The Hateful 8: The Worst Eight Films of 2018
The following are my picks for the worst cinematic disasters for 2018. I’m not a person who actively seeks out garbage and actually try to avoid films that have no chance of being good. Happytime Murders I am looking at you. The list also doesn’t include any films that I walked out on like, say, Pacific Rim: Uprising.
This is easily the best-reviewed film on the list and it is frankly stunning. Halloween is a dull, thudding rehash of a reboot that is supposed to return to the fractured franchises roots but all it does is remind you of how fresh the John Carpenter original was. The main thing that made the original work was the characters. Carpenter invested enough time to make Laurie Strode and her friends into believable, relatable humans. That investment paid off when Michael Myers started his killing spree because you cared who lived and died. The victims who pop up in the remake are so awful you are rooting for them to die and are repeatedly disappointed in how banal their deaths are. Its all twist and jump scares with zero suspense or tension. The 2018 film also will not settle on a plot narrative he inevitable showdown between Laurie Strode and Michael Myers.
Venom is a throwback comic book movie. It hearkens back to the halcyon days before Iron Man when comic book movies were mostly unwatchable. You know the days of Spawn, Steel, Catwoman, and Batman & Robin when you needed a guy in a jumpsuit with puppets to make it through the movie. Venom tries to recapture those days with one of the dumbest comic book movies in recent memory, yes it may be dumber than Suicide Squad. Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams should fire their agents. But hey it made a boat load of money so get ready for the Venom vs Carnage sequel featuring Woody Harrelson in Gene Hackman’s wig from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
This is J.K. Rowling’s second screenplay and it makes the muggle muddled miasma of the first Fantastic Beasts movie look like Robert Towne’s script for Chinatown. There is really no driving narrative in these films just dozens of hanging plot threads. Rowling attempts to stitch some of them together while acting like others never existed. She recons most of the events of the first film rendering most of that film inconsequential to this film as she goes off on a rough sketch of a Wizard Nazi bunny trail that she refuses to fill in. The big twist at the end is full of more convenient plot contrivances than a home-schooled 13 year old could cram into their first novella. Also are we just ignoring the fact the only through line of plot on these films is a middle aged gay man grooming a teenage boy?
The two crowning achievements of Solo is somehow making The Last Jedi and Phoebe Waller-Bridge worse. The script is an utter mess which can’t keep the in film continuity straight much less the films it prequels. I recently re-watched Empire Strikes Back and was reminded of a time when Star Wars canon didn’t include a sentient droid’s consciousness being imprisoned on the Millennium Falcon. Oh wait because that is beyond the pale stupid and not even top 5 stupid things in Solo. Remember the scene at the end of The Last Jedi when holo-Luke gives Leia Han’s dice? Now that scene is ultra awkward as it reveals Luke as a major prick who in his final moments decided to pull off a major passive aggressive stunt when he gives his sister a memento of her dead husband’s ex-girlfriend.
Ready Player One
Two hours of pop culture references that appear on screen while people point them out in case you missed them. Take away the glimpses of Iron Giant, Mecha-Godzilla, and King Kong all you’re left with is SyFy channel level cheese. The internet of the near future looks like something created by an old man who has never used the actual internet or played a video game in the last decade…oh wait it was. Sigh. Steven Spielberg, you used to be cool. The movie also has one of the laziest plot contrivances of recent memory as all the main characters who are connected to each other on-line, just happen to all live in Columbus, Ohio, utterly stripping duality of on-line/off-line worlds of any meaning.
The signature moment of this mess is when the main character stops to use the toilet and check her phone. It is the perfect metaphor for the amount of effort put into this horror movie. At least during the riveting toilet scene you don’t have Bex Taylor-Klaus shouting exposition at you. We were even robbed of a memorable death of one of the most annoying characters in movie history…i think. Thing is there are no memorable kills, scares, or atmosphere in Hell Fest. It just bores you into thinking about the logistics this supposedly touring haunted house festival and how they get all of these permanent structures built and torn down in just a few days before moving on to the next town. Also the big shock ending makes even less sense when the Hell Fest is supposed to be a traveling show. Watching the movie gave me a headache and thinking about is giving me one too.
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jeff Goldblum appears at the beginning and end of this mess to remind you just how bad the movie is and what a fine actor he used to be before he just played Jeff Goldblum. You know all the good stuff in Jurassic Park you loved? Well that’s all gone. I mean they aren’t even trying anymore. This is like three scripts were torn mushed together with the phrase “for some reason” repeatedly scribbled in the margins. There is a scene when living dinosaurs are being auctioned off and they are going for the price of a helicopter. I mean five million for a living dinosaur seems like a steal. You also know a movie isn’t paying attention when freaking human clones are introduced and not one on screen even bats an eyelash. Long before stupidity releases the dinosaurs you’ll have stop caring and may actually be rooting for the dinosaurs to win.
P.S. I may have been hasty in the Hell Fest notes as the paleo-vet played by Daniella Pineda may be as insufferable a screen presence as Bex Taylor-Klaus, but I’m not re-watching either film to see who is worse.
A Wrinkle in Time
Disney’s hype machine went wild for this clunker. Flacks touted the “visionary” director Ava DuVernay and the fact the she was the first woman of color to direct a 100+ million dollar movie. Strangely the social media were a buzz about her illustrious directing career which was strange considering she only had one film with a wide release, Selma. She was set to make all kinds of diversity history with her adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s classic fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time. With the full backing and support of not only the House of Mouse, but the big O, Oprah Winfrey DuVernay indeed made history unleashing a financial and critical bomb not seen since Brad Bird nearly destroyed his career with Tomorrowland. A Wrinkle in Time was meant to be a heartfelt, cerebral special effects film but didn’t deliver heart, intelligence, or much in the way of visual panache. Never have characters seemed so bored experiencing inter-dimensional travel The film looked more like a Disney Channel production than a film from Disney’s film division. The most unforgivable sin is the baffling decision to replace the iconic centaur creatures from the planet Uriel with a big flying leaf, no i’m not even making that up. Way to gut the magic, Ava. Charles Wallace!