Some of the Most Astonishingly Bad Films of 2016


2016: a pretty terrible year for pretty much everything, really. From politics to celebrity deaths, there was very little that wasn’t tarnished. Cinema, on the other hand, largely managed to keep its head above the parapet and delivered a plethora of great films that catered to all demographics in all the right ways. I guess what they say is true: in times of crisis, art flourishes. Unfortunately we’re not here to look at what cinema was good this year, we’re here to jump on the grim cynicism bandwagon and deliver one last kick to the dead horse that was this year. Here are the top 5 worst films of 2016.

5. Grimsby (The Brothers Grimsby)

Racism, classism AIDs, farts, fellatio…ARE YOU LAUGHING YET!? Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest ‘comedy’ is as hateful and staggeringly degenerate as a film can get before someone calls Amnesty and starts accusing you of human rights abuses. Some will call it ‘edgy’ – the same kind of people who drink paint thinner and watch Adam Sandler movies – while others will see it for what it really is: a comedian desperately grasping at the most outrageous of strands in some skewed attempt to stay relevant. I’d call it pathetic, but that would imply that I had some semblance of sympathy for the man who dreamed up this misanthropic trash. And that elephant…That poor, poor elephant.

Grimsby (2016), directed by Louis Leterrier, is distributed by Columbia Pictures. Certificate 15.

4. Gods of Egypt

Whiter than a Vanilla Ice album and more misjudged than an episode of Family Guy, Alex Proyas doesn’t so much rejoice in the African sun as he does spontaneously combust the second the light touches his skin. Despite boasting a budget of $140 million, the film looks cheaper than a primetime fantasy show (by the halfway point, I was expecting Kevin Sorbo to show up), assaults us with performances from actors who look embarrassed to be there and wields a script filled with the kind of *cough* ‘witty’ repartee that makes you want to go rooting around in your ears with a screwdriver. So awful in fact that you’d think Proyas would want to distance himself from any and all publicity…wait, what was that, Mr. Proyas? Film critics are diseased vultures and we just don’t get your ‘art’? Whatever you say!

Gods of Egypt (2016), directed by Alex Proyas, is distributed by Summit Entertainment. Certificate 12A.

3. Dirty Grandpa

It wouldn’t be a worst films of the year list if there wasn’t a jock comedy on here somewhere. Same deal as always: a celebration of the worst kind of sybaritic lifestyle, gross-out humour to rival that of Grimsby and a sensationally retrograde air of chauvinism and homophobia. Nothing we haven’t seen before. Wait a second…what the hell is Robert De Niro doing here!? And why the hell is he masturbating over a porn magazine!? I know that the guy’s got bills to pay, but there has to be a better way of doing it than this…sanitation work for instance?

Dirty Grandpa (2016), directed by Dan Mazer, is distributed by Lionsgate. Certificate 15.

02. God’s Not Dead 2

I’ve gotta say, God’s Not Dead 2 is a vast improvement on the outright hateful and incompetent God’s Not Dead 1. But considering how bad the first one was, that’s like saying: ‘your arm may have just been cut off…but at least the wound hasn’t gone septic’. Yet more paranoid delusions about the persecution of evangelical Christians are indulged – the inaccuracies of which I’m sure a law student would have a fun time explaining to the writers of this travesty – and the education system gets yet another pummelling, this time with the help of Pat Boone and Sabrina the Teenage Witch! If nothing else, this film does add new meaning to the phrase ‘Whiter is God…I will tell you. We have killed him you and I…’

God’s Not Dead 2 (2016), directed by Harold Cronk, is distributed by Pure Flix Entertainment. Certificate PG.

1. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

It could be argued that God’s Not Dead 2 is a worse film and I’d be the first to agree. But I’m of the belief that as terrible as a film about God going to court is, there’s something much more insidious about a film with literally 50 times the budget and support from one of the biggest film studios in the world that still manages to fail on every conceivable level. This is the kind of film that can destroy production companies. The kind of film that future film historians will look back on and shake their heads in disgust and pity. In fact the more I think of it, it’s scary how many similarities the two films share: bland characters, overly-pompous tone, laughable dialogue and more Jesus symbolism than was thought humanly possible. Small world.

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), directed by Zack Snyder, is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Certificate 12A.



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Filmmaker, philosopher, critic (on occasion). Also writes for MUBI Notebook. It's not the side-effects of the cocaine. I'm thinking that it must be love.

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