you have absolutely nothing better to watch.
When is Hollywood going to get the hint? Bloated disaster flicks that rely almost exclusively on second rate CGI in order to remain coherent are not worth making. Remember 2012? No, not the year. The movie that was mostly just Jake Gyllenhaal running away from ice. Or San Andreas? No, not the place. And no, not the Grand Theft Auto game. The movie that was mostly just Dwayne Johnson being Dwayne Johnson amidst earthquakes and tidal waves. The best disaster movie is probably Twister. No, not the suspiciously erotic party game. The 1996 movie that is mostly just the wife from Mad About You (Helen Hunt) and the "Game over, man!" guy from Aliens (RIP) chasing tornados across the Midwest while bickering with one another. And now we have Geostorm, the movie that will probably just be King Leonidas from 300 (Gerard Butler) growling Scottishly in outer space while thousands of CGI people are killed by comically exaggerated natural disasters. Sounds fun.
13 Insidious Chapter 4
All right, fine. If you're a huge fan of the first three movies there is probably nothing we can say that will stop you from dishing out cash to see the fourth in this franchise of breathtakingly average horror films. The Insidious movies are the kind that make people go, "Which ones were those again? Oh yeah, they've got the boring guy from Watchmen (Patrick Wilson) in it? Wait, I'm thinking of The Conjuring movies, aren't I? Oh, he's in both! Good for him. That's nice. What were they about again? Demons or something? Aren't they ALL about demons? I mean, I don't remember hating the Insidious movies, but I don't really remember liking them either. Hey, we should go for tacos!" In other words, they aren't terrible, but they aren't memorable. They are extremely shrug-worthy.
You know, ten years ago a comedy starring Ed Helms and Owen Wilson as bastard sons looking for their father, with appearances from the likes of Ving Rhames, Terry Bradshaw, and Glenn Close, would have had us all intrigued. But that was ten years ago and this is now. Ever since Terry Bradshaw showed his gleaming white bare ass in Failure to Launch (that's pre-revival Matthew McConaughey for you non-film nerds out there), it is nearly impossible to feature him in a film without everyone subconsciously cringing at the very thought. And doesn't it say something about the value of the script when the only two guys they could get to commit to the project were 2017's Ed Helms and Owen Wilson? We're not here to judge, but if you're really willing to spend $15 on Bastards because you think it might actually be funny, maybe take a long, hard look at your life and all the decisions you have made up until now.
11 American Assassin
What is with movie titles adding the word "American" in front of another word these days? There are so many! American Ultra, American Sniper, American Made, American Honey, American Hustle, American Heist, American Violence, American Gangster, and the list goes on and on and on and on...
Add to the list: American Assassin, which looks roughly as dull as it sounds. That kid from those dystopian maze movies leads this one, looking a whole lot like a teenager who is pretending he can grow stubble and act like a twenty-something tough guy. It also stars Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch, which lends a moderate air of credibility to it, but we're not all that convinced. Rumor has it that Thor himself, Chris Hemsworth, was offered $10 million to come onboard, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from accepting.
There is debate about whether or not 2017's Flatliners is a remake or a sequel of sorts to the Kevin Bacon/Kiefer Sutherland/Julia Roberts thriller from almost thirty years ago. It isn't called Flatliners 2 or Son of Flatliners or Flatliners Reborn: Fear the Flattest Line. Just Flatliners. But good ol' Jack Bauer himself will be making an appearance, so...sequel? If we may so humbly offer our opinion, it would be this: who cares?! Seriously, what are the chances this won't be complete celluloid trash? The first one only got vaguely "meh" level reviews despite having a pretty stellar cast. (If you ignore the fact that William Baldwin was in it. Did you even know that there was a Baldwin brother named William?) Yeah, Ellen Page and Diego Luna are pretty cool, but is that really enough to save film reviving a 1990 sci-fi thriller that we all survived this long without a sequel to?
9 Saw 8
If we are being completely candid, we were utterly unaware that the Saw movies were still being made. Didn't those stop being cool sometime during Obama's first term as president? We just assumed that the sick minds behind those movies ran out of sadistic death traps in which to trap D-list actors for 90 minutes at a time. We were wrong, it seems. Jigsaw is back. (Or is he? Pretty sure that's the whole gimmick this time around. Don't know. Don't really care.) If you're a huge horror junkie, you mind some sort of ugly pleasure in viewing the eighth Saw movie in theatres. Or you could just wait until Walmart releases the whole collection on blu-ray just before Halloween next year and pick all eight up for like twenty bucks.
This film couldn't look more like a generically bland and entirely unoriginal action war movie if it tried. Apparently some American Navy SEALs (played by a bunch of non-Americans, including that forgettable dude who played the lead in that equally forgettable sequel to 300) find a treasure trove of gold in a Bosnian lake. That's about all that's out there in terms of a plot. You can glean a little bit more from the trailers if you try really hard, but what would be the point in that? It mostly just looks like a bunch of Australians and Englishmen pretending to be American bro-dudes blowing stuff up and exchanging semi-insulting bro-quips. If that's your kind of mindless entertainment, then we recommend buying your tickets ahead of time. Otherwise, maybe steer clear of this one.
As far as anyone can tell, Kidnap is just Taken, but with Halle Berry instead of Liam Neeson. Actually, let's clarify that a bit more: Kidnap is Taken 2 (or maybe Taken 3) with Halle Berry instead of Liam Neeson. Because the first Taken movie kicked ass, and while there is little doubt regarding Berry's ass-kicking abilities, Kidnap promises to be less awesome and more aw, damn, that was a terrible movie. Maybe, just maybe, it will exceed everyone's expectations and be slightly above totally mediocre, but the whole "lone wolf parent hunting down the creepy bad guys who kidnapped their child" plotline is getting really tiresome, and the Kidnap trailers don't really inspire any confidence in it rejuvenating the genre.
6 A Bad Moms Christmas
Didn't the first Bad Moms movie come out like last week? It feels like theatres only just managed to exorcise the original from its schedule and a trailer for the sequel is already pestering us. To be fair, the first one wasn't a complete bomb. It didn't get eviscerated by critics like, say, that Annie remake from a few years back or the god-awful exercise in sci-fi nepotism that was After Earth. (On a related note: when is Will Smith going to make a good movie again? It's time, isn't it?) But it also wasn't as though Bad Moms had audiences clamoring for a whole franchise of maternal alcoholism starring Mila Kunis. And yet here we are, staring down the pipe at a holiday themed sequel. Joy to the world, I guess.
5 Happy Death Day
If you look at the plot summary for Happy Death Day it kind of sounds like Groundhog Day, but with a whole lot more murder and a whole lot less humor. Or maybe more like Edge of Tomorrow, but with more of a college slasher vibe and less of an inventive and entertaining science fiction vibe. According to IMDB, Happy Death Day is about a college student named Tree Gelbman (played by Jessica Rothe), who "must relive the same day over and over again until she figures out who is trying to kill her and why." Let's start with the first obvious problem - the main character's name is Tree?! What? Why? Okay, whatever. Let's move on to the second obvious problem, which is that this sounds like an utter snooze-fest. I yawned like seven times just reading that little one-sentence plot summary for it.
4 Justice League
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Some of you are practically drooling with anticipation for inevitable blockbuster to fly all heroic-like into your local cinema. And sure, Wonder Woman was the first DC extended universe superhero flick to give Marvel a run for its money. But let's not forget that Patty Jenkins is the exception, not the rule. Wonder Woman was focused on one primary protagonist and it was awesome. Batman v. Superman, on the other hand, was burdened with a veritable crapload of characters and collapsed under that weight. Yes, Gal Gadot was easily the best thing in Affleck vs. Cavill, and she crushed it in Wonder Woman, and yes, she will be super cool in Justice League, but do you really trust DC to put together a coherent and interesting movie that features six (count 'em, SIX) separate superheroes, three of which we haven't really seen yet and will require their own introductions of sorts? Honestly, you're probably better off just waiting for it to hit Netflix.
3 The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature
Do we really even need to explain why you should avoid paying real money to torture your mind and eyeballs with this sequel? Let's start with the obvious - it's a sequel to...what exactly? Did anyone see The Nut Job 1? Has anyone even heard of that movie? Obviously this is some kind of kids flick, but even by that standard it looks stomach-churningly awful. In fact, a whole lot of animated films marketed to the pre-puberty demographic are pretty solid. Take Up for example. Or the Toy Story trilogy. The first Shrek movie. A Bug's Life. Zootropolis. Wall-E. Those are some top-notch pieces of cinema, regardless of their G rating. But even the title of The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature is enough to make you wince. There is precisely zero chance that it won't suck and literally the only excuse you have for seeing it is if you have a three year-old and no other options for keeping the toddler entertained. That's it.
The superficial ingenuity of hack Hollywood scriptwriters that enables them to turn the most mundane junk into marketable objects of terror will never cease to amaze us. Over the years, we have seen dolls, houses, chairs, boxes, cabins, animals of all kinds, car tires, internet chat rooms, beds, and a thousand other everyday things morphed into demon-possessed murder machines by filmmakers. You can now add a Polaroid camera to that list. Do you really even need a rundown on what this particular iteration of the possessed inanimate object horror genre is actually about? Let us hazard a guess: a group of good-looking teens finds a Polaroid camera. It is evil, but they use it anyway because they are dumb, good-looking teens. Death and jump scares soon follow. That should about sum it up, shouldn't it?
1 My Little Pony: The Movie
Yes, you read that right. No, we are not kidding. Soon, movie theatres all over will be subject to the unspeakable horror of having a My Little Pony movie screening inside of them. The very thought is enough to make us nauseous. And you want to know what the worst part is? It isn't the glittery explosion of unicorn crap and syrupy equine affection that will drip like melted sugar from the very screen it is shown on. No, the worst part is that there is a whole sub-culture of grown men that will flock to see this thing. If you haven't heard of bronies, hold your breath and do a quick google search. Then imagine a smattering of those dudes at a matinee showing of My Little Pony: The Movie in a theatre mostly populated by infants and their mothers.