The Big List | The 50 Worst Movies of the Decade (So Far)
10. The Nutcracker in 3D (2010)
A sad come-down for director Andrei Konchalovsky — who, back in the 80s, made some of Cannon Films’ more prestigious movies, like Runaway Train and Shy People — and for Tchaikovsky, whose immortal ballet gets a hip-hop twist along with brain-punishing lyrics by Tim Rice, plus some of the worst 3D since the Clash of the Titans remake. In this version, young Clara (Elle Fanning, blameless here) runs afoul not of mice but of Nazi-esque rats (John Turturro and Frances de la Tour) whose sky-blackening power plants feed on children’s toys in what looks like Mattel’s Auschwitz. Oh, and did I mention Nathan Lane as Albert Einstein? Because Nathan Lane pops up as Albert Einstein.
Worst Moment: Any scene with the creepy CGI talking Nutcracker. And then any scene without the creepy CGI talking Nutcracker. ~ Alonso Duralde
9. I, Frankenstein (2014)
Of all the supremely serious, completely drained-of-color comic book adaptations of the last five years, I, Frankenstein is certainly the stupidest of all of them. Featuring Frankenstein’s Monster (Aaron Eckhart) as a ripped dude with great suture work, plus gargoyles, demons, laser-risen lab rats and their sexy caretaker (Yvonne Starhavoski), I, Frankenstein has no excuse not to embrace its ridiculousness and be ridiculous fun. But instead, it’s drab, it’s draining, and because it chooses to try for drama and redemption (“You’re only a monster if you behave like one,” says the seemingly only human woman left on earth amidst this battle of gargoyles and demons) I, Frankenstein is just plain stupid. Not every genre-mashup needs the serious touch. Embrace the stupidity and have fun with it, or else end up in the Top 10 Worst Movies of the 2010’s.
Worst Moment: I, Frankenstein‘s badness is a collection of monstrosities that is somehow best represented with the end credit “special thanks” to Mary Shelley. It should’ve read “I, Frankenstein, no thanks to Mary Shelley.” ~ Brian Formo
8. Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie (2012)
Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie – spun out from the titular comedians’ absurdist public television parody – is anti-comedy. The only way to deal with this repellant film is with comedy theory: Absurdist comedy often serves as a sharp, tongue-in-cheek criticism of social norms by inverting them into something that deliberately makes no sense. Billion turns comedy into something that is not meant to be laughed at, but recoiled from. Its wit lies in how witless it can get. I recoiled plenty at this awful movie, so I suppose Tim and Eric were successful in their goals. But I still walked away feeling sad and horrified.
Worst Moment: Shrim. ~ Witney Seibold
7. The Human Centipede III (Final Sequence) (2015)
The first two Human Centipede movies have their detractors, but they are real movies. Real disgusting movies, of course, but that was the point. The horrifying concept behind the franchise – that a series of madmen are each inspired by the other to sew their victims’ mouths to each other’s rectums – was treated like a cruel scenario. Director Tom Six dared you to watch the horrible events unfold because they were scary, not because they were fun.
But that’s just the approach he took in The Human Centipede III, an impossibly shrill, grotesque “comedy” that presents the most atrocious events of the whole series (and that’s saying something) as if they were gags, and the result is… you want to gag. And you probably will, either at the hateful violence, the pervasive misogyny, the unwatchable performances, the wrongheaded political satire, or all of the above. If you can get through it, that is.
Worst Moment: The warden’s snack of choice is… oh god, it’s so fucking gross. ~ William Bibbiani
6. Salinger (2013)
Shane Salerno (screenwriter of Armageddon and Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft) commits the cardinal sin of documenting an important genius: he thinks that if he has a presentation about said genius, it makes himself a genius. Salerno’s film attempts to be an authoritative statement about reclusive author J.D. Salinger (Catcher in the Rye), but instead this is a gossip reel, quickly cobbled together with “gotcha!” mechanics concerning love affairs, PTSD, and featuring numerous fawning talking head interviews with famous people. But there is no statement. The thing that Salinger misses is that the author’s withdrawal from society is his statement. This pile of talking heads is presented as the great opening of sealed Salinger documents and it makes the viewer aware of why Salinger would choose silence, anyway.
Who are we to demand closure from someone in the public eye? And who thought hiring a Salinger re-enactor to chain smoke at a typewriter would make us feel closer to his public ghost? Salinger is surface level dreck that gets about as deep as E! True Hollywood Story—except it’s so damn smug about having new information (it doesn’t; what it does have is more invasive than revealing). Making something about a genius does not a genius make.
Worst Moment: Salinger reveals what type of documentary it is early on when it features a picture taken by a fan as Salinger enters his SUV. This is predatory fandom, aligned closer with the cuckoo crazies who snapped pictures of the author when he occasionally drove down to pick up his mail. ~ Brian Formo