The 20 Worst Films of 2019

As other websites celebrate the finest cinema of 2019, The A/V Club just published its list of the 20 worst films of the past year. Below are the top (bottom?) 10; click on the link for all 20:
  1. The Fanatic. As Moose, a stunted Walk-of-Fame busker who begins skulking around the Beverly Hills home of an ill-tempered B-list star, John Travolta does a simpering, childlike caricature of unspecified disability that’s somewhere between offensive and just plain embarrassing.
  2. Replicas. Keanu Reeves had a hell of a year: He stole scenes in Always Be My Maybe and Toy Story 4John Wick 3 was an action blockbuster; and hardly anyone remembers that he starred in a terrible sci-fi thriller called Replicas. That last feat is especially impressive because Replicas played on over 2,000 screens nationwide; it wasn’t a straight-to-Vudu release, but public indifference practically willed it into one anyway.
  3. The Haunting of Sharon Tate. Like Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, it’s an alternate-history version of the Manson murders. But this one inflicts extreme violence not on the perpetrators of the infamous crimes but on their victims: We see the heavily pregnant Tate and her friends tortured and slaughtered no less than three times in The Haunting Of Sharon Tate, each staging more sadistic, gratuitous, and artless than the last. Fun fact: Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst made this film.
  4. The Lion King. Jon Favreau’s profoundly misguided remake of the 1994 animated smash is a cautionary tale about the folly of technological achievement without vision. Why spend so much time, money, and energy stripping the magic from a Disney classic, image by image, musical number by musical number? Because, of course, people still flocked to it, genuflecting at the feet of a studio preying on their nostalgia.
  5. The Upside. Neil Burger’s shallow, cheaply manipulative American remake, is less a crowd-pleaser than a mass mugging, demanding all your feelings by force. Despite the best efforts of Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman, and Kevin Hart, there are none of the original’s flashes of honesty.
  6. The Goldfinch. This stultifying take on Donna Tartt’s hefty 2013 bestseller has the copper gleam of the Pulitzer Prize the novel won. But whatever insight Tartt spread across 800 pages of plot is nowhere to found in the film’s shapeless recitation: a two-and-a-half-hour trudge through multiple decades in the life of a bespectacled art forger (Oakes Fegley and Ansel Elgort, creating a continuity of blankness) still grappling with the tragedy that claimed his mother’s life.
  7. Jacob’s Ladder. Movie producers must be struggling to find properties to remake these days if they’ve been reduced to dredging up half-remembered titles from the heyday of Blockbuster. The 1990 version was clunky but distinctive—as weirdly personal as a diary entry. This new Jacob’s Ladder? It’s more like an adaptation of the text on the back of a VHS tape.
  8. Rambo: Last Blood. John J. Rambo has not aged gracefully. But even the gory excess of 2008’s Rambo seems downright introspective when compared to this joylessly schlocky and hopefully final outing for the onetime symbol of post-Vietnam resentment.
  9. Anna. Luc Besson already made this movie 29 years ago, with his breakout Nikita. Three decades later, he still thinks it’s a bold declaration that women can be sexy and duplicitous—that they can, as the archaic expression goes, have it all.
  10. Primal. A movie in which Nicolas Cage plays a big-game hunter fighting a psychopathic escaped convict on a ship full of dangerous wild animals should serve up a whole lot more dopey fun than Primal ever manages.