155 films of 2016 ranked worst to best: #110-#86
These 25 films teeter precariously on a precipice: some have a few saving graces that kept them from slipping down to the F-list ... while others are just a few niptucks away from being mediocre, or even good.
But across the board, these D-list films are not worth the total hours required to watch all 25 of these movies.
#110: 'What We Become'
All characters are avatars. Stories present these characters - and their plights - so the audience can empathize and connect with the characters. The family centric focus of this foreign zombie flick does not make up for the aggressively stupid choices made by the characters. "What We Become" challenges its audience not to actively root for the undead, as opposed to the apparently suicidal and stupid characters.
#109: 'Hail, Caesar!'
An utterly useless story with little point or purpose. While a comedy in structure, it is unfocused and not compelling in the slightest. It begs the audience to walk away from it at every turn.
#108: 'The Little Prince'
Beautiful stop motion adaptation is undermined by a rather conventional, humdrum CGI portion of this flick. "The Little Prince" has fantastical story elements but lacks anything geuinely magical in its story or characters.
#107: 'Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising'
While funny, this unnecessary sequel doesn't do enough to justify the existence of a "Neighbors" sequel. Much of the film is redundant from the first installment.
Each of the five stories in this horror anthology starts off promising -- but only one maintains a legitimate horror-thriller edge from beginning to end. When in doubt, "Southbound" reverts to a disappointing array of generic horror genre conventions: shadowy figure jump scares, pentagrams, cloak-wearing cult worshippers, demons and skeletal apparitions. This is just lazy.
This buddy comedy never slows to the point of stalling out into boredom ... but it sure comes close at times. It is as funny as it is forgettable.
#104: 'The Secret Life of Pets'
This is classic bait-and-switch: the marketing promises an amusic look at the daily lives of pets -- but this is just the stupid misadventure of two dogs in Manhattan.
#103: 'The Magnificent Seven'
Perfunctory action Western that is a fine way to kill two hours. But the antagonists are just a horde of goons - the heroes are an ill-defined crew of caricatures. People are shot. Some things explode. Brings nothing new to the genre.
#102: 'Popstar: Never Stop Never Popping'
A very funny movie - but stories are more than just punchlines. "Popstar" is obviously a collection of unused gags from other movies, cobbled together into some sort of thin comedy focused on an unlikable protagonist.
#101: 'Other People'
Molly Shannon's stellar performance is squandered in this muddled family drama about terminal cancer and a strained father-son relationship. "Other People" tackles too many subjects at once and doesn't serve any one of them effectively.
#100: 'Blood Father'
Glad to see old school Mel Gibson back in a lead role again. "Blood Father" isn't necessarily bad - it is just too conventional to leave any sort of lingering impression.
#99: 'The Girl on the Train'
Emily Blunt's performance is vastly superior to the rest of this "Gone Girl" wannabe.
#98: 'Nocturnal Animals'
This is the most overrated film of 2016. Tom Ford is so close to something amazing - but its clunky execution is the difference between a great film and the pointlessness of "Nocturnal Animals." This dramatic thriller so desperately strives wants to some odd Hitchcock/Coen Brothers hybrid that just feels like a cheap knockoff.
An unexpectedly fun little movie is completely derailed by a ham-handed "internet bullying" third act social commentary.
#96: 'Me Before You'
Grumpy guy's heart is won over by bubbly girl. He has a tragic backstory. You can predict happens next.
#95: 'The Land'
If you took last year's hit "Dope," added legit ghetto despair, removed its insightful/confident voice - you'd get "The Land."
#94: 'The Free World'
The sheer implausibility of the situation undermines what is otherwise a tender romance crime drama.
#93: 'American Honey'
A slice-of-life drama with very little plot has almost no reason to be almost three hours long. It's self-important to believe at least forty minutes could not be chopped out of "American Honey."
#92: 'Life, Animated'
If the Disney Channel made a documentary, it would feel like "Life, Animated." The concept is admittedly intriguing and the subject is a sincerely genuine man. His journey is more moving than this very safe documentary that is all to content with touching the surface of the challenges of living with autism rather than actually exploring the matter to any depth.
#91: 'The Last King'
"The Last King" is not a bad little foreign action flick - but stacked against the other films on this list, this Norwegian action movie is overall modest and mediocre.
Tom Hanks gives a solid performance that outshines the rest of a generally underwhelming drama. The fact that "Sully" is a merciful mere 96 minutes long is the only reason this cut-and-dry drama is not farther down this list.
#89: 'The Birth of a Nation'
This slavery-era biopic is equal parts "12 Years A Slave" and "Braveheart" that is not as powerful as either aforementioned film. "Birth of a Nation" is not without some powerful moments, but the overall movie is weakened by a story that takes its too long to become truly engaging and a plot that resorts to some very predictable plot turns.
Undeniably creative and fun humor for all ages - but the overt social commentary is far from subtle. "Zootopia" dips its toes in a myriad of "progressive" themes but does little more than drop a few stagnant talking points before plowing onto the next socially progressive ideal. It loses points for its transparent lack of subtly, not trusting the audience to "get" the social commentary without smashing them over the head with its themes - and worst of all - choosing to lightly touch upon too many social topics and not thoroughly examining any one of them.
#87: 'The Music of Strangers'
"Strangers" gets mired in the profiles of featured musicians from embattled or struggling corners of the world. Their individual personal stories could make for incredible short documentaries - but weaving these disparate personal accounts into the larger "how and why" the Silk Road Ensemble exists leaves this film fairly muddled.
"Goat" is interesting because its examination of "what it means to be a man" today is genuinely compelling. But at some point the unchecked male aggression overwhelms any thoughtful examination of hazing or masculinity. The film's message gets lost amid the white noise of bros torturing their fellow bros.