2016 Calvin Awards: Worst Picture
By Reagen Sulewski
February 24, 2016
In theory, there's nothing wrong with the idea of updating a classic comedy like Vacation, taking Rusty Griswold and giving him his own family to deal with, and sending him on a mishap-filled journey. The devil, of course, is always in the the details and we should have realized that the typical modern technique to update a classic comedy is to fill it with gross-out humor and to just generally get mean. The vast majority of these remakes (and you had better be listening, Ghostbusters) exist as cash grabs, and Vacation solidifies this – as the sight of the Griswolds frolicking around in raw sewage does attest.
Making films based on contractual issues almost never turns out well. Time-limited rights have given us the Amazing Spider-Man films and now a reboot of Fantastic Four, none of which have been worth even half a thought. While the assumption was that Josh Trank's version would have to improve on Tim Story's tepid FF films, we couldn't have anticipated just how much they'd mess up this family of superheroes by making them super-ordinary. Either there was direction to play every main character as spectacularly bored and anti-social, or else everyone just realized very quickly how terrible the whole thing was going to be very early on and stopped trying. It's the rare film that has its director publicly denounce it on opening day (and thus ensure no one hire him again), but Fantastic Four inspires just that much bile.
Aren't mustaches funny and also revolting? This appears to be the sole thought that went into making our sixth place film Mortdecai, the latest attempt to destroy any remaining goodwill we have towards Johnny Depp. Based on an apparently popular (but not for long) book series about a Clouseau-esque detective, approximately three-quarters of this movie is made of people reacting to the lead character's mustache with horror and revulsion, and then on come the dry heaves. No, really, a bunch of it is made up of sympathetic vomiting. How did no one stop this before it escaped?
Seventh place goes to the latest Alvin and the Chipmunks abomination, The Road Chip, which continues to inflict itself on, by this time, very suspecting parents of small children. Now, it's not as if there's any great tradition of singing rodents that they're ruining here, but it's more a question of what more they hope to wring out of this concept. Please, please, please, for all that is good and decent in this world – stop.
It's difficult to work up a great deal of hatred for Adam Sandler these days, as he's mostly in self-imposed exile to Netflix now, and it's mostly just pity you feel as he tries to recapture old glory days by repeating the same joke that worked 15 years ago. But then he had to go and make Pixels, which used up a *dynamite* premise about video games coming to life, and then make the laziest, dumbest jokes possible about it. Thanks for nothing again, Adam.
Ninth spot sees The Boy Next Door, an “erotic” thriller in which Jennifer Lopez is stalked by a barely legal student. Clunky dialogue, laughable and audience-insulting plot twists and boring sex scenes make this pretty much intolerable.
Wrapping up our list of 10 is Blackhat from a filmmaker I worry that we've lost for good, Michael Mann. Thor plays a hacker sent out to capture an international cyber terrorist group, because traveling around the world is exactly how you do that. We spent most of this film wondering when James van der Beek was going to show up.
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
||Fifty Shades of Grey
||Hot Tub Time Machine 2
||Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
||The Boy Next Door