2013 was an almost unparalleled year for cinematic excellence. But with the highs come the lows, and in 2013 there were some incredibly low lows. These are movies that made the exhilarating movies of 2013 seem a little less so, because we had to suffer through all of this other garbage.
It wasn't contained to a single genre, either. Yes, there were a bunch of crappy horror movies, but there were just as many crappy comedies and thrillers. The worst of 2013 knew no boundaries, when it came to stinking up the joint; they were everywhere, seemingly all the time.
When you think back to how amazing 2013 was for movies, don't forget how rough a year it was, too. These are the movies that made me appreciate how good the good stuff really was.
Gallery | The 10 Worst Movies of 2013
- 'Movie 43'
An embarrassing comedy anthology that barely got released had some shockingly real talent behind the scenes (including directors like Griffin Dunne, Brett Ratner, and James Gunn) and in front of the camera (how Hugh Jackman lived down his segment is beyond me), which, of course, didn't stop it from being a loathsome collection of sexist, misogynistic, homophobic, and just plain unfunny segments. The sketches that make up the film include such hot-button topics as menstruation, giant human-sized iPods with killer genitals, and a man who has a pair of testicles dangling from his neck (that, amazingly, is Jackman's part).
- 'Texas Chainsaw 3D'
This was the first big movie released in 2013 and remains, at the end of the year, one of the absolute worst. New producers (the same rocket scientists behind the loathsome "Saw" franchise) had the genius idea of trying to wed the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," an undeniable masterpiece of grungy pop art, with this new, mostly brain-dead story, even though it takes place decades later. (Trust me, I've tried to line these things up; it doesn't work.) While it's nice that the new filmmakers at least tried to honor the memory and spirit of Tobe Hooper's still-unparalleled original film, it comes off as a bad karaoke bar cover instead of a worthy successor. Everything from the mask to the kills to the dummy characters is wrong, made even more damnable by the film's lack of social conscious or satirical edge. Points should be awarded, however, to leading lady Alexandra Daddario whose, um, considerable assets at least made the movie somewhat watchable.
- 'The Internship'
With "The Internship," the filmmakers tried to convince us that the half-dozen years since "Wedding Crashers" had gone by in the blink of an eye and that the comedic pairing of Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn was somehow still punchy and fun. What "The Internship" really taught is that none of this is true, especially when these actors are stuck in a lame duck comedy about a couple of middle-aged goofs who become interns at Google (a place so shiny-happy that you're constantly waiting for rainbows to just magically appear, possible out of the Google-Branded Google Rainbow Generator). Almost painfully unfunny, the movie is saved from total ruin by a WTF-worthy cameo by Will Ferrell; other than that, it's worse than your Gmail crashing.
- 'The Host'
There were many failed young adult adaptations this year (more on that in a minute), but it seemed like, if any of them would connect, it would be "The Host." Based on a book by "Twilight" mastermind Stephanie Meyer, and written and directed by "Gattaca" filmmaker Andrew Niccol, it was set in a futuristic society in which glittery aliens have invaded human hosts. Our main character is a young girl (played by the insanely talented Saoirse Ronan), whose human body refuses to accept its new alien hijacker. Most of the movie takes place inside her mind, as the two entities battle it out for control. While that might have worked on the page, on the screen it's outrageously dull, and the future-world Niccol created isn't all that engaging either (for some reason everything has silvery, reflective surfaces). For a movie about a young girl with two personalities living inside of her, it's a terribly empty experience.
- 'The Incredible Burt Wonderstone'
A movie that seems to have been airlifted in from 25 years ago (back when magicians made winning targets for satire), "Wonderstone" featured Steve Carell as an oafish magician in Las Vegas whose routine (with his partner Steve Buscemi) is sorely in need of freshening up. Instead of changing with the times, and directly challenging his "edgy" competition (Jim Carrey), he sticks to his tried and true methods and comes across as an anachronistic, stubborn dinosaur. There's so little that's even passable in "Incredible Burt Wonderstone"; the fact that it was one of James Gandolfini's last performances just adds insult to injury. It's not even watch-on-an-airplane good.
- 'The Evil Dead'
Everything leading up to the day "The Evil Dead" was released made it seem like the ultimate experience in bad-ass horror movies: it had an endorsement by original filmmakers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Bruce Campbell (all of whom returned to help produce), an exciting young foreign director behind the camera (Fede Alvarez), terrifying trailers, and a slot opening up the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, a place known to only exhibit the coolest of the cool. Except that, of course, it turned out to be a numbing, senseless, poorly told affair, in which buckets of blood tried to make up for narrative shortcomings, deathly humorlessness, and anemic character development. As the movie dragged on, full of lopped off limbs and a literal rain of blood, it went from being scary to gross to just plain eye-rolling. The horror, the horror.
- 'The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones'
Earlier in 2013, a good young adult adaptation was released in "Beautiful Creatures," a southern gothic yarn about witches. Later in 2013, one of the very worst young adult adaptations (besides, you know, "The Host") came out, with "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones." They both fared terribly at the box office. But while "Beautiful Creatures" had a witty screenplay and was filled with A-list actors having the time of their lives hamming it up (amongst them Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons), "The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones" was an unmitigated slog with actors that seemed either bored or between jobs (people like Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jared Harris). The storyline was an unmitigated mess, full of mumbo jumbo about angels and demons and god knows what else (I think there were werewolves at some point), without even the conviction required to let audiences feel that they weren't simply watching a crass, cynically calculated "Twilight" retread.
One hilarious tidbit from the production of "Getaway," one of the last films Joel Silver produced for Warner Bros after being kicked to the curb, is that they filmed the car racing stuff in the supposedly picturesque town of Sofia, Bulgaria, and all of the interior character stuff in Atlanta, Georgia. This leaden chase movie, which is so poorly photographed and put together that it's almost unfathomable that a major American studio released it, has the dishonorable distinction of starring Ethan Hawke, coming up the back-to-back 2013 triumphs of "Before Midnight" (a nearly unparalleled critical favorite) and "The Purge" (a surprise summer hit). Add to the mix Selena Gomez as the least convincing carjacker of all time and Jon Voight playing a scary voice on the other end of the phone, and "Getaway" was a chase movie that you couldn't wait to get away from.
Unlike most of the horror movies that came out this year, there was reason to believe that "Carrie" was actually going to be halfway decent. There's the timelessness of Stephen King's story that seemed ripe for modern reinvention, the talent and passion of filmmaker Kimberly Peirce (who said she had original director Brian De Palma's blessing), and the cast that they had assembled, including Chloe Grace Moretz as the titular telekinetic and Julianne Moore as her bible-thumping mother. Instead of a slick revamp, "Carrie" played like a tired old dud, joylessly aping the original film and seemingly scared to take any chances, with an R-rating that's awarded more for foul language than anything, well, horrific. Moretz turned out to be too adorable for the role and Moore too hammy. At some point the movie was deemed so much like the original that the first film's screenwriter was given co-screenplay credit. Now that's scary.
- 'I Give It a Year'
Another colossal dud that originated at SXSW, this comedy from Sacha Baron Cohen was supposedly going to wittily poke fun at the tired romantic-comedy genre. Instead of deconstructing it, though, the film just reinforced all the tired clichés, worn out tropes, and unfunny scenarios that have come to define the genre. With such a winning cast -- including Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Anna Faris, Simon Baker, and Stephen Merchant -- you'd expect some laughs to be wrung from it, but instead it's just an awful collection of sight gags and lame jokes. It's tempting to say "it's got to be seen to be believed," but honestly that sounds far too much like a recommendation for my liking.