A year of countless trips to the cinema involves many a disappointment, with 2018 proving no less cinematically woeful than others. This year, duds were released not only on the big screen but on VOD platforms too. Now, audiences have the (dis)pleasure of being bored to death, angered and let down by new releases from the comfort of their sofas and pyjamas. My worst films of the year are hugely varied in content, style and genre – all spectacularly misjudged; either amusing, angering or exasperating me, for a range of different reasons. Atop the pile was an early contender I saw in January from Alexander Payne. Downsizing, with its self-indulgent, meandering narrative and inexcusable run time, was extra disappointing as it came from a director whose previous work I’ve loved. Even with the brief support of Kristen Wiig, Downsizing could not be saved and I found myself angered by its self-involved nonsensical story. Lars von Trier skips into second place with the horrifically boring The House That Jack Built – a film audiences at Cannes condemned as a work of pure evil. The only evil sin here is the fact that Von Trier’s been able to continue to parade such tripe to audiences who give him the dramatic response and attention he craves. The House That Jack Built is nothing more than gore-tastic shock-driven cinema which lacks all sincerity. It’s by far the longest and most boring piece of white man bullsh*t I’m yet to sit through in a cinema; a dull experience that’s as much a yawn-fest as it is a bloodbath. Third, fourth and fifth in my dishonourable list are all films that were simply too confused and problematic. How to Talk to Girls at Parties was an embarrassing mess whilst Steven Soderbergh’s limp Unsane had me wishing he’d remained in retirement. Duncan Jones followed up the astounding Moon with the huge Netflix release of the critically-panned Mute which saw his cinematic flare wrap around a ludicrously flawed plot that couldn’t be rescued, even by its star-studded cast.
A collection of British legends, from Harry Potter to Freddy Mercury, to Winnie the Pooh, were drastically let down by films which attempted to expand on the world’s they inhabited. Bohemian Rhapsody, although undeniably entertaining, played fast and loose with both the chronology of Queen and the life of Freddie – meanwhile proving once again that Bryan Singer is a rotten egg both in and out of the director’s chair. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald had a plot as over-complicated as the film’s title, with too many characters and featuring the unwelcome return of Johnny Depp at the film’s centre. Christopher Robin misjudged its audience, proving to be an eerie film which children couldn’t connect to and adults felt patronised by. At the bottom of the heap sits the cringe-worthy The More You Ignore Me which should have been so much better considering both its source and cast. Finally, we have Mandy a film which has split audiences with its decision to prioritise style over substance. This years bottom ten is an unusual mismatch of rejects that I am likely to never return to. It’s largely a collection of work from directors and actors who really should have known better; for me, that’s always the greatest disappointment. Alongside the artists and actors responsible, these films also commit the crime of betraying the stars at their heart, whether it’s beloved childhood characters, Nicolas Cage charged up to eleven or musical icons, so many of the individuals, characters and actors at the centre of these films deserved better. I hope they get that come 2019 and beyond.
Happy New Year, thanks for reading and let’s all keep supporting our beloved film industry.