2018 Calvin Awards: Worst Picture
By Reagen Sulewski
February 28, 2018
And now a brief pause in the celebration of excellence in film for 2017 to look at its opposite. The worst films of the year are highlighted here, and then hopefully redacted with black marker as we realize, “Oh no, that was a mistake. We never should have highlighted these films in the first place. What were we thinking?”
A repeat series champion in this category, Fifty Shades Darker fulfilled the destiny of the first entry in this series by claiming top (bottom?) spot on this list for another year, and warms up the seat for the final film in the trilogy. It's bad in a slightly different way, which let's give it that, but it's moved on from its just plain terrible smut roots (there's the name of my new funk band) to being terrible at sex and being terrible at being a thriller at the same time, introducing a half-baked stalker plot and some dime store psychology about what makes a rich white jackass become a rich white jackass with control issues.
Also no longer happy with being terrible about gender relations, some implied race problems crept their way in, making this the most retrograde, boring and irredeemable movie of 2017, and it nearly doubled the vote count for our second worst film.
That went to Baywatch, a rare misstep in the The Rock's oeuvre. You can see the germ of where this idea made sense – 21 Jump Street plowed the path for this sort of parodical take on an old TV show that was, at one time, the most watched thing on the *planet*, and was inherently cheesy. Of course, 21 Jump Street was the master class for this, and Baywatch never quite committed to the bit, still holding on to boob jokes and wanting us to take the movie seriously, all the while not having anywhere near the wit required to pull this thing off. It's just another sad entry in the “unfunny comedies” category, the kind of film that really has no redeeming value.
Third place goes to another visit from the place where joy goes to die, i.e. the DC Extended Universe. While they finally managed a film this year that everyone enjoyed, Justice League was not that film. Their big marquee multi hero team-up a la The Avengers held to their dark and dismal playbook that led to such awesome results with Batman v Superman, combined with some of the most wack CGI (Henry Cavill's mustache, ye gods) and the least compelling villain in perhaps not just superhero history, but the history of film. *This* is what we were waiting for? If there were such a thing as cinematic malpractice, this would be a prime example.
Fourth spot goes to the ill-conceived remake of the Japanese animated classic Ghost in the Shell, brought to live action and starring Scarlett Johansson for... not good reasons. While visually pretty impressive, it lost basically everything in translation, with the philosophical underpinnings making way for “pew pew pew!” This is just a pale copy of something, done without understanding.
While there's often a curve on the grade for family films, occasionally they just drop right out the bottom of it. That's the case for the hilariously literal Monster Trucks, which finds fifth place on our dishonor list. While it's going for a decidedly pre-teen audience, the rubbery CGI and idiotic plotting more than broke through our general tolerance for kids films. And did we mention this somehow lost a studio $115 million?
Where that was “Transformers for pre-teens,” the “Transformers for slightly older than pre-teens but adults still saw it for some reason,” The Last Knight, ends up in sixth spot. Having used up all the good and normal seeming plots,Michael Bay went for the most natural progression – Arthurian England. Ohhhhkaaayy. I'm looking forward to Transformers 7, which will be a romcom somehow.
The Mummy shows up in seventh, as Universal's attempt at creating their own cinematic universe fell flat for what feels like the 20th time. Eighth place goes to Darren Aronofsky's controversial and extreeeemly offputting mother!, which was hammered for its pretension and general audience punishing style.
Ninth place finds Geostorm, the film that wishes it was 1998 again, and these kind of slapped together disaster films were still in vogue, and that insane science was still tolerated by audiences. And finally in tenth, we have another entry in the kid's film category, The Emoji Movie, a shameless product placement film based that basically copied all of the hacky things about early DreamWorks animation and added in talking poop. You're welcome, modern society!
2018 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
||Fifty Shades Darker
||Ghost in the Shell
||Transformers: The Last Knight
||Emoji Movie, The