You know that we like to keep it positive here at No But Listen (no we fucking don’t), but sometimes, one simply has to get a little of the snark, a little of that argumentativeness out of one’s system. Which brings us to the first of our end-of-year lists: the worst that cinema (well, the cinema we saw, anyway) had to offer in the Year of our Lord (cat) 2021. Let’s get to it, shalleth we?
Things Heard and Seen
I wouldn’t blame you if you hadn’t seen or heard of Things Heard and Seen, a Netflix original sort-of ghost story starring a wasted Amanda Seyfreid and a deeply strange, though unfortunately not strange in any way that helps the film James Norton. This damp dishtowel of a film centers on the crumbling marriage of the main two while also trying to chart a course through a history of hauntings of abused and repressed women: an interesting concept that ultimately falls flat. This type of story is very in at the moment, and Things Heard and Seen only serves to remind that a great premise and a good cast does not an interesting movie make.
She’s evil because dogs chased her mum over a cliff. Alright? Alright. I think I’m done here. Cruella, from the moment it shoulder-barged its way through my door and into my realm of consciousness, has been one of those bizarro-world Simpsons’ parody movies that feels like it can’t come close to existing in real life. It’s aggressively stupid in a way that fails even to capitalize on the camp value inherent in that stupidity in a way that might have made this movie even passingly palatable – instead, it’s cartoon villainy wrapped up in the same beats as the Joker movie, draped in a complete lack of understanding of London’s punk scene just in case we needed reminding that Commandant Mouse was the one behind all of this in the first place.
You’ve got to hand it to M Night Shaymalan: this guy has become an expert at building his career up to a point where he can spectacularly destroy it. All the good will from The Visit, Split, and even Glass (I hated it, but it has its defenders) Old see’s the obviously talented filmmaker on self-destruct mode once again. Old is nonsense: poorly acted, poorly scripted, poorly staged, and extremely, agonizingly, unbearably, in-your-seat-thrashingly stupid. It’s almost gobsmacking that a director with this much proved talent is capable of passing this off as decent, but he’s done it again. Can’t wait to see what he comes back with to make up for it this time.
Justice League: The Snyder Cut
Why is this movie a thing? Why do people love it? Why is it seen as an improvement of the Joss Whedon Cut when it erases everything that that arseWhole put in there to make the story coherent? Oh, I’m not defending Joss Whedon – I’m merely saying a turd smells better than diarrhea. This four-hour monstrosity doubled down on everything that people hated about Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman, only for these same people to suddenly “get” Snyder’s vision. It’s a movie that proves once and for all that Zack Snyder can only make a halfway decent film if he is standing on the shoulders of more talented creators like Alan Moore or George A Romero. Mediocre artists shouldn’t fail this often and get rewarded for it, but Zack Snyder keeps on keeping on, despite my best efforts.
The horror genre has done so many amazing things in cinema in the last few years, but constantly retreading old ground with half-hearted reboots and remakes ain’t it. Halloween Kills might land at the very bottom of that pile for me, a totally heartless and uninspired flick that fails to capitalize on even the returning brilliance of Jamie Lee Curtis to rescue it from the gutter. Halloween Kills fails to make a case for the existence of this new Halloween trilogy, and fails to follow its own advice on the “evil dies tonight” front and throw itself into the cinematic incinerator in the process.
What film did you hate with a burning passion in 2021? Let us know in the comments below! If you enjoyed this article and want to see more stuff like it, please consider supporting us on Ko-Fi.
By Louise MacGregor and Kevin Boyle
(header image via New York Times)