RSS
10 brutal reviews from the January movie dump
Enjoy the best jabs at the worst movies
Hey girl, I'm sorry our movie got such terrible reviews.
Hey girl, I'm sorry our movie got such terrible reviews. Facebook/Gangster Squad
J

anuary. It's a special time of year, when bad movies with big stars are dropped into theaters and left for dead. As audiences catch up on big holiday blockbusters and buzzy awards contenders, pretty much every Hollywood studio lines up to unload its worst films before looking ahead to the prospect of a new (and hopefully better) cinematic year to come. So in a month full of stinkers, which movies have earned the dubious distinction of being the worst of the worst? Here's what the critics have to say about 10 of the worst-reviewed cinematic failures released so far in 2013:

1. The Last Stand, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Johnny Knoxville, and Peter Stormare (59 percent positive reviews):

"The Last Stand is the movie equivalent of an idiot who, to avoid scorn, starts acting like an even bigger idiot, so as to get in on the joke, too." (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)

2. Broken City, starring Russell Crowe, Jeffrey Wright, and Mark Wahlberg (26 percent positive reviews):

"The movie's curious capacity for self-erasure makes it a tough one to write about; less than 24 hours later, I recall it with all the clarity of something I half-watched on a plane with a hangover in 1996." (Dana Stevens, Slate)

3. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, starring Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton (17 percent positive reviews):

"The result suggests A Knight's Tale as penned by Seth MacFarlane.... 'Humor,' in this context, is used only in the loosest sense, since Hansel & Gretel's idea of a gut-busting punchline is to pepper unusually flippant dialogue with the word 'fuck.' Its delight at the very idea of foul language — in what has traditionally been a children's story, you see — is seemingly inexhaustible and, to meet it on its own terms, fucking asinine." (Calum Marsh, Slant)

4. Parker, starring Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham (36 percent positive reviews):

"Reserve a special place in hell for movies that end up awful when they don't have to be. To a list that includes Alex Cross, Savages, and The Paperboy, add Parker." (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

5. Gangster Squad, starring Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and Sean Penn (33 percent positive reviews):

"Released on any day of any calendar year, Gangster Squad would be a crime against cinematic sensibility.... In reducing the great themes of the Warner Bros. crime-film legacy to so many bases to be rounded, Gangster Squad desecrates the symbols of the movies it alleges to homage, in the process making a once-great language banal." (Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice)

6. Knife Fight, starring Carrie-Anne Moss, Julie Bowen, and Rob Lowe (25 percent positive reviews):

"A political 'knife fight' with all the edge of a spork... Soulless and two-dimensional, Knife Fight is a black hole of disillusion and spin." (Jeannette Catsoulis, NPR)

7. A Haunted House, starring Marlon Wayans (6 percent positive reviews):

"If the opening gag in your R-rated movie is an extended flatulence joke, you should reconsider whether you're qualified to make such a movie. Not that flatulence jokes aren't funny; 8-year-olds love them. The thing is, not many 8-year-olds go to R-rated movies."  (Neil Genzlinger, New York Times)

8. A Dark Truth, starring Andy Garcia, Forest Whitaker, and Eva Longoria Parker (8 percent positive reviews):

"A Dark Truth is a would-be eco-thriller as forgettable as its generic title.... For all the attempted intrigue and mayhem, the film is dullsville, mired by a poky script, unremarkable action, and, the hard-working Garcia aside, uninspired performances." (Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times)

9. The Baytown Outlaws, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Clayne Crawford, and Eva Longoria Parker (17 percent positive reviews):

"Of the two or three dozen entities thanked in the credits for Barry Battles' redneck shoot-em-up The Baytown Outlaws, God ranks number eight. It's hard to decide which is odder: that the Almighty rates so low, or that he's acknowledged at all in a film so ostentatiously (if unmovingly) devoted to sleaze. Maybe someone in post-production realized how little chance this vial of synthetic testosterone had with the moviegoing public, and decided a Hail Mary was in order." (John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter)

10. Movie 43, starring Emma Stone, Gerard Butler, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, and many, many others (4 percent positive reviews):

"Just no." (Kim Newman, Empire)

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. In the past she has written for the websites of MSNBC, Rolling Stone, New York Magazine's Daily Intel, and Talking Points Memo. Follow her on Twitter: @jillrayfield.

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week