2018 is coming to an end and we are starting to see how the year panned out. It had many ups and downs in the entertainment industry as we saw many superhero films and indie blockbusters hit our screens.
Unfortunately, they can’t all be winners.
This year saw some real stinkers in terms of cinematic achievement. Whether the movies didn’t quite hit their stride, or they were just downright terrible, it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing many new cinematic universes from these critical and financial flops.
We’ve highlighted some of the worst films this year – because if you can’t be famous be infamous, right?
Super Troopers 2 – 31% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This year saw another sequel of a film that should have stayed in its time. Following up from its 2002 predecessor, this cult classic failed to garner much attention or praise. It followed in the footsteps of Zoolander 2 and Anchorman 2, an unnecessary sequel that tarnishes the reputation of its previous entry. These films should be kept in the era that made them great.
Overboard – 24% Rotten Tomatoes Score
The latest gender-reversal from Hollywood which bombed at the box office, Overboard stars Annis Faris in a ‘lazy, stupid, and unfunny’ remake of the 1980s classic. A waste of talent on Faris’ part, the film was cheesy, slapstick, unfunny, and reversed gender roles but failed to make the premise any less weird. This was definitely one that belongs in its time, the 1980s. Hollywood hasn’t learned that gender-reversed films are not critically or financially as successful as their male originals. There’s always next year’s What Men Want.
The Week Of – 23% Rotten Tomatoes Score
Adam Sandler’s fourth film in his deal with Netflix came and went without much fanfare from fans. Following a trend that Sandler started setting about 10 years ago – this was yet another critical flop which left critics rolling their eyes. In perhaps one of the most bizarre turns in the 21st century, the data suggests that Netflix viewers enjoy these films, so we can expect more to appear on lists like this in upcoming years. Anything is better than the abysmal Jack and Jill.
Gotti – 0% Rotten Tomatoes Score
Gotti was considered such a bad film that even its own marketing department acknowledged it. John Travolta is unconvincing as the crime lord and the narrative was called ‘incohesive’ by critics upon its release in June. It appears that fans were not impressed either, with average audience scores barely hitting 50%. Critics have said, ‘you never forget that you are watching John Travolta playing John Gotti every time.’
Game Over, Man! – 20% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This trio rose to fame with their work on Workaholics, but failed to transform their charm into their debut film. Game Over, Man was unfunny, crass, and a cheap rip off of better films like Die Hard. The ‘zeros to heroes’ strategy is tried and tested to weak results – since none of the characters is very likable to begin with. The flawed movie has managed to attract a cult following, most presumably among stoners in college.
Slender Man – 8% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This supernatural thriller became somewhat of a laughing stock upon its release in August. The character became popular among internet users in 2009 but failed to resonate with wider audiences. This stick-thin villain has been described as strong and sturdy compared with the narrative he is placed in, with little room to care about his victims.
The Happytime Murders – 23% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This Muppets knockoff had such potential to shine as a refreshing take on some of the more conventional stories told today. The vulgar take on puppets and humans co-existing was wasted, despite best efforts from its talented cast. The film was accused of being simply too vulgar and crass, unable to complement any of it with subtle subversion or commentary. We won’t be seeing a Happytime Universe any time soon.
Rampage – 52% Rotten Tomatoes Score
The latest remake of the classic arcade game was met with mixed results, marking a rare disappointing film from Dwayne Johnson. It was criticized for not offering much else other than The Rock being The Rock and seeing CGI animals fly around. With weak dialogue and story, the film disappointed fans seeking more than an exciting popcorn-flick. Critics called it a ‘dumb drag’, as opposed to the mindless delight audiences are often promised in these situations.
Fifty Shades Freed – 12% Rotten Tomatoes Score
The 50 Shades series was absolutely huge in 2012, and its film adaptations seem to be past their sell-by – even though they’ve been coming in consistently since 2015. This final entry was the lowest performing film in its trilogy – both financially and critically. This erotic romantic drama couldn’t quite find its footing post-MeToo and its ‘climax’ was anything but. Everyone is relieved that this trilogy has finally turned its final pages. Bye Christian and Anastasia, it was… weird.
I Feel Pretty – 34% Rotten Tomatoes Score
April’s I Feel Pretty had an admirable message: that confidence is all you need to overcome some of the challenges in your life. Unfortunately, it got interpreted as some for being an example of how beautiful people get ahead in life. Amy Schumer’s aggravating performance only highlighted the fat-shaming culture still prominent in Hollywood today. Audiences didn’t take a liking to the humor and flippant body image messages, leaving this in the history books of bad films (but above-average Amy Schumer films).
Mile 22 – 23% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This generic thriller didn’t quite nail anything it set out to achieve. The story was weak, the action sequences were uninteresting, and the performances didn’t evoke anything from audiences. Mark Wahlberg isn’t exactly known to appear in the highest-performing films and this is no exception. One critic noted that the ‘title proves sadly fitting for a film that feels close to a marathon endurance test.’ It looks like there won’t be a Mile 23 any time soon.
Action Point – 14% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This live-action fictionalized Jackass film didn’t have any of the charm of, well, anything. Its entire premise relied on Johnny Knoxville performing lewd and painful stunts to appease a brain-dead audience. Bound within the restrictions of a narrative for film, Action Point fails at both. It was widely considered a poor recreation of Jackass’ glory days: when young boys would be boys. Today, the behavior doesn’t amount to much.
Venom – 29% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This is a strange entry on the list. Although Venom failed in its attempt to carry a coherent story or tone, its massive $845m box office results will guarantee that Sony will continue to build this new cinematic universe. Fans rated it as 86%, with its ‘charm’ being lost on professional critics. Tom Hardy gives a strange but dedicated performance as the lead – and future anchor to the universe. Alas, we will see plenty more of him in the future.
Show Dogs – 17% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This family comedy fails to deliver on anything for its audiences. Even though children might chuckle a few times, parents will wonder why talent such as Will Arnett or Stanley Tucci would sign on to such a project. Critics called it a ‘very American brand of children’s entertainment, crass but harmless.’ The film is ludicrous, which is incidentally the same person who voices the main character.
The Clapper – 29% Rotten Tomatoes Score
The Clapper has an interesting premise, which makes its reception all the more disappointing. Ed Helms plays an ordinary man who is paid to clap in audiences for a living. When his job is ‘exposed’, his livelihood is put at stake as he embarks on a new adventure of self-discovery. It’s a shame it falls flat. After its release in January, it was already named as one of the worst films of 2018. RogerEbert.com says: “if it’s supposed to be a comedy, it’s not funny.”
Dark Crimes – 0% Rotten Tomatoes Score
Another film to earn a ‘perfect’ score on Rotten Tomatoes, this Jim Carrey thriller was completely panned by critics and audiences. The pace was bad, it was too vulgar, and Carrey’s performance was largely criticized. It has been specifically noted that the source material, filmmakers, and stars all carried great potential – which makes this film all the more disappointing for viewers.
Sherlock Gnomes – 27% Rotten Tomatoes Score
A film that appears to have been greenlit purely for its name, it’s no surprise that Sherlock Gnomes underperformed. Its impressive cast even features high-talent names such as Johnny Depp, James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, and Michael Caine. They couldn’t save it: the film lacks the charm and wit often inserted to animated films to keep adults entertained, and was described as a ‘dreadful bore’. This follow-up of Gnomeo and Juliet will not likely be the second in a trilogy.
Night School – 29% Rotten Tomatoes Score
Kevin Hart: you either love him or hate him. His latest entry into the irreverent space was deemed insufficient for most critics and fans, failing to deliver on its promising premise. Hart continues to build his cinematic empire, appearing in a few films each year – he’s going to hope this one falls under the radar in the future. The main criticism is that ‘it’s difficult to care about anything that happens because the jokes are so flat, [and] the characters so dull.’
Death Wish – 17% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This Bruce Willis remake failed to kick-start the series into the 21st century. Its convoluted plot and weak performances made it a critical and financial flop when it was released in March. The film was 12 years in the making – development started in 2006 – and underwent many changes both on and off screen. Its inability to keep a consistent tone made it a forgettable experience, one that won’t be seen again in a sequel any time soon.
The Cloverfield Paradox – 20% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This third entry into the Cloverfield franchise was a surprise release by Netflix right after the Superbowl in February. Generally, the marketing tactic was praised for its novelty, but critics failed to appreciate the film once they saw it. Unfortunately, the franchise has died down since the quality of its films has steadily decreased over time. In true JJ Abrams fashion, the franchise started strong and quickly lost its way. Let’s see what Netflix chooses to do next.
Robin Hood – 16% Rotten Tomatoes Score
This recent addition is the last minute entry to complete our list. This remake has failed miserably on a commercial and critical level, being called ‘even worse than anyone could have imagined’. Director Otto Bathurst fails to make a compelling character out of a hero – even with the usually-charismatic Taron Egerton as its lead. It will instantly be compared to 2017’s King Arthur – the first in failed reboots exploring folklore. We won’t be seeing any extended universes for this character any time soon.