By Carl Kozlowski
There are more than 400 movies released into theaters each year. As a professional film critic, I’m subjected to about 150 of them. I manage to avoid the dreck that emerges from Hollywood; torture porn, slasher films, “The Smurfs 2.” But I do see some real stinkers.
The following are, in my opinion, some of the worst films of 2013:
1. Grudge Match—Pitting the two men who portrayed the greatest boxers in film history against each other in a comedic showdown sounded like a no-brainer in theory. The problem is, no one involved in this production used their brains to write a coherent script. Sylvester “Rocky” Stallone looks punch-drunk the entire time, while Robert “Raging Bull” DeNiro inexplicably spends most of the movie shouting in order to convey a pulse. Scenes start and stop abruptly with no sense of rhythm, making this alleged “movie” appear to be edited by a 3-year-old with scissors rather than a competent professional. You’ll hold a grudge against everyone who made it.
2. The Counselor—With a pedigree ensemble cast featuring Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz and Javier Barden under the direction of masterful Ridley Scott, this should have been one of the year’s best. Instead, it’s an incomprehensible mess, filled with vile characters and no one to root for. Its most memorable moments involve Diaz getting off by rubbing her crotch against a car windshield and Pitt being decapitated.
3. All Is Lost — Robert Redford stars as the only person onscreen for 106 brutally boring minutes, playing an unnamed rich guy who is sailing alone on the ocean when his boat starts to capsize. The fact that he has to patch up the boat and fend off storms might sound exciting, but far more of the movie consists of Redford eating tuna from cans and developing a nasty sunburn. When he finally screams “Fuck!” at the heavens, viewers will be right there with him.
4. Bullet to the Head—While Stallone had a pretty fun action flick in October’s Escape Plan with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he also achieved the ignominy of making not just one, but two of the year’s worst films. This remake of an Asian action film features him as a hitman in a movie devoid of fun, excitement and inspiration. Whoever approved its production deserves the fate of its title.
5. Broken City—When I saw that Russell Crowe and Mark Wahlberg were in a movie, I was excited to see the year start off with a bang. I should have remembered that no one releases a good movie in January. This tired attempt at a thriller featured Wahlberg as a disgraced cop turned private eye who seeks to bring down New York Mayor Crowe in a real estate scandal. The most interesting thing onscreen is Crowe’s hair, which looks like a dead beaver pelt.
6. The Evil Dead—This pointless, bloody remake of superstar director Sam Raimi’s 1983 debut horror film was vile, nihilistic celluloid garbage. Its unknown stars are lucky that they play such interchangeable victims; there might be a chance of having people forget this movie was on their resumes.
7. G.I. Joe: Retaliation—I probably hated this movie more than any other film this year, but it was knocked down the list by the fact that one’s expectations are measurably lower for a Channing Tatum film than a Robert DeNiro effort. This alleged movie defines the “shit blows up real good” genre of filmmaking, in which nothing matters except the explosions. It also committed the previously impossible sin of wasting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s incredible star presence.
8. The Hangover Part III—The third time was absolutely not the charm with this tone-deaf, unfunny three-quel. What started as an almost-revolutionary advance in hard-R comedy quality with the 2009 original devolved into a lazy paycheck for stars Ed Helms, Bradley Cooper and Zach Galifianakis. The losing formula here is: More Mr. Chow = Less Funny.
9. Man of Steel—The umpteenth reboot attempt at a Superman movie was a brooding and unpleasant Christ allegory until its final half-hour, when it devolved into an endless depiction of pointless destruction that would fit right in with the horrible Transformers movies. Please, for the love of cinema, buy and watch the first two Christopher Reeve Superman films instead of this or any of its sequels.
10. The Last Stand—Arnold Schwarzenegger joins Stallone on this list, thanks to this year-opening dud of a comeback attempt. He plays a small-town California sheriff nearing retirement when a master criminal escapes and wants to cross the border by passing directly through his town. Apparently the fact that there are at least 2,000 other miles of border access to Mexico didn’t register with the filmmakers, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this movie’s plot holes.