The worst movies of the year are always a mixed bag between those that are anticipated to be bad and those that disappoint for a variety of reasons. This year's list runs the gamut from movies aimed at kids to an ultra-raunchy comedy, and you should avoid all of them at all costs.
10) A Simple Favor
The filmmakers of A Simple Favor never seem to find their comfort zone. They want to go to some very dark places, but whenever the movie gets too dark, they buoy it up with some jokes. It's a jarring effect that doesn’t let the mystery of the film take full hold. The magnetic personalities of Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively cannot make the odd mix of tones work, resulting in a high-profile miss for all involved.
The second in the planned five-film Fantastic Beasts series, The Crimes of Grindelwald conjured nothing but confusion. For some reason, writer J.K. Rowling and director David Yates move away from virtually everything that made the first film fun, leaving it with darkness without relief. It's now clear that Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander is not the type of actor/character on which to hang a blockbuster series, giving the series as a whole an unclear future.
The first Pacific Rim film was a breath of fresh air in a genre that needed it, mostly thanks to the Oscar-winning writer/director Guillermo del Toro leading the way. Without him at the helm, the sequel maintains the look of the original, but is only about half as fun. None of the characters are worth knowing deeper than surface level, and there’s no feeling of excitement to any of the action scenes, coming off merely as an excuse for the filmmakers to level as many buildings as possible.
7) Peter Rabbit
There is an abundance of cuteness to be found in Peter Rabbit. Unfortunately, there's also an equal amount of hostility that undercuts any goodwill the film manages to build up. Peter's words and actions make him seem like as much of a jerk as either of the humans from which he's constantly stealing food. The flawless animation makes for an interesting visual experience, but it can't make up for the mean-spirited story.
The Broadway musical Avenue Q proved that, done well, making art with foul-mouthed puppets can be successful. The similarly-themed The Happytime Murders has neither the charm nor the cleverness necessary to pull off its intended goal. The vast majority of the film feels like they’re either trying too hard to get a laugh or overestimated how funny certain elements would be. Thank goodness Melissa McCarthy went on to play an Oscar-worthy part in Can You Ever Forgive Me? so that this was not her legacy for 2018.
Inane, uninspired, and lazy, Rampage consistently goes for the easy and dumb ways of trying to entertain the audience. The villains are evil for no apparent reason, the side effects of the serum that turns regular animals into giants varies wildly, and wanton demolition of cities is at an all-time high. Dwayne Johnson seems content at raking in boatloads of money instead of making good movies, and as long as people continue to see dreck like this, he likely won't change anytime soon.
As complicated and impenetrable a children's movie as one could imagine, A Wrinkle in Time makes close to zero narrative or emotional sense. It's as if the filmmakers, led by director Ava DuVernay, fell in love with Madeleine L'Engle's source material but forgot that not everyone knew it inside and out like they did. None of the relationships in the film feel real, and the three big stars — Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling — are underused enormously.
Remaking a beloved movie is always a tricky proposition, as you're competing against the version that lives in people's heads. But this film, starring Anna Faris and Eugenio Derbez, is even worse than you could imagine, thanks to zero chemistry between the two lead actors and a complete lack of storytelling sincerity. The film marginalizes Faris' character in favor of Derbez, whose fame in Mexico indicates that the film was mostly intended for audiences there, not American ones.
2) Life Itself
Writer/director Dan Fogelman has had such a huge success with his NBC show This is Us that this film seemed like a shoo-in. But Life Itself starts out extremely dark and can never find its way out of that darkness. Confusing storytelling, baffling characters, and an overreliance on a certain Bob Dylan song result in an undercooked and overwrought story that never comes close to earning the emotions it seeks.
Even though the previous nine films all have tremendous issues, Peppermint blows them all out of the water with its horrendous filmmaking. A nonsensical title, storytelling shortcuts, racist stereotypes, hackneyed writing, poorly directed action sequences, and more add up to a film that is awful from moment one. Jennifer Garner was a great action hero in Alias, but her presence does nothing to improve a movie that never should have been made in the first place.