For every action there is an opposite reaction. What is light without the dark? Happiness without sadness? What goes up must come down…eventually. The best films of the year have their Doppelganger, too in my 5 worst films of 2013.
At number 5 is a curious one. I did not like this film but still think there is a chance they could actually make a good film with a better script and a little more time to write it; The Purge. James DeMonaco’s direction and script have promise but what we see is all we have to go on for right now and it is ludicrous. In the not too distant future , all crime, including murder are fair game for one night. You know, to blow off a little steam with a little murder, rape and mayhem. What could have been a great film about society and the effects of violence on it, comes across as nothing more than a cheap slasher flick with stupid characters doing stupid things. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey are the couple barricaded in their home with their two children until the Purge night comes a-knocking and all hell breaks loose. Nothing in this film is special or interesting and this is nothing than a squandered opportunity.
At number 4 is Fisher Stevens’ Stand Up Guys a tired and lame attempt at making a comedy that is not funny or even interesting. This from a cast that includes Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin (very briefly). Who would ever think that they could all be in such a bad film. I sat stone faced and just shook my head. Old Coot, sexual stamina and penis jokes abound in a very poorly written and cliched film. When it tries to be serious, all I could do was roll my eyes.
At Number 3 is The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones. This teen film is not only derivative of just about every other teen film from Buffy to Lord Of The Rings to Harry Potter but it is so poorly done it stunned me that they are planning a sequel WITH THE SAME WRITER AND DIRECTOR. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice……
The last two films were a tough ones. Not only to watch once but to go back and look at my notes as to which one I hated more. At number 2 is a big number 2 in the form of John Moore’s A Good Day To Die Hard. This film stars Bruce Willis who is sleepwalking through and just cashing a big payday as 80’s icon John McClane as he goes to Russia to get his son, Jack out of trouble. Jack, as it turns out is actually a CIA agent ( where was he for the last Die Hard film? ) who is on the trail of a rebel leader who has a cadre of nuclear weapons and is set on using them. At a run time of 97 minutes it is 97 minutes of illiterate nonsense. Action that makes no sense, a script that seems to be written by a 10 year old, and Jai Courtney lumbering through with Willis crapping on an otherwise great franchise. This film was only number 2 because I could actually watch mindless violence, if nothing else. But make no mistake, at 97 minutes or the ‘director’s cut’ of 100 minutes, this is about as much fun as watching someone mow their yard.
So now we get to it. The number 1 film that pissed me off more than any other Only God Forgives. A maddeningly bad film that pits Ryan Gosling (also sleepwalking and cashing a paycheck) as a drug dealing, fight club owner in Bangkok who must contend with his mother (Kristen Scott Thomas) and a sadistic police officer named Chang (Vithaya Pansringham) who can dismember anyone and be at the local Karaoke bar within the hour. This was from the talented writer and director Nicolas Winding Refn who brought us the terrific Drive only last year. Nonsensical, pointless, boring, dull, one dimensional characters, and just plain awful in its execution and on all levels except for Cliff Martinez’s score and some nice lighting to give it a noir feel. This film is 89 minutes and it seems like an eternity. This film sinks beneath its gore and vapidity to show a real nasty side of Refn who seems to delight in the carnage that ensues. This POS was enough to make me want to take a shower afterwards to wash the dirtiness that I picked up by watching it. It is one of the most unpleasant experiences I have ever had watching films in 45 years on this planet. A must to avoid. SO, there you have it. For every good or great film there is always another that will immediately sap the life right out of you.