Awfully Good: Worst of 2016

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

The Worst Movies of 2016

I think we as a human society can agree that 2016 was a particularly awful year for a number of reasons. And that misery sadly extended to the movies as well. Here’s my list of the worst of the worst—films were all memorably terrible for their own special reasons.


Garry Marshall sure had a hard-on for that calendar, didn’t he? The latter part of the director’s career was inexplicably comprised of sappy odes to random holidays that wasted the time of audiences and the talents of some of Hollywood’s top stars. This time around they roped in people like Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson, Julia Roberts, Jason Sudeikis and Timothy Olyphant for a movie that seemingly exists only to promote matricide. Nobody expected this cinematic greeting card to be good, but considering it’s Marshall’s final film before his death makes it especially heinous.


The first two Divergent films weren’t particularly exciting, but ALLEGIANT was a $100 million dream come true for insomniacs, lacking any real action or plot movement. Granted, lots of boring movies get made each year, but this one deserves a spot on this list for being so dull and unappealing that it effectively killed the franchise before completion. And it takes a special kind of suck for the universe to collectively agree, “Nah, we don’t care how that story ends.”  


SUICIDE SQUAD had its issues, but BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (I still can’t believe they kept that title) was by far the worst DC movie of 2016. The dreadful script, full of story mechanics and character motivations that make no sense, is enough to sink it, but Zack Snyder’s fundamental misunderstanding of the characters is the movie’s real Kryptonite. I’ve given this multiple chances on home video, and while some of the big action may be enjoyable, the rest of the film will wear out your patience and your fast-forward button.  


Zack Snyder wasn’t the only one to desecrate The Dark Knight this year. With the return of the Animated Series’ Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy, THE KILLING JOKE should’ve been a homerun. Instead we got a lackluster adaptation of Alan Moore’s comic tacked on to an unnecessary prologue about the drama of Batman and Batgirl boning, which literally nobody in the world asked to see. Why does 2016 hate the Caped Crusader so much?


I initially hated this shiny fantasy epic, mainly due to my disappointment with the career of Alex Proyas, who directed THE CROW and DARK CITY. And make no mistake, GOD OF EGYPT is god-awful, but the enjoyably goofy elements and cheesy CGI has grown on me in later viewings. There’s a dumb confidence to how badly this butchers mythology and a swagger to the hammy performances by Gerard Butler and Co. that it’s slowly bordering on entertaining. But still 100% a bad movie.  


Kevin Spacey as a cat. ‘Nuff said.


Don’t they show movies in advance to test audiences? Did they skip that step with COLLATERAL BEAUTY? Because I can’t believe any human eyes were actually exposed to this wrong-headed, faux-inspiring drama before the studio decided to release it. For a film about miracles, the only thing miraculous is how it manages to simultaneously be stupid, saccharine, and spiteful, with not one but two awful twists. And this movie has Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley for God’s sake! Does Will Smith have some sort of British blackmail system set up?


While COP OUT, RED STATE and TUSK weren’t great, at least you could see what Kevin Smith was going for by making them. With YOGA HOSERS I have no clue what Smith was trying to do, other than give his daughter and Lily-Rose Depp their own vanity project. Clearly, I enjoy a good “dumb movie,” but this story of Nazi bratwurst and Canadian jokes is stupid beyond legally permissible levels.


I will probably do a full column on this movie at some point in the future, because Sacha Baron-Cohen truly took things to a new level here. THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY was created with the sole purpose of embarrassing Mark Strong for life. From having his scrotum sucked to having to a rocket shoved up his ass, the sheer number of jaw-dropping things the poor actor was forced to do for a cheap laugh is honestly kind of amazing. There’s specifically a scene involving an elephant in this movie that will haunt your dreams forever.


INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE, ZOOLANDER 2, BAD SANTA 2, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS, THE HUNTSMAN: WINTERS WAR, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON 2… If there’s one thing that defined 2016 for cinema, it was the unending glut of follow-ups to movies that nobody asked for. Thankfully, pretty much all were disappointments at the box office and unloved by the few who turned out to see them. So if there’s one hope going into the new year, it’s that maybe, just maybe, Hollywood learned their lesson about leaving well-enough alone.  

Probably not.


Happy 2017 to everyone and thanks for reading this year!


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