What's the worst movie you've seen recently? Was it worse than the Adam Sandler flop "That's My Boy" or the ridiculous concept that was "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter"? Newsday film critic Rafer Guzman doesn't often see a movie so bad it's only deserving of a half-star, or worse, no stars -- but it does happen. Here's a look at the films he's reviewed that were just that awful.
THE WEEK OF
From the review: The list of missed opportunities is long, and begins with the story. Kenny (Adam Sandler) and Kirby (Chris Rock) aren't meeting for the first time and, in fact, like each other quite a bit. Not much humor there. Kenny's plan to gussy up a budget-travel hotel as a wedding venue holds promise, but the results are disappointing: He installs a cheap chandelier that falls. There's an amusing moment where Kenny invites two random black people into his house, assuming they must be Kirby's relatives, but the film largely avoids ethnic humor. That's probably for the best -- but imagine if Rock had been a co-writer! Steve Buscemi, as Kenny's crusty cousin Charles, provides one or two chuckles.
TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT
From the review: Remember when the "Transformers" movies were kind of fun? The first two installments were blithely preposterous, yet smart and self-aware. Erstwhile star Shia LaBeouf was perfect as Sam Witwicky, a teenager old enough to have a libido but young enough to believe in talking cars. The third film took an unwelcome turn toward superhero-style sturm und drang, and 2014's "Age of Extinction," which jettisoned LaBeouf and introduced Mark Wahlberg, proved a toxic mix of kid-friendly laughs and nasty violence.
From the review: What happens when you update Universal Pictures' classic monster movies, with their old-world charm and Gothic elegance, for a new audience accustomed to the high-tech action and postmodern sarcasm of Disney's Marvel movies? The answer, in the case of "The Mummy" -- a big-budget reboot of the 1932 Boris Karloff gem -- is a hideous Frankenstein of a film that seems doomed to repulse anyone who comes across it. Bottom line: A blaring, bloated zombie of a movie.
FIFTY SHADES DARKER
From the review: Awkwardly directed by James Foley, who frequently shoves his leads into a corner of the screen as if he's more interested in the fireplace (and you can't blame him), "Fifty Shades Darker" would be a camp classic if its heroine weren't so appallingly dishonest about what really turns her on: Wealth. Somehow, this shy young thing becomes more agreeable to instruments of torture -- ankle cuffs, nipple clamps -- the closer she gets to marrying the billionaire who wields them. Bottom line: Breathtakingly, pulse-poundingly bad.
From our critic: Richard Gere, Halle Berry, Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman and many other talented people run through the most repulsive, unimaginative and unfunny skits ever filmed. The whole thing almost literally stinks. "Movie 43" currently holds a difficult-to-attain 4 percent rating on RottenTomatoes.com.
From our critic: In this saccharine yet creepy romance, Robert Pattinson plays a young, moody guy -- no stretch there -- who sleeps with a woman to get revenge on her father. Aww, how cute! The plot also hinges on the World Trade Center attacks. Double cute!
BY THE SEA
From the review: Brad and Angelina Jolie Pitt dress beautifully, sigh wistfully, smoke constantly and almost literally bore the pants off each other -- and us -- in "By the Sea," an insufferable vanity project whose only saving grace is its gorgeous setting on France's Cote d'Azur. Written and directed by Jolie, the movie sells the somewhat novel gimmick of famous spouses playing fictional ones, but even the most celebrity-besotted viewers will find this tedious drama a long slog. Who knew these high-wattage stars could be so dull? Bottom line: An insufferable mood piece that takes forever to go nowhere.
ALL ABOUT STEVE
From our critic: There's a reason you've never heard of this romantic comedy starring A-listers Sandra Bullock and Bradley Cooper: Because she plays an irritating crossword fanatic and he plays an uninteresting person. In terms of on-screen chemistry, they're the equivalent of bleach and ammonia.
JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS
From the review: Aubrey Peeples plays an aspiring singer who is shocked -- shocked! -- to discover that global stardom requires personal and artistic sacrifice. File this movie's profound message under Things a 9-Year-Old Could Have Told You.
ROCK THE KASBAH
From the review: Starring Bill Murray as Richie Lanz, a washed-up American music manager who discovers a talented singer named Salima (Leem Lubany) in Afghanistan's Paktia province, "Rock the Kasbah" strives to be "Jerry Maguire" in the Middle East, a feel-good film about belief in oneself. (It's dedicated to Setara Hussainzada, who endured death threats after singing on the television show "Afghan Star.") Casting Murray to type as a laid-back lounge-lizard in one of the least chilled-out places on Earth, "Rock the Kasbah" positions itself as a slightly topical but mostly zany fish-out-of-water comedy. Bottom line: An ongoing war is no setting for a musical comedy, especially one this glib and inane.
From the review: "Dirty Grandpa" stars Robert De Niro in the title role, a rambunctious senior citizen with sex on the brain and a vocabulary limited almost entirely to expletives. It's ostensibly a comedy, though there's nothing amusing about watching an Oscar winner's talents going to waste. Crude in nearly every sense of the word, "Dirty Grandpa" is a nasty-humored, poorly made and desperately unfunny film. Bottom line: De Niro's Oscar-winning talent is wasted on potty-mouthed humor and crude gags in this witless comedy.
From the review: An easygoing charmer and an uptight medical student are the opposites that supposedly attract in "The Choice," the latest adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks novel. The man is Travis (Benjamin Walker), an amiable North Carolina lady-killer and unlikely veterinarian; the woman is Gabby (Teresa Palmer), who expresses her smarts and taste by listening to classical music. Initially, they can't see that they're meant for each other. Directed by Ross Katz from Bryan Sipe's screenplay, "The Choice" is such a bad movie that it virtually begs for the most obvious wisecrack possible, so here goes: Don't choose to see it. Bottom line: This Nicholas Sparks adaptation may turn off even his most ardent fans.
From the review: Imagine a candlelit dinner prepared by a top chef and served on the sands of a sparkling beach. Now imagine that the dinner has been boiling on the stove for something like two years and you've got "Aloha," a botched romance from Cameron Crowe ("Jerry Maguire") starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. Whatever "Aloha" started out to be, it's been overcooked into an unidentifiable, inedible mush. "Aloha" is one of those films whose characters behave and speak so irrationally that they no longer make any human sense at all. Crowe may have had us at hello, but he's losing us with "Aloha." Bottom line: Mushy, misguided and borderline bizarre.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER
From the review: "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is a baffling approach to an audaciously silly concept, and the result is not just a letdown but an absolute disaster. Bottom line: Not the gonzo mashup it should have been, but a humorless, self-important slog that seems to think its dopey premise is true.
THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS
From the review: "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus" follows a London sideshow run by the mystical doctor who has made some kind of bet with the devil using his own daughter as collateral. In its travels the show picks up a mysterious stranger named Tony whose face changes each time he enters a magic mirror. Bottom line: Totally incomprehensible and almost completely unwatchable.
SILENT HILL: REVELATION 3D
From the review: If you've played a few rounds of the Konami video game that inspired "Silent Hill: Revelation 3D," you might understand what's happening on-screen. If not, I guarantee you will have no idea. Bottom line: This wretched screen version of a survival video game is hampered less by its bottom-barrel acting than by its completely witless script. It's an insult to bad horror movies.
INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2
From the review: The demon-dad angle gives "Insidious: Chapter 2" a chance to rip off "The Shining," but it also goes after "Psycho" and - why not? - "Mommie Dearest." All of which might have been wackily entertaining if the whole thing weren't so sluggishly paced, poorly lit and dispiritingly unoriginal." Bottom line: More gruesome acting and ghastly writing in this abysmal sequel from the makers of "Saw."
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT
From the review: "That Awkward Moment," written and directed by Tom Gormican, tries to borrow some wit and charm from its Manhattan backdrop, but the more its characters talk about how special the place is, the more ordinary and irritating they sound. Bottom line: In a textbook on romantic comedies, a still from this movie could be included with the caption "Figure 1: Wrong."
From the review: Todd Robinson, the writer and director of "Phantom," makes a daring choice with this Cold War thriller by casting American actors, and some very fine ones, as the crew of a Soviet submarine. Bottom line: What's Russian for "incomprehensible"?
From the review: "Transcendence" quivers with so many fears (some valid, most preposterous) that it ends up feeling both paralyzed and hysterical. Bottom line: The year's first bona fide stinker is an implausible and outdated sci-fi film full of pseudoscience and ancient Windows terminology. Johnny Depp's performance could fairly be called "virtual."
THE LEGEND OF HERCULES
From the review: "The Legend of Hercules" is a swords-and-sandals epic retrofitted for the modern superhero era, and nothing about it jibes. Bottom line: This painfully feeble version of the strongman story fails on every level, from Kellan Lutz's wooden acting to the Styrofoam special effects. At least that's one less sequel to worry about.
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WORLDS AWAY
From the review: "Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away" is essentially a souvenir video of the Canadian troupe's greatest hits, artiest moments and Beatles interpretations, sewn together with a storybook romance. Bottom line: The Canadian circus troupe's greatest hits and artiest moments, sliced and diced into an incoherent collage. For fans only.
THE RUM DIARY
From the review: There's no doubting the sincerity of Johnny Depp's devotion to Hunter S. Thompson, the late gonzo journalist who chronicled the cultural decay of the 1960s and '70s while suitably blitzed on hard drugs and alcohol. But at this rate, Depp may be doing Thompson's memory more harm than good. Bottom line: "The Rum Diary" is a plotless, pointless mess likely to exasperate even die-hard Thompson fans.
From the review: Just about any schmo on the street could have made a better movie than "Alex Cross," an uncommonly awful action-thriller that fails on absolutely every level. It feels almost cruel to laugh at such a blindly stumbling, dunder-headed action-thriller, but you won't be able to help it. Bottom line: A failure on every level, from Tyler Perry's awkward, spluttering performance to the incoherent script. Even the stuntmen look like stuffed dummies.
THE LORDS OF SALEM
From the review: "The Lords of Salem" director has literally lost the plot with his latest, an unintelligible jumble of images and dialogue with almost no connective thread. Bottom line: Rocker-turned-horrormeister Rob Zombie delivers an artistic disaster worthy of Spinal Tap. Only he's not kidding.
From the review: "The Counselor" presents us with an ugly worldview, but that is not the same as philosophical bravery. The movie's real failing is easy to pinpoint: It's unforgivably boring. Bottom line: Tons of talent make a lead balloon in this dull, nearly unwatchable would-be thriller.
MOMS' NIGHT OUT
From the review: "Moms' Night Out," about a group of mothers taking a night off from their kids and husbands to go out, is so thoroughly unskilled, unimaginative and unintentionally grotesque that it's a kind of negative miracle. Bottom line: Pudding-bland humor, wretched acting and a lack of basic filmmaking skills make this faith-based comedy worthy of damnation.
THE LAST AIRBENDER
From the review: It's rare to see a film so choppily edited, poorly scripted and spastically directed that you can barely understand what you're watching. Bottom line: Incoherent, unimaginative and dull.
THAT'S MY BOY
From the review: "That's My Boy" finds sniggering humor in teen sexual abuse and other depressing topics. And if you're already doubling over with laughter, then happy Father's Day! Your weekend must-see flick has arrived. Bottom line: There's little point in calling Adam Sandler insensitive, but this mean-spirited mockery of sexual abuse and other taboos is a new low.
SCARY MOVIE 5
From the review: "Scary Movie 5" is so feeble, so grindingly uninspired that it may set a comedy record: 85 minutes without a single laugh. Bottom line: You know that friend of yours, the one who can't tell even the simplest joke? Watching him struggle for 85 minutes would still be funnier than this movie.
From the review: A cosmic Cinderella who cleans houses in Chicago is restored to her intergalactic throne by a genetically engineered half-wolf in "Jupiter Ascending," a totally bonkers space opera written and directed by Andy and Lana Wachowski. Bottom line: The Wachowskis trade their "Matrix" magic for the silliest space opera since "Flash Gordon."