Year in review: The 21 worst movies of 2021

By Asher Luberto

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As much as Hollywood tries to make quality films, a number of flicks usually miss the mark. There are sequels nobody asked for, characters nobody cares about, and comedies that are just plain dumb. Here, we offer the bottom of the cinematic barrel.

Thunder Force (2021)

Thunder Force (2021)
Netflix


Thunder: it makes loud noises without needing to be seen. I can't think of a better way to describe Thunder Force, the loud and obnoxious superhero movie starring Melissa McCarthy.

The Starling (2021)

The Starling (2021)
Netflix

Tough year for Melissa McCarthy. She not only bumbled her way through the not-so-super Thunder Force, but she also starred in the year's most treacly film. Maybe it's time she got a new agent?

The Marksman (2021)

The Marksman (2021)
Open Road Entertainment

There are three things that are inevitable in life: death, taxes, and Liam Neeson movies. This is yet another January release from Neeson, and once again he's after a bunch of foreigners who took someone he loves. Simple, predictable, and reprehensible.

House of Gucci (2021)

House of Gucci (2021)
MGM

There are bad accents, and then there are the accents in House of Gucci. Jared Leto's idea of an Italian accent is the same as Peter Griffin's: "baba-da-boopie!" And don't even get me started on Al Pacino. Not since The Merchants of Venice has Pacino's Italian been this terrible.


Old (2021)

Old (2021)
Universal Pictures

As confusing as it is unwatchable, M. Night Shyamalan's sci-fi thriller about a magical island is the worst thing he's done since After Earth. Every actor is giving it their all, but all their given is reams of exposition.

Outside the Wire (2021)

Outside the Wire (2021)
Netflix

There were a lot of sci-fi films this year. There were great ones, there were terrible ones, and then there was Outside the Wire, which was so robotic and disposable even Netflix didn't know what to do with it.

Twist (2021)

Twist (2021)
Sky Cinema

Remember that Office episode where Michael and Dwight run around screaming "parkour!" but don't do anything cool? That's Twist in a nutshell: an Oliver Twist update set to rap music, parkour, Tik Tok, and Michael Cain dressed as a pimp. You have to see it to believe it.

Annette (2021)

Annette (2021)
Amazon Prime

The new Leos Carax movie seems to be successful, maybe because it received rave reviews and won awards at Cannes. Adam Driver also spends half the movie without his shirt on, which is enough to persuade--and seduce-- roughly half the population. That being said, this movie is a mess. A puppet sings Sparks songs for two hours while Driver does stand-up comedy. Is there anything more to it? Nope.

Tom and Jerry (2021)

Tom and Jerry (2021)
MGM

Was anybody asking for a live-action Tom & Jerry? Perhaps, because they decided to make a movie. But this is less a Tom & Jerry movie and more an attempt at making Tom & Jerry cool enough for kids to buy toys, candy, and bedsheets

Blithe Spirit (2021)

Blithe Spirit (2021)
Sky Cinema

Unless you are of a certain age, you probably aren't familiar with Blithe Spirit. That may have been a problem, as this adaptation of Noel Coward's play ended up completely bombing at the box office. Another problem may have been the script: I can't remember the last time something so funny was turned into something so bland?

Every Breath You Take (2021)

Every Breath You Take (2021)
Southpaw Entertainment

Poor Casey Affleck. He is saddled with some of the worst dialogue of 2021. Then he has to put up with a Lifetime script, a dimly-lit set, and a cinematographer who thinks grey is the new black. He's stranded on an island of misery.

The Addams Family 2 (2021)

The Addams Family 2 (2021)
MGM

In short, the people who made The Addams Family 2 were really hoping to recapture the runaway success of Charles Addams' cartoons. They tried to take the family and re-animate them. It was never going to work. Animated movies these days have to be bright, colorful sugar-rushes for children; The Addams Family 2 is anything but.

The Misfits (2021)

The Misfits (2021)
The Avenue Entertainment

There are a million stars in this heist flick (Pierce Brosnan, Tim Roth, Nick Cannon to name a few). The movie, however, gets zero.

Dear Evan Hansen (2021)

Dear Evan Hansen (2021)
Universal Pictures

The play Dear Evan Hansen was weirdly successful. It followed a boy named Evan whose letter was stolen by a classmate, Conner, only to be found on Conner after he commits su─▒cide. People then assume the two were friends and Evan...goes along with it? Maybe this worked on stage. On-screen, it's one of the most cringe-worthy things I've seen in a while.

Bliss (2021)

Bliss (2021)
Amazon Prime

You know a movie's bad when you can't tell what it's about. Bliss isn't ambiguous, it's messy. It's a Matrix rip-off that sees Owen Wilson choosing between the real world (grey, drab, repetitive) and a simulated world where everything is bright, blue, shot in Italy. Some see it as a metaphor for drug abuse. I don't.

Eternals (2021)

Eternals (2021)
Marvel

Do you think Chloe Zhao can go wrong? Think again! Zhao follows up her knockout punch (Nomadland/The Rider) with Marvel's most convoluted movie to date. All the golden-hour lighting in the world can't save it from being a dark, dismal mess.

Awake (2021)

Awake (2021)
Netflix

Some of the most effective movies of 2021 were about the pandemic (In The Same Breath, 76 Days); this one, about a virus that takes away our ability to sleep, isn't one of them. Gina Rodriguez scours America for a cure. 20-minutes in, and you'll already be making sleep jokes about this dull affair.

Blue Miracle (2021)

Blue Miracle (2021)
Netflix

Some may argue about including this well-intentioned drama about a man who fights to keep his orphanage alive. However, good intentions don't make good movies. What Blue Miracle needs is a sense of place, atmosphere, and humor. As is, there are just too many sermons and not enough jokes.

Coming 2 America

Coming 2 America
Amazon Prime

Fans of the original had a hard time swallowing this insanely repetitive, kind-of-obnoxious sequel. Even my barber was complaining about it. All the jokes are rehashed from the original, and Eddie Murphy can't get back into a groove as King Akeem.

Silk Road (2021)

Silk Road (2021)
Netflix

It's not that you couldn't turn Ross Ulbricht's story into a thriller--it's that they didn't. Maybe a little less Libertarian sermonizing would have helped.

Vanquish (2021)

Vanquish (2021)
Lionsgate

Last but certainly least, Vanquish is the year's best example of How Not To Make A Movie. The villain has the presence of a puppy, the plot has the comprehensibility of a child's scribbles, the camerawork has the grace of an avalanche and the performances have the realism of a Picasso. There aren't enough words to describe it: gross, messy, clunky, familiar, detestable. Vanquish needs to be shown in film schools as a lesson on What Not To Do.