So many thoughts run through my head when I’m watching a truly terrible movie:
- Why am I here?
- Why do I like inflicting pain on myself? Do I secretly like it?
- Why didn’t I spend my time watching a classic that has been on my watchlist for years instead?
- How are my beloved Sixers doing?
- Would anyone ever really know if I stopped watching this film before finishing it?
- Why did the last fifteen minutes feel like ten hours?
- Should I find another job?
- Is this real life?
You would think for all the horrors 2020 brought with it that I would stay away from watching the worst movies. Not quite. As a matter of fact, I’ve included more movies in this rundown of the worst of 2020 than I did in my best of the year list.
But was there anything new to learn from this year? Were there any new trends that emerged from all this suckage? Eh, not exactly: Netflix continues to prioritize the quantity of releases instead of quality; there will always be distributors ready to release inexplicably bad movies straight to VOD; David Ayer continues to direct mangled crime movies with a hard-edged Hot Topic aesthetic; the popularity of Fifty Shades-adjacent romances continues to drastically outpace their actual merits. Even when things are different, they’re the same.
As always, death, taxes, and changes to my year-end lists are the only guarantees in life. There’s always more crap to watch. Up until this point, I’ve bowed out on a few reported turkeys: Antebellum, Brahms: The Boy II, The Turning, The War with Grandpa, to name a few. For now, below are my choices for the worst movies of the year, starting with MANY dishonorable mentions:
The “I Don’t Overwhelmingly Hate These Movies But They’re Clearly Not Effective” Group
We Can Be Heroes
The Princess Switch: Switched Again
The Rhythm Section
The “Man, this is REALLY Testing My Patience” Group
I Still Believe
The Lost Husband
American Murder: The Family Next Door
The “I Hate These Movies and They Could Easily be in My Top 10 If Asked on Another Day” Group
Fatal Affair — Outside of Omar Epps inexplicably yelling, “DEBRA!”, Fatal Affair never comes close to becoming a so-bad-it’s-good thriller. It’s just a lifeless dud.
A Fall from Grace — Tyler Perry continues to be a shrewd businessman who knows his audience, but A Fall from Grace is yet another hilarious misfire.
Fantasy Island — I’m actually impressed by how dumb this movie is.
The Last Thing He Wanted — This was the last thing I wanted!!!!! (Am I the millionth person to make this joke?)
Artemis Fowl — Josh Gad’s character name in this movie is Mulch Diggums…and he poops dirt. I don’t really have a joke to add here. I think that says it all.
The Grudge — Yikes.
Hillbilly Elegy — This film is right up there with Collateral Beauty among the most hilarious Oscar-bait fails of the current millennium. An embarrassment for practically everyone involved, especially Amy Adams.
The Witches — Can someone please get Robert Zemeckis to stop messing around with CGI? I can’t take it any longer.
Scoob! — No one asked for a Hanna-Barbera extended universe. Literally no one.
Dolittle — The third act of this movie includes Robert Downey Jr. pulling various objects out of a dragon’s ass. Think about that for a second: studio executives agreed to make a $175 million movie where Iron Man performs an enema. I aspire to have that level of fuck you money at some point in my life.
And now, the worst of the year:
#10: The Tax Collector
After years of being involved in making solid movies that your extra bro-y friend likes a little too much, David Ayer’s last three movies have been Suicide Squad, Bright, and now, The Tax Collector. Not what you want.
The Tax Collector is also the third movie in a row from Ayer with reported production issues, with the film having gone into principal photography back in the summer of 2018. Clearly, the film wasn’t worth the wait: it’s not exactly ideal that amid all the pointless gunfire and thin plotting, the most memorable thing about the movie is Shia LaBeouf playing a racist stereotype with a raging case of cauliflower ear. Did I mention his character’s name is Creeper? Did I also mention he got that name tattooed on his chest???
The Tax Collector is an all-around ugly movie and a miserable experience. Ayer’s questionable depictions of Mexican stereotypes go far beyond just LaBeouf, and everything seems to be a setup for tough guys to say “fuck” or sudden outbursts of extreme violence, which, if I’m being honest, are off-putting more so for their poor staging rather than their actual content.
A Bonnie and Clyde story for the Instagram age starring Bella Thorne? Infamous plays out just about how you’d expect. In the hopes of becoming famous, Thorne’s Arielle begins recording robbery attempts she and her baddie boyfriend Dean (Jake Manley) commit while on the road and posting them to IG. And because we really do live in a society, everyone LOVES it!
That’s as far as the critique goes. Hilariously, Dean constantly presses Arielle about why she wants to post their crimes, and she can only come up with different versions of, “I want to be famous!” (Social commentary!) All other attempts at saying something about class or fame are hopelessly thin.
Bella Thorne is an easy punching bag: with her Onlyfans gaffe and her appearances in many bad movies, it’s easy to understand why. She’s not necessarily a “good” actress, but there’s something about her that’s clearly one-of-a-kind and could be used for great art if she works with the right creative mind. I would have offered Sean Baker as a good example, but she already burned that bridge…
#8: After We Collided
Frankly, if I were to judge After We Collided solely for how it peddles toxic relationships full of gaslighting and emotional abuse, it would be much higher on this list. The only reason it isn’t is that it’s also one of the better unintentional comedies of the year. Entertainment value matters!
Being unfamiliar with the Harry Styles fanfic source material, the piece that immediately grabbed me about this sequel is how much more raunchy it is. For all the fuss about Fifty Shades’ sex scenes, at least they had some type of consistency from movie to movie. After was a pretty soft PG-13, and we’ve quickly graduated to characters screaming “fuck” at each other in every single argument followed by a quick round of shower sex. Raunchiness in of itself isn’t a problem, but here, it only accentuates just how toxic the relationship between Tessa (Josephine Langford) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) is. (It also doesn’t help that this movie is directed by a man, and there are all kinds of male gaze on display here.) They’re horrible for each other in every way possible, and it’s pretty insulting to watch the film try to justify it.
I guess just strap in and prepare for After We Fell and After Ever Happy?
#7: The Babysitter: Killer Queen
I adore a good horror-comedy, but The Babysitter: Killer Queen ain’t it. While watching this sequel, I had three predominant thoughts. 1) Why does this exist? 2) Why does this movie think it’s so funny? 3) Why did McG think “Killer Queen” was a funny subtitle?
Naturally, comedy is a bit more subjective than other genres, but Killer Queen truly rubbed me the wrong way, from its obnoxious tone to its doubly obnoxious penchant to double down on lame gags. I guess McG thinks tired lotion/masturbation jokes are simply hilarious.
*To read the site’s review of The Babysitter: Killer Queen, please click here.
#6: Money Plane
Money Plane is probably the most technically inept film on this list. It’s also one of the most endearing. Indebted to a mobster played by Kelsey Grammer (we’ll get to him later), Jack (Edge, the WWE wrestler) and his crew must rob a casino on an airplane that’s filled with some of the world’s most dangerous criminals. And if that wasn’t already absurd enough, the plane is also filled with over $1 billion in crypto.
You can picture the movie those involved were thinking of in their head: a suave, Ocean’s-esque crime caper with extravagant sets and fun action. Except, in real life, Money Plane is adorably lo-fi: all the sets are so delightfully incompetent; the cast is full of people you know getting a paycheck; there are so many cute missteps that you can’t help but be fascinated by them. From Joey Lawrence pronouncing concierge as “concierssssse” to Thomas Jane killing henchmen with a drone that hilariously has a pistol strapped to it, Money Plane is just the best. I mean, it’s terrible, but you get what I mean.
Which brings us back to Kelsey Grammer, whose character name is Darius Emmanuel Grouch III, or, as he likes to be called, “The Rumble.” *Chef’s kiss*
But nothing beats this iconic line:
The money plane has you covered, you want to bet on a dude fucking an alligator? Money plane.
Is it too late to edit my best of the year list?!?!?
#4: The Last Days of American Crime
For all my problems with The Tax Collector, at least it kept the entire ordeal under 100 minutes. Even as it continues to lather on the suck, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The same cannot be said for The Last Days of American Crime, which clocks in at TWO AND A HALF HOURS. What fills that absurd running time, you ask? Nothing but a bunch of characters attempting to look edgy.
The actual plot is dumber: in a dystopian future, the government is planning to turn on a radio signal that acts as a synaptic blocker that will stop people from committing crimes. You can spend the entire day thinking about the stupidity of that idea. (Would the authoritarian president in charge of this turn the switch back off after their post-crime brain realizes they committed a crime? Would a person start drooling if they tried to jaywalk?). In the midst of the chaos, Edgar Ramírez’s Graham Bricke (what a badass name for a badass guy!) is attempting one last big score before he’ll never be able to sin again.
The resulting two and a half hours are mind-numbing to a point where you might start thinking the film itself turned on a signal that turns your brain to mush. It’s astonishing how little there is on display in The Last Days of American Crime other than a bunch of “badasses” yelling at each other and women solely acting as sex objects. Not even the action registers in the slightest.
Part of me feels a little bad for Edgar Ramírez: I genuinely like him as a screen presence, but man, he’s in a lot of high-profile junk. (Point Break remake, anyone?) The Last Days of American Crime might be his new low.
*To read the site’s review of The Last Days of American Crime, please click here.
#3: Guest House
I don’t know about you, but I was perfectly happy leaving Pauly Shore in the 90s. Instead, Shore brought the 90s with him to the present-day in a boner comedy that is woefully unfunny and annoying. The film is also co-written by the guy behind The Boondocks Saints, which is probably all the info you needed to understand the kind of terrible we’re dealing with here.
A couple searching the housing market for their dream home thinks they finally found the one, except that a wastoid played by Shore named Randy Cockfield (of course that’s his name) who does ALL the drugs is adamant about staying in the guest house in the backyard. The husband and Randy begin fighting over the turf, and hilarity(?) ensues.
With a running time of 84 minutes, Guest House is hardly even a movie, just a bunch of gross-out gags stitched together that don’t amount to much more than, “bro, dicks and drugs are HILARIOUS!!!”
#2: 365 Days
The most inexplicable movie phenomenon of 2020. Millions upon millions stumbled upon this Polish nightmare on Netflix, leading to it staying on top of the service’s Top 10 list for weeks, millions sliding into star Michele Marrone’s DMs, and, unfortunately, a sequel due out sometime soon.
365 Days will melt your brain. The unholy 10-minute sex montage on a yacht is one thing, but the mountain of physical and emotional abuse on display here is an entirely different animal. I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I can call this movie “so-bad-it’s-good” like I can with After We Collided: there are absolutely some baffling, maybe even iconic moments of hilarity, but the abuse is so rampant that the movie will always make me feel very queasy. It’s up there with the worst examples of using sexual violence to titillate the audience that I’ve ever seen.
*To read the site’s review of 365 Days, please click here.
#1: The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson
Congratulations to director Daniel Farrands, who has successfully earned the top spot on my list of the worst movies for the second straight year!
Just like Farrands’ 2019 film, The Haunting of Sharon Tate, The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson is another lurid, overwhelmingly distasteful spin on a high-profile murder. This time, the film asks the question, “what if O.J. didn’t do it?!?!”
My sympathy goes out to Mena Suvari, who is trying to bring something to this character, but there’s simply nothing there. The film is merely buying time for 70 minutes until it can showcase its poorly filmed, exploitation-style violence in the third act. Until then, Suvari’s Nicole Brown Simpson is left to roam around while acting slightly concerned for her safety. Like The Haunting of Sharon Tate, this is barely a movie. Filled with bad caricatures of the Kardashians and Lifetime filming techniques, The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson displays all the worst impulses of the true crime genre. It’s easily one of the most offensive movies in years.
Thank you for reading! What are your thoughts on my top 10 worst movies of 2020? Comment down below!
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