Since this has become somewhat customary, it appears that now is the time for another mid-year list of big disappointments. As much as Taste of Cinema readers love reading lists about recommendations, it’s worth exploring movies that may be better left avoided.
It’s particularly important to talk about these movies because, in theory, they seemed like they could be very good. It’s this writer’s job to spill the news that they were unable to live up to whatever promise they showed.
It’s worth noting that since we’re barely past the halfway point, some of these disappointments may not be all that shocking. For example, the ninth and tenth movie on the list didn’t seem like they would be groundbreaking movies by any means. Nevertheless, even though certain movies were anything but guaranteed successes, they’ve still been included solely because they showed some amount of potential that was ultimately squandered.
With that out of the way, a majority of the movies listed seemed like they had a legitimate chance of being good. Obviously, the movies have been ranked for a reason. In other words, the higher the rank, the bigger the disappointment. Regardless of the ranking, each of the movies listed below disappoint in one way or another.
10. Super Troopers 2
It’s tricky including a comedy sequel in a list of most disappointing movies. After all, long-awaited sequels to comedy movies are notoriously terrible. From Zoolander 2 to Dumb and Dumber To, it’s tough to put faith in any movie that follows this sort of release pattern.
Still, given Broken Lizard’s passion for the original movie, it’s not unreasonable to get excited. It’s also important to note that critics hated the original movie, so there’s a good chance they’d hate this one too. This meant that fans of the 2001 cult classic had to stay away from Rotten Tomatoes and judge the sequel on its own merits.
As expected, the movie didn’t exactly wow professional critics. The unexpected part is that it didn’t exactly wow fans of the first flick either. Admittedly, it’s better than it could’ve been. Unlike something like Zoolander 2, it at least has fresh ideas.
In other words, it doesn’t solely rely on callbacks and cameos to try to earn some laughs. It’s just that the fresh ideas are never as funny as they could be. Compared to its predecessor, the sequel is less quotable, less refreshing, and less entertaining. It has scattered laughs, but it still feels like a bunch of aging comedians trying to reignite the spark.
It’s tough to deem this a disappointment because, in some ways, it’s better than expected. However, given the sheer potential of a sequel to one of the most beloved comedy cult classics of the 2000’s, it needs to be included. Movies like 22 Jump Street have proven that comedy sequels can be done correctly. Super Troopers 2 isn’t a complete misfire, but it’s also not the movie fans have been waiting sixteen years to see.
That February release date should have been a warning sign. The notorious dump month rarely brings moviegoers pleasure since people are more keen on catching up on the Oscar nominated movies that have finally earned wide releases. Regardless, it’s easy to get giddy about a historical horror movie starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke directed by the man that brought us Predestination.
The story of the Winchester mansion is a fascinating one, and it looked like the movie surrounding that tale had the right cast and crew to result in something magical. Somehow, Winchester is not just a letdown. It’s also one of the worst movies of 2018, period.
Prior to Winchester (and perhaps Jigsaw), the Spierig Brothers were known for eschewing genre conventions and making movies that felt genuinely unique. Undead wasn’t your typical zombie movie. Daybreakers wasn’t your typical vampire movie. Predestination wasn’t your typical time travel movie. They all offered something that couldn’t be seen in other movies.
Meanwhile, Winchester borrows elements from an endless supply of period horror movies and stitches them together to create a Frankenstein’s monster of tropes and snores. It’s partially boring because it’s unoriginal and partially boring because nobody involved seems to care about the quality. The point is, it’s not a fun movie to sit through.
Those absolutely dying to get some sort of horror movie fix back in early 2018 could have been forgiven for blindly purchasing a ticket, but now there’s no excuse to see this movie. With movies like A Quiet Place, Hereditary, and Wildling, there are plenty of options that put this movie to shame.
Hell, even some of the more lackluster offerings like The First Purge and The Strangers: Prey at Night easily outshine this lazy and unnecessary attempt at filmmaking. It can’t be stated enough: skip this disaster and spend some time doing practically anything else.
8. Death Wish
Considering Bruce Willis’s recent output, this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. His recent knack for starring in utterly atrocious straight-to-video action movies speaks volumes about his recent career choices. That is to say, he doesn’t seem to care what movie he’s starring in lately as long as it earns him a few bucks.
Then there’s Eli Roth, who also hasn’t had the best luck in a long time. Let’s make one thing clear: Death Wish isn’t a disappointment because it’s surprisingly bad. This isn’t necessarily a shock, after all. It’s disappointing because a remake of a badass action movie directed by a notoriously fun director could have been the surprise hit of the year.
There are a couple things preventing that from happening. For one, aside from a semi-successful attempt at social commentary, there’s not a whole lot in this new Death Wish that can’t be seen in the original.
Then, there’s the fact that while the movie isn’t necessarily slow, it takes a while to get to the gritty action bits that everyone is clearly paying to see. The setup takes a bit too long considering the fact that Eli Roth’s skills with blood and gore are far more entertaining than his ability to tell a good story.
The action parts are fun enough, but they’re not enough to fix a movie that didn’t need to be made. The original may feel a bit dated, but it’s still a more entertaining watch than this. Eli Roth’s version is by no means bad, but it’s also not a radical enough departure from the source material to warrant a recommendation.
7. Solo: A Star Wars Story
Even though Solo: A Star Wars Story has earned a spot on this list, it should be made clear that it’s anything but a bad movie. In fact, it’s a pretty above average movie. Strong world building, fast-paced action, and clever dialogue all add up to a Star Wars movie that’s perfectly enjoyable. Its inclusion on the list comes from the fact that it fails to match the quality of any other Disney Star Wars movie.
Say what you will about The Last Jedi, but this author believes that three movies preceding this one were all excellent for various reasons. After being spoiled for three years, it’s a bit jarring to watch a movie that settles for “pretty good.”
At risk of infuriating countless fans, it was refreshing to see a movie like The Last Jedi take so many risks. Sure, not all of those risks paid off, but they at least proved that Lucasfilms and Disney weren’t going to be super uptight about a franchise with millions of passionate fans. At least, that’s the vibe that was given last year. With the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, it seems as though everybody wanted to play things as safely as possible.
This is a movie that absolutely refuses to do anything new. While it does pretty much everything well, there’s not a whole lot on display that hasn’t been seen before. This is a Star Wars movie for people who can’t stand to see Star Wars movies make radical changes. It’s worth a watch, but it’s in and out of your memory a week after the credits roll.
That’s not going to be a bad thing for everyone. In fact, very few people will see it as an absolute dealbreaker. At the same time, very few people will leave this movie feeling absolutely stunned. It’s a movie designed to get the job done and nothing else. It does what it sets out to do, but it never goes above and beyond.
6. Red Sparrow
Let’s get over the fact that everyone is sick of Jennifer Lawrence. Okay, she blew up and started acting a little quirky then everybody turned on her. That’s fine, but she has shown that’s plenty capable of delivering quality performances time and time again. Red Sparrow looked like another promising showcase for Lawrence to showcase her acting chops, and it actually did succeed in that regard. Too bad the movie itself isn’t all that interesting. It’s all fine, but that’s about all the praise it’s going to get.
As stated, Lawrence is terrific, but the overstylish movie relies too much on her and over-the-top violence when it should be focusing on the story. The plot is occasionally paper-thin and frequently generic.
Instead, the audience is supposed to be entranced by how edgy everything is. Sex and violence is awesome when it’s not the sole attraction. Tarantino loves blood and gore, but he also makes sure to polish his script until it’s absolutely perfect. Red Sparrow doesn’t have a perfect script. It has a passable script, and that’s just not good enough.
That’s the problem with a lot of movies on this list. While some of them are flat-out bad, a lot of them are decent ways to spend a couple hours and nothing more. Still, despite the fact that it’s slightly above mediocre, it’s hard to recommend Red Sparrow because it’s far too long. It’s a commitment, which sucks because there are other two-and-a-half hour long movies that are more worth everyone’s time.