I’m a firm believer in the idea that one can learn something from any movie, no matter how bad- even if it’s a single camera angle or a lightning technique or a clever use of color scheme. Sometimes, though, it’s more worthwhile to use a particularly bad movie as an example of ‘how not to do it.’ This list is dedicated to those films. I’ve got five awards to give out this year, and they’ll go to five movies that deserve a little recognition for being the worst of the worst. At the very least though, they’ll serve as great examples of what to avoid in the future, and as long as we learn a little something, are they ever really a waste? With that being said, let’s get to it!
The Barrel-Biter Award for Most Vigorous Suicide of a Franchise
This award is given to a movie that effectively ends my interest in a franchise due to its utter awfulness. We had a lot of strong contenders this year from Iron Man 3 to Fast & Furious 6 to Star Trek: Into Darkness. One film, however, rose to the occasion and practically ensured that nothing less than the infinite power of Christ could get me back into theaters for the next installment. I’m speaking of none other than the fifth entry in the Die Hard series, A Good Day to Die Hard. An uninspired slog from beginning to end, this film rightfully deserves its spot on this list.
The Cyanide Flavored Lollipop Award for Surprisingly Terrible Film
This award was a little more difficult for me to give out. The fact of the matter is that once you become familiar with the directors, actors, and writers in the industry, it’s not too difficult to guess which movies will end up being big messes. Basically, this award goes to a film that runs contrary to my finely-tuned expectations and surprises me in a bad way. The final decision came down to three films- those being You’re Next, The Fifth Estate, and Carrie. Ultimately, I decided on the latter, as Chloë Grace Mortez’s impressive filmography and director Kimberly Pierce’s own experience and past work concerning gender politics and sexual orientation (Boys Don’t Cry, 1999) might have yielded better results under different circumstances. The 2013 adaptation of Carrie is altogether too safe, uninspired, and really just dull.
The Cyanide Flavored Cyanide Award for Unsurprisingly Terrible Film
Now, this award almost had too many contenders to deal with. Where to start, really? I could name any one of about a hundred sequels that came out this year, each one more unnecessary and insipid than the last. When I first began to consider possible recipients for this award, movies like Grown Ups 2, Thor: The Dark World, The Smurfs 2, The Hangover: Part III, and a host of other samey titles immediately came to mind. Then, I started to remember some of the more truly awful films that were released this year that weren’t part of a larger franchise. The relatively recent Paranoia and Getaway were particularly fresh and unpleasant memories. But then I remembered the big one. I soon decided that the only film that I could possibly give this award to was the spiritual successor to the Twilight Saga, Stephanie Meyer’s The Host. I knew- we all knew, really- what to expect from dark recesses of Meyer’s mind, and, suffice it to say, The Host entirely met those expectations.
The Albert Cantu Lifetime Achievement Award for Biggest Disappointment
I was a little excited to give out this award, not only because it bears my name, but also because its recipient was one of the few movies that evoked real anger from me over the past year. Now I’d like to see it put in its place. This award goes to a film that succeeded in building up my expectations with great trailers and positive buzz, only to smash them back down to the ground when the actual movie was released. We’re all probably thinking the same thing here, so I’ll go ahead and say it: I feel a little betrayed by Zack Snyder at this point. The trailers for his summer blockbuster, Man of Steel, were nothing short of astounding, so to have the final product end up being pretty lame was kind of a rude awakening. Once again, we’ve learned that Hollywood is a cruel mistress who is never to be trusted.
The Inciting Haemolacria Award for Worst Film of 2013
And now, the big one. This award goes to a movie released during the past year that was so bad, so appallingly terrible, that it’s a wonder I didn’t start weeping blood during my screening. This award’s recipient stands as an example of everything that’s wrong with the film industry. It surpasses Evil Dead’s mediocre kind of bad as well as The Host’s more humorous kind of bad. It shoots past the aggressively bad Paranoia and zooms straight on towards the downright offensive. The recipient of this award managed to turn an epic thrill-ride into a tortuous three hour journey into tedium and failure. Likewise, the frenetic, unfocused action and the inane plot contributed to the film being almost physically painful to sit through. I’ll never get those three hours of my life back, and for that reason, I’ll never forgive The Lone Ranger.