Our Ten’s List: Least Anticipated Movies of 2019, Pt. 1.
Disney dominates our list this year as they open up the remake fire hose full blast in a year where new is old. Again.
When I first started putting out the yearly Anticipated Movies lists, I looked forward to the Least Anticipated list with glee. Another chance to find ten gloriously bad movies! Who knew, perhaps there’s a real all-time worst turkey in there, like Batman V Superman or anything Michael Bay is up to. Five years later…the Least Anticipated Movies list has got me down. After cataloging the worst Hollywood has to offer, I noticed something sad: Hollywood keeps making bad movies every year. Worst of all, they’re the SAME bad movies each year.
A sappy dog movie (bonus points if its got a spiritual angle.) A mindless CG fest marooned in the early months of the year because audiences barfed all over it in test screenings. A gimmicky teen romance (bonus points if one or both kid has an exotic disease.) Horror franchise X (bonus points if its a prequel or spin-off.) It gets hard to really work up a good head of steam the tenth time I’ve taken some lazy, low rent remake/reboot out to the wood shed.
This year I decided to at least save myself from having to pan the same type of movie twice by collecting them all in categories. I guess this means extra servings for our readers, as there are way more than ten flicks that deserve an old fashioned shunning. Lucky you!
Least Anticipated Movies of 2019
10. The Reheated Doggie Heart-Warmer.
The last couple years have seen a litter of sappy dog movies. Since many of them include a backdoor religious message, they’ve managed to supplant the straight-up faith-based film as a solid bankable alternative. Besides, how many freaking sequels can you make to God’s Not Dead? These “The Incredible Journey” clones need to get buried in the backyard. Here are a pair of early year mutts that even Lassie wouldn’t pull out of a well.
A Dog’s Way Home (Jan 12)
A dog becomes separated from his owner, makes an “Incredible Journey” to find him.
A Dog’s Journey (May 17)
A dog becomes separated from his owner by death, makes an “Incredible Journey” through reincarnation to find her.
9. Night of the Living Horror Classic Remake.
There’s something about the remake of a horror classic. On one hand, you feel like “of course they’re doing that movie again, they remake EVERY horror movie worth a damn.” Then there’s the lingering feeling of numb disbelief like “well, I know they remake everything, but surely they wouldn’t have the effrontery to mess with THAT film?” I know we’re one desperate earnings quarter away from a Jaws remake, but the day it comes will be shock nonetheless.
Child’s Play is no Jaws, but its jarring to see them opt for a full on reboot instead of just endlessly churning out straight to DVD sequels for the faithful. Jacob’s Ladder was a niche film, but verged on being a cult classic. The Grudge and Pet Sematary were good for a few cheap thrills, and hardly seem to warrant a new treatment. Oh well, the Halloween soft reboot made a ton of money, so here comes an army of hack script writers with shovels to dig these corpses up and send them back to the theater.
Jacob’s Ladder (Feb 1)
A veteran of the war in Afghanistan returns home, mentally devastated by the loss of his brother in the conflict. Once home, he begins having terrifying visions, and even finds his brother to be alive. As he tries to reconcile his fracturing grip on reality, the real horror of his situation becomes apparent.
Pet Sematary (Apr 5)
A couple from the city move to a rural Maine town and settle in to a property near an old Native American burial site. Legends say the site is able to bring the dead back to life, for a price. When tragedy strikes, the husband is forced to make a bargain whose cost he cannot fathom.
Grudge (Jun 21)
New residents to an odd house in Tokyo soon discover that the residence is the home of a malevolent spirit with a grudge against the living.
Child’s Play (Jun 21)
A single mother gives her child a new animatronic toy doll, unaware that it is possessed by evil.
8. The Gender Swapped Comedy.
Hollywood has glommed on to a fresh strategy for making stale movies: gender swap your remake. Why not reap accolades for being “woke” while trotting out the same movie over and over again? This year the trend continues with three offerings that run the gamut from brazen to bizarre. Little, a gender swapped inversion of Tom Hanks’ hit Big is the remake swinging hardest for the fences. The oddest is What Men Want, which is forcing us to remember that Mel Gibson exists and once made a movie about being a magically reformed misogynist. For my money, I’m applauding the The Hustle for having the chutzpah to lift the premise of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels but chose a title that doesn’t refer to the original in any way. Drive it like you stole it, ladies!
What Men Want (Feb 8)
A big shot sports executive who is routinely sabotaged by her male colleagues gets an edge when she suddenly can hear what men are thinking.
Little (Apr 12)
Jordan is a ruthless business exec who makes her competitors and employees shudder with fear, but she finds herself in a different position when an accidental wish turns her from a grown woman to a 13-year old child.
The Hustle (May10)
Two con artists, one genteel and one brazen, enter into a bet to determine who gets to stay in the luxurious resort town they are both exploiting. Whichever woman can con the most money out of a chosen mark becomes the winner.
7. European Remake Vacation.
A decade ago, strip mining Asian cinema for cult classics and giving them a big Hollywood treatment was all the rage. Recently, we’ve been seeing Scandinavian treasures get appropriated. This year we start out with Cold Pursuit, in which Liam Neeson tries to drink Stellan Skarsgard’s milkshake. On the plus side, the original and the remake are both directed by Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland. On the minus side, do we really need another “Liam Neeson stalks and murders a bunch of people who wronged his family” movie?
Cold Pursuit (Feb 8)
When his son is murdered and set up to look like a drug overdose, a humble snowplow driver decides to get bloody vengeance on the gang responsible.
6. The Once and Future Failed Genre Film.
Oh. Really? Another King Arthur movie? So soon? Is Hollywood clinically insane when it comes to making Robin Hood/King Arthur flicks? It feels like they’ve lost their goddamned minds, as these films are box office rat poison. But sure. Whatever. Make another modern update of the Arthurian myth. I’m sure that lame horse is due to pay off big any day now.
The Kid Who Would be King (Jan 25)
A young boy named Alex discovers the fabled sword Excalibur, and is guided by Merlin to gather his own modern day version of the Knights of the Round Table to oppose the sorceress Morgana.
5. “Maybe It Will Work This Time” Reboot.
Sometimes you get the right idea at the wrong time. Hellboy was a passion project for Guillermo Del Toro, made as his star and the fortunes of comic book based movies were ascendant. Unfortunately, it and its sequel both wound up losing money despite having a loyal fan base. Samuel L Jackson’s update of the smooth super police detective Shaft made a decent profit back in 2000 but failed to reignite Shaft’s franchise potential. Now that 20 years have gone under the bridge, I’m sure these properties will fare much better. Just ask The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo franchise how ripe the time is for rebooting a niche property with a small but vocal fandom…
Hellboy (Apr 12)
A powerful demon raised by a paranormal scientist since his childhood, Hellboy has grown to become a powerful protector of his adopted human world. He’ll need all his strength and some key allies if he’s going to stop a medieval sorceress from plunging mankind into darkness.
Shaft [AKA Son of Shaft] (Jun 14).
John Shaft Jr. is a crime fighting powerhouse in his own right, but when his best friend is murdered he’ll need three generations of superfly detectives to get to the bottom of the case.
4. Dumb as Rocks Comedy…on a Beach.
Oh goody, another Zac Efron beach comedy. I hadn’t quite gotten the taste of Baywatch out of my mouth yet. God, I take back anything nice I said about him in The Greatest Showman.
The Beach Bum (Mar 22).
Zac Efron and Matthew McConaughey are a pair of pretty surfer doofuses. Oh, I mean in the movie as well as real life.
3. The Unnecessary, Unasked for Horror Sequel.
Nothing makes Hollywood happier than serendipitously striking gold with a low-budget, low-expectations horror film…and then strangling the fuck out of any goodwill fans may have by making sequel after sequel. We had a surprisingly good time with Happy Death Day, so of course it’s getting a sequel likely to squeeze the fun out of that memory. And 47 Meters Down was a shark movie… so it probably sucked but pleased at least one or two gullible suckers. Just think of how those poor suckers are going to feel when they get saddled with a horrendous shark movie sequel. Eh, on second thought they’ll probably be fine.
Happy Death Day 2U (Feb 13).
Two years after escaping a time loop where she was murdered repeatedly by a psychotic killer, Tree Gelbman is once again stuck in a recurring nightmare…only this time her friends are also caught in the trap.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged (Jun 28).
Four divers exploring a sunken ruin are stalked by the predatory sharks that call the structure home.
2. Disney Live Action Fantasy Destined to Crater.
With how much money Disney has raked it between Star Wars, Marvel, and their remakes (see below) it’s hard to remember that The Mouse has struggled with original live action films. Well, original as in “we’re making somebody else’s book into a film, give us money” not as in “we came up with this idea on our own while swimming in our comically large vault of golden coins.” A Wrinkle in Time and The Nutcracker flopped, while Mary Poppins Returns and Christopher Robin were only modest successes. It’s even possible that marketing put those last two in the red. So I guess I kind of admire them for continuing to plug away at the kids fantasy literature genre instead of chucking it in favor of the more lucrative stuff.
Wait…what? They’re releasing three remakes in 2019? Goddamn it, Mickey!
Artemis Fowl (Aug 9).
Looking to restore the fortune and prestige of his notorious family, young Artemis Fowl uses his dastardly intellect to battle the magical beings who may have had a hand in his father’s disappearance.
1. Disney Live Action Remake Destined to Make Huge Money by Being Mediocre Rehash of Already Beloved and Widely Available Original.
Beauty and the Beast made 1.2 billion dollars. It made one point two BILLION DOLLARS despite being a nearly shot-for-shot live action remake of a cartoon easily available to anyone who cares to rent it. For chrisakes, The Lion King isn’t even a live action remake. There are NO PEOPLE IN THE LION KING!!! It’s simply a swap from traditional animation to CG. And we’ve already had that movie remade once as a Broadway musical. Are we really going to make it this easy for Disney? Just let them re-shoot every damn movie in the library with the same hollow, plastic-looking CG?
The answer is a resounding yes, as they’ve got at least six of these projects lined up in just the next two years. 2019 will be the crucial test, as they’ve brazenly, shamelessly, cynically lined up three remakes in just the first half of the year. If forcing three of these down our throats in rapid succession doesn’t lead to audience’s revolting, strap on your bib because these meatballs are going to just keep coming.
Dumbo (Mar 29).
Yeah. You remember Dumbo? It’s Dumbo.
Aladdin (May 24).
Yeah. You remember Aladdin? It’s Aladdin.
The Lion King (Jul 19).
Yeah. You remember The Lion King? It’s The Lion King.