The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape
Send this page to Twitter!  

THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


The Ten Worst Films of 2014

It's that time of year where we all hold our noses and look back at the worst films of the past twelve months. Making my list was a little trickier this year. New distribution platforms have provided increased ways for small, independently-produced movies to get in front of the public. Some of these movies are quite good, but not surprisingly, some of them are terrible. I've long had a policy of not picking on obscure, starless, and/or barely-released pictures in my Ten Worst lists. So if you want to read more about Chlorine, Jesus People, 365 Days: A Year in Happy Valley, Shirin in Love, Eternity – The Movie, Believe Me, Hollows Grove, Missionary, and Plastic, you can check out my individual reviews.

Before we dive into the proper list, I must issue a Special Merit of Dishonor Award to Jersey Shore Massacre. This was the very worst movie I saw in 2014, but it doesn't appear to have had a theatrical run, just a Blu-Ray/DVD release. Therefore, I'll consider it ineligible for this list. But really, don't ever watch it under any circumstances.

Here are my official picks for the Ten Worst Films of 2014:

10. I, Frankenstein - This pathetic attempt to make the legendary character “hip” in a modern way is like the worst piece of Mary Shelley fan fiction as written by the guy behind the counter of your local Hot Topic. Aaron Eckhart plays Frankenstein's creature, Adam. That's right - Adam Frankenstein. He gets caught in the middle of a war between gargoyles and demons, an idea that's even stupider than it sounds. I, Frankenstein is one of those movies that's CGI'ed to death, to the point where it's physically ugly to look at. The underdeveloped story and cheesy action sequences do not help.

9. Winter's Tale - This big star, big budget movie is somehow so hilariously inept that it may well eventually achieve cult status. Colin Farrell plays a thief whose true love dies. He's so upset about it that he spends 100 years skulking around, all while he and his flying horse are chased by the devil (Will Smith) and his demon lackey (Russell Crowe). Winter's Tale is exquisitely awful. It's muddled, confused, and hard to follow. Things seem to happen for no reason and with no explanation. The attempts at being “magical” fall flat, to the point where they become unintentionally funny. Yep, it's one of the year's worst films, all right.

8. Need For Speed - Whoever could have guessed that a movie adapted from a driving-based videogame would be so hollow and repetitive? Aaron Paul stars as a street racer who seeks revenge against the longtime rival who killed his best friend and essentially framed him for it. How will he get this revenge? By winning a high-stakes, invitation-only race, of course! That the movie thinks beating a rival in a race will compensate for the death of a friend and jail time is one of at least a dozen nonsensical things in this dim-witted movie.

7. As Above, So Below - Oh boy, another lame “found footage” movie. This one follows a gang of explorers seeking a magical sorcerer's stone in France's underground catacombs. As Above, So Below makes two critical errors. First, it offers no character development, meaning we don't care when they are forced to face their greatest psychological fears down there. Second, it employs the found footage format in service of a story that incorporates a lot of fantasy elements. The style really only works to create an illusion that things are actually happening for real. Using them in this manner just accentuates how painfully ineffective this picture is.

6. Bad Johnson - This asinine comedy is about a sex-obsessed douchebag (Cam Gigandet, all too convincing in the role) whose beloved penis detaches itself from his body and assumes human form. You have no idea how badly I wish I was making that up. There's potentially a smart satire of male libido here, but Bad Johnson opts for a series of easy, obvious genitalia jokes. It's like a frat house comedy written by an 11-year-old boy. Only even less funny.

5. The Other Woman - A sleazy guy is cheating on his wife (Leslie Mann) with two mistresses (Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton). The three women decide to get revenge by acting even more reprehensibly than he does. Among their tactics: slipping feminine hormones in his drink to make him grow breasts. It's shocking that this misogynist comedy – in which all the women are mentally unstable, overly emotional basket cases – was successfully sold as a female empowerment story. If being as loathsome an asshole as any man is empowering, I think feminism has been set back a few steps.

4. Don Peyote - There's a good reason why you've probably never heard of this drug comedy that features Anne Hathaway, Topher Grace, and Josh Duhamel. (Given their druthers, they'd probably prefer to keep it that way.) Co-writer/co-director/star Dan Fogler apparently called in a lot of favors to get big names to appear in his hallucinogenic “comedy” about a stoner who finds enlightenment after being spat upon by a homeless man. Thus begins a bizarre series of scenes related to conspiracy theories, metaphysical concepts, and erratic behavior. I guess the point is to cinematically simulate the experience of being completely wasted. Fogler clearly finds that amusing, but watching Don Peyote is nothing short of agonizing.

3. Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - The first Paranormal Activity is one of the few movies that genuinely scared me. The sequels have gone steadily downhill since. This Latino spin-off (only tangentially tied to the original) is the absolute bottom of the barrel. By now, the series' tricks have grown stale. The Marked Ones also falls victim to the curse of lousy found footage movies, which is that it eventually devolves into indecipherable shaky-cam shots with someone repeatedly yelling What the hell is that?! on the soundtrack. This movie is grating beyond belief.

2. Tusk - Kevin Smith likes to blow a lot of hot air about how he's making weird movies that only he can concoct, but the truth is that anyone could have made this amateurish, tonally disjointed, unfocused, throw-everything-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks mess. Justin Long plays a podcaster who is turned into a walrus by the nutcase (Michael Parks) he's gone to interview. Tusk is a series of bad decisions strung together for 100 minutes, from the choice to be both a serious horror movie and a lowbrow comedy, to the willingness to allow Johnny Depp (wisely uncredited) to run on and on with his usual tiresome weirdo shtick, even though his endless spiels grind the film to a dead halt. Between this and Red State, Smith seems to have decided that every scene in his movies can have a thoroughly different tone, and it really doesn't matter if they don't all add up to something cohesive. That isn't an artistic choice; it's sloppiness.

And my choice for the Worst Film of 2014 is:

A Haunted House 2

1. A Haunted House 2 - What a shock that the sequel to last year's worst film is this year's worst film! I hated A Haunted House with such a passion that I swore up and down I would never see the sequel. So why did I? Believe it or not, a weird sense of optimism. The movie's trailer didn't seem to traffic in the same sexist, homophobic, misanthropic humor that was so detestable the first time. Unfortunately, the old saying Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me applies here. A Haunted House 2 ostensibly spoofs not only Paranormal Activity, but also Sinister, The Conjuring and The Possession. Really, though, it's just a flimsy excuse for co-writer/star Marlon Wayans to engage in humor that's as offensive for being unfunny as it is for being hateful. Homosexuality is ridiculed at every possible turn, as though it is something to be both feared and mocked, and the female characters are repeatedly referred to as “whores,” “freaks,” and “crazy bitches.” The absolute low point is a joke about a teenage girl performing so much oral sex that a penis visually emerges from the back of her throat. Classy. At one point, there's a joke in which the main character says, “When are they going to stop making Scary Movies without the Wayans? They suck.” Well, compared to the A Haunted House pictures, they look like Airplane!

Runners-up (or should that be runners-down?): Rage, The Longest Week, Stephen King's A Good Marriage, 300: Rise of an Empire, No Good Deed, The Equalizer, Into the Storm, Let's Be Cops, and Maleficent.

Buy a copy of my book, "Straight-Up Blatant: Musings From The Aisle Seat," on sale now at! Paperback and Kindle editions also available at!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.