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The Top 10 Worst Films of 2013 - Part I (#'s 10-6)

The old saying goes, "If you want to know where you're going, look back to where you've been." That saying easily sums up 2013, in a nutshell. If you had told me that the end of this movie year would see some of the boldest, most impressive works, ranging from the collapse of the American Dream, to our country's shameful past of putting black slaves into bondage, to sublime stories featuring one person gazing into oblivion and fighting like hell to survive, I wouldn't have believed you, because there was so much crap and mediocrity that we had to sift through. Hell, even summer movies couldn't escape the crippling disease of the Suck this year; that's how dire it was looking. Thankfully, good movies returned just in time for the final five months of the year, but that doesn't mean I can forgive, nor forget, all the shit I personally had to endure at the multiplex. So, if you'll indulge me, I would like to take this time and give a solid kick in the ass goodbye to the 10 most unworthy, most pain-inflicting, most unbearable crap Hollywood had to offer this year.

10. The Host - Just when we thought the world was rid of Stephanie Meyer, the woman who spawned The Twilight Saga returned to theaters with The Host, a deathly dull and uninspired knockoff of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Melaine (Saoirse Ronan) is captured by an alien race and is implanted with her own terrible computer-generated effect called Wanderer, or Wanda for short. Unfortunately for her, her conscious won't shut up (literally) and the dueling identities escape the hands of The Seeker (Dianne Kruger, why?), and have to choose between Bland Cute Hunk #1 and Bland Cute Hunk #2, as well as protect an underground pocket of uninfected humans from capture as well. Meyer wrote the story as a critique of how young girls see themselves and body image, but these traits never come through in the film, and all we're left with is poor visual effects, actors slumming through performances, atrocious pacing, and Hollywood trying to create another Twilight-clone that would be a hit with the fangirl market.

9. Oblivion - What do you get when you combine the plot-lines and concepts to WALL-E, Planet of the Apes, 2001, Total Recall and The Matrix? A reminder that you're better off watching those previously mentioned movies rather than see Joseph Kosinski's uninspired sci-fi thriller that deals with each one, without bringing anything new to the table. Heck, Tom Cruise's character Jack Harper, is an ace pilot who's also equal parts charming and cocky. You know, a lot like his breakout role in Top Gun? I don't mind a director taking inspiration from influential sci-fi fare, but put your own spin on it. Tantalize us with new concepts or build on existing ones which have been set down, or expand on your themes that have something meaningful to say about our society or our politics. It was disappointing when Kosinki didn't expand on the themes of playing God in Tron: Legacy, it's now just a waste his script (he's also one of the writers in this movie) doesn't have anything meaningful to say.

8. Pain & Gain - After watching 2 hours of Bay trying (and failing) to make a Coens-style black comedy - filled with the director showing (in loving detail) how three nitwits (Mark Walbergh as Daniel Lugo; Anthony Mackie as Adrian Dorbal; and Dwayne Johnson as Paul Doyle) tried to get rich quick by stealing Victor Kershaw's (Tony Shaloub) fortune and disposing him through running him over several times and crashing his car to make it look like he was driving drunk; a warehouse full of sex toys; a throwaway gang-rape gag (I'm not kidding), mean-spirited homophobia and staging cruel and deplorable scenes of torture and violence as comedy, I realize two things: This is the work of a petulant teenager who watched Fargo and Burn After Reading and thought the material could be improved with lingering shots of cruel torture scenes and objectifying female characters at every turn. And that this is who Michael Bay is - a hack who borrows from other better directors while catering to the teenage moron in the audience. Bay will be back next year with the fourth installment of the Transformers series, Age of Extinction, but you can count me out. Like with Sandler movies, I'm done giving this asshole money, just for me to bitch about how bereft of wit, substance or excitement his latest flick is.

7. The Internship - A movie featuring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson? It should be a great follow-up to the last time the comedy duo were onscreen in Wedding Crashers in 2005! Instead of crashing weddings and hooking up with bridesmaids, they're interns at Google (because the world's largest search engine site is known for hiring thirty-somethings who know fuck all about computers or how to write and program code), working with outcasts on a summer internship to get a sport at working for the company, spewing vague motivational spiel and firing outdated  80's references, and generally annoying their teammates with their uselessness, and the audience as well. What should have been a vehicle to highlight the reunion comedic charm of Vaughn and Wilson, instead tuns into a lazy comedy searching for jokes and comedic chemistry.

6. The Best Man Holiday - Of all the movies I labored over whether or not I could, in good conscious, put on the year-end worst list, this sequel to the 1999 comedy-drama The Best Man, was the hardest for me, because Terrence Howard was the best thing about this film. When he was onscreen, he got the best lines and the biggest laughs in a movie that's filled with too many character arcs that aren't fully developed, plot twists you could see coming a mile off, characters making the most implausible and idiotic decisions solely because the script says so, and so much in-your-face religious referencing that I rolled my eyes every time the film's director and writer, Malcolm D. Lee, made the actors go on about spewing religious spiel. I really wanted to like this movie, but the overly-sentimentality and the sludgy pacing wouldn't let me.

So that's part one of the list of the worst movies list. Which cinematic dreck will I name as the most detestable, unworthy, and flat out awful movie I've seen this year? Find out next week!


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