The Unforgivable Films of 2019

This article has gotten so much more difficult for me to write over the past couple of years. It was easy when I was 22 and could get up a good, deep hatred for a movie I thought was inferior. But as the years have gone on (this is the tenth Unforgivables list, can you believe it?), the amount of films I was truly angry about each year grew to be less and less. At this point, I’d have a hard time even telling you 50% of the stuff I listed over the past three years. Because now, what makes me angry is more esoteric. Sure, bad stuff gets made, but usually I’m mad because they spent $200 million on something that was never going to be good, or the same tired actors are making the same tired comedies over and over. I find that, most of the time, I just don’t care when something is bad anymore. And really, the thing that drove this article wasn’t listing all the worst films (I never really did that and there are already dozens of people who do), it was the fun gotten out of all the shit I would come up with in my anger toward a movie. But now, when the anger’s gone, what’s left?

I think what I’m saying is that this is going to be the last Unforgivables list I write up for this site. I’m going to retire it. I like it, I think it’s provided some great stuff over the years (the Batman v. Superman rant remains one of my favorite things I’ve done), but I think it’s run its course. I may continue with some version of this in the future, or I may just move onto something new that I haven’t even thought of yet. But for now, I think it’s time we put this old girl out to pasture, and go out a year too early than three years too late. (Though arguably if I consider Batman v. Superman the peak, this does technically count as three years too late. So maybe let’s just stick with the ‘on my own terms’ angle of this retirement.)

Of course, now that I said that, next year is gonna be full of awful movies and I’m gonna regret having done this. But that’s the beauty of it… who says I can’t come out of retirement if I want?

Anyway, let’s saddle up this pony one last time and go see what fresh garbage the year has given us.

Oh, I guess I should get into what this list is all about. So what I’ve done on this site since it started was, the day before my Top Ten list, I post this. It’s more than just a ‘worst of’ list. It’s a list of the films that I consider such abominations that they actually lower the bar for cinema as an art form. Here’s a representation of the Unforgivable film in a single quote:

The tradition of the Unforgivables list began in 2010, when I was watching the movie The Switch and was so physically angry at what I was watching that I typed out a long rant to my friends, warning them that they should never watch that piece of shit movie ever in their entire lives. And they all found it hilarious. Then I started the site a few months later, needed stuff to put on it and here we are.

I only have one rule for a movie to qualify as Unforgivable: it has to make me angry while watching it (or thinking about it). That’s it. Theoretically a movie could be in my top ten and still make this list. I have other guidelines I try to follow as I make up the list, but generally it’s just the one big one that overrides everything else. I used to have a ‘no sequels’ rule, but that eventually had to go away because now so much of the dog shit comes in the form of a sequel. Though one guideline I still do adhere to for the most part is to not include movies we all knew were gonna be terrible. But as I said, the anger always wins out over everything else.

Since this is going to be the final Unforgivables list, I think we should go back and look at all the previous years, just to see what the decade has brought us. A highlight reel, if you will, before our final episode.

– – – – –

2010 — The original list was the second article I ever posted on this site, meant to be a yang to the yin of the top ten list I posted the day before. There were only five films on that list, and the #1 was, unsurprisingly, The Switch. The rest of the list was comprised of Due Date (which I still hate), Dinner for Schmucks (a film I’ve long since forgotten even exists), You Again (a movie we’ve all long since forgotten even exists) and The Backup Plan (again, no memory of this at all). That article only really existed so I could post the rant about The Switch, because I thought it was funny, and I created the feature around me wanting to post it. So honestly, what began as a reason to post dumb jokes turned into a decade-long feature on this site. Says a lot about me. Probably nothing good.

2011 — This was the first year the list became an actual ‘thing’. I wrote up 11 movies, with The Hangover Part II as an unofficial entry (part of my ‘no sequels’ rule but also one I had to include) that basically functions as a de facto entry on the list. Here’s the full list:

10. (The) Larry Crowne (Affair)
9. No Strings Attached
8. Crazy Stupid Love
7. Sucker Punch
6. Green Hornet
5. Zookeeper
4. Something Borrowed
3. Hall Pass
2. Jack and Jill
1. Just Go With It

The one most people would disagree with there is Crazy Stupid Love. I remember watching that movie in July of that year and just getting so angry at what it was doing that I wrote up an entire article and posted it to explain my anger. I’m sure the movie is just fine, but all I remember was being angry enough to write up another rant and thinking it was funny. So, the dislike stood, and probably still stands. I’m sure if I went back now I just wouldn’t give a shit and would only be annoyed at some of the things it does. But that one does stick out as one of my better rants over this past decade, so that’s really the reason I stick by the choice over everything else.

Otherwise, yeah, lotta shit on this list. Adam Sandler manages both the #1 and #2 spots, which is impressive, and we have Jennifer Aniston hitting #1 two years in a row. I definitely remember spending more time on this one and trying to vary up the rants and make each of them funny while not repeating myself. No idea if it worked, since I haven’t gone back to read any of this stuff in years, but at least I was committing to the bit.

2012 — It’s funny. I started 2012’s list by saying “this list is getting harder for me to create every year.” And yet… seven more lists. Though I do start to see some branching out on this one. I did some things here that would become ‘staples’ of the Unforgivables list in later years.

10. Rock of Ages
9. Project X
8. The Bourne Legacy
7. The Campaign
6. Battleship
5. This Means War
4. The Watch
3. LOL
2. That’s My Boy
1. Big Miracle

Still no official sequels, as the Bourne movie is technically a spinoff (and I’m gonna be honest, I’ve basically erased that film from my memory, Eternal Sunshine-style, and truly pretend like it just never happened). But we have our first instance of the film that no one has ever heard of (LOL, which is a Miley Cyrus film and a remake of a French movie). I do remember that as being one of my better rants. Also Big Miracle is the first time I went with the vaguely religious, family-style movie. I still remember how much I hated that one. That’s another rant I remember as being pretty good. Adam Sandler makes #2 again, making him one of the poster children for this feature. The Mount Rushmore of the Unforgivables list has always been Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy. Their movies have been what kept this list going all these years.

I remember really not liking Rock of Ages, I know exactly why I hated (and still hate) Project X. And a lot of it is on general principle even before we get to it not being a good movie. The Campaign I just hated. Battleship everyone knows about, and that’s got the money factor along with it being just a terribly misconceived movie from the start. The Watch I just hated as well. Yeah, a lot of my lists were always just bad studio comedies that I really disliked that I found reasons to shit on. Now, I find myself seeing those and just dismissing them rather than hating on them (though admittedly they get made less now, or a lot of them have migrated straight to Netflix, where they don’t feel as odious because the stakes are lower and they’re easier to dismiss). If you notice, it was always the same group of people making them. And I think most of them just decided to stop and do something else or move onto the next stage of their careers. Thankfully.

2013 — This year in particular I remember not having my heart in it. I didn’t really care all that much and just kind of threw together a list. I bet if you went back and read all of them, this one would definitely feel slighter as compared to other ones.

10. A Good Day to Die Hard
9. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
8. Man of Steel
7. After Earth
6. Thor: The Dark World
5. We’re the Millers
4. Ass Backwards
3. The Heat
2. Grown Ups 2
1. Identity Thief

Melissa McCarthy is #1 and #3, with Adam Sandler as #2. Oh, and Aniston shows up at #5. I think that year I was trying to make the point that Melissa McCarthy was making nothing but shitty movies all the time (which was a residual effect of my not liking Bridesmaids as much as everyone else and having that film shoved down my throat, but also the truth) and wanting to say it loudly. Took people a couple of years, but I think they’ve caught on. At this point, anything Sandler makes is basically a shoo-in for this list (though you’ll notice I have gone easy on him in the last couple of years). We’re the Millers I know people generally thought was okay, but I just hated it through and through. Thor was my first Marvel film as Unforgivable, which was mainly me getting annoyed with all the Marvel love and wanting to find a way to shit on them. I’ve come around (mostly. I still have my general dislikes of what they do) on Marvel, though Dark World is the weakest movie they’ve put out, post-Universe establishment. So I’m sure I had my reasons for that being there, but it was probably just so I could shit on Marvel. Also worth noting that this is where I broke the no sequels rule (three times. And added a reboot as a kicker.).

After Earth is Will Smith, and he… if he made more movies in this decade, might have appeared on these lists more. Because now — and you’ll see this become more of a thing as the years go on — I’m starting to get mad at things from a top-down perspective. I look at something like After Earth and go, “This feels manufactured and there’s absolutely no soul in this at all.” That kind of stuff became what really made me angry, more so than just bad comedy. Man of Steel… fuck if I know what made me so mad at it at the time. Maybe it was just Zack Snyder, and the fact that it took all the fun out of Superman. Mortal Instruments was YA and allowed me to shit on the fact that studios were still making YA movies after the bubble had burst. And A Good Day to Die Hard is just a desecration of a once-great franchise with a star that just wanted to get a big paycheck and didn’t care about anything else. So yeah. A lot of this makes sense to me.

2014 — Now we’re starting to get into the years where I couldn’t tell you anything I wrote up. Because at this point a lot of this was just me writing the list because I was expected to write it. From here on out, 70% of the lists was just stuff I made up, and then there’s be like two I’d put a little bit of effort in, and then like one I truly got up for and did my best job with.

10. The Amazing Spider-Man 2
9. Dumb and Dumber To
8. Dracula Untold
7. Maleficent
6. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
5. The Other Woman
4. Blended
3. Tammy
2. Sex Tape
1. Heaven Is for Real

Heaven Is for Real is the one that I know I was fuming about at the time. Because I can’t stand those faith-based movies. They’re made for idiots and they talk down to those idiots at the same time. It’s crazy. I think I mostly kept myself collected on that genre and really only went in twice on those movies. But man, when I went in, I went in. Heaven Is for Real didn’t get nearly the shellacking that a later movie does, but I do think I made sure to dial up the anger for writing up that one. Then, the rest of the list… Dumb and Dumber is an abysmal sequel (also worth noting, one of its directors now has two Oscars), Amazing Spider-Man 2 is so bad it killed a franchise for the second time in seven years, Ninja Turtles was just a shitty adaptation of something I liked when I was a kid (and I wasn’t as into the Turtle as some people were. So I can only imagine how bad it was for them). Blended is Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. That’s basically an automatic pass to the top five. Tammy is Melissa McCarthy. No surprises there. Sex Tape… oh yeah. That movie. Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel. That movie felt dated before it came out. I feel like that movie could only have worked ten years before this. And yet somehow it got made. Man, that was terrible.

The interesting two for me are Maleficent and Dracula Untold. Maleficent is me getting into the business of railing against unnecessary studio movies that spend millions of dollars to make bland, special effects-laden CG monstrosities, but also me railing against the trend of unnecessary Disney remakes. Typically I let the Disney remakes slide, but Maleficent I put on because it announced itself as not one of those. It was the story from the villain’s perspective… only after about an hour they literally just retold Sleeping Beauty. So fuck them, that went on. And Dracula Untold I love because that was technically the first attempt at creating the Universal Monsters shared universe, which would later factor into a list when The Mummy would come out. I like the symmetry.

2015 — If 2013 was me phoning it in, this was me basically texting it in. I really didn’t have anything for this year. Which is funny, because looking at it, I definitely remember one or two rants from this one that actually feel like they were okay. Go figure.

10. Aloha
9. Pixels
8. The Visit
7. Accidental Love
6. Little Boy
5. The Ridiculous Six
4. Fantastic Four
3. Hot Pursuit
2. Jem and the Holograms
1. Vacation

If there’s one thing you should take away from this list, it’s — Little Boy… hoooly fuck. Go read the article to see what I mean.

The rest of it… Vacation is a soulless remake of a good movie. Not surprised that made #1, though it felt like a very spiritless choice from me. That’s always how I judge my Unforgivables. When the #1 isn’t something I’m truly that mad at, I feel like my heart wasn’t in it. And my heart definitely was not in this one. (Sorry to break the illusion for the three of you who thought this was all real.) Jem and the Holograms was pretty awful though.

We have Reese Witherspoon making another appearance. Sandler gets on as per usual. Twice, even. Pixels, though, wasn’t entirely him. The problem with Pixels was that they spent so much goddamn money on it, and then somehow thought he was a good person to put in it. So he’s a problem, but not the problem. Though I am surprised Ridiculous Six is so low. Probably because it was kind of an obvious choice and because I wanted to put Fantastic Four at #4. That one… yeah, that probably deserved it, even if it feels bad to keep shitting on that after everything it went through. Accidental Love deserves it just because David O. Russell abandoned it and they went and finished it anyway. And it sucked balls. The Visit — people were proclaiming M. Night Shyamalan back from that movie, and I truly hated it. The Visit made this list within four minutes of starting. In fact, that’s the movie that made me most angry of this entire list. Well… Little Boy…

Also, I feel bad about Cameron Crowe being on it, but I kinda had to. That movie deserves it.

2016 — This is probably my best overall list. This was me at the top of my game. This is the most cohesive article of the bunch, and I remember all the rants I wrote for each of the films. This one holds up for me.

10. Suicide Squad
9. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
8. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
7. Why Him?
6. Bad Moms
5. Independence Day 2
4. The Boss
3. Zoolander 2
2. I’m Not Ashamed
1. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The reason this one probably holds up as well as it does is because I started working on it in April. I saw Batman v. Superman in theaters and within a week, started writing up just how much I hated it. Only three times has that happened for me, that I got so mad about something I immediately started writing up a rant. The Switch, Crazy Stupid Love and Batman v. Superman. That’s elite company. But because I started working on it in April, by the time we got to December, it was long and it was ready. Most of the time I start working on the list like ten days prior, and really only write up a lot of the entries like two days beforehand. Almost no effort goes into the majority of the list (sorry guys, but it’s the truth). Maybe I’ll spend some effort on one or two of the rants, but largely I’m just banging shit out on deadline like a newspaper columnist.

The funny thing about this year is — were Batman v. Superman not the automatic #1, I’m Not Ashamed not only would have been a far and away #1, but it would have been one of my all-time rants too. Because that movie… holy fucking shit. That’s a faith-based movie about a girl going down a “bad route” who discovers Jesus… and then just so happens to be the first girl murdered at Columbine. Surprise! So yeah, I already had two rants just ready for this list. I went out of my way to see I’m Not Ashamed in theaters just so I could shit on it. I drove to the deep Valley where they shoot porn to a movie theater and sat there with a notebook and just wrote down notes as I was watching the movie, I was so ready for it.

The other thing I did specifically for that list was structure that whole article around the fact that Batman v. Superman was gonna be #1. I dropped Batman quotes all throughout the article, and even structured the list so Suicide Squad was #10 just to build up to what the eventual conclusion was gonna be. Suicide Squad did end up deserving its spot too, which made it even sweeter that I could start and end the list with the disaster that is the DC Universe.

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates was the one compromise choice on that list. I wasn’t so much against it so much as it fit the mold of what would go there, and I really had nothing else, so it went on. Everything else totally belonged. That one felt like a throwaway. Though I guess I did almost have Dirty Grandpa on there too, which would have really been a throwaway. Looking back, I think a more appropriate choice for that spot would have been XOXO, which made the 11-15. Though I still do hate Mike and Dave Need Wedding dates too, so I’m cool with it being there. Independence Day 2 was a huge piece of shit, and I definitely remember excitedly shitting all over that one.

Popstar is a movie that a lot of people think is great that I just fucking despise. I can never come around to liking that movie and wholeheartedly support my including it when I did. Bad Moms is pretty awful and that’s pretty standard fare for this list. The Boss is Melissa McCarthy, one of our mainstays. Jennifer Aniston had largely gotten out of the game at this point, but it is worth noting that this was the first year Adam Sandler did not make the list. (Technically he didn’t make it that first year, but that I look at as more of a pilot episode than the actual series.) The Do-Over was his one film and I actually was okay enough with that to not put it on. Though we are now seven years into this list and there hasn’t been a single year where either Sandler, Aniston or McCarthy haven’t featured.

Why Him I loved putting on, because I saw it literally the day before the list got posted. I was in the City with a friend who said, “Let’s go see a shitty movie.” So we chose that. And we came out and I went, “Man, that feels like it should be Unforgivable, but I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to write up anything for it, since usually I have the benefit of watching it again as I shit on it. I’d have to do this from memory of what we just saw.” And he said, very simply, “You should just write the title ‘Why Him?’ and cross out the ‘Him’.” And that was all I needed. That was too funny to not do. So we can thank my friend Jake for that one. Honestly that’s better than anything else I could have written for it or anything else, and it saved us having Dirty Grandpa on there, which would have just been me being lazy (even though writing two words can be considered the ultimate form of being lazy).

But definitely, I love this list. I put real effort into the Batman v. Superman one and the I’m Not Ashamed one. I truly hate those movies. Bad Moms was a piece of shit and I enjoyed shitting on it. Independence Day I enjoyed writing up. All of it. And Zoolander — of course! That one I was struggling with, because — well, for starters, I despise the first movie. Absolutely despise it. If you asked me to list the movies I hate the most out of everything I’ve ever seen, I guarantee you that the two first movies I will give you are Zoolander and Napoleon Dynamite. And I will probably end up mentioning Garden State at some point. (I despise them largely because of other people, but I do hate them purely on their own merit. But that’s a discussion for another time.) So I knew that it was gonna go on my list. But I also really didn’t want to have to watch it again. So I was struggling with what to write, since I can’t really write something up without seeing it again. And then, just like with Why Him, it clicked — the worst thing I could do to a movie like that was not watch it again. And that was my entry, talking about how I’m not even going to give this movie the service of seeing it again. Which I liked as a choice.

So yeah, this is the one list where I can say I was totally engaged for the entire thing and totally stand by my choices and even feel like I did the best work in writing my rants/jokes/whatever you want to call them. If I was ever gonna go back and read any of this stuff, I’d start with this one (and then maybe go back for The Switch and the Crazy Stupid Love ones if I was feeling jaunty).

2017 — This one felt okay to me. I think the momentum from 2016 carried over and I still had some of that energy left with which to write this one. Though if you just told me 2017 and asked me to tell you what was on the list, I’d have a real hard time figuring it out. Seeing them it all comes back, but on its own, no memories whatsoever.

10. Bright
9. Power Rangers
8. Baywatch
7. Justice League
6. The Mummy
5. The Dark Tower
4. 9/11
3. Snatched
2. #RealityHigh
1. The Emoji Movie

Our first animated movie at #1. It totally deserved it. That’s one of the most soulless pieces of shit I’ve ever seen Hollywood put out. Also of note that there’s No Aniston, Sandler or McCarthy this year, but Amy Schumer comes in and picks up that baton. That’s why she’s on Mount Unforgivable.

This list is more laden with big studio stuff than most years. Mostly because The Dark Tower was a big expensive failure that reeked of studio-compromised filmmaking. Power Rangers felt like them trying to make IP for the sake of IP without really taking into account anything about what made the franchise work in the first place, somehow alienating both casual viewers and fans of the original series. And The Mummy… well, we all know what went wrong there. Holy shit. I remember putting a bunch of Power Rangers gifs for that entry. And I remember I had some jokes for Mummy. Dark Tower I think was more of an intellectual anger. Justice League was another one. I think it was more of a followup to Batman v. Superman and just railing on it being bad. I can’t remember how jokey that entry was at all.

Baywatch was just a piece of shit comedy. There’s always room for one of those on every list. #RealityHigh takes up the mantle of the movie no one’s ever heard of and continues the Netflix movie run that started up. That’s why I think XOXO probably belonged on that last year’s list, but whatever. Did we not expect me to list a movie with a hashtag title as an Unforgivable movie? Bright was also a piece of shit, but mostly what made me angry about that was the way they went about it. That one legitimately made me mad.

The 9/11 entry is one I’m proud of. I didn’t write any jokes (well, I may have ended it with one), I simply wrote a heartfelt remembrance of what it was like being a child in New York on the day all this went down, and I said fuck you to them for trying to belittle an event as important as that is for a lot of people by not really having anything to do with it and trying to use it as emotional leverage for the shitty story it was trying to tell. It’s not funny, but that’s one of the best things I wrote in this entire series.

2018 — And last year’s. I was pretty much checked out by this point. I didn’t even want to do the list. I just threw something together last minute, wondering what the hell I would put on it, because almost nothing makes me mad anymore. At least last year, I found some stuff. I’m still wondering what the hell I’m gonna do for this year. Which is why I’m stalling with all this shit.

10. Venom
9. The 15:17 to Paris
8. The Hurricane Heist
7. The Grinch
6. Ibiza
5. Skyscraper
4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
3. Life of the Party
2. I Feel Pretty
1. Ralph Breaks the Internet

I should point out — had I been able to see it before the list went up, Holmes and Watson would have been on. I’d probably have bumped The Grinch to 11-15 and put Holmes and Watson on there. But oh well. That’s how you know I was checked out for this, because in other years I’d have gone out of my way to go see it just to write up an article. By this point I couldn’t even be bothered.

As for this list — Venom I appreciate as an insane piece of camp, though I do think it deserves its entry on the list for the way they shot two movies at the same time: the one Tom Hardy was in, and the one the studio edited down to try to make money. Jurassic World was just an awful, awful sequel that deserved to be put on because it was only made purely for money and had no artistic merit whatsoever. We also had both Amy Schumer and Melissa McCarthy on (no Sandler, though. He got a pass for the third year in a row). Ibiza is the shitty Netflix movie of the list, which also takes the spot of the ‘shitty comedy’ that usually appears. The Grinch made it on because it’s just a bad movie that everyone is going to give a pass to (though admittedly, that would have been the Holmes and Watson spot). The Hurricane Heist made it on just so I could make the joke about there being zero thefts of actual hurricanes. That made it easier on me, only needing to fill 9 spots, so that’s why that went there.

The Clint Eastwood movie made it on for one scene in particular, which is just so awful I couldn’t let it slide (but also the hero worship stuff and the fact that it’s by far Clint’s worst movie — Jersey Boys included — bolstered the decision). Skyscraper I enjoyed putting on because it’s a movie made purely for Chinese audiences without any care as to whether American audiences would give a shit about it. And as such, my joke for that entry was that my bit was written entirely in Chinese. That was fun. And also, this is the second animated #1 in a row. And a sequel makes #1. Because truly, that movie was the one that made me angriest last year. I even ended it with “he didn’t break the internet, he broke my heart.” That first movie was so good, and yet that sequel was nothing more than a soulless attempt to make money by Disney, who literally jerked themselves off in it by showing everyone all the toys they have at their disposal because they bought everything. It truly disgusted me. So I’m glad the list stayed around long enough to include that one.

– – – – – – – – – –

So yeah, that’s been nine years of Unforgivables. Some quick facts while we’re here:

  • The person who has appeared most on these lists is Adam Sandler, with 7. (Though it’s 8 if you wanna count Jack and Jill as 2 for him giving us twice the awful in that.) Melissa McCarthy is second, with 5 appearances. Jennifer Aniston, unsurprisingly, is third, with 3 appearances.
    • What’s interesting is that there’s only one other person with three or more appearances on this list (that is, appearances that I feel they ‘take the hit’ for. Some people are in Unforgivable movies, but only sometimes does it actually count against them. Like, technically Henry Cavill appears 3 times — Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman, Justice League — but he doesn’t get the blame for those three being shitty. So I’m not counting those as official appearances for him even though some people would). You know who that person is? It’s Will Smith. He’s on with After Earth, Suicide Squad and Bright. All three of which he is at least somewhat responsible for, therefore he is technically someone who has appeared the most amount of times of anyone on these lists.
    • Other repeat offenders here with multiple appearances are: Jason Bateman (with two #1s), Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Drew Barrymore, Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Diaz, Ben Stiller, Andy Samberg and Amy Schumer. Which, for pretty much all of those, I’d go, “Yup, that makes total sense.”
  • In terms of directors, three appearances is the most any director has (which… in nine years, three Unforgivable movies is a shit ton), a feat pulled off by FOUR DIFFERENT DIRECTORS. They are: Zack Snyder (Sucker Punch, Batman v. Superman and Justice League), Ben Falcone (three Melissa McCarthy movies. His feat being more impressive because, as of this moment, they are the only three films he’s directed), Dennis Dugan (three Adam Sandler movies, along with the added bonus of him having both a #1 and a #2 in the same year) and Frank Coraci (two Adam Sandler movies and a Kevin James movie).
    • Other directors with multiple Unforgivable films: David Ayer (Suicide Squad and Bright), M. Night Shyamalan (After Earth and The Visit), Jay Roach (Dinner for Schmucks and The Campaign), the Farrelly brothers (Hall Pass and Dumb and Dumber To. Also gonna mention again, Peter Farrelly… two Academy Awards), Akiva Schaffer (The Watch and Popstar), Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers and Skyscraper) and Seth Gordon (Identity Thief and Baywatch).

So yeah. That’s been the past nine years of Unforgivables. If I had to pick a list of what the most Unforgivable movies of this past decade were (which is largely which ones I truly dislike the most, not necessarily which ones are the worst films of the lot), I’d say:

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Big Miracle
The Emoji Movie
Heaven Is for Real
I’m Not Ashamed
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Ralph Breaks the Internet
#RealityHigh
The Switch
The Visit

There it is. There’s your category of the films that made me angry over the past decade that still make me angry when I think about them. Most of the others I’d say were just bad. These ones I will openly get hostile about.

And that’ll bring us into this year, I guess. Mostly I think I was hoping that clips show took away from the fact that the finale probably isn’t gonna be very good.

 

The Unforgivable Films of 2019

10. Charlie’s Angels

It’s not what they were trying to do, it’s how they did it, to paraphrase a great line from All the President’s Men. And I get it — that’s what this franchise was trying to do: reboot it while making it pro-woman and anti-patriarchy. Which is fine. Fuck the patriarchy, fuck all this male-dominated shit that’s been going on in the world, in the country and in cinema. Totally fine with that being the goal. But the problem is that they put all their energy into making it feminist, but never spent any energy into actually making it a good movie! You can’t just say something is progressive. You have to earn it. And this feels like a “Taylor Swift feminist” kind of movie.

The weird thing for this franchise in particular though is… it’s already kinda feminist. It’s about kickass female spies. Sure, they work for a dude, but we never see the dude. And sure, they’re called ‘Angels’, which can be seen as a demeaning term for women. Or it could just mean guardian angels. It’s all basically right there. All you really gotta do is not do what the McG films did — don’t fucking make them sex objects and don’t have them parade around doing bikini car washes and in their underwear for half the movie. It’s not that hard, guys. Instead, they went all in, talking a good game… and then really didn’t have much of anything else to back it up. To the point where, when they attempted to tell something resembling a story, you don’t buy it. Gee, could the one old white dude be the bad guy, or is it the female who’s been looking out for them who is played by THE DIRECTOR OF THE MOVIE? I wonder where that’s gonna go.

And the problem with me talking about a film like this is that it seems like I’m berating it for trying to not be the same male-dominated film like all the others. But I’m not. I just want this film to be accountable for fucking up its chance to try to help change that. This feels like when you and your siblings give your parents endless shit about being able to do something yourself. And so they finally cave and let you do it yourself. And you just fuck it up, which means you’re not gonna be allowed to do it again. Which is an awful way of looking at this, but therein lies the problem.

The movie industry is dominated by old white men, and it is inherently a male-dominated system. Strides can be made, but they have to be made smartly, or else the skittish fucks react too heavily and force everything back a few steps. You go in and be loud and say, “We’re not making this bullshit patriarchal action movie,” and then the movie is shit and loses money (and this lost a bunch of money), all these assholes are gonna think is, “Well female-driven action stuff doesn’t work,” and then there’ll be even less opportunities to make more of them. It’s a shitty reality, but that’s what it is. So really what I’m upset about is that this movie wanted to do all the right things, but then never bothered to make sure it was actually worth watching along the way. So now all we’re left with is the worst possible outcome of it — that the old, white male-dominated studio system thinks the progressive movie with a feminist angle didn’t work, and now they’ll go green light some bullshit ‘white dude takes down terrorists’ piece of shit instead. That’s why I see this as Unforgivable.

And yes, this is basically what this year’s list is gonna be about — larger problems with the movie industry that are illustrated in particular films. Some deviations, but generally I’d like to leave everyone with what the biggest issues are for the industry at the moment and how they helped create some movies that pissed me off.

9. Glass

This one’s a pretty simple entry — I just fucking hated it.

I’ve been on M. Night Shyamalan for bad films and bad writing for about a decade now. I love The Happening as an unintentional comedy, but just about everything else he’s made has been utter dog shit. With one exception — Split.

The Visit was Shyamalan’s previous movie before Split and it got decent reviews and some people liked it. I had it on my Unforgivables list because of how awful I thought it was and how much I hated it. But then Split… Split was actually good. It gave you an interesting character with McAvoy and the personalities, it was a contained thriller that maintained tension. It was a solid movie. The kind you hadn’t seen from Shyamalan in 15 years. But then he went and threw in that final scene, which was just a shitshow and was practically Unforgivable on its own. It was the flimsiest attempt at at shared universe as I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen the D.C. movies.

Which meant that I had to suffer through an entire year of endless hype for this movie, knowing it was gonna be terrible, and then got stuck with a shitty ass movie on top of it. It’s got all of Shyamalan’s trademark downsides — bad writing and crazy twists. Here’s a movie based around three characters, one of whom isn’t in the entire first half of the movie, all three of which have no real agency until the last thirty minutes of the film because they’re in a mental institution for almost all of it. So you get almost nothing out of the film for a large section of it and then it tries to be this weird superhero movie with all this other weird shit going on. I don’t think anyone could tell you the plot of this movie in any way that makes sense. And then, if they could, I don’t think anyone would really say it’s a good movie or the movie that we should have gotten, given the idea of bringing these three characters together.

A lot of this list will be me getting mad at macro issues involving the film industry as funneled through particular films. In this case — this one’s just a piece of shit and I hated it and it’s just an awful excuse for someone, after fucking things up by making bad movie after bad movie, getting a little bit of juice and then immediately making us all pay for having given it to him.

8. Frozen II

I struggled with whether or not to make this Unforgivable. But I realized what I was gonna put on in its stead is Dumbo, which is also Disney. So really, what I’m gonna be railing against here is the company, so I might as well make it the highest profile, biggest eye-catcher of the bunch. Consider this a joint effort for Dumbo, Aladdin, Lion King, Maleficent 2 and Frozen. It’s all part of the same shit.

Disney having so much money that they can put out inferior, lazy product designed to just be okay and make money rather than try to be good and potentially fail. Disney has not put out a single original idea since 2016. It’s all based on something else. And for a studio built on originality and creativity, the sudden lack of it is fucking scary. It’s like if you saw Mr. Rogers start doing shows selling corporate messages.

What makes Frozen II a particularly Unforgivable film is two-fold: first, Disney built their animated film canon as one of the most prestigious out there. In its history, only one theatrical sequel before 2018. The Rescuers Down Under. That’s it. And in the past two years, they’ve released two sequels, Ralph Breaks the Internet and this one. Ralph was my #1 Unforgivable last year, because it not only ruined everything great the first film did but was basically a corporate shill, saying, “Look at all the stuff we own. Look at us playing with all our toys.” And it felt like The Emoji Movie, too, which is never something you want to say about your movie.

This, though, is Unforgivable in a different way. This is not a movie that should have been released in theaters. It should have been put out direct-to-video, like The Return of Jafar, Simba’s Pride or Return to the Sea. They’re okay because they’re lesser. They don’t count as much. The movies aren’t as good, but they’ve got some fun to them. This, if it were one of those, would have been fine. But they put it out theatrically, and the effort was only as good as one of those direct-to-video sequels. And they just put it out knowing it was gonna make a billion dollars.

They put this out not caring about the product. They knew they could roll out a pile of rocks and it would make money. And that’s all they cared about. It was just about the money. That’s why they made it, that’s why they put it out. It used to be that they’d put something out and it would make money because it was Disney. Now Disney doesn’t care about their brand. It’s ‘how can we use the brand to make money?’. And you can see it in everything else they’ve put out — Dumbo, Aladdin, Lion King, Maleficent 2… all remakes of older movies. Maleficent is a sequel to a remake of an original movie. It’s disgusting that this is what they’ve become. Look at Disney in the 60s and 70s — they put out fun family movies outside of the animated content. Now they’re eating their own tail and don’t give a shit because people will eat their shit and like it. And they’ll just keep recycling it forever. And the minute it stops working, they’ll just go and buy something else. It’s really a problem for all of us.

And I know this is the one year Marvel gets a pass from me, and that’s because someone there actually did care enough to tie their whole thing together and make it feel worthwhile. But by and large they’re just the same assembly line stuff too, and that’s what I’m railing about.

We’re not getting anything new or interesting. We’re just getting the same thing over and over, and apparently that’s fine with everyone else.

7. Men in Black International

There’s one of these on every Unforgivables list — the big franchise they fucked up by spending too much money and not giving us anything worthwhile. Every year is littered with movies like this, big summer franchises that fail. And largely we ignore them, because they’re so commonplace.

This is the Hindenburg of blockbusters. What the fuck was this about? This should have been foolproof. The first Men in Black is great. And then, like most franchise, it became a victim of its own success, with too much money and resources going into it, which only served to bring it away from what its strengths were in the first place. But here, you could have started pretty small and told a nice little character piece that got you back into the universe, which we all like and want to like. They even cast Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson, coming off Ragnarok, where they were great together! It was the ultimate layup. And yet they fucked it up beyond recognition.

This is so bloated and so bland that even though you’re watching stuff happen, you’re also aware that you’re not really seeing anything along the way. Shit happens, but none of it matters, and there’s no character you care about, no momentum to the plot even though it’s all momentum (that’s modern filmmaking… everything has to be driving forward and there has to be a set piece every eight to ten minutes), and the entire thing is just dull. It’s the cinematic equivalent of the word milquetoast.

And my biggest problem with movies like this is always the same thing — they spend too much money on them. They think that by throwing money and resources at stuff it’s gonna make it better. And sometimes that’s true. When you have your film on the page. But here, they allot a budget and just hire people to make a story, and it becomes film by committee. And half the time they’re filming without a finished script because the stars’ schedules require they start filming at a certain time, and they have a release date and it’s part of their second quarter profit margin for the next fiscal year.

Overdeveloped and undercooked. And all it did was deprive us of what could have been a really cool start to a new Men in Black franchise.

6. Breakthrough

Wouldn’t be an Unforgivables list without a shitty faith-based movie. This one is insane. It’s about a kid who drowns in a frozen lake, and then at the hospital while they’re trying to revive him, his mother prays really loudly and then he gets revived. So she thinks it was the scream-praying that got through to him. It’s so fucking stupid. And then she spends the rest of the movie harassing his doctors, because it’s not medicine that’s gonna bring her son out of that medically-induced coma… it’s God.

These movies are all awful and the problem I have with them is that they’re made for idiots. And I don’t mean religious people. I’m leaving my opinions on all of that out of this. The movies are so badly written that they’re literally made for idiots. People who don’t want anything other than to reaffirm their belief in a religion, regardless of whether or not the plot or anything they’re seeing makes sense. It’s like Hallmark movies, or Adam Sandler comedies nowadays. They’re not good movies and they’re for a lowest common denominator of the population. However, these in particular, are for a very specific niche. It’s one thing to have faith in God and all that stuff. It’s another to get that faith from a movie like this, that’s both insulting you and talking down to you at the same time. It should be offensive to everyone, not just me.

5. Dark Phoenix

What an ignominious end to a once proud franchise.

This is Unforgivable just because it’s so bad. There is nothing of value in this movie. And it’s because they rushed it to production, knowing they were about to lose the franchise forever once Disney bought the studio and Marvel took it over. So they put this out there with a cast that reeks of ‘contractually obligated’, to the point where they had to kill Jennifer Lawrence’s character in the first 20 minutes because she straight up was gonna refuse to be in this. She didn’t wanna be in the last one and it showed.

They just slapped together a movie just because they could. And it’s somehow worse than The Last Stand, which is the Bret Ratner one. Imagine how bad your movie has to be for that movie — which they literally RETCONNED OUT OF EXISTENCE with a later movie — to be considered better?

Wanna know how bad a time they had with this one? Their third act had to be redone because it had the exact same characters as Captain Marvel, which came out three months before it. Not that it would have mattered if they didn’t. Bad is bad. And this franchise, just five years ago, released what might be the best film they’ve ever put out. It’s crazy what happened to this one.

Though I will say… it is gonna be funny when they resurrect it for the third time after two giant bombs, both of which contain phoenix metaphors.

4. Playing with Fire

Holy shit, this is just bad. This is supposed to be a dumb family comedy, but the level of writing and acting is so atrocious I had to put it on here. Who is this movie for?

I don’t even have a whole lot to go in on with this movie without going back and rehashing it all, but holy shit… this is just a bad movie. It should have been so easy for me to give this one a pass, but my god. John Cena should know better than this. And why did you have to bring John Leguizamo into this nonsense? The fact that you subjected him to this movie when he deserves so much better makes it Unforgivable on its own. It’s also directed by the guy who gave us previously Unforgivable movie You Again and Paul Blart 2, so I can’t say I’m that surprised.

Sometimes a movie is just bad beyond words and that’s the only reason you need to make it Unforgivable. I saw a review of this that said “Don’t firefighters have it hard enough already?” Which about covers it.

3. Doctor Sleep

There’s a lot of things that pissed me off with this one. Some of that has to do with people and their anticipation/hyping of this, and I am keeping all that aside when I talk about why I put this here. Because while that does piss me off and contributes to my overall feeling, that’s not why the movie pissed me off.

Here’s a movie that, to me, represents the great trouble with movies today.

First off, it’s positioned as a sequel to The Shining, which, in a broad way, it is, since it follows the character of Danny as an adult. On the other hand, that’s just it. It’s its own thing, outside of that character. If anything, it’s a spin-off. A tertiary character in one movie getting their own thing. But this movie tries to have its cake and eat it too. It not only wants to do its spinoff thing but is trying to trade off the legacy of its predecessor.

Just on a pure storytelling level, this film starts with the villain, who we don’t know and means nothing to us, murdering a child. It’s a completely random scene on which to start your movie, especially given that we do have an emotional connection to one of the characters from 40 years ago. The movie then immediately trades off its predecessor by giving you moments from The Shining and then recasting someone to play Shelley Duvall, which is unnecessary, and then giving you a Scatman Crothers guy too. Which, that one I guess I could live with, if the movie weren’t trying so hard to fit into this other universe that the rest of the story is breaking away from.

Also, why wouldn’t you start with Ewan McGregor as an alcoholic and show the state of his life for a while before you go back and introduce a villain? Imagine how much more you’d care if you followed this guy (you could even show the scene of the Overlook and show the stuff you show… though maybe more of it so it could make some goddamn sense) for a while to show how fucked up he is from all that. Now, we’re just bouncing back and forth between villains killing kids, picking up a teenager as part of the group, and then Ewan McGregor doing boring shit. I feel like rather than showing us these two strands, knowing they’re gonna collide, shouldn’t you show the dude who doesn’t want to use his abilities slowly being pulled into this other story against his wishes, and then ultimately becoming a hero?

The movie also doesn’t even bother to make the scenes interesting. It’s just showing you scenes to race to a conclusion that’s not even that interesting. For every one scene that works there’s like four in between that don’t. The dialogue also wildly contradicts itself at times. Things just happen, and it’s either assuming you’ve read the novel or don’t care, because all you want is The Shining.

And then it commits the worst sin of all — retrofitting the hotel for the third act even though the hotel has nothing to do with the novel they’re basing this on. Which is where it shows its hand and reveals what it’s really interested in. Now, if you told a story worth telling, that could be made acceptable. But they don’t. They’re literally only doing it to give you a ‘Shining sequel’. Which is disgusting to me. And then they got the guy doing Nicholson, which is just doubly gross.

This is a film torn between telling its own story and cannibalizing the original movie for fans. And that’s what pissed me off so much, because that’s what it feels like the eternal struggle is for movies now. It feels like studios are too afraid to try anything new because all they think people want are rehashes and the same shit over again. Had this movie just been the sequel with just hat tips rather than full on borrows from the original and just been bad, I’d have been fine with that. But it can’t try to live in both worlds. That’s ridiculous.

2. The Hustle

It wouldn’t be an Unforgivables list where I bemoan the state of studio comedy. This is the one where you know real effort was put into this one. And not only is it just ridiculous on every level, you wonder where anyone along the way found anything in the script (in any of the, I’m sure, dozens of rewrites that went into it along the way) funny or worth making. Even shooting it… did they think this was gonna turn into a good movie?

I’m constantly amazed at how the majority of studio comedies can be and how no one sees this coming. When I can know, sight unseen, that a movie is probably gonna make this list a year out, you can’t tell me that someone couldn’t have seen it much further back in the process of it getting made. Which leads me to believe that either studios have lost touch of what is funny or that they’re not really interested in something funny and good and would rather just manufacture something to appeal to the most people.

There’s that great Roger Ebert quote where he said no good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough. And this movie could have cut about 90 minutes from it. Because my god, there isn’t a single interesting thing in this entire movie, and in a lot of ways — comedy, women in film, pure filmmaking, storytelling, any angle you want — this movie is actively bringing things a step or more back in the wrong direction. One of the absolute worst things I’ve had the displeasure of seeing this year.

1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

I strongly considered having my entire list be just Disney films, but they didn’t release ten that I felt earned it through each of their different divisions, so I didn’t. But man, wouldn’t that have been a perfect end to this list? But instead, we went with the movie that best represented what I most get angry about with movies now. Isn’t it funny that the franchise that started being the scrappy rebel is now part of the Empire?

I’m not at all gonna discuss the plot of the movie in specific. Everyone’s got their opinions on that and I’m not trying to make that part of this entry. I do have my problems with it, but it’s on a much more macro level, and that’s the reason I’m putting it on this list.

You have to realize… I don’t care about this trilogy. I don’t really care about any of the trilogies. The first three movies are really fun, but part of that is because I saw them when I was young and they were these great adventures that I now associate with being that age. But they never really mattered to me any more than The Muppets do. I love The Muppets, but if Fozzie Bear went to rehab for a season and stopped being funny for a while, I wouldn’t flip out. It’s a larger existence thing for me. I like that these characters are out there and I appreciate the stories I’ve seen with them and I like the idea that infinite possibilities exist with their world and their stories, even though I know intellectually we’ll never see the majority of those possibilities.

Which is what I’d like to spend my time talking about — they really fucked up this new trilogy. All the movies are fun and watchable and all that stuff. However… we’ve gained nothing from them. The first film’s goal was pure nostalgia. It introduced new characters, but its only goal was to remind you of the previous films by reintroducing the original characters and broadly giving you the same movie as the first one. Which they did admirably. However, they didn’t start a new trilogy from it. They just sort of got you excited for more content. The whole thing was still tethered to the original franchise in a detrimental way. They set up an interesting character in Finn, gave us nothing with Poe and Rey was a character we’ve seen before, so there really wasn’t anything new there. But they accomplished what they set out to accomplish.

The problem is with Last Jedi. And it’s not because Rian Johnson did what he did. I have problems with that movie, but it’s more in service of the larger story at hand. Johnson had nothing to work with to make his film. He was tasked with creating a plot from the mess of pieces JJ laid out. And he did what he did, and people got upset because he made something sort of original. Now, the extent of the outrage is a matter of debate (and foreign-influenced bots), but I do know some hardcore fans who didn’t like how he handled certain aspects of the story. I say whatever. But still. It’s hard to be both a second movie of three and also kinda be the first one. JJ wrote one character on the edge of a cliff halfway across the galaxy with another who WASN’T EVEN IN THE MOVIE, and it was never explained why he was there. One original character is dead, and one new character is in a coma. The third original character had zero character development whatsoever because the movie treated him like he was dead for about 60% of the run time. So the dude literally had to make an entire movie from scratch.

Now, there are only three possibilities for how this could have happened. First is — they had no plan. They went into this trilogy with release dates and no plan as to what they were gonna do. So they ultimately did this to themselves by not having anything properly mapped out beforehand. Now, one could argue that the original trilogy did the same thing, as they didn’t expect there to be all these films at first and the amazing success of the first one caused them to figure shit out on the fly. HOWEVER… they had three years between movies, not two. And let’s also not pretend like there’s any form of a real secondary plot in Jedi. It’s basically Death Star 2 and Muppets for half that movie because they didn’t really know what to do with anyone outside of Luke and Vader. So it’s no excuse. They could have taken the time to get it right. If you had the dates, you knew you were getting the movies. And instead of trying to map out their movies, they shoved so many goddamn Star Wars movies down our throats in the four years between Force Awakens and this that we really all stopped giving a shit in the interim. So they backed themselves into the corner of ‘how you gonna end it?’ without really having a plan or being anywhere close to an ending.

Now, option two for what could have happened is — they had a plan. JJ mapped out a loose story, told his ideas to Rian Johnson, who was then to broadly continue that story in order for JJ to come back and bring it home. I don’t think anyone in the world believes that scenario to be remotely true, especially given the amount of writers they’ve hired and fired off of this franchise. And that’s just the ones we know about. Plus how wildly different each film feels. There’s no way this is what happened.

Option three feels like the most likely of the bunch, which is gonna speak to this next part — I believe what happened is that JJ maybe had an idea of what he would do with the three characters, generally but not specifically (mainly just following the arcs laid out by the first trilogy), but he felt he was done after the first one so it didn’t really matter what they did, since the producers were handling it and it wasn’t his trilogy. So he told them his ideas and went on to his own stuff. Then Rian Johnson came in and was told by Lucasfilm to go do whatever he wanted. And that’s what he did. It’s clear he was given no directive to follow a planned story arc because there wasn’t a planned story arc. They were figuring it all out as they went along. And then the reaction was so strong that everyone freaked out at the last one, immediately fired Colin Trevorrow, who was gonna direct it (or, they tried to have him change the story he created after being told he could do what he wanted, and he said ‘fuck this, I’m out. I see what you guys do to people on these movies’) and brought back JJ, who is basically the equivalent of Ron Howard being brought in for Solo. The steady hand with no real authorial voice who will make something broad that people like but with no real substance to it. Which — it’s fine to not have a plan for what you’re gonna do, but at least hire someone with a strong enough voice to write something good, and not cower in the face of fans. Who wants to be the coach that plays to not get fired rather than to win the game?

So now you have JJ back, and he’s clearly got ideas for what he would have done to the characters in VIII, so now he’s just throwing two movies’ worth of ideas into one movie. And then he’s skittish because everyone hated the last one, so he’s going out of his way to distance himself from the last one, even going so far as to basically tell the last movie to go fuck itself (he can deny it all he wants… that’s what the movie is doing. Every little piece of the last movie is marginalized and even mocked in this one. It’s disgusting. Especially since Jedi is aging best of all of them so far). And on top of that, he’s trying to give the fans as much to like as humanly possible, which further cripples any kind of story he could tell, because in this movie he pretends to ‘kill’ at least two major original trilogy characters in order to immediately either undo it or be like, “Oh, don’t worry, don’t worry, we can change it.” So he’s brazenly attacking the last movie but doesn’t have the balls to do anything specific in this movie. It’s an entire movie of hedged bets that’s trying to please everyone that instead pleases no one. He goes back to the same shit as the first trilogy, and brings back a character who has no business being in this franchise to be the villain, rather than finding an interesting story to tell with his three main characters.

Realize: Poe has no interesting story or arc whatsoever. He’s barely in the first movie, just kind of whines for the second movie and is stuck arguing with his superiors in one place the whole time, and then they try to make him more like Han in the third movie, but mostly it’s jokey like, “Yeah, he did some shit before. But we never saw it.” Why didn’t we see it? What the fuck else were watching him do all this time? Then Finn, who starts with one of the most interesting story arcs you could possibly tease… they basically resolve that in the first movie and then leave him in a coma, and then he just starts losing things to do steadily as the franchise goes on, to the point where he is given an entire side mission in the second one in order to necessitate screen time, and I couldn’t really tell you anything of value he does in the third one at all. And then Rey… her only real character arc in these movies, aside from becoming a Jedi, is who her parents are. We never really learn anything about her except who she’s related to. Which, the bold choice was to keep her related to nobody. But they were so fucking scared they went and did something even more immensely stupid (though I will say… had the teaser trailer not spoiled it and had the movie not rushed to show him in the first five minutes, it might have been kinda cool if the first time we found out about it was when she busted out with the lightning. Wouldn’t THAT have been an interesting journey? Having her slowly figure out over the course of the movie where she’s from and then both her and Kylo end up in this place at the end (he can be alive or not, I can take or leave that part) and then have to make the decision about where they stand?). Instead, they literally redid the same ending as Endgame six months earlier, down to the lines. There was no originality in it whatsoever, and the ending was a copout to the point of insanity. I can’t see how anyone could have been satisfied what what they decided to do.

This says just about everything about how they went about trying to end this trilogy:

Now, yes, they didn’t have a plan, and the movies are all shit. But they’re watchable, and that’s what happens when you have an endless amount of money to pour into stuff. That’s the point of junk food. You can eat it and it’s fine or even good, but you get nothing out of it in the end. That’s this franchise. And what upsets me the most is how little they tried along the way to actually tell a story worthwhile. It was all in the soulless pursuit of money. George Lucas was right the whole time (and that’s not even the ‘white slavers’ portion of the interview). And isn’t it funny that, as much as people shit on the prequels that the prequels actually have more actual creativity and care for telling a story in them than this trilogy does. This franchise lived long enough to become the enemy. They are the Empire.

And that’s really the last thing I’d like to say on this list in proper before I retire it — there’s only one studio that’s putting out the biggest movies anymore. Disney has released 8 of the top 10 grossing films of 2019. They own practically every major brand and franchise out there. They just bought another studio. We’re getting dangerously close to monopoly territory here. Pretty soon the entire country is gonna be owned by Disney, Netflix, Amazon and Apple. My point there is that when one studio is controlling all the big movies that are out there, it’s not gonna be concerned with doing anything other than maintaining its profit level. And there’s no one to push them because they’ve bought out all the competition and anyone else is just gonna try to keep up with them. And you’ve seen it steadily over the past couple of years with Disney… they’re less concerned with storytelling as much as they are having their movies make money and mining all the stuff they own. It’s all remakes and sequels and no originality whatsoever. And the most Unforgivable thing any movie can really do is not only not try, but also get people to start believing that it doesn’t get any better than that.

The biggest threat to cinema going forward isn’t the lack of movie screens, it’s indifference and oversaturation. It’s when too few sources are making the product and don’t care about anything other than profit and when there’s too much stuff out there as a whole for people to want to bother going out of their way to find stuff. Movies are in danger of becoming just like the country — eliminating the middle class and separating the smaller, arthouse films from the broad mainstream stuff and keeping them at odds with one another for attention. There’s gonna be too much stuff out there and people are gonna retreat into the corner that best fits them and demonize the other and we’re just gonna accept what there is because it’s too complicated and overwhelming to try to fight for change. And the only hope at change is gonna be pushed onto the next generation, which may or may not even be truly attainable, and they bear the brunt of all the weight whether they want to or not. It’s just a vicious cycle, perpetuated by media sites that are more interested in clicks than journalism, so they just maintain the fake hype for stuff and create this endless loop of mediocrity. That’s what something like this represents to me. You hate it because it fucks up Star Wars. I hate it because it’s fucking up cinema.

Shitting on movies is fine and fun, but the real undercurrent of these articles is pointing out the things that are wrong with the industry. And while there’s so much more wrong than anything I could ever get to, especially when I’m just trying to have fun on this dumb ass site I created for myself, I’m just pointing out the things that I see as loathsome in an industry that’s full of loathsome things. I’m just trying to get people to see the other angle on these movies and not just accept them.

I don’t want to hate on these movies, and I don’t want to say negative things about them. Sometimes it’s funny. Sure. But really, there’s a core to all of this — I love movies. We all love movies. And there’s loads of different levels and nuances to loving movies. Sometimes you love something so much you know all about the little curves and folds within the different stories and read supplemental materials and you engage with them on a different level than the rest of us do. Sometimes you just want them to entertain you. Sometimes you want big colors and explosions and don’t want to think about them during or afterward. Sometimes you want something in black and white and another language that’s just 90 minutes of someone milking a yak. Sometimes you want comfort. Sometimes you want to be surprised. Sometimes you just want to watch everything because you never know when there’s gonna be a great one. We all engage with things on different levels, and sometimes things offend our sensibilities. Even if they’re set in a galaxy far, far away.

But however you feel about something, that doesn’t negate a film’s worth. You might think it’s the biggest piece of shit in the world, but someone else might have loved it. I’ve shit on a lot of movies over the years and I’ve praised others to the heavens. That’s how I feel. I do this to recommend movies and occasionally be funny. That doesn’t affect how anyone else should feel about the movie. Never be told a movie is good or bad. Listen when people say they are, but just watch stuff and formulate your own opinion. That’s the best advice I can ever give anyone in terms of watching movies. I can appreciate someone ripping into something I love. As long as it feels honest, it’s fine. And funny overcomes a lot, too.

So while things can be good or bad, or Unforgivable, everything has its place and it’s all in good fun. We do this because we want things to be good, not because we take joy when they’re bad. No one wants to see the art form lowered, but we also have to realize when things are out there, threatening to do so. I’m gonna retire this list, but hopefully we all continue aiming high and calling things out when they need to be called out. It’s a tough time, and we want all the great movies out there as can possibly be.

Oh, and also we should never forget that the entire Skywalker saga ends with someone claiming the property of a dead family because two ghosts seemingly said it was okay to take their name.

– – – – –

11. Poms — Old women become cheerleaders. I don’t know who this movie is for or why they made it. It’s flat out bad and I think, if anyone actually bothered to see it, it would be a consensus worst movie of the year. There’s nothing of value here.

12. The Haunting of Sharon Tate — Whoo, boy, this one’s just flat out terrible. Like, really terrible. Unwatchable terrible. This is the kind of movie that would never make the Unforgivables list because there’s nothing to make fun of. It’s one of those truly bad movies that you’d rather forget about as soon as possible rather than talk about.

13. A Dog’s Journey — Why are these dog movies a thing? They’re terrible? Also, do you know what the dog’s journey is? To heaven! The happy ending of the movie is the dog and his human being reunited in death! It’s crazy!

14. Malibu Rescue — This was apparently supposed to be the lead movie for some TV series or something. It’s Nickelodeon level quality, and it’s fucking bad. Think the movie Baywatch, but without any of the stuff it was supposed to have but didn’t. It’s atrocious, Z-grade quality that technically was released by Netflix as a feature film. It’s unwatchable. Truly unwatchable.

15. What Men Want — If you thought the first one was offensive, holy shit, this one is worse. There’s like, nothing gained from the gender swap aspect at all. It’s just bad writing all around. You wonder why they even bothered. At least have something to say if you’re gonna go do it. This is one of those movies that should not exist.

– – – – –

16-25:

3 Days with Dad
Among the Shadows
Drunk Parents
Jacob’s Ladder
The Last Summer
Nightmare Cinema
Otherhood
Overcomer
Secret Obsession
Walk. Ride. Rodeo.

And, you know what? Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston made a movie together this year and somehow it did not end up on this list.

You know what that’s called? Growth.

If that’s not a sign that it’s time to get out, I don’t know what is.

– – – – – – – – – –

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5 responses

  1. FINAL Unforgivable list?

    December 31, 2019 at 11:20 am

  2. Peter Rudolf

    I actually kinda liked the Last Jedi. But HARD EXTREME agree on the Disney corporation. I still have hope for Raya and The Last Dragon, though.

    December 31, 2019 at 1:01 pm

  3. You are actually wrong about Rescuers Down under being the only sequel Disney did prior to 2018 in their animated movies. You forgot “The Three Caballeros” (which is a sequel to “Saludos Amigos”), Fantasia 2000 (which is a sequel to Fantasia) and Winnie the Pooh (which is a Sequel to The many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh). It’s not like Disney never did sequels (despite Walt Disney’s Wisdom that you can’t top pigs with even more pigs), they were just never that obvious about it, and the ones they did weren’t exactly on the successful side, financially speaking. But going back to what works has a long tradition at the Disney studios…when they struggle, they basically make a new Snow White (see Cinderella, the Little Mermaid and Tangled).

    I agree though, I am REALLY looking forward to a sequel-free year from Disney and Pixar, even if their first entry gives me a bad feeling. I have hope for Soul and Raya though.

    I wish I could be angry with Disney but I can’t. I blame the audience for reliably watching their remakes. Or at least their remakes based on the “right” properties. If they didn’t, Disney would stop making them.

    January 1, 2020 at 11:22 pm

  4. “And isn’t it funny that, as much as people shit on the prequels that the prequels actually have more actual creativity and care for telling a story in them than this trilogy does.”

    One washed-up, spent, and limited wannabe auteur who struck gold and changed the industry in the past (George Lucas) is only better than a greedy corporation (Disney) in that he’s a lesser evil thanks to quantity and rose-colored glasses.

    Also, Lucas himself contributed to the second frustration he explained in the 2015 Charlie Rose interview: He too jumped onto the CGI-overreliance craze for the prequels.

    January 3, 2020 at 2:17 am

  5. Also, I fucking called it that Frozen 2 would end up on this list.

    January 6, 2020 at 6:13 pm

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