Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Top 5 “Rotten” Films of 2019

Every year, I like to call attention to a handful of movies that are deemed “rotten” by Rotten Tomatoes. I found value in each of the films below, and would love to know your picks as well. (Note: The RT scores below are from Dec. 31, 2019.)


Honorable Mention
6 Underground
Rotten Tomatoes score: 38%
What happens when Netflix gives Michael Bay a check for $150 million and lets Bay do whatever the hell he wants with it? 6 Underground happens. A movie so absolutely insane and nonsensical, that I find myself oddly respecting its hubris. 

5. Glass
Rotten Tomatoes score: 37%
Sure, it was too long, and it didn’t know how to end, and Samuel L. Jackson was criminally underused in the first half, but hell, I enjoyed Glass. It was great to see Jackson and Bruce Willis stepping back into their Unbreakable roles, and am I the only one who’s impressed that M. Night Shyamalan was able to make this on a $20 million budget?

4. Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Rotten Tomatoes score: 42%
I dunno, sometimes it’s fun to watch monsters fighting monsters in IMAX for a few hours. You enjoy your time with it, and when the movie’s done, you go about your day and let that be that.

3. The Laundromat
Rotten Tomatoes score: 41%
Steven Soderbergh is one of my gods, and I find value in everything he does. The Laundromat shit the bed in its final moments, delivering the most un-Soderbergh ending to a Soderbergh film I’ve ever seen, but a lot of this movie was fun. I still have the sequence involving an African billionaire, his daughter, and his daughter’s best friend pleasantly stuck in my head.

2. Under the Silver Lake
Rotten Tomatoes score: 58%
I’m stunned that A24 let writer/director David Robert Mitchell make such a singular and meandering film. I didn’t love everything about Under the Silver Lake, but I love that it exists. Leaning into the film’s diversions was the real trick for me. Like Inherent Vice, you have to go along for the ride and understand that not every path you go down has a final resolve. (It also helps that one of my best friends is a practical mirror image of Andrew Garfield’s character in this film. Hi Dan.)

1. The Beach Bum
Rotten Tomatoes score: 56%
I imagine you’d have to be a fan of Harmony Korine to even give The Beach Bum a chance. But holy hell did I enjoy this trip. For $5 million, Korine create a stoned-out neon adventure that I’ve found myself watching on Hulu a few times over these past months. Is there any other actor who could play a character like Moondog as successfully as Matthew McConaughey? In some ways, it kind of felt like McConaughey was born to play this role.

More Best of 2019 Lists 

23 comments:

  1. Ah, now, The Beach Bum is my most hated movie of 2019 at the moment. I mean I'm sure there are worst ones I just haven't seen them. And I loved Spring Breakers so.. it can't be that I don't get Korine. I just.. I did not like this movie. I'm also slowly starting to get tired of McConaughey being the same guy in different clothing.

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    1. I was thinking about this yesterday, that the "McConaissance" kind of came and went really quickly. I'd love for him to tackle a role like Killer Joe again.

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  2. I have no interest in watching 6 Underground at all. Michael Bay is evil and a piece of shit. I hope he gets raped one of these days and castrated by a bunch of salty bitches.

    I saw a bit of Glass and thought it was alright. The Beach Bum I do want to see while I have Under the Silver Lake in my hard drive as I might watch it for the Cannes marathon this May (if I have the time to do it).

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    1. Wowzer. Well, I would be very interested to hear your takes on The Beach Bum and Under the Silver Lake!

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  3. I haven't seen "The Beach Bum", nor "The Laudromat", but I share your opinion of the others. I especially enjoyed "Under the Silver Lake", which I suspect will age quite well.

    I tend to naturally stay away from badly reviewed movies, but I did see a few last year. I didn't hate the old-school (to a fault) vibe of "The Highwaymen", for instance. I've also heard rad things about "3 from Hell", but I haven't had the opportunity to check it out yet.

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    1. I've been thinking about checking out The Highwayman. It looks like one of those so-so movies that you kind of just put on.

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  4. I'm no fan of Korine and I absolutely loved The Beach Bum. Such a warm, lovely film. The 'dolphins' scene made me laugh so damn hard

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    1. That is awesome! It's crazy the type of reactions that film has gotten. I'm so pleased that you liked it, without being a fan of his.

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  5. I had no idea Glass got such a low score! I thought it was alright, but just assumed the majority really liked it!

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    1. I agree! I thought it was fine for what it was.

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  6. I’ve seen Glass and The Beach Bum (Zac Efron) only and I hated both. I have no interest whatsoever in watching the others.

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    1. Zac Efron's hair in that movie deserved its own character name.

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  7. I tried watching 6 Underground, but i turned it off after about 10 minutes or so when i realized that quick cut editing style wasn't going to end. I usually like Michael Bay action films, but that was too much for me. I like the rest of the movies i have seen on this list though. I'm surprised by how much hate Glass got. I really enjoyed that weird take on super hero movies.

    Another movie i actually really enjoyed that got a "rotten" score was Gemini Man. Maybe it's because i just watched it on VOD at home with the lowest of expectations after it's brutal reviews, but i was pleasantly surprised. It had a lot of fun action and i always enjoy Will Smith. It didn't really feel like an Ang Lee movie though. I would have never guessed it was directed by him if i didn't already know it.

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    1. I actually enjoyed my time with Gemini Man as well. I saw it in the theater in the increased film rate, and it was a fun time, kind of an exercise in new techniques. Funny story: A friend of mine saw this movie followed by a Q&A from Ang Lee. My friend said Lee was so visibly drunk, and he just kept apologizing for how bad the film was, basically saying that he has better stories to tell, but he's trying to master the technology first. Poor guy.

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    2. That's hilarious. I thought it was strange that Ang Lee directed that movie, but i guess it makes sense that it was just to try out his new technology. Sounds insane to watch it in that increased frame rate tough. I remember watching one of those Hobbit movies in 48 fps and even that was too much for me.

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    3. The increased frame rate was definitely odd. I'm not sure what he's trying to add to his movies by doing that, but I'm pleasantly hanging with him for now. If he finds the right material and the technology is perfected, he could make something revelatory. We shall see. I kind of want him to do another straight drama like Brokeback though.

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    4. Brokeback Mountain is my favorite Ang Lee movie so i'm definitely with you there.

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  8. I really appreciate this write up because so many movies I adore are considered "rotten" on RT. I haven't seen Glass yet but loved Unbreakable and Split so I'll get around to it.

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    1. Thanks so much! I like to give a little attention to a few "rotten" films every once in a while. A lot of what they deem as rotten is actually really damn good.

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  9. Oh, man, did I enjoy the heck out of The Beach Bum. My other not-guilty-at-all pleasure of the year was Serenity, which I contend was deeply misunderstood by the chattering class. It ain't a masterpiece, mind you, but Steven Knight had a lot more on his mind (the effect of childhood trauma, the media and toxic masculinity) than most people were willing to give him credit for. What a gonzo gem of a film.

    By the by, I put up my lists last month:
    Top 10: https://www.pennlive.com/news/2020/01/the-oscars-got-it-wrong-again-here-are-the-real-best-films-of-2019.html
    Awards: http://inwidescreen.blogspot.com/2020/02/the-wallys-best-in-film-2019.html

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    1. So happy you liked The Beach Bum. What a zany ass movie haha. I've been curious to check out Serenity on Amazon. Might just have to throw it on one night and give it a fair chance.

      I'll check out your lists now!

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  10. I've seen 1, 4, 5, and your HM. I had a blast with 6 Underground, and I'm as big a Michael Bay critic as any. My feelings on Glass are exactly the same as yours.

    I wanted to enjoy Godzilla: King of the Monsters. The problem was I couldn't see it. Literally. I went to the theater to watch it and found the whole thing so murky that instead of watching Godzilla battle all these monsters, all I saw was black and gray blobs crash into each other against black and gray backgrounds, further obscured by rain. The audio was amazing so it sounded fantastic. It looked like shit so when it was over I was beyond frustrated.

    I am a fan of Korine so I watched The Beach Bum. I thought it was a bad movie, meandering and pretentious, but McConaughey is so good in it, he makes it endlessly watchable.

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    1. Love what you said about The Beach Bum, because even if you think the movie is a mess, it's hard to not appreciate McConaughey in it.

      And I hear you on Godzilla. I've only seen that once, and I bet if I tried to watch it at home, I probably wouldn't be able to see the action well.

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