SYes, many people are already writing their Top 10 movie lists for 2013. We're saving ours for the last week of the year. While we wait for this terrific movie year to wind down, we're going to start looking back at some highlights. Today, it's the five worst films each of us saw this year, in alphabetical order. (Previously: Best scene and best forgotten performance.)
The Canyons. It's generally a bad sign when the person who should be least embarrassed by your movie is Lindsay Lohan. Lohan does her best, really, giving it her all in a movie she quite foolishly considered a potential comeback attempt. Blame writer Bret Easton Ellis and (even moreso) director Paul Schrader, two people who should know better. Schrader's so incompetent and confused here that you wonder if this was meant to be some sort of a joke that he couldn't figure out how to land. If you squint, you can talk yourself into this being some sort of bizarro art project that no one told the actors about. If only.
Charles Swan. Imagine a Wes Anderson movie—the film is written and directed by Anderson's occasional co-writer, Roman Coppola—drained of wit, style, charm and heart. The stunt casting of Charlie Sheen wasn't half as clever an idea as Coppola thought it was—Sheen doesn't seem to have the slightest idea of what sort of movie he's in—and the movie just sort of sputters around, winking at the audience because... why, exactly? Because somehow, this self-indulgent pointless junk exists? An easily skippable bad movie, but you'll want to make extra sure to avoid this; it's not only awful, it makes Bill Murray look awful. Run in the opposite direction.
A Good Day To Die Hard. None of the Die Hard movies after the first one had much reason to exist, but they were still all pretty good, save for maybe the one with Samuel L. Jackson. For all the junk that Bruce Willis has made over the years, he always made sure to try to protect his primary franchise. Which is why it was so shocking how terrible this was: It's not just lousy, it's also weirdly slapdash, like it was shot over a weekend in which everyone made sure to wrap up by 5. We've lost since lost touch with the regular guy by John McClane from the original, but here, he's barely even Action Hero John McClane; he mostly just grunts and occasionally laughs for no reason. I prefer to pretend this is actually a sequel to, say, Mercury Rising, or Striking Distance, and has nothing to do with the once-fantastic Die Hard franchise all together.
The Hangover, Part III. Speaking of laziness, it's difficult for any of the three leads here—who have all moved on past these movies, even as they'll be living on in them through slot machines until the end of time—to even muster up the energy to crack a joke. This is the most oddly joke-free comedy sequel you could come up with. (At times, director Todd Phillips seems to think he's making an action movie.) Are these the worst to sequels to a beloved first film since The Matrix? Audiences, smelling a stinker from the get-go, mostly stayed away, and you can now safely call this series dead.
Only God Forgives. Did you love Drive? Well boy howdy, stay away from director Nicolas Winding Refn's followup, which isn't only a disaster area but will also have you questioning your affection for his last film in the first place. Ryan Gosling is so stranded by his director here that he ends up unwittingly satirizing himself; dialogue that Refn meant straight ends up sounding like rejected "Hey Girl" GIFs. Bloody and repulsive for no reason other than to get the director off, the movie is Drive with everything redeemed excised. Funny thing, too: The music in this, by Cliff Martinez (also from Drive) is haunting and mesmerizing and deserves a far, far better movie than it's stuck with here.
Getaway. Features the stars of two of 2013's best films, Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight) and Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers). Also features some of the least-interesting car chases in movie history. Recommended to people who want to hear Gomez yell "Look out!" a lot.
Grown Ups 2. It's bad enough that Shaquille O'Neal has to ruin Inside the NBA—now he's messing with David Spade's magnum opus.
The Lone Ranger. No bad movie this year received such superbly written defenses as the latest pairing of Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp. (Start with Matt Zoller Seitz's.) Nonetheless, The Lone Ranger was aggressively obnoxious, its humor and action so overblown and inane that it became the embodiment of how summer movies have replaced fun with "fun," serving up a crushingly impersonal kind of entertainment that's exhausting.
Scary Movie 5. Say this about The Canyons: At least Lindsay Lohan was supposed to seem like a zombie in that one.
The Smurfs 2. If Neil Patrick Harris must do sequels to a franchise that's best watched while stoned, let it be Harold & Kumar rather than this junk. N.B.: As far as I know, it's the only children's movie of 2013 that uses a kid's peanut allergy as the trigger for a choking joke.
Grierson & Leitch is a regular column about the movies. Follow us on Twitter, @griersonleitch.