The year's most excruciating movie experience began as a misunderstood horror gem.
It shows what can happen to a franchise when its creator loses all sense of perspective, let alone taste.
HiT’s 5 worst movies of 2015 features that misbegotten sequel. The list also includes four more titles that should have been given the heave-ho before reaching movie screens.
- “Human Centipede III: Final Sequence” — Director Tom Six’s 2009 original gleefully exploited its sick conceit. Six still delivered the goods with style and, dare we say, polish. Star Dieter Laser deserved the most credit. He gave his unhinged his surgeon an original spin. Laser returns for part 3, and it’s one of Six’s many colossal blunders. “Final Sequence” is mean-spirited, vile and lacking any cinematic virtue. And that’s being gracious. The satirical nuggets stink. So does Laser’s violently over the top turn. Forget torture porn. This is flat-out torture.
- “Fantastic Four” — Director Tim Story delivered two perfectly acceptable “Fantastic Four” movies. And then we feasted on Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. With the superhero bar set so high we were destined for this reboot. The result actually made Story’s films look better by comparison. The film feels both overcooked and rushed. It’s a needless origin story capped by a nonsensical final battle. Director Josh Trank stumbles over tone and purpose, leaving a story without humor, heart or brains. Wait for the tell-all book describing the turmoil behind the scenes. That will be far more engaging than the film itself.
- “Pixels” — Adam Sandler (and his mullet) brought the ’80s roaring back with “The Wedding Singer.” He ditched the ‘do for “Pixels” along with every ounce of charm that rom-com contained. “Pixels” proved both inappropriate for children and aimed at their lowest of low expectations. Peter Dinklage saves a scene or two as an arcade game champ. Even he can only do so much given the circumstances.
- “American Ultra” — Remember the mediocre “Pineapple Express?” That pot comedy is like “The Maltese Falcon” compared to this misfire. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart look lost as star-crossed lovers caught up in stoner spy games. It’s flat-footed and juvenile, and you won’t care a whit what happens to anyone by the third act.
- “Truth” — Cate Blanchett is incapable of turning in a bad performance. Robert Redford isn’t as miscast as we thought playing Dan Rather. And yet the film’s sole purpose – turning journalist malpractice into a historical rewrite – deserves a mention here. So does the story’s sanctimonious tone, the speeches that double as liberal talking points and the sheer gall of the entire enterprise.
(Dis)honorable Mention: “Minions” — “The Penguins of Madagascar” proved some supporting players can carry a movie. “Some” doesn’t mean “all.” The tortured story rendered this blockbuster cruel and unusual punishment for adults. The less said about the Minions’ incessant gibberish, the bitter.
ALSO CHECK OUT: HiT’s 10 Best Films of 2015
Note: This critic didn’t screen some likely Worst Movie of 2015 contenders, including “Paul Blart 2,” “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” and “Mortdecai.”