6. Transformers: Age of Extinction
Michael Bay’s knack for gritty action proved a surprising fit for the first “Transformers.” Despite the rough dialogue and cliché ‘boy and his car’ story, there was something really exciting about seeing these robots on the big screen in a live action format.
The sequels, unfortunately, were an example of Bay cashing in a paycheck over actually trying to tell a coherent story. The movies became less about the Transformers and more about the uninteresting humans; Shia LaBeouf’s character of Sam Witwicky turned unbearable, and the movies reused the same animations from the previous ones.
Still, at least there was some enjoyment to be had from the frequent clashes of CGI robots. That is, until the fourth entry, “Transformers: Age of Extinction.” Running at an astounding two hours and 45 minutes, “Age of Extinction” was more than just a drag; it was a boring, horrible movie more interested in telling statutory rape jokes than the admittedly interesting war between humans and Transformers. Even the action scenes were so poorly filmed, they centered around human characters over the Transformers fighting.
That it managed to make over $1 billion is mind-boggling.
The horror genre has so much potential that it seems strange that the idea of a horror-themed “Jumanji” would make it past the drawing board. While Ouija boards have had a place in pop culture, their inherent silliness has left them with nothing but toyetic novelty.
Still, there was a chance that this could have been wrung into an interesting premise, but the filmmakers behind “Ouija” apparently had no intentions of ever doing so. Featuring all the clichés present in the worst movies of the genre, including idiotic young adults and an unseen malevolent force, “Ouija” ended up an unintentionally hilarious affair, topping the stupidity of “Annabelle” that had been released shortly before.
Still, it managed to make over 20 times its budget, because apparently anything will please contemporary horror fans.
8. Grown Ups 2
Adam Sandler was once a comfortable guilty pleasure for many, providing moviegoers with cringey comedies that showcased elements of brilliance. “Billy Madison,” “Happy Gilmore,” “The Waterboy,” and “Big Daddy,” were all examples of this mixed talent.
Unfortunately, the well evidently ran dry around the mid-2000s as the quality of his work dropped considerably, with “Click,” “I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry,” and “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” being particularly painful to get through.
But nothing quite topped one of his bigger successes: “Grown Ups 2.” The first “Grown Ups” was terrible enough as it was, essentially taking the thematic plot of grown men acting like children from Rob Schneider’s “The Hot Chick” and expanding it to include five times the awfulness.
Sandler fans evidently learned nothing when they tuned in for the film’s sequel in 2013, which expanded upon its predecessor’s immaturity without providing the requisite laughs. Yet with more than $240 million in revenue, the best thing we can say about “Grown Ups 2” is that it does not feature Schneider.
9. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were in need of a remake ever since the disaster that was “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.” Taking this surprisingly grounded superhero series into the realm of time travel made it far goofier than even the famously campy cartoon from the 1980s.
The 2007 animated film “TMNT” acted as a quasi-sequel/reboot, but it was 2014 that saw them return to the live action big screen. Boasting large CGI models over the Jim Henson suits from the original trilogy, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” seemed promising aesthetically, but quickly lost appeal when it was revealed that Michael Bay would be producing it.
Those who thought he would not have much of an influence on the film’s production were proven wrong when Megan Fox of “Transformers” fame was cast as April O’Neil. His influence evidently extended to the plot of the movie, wherein the Turtle brothers find themselves facing off against gunslingers and a robotic Shredder over the sword-wielding ninja of traditional lore. Combined with childish humor and dialogue, you had a film that somehow managed to make it big at the box office.
Luckily, audiences did not turn up for the sequel “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.”
10. The Emoji Movie
Technology is constantly evolving, and with it there is always a backlash against consumers who act upon these breakthroughs. There is this growing idea in digital humanities that people are losing interpersonal relationships as a result of online interaction replacing face-to-face conversations.
This type of premature backlash can be seen as unhealthy anger against a new development that is simply not understood. However, if there was ever a case to be made that young people deserve to be hated for indulging in techspeak, it would have to be the box office receipts of this year’s “The Emoji Movie.”
If last year’s “Norm of the North” set the standard for cheapest animation cash grab, “The Emoji Movie” sits at the other end of the spectrum as richest animation cash grab. Budgeted at $50 million, the trailers for “The Emoji Movie” alone indicated how trashy it would be: toilet humor all over the place, a boring protagonist, and a story that could be a parody of “The Lego Movie” if one was inebriated enough.
And yet this dreck managed to accumulate little over $200 million worldwide. You would think people would have better standards.