Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Aftermath (Photo: Lionsgate Premiere), Just Getting Started (Photo: Broad Green Pictures), and Underworld: Blood Wars (Photo: Sony Pictures)

Bad movies can be torture to watch, but a blast to write about. Thankfully, the resulting pans can also be a lot of fun to read. Below, we’ve singled out every predominately negative review (that is, C- or lower) written by our resident film critic and master of the pan, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, in 2017.

Slamma Jamma is a basketball movie by way of Ed Wood

Photo: RiverRain Productions

Grade: D-
“Amazingly, Slamma Jamma was shot by Dean Cundey, the cinematographer of The Thing, Halloween, Jurassic Park, Back To The Future, and many other famous films, though not that you can tell; the lighting and camerawork suggest a random bozo with a clip reel of cooking infomercials and corporate training videos. It’s a lazy, crappy film, and perhaps even a cynical one, but its ineptitude is charming.”

James Franco has directed some bad movies, but none as boring as In Dubious Battle

Photo: Momentum Pictures

Grade: D
“Every Franco personal project—from his unintelligible, low-budget adaptations of William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying, The Sound And The Fury) and Cormac McCarthy (Child Of God) to his novels and assorted experiments in self-fellatio—is born with a ‘Kick Me’ sign on its back, begging critics to punt it in the keister for making artistic ambition look lame. This one even comes with a freebie: It’s got ‘dubious’ right there in the title.”

The Shack dares to ask, “What if God were a character actor?”

Photo: Lionsgate

Grade: D
“There’s a canoeing accident and ‘an old Indian legend’ involved—and other stuff that we’ll get to in time. But the whole film is a crime against narrative, so bungled that it might actually be the victim of sabotage.”

As Bruce Willis proves in Once Upon A Time In Venice, you can’t embarrass yourself if you don’t try

Photo: RLJ Entertainment

Grade: D
“Stylistically, Once Upon A Time In Venice is mostly indistinguishable from a middling TV pilot that never made it to series, which is impressive, given that it was shot by Amir Mokri, erstwhile cinematographer to Michael Bay and Zack Snyder.”

No one wins in the crappy suburban satire The House

Photo: Warner Bros.

Grade: D
“Whatever satirical intent the script might have (and it clearly has some) immediately surrenders to the lackadaisical, incoherent direction of Andrew Jay Cohen, a screenwriter (Neighbors, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) making his feature directing debut. The pace is hectic, but the jokes just aren’t there.”

The Underworld franchise keeps sucking in Blood Wars

Photo: Sony Pictures

Grade: D+
“Written by Cory Goodman (Priest, The Last Witch Hunter) and directed with sort-of-competence by the longtime Roland Emmerich associate Anna Foerster, the new, generically titled Underworld: Blood Wars is everything an entry in this notoriously interchangeable series is supposed to be, though anyone expecting it to be good has walked into the wrong theater.”

The Crash is a poor man’s financial thriller

Photo: Vertical Entertainment

Grade: D+
“If only The Crash were anything like a poor man’s Michael Mann movie. Bluntly obvious, indifferently organized, and unremittingly generic—a hodgepodge of airplane hangars, book-lined living rooms, and downtown street corners—it’s more like a poor man’s version of itself.”

A movie that pits Bruce Lee, Steve McQueen, and a Shaolin monk against gangsters shouldn’t be as boring as Birth Of The Dragon

Photo: WWE Studios

Grade: D+
“The script (by Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson) is addicted to narrative banalities, killing time with subplots involving a local laundry business. The aura of cheap-o emptiness is overwhelming: Scenes tend to be visually featureless, composed against strangely empty walls or Vancouver street corners. Even the occasionally decent fight choreography looks unappealing.”

Kidnap is trashy, incompetent, insulting—and almost fun

Photo: Aviron Pictures

Grade: D+
Kidnap is an asinine child-abduction thriller spliced with a touch of the early Steven Spielberg TV movie Duel, and the most likable thing about it is that it is utter, unabashed garbage.”

The story behind Winnie-The-Pooh gets mangled in the unbearable Goodbye Christopher Robin

Photo: Fox Searchlight

Grade: C-
“There might be the makings of a much darker story buried in the sickly, syrupy goo. But Goodbye Christopher Robin can barely articulate itself; [Simon] Curtis’ sense of such basics as the passage of time is baffling, and his clunky, stage-and-BBC-trained style is inevitably constrained by the performances (mostly thankless) and by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Simon Vaughan’s clumsy script.”

A plane crash becomes a blind date from hell in the mawkish and clumsy The Mountain Between Us

Photo: 20th Century Fox

Grade: C-
“Danger, the stock-in-trade of survival stories, ends up a casualty as the film’s landscape shots and pretensions skirmish a pointless war of attrition against its looming sappiness. The result is a ‘Myers-Briggs vs. nature’ scenario, with a couple of one-note personality-test types roughing it in the crumpled fuselage of a Cessna as they fight cold, starvation, and a badly animated mountain lion.”

The Morgan Freeman geezer comedy Just Getting Started can’t even get it up

Photo: Broad Green Pictures

Grade: C-
“Plotting has never been a major concern for [Ron] Shelton, and Just Getting Started is a shambles, its title both intentionally and unintentionally ironic; at different points, it strains to be an AARP sex farce, a love triangle, and an action-comedy (complete with incongruous car chases and explosions), with painfully arthritic consequences.”

Table 19 is as exhausting as a real wedding reception

Photo: Fox Searchlight

Grade: C-
“Yes, it’s The Breakfast Club remade with adults, complete with secrets waiting to be spilled, a soundtrack of ’80s hits (performed by a tireless wedding band), and a pot-smoking interlude. [Anna] Kendrick even has Molly Ringwald’s slightly open mouth, minus the full lips, and [Tony] Revolori could pass for a dorkier Judd Nelson. And yes, it’s as tired as ‘The Breakfast Club remade with adults’ implies.”

A naturalistic Schwarzenegger can’t save Aftermath, a drama on autopilot

Photo: Lionsgate Premiere

Grade: C-
“In real life, not even funerals are this exhaustingly joyless. In fact, Aftermath only becomes interesting if considered as a dour subversion of the daughter-and-wife revenge scenarios of Schwarzenegger’s action movies—as star text, in other words. That requires the viewer to check out emotionally. Fortunately, the movie offers plenty of opportunities to do so.”

The sci-fi abduction thriller Rupture is as personality-free as its title

Photo: AMBI Media Group

Grade: C-
“One almost wonders why Shainberg bothered hiring professional actors for a movie so forgettable that a viewer will probably spend most of their time remembering other movies.”

The wannabe historical epic Bitter Harvest bears sappy fruit

Photo: Roadside Attractions

Grade: C-
“Directed by George Mendeluk, whose resume includes Lifetime movies, episodes of forgotten TV series, and Meatballs III: Summer Job (his last theatrical release), Bitter Harvest barely addresses the horrific aspects of the Holodomor; in another Stalinist irony, the starved millions are reduced to nothing more than a statistic that flashes before the end credits.”

Brian Cox blows smoke in the inane World War II drama Churchill

Grade: C-
“The result is monotonous, its only memorable image being the salacious wink of Cox’s open fly, mid-frame during a shot of Churchill getting out a car. (Presumably this was the best take.) All too often, it toes the line that separates legitimately stupid movies from ones that merely presume that the viewer is stupid.”

The superheroes of Justice League deserve better than another misbegotten blockbuster

Grade: C-
“But in Justice League, the more striking details of Patrick Tatopoulos’ grotesque-industrial production design bob through the muddy, nonstop exposition like undigested matter in violent diarrhea. Don’t let the slick, well-chosen production stills fool you: This is for the most part a cramped and cheaply ugly movie, with crappy special effects. The nicest thing that can be said is that the producers have made it impossible for viewers to tell what is and isn’t a reshoot; a significant part of the movie is set in cramped, windowless rooms or in front of obvious green screens.”

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