Wrapping Up 2017: Most Disappointing Movies of the Year with a Special Guest Writer
[The following article is the transcript of a previously recorded exchange between main writer Nathanael Molnár and special guest writer Rob Giachinta, as they talk about their most disappointing movies of the year, as part of their Wrapping Up 2017 editorial series. You can read all of the entries into this series here. This was recorded on Tuesday, January 9th]
**There will be spoilers for the movies**
Nathanael: Hello, and welcome to The Movie Paradise. I am your host, Nathanael Molnár, and today I am joined by a special guest writer, Rob Giachinta.
Nathanael: So this is our most disappointing films of 2017. These are the movies that have the biggest gap between where our expectations were and where the film ended up being. We already did our most surprising movies of the year. You can go check that out on the site. [Read it here] But these were ones that we had high expectations for. We expected a lot, and they...
Rob: They stabbed us in the back.
Nathanael: They disappointed us.
Rob: Some of them were pieces of shit.
Nathanael: Honestly, honestly. For my list, these aren't necessarily poorly made movies; they just didn't live up to what I was expecting from them. So, anyways, how this is going to work is that I'm going to talk about my #5-2, Rob will talk about his #5-2, and then we'll both talk about our #1 most disappointing movie of the year.
#5 Girls Trip
Nathanael: My #5 is Girls Trip. Before going in to see this, I had heard nothing but praise for this film, claiming it as the best comedy of the year, that it's fantastic, that Tiffany Haddish was outstanding in it. So I was like, "Alright, I didn't think of much of this movie, but everyone's raving about it. So it must be good." Rob and I saw this together, and I did not think this was funny at all. I thought this movie was stupid as fuck.
Rob: I thought it was dumb.
Nathanael: It had stupid jokes. It was pretty much trying to be like The Hangover and Bridesmaids. Probably both of them combined. It just wasn't funny. It felt like old, stale jokes. From the buzz, I thought Girls Trip was going to be a fun comedy, and it wasn't. There were a few films [this past year] where I was deeply in the minority.
Nathanael: Girls Trip is the most troubling one. I don't understand why people liked that movie so much, because I thought it was really bad.
[Read our review for Girls Trip here]
#4 Annabelle: Creation
Nathanael: My #4 is Annabelle: Creation. My expectations were all relative for this movie, because I really liked Lights Out a lot. I thought David F. Sandberg did a great job crafting that movie, and I thought, from the trailers, we were going to get this really well done horror movie with Annabelle: Creation. I thought it was going to follow Ouija: Origin of Evil...
Rob: Ah, that was an awesome movie.
Nathanael: ...where it takes itself back in time, and it puts the events of the first one aside, and it just focuses on the characters, setting, and organically bringing about the horror. I thought Ouija did that really well, and it looked like we were going to get that with Annabelle. I was really excited for it. But Annabelle just kind of felt like this mediocre, run-of-the-mill horror movie. I thought it was going to be more than that, and I was disappointed by that. I didn't think the scares were anything new. They honestly--for an R-rated movie--it had very PG-13 level scares. Nothing hooked me. I thought it was very well shot, and I loved the design of it all, but I never really bought into the characters. I didn't think it was that scary, and I just left feeling disappointed about something that I thought was going to be a really good horror movie.
Rob: I thought it was a good movie. It's not going to be in my best of the year [list], but I thought it was okay. It was a good movie. But I can understand why, if you had higher expectations...
Nathanael: Well, it is part of The Conjuring universe. The Conjuring movies are excellently made. The only real misstep they had before this--and I wouldn't even call this a misstep--was the first Annabelle. It seemed like this would be better.
Rob: I mean, I haven't seen the first Annabelle, but it seems like they improved.
Nathanael: No, they definitely improved.
Rob: Hopefully this is a sign things are going in the right direction.
Nathanael: I realized later, [Annabelle: Creation] has the same writer. It's the same producer as the first one. So they didn't really change much behind-the-scenes going into this one. And that same guy [Gary Dauberman] is writing The Nun, which makes me nervous for that one.
Rob: I want to see that, though.
Nathanael: I do too, because I think it could be a cool idea. But I'm nervous because he's writing.
Rob: I find it funny that the Nun is being played by Vera Farmiga's younger sister, Taissa Farmiga.
Nathanael: I think that means something. I think there's a connection there.
[Read our review for Annabelle: Creation here]
#3 Alien: Covenant
Nathanael: My #3 is Alien: Covenant. I am a huge fan of the Alien franchise. I love the movies. I wasn't thrilled with Prometheus, but I thought there were a lot parts in there that worked. And it looked like, from all the trailers, that Covenant was going to get us back on track. It was going to be focusing on the Xenomorphs; it was going to be focusing on everything that works in the Alien franchise. Alien and Aliens are fantastic movies. They're excellent, both of them. But Alien: Covenant... it was boring. The first two parts of the film, the two acts--it focused on Prometheus stuff, but it went in a different direction. Of course we're introduced to another new crew, people who are immediately wiped out. It wasn't that scary. The third act is pretty much a rehash of the first Alien. It didn't really bring anything new to the table, and I feel like now we're not progressing the story. From Alien to Aliens, you're following the same character [in Ripley], and that character is growing and progressing. You have new supporting characters coming in, a new crew that goes with her, but you're still progressing the story. But Noomi Rapace [the lead in Prometheus] dies in the first five minutes.
Rob: You don't even see her die.
Nathanael: No, you don't see her die, but she was the lead in Prometheus, the last film, and she's just wiped out. Prometheus starts and ends in a certain place, and you're back to square one with Covenant. It doesn't really feel like the story is moving forward in any sort of way. I just found it boring, and I found it to be a rehash of everything we had seen before.
Rob: I thought it was a good film. It started off a little boring, but once they got to the island and stepped on the egg... I liked the whole scene when they're running around on the ship.
Nathanael: That was really good, but a lot of that was in the trailers.
Rob: I enjoyed watching it unfold. I thought Danny McBride was really good. And James Franco...
Nathanael: He wasn't even in it!
Rob: I don't understand why you'd get James Franco for that role.
Nathanael: Well, he had some scenes cut.
Rob: Oh really?
Nathanael: Yeah, he had a few scenes cut.
Rob: And he also did the prologue that was released on YouTube. I thought Michael Fassbender was good in both roles [as Walter and David], and I like him as the villain of these movies, but like you said they need to progress it a little bit more.
Nathanael: It just feels like, with every movie, they go back to a new crew and start back from the beginning.
Rob: They need to carry over people.
Nathanael: Well, after Prometheus, they had a plan to do another one that would be Michael Fassbender and Noomi Rapace, and it would be them going to the Engineer's planet. And even though I didn't love Prometheus, I wanted to see that happen. I wanted to see that progression. So they were going to progress, but then you had all the fan backlash against Prometheus, so they re-worked it and they gave us this, which I don't think worked.
Rob: Best line of the year though, "You do the blowing, and I'll do the fingering." I swear I laughed out loud when I heard that. When he said that, I couldn't hold it in. And it wasn't like he was saying it in a funny way; he was completely serious. How did that get through?
Nathanael: Someone must not have had the courage to tell Ridley Scott about it. [pause] And now that the Alien franchise is over at Disney, I don't know what's going to happen to it.
Rob: I don't think we see an Alien movie for a while.
Nathanael: Or they might sell the rights off to another studio.
Rob: If they're not going to do R-rated properties, sell them off and make some money!
Nathanael: Or create a new division of Disney that focuses on R-rated material.
Rob: "Disney X"
Nathanael: "Disney XXX" [laughs]
[Read our review for Alien: Covenant here]
#2 Thor: Ragnarok
Nathanael: I think we have the same #2, so we can both talk about it. Thor: Ragnarok. I don't know what people see in this movie. People rave about this movie, and I don't understand why. I think it's a mess.
Rob: I just think it's dumb. Starting with the character of Thor (Chris Hemsworth). He's just an idiot.
Nathanael: He's a bumbling moron.
Rob: You would've thought he was like drunk for the whole movie or something.
Nathanael: He's just a moron. He's literally tripping over his own feet. He feels like Deadpool, but without the fourth-wall breaking. People are praising the comedic tone. I don't mind it going for a comedic tone, but it just decimated the character of Thor.
Rob: It wasn't funny.
Nathanael: When I was watching the movie, I had no reason to believe he was competent enough to take on the villain. And I thought Cate Blanchett was just wasted.
Rob: That was stupid.
Nathanael: She was in and out.
Rob: And what was the big thing, Surtur? It looked like crap! The CGI was not that great in this movie.
Nathanael: The green screen was awful. All the CGI looked bad in this movie.
Rob: I thought Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) was kind of wasted.
Nathanael: The whole Planet Hulk storyline, which is a comic book storyline that I've been waiting to see on the big screen for a while... I felt was wasted. Korg (Taika Waititi)...
Rob: That was just stupid.
Nathanael: Everyone online was just like, "Oh I love Korg!"
Rob: "Give me a Korg spin-off!"
Nathanael: Shut the fuck up! Korg was just awful. And Korg in the comics is this hardened warrior who watched his family die. They ruined him [in the movie adaptation]. And Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie was fine, but everyone was raving about her afterwards.
Rob: I don't really need to see her again.
Nathanael: They said she was the stand-out of the whole movie!
Rob: The only character who I actually wouldn't mind seeing again is Jeff Goldblum's character.
Nathanael: He grew on me.
Rob: I liked him, but that's just because he's Jeff Goldblum.
Nathanael: He was Jeff Goldblum being Jeff Goldblum, but that worked for this movie. Everyone else was trying to be this weird, eccentric, out-there character.
Rob: Even Loki (Tom Hiddleston) I thought wasn't that good in this.
Nathanael: And Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) was wasted. I mean, I didn't really expect him to be in this that much, but there wasn't really a need for him to be in it.
Rob: They didn't really need him in there. They just put him in there for them to be able to say that he is in there.
Nathanael: Yeah, that's all it really was.
Rob: And half of the scene was already at the end of Doctor Strange!
Nathanael: Anyways, Thor was just a bumbling moron. This movie was everything I don't want Marvel to turn into.
Rob: It's everything that I fear.
Nathanael: A Marvel movie has some jokes in it, but it takes itself seriously. Like, if you look at something like Captain America: Civil War. There's a lot of humor in there, but at it's core it's a real movie with characters that take themselves seriously. Thor: Ragnarok didn't take itself seriously as a film. It felt like an SNL parody that just went off the tracks and--I don't care that much about the character of Thor--but it felt like it was making fun of Thor, and not in a fun way. Some of these comic book movies can have fun with the character and make light of them a little bit. But this just felt like it was taking a giant shit all over Thor.
Rob: I thought this was going to be a competent film.
Nathanael: This was my fourth most anticipated movie of 2017.
Rob: And the trailers made it look awesome, too.
Nathanael: The movie is just shit. Again, everyone else loves it and I don't understand why.
[Read our review for Thor: Ragnarok here]
#5 Atomic Blonde
Rob: My #5 is Atomic Blonde. Now, I had been talking to you about this movie before there were any trailers, because I knew it was by one of the directors of John Wick, David Leitch. I love John Wick, and when I heard about this movie, it kind of sounded like a female John Wick, and I like Charlize Theron, and the cast seemed good. But what I ended up seeing, the movie I was promised from the trailers I don't think I got on screen. The trailers, I thought, showed that it was going to be action-packed, and sitting through the movie I felt the action was few and far between. There's the iconic stairwell scene, and that's outstanding. And there's a couple other okay fight scenes. But it went for more story over action. That's fine, and that can work if the story is interesting enough. But I didn't find the story to be that interesting, and one of my biggest flaws with it is that it shows what happened in the past while having Charlize Theron in the present. So you know she lived through all this stuff, so there's no stakes to it! I knew she was going to live through it.
Nathanael: I disagree. I really liked the movie a lot. I personally was invested in the story. I thought it was a really cool, dramatic, Cold War thriller, and I thought the action sequences were fantastic, all of them. And I bought into the story, and the performances were all great. I loved James McAvoy. I just bought into it as a film, and I really liked it a lot. So I do kind of disagree with you on that one.
[Read our review for Atomic Blonde here]
Rob: My #4 is Downsizing. Matt Damon used to be my favorite actor. But after movies like The Great Wall and Suburbicon, and now Downsizing, he is no longer my favorite actor.
Nathanael: He had a pretty bad year.
Rob: You cannot pick three bad projects in a row, movies that are so just not good, and still be my favorite actor. This was a movie I was very excited for, because it comes from Alexander Payne, who has made films such as Sideways, The Descendants, and Nebraska. Three movies that I think are really good, and got tons of Oscar nominations too. He got nominated for Best Director for all three of them! So I had very high expectations for this, and I thought the trailers were pretty good. And then, I sit down in the movie theater, and I thought the first thirty minutes were okay. Then I had to use the bathroom. So I went to the bathroom and came back. After I came back, everything was kind of weird, so I said to the person I was with, "What's going on here?" and he responded, "Oh, it just jumped like three years." I was like, what? The movie would keep jumping!
Nathanael: I've never found a movie to be good when it builds up, builds up, builds up, and then goes "Three years later", and everything's different.
Rob: And a lot of the movie... I thought they were going to take it that the downsized people were going to enter the real world somehow, and you could see how drastically tall the normal people were to them. But everything just looked normal because everything was shrunken down to size. It looked like you were just watching a drama. I thought it was pretty preachy too with some of its messages, with how we need to save the planet and all that. I don't know, it was not what I thought it was going to be.
#3 Kong: Skull Island
Rob: My #3 is Kong: Skull Island. Is this a bad film? No. The action is pretty good. I thought Kong was the best part of the movie, honestly, and that's what you're looking for with these kinds of movies. Everything else in this movie, besides all the Kong stuff, I thought was kind of stupid. All the human characters... I can't remember a single one of their names, can you?
Nathanael: Not really.
Rob: I thought most people were just sleepwalking through their performances, in my opinion. When the posters were done in the style of Apocalypse Now, I thought we were going to get a movie set in the Vietnam War with Kong as the backdrop, and really I didn't find that aspect--with the humans--that entertaining. I'm not really excited for these Godzilla/Kong movies anymore.
Nathanael: Did you end up watching Godzilla?
Rob: Mm hmm. Honestly, I thought that was better than this, and I thought that movie was just okay too.
Nathanael: I'm a defender of Kong: Skull Island. I liked it a lot. I don't think it's a great movie, and I agree a lot of the human characters are underdeveloped. But for me, that didn't really matter. I thought the film was incredibly stylized, and I loved it for that. I thought everything with Kong was fantastic. He was great in this. Overall, I just bought into it all, and had a great time at the movies. So that's really where I came at it from.
[Read our review for Kong: Skull Island here]
#2 Thor: Ragnarok
Rob: My #2 is Thor: Ragnarok.
Nathanael: We pretty much covered Thor already.
Rob: Yeah, it was a disappointment.
Nathanael's #1 Dunkirk
Nathanael: My #1--this is going to be a heated one--is Dunkirk. Now, I didn't put Dunkirk on my worst of the year list, because I don't think it's a poorly made film. It's brilliantly made as a film. I think all the visual effects are fantastic. Christopher Nolan did a great job crafting it. It didn't work because it was a bunch of characters I couldn't get behind, and I couldn't get into it. I understand the point was that you were supposed to just be along for the ride, but I could never get into that ride because I was just watching faces on screen. I never got into it.
Rob: In my defense of Dunkirk, I thought the main characters--the people you were supposed to get behind--was everyone in their pursuit to get out of this terrifying situation. I thought the actual battle was the spectacle that you were watching, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Nathanael: I found the whole timing of it confusing. I understand it was three different times, being an hour, a day, and a week. It kept cutting between each of them, so I didn't know what was happening in relation to each other. I just got very confused. Like the whole ending battle of it, on the beach, it felt like the same thing kept happening five times. I was very confused as to what was actually happening.
Rob: I really think there's enough distinctive clues in each scene to tell what is happening.
Nathanael: No, I picked up on them. But it was still confusing to me. I remember we talked about it after the movie, and you were like, "Well did you notice this? Did you notice that?" And I saw all of those, but it still didn't really help. One of the things is that when you have big, giant battle sequences, I have to know where everything is in relation to each other. Same thing with car chases. I have to be able to see the larger picture of things in order to tell what is going on. I couldn't get behind the characters, because they weren't really characters. They were just faces on screen. And I didn't know what was happening in relation to each other. So I just kind of felt lost. Yes, everything's well done in terms of how it was staged. Everything that Christopher Nolan pulled off was brilliant. Bravo to him. But Dunkirk was still my most disappointing [movie of the year]. I love Christopher Nolan. He's my favorite director working today. I was expecting so much from this film, and it just disappointed me.
[Read our review for Dunkirk here]
Rob's #1 Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Rob: My #1 is Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I was so pumped for this movie, and what a big let-down that was. Basically, you could say the first movie mildly jumped the shark. It didn't take itself too seriously, but there was some stuff to it. It was over-the-top, but in a good way, and it wasn't through-the-roof. This one, I think it just took everything [about the first one] and injected like crystal meth into it. All the action was just kind of loud and bombastic, and it wasn't that much fun. The way they treated a lot characters from the first one was pretty much pathetic. We were promised Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges in the movie; they were in all the trailers. They were barely in the movie. Probably like five minutes each. Elton John was in the movie more than them, and he wasn't in any of the trailers! It was stupid! And then you have the scene where Julianne Moore takes the guard, puts him through the meat grinder, and makes a cheeseburger. Oh my God!
Nathanael: I was excited to see this movie. I actively tried to get to theater to go see it, and each time I was never able to figure it out. I'm honestly glad now that I didn't go see it. If it were on Netflix or something that easy, I'd probably watch it just to see it.
Rob: I'd watch it just to make fun of it. It honestly reminds me of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, in that it's a movie I was really excited for, but now it's a movie I can watch and just laugh at. It's a bad film.
Nathanael: Anyways, those are our most disappointing films of the year. Just to wrap it up, my #5 is Girls Trip, my #4 is Annabelle: Creation, my #3 is Alien: Covenant, my #2 is Thor: Ragnarok, and my #1 is Dunkirk.
Rob: My #5 is Atomic Blonde, my #4 is Downsizing, my #3 is Kong: Skull Island, my #2 is Thor: Ragnarok, and my #1 is Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
Nathanael: So those are our most disappointing of the year. Once again, I'm Nathanael Molnár.
Rob: And I'm Rob Giachinta.
Nathanael: Thank you for checking this out, and be sure to check out our other lists on the site.
What do you think? Do you agree with our picks for the most disappointing films of 2017? What are some other movies you would add to the list? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: Nathanael Molnár and Rob Giachinta
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