don’t worry darling and Blond maybe the movies that launched a thousand thoughts and/or gossip columns, but the act of sheer madness that is amsterdam puts them both to shame. It is, in this writer’s opinion, the worst film of the year – a “meandering mess crammed with poor performances from its star-studded cast…and liberal sloganeering more embarrassing than Lingua Franca’s jersey collection”.
Directed by David O. Russell, a notorious hothead who once told police he groped his niece’s breasts, amsterdam tells the story of a trio of World War I veterans – Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington – who come together in 1933 to foil a fascist plot to overthrow the US government. Besides these three, he is stacked with big name stars including Robert De Niro, Rami Malek, Anya Taylor-Joy, Chris Rock, Mike Myers, Zoe Saldana, Michael Shannon, Timothy Olyphant, Andrea Riseborough, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alessandro Nivola, and Taylor Swift, who delivers the least regrettable turn. This is perhaps the greatest waste of talent of all time, and it is really say something considering Hollywood’s long history of star-studded duds.
Here is the worst of the worst.
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Tom Holland, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, John Cena, Marion Cotillard
As Robert Downey Jr. put it, he was googling “the weirdest Welsh doctor” and came across William Price, a gonzo neo-pagan doctor who wore a suit with stars, and founded his Dr Dolittle – a doctor who can talk to animals – about that. And yet, in this movie about the doctor who talks to animals and is tasked with finding a magical elixir to cure an ailing Queen Victoria, he has never seemed more disengaged. It’s visually lackluster, the script is all over the place, the voiceover work (from a massive cast) is uninspired, and all the jokes fall flat. Did I mention it’s written and directed by Stephen Gaghan, who won an Oscar for writing the drug-dealing drama Traffic?
Cast: Francesca Hayward, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Jason Derulo, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Ray Winstone
Expectations were high for Oscar-winning filmmaker Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech, Wretched) screen adaptation of the popular Broadway musical, but oh my god, were they not meet. Boasting some of the most confusing character design choices in recent memory – Judi Dench’s Old Deuteronomy is nightmare fuel, and no one should be subjected to James Corden as a CGI cat – and a distinct lack of magic, the movie also has the cruel distinction of being the last movie many people saw in theaters before the COVID pandemic, since it was released on Christmas 2019. Also… release The Butthole Cut!
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019)
Cast: Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong’o, Keri Russell, Harrison Ford, Kelly Marie Tran
The JJ Abrams finale to the reboot star wars the trilogy is a giant fuck you to the previous film in the series, The Last Jedi, reenacting much of its action via unsatisfying and canon-shredding reveals. It’s the movie equivalent of giving in to trolls.
THE LAUNDERY (2019)
Cast: Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone, David Schwimmer, Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeffrey Wright, Will Forte, James Cromwell, Larry Wilmore, Robert Patrick
Not only is the warped satire of Steven Soderbergh’s Panama Papers unnecessarily convoluted and showy, exhibiting some of the worst qualities of Adam McKay’s socially conscious work, but it also features Meryl Streep in brownface as a Panamanian woman named Elena. She’s lucky no one saw him.
JUDICIAL LEAGUE (2017)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, JK Simmons, Ciaran Hinds, Amber Heard, Jesse Eisenberg
This superhero extravaganza is nothing short of awful – narratively and tonally incoherent, filled with muddled performances – and replacement director Joss Whedon would have terrorized his cast, and it raised the profile of public threat Ezra Miller. Amy Adams, in particular, deserves way better than this shit.
Zoolander 2 (2016)
Cast: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Wiig, Fred Armisen, Kyle Mooney, Milla Jovovich, Justin Theroux, Benedict Cumberbatch, Justin Bieber, Sting
There are very few laughs in this long-awaited sequel to the 2001 comedy classic Zoolander. They’ve been replaced by an endless number of celebrity cameos, including an opening sequence where Justin Bieber is killed off. Oh, and it packs a heavy dose of mean mockery at the expense of the transgender/non-binary community in her character of All, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch.
COLLATERAL BEAUTY (2016)
Cast: Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Michael Pena, Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Jacob Latimore, Naomie Harris, Ann Dowd
Will Smith’s stockings aren’t limited to the Oscars scene. Despite his star status, the Best Actor Oscar and a string of blockbuster hits, Smith also starred in some of the worst films of all time, such as Winter’s Tale, seven books, and this deeply misguided and mistitled drama about a depressed advertising executive who struggles with the concepts of love, time and death, here portrayed by Jacob Latimore, Keira Knightley and Helen Mirren, respectively. It’s saccharine worthy of interest, but it will encourage the occasional involuntary laughter.
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin, Bill Camp, Jaeden Martell
Sony hack revealed Cameron Crowe’s love story in Hawaii to be a very dramatic production, and yes, it centers on a military contractor (Cooper) who is tasked with running a privatized weapons satellite and falls in love with an Asian Air Force pilot, Allison Ng, played by… Emma Stone.
MOVIE 43 (2013)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Emma Stone, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Uma Thurman, Halle Berry, Dennis Quaid, Elizabeth Banks, Gerard Butler, Richard Gere, Jason Sudeikis, Liev Schreiber, Chris Pratt, Kieran Culkin, Jeremy Allen White, Anna Faris, Chloe Grace Moretz, Justin Long, Kristen Bell
Nope, green paper isn’t the most egregious thing Peter Farrelly has done – it’s this anthology film featuring 14 comedy shorts, each more awfully unfunny than the last, including one of Hugh Jackman with testicles hanging from his neck . Despite its huge star cast, it is now considered one of the worst films ever made.
GANGSTER SQUAD (2013)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Anthony Mackie, Nick Nolte, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick, Mireille Enos, Holt McCallany
This terrible screenplay somehow spent several years on the Black List of best unproduced screenplays before landing in the hands of Ruben Fleischer (zombieland), who turned out to be the absolute bad director for this dark tale about a group of rogue cops trying to take down crime lord Mickey Cohen in 1949 Los Angeles. It’s a luscious mess with lousy production design and gangster movie cliches. The typically dependable Gosling has never looked so bored.
NEW YEAR’S EVE (2011)
Cast: Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank, Sofia Vergara, John Lithgow , Sarah Paulson, Common, Matthew Broderick
Garry Marshall has given us so many wonderful TV shows and movies, Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley at At the sea and A pretty woman. His last three films in the director’s chair, however, were the let’s-put-on-a-show disasters. Valentine’s day, new year’s eveand Mothers’ Day– all filled with stars whose stories intersect. There’s really nothing of value here. It’s a sentimental drama that might even be worse than getting caught in the middle of Times Square when the ball drops.
VALENTINE’S DAY (2010)
Cast: Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Patrick Dempsey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Emma Roberts, Taylor Swift
Although not as bad as new year’s eve, this collection of movie star colliding stories takes place during her titular vacation and will have you hating her even more than the most bitter singles. As amsterdamthe only silver lining in this otherwise torturous affair is Taylor Swift, who really needs to make better decisions about movies.
Cast: Harry Belafonte, Nick Cannon, Emilio Estevez, Laurence Fishburne, Anthony Hopkins, Helen Hunt, Joshua Jackson, Ashton Kutcher, Shia LaBeouf, Lindsay Lohan, William H. Macy, Demi Moore, Martin Sheen, Christian Slater, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
It’s always excruciating when a filmmaker thinks he’s made an Oscar-worthy masterpiece but instead created a dud – take this Emilio Estevez film about the hours leading up to the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy who is deeply convinced that it is Nashville when it’s much closer to Garry Marshall’s cursed rom-com anthology trilogy. You can, however, see Shia LaBeouf catch a stray ball from Sirhan Sirhan, if that’s your thing.
BE COOL (2005)
Cast: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn, Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin, Dwayne Johnson, Harvey Keitel, Danny DeVito, Debi Mazar, Seth Green, James Woods
Most movies don’t need sequels, like Get Shorty, Barry Sonnenfeld’s near-perfect black comedy about a loan shark (Travolta) who wants to break into the film industry. This F. Gary Gray-directed sequel sees that same loan shark try his hand at the music industry, but says nothing funny or interesting about the industry. It’s a sanitized cash grab (see: PG-13 rating) whose only bright spot is an Afro-sporty Dwayne Johnson as a queer budding actor in tight pants.
Cast: Elijah Wood, Bruce Willis, Jon Lovitz, Jason Alexander, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Reba McEntire, Kelly McGillis, Kathy Bates, Jon Ritter, Scarlett Johansson, Richard Belzer
Rob Reiner had made five excellent films in a row—support me, The princess to be married, When Harry met Sally…, Miseryand some good men– but this sequence ended with this adventure on the road of a young boy (Wood) who successfully divorces his parents (Alexandre, Louis-Dreyfus) and goes in search of new parents for fear that he will not be confined to an orphanage. With stops in Texas, Zaire, China, Paris, Hawaii, Alaska and New York, it’s such a dud (none of the tracks work) stuffed full of offensive ethnic stereotypes that the late great film critic Roger Ebert awarded him. zero stars. It did, however, mark Scarlett Johansson’s film debut, so there you have it.