Our Ten’s List: Least Anticipated Films of 2016
Picking our least anticipated movies of 2016 is quite a task. I’ve been over the list of upcoming films several times, and new nominees keep edging into the pack. I wish announcements for new properties were vying to be on our Most Anticipated List…but them’s the breaks. Narrowing down the dross to only ten films to avoid (or hate-watch, if you’re into self-punishment) was no easy feat, and in several instances more than one film seemed equally bad, in really specific ways. Hollywood tends to cluster its really bad ideas, with several studios mindlessly walking into a wood chipper by making competing versions of the same dreck. In those (all too frequent) instances, I have noted the runner’s up while trying to decide which one looked the worst! Umm, enjoy?
Our Least Anticipated Movies of 2016
10. Underworld 5 (October)
I just can’t understand this franchise. Much like the Resident Evil series, people just keep tolerating these, despite there not having been a good entry in the series since the first one. Drab, uninspired, filled with terrible CGI and a listless cast of humans who seem to be punching a clock instead of acting, there’s nothing to love about these films. This franchise makes Vampires and Werewolves look toothless and weak. When your vampire hero can BLEED TO DEATH, you’re not actually making a vampire movie. It’s like everyone decided to cosplay characters from The Matrix at a Halloween party and the resulting mish mash of plastic fangs, emo trench coats and pasty complexions was given the thumbs up to poop out an iteration every 3 years. Let’s stake this series through the heart once and for all.
9. Boo! A Madea Halloween (October)
Tyler Perry is actually out-doing himself this year, scoring a nomination for both his supporting role in the upcoming Ninja Turtles debacle (more on that later!) and a nomination for yet another installment in his completely spent Madea franchise. This series ran out of steam long ago, and seems to be chopping up the furniture to use as fuel: while box office revenue has remained largely flat since the second outing, the budgets on these pictures has been steadily shrinking. If people are going to give you 50 million dollars, no matter how awful the product, there’s no real reason to go out and spend a mint on actually making a decent film. The 9th spot on this list was going to be for another comedy, but I had to put my foot down when I learned that Perry’s latest was going to be about Halloween. That’s sacred ground, pal, so don’t you go crapping all over the best holiday of the year!
8. Magnificent Seven (September)
Why? Why would you remake this film? The original was a masterpiece, a wonderful adaptation of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. If you want to take the property in a new direction like the original did, that would be one thing. This, however, seems to be a big-name wank fest more in line with The Expendables. Speaking of expendables, the casting on this project is a fiery train wreck. Originally set to star Tom Cruise, Matt Damon, Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman, the project has been in nearly constant flux and now is set to star Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke (the poor man’s Tom Cruise, apparently.) The cast has been a revolving door, losing heroes and villains nearly constantly. The production time-table has been pushed up and held back more times than a yo-yo. I would not be surprised if this turkey ends up being a colossal money loser between the enormous salaries involved and the lack of focus from the studio. We’re ostensibly 6 months away from this travesty, and not a single teaser or still has been released.
Dishonorable Mention: Ben Hur (August) – another classic that doesn’t need to be remade, at least this project has the sense to get almost nobody famous to star in it. Well, at least they scored Morgan Freeman…
7. God’s Not Dead 2 (April)
Clarissa has got some explaining to do. This christian bait film is the nominal sequel to the 2014 God’s Not Dead, which made a ton of money on a shoe-string budget. It’s not surprising that the budget is so low, considering how jam packed with washed up television stars it was. Kevin Sorbo and Dean Cain? Only if they’re making “Lois and Clark and Hercules!” This time around, the studio opted to cast Melissa Joan Hart as the lead. She better watch out; if you make a film aimed at religious fundamentalists, its probably better not to have “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” on your resume, unless you want to spend your red carpet premier being burned at the stake.
What a mess of drivel. If you want to shoe-horn your personal beliefs into everyone else life, that must make YOU the victim when others don’t want to hear it. The premise is chock full of straw-man arguments and special pleading, and the quality is a step below terrible: instead of being filmed at a high school, it seems like this movie was filmed by a high school AV club. This is a travesty, a sham, and a mockery. A Traveshamockery, if you will.
Dishonorable Mentions: Miracles from Heaven (March) and The Young Messiah (March) – two other bible-tastic offerings, just in time for Easter!
6. Gambit (October)
I’m sure this gamble is going to pan out for Fox… This is another project with a storied and troubled production cycle, with star and financial backer Channing Tatum in again, out again as the lead role, multiple changes of production/release dates, and trouble filling the director’s chair. Gambit is also tainted by his botched introduction in the craptacular spin-off X-Men Origins: Wolverine…but Deadpool managed to survive that debacle, so perhaps Gambit at least has a chance at getting made. Once it is made? I can’t see Tatum carrying this film as Ryan Reynolds carried Deadpool: Tatum has been decent in smaller roles such as Foxcatcher and Hail, Caesar!, but he’s not really done much of note as a leading action star. His best received roles have been in comedies, so they’re really going to have to try and capture some of Deadpool’s swagger unless they want to make another joyless spin-off like the Wolverine movies.
Dishonorable Mention: Doctor Strange (November) – Marvel has made some of their more obscure heroes likable by choosing charming leading men such as Chris Pratt and Robert Downey, Jr. Charming is the last word I think of when it comes to Benedict Cumberbatch.
5. Assassin’s Creed (December)
Speaking of a leading man completely devoid of charm, we get Michael Fassbender as an assassin in a bright white and red costume, attempting to bring to the big screen the completely batshit “story” of Ubisoft’s never ending
cash-cow open world historical adventure, Assassin’s Creed. Sure, the plot of the games is ludicrous and byzantine. Sure, the script is going to have to completely ignore the moral ambiguity of the protagonist in order to make a standard Hollywood action flick. But you know what? I have faith in this project. I mean, when has a video game adaptation ever disappointed?
Yeah, this film is going to suck.
Dishonorable Mentions: Angry Birds (May), World of Warcraft (March), Ratchet and Clank (April) – Want to know how you know that your game franchise is utterly tapped out and irrelevant? It get’s a movie adaptation in 2016.
4. Gods of Egypt (February)
Next week we get to witness the jankiest, CGI crapfest to ever cast a dozen white guys as Egyptians…since the last time Hollywood set a film in Egypt. Egypt is in Africa, people. Not a very high concentration of blond haired, blue eyed folks thereabouts. Exodus walked into exactly the same buzz saw of cultural insensitivity last year, and paid dearly for it. What jack-ass saw the figures from that train wreck and decided to green-light this project? Whitewashing aside, this film just looks horrendous. Gerard Butler sounds like he’s psyching himself up for the beating at the box office he’s about to receive instead of trying to command loyalty from his troops. The plot is a execrable mess, and the visuals seem dated, to put it kindly. Get some schadenfreude flavored popcorn ready, because “It’s gonna be biblical!”
3. Alice Through the Looking Glass (May)
No. Damn. Way.
The shockingly terrible Alice in Wonderland (remember, the movie about a hideously red-haired mad hatter that only incidentally had a character named Alice in it?) is getting a sequel. Of course it is. How is there even a single shred of good-will amongst movie goer’s for Johnny Depp’s shtick by now? Everything he touches turns to shit. In some sort of Hollywood echo chamber, studios still believe that Depp is a top tier draw who can do no wrong, and every project he is in must be tortured out of its nominal plot in order to make sure he is the absolute dead-center of the piece. Never mind that he’s lost money, sometimes phenomenal amounts of money, in the last decade, and that he has failed to make enough domestic earnings to recoup the budgets of EVERY SINGLE movie he has made since Alice in Wonderland in 2010 (he even lost money on the last Pirates of the Caribbean film!) Nope, he’s just on a cold streak, and his future greatness is just one more 250 million dollar budget loss away.
Oh, and this film is ugly. Shave your dog’s butt and teach it to walk backwards ugly. And it has Borat in it. Yeah, skip this farce.
Michael Bay’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I saw it with Riff Trax playing in the background and a bevy of ice-cold beers, and it was still a painful and humiliating experience. There’s nothing good about it. The action is flaccid and pointless, the CG is nightmare fuel levels of ugly, the characters are unlikable and crass, and the story has less grip on how reality works than the idiots paying eight dollars for asparagus water at Whole Foods. It was a dumpster fire of a movie…and now we get a sequel…with Tyler Perry in it.
Some people are salivating that this film has Bebop and Rocksteady in it, so it must be trying to get closer to the source material. 1. That’s adorable. It’s a Bay product, the source material is kept next to his platinum plated toilet in case he needs something to wipe his ass with. 2. They’re comic relief goons. How much impact do you honestly expect them to make? That would be like Zack Snyder hinting that Otis is making an appearance in Batman V. Superman as Lex’s dutiful stooge, so we should all relax because obviously he’s not going to spit-roast the plot now. Hey, speaking of spit-roasting the plot of a Superman movie…
1. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (March)
This list has some really terrible movies on it. If TMNT 2 is a dumpster fire, then Batman V. Superman is a dumpster fire, loaded onto a train wreck, strapped onto a lead balloon that is about to be hit by a jumbo jet full of port-a-poties. This movie is going to be epic in it’s badness. If there is any movie on this list that warrants a hate-watch, this might be it (but really, don’t, because paying these no talent ass-clowns a nickel for this flick is a crime against cinema.)
The first Superman reboot, Man of Steel, was such a joyless and tedious mess, I was actually physically ill watching it and had to leave the theater. Most of that was the completely gut-churning use of CG for the final 45 minute long fight scene that ping ponged muddy textures around like The Matrix Reloaded and Sonic the Hedgehog had a baby, but I’d like to think at least some of that grade-A vertigo was caused by my stomach being smarter than my eyes and wanting no part of this vicious film. The sequel seems to have learned no lessons from its first outing. The palette of this film is what mud sees when it’s suffering from clinical depression. Superman is still a prick, Batman is an even bigger prick, and Lex Luthor seems to have been skipping his adderall: he’s shrill and boisterous and hard to bear. There seems to be no end of characters to dislike, as this movie has decided to create the DC universe by tossing every character into a blender and hoping something survives the shredding that will continue to interest fans. I’m glad my local theater serves beer, because I’m going to have to be some kind of hammered to review this film.
And with that, we have covered all of the films in 2016 that I think will bear avoiding. God forgive our souls, and heaven forbid we all meet again next year to preview Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money. Goodnight!