The Worst

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Now the third installment in Keanu Reeve’s JOHN WICK trilogy has made it into cinemas, I can think of no better time to share my thoughts a mere half decade late on the original film that lit the wick five years ago.

Put simply, I have no hesitation in declaring JOHN WICK (2014) underwhelmed me to the extent it was immediately relegated to my WORST FILMS OF ALL TIME / HALL OF COMPLETE SHAME list.

If that’s too ambivalent for you let me make it even clearer: I did not like this film – even a little bit. ‘Utterly Ridiculous’ is the best description I can use to sum up a story based solely on 100 minutes of non-stop slaughtering all because someone killed the title character’s puppy at the beginning of the film. I’ve seen some quality revenge films in my time but this is definitely not one of them.

CaptureIt’s a pity because the fight choreography in this movie (correction – the fight choreography IS the movie) is next level eye-candy stuff: a complete knockout in every sense of the word. Yet without well-drawn characters to cheer or boo for and something resembling an engaging, possibly twisting plot, it’s simply all desert and no main meal. That becomes unsatisfying well before the end credits roll.

I get that stripped-back movies like JOHN WICK  (MAD MAX 4: FURY ROAD is another example) which deliver spectacularly on the promise ‘never a dull moment’ represent pushbacks to the traditional Hollywood rulebook insisting that movies, no matter what their genre, be padded out with needless subplots, predictable romances and unnecessary character super tropes (eg the troubled teenage daughter, the beautiful girlfriend who delivers the moral speech which gets the main character back on track etc).

But in the case of JOHN WICK and it’s cartoonish, hard-to-like-or-take-seriously-for-a- single-moment main character, the experiment just doesn’t come off – at least for me. If I want to see a stripped-back actioner spotlighting a no-nonsense person on a single-minded, succeed-at-all-costs quest, I’ll call on Denzel  – THE EQUALISER 1 (2014) and 2 (2018) – or alternatively go retro with a dose of snarling Kurt (Russell) – ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981).

Not being one to hold a grudge (very unlike John Wick himself) here’s the trailer (anyway) for JOHN WICK 3

All this pent-up negativity brought on by a movie now five years old – a movie that deserved to be forgotten the moment it ended but somehow managed to linger in my subconscious simply because it was SO DAMN AWFUL – got me thinking about  some of the other film turkeys I and others have endured over the years.

Movies can be relegated to the fifty cent bin for a variety of reasons – (A) they’re turtle slow (B) they’re silly but not in an entertaining way (C) they’re populated by unlikable or worse still bland characters it’s impossible to care about or relate to (D) the landscape is literally riddled with plot-holes you could likely drive a wide-load prime-mover through that you might possibly have been prepared to overlook had it not been for the presence of any combination of the aforementioned A, B or C.

There are plenty of movies that disappoint because for a variety of reasons they fail to meet our expectations. That is not what is being talked about here. These movies are true stinkers from start to finish. Here is my dirty dozen list of WORST WATCHED MOVIES

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The only small consolation with that list is that half of them I saw via free passes. Not hard in retrospect to work out why they were free-pass movies. Before leaving this subject for good I thought I’d patch in what might be called a ‘bonus’ list. A bit of quick research on my part revealed these films are amongst a sizeable list of ‘D’ grade celluloid that regularly makes it onto critic’s and filmgoer’s ALL TIME WORST MOVIES lists.

Of those mentioned here I’ve only seen two – THE SWARM (1978) and THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012). While I can confirm THE IMPOSSIBLE was truly wretched, by comparison THE SWARM was watchable and even entertaining in parts. Then again, that movie, about a killer bee invasion of Texas based on the novel of the same name by Arthur Herzog  (1927 -2010) was produced and directed by movie mastermind Irwin Allen, the genius behind LOST IN SPACE, so admittedly I might be a little biased there.

Here’s the list –

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P.s And then there’s this…  Go ClICKETY CLICK HERE

Pss. News is that JOHN WICK 4 has already been given a scheduled release date of mid 2021.

Psss. In the interests of journalistic balance click HERE for a really, really positive review of JOHN WICK 3.

 

22 thoughts on “The Worst

  1. I get it. I really do. But–devil’s advocate–I think you’re oversimplifying just a tad on motivation, Glen!
    It wasn’t just about the puppy being senselessly slaughtered but who had sent him the puppy and the whole back story about his wife. Not enough to justify the ongoing endless murdering which ensued, of course, but….John Wick WAS just living quietly and minding his own business when the *thugs* started their sh** with him, lol
    Also liked at least six of the movies in your “worst watched movies ever” list but will not reveal which they are ’cause…everybody’s different and that’s what makes the world a beautiful place! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Now I’m dying to find out what those six movies on my worst list were to your liking.
    If it helps persusade you to reveal these secret film likings Stacey imagine me now on my hands and knees adopting a pleading, pitiful pose in a bid to uncover these as yet unnamed ‘codes’ you covert.
    C’mon.
    I’d settle for knowing just one or two.
    Promise I’ll still respect you in the morning.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ha ha ha, okay, only because I can’t leave you down there on your knees like that !!!
    I thought Alien 3 had its moments (minus the million and one times the prisoners said the F-word), like Charles S. Dutton really impressed me, and I loved the oppressed atmosphere.
    Thought Mr. and Mrs. Smith was fun (even though Angelina is a homewrecker! Of course, Brad COULD have said no to her, right?)
    Have a soft spot for Keanu, so the first John Wick hit the spot. It was irreverent, action-packed, and often hilarious.
    Mad Max: Come on, Glen! The director’s almost 80 years old (maybe he IS 80 years old) and basically created an art film. One of the best lines that hubby and I quote to each other all the time: HOPE IS A MISTAKE.
    🙂
    Hubby just walked over with dinner, so I have to stop now.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. And this is what I love about films – the diversity of opinion they can often provoke.

    Let me just say one thing in response to MAD MAX 4 : FURY ROAD. As I rate MAD MAX 2 (1981) the greatest movie bar none to come out of the Australian film industry there was just no getting past my dissapointment with what I perceived as nothing more than a two hour non-stop action video game for the 4th installment.

    Still, I’m aware that movie has millions of fans. I’m also aware there’s no denying that despite those millions of fans that movie definitely divided public opinion – to put it mildly.

    As to hope… here’s an ode to it –

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hear you. I feel you, Glen! Perfect example of deviation between likes/dislikes: didn’t you give a pretty positive review of Aquaman? Yet after viewing Aquaman myself (at home, luckily, and not in the theater) I wouldn’t have minded slurping down an arsenic-laced hot toddy. Right after someone explained to me why I’d spontaneously gone blind and lost the ability to speak beyond grunts, lol !!

      Crystal Method’s one of our favorites! Even though HOPE IS A MISTAKE, we must, indeed, keep hope alive !!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • While it pains me to say this I have read more than one review of AQUAMAN that basically summed it up as ‘boring and naff’. Apparantly a bongo-playing octopus was everyone’s cup of tea. I can’t completely work out why (tee hee).

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  5. Since we are in the realm of bringing up personal exceptions here, I will protest Stacey that you claimed everyone is different. I for one am not!

    I never saw the first Wickenzian thriller, but did the second. I was forever wondering how I could waste so much time sitting before so much gratuitous death and mayhem. I don’t think I had time to even dislike anyone before they were riddled in lead.

    Continuing in the theme of ardent dissent, I for one do like a decent dessert every now and then, so am deeply offended by the view John Wick is akin to one. In my view, I would have likened it to icing without a cake, as I definitely prefer the cake to icing, so long as it is made in my house with our legendary wholemeal spelt flour.

    It has been weeks since I checked in here Glen. You know the pump I’m under so know you are ever so gracious to welcome me back in the face of weeks of silence. Just maybe I’ll even go back and see what I’ve missed. Every now and then I allow myself to indulge in such luxuries.

    Glad you are still in excellent form Glen. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Roger, I agree. There’s probably nothing worse than icing without a cake, ’cause I end up scraping a lot of icing off cake when I eat it, so to be confronted with ONLY icing….bleeeech !!!
    It’s really a bad feeling to watch a movie and afterwards realize you will never get that 1 1/2 or 2 hours back.
    Or worse–unwanted images have been planted in your brain that add nothing *nutritious* on any level to your life on earth.
    The world went absolutely bonkers over Avatar and I think I’m the only one in the universe who thinks it was a piece of flying crap! Crap that looked good, but that’s all. So…I hear you both and am empathetic to your feelings! 🙂 🙂

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  7. Discussions like this one are exactly the reason I started this blog.
    Stacey has just dropped the mother of all truth bombs regarding the 2009 film AVATAR.
    Up to that point in director James Cameron’s career he could do no wrong in my eyes. He had the midas touch and for mine was the most skilled filmmaker of his era – every new creation being another quantum leap forward in movie magic.

    That all came to a grinding halt with AVATAR, a film I regarded as pure cheese and one that for me was nothing more than a weak patchwork of his other films – the leaden voiceover from “Terminator 2” here, the military/civilian conflict from “Aliens” there, even a Jack and Rose style forbidden love story cued to a schmaltzy adult contemporary soundtrack.

    But bad news for the likes of us Stacey – apparently both AVATAR 2 and AVATAR 3 (simultaneously) are already well underway in principal photography.
    Ugggh!

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  8. I actually enjoyed “Dirty Grandpa”. Not sure what that says about me but I remember laughing so hard that I cried while watching at the movie theater by myself since no one wanted to accompany me.

    I also remember feeling a bit down and angry at a situation just before going into the theater to see the movie and coming out feeling much better after the laugh fest I had while watching it, so much so that I was able to address the situation that left me feeling less than head on and with diplomacy afterwards.

    Good writing though, Glen. Your style is funny and authentic.

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    • That’s a brilliant comment Rakkelle.
      Thank you so much!
      I must confess I actually haven’t seen the movie DIRTY GRANDPA (2016).
      I put it on the list based on how many one star reviews it received over here in Australia (DeNiro is one of my all-time favorite actors mind!)
      You are so right though – some of the movies that critics loathe turn out to be hidden gems and so enjoyable.
      Here’s to all the ‘Dirty Grandpa’s’ of the film world!

      Ps. I’m guessing Zac Efron playing a lawyer may have been a connection point for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ding! Ding! Ding! I really just thought it was a funny movie all around though.

        And yes, DeNiro is one of the best, right up there with Pacino. You remember HEAT? One of the best movies of all time. 🙂

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  9. Hehe I think you might be over thinking it. I’d say it’s so loved by the masses not only because Keanu Reeve’s is blooming annoyingly so likable and still looks gorgeous for like 55 (the bastard). But also the fact it’s so over the top that it’s pure comic book action. With a large amount of tongue in cheek thrown in which is more apparent in the sequels.
    Come on Fury Road!! you got big fat ladies being milked, whats not to like?? (watch out there’s a Humphrey about, one for the Brits of a certain age) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOeL18BFc0o

    Massive fan of Alien 3 but it does have such a brilliant cast of British classics swearing like troopers and running screaming down tunnels.

    I do agree on Unbreakable but don’t tell anyone I quite enjoyed Lost In Space. It did go depressingly dark within it’s mountains of cheese.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ok, I haven’t read all of this post, nor all the comments, but I just saw “John Wick” and pounced on it due to you hated or that you thought it was worst film…, and I l❤ve John Wick. Lol! I mean not too far off obsessed with the guy and the films. Although, the third movie was a little over the top.

    We have just followed one another’s blogs, and I’m a huge fan of Keanu Reeves. I’m wondering what to do now… 🤔

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  11. I don’t mind admitting I’ve taken plenty of flak over the opinions expressed in this post. Keanu has some very loyal supporters! My expressed misgivings over the JOHN WICK trilogy are certainly not unique and can be found in abundance across the internet. I should clarify that I am indeed a fan of Keanu Reeves the actor and from what I’ve read Keanu Reeves the person.

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