Tuesday February 26, 2019
My Five Worst Movies of 2018
My top 10 list is always late because I try to see the best movies of the year, which often arrive late. My five worst movies list is always incomplete because I don’t try to see the worst movies of the year. That’s the caveat here.
There’s no real hatred for the movies below as there have been with past lists. Nothing pissed me off as much as “Batman v. Superman” or “Tusk” or “Nocturnal Animals.” There’s just a lot of boredom, disappointment, and occasional face palms.
5. Life of the Party
Back in college, middle-aged Deanna winds up schtupping Jack, a handsome, supernice fratboy who becomes obsessed with her—which seems a bit much. Later, at an expensive restaurant with her friends, including bestie Christine, Deanna runs into her ex, Dan, and his new wife Marcie, who acts all catty. Then their waiter arrives and ... it’s Jack! More: Jack is Marcie’s son! What are the odds? So trump card for Deanna, right? Yes, but it quickly gets uncomfortable. Christine in particular rubs it in Marcie’s face as if Dan weren’t standing right there. That’s all he does, by the way: He doesn’t defend mom from Christine, doesn’t defend Deanna from mom. He just stands there, a stupid expression on his face, while the others improvise around him. None of it is funny.
4. Big Brother
This should’ve been the easiest movie in the world to make. Donnie Yen becomes the new teacher for a gang of ne’er-do-well kids in a poor Hong Kong neighborhood. It’s “Ip Man” meets “To Sir, With Love.” Except the kids come off less underprivileged than spoiled. One girl feels her dad doesn’t love her so she wants to race cars. A Pakistani kid wants to sing but keeps remembering that time other kids laughed at his Cantonese accent. The most clichéd problem and insulting resolution is the alcoholic dad. He comes homes from what little work he does and demands his two boys buy him booze. Then one day Donnie sends the class on a field trip to a rehab center. And guess who’s speaking? Dad. Not sure when he decided to give up drink—the night before?—and if this is what the Chinese do instead of AA meetings. Please, come bare your soul to some high school kids who don’t know shit. Anyway, Donnie solves all their problems. “The White Shadow” wishes he were as involved in his students’ lives.
3. Ocean’s Eight
After all the schemes and shenanigans and supercool talking through earpieces, we discover there was a bigger haul than the $150 million Cartier necklace: the crown jewels on exhibit at the Met. So guess which of our intrepid female heroes swiped those? Sandra? Cate? Rihanna? The answer is Shaobo. If you’re thinking, “Huh, I don’t remember her,” it’s because Shaobo is a guy—the Chinese Cirque du Soleil dude from the other Ocean’s movies, who shows up late to lend a hand. Wait, lend a hand? He does it all. That’s our feminist heist film. Written and directed by Gary Ross.
This wants to be “Die Hard” in Hong Kong. One reason it fails miserably? You more-or-less buy Bruce Willis as a cop, you buy Bonnie Bedilia as his estranged wife/business exec, and most of what McClane does—even the crazy outside-the-building stuff—seems vaguely plausible. Do I buy The Rock as a security executive? Neve Campbell as a surgeon fluent in both Mandarin and Cantonese? Do I believe the size and shape of The Pearl: 240 stories, with outside turbines forever spinning? Do I believe that the Rock’s character, Sawyer, who has a prosthetic leg and must weigh 250 pounds, can climb a building crane, swing it close to the Pearl, and leap from the crane’s top into an open window 150 stories above the ground? The only thing I bought about this movie—sadly—was the ticket.
1. Hello, Mrs. Money
At a Sunday matinee show at Pacific Place (attendance: 3), most of my time was spent waiting out overlong set-pieces and not-exactly #MeToo-friendly scenarios. Nothing funnier than a man in drag being sexually assaulted by a grinning lothario who won’t take no for an answer. Nothing funnier than date-rape drugs sprinkled into drinks. It felt like vague consolation that the powder was less sedative than Chinese aphrodisiac, and the people who drank it were already in relationships. At the same time, those relationships were hardly worth saving. The deer that lost its penis for the aphrodisiac must‘ve gone: “You’re shitting me. For this?”