Top 10 Worst Movies of 2013

As the year is drawing to an end, let’s take time to remember all the movies which made you cringe and (almost) leave the theater. If we are to believe TIME’s columnist Joel Stein (one of the funniest writers around), 2013 has been the year of not trying too hard. Well, the following titles most certainly substantiate his statement. Without further ado, I present you this year’s the bold and the ugly. Let me know if you agree or completely disagree in the comments section!

10. Salinger

Salinger (banner)

We’ve probably all read The Catcher in the Rye in high school as we were instructed by our teacher to attempt an analysis on its character Holden Caulfield. Oh, those times. The author of this classic masterpiece, J.D. Salinger, is generally known for his mysterious ways of avoiding the press and any particular attention. Salinger is the hysterical and really unnecessary documentary of one of America’s greatest writers in history. Although it keeps up a very dramatic tone, it’s nothing more than hundred bits and pieces of Salinger’s life — including interviews with people who were close to him and a bunch of other boring stuff. Then, there is also Salinger being poorly glorified in many pretentious interviews. J.D. Salinger already is, from my perspective, a legend of his own: this documentary was not only needed, it also didn’t reveal any striking truths while it promised such things.

9. The Host

The Host (banner)

Another adaptation from Stephenie Meyer’s novel, The Host is too superficial to be called a recommendable movie. While many aspects of the movie have played out rather nicely though, the very fact that Andrew Niccol himself has directed this book adaptation is a direct insult to the sci-fi genre. Niccol’s unwillingness to expand and refine on the strong fundamentals of good filmmaking combined with a terribly cliché story and poor acting therefore make The Host more than just a disappointing movie. Not so long ago, Saoirse Ronan was nominated for an Oscar — she deserves more than playing the typical female protagonist you can expect from someone like Stephenie Meyer.

8. Only God Forgives

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Now, Only God Forgives was the disappointment of the year. Many, including me, highly expected it to be the next Drive (2011/I) from director Nicolas Winding Refn, but Only God Forgives simply missed out on the sheer ingenuity of what made Drive so good in the first place. I want to refrain from drawing too many comparisons between the two, yet I must mention that the acting from the lead — portrayed by Ryan Gosling — has been the movie’s sole spectacle. It is, however, the slow build-up of the premise that makes the movie an unfocused examination of a well-known revenge tale.

7. Grown Ups 2

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As if one movie wasn’t enough, Adam Sandler returns with Grown Ups 2. Just like the first one, I’m amazed how such a talented cast of funny actors could become a nightmare when combined. I’m betting it’s the plot — or wait, there isn’t any. And that’s exactly the thing with Grown Ups 2: while it desperately strives to be a comedy, the movie only deals with some rather important themes which we have seen countless of times in all of the American Pie movies. Also, the movie not only falls short on delivering witty jokes, but it also doesn’t do much good with stupid and slappy humor.

6. After Earth

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Two Smiths and one Shyamalan (especially that guy) have made After Earth a shameful movie which relentlessly echoes down as the ultimate letdown in this year’s sci-fi genre. I really wished the best for the Smiths family and I still think the two make a great father-son couple on-screen. However, After Earth stays above everything else a weak interpretation of a story that could’ve been made so much better. Director M. Night Shyamalan continues his steady downhill path which leaves me pondering over the question how he every time gets the opportunity to do something wicked with a really promising story.

5. The Hangover Part III

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I’m not usually a sucker for comedy which means that I enjoy watching any movie that makes me laugh. However The Hangover Part III feels really out of place compared to the previous parts. Having endlessly been praised as an hilariously exciting franchise over the years, this movie does not live up to its name. Not very good, boys.

4. A Good Day to Die Hard

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What happened to this franchise? I’m shocked. While A Good Day to Die Hard contains all of the familiar Die Hard aspects in a movie, I thought it was a messy, flawed and dreadful movie to watch. If there weren’t any movies worse than this, it would have definitely ranked number one on this list. Yippiekayee, m****** — it’s actually that bad.

3. Runner Runner

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I believe a lot of people have forgotten want to forget this movie happened. Well, newsflash, it did and the one and only Justin Timberlake starred in it together with Ben Affleck — which is a total surprise of course because Ben would never sink lower than Argo. The movie displays itself as a thriller, but I have seen enough thrillers this year only to know that the movie is in fact far the opposite. It’s a cheap and shallow shot at creating some kind of typical Hollywood blockbuster as it even features the hot Gemma Arterton within a two-men conflict. Runner, Runner is too much confined in the idealistic world of Hollywood and that makes it just another version of the same kind.

2. Texas Chainsaw 3D

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I haven’t watched the classic Texas Chainsaw, therefore this ranking is solely based on my viewing of this movie only and is not the result of an unfair comparison between the two productions. Texas Chainsaw…. 3D is a rather funny approach to a really scary idea. However it failed in convincing me or even giving me the slightest idea that what happened in the movie could overcome anyone. Basically, to test whether it was an effective horror film or a bad one I just had to rely upon my dreams and let me tell you that I actually dreamt of very nice things that particular night while I actually expected Leatherface to show up.

1. Getaway

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The absolute worst movie of 2013 has to be Getaway. Directed by a guy called Courtney Solomon (I’m so mean), Getaway successfully manages to be nothing more than a Hollywood stunt. It doesn’t have anything to do with Selena Gomez’ slender acting skills (to be fair, I did like her in Spring Breakers) or Ethan Hawke’s experienced looks, but the problems lie entirely with the movie itself. It’s a B-movie which has been fitted to the needs and desires of Hollywood’s finest moneymakers. Just like proteins denature if they aren’t placed in optimal temperatures, this movie has worsened from the very fact that it tries so hard to look like any other Hollywood movie on the outward, but deforms miserably from the inside with the story, the camerawork and the dialogue being one of its many failing factors.

Other ‘horrible’ mentions: G.I. Joe: RetaliationRIPDSharknado; The Starving Games, Movie 43.

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52 thoughts on “Top 10 Worst Movies of 2013

  1. A very good list of very bad movies. Happily, I haven’t seen everything on here. Unhappily, I have seen Getaway (it is also my least favorite flick of the year).

  2. hey… the Host wasn’t that bad… I think they did a fairly good job of it in comparison with the book… though the book was way better because they left out all the stories she told of the other worlds she had inhabited and showed a lot more of the alien stuff… but still a decent movie…

    • I’d expected a better book adaptation in terms of a deeper insight into the alien world. The movie was very limited to the personal conflicts. Also, the very fact that Niccol (known for the ingenious Gattaca) directed this played a big role in my choice for putting The Host on this list. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion — it’s much appreciated!

  3. I agree with these selections. I watched Texas Chainsaw 3D and wrote an entry about how bad it was. I watched “After Earth” and didn’t think it was as terrible as others did, but just found it very underwhelming. I didn’t hate it. I just thought it was lackluster.

    The only selection I disagree with you about is “Only God Forgives”. When you referred to it as a “revenge tale” I thought that maybe you misinterpreted the film, like many others did; especially the first time around. I think you and many others hated it b/c you went into it thinking it was going to be similar to “Drive” and then were disappointed when you saw something totally different. It’s actually a really good film, full of metaphors. Check out my entry I wrote about it and see if it offers any insight. http://garylee828.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/accurately-interpreting-only-god-forgives/

    • Thanks for your comment. Glad you agree with me on Texas Chainsaw 3D. Also, After Earth read very promising on paper, but Shyamalan clearly worked his unfortunate magic all over the movie which is a real miss.
      About Only God Forgives: I read your excellent analysis but I think you went too far in giving everything in the film some deeper symbolic meaning. I think that’s really unnecessary as it’s important what the director intended and no critic can truly know that without hard evidence (sure, one can speculate using signs, but that’s not enough). I had no trouble with the acting in the movie. In fact, I think Gosling did a great job. The fact that I put the movie on this list has also nothing to do with any comparison deriving from Refn’s Drive (as I mentioned in the post). I do think that Only God Forgives is a very personal movie as in everyone gives a different interpretation to the movie where there is no ‘wrong’ nor ‘right’ one (hence me labeling it as a ‘revenge tale’). On the other hand, it may be very well possible that Refn intended all that symbolism. Still, I think the movie has a very loose plot which heavily relies on personal interpretation.

      • The metaphor and symbolism was indeed intended by Refn; most of what I wrote on that post was stuff I read about the film after my first viewing. I then watched the film a second time and saw it thru a totally different set of eyes where things made a lot more sense.

        There are a few aspects that are up for interpretation, but for the most part the metaphors are intended to be true.

        Not sure if you’re up for it, but I do think you may see the film differently if you would give it a second viewing after learning what the symbolism means. When you watch and learn that Chang represents God then the story becomes something entirely different…and suddenly what seemed to be an utter mess focuses into a masterpiece.

        • I am going to give this movie another chance while keeping your analysis in mind, because I really want it to be a good movie. And I will definitely write a full review about it to motivate my thoughts after a second viewing.

  4. Agreeable list. I saw a number of these, but not all (thank god I didn’t for some). Another I would’ve added would be The Heat. I get that a lot of people like Melissa McCarthy’s humor and I find her funny too, but the movie was so overplayed for just that one aspect that it got old after like 10 minutes. I wanted to walk out.

    • Well, you should be happy you haven’t seen all of them — some are real crap. I haven’t seen The Heat, but I’m familiar with McCarthy’s humor and it is very well possible that it turns out rather overplayed. I guess that’s the risk producers and screenwriters take with comedies: you never know what your audience is gonna enjoy, and even if you do know, it is difficult to estimate how long that specific type of humor should last.

  5. Great list. No arguments from this direction. I have either not seen them or agree with you entirely. The Host and After Earth will feature near the top of my worst films of the year list when I come to write it.

    • Thanks man. It’s funny how there is a wide gap in views: some commented that After Earth wasn’t that bad, while some (including you) would have given it one of the top spots on this list. Shyamalan is a wizard!

  6. I agree with you on most of these, except for the Host. I’ve read the book and I was one of the few (at least, I think) who really loved it. And I know the movie’s a bit off sometimes, but they did a pretty good job. But I’m known to love horrible movies, and for that I will try to watch “Getaway” soon, haha!

    • I think The Host was one of the worst in the sense that it was extremely disappointing — or perhaps my expectations were too high.

      Did you watch Getaway already? Please say no 😛

  7. Nice blog, and great idea for a post!

    Wow, I didn’t even realise that there was a third instalment to The Hangover. I pretty much relied on Bradley Cooper’s presence to keep me attentive during the first one.

    Luckily I haven’t seen any of the films in this list, not that I would want to go anywhere near another Stephanie Meyer adaptation.

    Did I just hear you say (and obviously I did, because I read this article rather than listen to you speak it) “Ben would never sink lower than Argo”? I think Ben sunk lower than any film on Earth when he starred in Gigli and Jersey Girl. Or are you only talking about the post-2004 Ben? Anyhow it’s nice to see him generally do so well nowadays. He’s such an impressive director and I don’t think he’s as bad an actor as people say he is.

    • Thanks for the kind words.

      LOL. That comment about Ben was all irony! I mean, it’s more than obvious he sunk lower than Argo.. many times as you mentioned. I’m just really looking forward to see him as Batman.

      Unfortunately I have seen almost all of these films (without leaving the cinema), including The Host. If you want to check out one of the films on this list though, I suggest you watch Only God Forgives if you haven’t already. There seems to be a lot of discussion about that one and perhaps you may like it. But please do skip The Hangover! 😉

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