By ANGEL CANEZ
The 40th anniversary of the Golden Raspberry Awards is soon upon us to award the worst Tinseltown has offered.
2019’s list of losers includes: “A Madea Family Funeral,” marking Tyler Perry’s fourth Razzie nomination; John Travolta’s star turn in “The Fanatic”; horror thriller “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” starring Hillary Duff; PTSD-addled super soldier John Rambo in “Rambo: Last Blood”; and finally, “Cats.”
I started my weekend of darkness with “The Fanatic.” The film marks Fred Durst’s — the lead singer of Limp Bizkit — directorial debut and the movie was as bad as his music. John Travolta, in poor taste, plays an ice cream-loving superfan with autism-turned-scary stalker of his favorite action hero Hunter Dunbar. Trovolta’s character doesn’t even have a name. He just goes by Moose and can somehow afford a Hollywood home.
No one is relatable in this film and almost everyone is irredeemable, as most characters are just awful people. Even Hunter Dunbar, the actor being stalked and whose life is being destroyed, comes off as a jerk. You’re hoping he gets his comeuppance.
However, as bad as “The Fanatic” is, it isn’t bad enough to where we’ll be talking about it in the future. It was just a poorly written film you would expect from a straight-to-Red-Box disaster.
I wouldn’t call “The Fanatic” the worst movie of the year. It wasn’t a struggle to sit through. It was just difficult to sympathize with anyone, and there was no one to root for.
Most Memorable Moment: Durst plugs Limp Bizkit by having Hunter Dunbar talk about how much they rock while driving his son to school.
“A MADEA FAMILY
I had never seen a Madea movie, but if years of bad trailers are anything to go by, I was in for a rough two hours.
I muscled up the strength to watch it, and like the first time I had Chinese food, I was pleasantly surprised. I expected the worst, but it was full of corny jokes that still had me shaking my head and giggling. It’s like a dollar-store version of Eddie Murphy’s “Nutty Professor,” where Tyler Perry plays multiple people in the same scene.
The movie’s core is about family and how you need to treat them with respect because you can’t choose who they are. It is safe to say it was the only movie with any type of substance.
Most Memorable Moment: Mike Tyson’s cameo as himself.
“THE HAUNTING OF
Right in the middle of my movie binge was “The Haunting of Sharon Tate,” starring Hillary Duff. This was her first feature film since starring in “Flock of Dudes” in 2016.
Inspired by the Manson murders, the “Haunting of Sharon Tate” plays loosely on the true story premise.
The first five minutes fooled me into thinking it’s not going to be that bad. In poor taste, however, the movie exploits an incredibly tragic and violent event. It’s cheesy and filled with cliché horror tropes.
Tate is plagued with supernatural visions, nightmares and all the standard ghost movie stuff that add nothing of value to the story. The movie is way longer than it had any reason to be as we’re forced to watch Tate interact with her friends with bad Norwegian accents. It so over-acted you can’t help but feel that she’s overreacting – crying wolf – despite knowing very well where this story is going.
Worst of all is how they have multiple scenes of the Manson murder with just a slightly different twist on each one. It’s full of gratuitous violence, and they still get it wrong.
The ending makes less sense than the rest of the movie, and it somehow manages to be historically inaccurate even though we all know how this story is supposed to end.
I’ll give Duff a mulligan in this film. Although she is bad, she’s bad like a well-done steak. She should win worst actress of the year with this role, but she didn’t have much to work with, as she’s tasked with freaking out, crying or waking up mid-nightmare for a majority of her screen time or just lounging around talking about fate.
Most Memorable Moment: All of the wanton murder scenes.
I’ve never been a fan of musicals or cats, and after watching this, I’m even less of a fan now.
“Cats” was directed by Tom Hopper, who won an Academy Award for his “The King’s Speech.” You would think a movie with an award-winning director, $100 million budget and world-class celebrities could be done better. In this case, you would be wrong.
It’s confusing from the start: Pretty much it’s a story about a dance contest with the winner earning a valuable prize.
The first thing you notice is a gang of terrible CGI cats in an “Island of Dr. Moreau”-inspired monstrosity. The CGI is on par with “I am Legend.” The movie loses all steam 15 minutes in, as we come across a cat (Rebel Wilson’s cat, to be specific) rubbing herself down in a semi-sexual matter, legs wide open followed by her stumbling over the floor. The cats start eating garbage.
This movie is garbage. Most of the movie dialogue was sung alongside bad jokes plugged in between musical numbers.
A cat is abandoned at the beginning by what looks like giant humans, only to start singing and then ending up at a milk bar. Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like, a bar of milk, but less “Clockwork Orange”-ey.
That nonsense it strung together by hypnotic catnip and cats with hands. It was just an all-around train wreck. The only bright parts were Jennifer Hudson singing and anytime Ian McKellen is on screen.
Most Memorable Moment: Hudson singing “Memory” at the end.
“RAMBO: LAST BLOOD”
I saved the absurd amount of violence that we all are accustomed to from John Rambo for last. Sylvester Stallone has quietly become the Meryl Streep of bad acting, as this marks his 15th worst actor nomination. He has “won” four of them, most recently winning worst supporting actor in “Spy Kids 3-D Game Over.”
It’s also the third Rambo film in the series to be nominated for worst picture. The film starts off with John Rambo in a cave that he built under his house while experiencing Vietnam flashbacks. Rambo has picked up the cowboy lifestyle, moving to a small ranch on the U.S./Mexico border. Then things take a turn for the worst in typical Rambo fashion when his niece is kidnapped by human traffickers.
Rambo embarks on a rescue mission south of the border. He fails and goes home to booby trap his house into a deathtrap. He then lures the Mexican drug cartel members there.
“Last Blood” tries to build a back story for Rambo as a grieving man, fighting his urges to be a killing machine. He replaces endless bloodlust with a slow build to a climactic action-packed ending that makes up for the lack of violence until then.
Then we’re gifted a murder montage set to The Doors’ “Five to One.” As people get decapitated and thrown onto nails, it ends with Rambo just sitting there while surrounded by corpses. The end credits roll over old clips from previous Rambo movies like some kind of flashback.
As bad as Rambo is, most of it’s due to things that can be ignored. Apparently, one can bury family members in your backyard without telling anybody what happened to them or calling 911.
Most Memorable Moment: The “Five to One” murder montage.
My pick for the worst of 2019 is “The Haunting of Sharon Tate” by a wide margin. It checked off every box of bad filmmaking. They took an event like the Manson murder, focused on an eight-month pregnant Sharron Tate, made up the rest of Manson murder victims and tried to add horror element that just didn’t work. Pair over-the-top overacting and with bad writing and we get, hands down, the worst movie of the year.
However, “Cats” will win because it was the bigger film with a bigger budget and, thus, a bigger disappointment. It will most likely be the answer to the oft asked question, “what’s the worst movie you’ve ever been in?” question down the road for these successful actors.
“Cats” will go down as a cult classic of awful infamy, alongside “Jack and Jill,” “The Room” and “Con-Air.”