Least Favorites of 2021
Over the last few years, creating "Worst" lists has become something of a no-no among film elites. Everyone always just wants to be positive and not add more negativity and hatred into the world. While I get that sentiment...I think opinions--positive and negative--should be discussed...and quite frankly there were a lot of movies this year that just begged me to create this list. Please don't take it personally, it's just one gal's opinion. So with that... let's get to the list!
It's no secret that I'm not the biggest Marvel fan, though in the last few years I've enjoyed more of their films than usual. But Eternals was such a snore and managed to be my least favorite Marvel film...well, ever. None of the characters were in any way memorable, and two months later, the only character I would be able to name off the top of my head is Sersi, and purely for the irony that her character was involved with two actors from Game of Thrones. Eternals is incredibly ambitious, yet exceedingly dull. With such an ensemble cast and lofty visions of the scope of the story they wanted to tell, it would have worked far better as a series on Disney+. Instead, it will become the most forgettable Marvel installment to grace the big screen, and I can't imagine it leaving much of an impact.
I will be the first one to admit that Lamb likely earns a spot on this list for being a victim of high expectations. Its bizarre trailer had me hooked, but unfortunately, the final film just wasn't quite the oddball horror I was hoping for. What was it exactly instead? An intriguing premise that, while it could have made a decent short film was stretched way beyond what was actually interesting. There were so many effective moments, that if leaned into could have been really interesting. Instead, Lamb decides to just be a weird family drama about grief that just doesn't really connect. The events are so incredibly outlandish, yet it is played completely straight. This, honestly, makes the audience lose their mind. I suppose that is intended as part of the beauty?? When you finally feel like you get a payoff after all you just endured, it just feels too little too late.
8. DEAR EVAN HANSEN
After Cats, it should have been clear enough that some hits on Broadway just do not transfer well to the big screen. Dear Evan Hansen takes an outlandish plot that was able to work on stage, and turns it into one of the cringiest train wreck movies I've had the pleasure to see in some time. Somehow I felt like it could never get more awkward and horrible, yet the very next scene it would manage to top itself. I kept finding Evan's actions so incomprehensible to the extent that he had to be a sociopath because no one in their right mind would act this way. Suspension of disbelief in a film vs a stage musical are worlds apart. It's one thing if a film is able to capture the whimsy and magic that a musical needs to work--to explain the unexplainable--but this one's direction was so lifeless that each song fell flat on its face even if the music itself was good. And let's not even get STARTED with how old Ben Platt looks. What were they thinking with that hair???
While Dear Evan Hansen had some nice songs at least, here in Annette, the second consecutive musical to make the list, the songs are like nails on a chalkboard. Of all of the films on this list, this may have been one of the most actively tedious to sit through. I felt like Elaine Benes in her hatred of The English Patient when Adam and Marion sang "We Love Each Other So Much" monotonely over and over. Honestly, it was so absurd I almost found myself loving it when certain punchlines happened with Baby Annette, but I had endured too much by that point to feel anything of fondness for the film. Points for creativity and being unlike anything I've seen, but unfortunately just because something is so off the wall, it doesn't make it good...or enjoyable. I understand the love people have for it, on one hand, because I found myself weirdly respecting it, but it was also just too off-putting.
From its opening line, Zola promises an insane story of betrayal with twists and turns that you can't believe...and instead doesn't deliver on anything it teases. While Riley Keough gives a fantastic performance, it's the only thing Zola has going for it. Zola isn't as juicy or as jawdropping as it pretends to be. It's honestly just unpleasant and made me worry I had somehow contracted an STD just by watching it. Seriously, some of the most disgusting montages I can remember in recent memory.
5. CHAOS WALKING
I am not exaggerating when I tell you that it took me DAYS to get through this movie. The plot is silly sci-fi at its worst. The premise here is that the thoughts of all the men on the planet are audible (and in some cases, visible) to everyone else. This makes for a lot of embarrassing and awkward moments for Tom Holland's plucky character, Todd, who is almost instantly smitten with Daisy Ridley's Viola when she crash lands on his planet and becomes the first woman he's ever seen. I'm pretty ambivalent in regards to Ridley as an actress, feeling like while she was generally pretty endearing in The Force Awakens, she was pretty bland in the other two Star Wars sequel trilogy films. Here in Chaos Walking she is pretty atrocious. She and Holland have zero chemistry, which maybe is what they were going for since she constantly rebuffs him and acts continually confused by his bizarre behavior. There's a scene about an hour in where she and Holland are supposed to have a nice moment that is so unintentionally hilarious in its stupidity that it instantly earned its spot on the list.
4. BINGO HELL
I honest to goodness have NO idea who this film was made for. A gore-filled horror fest starring senior citizens playing BINGO? Why did I watch this film? I do not have an answer for that, I really don't. Do I regret it with my whole soul? Yes.
3. SPACE JAM: A NEW LEGACY
Is there a more spiritually bankrupt film than Space Jam: A New Legacy? If there is, I don't want to know about it. I'm pretty sure my whole soul left my body at some point while watching this film. It must have vacated the premises because it's hard to truly recollect all of the awfulness that occurred during its runtime. But what I do remember? A shameless constant tour through Warner Brothers' intellectual properties, as well as Don Cheadle playing an evil algorithm personified, is more than enough to place it so high on the list.
2. HOME SWEET HOME ALONE
I will tell you that it was a real nailbiter picking the #1 spot and Home Sweet Home Alone just missed it by the teeniest amount. Home Sweet Home Alone is without a doubt, one of the worst legacy sequels/requels (reboot sequels) of any franchise ever. The ingredients of a Home Alone film are not hard to understand, but here it's like the filmmakers mixed up the salt with the sugar. While, yes, the home invasion traps are a necessary ingredient to any Home Alone film, no one wants to see the protagonists of these films tortured! The humor only comes from seeing people who deserve it get pummeled. Here, the incomprehensible decision is made to twist the formula so the story focuses on the pair who inevitably find themselves in the burglar role rather than showing it through the eyes of the kid in the Kevin role. Only this time, the "burglars" are completely innocent and only trying to get something back that was rightfully theirs to begin with. So naturally, they deserve to go through excruciating pain?? This was just a miss in every possible way and an embarrassment for all involved.
It was really tough to choose between Home Sweet Home Alone and Cinderella in the top spot, but I think I was ultimately more entertained by how bad Home Sweet Home Alone was, whereas this was more just obnoxiously eye-rollingly bad. I get wanting to tell a modern retelling of a fairy tale (see A Cinderella Story), or to update your fairy tale to perhaps add some modern elements and make your heroine stronger (Cinderella 2015), but if you're telling a fairy tale story....please just keep it as a fairy tale instead of turning it into a girl boss story. Since this Cinderella is so concerned with the optics of updating the story to be progressive, it forgets that Cinderella is also a love story. Subsequently, it gives us a half-hearted attempt at romance that certainly makes that "happily ever after" incredibly underwhelming. But aside from all of that, the music is bad and the whole thing just comes off as completely uninspired. For a story that's been told so many times, with so many other wonderful versions that exist...I think this version of Cinderella was better left on the shelf.