See the rest of TIME’s Top 10 of Everything 2013 lists here
10. The Hangover Part III
Alcohol poisoning can be deadly and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. But something needs to put this franchise, which in its first installment was raw and disgusting and also totally hilarious, out of its nasty, self-loathing misery. So, drink up, boys.
9. Oz the Great and Powerful
A prequel that never should have seen the light of day features the arrival of Oz (James Franco) in the land of yellow brick roads and presents the story behind the wicked witch becoming both wicked and green. (Hint: he’s just not that into her.) Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz dress up the production a bit but the movie looks tawdry and every line has, uh, a tin quality to it. You can’t fault director Sam Raimi for having the courage — oh God, stop me — to take on one of the most classic movies of all time, but this Oz lacks heart. Wait, just one more; it was truly brainless to cast both smirking Franco and dramatically untested Mila Kunis, who seems more lost and disoriented in this production than poor old Dorothy after a spin in a tornado. Can we all go back to our annual viewing of the brilliant original, please?
8. The Counselor
Look, were there movies of less cinematic value released this year? Certainly. But was there a movie that both raised and dashed expectations more impressively than Ridley Scott’s film of Cormac McCarthy’s first original — but really unoriginal —screenplay? No. Here’s who couldn’t save this movie from its portentous, foolish self: Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz and Michael Fassbender — all playing doomed characters we won’t remember in another six months. What will linger is the unfortunately indelible image of Cameron Diaz doing splits on a car’s windshield.
7. The Big Wedding
You may be thinking, how bad can a movie about a wedding be, what with the celebration of love and all? Unbearably offensive if it’s the nuptials of Alejandro (Ben Barnes) and Missy (Amanda Seyfried), which are attended and fussed over by a series of gross stereotypes. There are the senior citizens (Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Robert DeNiro) utterly defined by the fact that they’re still horny (nothing wrong with that, if only the vulgar screenplay didn’t patronize them so), a pair of weird prudes (Alejandro’s South American birth mother and his still-virginal 30-something brother), exotic seductresses (Latin, of course), a purportedly barren leaner-inner (Katherine Heigl) and bigots (the bride’s parents). Gratuitous and in the end, grossly sentimental: it’s a marriage made in hell.
6. Only God Forgives
The maiming and/or killing in director Nicholas Winding Refn’s arty, sleazy film plays out like a really slow, bloody game of revenge tag. The first to go is a 16-year-old prostitute in Bangkok. Then her father kills her American rapist/killer and so on. It’s all swinging swords and bursting arteries, save the occasional glimpse of Ryan Gosling wandering through a red room or watching a beautiful woman masturbate. The visuals are aggressive — from the camera’s examination of fresh entrails to the lush beauty of the dark urban night — but the story is inert and the dialogue plays like a parody of Blue Velvet. But Kristin Scott Thomas, playing Gosling’s vicious mother, deserves a nod for almost being the film’s lone saving grace.
Dead guys Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges return to earth as members of the Rest in Peace Department, hunting foul-looking rogue spirits in an action movie likely to thrill only make-up artists. There’s a little bit of Ghostbusters to the story, too much Ghost and a ton of computer-generated billowing clouds and beams of light from on high. Bridges can usually be depended upon to elevate anything and everything, but his grating Western sheriff type, a Lonesome Dove-style character gone way over the top, becomes tedious within a minute of his first appearance. This one was practically the death of me.
4. After Earth
Two Smiths — Will and Jaden — co-star as a father-son pair locked in the classic love-hate battle that pits the domineering leader against resentful youth. That the settings are intergalactic, the time frame post-apocalyptic, and the space-suits flattering does nothing to elevate the dynamic beyond the tedium of everyday dinner table squabbles most of us have witnessed or participated in. With a story as thin as a minor episode of Star Trek — cross the dangerous tundra to pick up that thing we need so we can get home again — there is ample time to ponder such matters as why family features so many different regional accents and where Jaden Smith falls on the annoying-petulant-space-boy spectrum. (Perilously close to the Jake Lloyd end.) As for director M. Night Shyamalan: who knew that one day, The Village would seem like a career highpoint?
3. The Host
An adaptation of a Stephenie Meyers novel — the words that strikes fear into the heart of film critics everywhere. But at least this is just a one-off; no sequel looms and the dismal box-office should be the final stake in its heart. No vampires either, as the setting is the future, where Diane Kruger plays a bossy alien with eyes with a chilly glint, like the sparkle in toothpaste ads. She and her pals are taking over human bodies, including that of a teenager named Melanie (Saoirse Ronan). But Melanie, and her love for her boyfriend, is so strong that the alien can’t control the person inside. So they have long, chirpy, internal debates about it. For context: It’s like a dumber Bella talking to dumbest Bella. You will never feel worse for an actress (not even Cameron Diaz) than you will for poor Ronan, who not long ago was a very young Oscar nominee.
The accompanying score alone could have landed this unnecessary documentary about the reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye on this list. Incessant, obtrusive and hysterical in tone, it soars to what feels like a hundred alleged dramatic peaks that are, in reality, minor bits of trivia. Then there’s the drooling adulation from minor characters who had no connection to Salinger. “What I have here is J. D. Salinger’s yearbook from the Valley Forge Military Academy,” salivates rare-book seller Harvey Jason. “It’s an extraordinary item.” Really? It looks like another old yearbook to me. The “recreations” of the writer, sitting on an empty stage, typing, smoking and ruminating are absurd. What’s new in this film that promised such startling revelations? Precious little. What emerges? A portrait of the writer as a controlling, predatory creep and a feeling that the filmmaker may missed his calling in reality television.
1. Grown Ups 2
There is no plot. I don’t mean there isn’t much of a plot. I mean there is no plot. Just four repulsive guys (Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, David Spade and Kevin James) wandering around their hometown confronting the big themes of life: Urination, Defecation, Drooling, Bad Things Happening to Their Scrotums. Misogynistic, homophobic and sloppy, Grown Ups 2 is essentially a walk down a junior-high school hallway, except for the presence of various lovely women (Salma Hayek, Maya Rudolph, Maria Bello) who we’re expected to believe actually married these guys. There are people who will argue that 12 Years a Slave is the most depressing movie of the year. Enduring Grown Ups 2 threw me into a much deeper funk.
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