The Big List | The 50 Worst Movies of the Decade (So Far)
30. The Nut Job (2014)
Much of children’s entertainment is shrill and stupid, but the bulk of it is out-shrilled and out-stupided by The Nut Job, an overwhelmingly annoying CGI-animated film about a clever squirrel seeking to steal nuts from gangsters. The character design is ugly, the colors abrasive, the message mixed, the fart jokes plentiful. Confusingly, it also lifts the last scene – almost wholesale – from The Dark Knight, explaining that Surly Squirrel is the squirrel the park deserves.
Worst Moment: An animated version of Korean pop sensation PSY appears over the credits to dance Gangnam Style with the characters. ~ Witney Seibold
29. The Last Airbender (2010)
Take one of the most exciting, beautifully animated, philosophically complex television series of the 21st Century, give it to a new director who doesn’t even care enough to get the characters’ names right, and you get… this. M. Night Shyamalan changed everything that mattered about Avatar: The Last Airbender, siphoning out the vitality and leaving only portent, flattening the characters to less than one dimension and turning the wonder of magic into a grunting effort to barely move a rock. At least the TV series got a few good gags out of this debacle.
Worst Moment: The evil, insidious Fire Nation imprisons a group of dangerous Earthbenders – who can control rocks – in a freakin’ rock quarry. After what has apparently been quite a number of years, both sides suddenly notice the flaw in this plan. ~ William Bibbiani
28. One Day (2011)
What’s worse than spending 24 hours with a pair of narcissist twits? Having to check in on those same twits on an annual basis, in a “Same Time, Next Year” for masochists. Anne Hathaway blossoms from ugly ducking (as if) to a woman of the world, while rich rotter Jim Sturgess takes her for granted before coming to the ludicrously belated revelation that she’s the love of his life. People love the book on which this movie is based, and perhaps in those pages you’ll find out who these characters really are and why they love each other and why we should care if they live or die, but none of that made it to the big screen.
Worst Moment: Someone dies, and it’s supposed to be moving, but that passing only underscores how vague and sketchy these two ninnies have been for the film’s seemingly endless running time. ~ Alonso Duralde
27. The Hangover Part II (2011)
If the original Hangover captured anything, it was the unbridled excess of the male id in blackout mode, as a group of guys discover (by retracing their steps) how reckless that id can be. But what should’ve been a hit-it-and-quit-it hit got a sequel because that’s what happens with hits. If The Hangover was a party, then The Hangover Part II is just the next day vomit in the toilet. It contains everything that was inside the movie before, except it’s coated with bile. For example, Stu (Ed Helms) drunkenly hooked up with a stripper in The Hangover. In Part II he gets anally penetrated by a transvestite prostitute.
Worst Moment: The moment the dudes toast each other in Bangkok, promising to not let the hijinks happen again. Part II is so fully aware of its “here we go again” moment that this can’t be seen as anything other than a callous cash-in. ~ Brian Formo
26. Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Two of the worst, laziest trends in contemporary filmmaking — live-action retellings of classic Disney cartoons and reboots of storybook characters, only with swords — cross paths in this wretched Tim Burton production that somehow made a billion kazillion dollars in those heady post-Avatar days when people gladly forked over extra money for 3D, no matter how hideously crafted. A slightly older Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to Wonderland only to find it war-scorched and desolate, and she must ultimately suit up in armor and fight alongside the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) in a battle royale. Hideous to behold, flatly written, and boasting yet another Johnny Depp performance that’s all makeup and teeth and costuming, this drivel of course spawned a sequel, coming in 2016.
Worst Moment: The tea party sequence, in which Depp’s Mad Hatter gets to dominate the screen with a burst of flatulent indulgence. ~ Alonso Duralde
25. Valentine’s Day (2010)
An enormous cast of Garry Marshall’s pals portray a raving gang of dullards in Los Angeles, photogenic idiots who get inordinately excited about Valentine’s Day. They pine and whine and intersect in the five blocks that make up one of the country’s largest cities. Then they get their sex reward. It’s like Crash fucked Love, Actually and out came the world’s least interesting baby. And you have to wait for the closing credits to get the best joke. Tinder challenge: if they list this film this as a favorite, swipe left.
Worst Moment: There are some gay men here, but they are denied the proper arc-resolving smooch that everyone else gets. Instead, one man brushes the other’s cheek with an orchid. Seriously. ~ Dave White
24. Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas (2014)
Kirk Cameron is here to explain everything to you, and your science and your history will not get in the way of his rationalizing all the reasons why you need to be celebrating Christmas exactly the way Kirk Cameron does. There are some cheesy recreations of the Nativity, and of St. Nicholas (presented here as a WWE fighter for Christ), but most of the movie is set in a suburban McMansion (or the front seat of an SUV) where the former Growing Pains star makes ludicrous assertions about materialism and trees and paganism while co-star and director Darren Doane responds with witty comebacks like, “Well yeah, but… [silence]”
Worst Moment: Either the lengthy introduction, in which Cameron attempts to pad the 80-minute movie while also unconvincingly drinking cocoa from an empty mug, or the scene set in a snowy Christmas-tree lot that is unmistakably indoors. ~ Alonso Duralde
23. The Inbetweeners Movie (2011)
Imagine American Pie, but British and also lacking all its wit, grace, and charm. The Inbetweeners Movie, based on a cult TV series, takes a lot of familiar teen comedy tropes – i.e. horny boys gathering together to lose their collective virginity – but reveals how mean-spirited a lot of these kids truly are. The main characters of Inbetweeners are not charming in their bumbling sexual advances, but borderline rapists who insult women, criticize girls’ weight, cheat on their girlfriends, outwardly lie, and generally behave like total dickheads. And we’re supposed to laugh at their awfulness, rather than wince at it.
Worst Moment: When the fat girl is repeatedly insulted for being fat. ~ Witney Seibold
22. Get Hard (2015)
Will Ferrell is a corporate executive on his way to prison. Kevin Hart is black, which in Ferrell’s mind means he understands the ins and outs of incarceration. Hart doesn’t, but offers to teach Ferrell about the most important and hilarious in-and-out fact of life on lockdown: being raped. See, it doesn’t matter what actually happens behind bars, it’s the fear of penetration that matters. Because that’s being a women. Or gay. And both of those options are disgusting. The filmmakers thought this sort of laugh-fest would just write itself. It did not.
Worst Moment: Hart and Ferrell go to a West Hollywood coffee shop in order for Ferrell to learn how to suck dick. Hart assures Ferrell that this is what happens at coffee shops frequented by gay men. “That’s what they do!” he shouts. Then the movie confirms this as fact. ~ Dave White
21. Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Lots of people love Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins, but do you know who didn’t? P.L. Travers, the woman who wrote the books the movie is based on. Saving Mr. Banks not only defends Disney’s dramatically different interpretation of Travers’ work but it also has the gall to demean the original author and rewrite her personal history, to suggest that not only did she like Disney’s film, but also that she thought it was better than her books and that it fixed her personal baggage. Saving Mr. Banks is technically “well made,” but it’s well made in service of cruel condescension towards a woman who had the gall to defend her own work, and that makes it an ugly, sad experience.
Worst Moment: After Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) calmly explains that he’s better than P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) because he got over his daddy issues, the film cuts to a year later and illustrates that she took his words to heart because now she wears pastels. Like all happy women do? ~ William Bibbiani