The worst films of 2013

Only God Forgives indeed

Sometimes my critical faculties fail me. Many years ago I wrote an angry and dismissive review of Miami Vice . Michael Mann’s bro masterpiece is now one of my favourite films of the ’00s. I don’t know what I was thinking and it haunts me to this day.

A few of 2013’s terrible flicks will deserve critical re-evaluation someday but for now let’s call out this year’s worst of the worst. First there are those that are indefensibly awful. Ethan Hawke scored two huge losers with The Getaway and The Purge . Gross-out comedies didn’t get any worse than Movie 43 and A Haunted House . I regret not reviewing R.I.P.D. — I had the headline “S.T.U.P.I.D.” ready to go. There were a few dismal twos: Grown Ups 2 Smurfs 2 and Kick Ass 2 . Gangster Squad and the Carrie remake died quiet deaths. And the most insultingly terrible of all the 90-minute feature ad for Google The Internship . Every dollar it made is an affront to humanity.

Most depressing are the mediocre flicks that prey on audiences’ good faith or offer a glimpse at something fascinating but wither in execution. The best “U.S. president in peril movie” was White House Down loads more fun than Olympus Has Fallen which was lifeless in comparison. Much like the saddest action flick of the year A Good Day to Die Hard — live stunts were abandoned for CGI dreck and Bruce Willis was at his laziest. (See also: Red 2 .) I have dim memories of seeing Jason Statham’s sacrilegious Point Blank remake Parker . Most would argue that Pain and Gain belongs on this list too except I can’t front: I thought it was hilarious and loads of fun.

And a special award to the most visually wonderful and misguided film of the year (what we’ll call the Alien 3 award): Only God Forgives . ( Spring Breakers runs a close second — for all the candy neon glow it’s just a modern take on Reefer Madness .) Nicolas Winding Refn’s personal and disturbed masturbatory fantasy was the most captivatingly beautiful achingly dull and stupid thing I’ve ever seen. What a hot mess. It has few defenders; naturally I plan on seeing it again.