We’ve celebrated our Top 5 Favorite movies of 2013 and are looking forward to our 20 Most Anticipated Movies of 2014 but we haven’t forgotten the films that fell to the opposite end of the spectrum. Film is a subjective medium, so picking the worst movies of the year is never an easy task.
Some writers base their “Worst of the Year” lists on highly anticipated films that were especially disappointing or failed to make use of sizable budgets, talented actors, and intriguing scripts. However, at Screen Rant, we focus our list on movies that we genuinely believe were the worst of the year – theatrical releases that were intolerable bores, failing to deliver on even their most basic ambitions. These are the unfunny comedies, the not-very-scary horror movies, the superficial dramas, and the snooze-inducing actioners.
Of course, our list is not all-inclusive, so once you’ve read our picks, share your own choices in the comments. Read on for our list of the Worst Movies of 2013 (in order of release).
Director: Allen Hughes
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta- Jones, and Jeffrey Wright
Hopes were high for Broken City (read our review), marking the solo directorial debut of Allen Hughes – one-half of the Hughes Brothers (along with Albert Hughes). Known for his contributions as co-director on Dead Presidents, Menace II Society, and The Book of Eli, moviegoers were enthusiastic about another gritty crime-drama from the accomplished filmmaker.
Unfortunately, the final film suffered from a scattered narrative that featured a host of uninteresting, and worse yet, unlikable characters. Marketed as a straightforward crime-thriller the actual movie was bogged down by unrealized ideas and clumsy directorial execution – without offering a cathartic (or particularly interesting) payoff.
Release Date: January 25, 2013
Director(s): James Gunn, Bob Odenkirk, Peter Farrelly, Brett Ratner, James Duffy, and more!
Cast: Emma Stone, Stephen Merchant, Richard Gere, Liev Schreiber, and more!
The first trailers for Movie 43 (read our review) hinted at an over the top comedy experience that, thanks to a handful of outrageous cameos (for example: Gerard Butler as a Leprechaun), could deliver guilty low brow fun – if the numerous directors and cast members each delivered.
Yet, the final film is little more than a hodgepodge of bizarre sketches that, even without the pressure of a functional overarching storyline, failed to present fresh laughs. At times, the absurdity of certain onscreen hijinks allowed a few guilty giggles but the majority of Movie 43 relies on lackluster appearances from the star-studded cast as they each attempt to squeeze humor out of one raunchy gag after another. Few succeed.
Release Date: February 15, 2013
Director: Callan Brunker
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, and Rob Corddry
We try not to hammer kid movies too hard, since they primarily seek to entertain a target demographic with fun adventures, quirky characters, and relatively straightforward humor, but Escape from Planet Earth (read our review) earned its place on our list. While some animated films manage to pull-double duty and wow adults as well, there’s also the other end of the spectrum – kid movies that can’t even keep their core juice-box crowd entertained.
Despite lovable aliens, futuristic spaceships, and colorful monsters, Escape from Planet Earth is a scattered, and ultimately boring, children’s movie that underserves both its characters and story – with little fun to offer. The result isn’t entirely surprising, given that seven different writers contributed to the script for a total of seventeen different rewrites.
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Cast: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, and Spencer Treat Clark
After a mixed reaction to its predecessor, horror fans weren’t exactly enthusiastic about a Last Exorcism Part II (read our review). Still, given the original film’s WTF cliffhanger, a sequel (though admittedly unnecessary) had the potential to flesh out the overarching series mythology – while also delivering the same brand of body contorting terrors that kept viewers squirming during Part I.
Instead, writer/director Ed Gass-Donnelly (replacing Daniel Stamm from the first movie), delivered a paint-by-numbers sequel that fell short in every single way imaginable: convoluting the established narrative, lacking in Part I‘s more innovative ideas, and worse yet, offering few successful scares. The film proved Ashley Bell has more to offer than creepy contortions but most viewers still felt this is one Last Exorcism too many.
Release Date: April 11, 2013
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Cast: Simon Rex, Ashley Tisdale, Charlie Sheen, and Lindsay Lohan
The Scary Movie series was never the most subtle parody franchise on the market; yet, for a couple of installments, the movies delivered – even if most of the laughs came from combining raunchy sex jokes with spoofs of iconic supernatural film scenes. However, by the time Scary Movie 5 (read our review) was released, nearly all of the original filmmakers and actors, Keenen Ivory Wayans, David Zucker, Anna Faris, Regina Hall, as well as Marlon and Shawn Wayans, had all jumped ship.
Instead of refreshing its approach, Scary Movie 5 simply embraced lowest common-denominator humor at every turn – exemplified best by an awkward (and unfunny) supernatural/sexual encounter featuring Hollywood troublemakers Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan.
Release Date: April 5, 2013
Directors: Björn Stein and Måns Mårlind
Cast: Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and Jeffrey DeMunn
Despite a solid roster of acting talent, 6 Souls was so underwhelming that we didn’t even bother to write-up a review. It never comes together fully – on a narrative level, directorial level, take your pick. Ultimately, the film is so wrapped up in its own “mystery,” and attempts at psychological horror, that story, logic, and tonal consistency go out the window.
As a result, 6 Souls only provides a pastiche of poorly-directed scenes which are randomly assembled in the hopes of a passing for a defined movie experience. There’s a reason this flick sat on the shelf for three years before finally being dumped into theaters.
Release Date: July 19, 2013
Director: Robert Schwentke
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, and Kevin Bacon
R.I.P.D. (read our review) wasn’t just one of the worst movies of 2013, it was also one of the biggest box office bombs. Costing an estimated $130 million to produce, including a 3D post-conversion, the film only recouped half of its budget globally. R.I.P.D. had a lot going for it, a palatable Men in Black-like story (with a supernatural as opposed to extraterrestrial angle) as well as a pair of likable stars.
Yet, nearly everything about the movie underwhelmed – from plasticky and pasty-looking CGI creatures, a hammy performance from Jeff Bridges, to downright distracting technical shortcomings (awkward editing cuts, ugly cinematography, and a predictable story progression). Say R.I.P. to Univeral Pictures’ plans for a R.I.P.D. franchise.
Release Date: August 21, 2013
Director: Harald Zwart
Cast: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Robert Sheehan
The young adult novel adaptation craze has resulted in more than its fair share of underwhelming movie experiences. However, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (read our review) managed to be worse than the rest for one key reason – wasted potential. Some readers automatically roll their eyes at YA book-turned-movie properties, but there are some interesting ideas at play in The Mortal Instruments property (i.e. shadow hunters and demonic forces) – ideas that could have made for entertaining, albeit cheesy and guilty, viewing.
Yet, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is a bland mess muddled by awkward performances, clunky direction, and ridiculous twists that squander any of the story’s potential. Limited payoff and unresolved plot threads didn’t help – as the movie fails to present a complete story (even if it is only the first installment in a larger series).
Release Date: August 30, 2013
Director: Courtney Solomon
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, and Jon Voight
It’s been a solid couple years for Ethan Hawke with starring performances in fan-favorites Sinister and Before Midnight, among others. Unfortunately, Getaway (read our review) proved that even though the actor is making a solid comeback, he’s not a guaranteed marker for success. Despite an adequate thriller setup (albeit one that spirals into absurdity), the film is riddled with one-note characters, cliche vehicular action, and laughable dialogue – all played with a completely straight face.
Movie fans balked at the inclusion of former child-star/singer Selena Gomez, but the real blame falls on director Courtney Solomon for making both the life-or-death plot and 94 minutes of car-racing “action” incredibly bland and outright boring.
Release Date: September 20, 2013
Director: Benson Lee
Cast: Josh Holloway, Laz Alonso, Josh Peck, and Caity Lotz
They’re not for everyone, but certain dance movies have delivered a likable mixture of character drama and stylized moves – capable of entertaining a wide variety of filmgoers (even those with two left feet). Unfortunately, Battle of the Year (read our review) is neither a thoughtful character piece or a particularly jaw-dropping dance showcase.
Instead of celebrating the unifying power of B-Boy heritage, through individual expression and varied cultural influences, the film relies heavily on xenophobia and ethnic stereotypes to fuel its drama – with little cathartic payoff. Of course, our distaste for Battle of the Year wasn’t helped by watching fan-favorite LOST star Josh Holloway scrape the bottom of the Hollywood barrel.
Plus, here are five films that barely missed the (dis)honor of our list:
We’re interested to hear what films were on your “worst of the year” lists, so make sure to share your own choices in the comment section!
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