Without question, 2017 has been a fantastic year at the cinema and we'll be celebrating the cream of the crop in the coming days - but for now, let's look back at the clangers. The abominations, the catastrophes, the inexplicably horrendous feature-lengths to disgrace our screens in the past twelve months and remind us that we are indeed living in a world where Donald Trump is President of the United States.
The following ten films - all released this year in the United Kingdom - and the dishonourable runners-up all made me weep for the art form to varying degrees. Be sure to share your own lists, ask questions and prepare for my top twenty favourite films heading your way in the coming days.
Dishonourable Mentions: Sing, Illumination's terribly dull and uninspired animation; Netflix's 'all questions, no answers' The Discovery; Ben Affleck's commercial and critical bomb, Live By Night; the franchise-starter that never was, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword; and the 'so bad they dumped it on Netflix' The Circle.
Without further ado, the worst films to be released this year are...
Halle Berry's continually-shelved-but-eventually-dumped-on-Netflix action-thriller is so haphazardly constructed and poorly written that it would have probably been kinder - for both the audience and the cast and crew - to let it die on a production company's shelf somewhere far away from the public's consumption. Berry's screechy efforts isn't the worst thing about it: the script and editing are so much worse. It's pulpy action might do it for some but the more you try and think about this film, the more difficult it is to defend it.
9. The Space Between Us
You might not see The Space Between Us on many year-end list - because no one bothered to see it. Terribly manipulative and generating a silly number of eye-rolls, the Young Adult sci-fi romance starts out solidly but quickly descends into absurd, laughable chaos. Wooden dialogue, some awful performances and cliches incorporated by the bucketload weigh the whole thing down and so The Space Between Us is defined by its shoddiness and flimsiness.
8. The Love Witch
Make a case for The Love Witch and I'll grant it to you. I can fully understand why someone would adore this hyper-stylised and immensely detailed exploration of the femme-fatale and visual homage to 60s horror and technicolour - but I could not warm to it myself. Anna Biller's daring project is a clear labour of love but the respect I have towards it (and her as a film-maker), has no correlation with my enjoyment in the end product, a film I found closer to a parody than Biller probably intended.
7. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Across 110 cold, long minutes, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk never finds a confident footing and its noble intentions are ultimately drowned out in Ang Lee's plodding and misguided exploration of war's ever-lasting impact. The visual innovation is misplaced here, existing in a film where the difficult subject of war is only second-fiddle to 'the highest ever frame rate in a movie ever!!!'. Cliched, sluggish and forceful in its emotion, this is one Halftime spectacle you'll want to miss.
6. The Void
Another horror homage misfire on the list, Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie's Lovecraftian effort is too wacky and unrestrained for its limited production budget to handle. It will no doubt thrill genre fans but for everyone else, it is a flat and surprisingly lifeless experience. It runs out of breath early into its 90 minute runtime and never recovers: the following onslaught of gruesome violence, shoddy effects and confused character work and performances mean that the increasingly-stupid, momentum-murdering final act grinds to a horrendous, year-end-worst-list halt.
5. The Bad Batch
Pompous, pretentious and self-indulgent, the Vice-produced The Bad Batch strains so desperately to be cool and edgy, but like a parent dabbing at their kid's school disco, it so spectacularly fails. Painfully dull and completely void of emotion, Ana Lily Amirpour's first English-language feature-length chips away at your attention span so obnoxiously that 119 minutes feels like a lifetime. The character's motives are as barren as the landscape they play out against, and their evolution is next to non-existent. A horribly tepid and soulless piece of cinema.
4. The Emoji Movie
It's very easy to laugh at The Emoji Movie, Sony Pictures' crticially-slaughtered animation that hired Patrick Stewart as a talking turd emoji - but it's a little more sinister than that. With demeaning life lessons and themes, shameless product-placement and the persistent reminder that everyone involved in this animated catastrophe thought with their wallets over their morals, The Emoji Movie is a disaster, and the worst kid-targeted animation in a pretty dreadful year for the genre.
Ever since The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013, Hollywood has appeared hell-bent on sustaining the 'Horrible American Men Doing Detestable Things For Money, Fame and Power' sub-genre. Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey, is one of two films this year to enter that sub-genre and very easily the worst - but American Made wasn't all that great either. How bad is Gold though? I found happiness walking back out on to the rainy, gloomy and wet streets of Birmingham.
Vapid and uninspired, this spiritless shell of a film demonstrates everything wrong with Oscar bait, with one-dimensional performances, terrible structure and pacing and inept storytelling. Gold is awful, worthless cinema and almost as bad as 2015's The Big Short.
Dean Devlin's Geostorm represents blockbuster film-making at its most incompetent; this horrendous example of a director out of his depth endured reshoots and post-production totalling tens of millions. But shockingly, THIS is the best version of the film they could find amidst the chaos of a first-time director helming a potential franchise-launching, seven-digit-figure production.
For the extrotionate cost of $120 million, Warner Bros handed Dean Devlin his own a film and he gifted them with one of the year's biggest bombs. A 'dead behind the eyes' ensemble cast, some of the most woeful special effects found in the 21st century and the most absurd storyline that could ever be created play-out in this cinematic catastrophe, a film that could have been perfectly frothy fun but is instead the poorest excuse of a major studio blockbuster you could dream of. So terribly stitched together and dramatically deficient, Geostorm commits every film-making sin in the book and crushes your film-loving soul in the process.
Tsunami? Earthquake? Planes falling from the sky? I'd take any of them over experiencing this sorry excuse of a film Warner Bros pedalled out in October again. It is your moral duty as an upstanding citizen of this fine world to prevent those you know and love from subjecting themselves to the abysmal, mind-numbing and soul-destroying Geostorm.
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Just how awful is Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul? So bad that I sat feeling sorry for anyone or anything that was name checked or referenced in this soft reboot. Like, the Spice Girls weren't even in this film and they no longer exist as a group but I felt terrible for their unknowing souls as Wannabe was mimed in the most cringe-inducing carpool karaoke moment to ever exist. I honestly cannot listen to that song anymore.
Just for some context, this was playing locally and out of the goodness of my heart - and because I wanted to pad by Rotten Tomatoes-certified critic page out (which you can see here) - I signed up to review this for Film Inquiry, a website I'd recently been hired for and wanted to impress with my commitment. Now, should I be asked to review anything similar, I would tender my resignation. I used my Limitless card to get in to this film for free but I still felt robbed.
The Long Haul is detestable, embarrassing and if anyone involved in the production of this film works another day, they should count their lucky stars. It's utterly awful and not only because I'm no longer the film's target audience; it is patronisingly stupid, painfully unfunny in every sense of the word and lacks all creativity, originality and effort. Every line is spoken with forced enthusiasm; every piece of dialogue is cringeworthy, eye-roll-inducing or another joke about a flying turd. It's irritatingly repetitive and without a single qualifying factor. I literally didn't know whether to cry or scream my whole way through it but god knows I ran quicker than I have ever run before for the door as soon as the credits started to roll.
Not only one the worst film of the year, but one of the very worst films I have ever, ever endured.