Saturday, January 18, 2014

The 10 Worst Films of 2013

Original source :
Posted : December 2013
Author : Ed Gonzalez & R. Kurt Osenlund

Contrary to the curious, outspoken beliefs of some, we prefer to celebrate movies around these parts, culminating each December with our collaborative list of the 25 best films of the year. But while nearly all films deserve careful consideration, there are plenty that deserve a proper, vitriolic takedown, maybe even a warning label. Scraping the very bottoms of our moviegoing barrels, Slant's Ed Gonzalez and I winced as we remembered our worst film experiences of 2013. The five we each loathed most were compiled into a list of 10, and they're counted down here in our personal, descending orders of deplorableness. From the bloated egos of Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise to the masochistic horrors of military violence and high-end shopping, click on to see what almost drove us both out of the theater. {R. Kurt Osenlund}

The only craft behind Mama's scares are their decibel levels. But the film becomes genuinely shocking when one realizes that it isn't even meant to actually goose us so much as it exists to make women privy to the alarm on their biological clocks. {Ed Gonzalez}

Its art direction may be on point, but Oblivion's cool gadgetry and overwrought twists add up to a whole lot of derivative nothing, and that's before Tom Cruise's vanity hijacks the whole needless operation (spoilers ahead). Turns out Cruise's dystopian rubble explorer is the Yankee - and Springsteen - loving prototype for all humanity, who's been cloned a gajillion times, and who'll ultimately take back the planet. Because a Cruise-led, jingoistic world is the one we all want to live in. {Osenlund}

Dallas Buyers Club
It's a sad state of affairs when the first major AIDS drama since 1993's Philadelphia pins its focus on a straight, white, fiercely homophobic redneck. It's sadder still when the hero's lapdog sidekick, whom he learns to tolerate, is an affected, archaic vision of a transgender woman, whose fate - again, spoilers ahead - is to die by drug overdose. The "bravery" of actors losing weight has grossly overshadowed how toxic Dallas Buyers Club is for the culture at large. {Osenlund}

Blue Caprice
One scene, in which Isaiah Washington's John peers at Tequan Richmond's Lee from a balcony as the latter aimlessly rides around on a bike, is striking for being one of very few visions in Alexandre Moors's Blue Caprice devoted to articulating nothing more than that which is mundane. Everything else in this superficial, risibly portentous depiction of the Beltway sniper attacks is racist in its denial of moral complexity. {Gonzalez}

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The description for Matthew Fox's baddie from Alex Cross could also apply to Ben Stiller in the execrable The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: "rogue, stimulus-seeking sociopathic narcissist." Even the main character's scenic world-traveling is difficult to enjoy, as planet Earth, like the final cover of LIFE magazine, exists solely as a backdrop for the exaltation of a man's enormous ego. {Gonzalez}

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's
We've reached a post-recession point where it's okay to make art that plainly celebrates capitalistic excess, but there'll never be an appropriate time for Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's, a horribly disjointed, orgasmic ode to New York's shopping mecca, and a film that grossly pretends to give a crap about anyone but its elitist clientele. The zoo of talking heads includes some erudite veterans like Michael Kors, but no one needs back-patting commentary from Nicole Richie or poor, struggling designer Ally Hilfiger, and no one needs to see the tragic cheapening of the famed Bergdorf windows, which are preached as class-equalizers, but filmed as walls to keep the rabble out of the palace. {Osenlund}

Only God Forgives
Some see commentary in Only God Forgives's clashing of archetypes, ostensible personifications of vengeance, righteousness, and so forth. I see a humorless art-house con whose flagrant misogyny and cultural condescension exist solely to fuel Nicolas Winding Refn's self-consciously rendered ultra-violence. {Gonzalez}

The feel-bad movie of the year, Lovelace is inexplicably split into two equally off-putting halves, beginning as a failed attempt at camp and sexual celebration, and continuing as a recollected, Lifetime-on-downers horror show of domestic violence. Visualizing the '70s as if the era were perpetually seen through a low-lying, color-muting cloud, the film is ugly long before the eponymous Deep Throat star's abuse takes center stage. It's the kind of movie that leaves you aching for a shower, and one that officially makes Amanda Seyfried's career path impossible to defend. {Osenlund}

Lone Survivor
Throughout Lone Survivor, the story's relationship to truth feels secondary to Peter Berg's relationship to violence. With the wit and sensitivity of the worst first-person shooter, this dehumanizing film reduces the American solider to a mere human meat puppet, asking us to masochistically delight in what their bodies can endure. {Gonzalez}

Everyone knows Steve Jobs was both genius and jerk, but no flawed visionary deserves to be remembered in the shoddy manner presented in Jobs, surely one of cinema's most amateurishly imbalanced depictions of a man's virtues and flaws. The Apple innovator's shrill, bipolar-level characterization, which plays with viewer allegiances to the point of risible exhaustion, is merely the start of Joshua Michael Stern's epic miscalculation. In bumblingly charting his subject's rise to domination (and, in effect, pissing on his grave), Stern somehow makes the sleekest tech company markedly unglamorous, and puts a beast of a burden on the shoulders of Ashton Kutcher, whose attempt at a performance would have been, in a year without 12 Years a Slave, the most painful thing to watch on film. {Osenlund}

~Blog Admin~

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