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Worst Films of 2013

(Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond)

Greg, in an earlier post, we identified the best movies of 2013. That was a lot of fun and left us with a good taste in our mouths.

And now it’s time to pick the worst movies of 2013 – while they left a bad taste in our mouths it can be just as much fun to review them, too.

Below is my list of the worst of the worst, the baddest of the bad, in 2013. I chose these stinkers based on how much I rolled my eyes and looked at my watch while viewing them in the theater. They all told dumb stories, or they took a good story and made it bad through poor execution.  Here’s my list:

Scott’s Worst 10
10 – The Hangover 3
9 – The Family
8 – Closed Circuit
7 – The Counselor
6 – RIPD
5 – Getaway
4 – Machete Kills
3 – Grown Ups 2
2 – Scary Movie 5
1 – The Big Wedding

I see some familiar titles there, Scott.  Here’s how I ranked the films I warned friends away from in 2013 based on a number of factors but mostly how ripped-off I felt by bad dialog, bad acting or just a lack of any direction. Let’s get started!

Greg’s Worst 10
10 – Getaway
9 – The Counselor
8 – The Hangover 3
7 – The Conjuring
6 – Grown Ups 2
5 – Machete Kills
4 – This Is The End
3 – Scary Movie 5
2 – Movie 43
1 – The Big Wedding


Getaway_PosterMy choice of the year’s 5th-worst movie is Getaway.  This movie definitely made me want to “get away” from the theater as fast as possible. The movie was just a 90-minute excuse to film cars going fast and crashing into things. I suppose a bored 8-year-old child might have found the endless series of car crashes to be entertaining. During those long car-wrecking scenes I found myself yearning for the characters to engage in dialogue, but I regretted that yearning as soon as I got a whiff of that atrocious dialogue. When the characters spoke, I began to yearn for the car crashes to return. Greg, there are some movies that just shouldn’t ever be made. Getaway is near the top of that list.

You’re right, Scott. Getaway was surprisingly bad. In my review from last summer I think I said “Getaway is … derivative of a genre of movie that should have no derivative.” The only thing that kept me from rating it lower (than the #10 spot) was a decent performance by Selena Gomez. At a time when Miley Cyrus is twerking all over the Internet it was good to see a Disney kid do well.

Machete_KillsI ranked Machete Kills as my #5 worst film of the year. I nearly gave it a pass simply because it was supposed to be bad. But it was the worst bad film I’ve seen in a long time. I much preferred 1997’s Austin Powers movie which was over the top with it’s nod towards 1960s Bond films. The action was just blood and gore for the sake of blood and gore. I don’t see any need to visit the theater for the sequel: Machete Kills: In Outer Space.


Greg, Machete Kills killed, all right. It killed my desire to ever see another movie made by Robert Rodriguez. I ranked Machete Kills as my 4th worst movie of the year. I do have to give Machete Kills some credit — it seemed to invent new ways for a movie to be bad. The pointlessness of the entire production was off the scale. Yes, I know the movie was trying to wink at itself and at its audience, and maybe I shouldn’t have tried to take the film seriously. But if I’m going to pay good money to see a movie, shouldn’t I expect the filmmakers to at least try to create something worth seeing?

MV5BMTQxODE3NjM1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzkzNjc4OA@@._V1_SX214_If you thought Machete Kills was bad, I thought my #4 pick, This is the End, was even worse. It was the story of Hollywood’s young elite in the end-of-days. This pointless diversion had major young stars performing a variety of ridiculous stunts including a “cum-off” between James Franco and Danny McBride. It was crude for the purposes of being crude and it was successful at that. So much so that I couldn’t wait to get out of the theater. I hope to never see this film again.

Alas, This is the End was one of the movies we disagreed about this past year, Greg. I actually thought behind all the debauchery and lunacy, the movie showed some amusing creativity. Plus, the film was a decent buddy hero story in which the two heroes must change their ways in order to be saved from destruction. This is the End won’t win any awards for excellence but it had its good solid moments, in my opinion.


Grown_Ups_2_PosterMy 3rd worst movie of the year was Grown Ups 2. This movie re-defines what it is to be a terrible movie. If the screenplay writers had simply vomited on the pages, they would have produced a better movie than the one they wrote on those pages. You know how they say that given enough time, monkeys could produce Shakespeare’s Hamlet? Well, the makers of Grown Ups 2 must have recruited some of the dumbest, most tasteless monkeys they could find and then given those monkeys one nanosecond to produce something. Adam Sandler’s career definitely hit a new low with this film, and I’m still bitter and resentful about the IQ points that I lost by watching Grown Ups 2.

I didn’t hate this movie as much as you did (it was my #6) but I did hate it pretty well. The thing that really gets my goat is that this drek of a film is doing great in DVD sales. I guess we weren’t the target audience for Grown Ups 2.

MV5BMTc5OTIxMjQ4NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTAyNDcyOQ@@._V1._SX95_SY140_My #3 pick for the worst film of 2013 was Scary Movie 5. This was the latest in the series and drew from the popularity of such films as Mama, Cabin in the Woods and Black Swan. I would have made this my #1 pick except that it gets a point or two for being written by one of the Zucker Brothers (of Airplane! fame) and was clearly designed to be so bad it was good. Well it was neither bad enough nor good enough to be watched even once. Even for Charlie Sheen, this was a low point.


Greg, I couldn’t have said it any better. I picked Scary Movie 5 as my 2nd worst movie of the year. Earlier you said that This is the End is a sorry excuse for Hollywood’s elite to engage in self-congratulatory drek. Well, this is an apt description of Scary Movie 5. What were these stars thinking when they agreed to work on a project that features tooth brushes being shoved in people’s butts and amniotic fluid splashing on people’s faces? Maybe some people find this funny but what I see is a desperate attempt to produce shock value, which by itself is never, ever funny.

MV5BMTg4NzQ3NDM1Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjEzMjM3OA@@._V1_SX214_Which reminds me of my #2 pick – Movie 43 which was about as low as any movie has ever been. It featured big stars doing grotesque jokes. Witness Hugh Jackman as a dashing young man with testicles on his chin. And Halle Berry wearing a ridiculously large prosthetic pair of breasts. And a man defecating all over his girlfriend in an act of lovemaking. And these are just the images I can share in print. It has been said the the Farrelly Brothers took years to get all these stars together in one film. The fact is that they coerced their stars into the roles using tricks of the trade. I’m surprised Movie 43 didn’t make your “bottom 10” list.

Well, if it’s any consolation, Movie 43 did make my bottom 43, Greg. But you’re right, it easily could have made my list of the 10 worst film failures this year. I’m not sure what the filmmakers were thinking when they produced Movie 43 — in fact, that’s the problem: They weren’t thinking at all. All those absurd little skits couldn’t possibly add up to a good overall movie. In this case, the whole was far, far less than the sum of the parts.


MV5BMTcwODUwMjg2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTc2NzkxOA@@._V1_SX214_My Worst Movie of the year, Greg, is the same as yours — The Big Wedding. What a celluloid catastrophe this film turned out to be. Somehow, writer and director Justin Zackham thought that it would be funny to totally embarrass some of Hollywood’s best veteran actors by making them speak and act like immature, sex-crazed teenagers. I was cringing and wincing at every scene. For me, The Big Wedding was the Titanic of movies this year — it was Big all right. A Big Mess, A Big Flop, and A Big Embarrassment. The less said about this film, the better.

We agree on one thing, after all, Scott. The Big Wedding was about as bad as a movie can get without trying. It had everything going for it: a big cast (Robert De Niro,  Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, Robin Williams, Katherine Heigl, and Topher Grace), it had a previous success (based on the foreign film Mon frère se marie) and Writer/Director Justin Zackham (The Bucket List). But when that mix of talent was blended together we got the most shockingly bad xenophobic movie I’ve ever seen. The Colombian mother-in-law was treated as an idiot, her naive daughter was treated as a sex kitten, and the audience was treated as unwelcome guests as the actors tried their least and phoned in this incredible clunker. The reason this is my worst film of the year is because of the huge chasm between the high-quality of its stars and the low-quality of its story. What a disgrace.

Well, those were the worst movies of the year, Greg. It’s interesting how 2013 could produce so many excellent movies, yet so many bad ones, too.

You’re right, Scott. I’m just glad I didn’t have to suffer through them alone. Thanks for a great year of films and Reel Heroes!

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