it stinks

Vulture’s Worst-Movie Critics Poll: The Complete Ballots

In total, 146 films managed to infuriate the critics polled for Vulture’s Worst Movies of 2013 — everything from Hangover Part III and Lone Ranger to Upstream Color and Gravity. Some movies may have earned a higher spot on the list if more critics had seen them (remember InAPPropriate Comedy?); others may have been released too late and too close together for true consideration (what will we think of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Saving Mr. Banks six months from now?). Comb through the complete ballots below. A note on methodology: Each mention of a film earned that film one point, with a bonus point awarded each time a critic called out the film as the absolute worst of the year. A half point (and tie-breaker necessity) was awarded for films ranked as second worst. A link associated with a critic’s name indicates that we pulled their picks from a previously published list.

David Edelstein, New York Magazine

10. The Lone Ranger

9. Olympus Has Fallen

8. Elysium

7. Carrie

6. Saving Mr. Banks

5. Oz the Great and Powerful

4. Salinger

3. Machete Kills

2. Only God Forgives

1. Labor Day

Bilge Ebiri, Vulture

10. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

9. Safe Haven

8. Hangover III

7. Now You See Me

6. Baggage Claim

5. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

4. Getaway

3. You’re Next

2. Aftershock

1. Grown Ups 2

Sam Adams, Criticwire

Don Jon. Riffing on critic David Fear’s observation that the “Joisey” stereotypes in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s debut were so over-the-top they verged on inadvertent parody, I coined the term “meta-mook,” which captures only one of the movie’s manifold sins. (I’m almost certain at least some of the Garden State’s Italian-Americans wear shirts at the dinner table.) Scarlett Johansson, who gives one of her best vocal performances in Her, gave one of her worst here, affecting a horrendous B&T accent and playing a misogynist caricature, a woman so old-fashioned she’s turned off by men doing housework. 

Prisoners. This onetime contender’s awards chances seem to have died a deserved death, but this mock-moral grime fest is so vile it should be buried under the Kodak Theater. Substituting sophomoric murk for real exploration, the movie spun an increasingly preposterous tale of loss and vengeance, feigning seriousness while jazzing the audience with cheap, stupid twists. Seriously, fuck this movie.

American Hustle. Okay, not really one of the worst, but seriously people? I’ve had table wines with better structure.

Ali Arikan, DipnotTV,

5. Spring Breakers. Utterly pointless, which would be fine, but also feckless and insipid.

4. A Good Day to Die Hard. It feels as if Bruce Willis, the film’s producers, and myriad writers spent more time trying to work “Die Hard” into a phrase than they did on the rest of the production. But at least the film reaffirmed my faith in the magic of the movies when it took John McClane only an hour to drive from Moscow to Chernobyl. So, every cloud …

3. Movie 43. It’s not funny; it’s not iconoclastic; it’s not juvenile. Instead, it is a cynical artifice, like a dildo with a Mickey Mouse face at its business end. Come to think of it, Movie 43 could have used a Mickey Mouse dildo or two …

2. Only God Forgives. In “The Critique of Instrumental Reason,” venerable German philosopher and critical theorist Max Horkheimer discusses the eventual value of the Enlightenment. He posits that the whole thing was a major fiasco since it failed to create a fully rational society. Horkheimer also makes use of the phrase “pseudo-individuality,” a blanket damnation of modern culture in general where works of art make claims to uniqueness, yet betray nothing of the sort upon even arbitrary examination.

I wish I could have seen Only God Forgives with Horkheimer. I just love the image: There I am in a dingy cinema in one of the fauxhemian districts of Istanbul with my new chum, Max Horkheimer. We sit down to watch the film. Sometime around the ten-minute mark, he turns to me and, in a thick German accent, simply says: “What a piece of wank!”

1. Kick-Ass 2. Here’s a plot for a film:

Man living normal, workaday life. Goes to work, comes home, has his tea, walks his dog. All normal, everyday stuff.

Then, he slowly starts to notice that shit things are being considered good. As if the meaning of concepts is shifting. This goes on until everything bad is seen to actually be good. The second half of the film is his descent into what appears to be madness but in reality is a sort of radical sanity.

The climax to the film is a scene in which he uses an ax and a massive gun to break into a huge skyscraper. He fights his way up floor after floor, and then finally comes to a darkened room. In it is a sort of monkey — gibbon perhaps — in a huge leather chair, smoking a cigar, and flinging its shit at a huge screen rigged up to a supercomputer.

They fight, the monkey is defeated, and the man returns to everyday life. Only thing is, he is reviled by society for having destroyed utopia. The final scene is him, in a cinema, popcorn in hand, looking horrified at Kick-Ass 2 playing on the screen, and realizing that he hasn’t changed a damn thing.

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Before Midnight 

The Great Beauty

All Is Lost


Jake Cole,

10. Star Trek Into Darkness 

9. Blackfish

8. Stranded

7. Paradise

6. The Place Beyond the Pines

5. The Baytown Outlaws

4. Escape from Tomorrow

3. Wrong

2. A Good Day to Die Hard

1. Pieta

Dennis Dermody, Paper Magazine

10. After Earth

9. R.I.P.D.

8. Man of Steel

7. Mama

6. Oblivion

5. Texas Chainsaw 3D

4. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

3. A Good Day to Die Hard

2. Oz The Great and Powerful

1. 12 Years a Slave

The Dissolve

15. Movie 43

14. At Any Price

13. Ass Backwards

12. A Good Day to Die Hard

11. Grown Ups 2

10. Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

9. CBGB 

8. The Last Exorcism Part II 

7. Somebody Up There Likes Me

6. Machete Kills

5. Salinger

4. Upside Down

3. Argento’s Dracula 3-D

2. Off Label

1. The Internship

Alonso Duralde,, What the Flick?!

10. Escape from Planet Earth

9. Adore

8. Machete Kills

7. A Good Day to Die Hard

6. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor

5. Girl Most Likely / The To-Do List / Admission / The Incredible Burt Wonderstone. All of which answer the question, “With such a great cast, how bad could it be?” with “THIS bad.”

4. Jack the Giant Slayer

3. Austenland

2. The Internship / Delivery Man

1. Grown Ups 2

Devin Faraci, Badass Digest

The Bling Ring 

The East


Kick-Ass 2

The Evil Dead

Ender’s Game


Escape Plan

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

Star Trek Into Darkness

Delivery Man 

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

David Fear, Nashville Scene

At Any Price. Of all the really bad films seen and/or released and/or endured through gritted teeth this year, Ramin Bahrani’s latest may have been the most heartbreaking. Here’s a “neo-neo-realist” filmmaker with an impressive back catalogue — Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, Goodbye Solo — that reaches for social significance and lyrical heights, and achieves both effortlessly. Whether his Lifetime Channel movie-writ-large about the plight of the Midwestern farmer (starring Dennis Quaid and a tantrum-throwing Zac Efron) was crossover bid or not, it’s still a tone-deaf melodrama that doubles as a major misstep for a talented artist. Slumming does not suit him.

Epic. Maybe the post–Toy Story animated-movie renaissance has inflated our expectations, and we now expect a certain standard re: storytelling, characterization, sophistication, appealing to young and old, etc. But in a year of mondo crap-animation features (The Croods, Planes, Turbo), no long-form toon felt more like demographic pandering and cynical corporate buck-mongering than this Fox joint’s hodgepodge of stock fantasy elements, lame comic relief, celebrity-voice miscasting, and generic moralizing. Or, for that matter, made you feel so unclean that you needed to take a Silkwood shower afterward.

A Good Day to Die Hard. Why hast thou forsaken us, John McClain?!?

The Hangover III. Imagine your worst hangover — say, that time you drank the mezcal worm out of that bottle of Tijuana hooch in college, then woke up naked, covered in monkey feces, at the San Diego Zoo. Now take that experience and multiply it by three. It would still be preferable to this travesty.

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia. Geography was never our strong suit, either.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly


4. The Lone Ranger

3. The Purge

2. Trance

1. The Smurfs 2

Ed Gonzalez, Slant

5. Mama. A film whose only genuine shock is its prehistoric notions of the maternal instinct.

4. Blue Caprice. A superficial depiction of the Beltway sniper attacks, racist in its portentous style and denial of moral complexity.

3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. The description for Matthew Fox’s baddie from Alex Cross could also apply to Ben Stiller in this execrable fantasy: “rogue, stimulus-seeking sociopathic narcissist.”

2. Only God Forgives. A humorless art-house con whose flagrant misogyny and cultural condescension fuels its self-consciously rendered ultra-violence.

1. Lone Survivor. With the wit and sensitivity of the worst first-person shooter, this travesty reduces the American solider to a mere human meat puppet, asking us to masochistically delight in what their bodies can endure during wartime.

Grierson & Leitch, Deadspin

The Canyons

Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

A Good Day to Die Hard

The Hangover, Part III

Only God Forgives


Grown Ups 2

The Lone Ranger

Scary Movie 5

The Smurfs 2

Chris Heller, Metro Weekly

5. Salinger

4. Runner Runner

3. A Good Day to Die Hard

2. Movie 43

1. R.I.P.D.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

10. The Way, Way Back

9. Oz the Great and Powerful

8. Oblivion

7. The Iceman

6. Aftershock

5. After Earth

4. The Purge

3. The Canyons

2. Pacific Rim

1. White House Down

Michael Koresky, Reverse Shot

At Any Price: By trying to graft a Greek tragic framework onto a tale of economic desperation in the American heartland, Ramin Bahrani ends up with something at once boneheaded and surprisingly hateful. With an overly ingratiating Dennis Quaid and a dumbfounded Zac Efron vying for most agonizing performance.

Only God Forgives: Oedipal “themes,” Kubrickian pomposity, and a script that sounds like it was written by your annoying 12-year-old cousin who just started watching R-rated movies. More abject garbage from contemporary cinema’s biggest trash peddler with delusions of grandeur.

I’m So Excited: Well, we’re glad someone is, Pedro! The once-great Almodóvar goes back to the well for more hilarious rape jokes, this time set aboard a passenger plane so leaden with tired stock characters it’s amazing it’s able to leave the ground.

The Lords of Salem: Rob Zombie trades his visceral aesthetic for a series of suffocating art-horror tableaux that look like a succession of Korn album covers.

Side Effects: The evil lesbians did it.

Robert Levin, am NewYork

5. John Dies at the End

4. August: Osage County

3. 21 and Over

2. The Big Wedding

1. Movie 43

Lou Lumenick, New York Post

10. The Wolf of Wall Street

9. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

8. The Fifth Estate

7. Oz The Great and Powerful

6. The Big Wedding

5. Star Trek Into Darkness

4. The Lone Ranger

3. The Canyons

2. After Earth

1. Movie 43

Christy Lemire,, What the Flick?!,

After Earth 

Baggage Claim

The Big Wedding

The Canyons



Identity Thief

The Lone Ranger


The Smurfs 2

Drew McWeeny, Hitfix

10. The Internship

9. The Counselor

8. Grown Ups 2

7. Parker

6. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

5. Jobs

4. Parkland

3. The Canyons

2. Diana

1. The Host

Nell Minow, Movie Mom

Out of the Furnace insulted the very heartland characters it purported to honor by portraying them as repeatedly incapable of understanding the consequences of their actions.

After Earth: It’s the future. They have cool hologram communications devices and rocket ships. But in order to fight this fierce, homicidal predator beast, all they’ve got is a spear? The metaphors in this film had a denser atomic weight than uranium.

Free Birds is the worst idea for a kids’ movie I’ve ever heard — turkeys go back in time to prevent pilgrims from serving turkey at the first Thanksgiving by giving them takeout pizza.

The Lone Ranger: Two great train-chase sequences divided by endlessly inane claptrap and a painfully bad performance by Johnny Depp.

To the Wonder: All I can remember are sun flares and twirling.

Gangster Squad

Romeo & Juliet: All you need to make Romeo and Juliet work is teenagers with a lot of chemistry and no messing with Shakespeare’s words. 0 for 2.

The Hangover Part III: Provoked a distaste so pervasive it made me retroactively like the first one less.

Only God Forgives: A stylish director can make seamy characters and ultra-violence feel sophisticated and meaningful. Not this time.


Texas Chainsaw 3D 

The Internship

The Host

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Movie 43

The Evil Dead

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones



I Give It a Year

The Onion’s AV Club

15. Girl Most Likely

14. Hatchet III

13. Planes

12. Battle of the Year

11. Wrong

10. Dario Argento’s Dracula

9. The Big Wedding

8. Gangster Squad

7. Austenland

6. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor

5. A Haunted House

4. Man of Steel

3. And While We Were Here

2. Dealin’ With Idiots

1. A Good Day to Die Hard

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

5. Bad Milo!

4. Dealin’ With Idiots

3. The Canyons

2. Stranded

1. The Counselor

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic

5. Broken City. A movie so broken, it takes a diagram to untangle it.

4. The Book Thief. Reading is good. Nazis are bad.

3. After Earth. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a film in which the text and subtext — both concerning an effortlessly gifted father who presses his less-talented son to follow in his footsteps — were so completely in alignment.

2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Peter Jackson has now laid to rest any lingering doubt that he is, indeed, the new George Lucas.

1. The Counselor. Slow strangulation by an implacable mechanism is all too apt a metaphor for the experience of watching this Ridley Scott stinker.

Mary Pols, Time

10. The Hangover Part III

9. Oz the Great and Powerful

8. The Counselor

7. The Big Wedding

6. Only God Forgives

5. R.I.P.D.

4. After Earth

3. The Host

2. Salinger

1. Grown Ups 2

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

The Big Wedding

Dead Man Down

A Good Day to Die Hard

Grown Ups 2

To the Wonder

Rex Reed, New York Observer

10. Charlie Countryman

9. Oldboy

8. Inside Llewyn Davis

7. Spring Breakers

6. Her

5. The Lone Ranger

4. Identity Thief

3. The Fifth Estate

2. The Great Gatsby

1. To the Wonder

Katey Rich,

6. Afternoon Delight

5. The Fifth Estate

4. Grown Ups 2

3. Lil Bub & Friendz

2. Struck By Lightning

1. A Good Day to Die Hard

Carrie Rickey,

5. Spring Breakers. My 17-year-old daughter said it best: “Pedophile porn.”

4. Oblivion. In the future Tom Cruise is a drone repairman whose memory has been erased along with the logic of Andrew Niccol’s film.

3. The Host. Saoirse Ronan as an alien body-snatcher inside a soulful earthling, but I couldn’t tell them apart.

2. The Gangster Squad. L.A. Confidential for dummies.

1. The Big Wedding. The only thing big about this painfully unfunny farce is the paychecks received by Diane Keaton and Robert De Niro as the parents of bride Amanda Seyfried.

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald

5. Oz the Great and Powerful. This oppressive, bloated bore proved that even imaginative filmmakers such as Sam Raimi aren’t immune to the CGI-overkill trap.

4. Now You See Me. A great cast was wasted on this nonsensical crime caper about magician bank robbers that seemed to make up the story as it went along. I dare you to explain that ending.

3. The Host. After sitting through director Andrew Niccol’s soul-crushing adaptation of the Stephenie Meyer novel, those Twilight pictures suddenly didn’t seem that bad.

2. Grown Ups 2. Opened with a deer peeing on Adam Sandler and went downhill from there. You know you’re in trouble when Taylor Lautner is the funniest member of an all-star cast of comedians, and he’s only in the movie for five minutes.

1. I’m So Excited! Pedro Almodóvar shrill, grating comedy was the kind of lazy, homophobic picture he used to mock and subvert at the start of his career. Aren’t those mincing homos hilarious? Especially when they lip-synch to old disco songs!

Richard Roeper, Reelz Channel

10. A Good Day to Die Hard

9. Grown Ups 2

8. Girl Most Likely

7. Now You See Me

6. Safe Haven

5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation

4. Evil Dead

3. The Lone Ranger

2. Movie 43

1. White House Down

Josh Rothkopf, Time Out New York

5. Movie 43

4. Paradise

3. The Dirties

2. The Jeffrey Dahmer Files

1. The Canyons

Mike Ryan, Huffington Post

5. (Tie) Movie 43/A Good Day to Die Hard

4. The Hangover Part III

3. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

2. The Internship

1. InAPPropriate Comedy

Nick Schager, Village Voice, Vulture, Time Out New York

I Send You This Place

Family Weekend


The Perfect Wedding

And While We Were Here

Tyler Perry’s Temptation

Morning Dario Argento’s Dracula

Hatchet III

The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia

Girl Most Likely

The Internship

Grown-Ups 2

A Good Day to Die Hard

Kyle Smith, New York Post

10. A Good Day to Die Hard

9. The Mortal Instruments: The City of Bones

8. 21 and Over

7. Getaway

6. Gangster Squad

5. The Hangover Part III

4. The Big Wedding

3. Dead Man Down

2. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

1. R.I.P.D.

Dana Stevens, Slate


Identity Thief


Oz the Great and Powerful


Asawin Suebsaeng, Mother Jones

21 and Over


After Earth

Scary Movie 5

David Thomson, The New Republic

Saving Mr Banks

The Great Gatsby

Only God Forgives


The Counselor


Anne Thompson, Thompson on Hollywood

10. Danny Boyle seemed to fall into a Trance of his own making in this story of twisted revenge and obsessive sex.

9. The pendulum swung toward too much action as Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel tried to compensate for the perceived weaknesses of the Bryan Singer Superman Returns.

8. I watched After Earth silent on a plane and didn’t miss a thing.

7. Stoker is one of those cases where a superb foreign filmmaker (Park Chan-wook) didn’t know how to calibrate an American genre movie.

6. To the Wonder. Terrence Malick’s gorgeously photographed outdoor meandering is empty and pretentious.

5. The Look of Love. Steve Coogan stars in this improvisatory and unpleasant re-creation of several recent decadent decades in Britain.

4. The Host. After her smash trilogy Twilight, some folks thought they’d wring another hit out of Stephenie Meyer, and failed dismally.

3. Admission. A rare misstep for Tina Fey, who did not ring true in this contrived comedy opposite Paul Rudd. Lily Tomlin stole the movie.

2. Oz: The Great and Powerful. The witches wear high heels and leather, and fuss over James Franco. Why? That did it for me — although the china girl was fabulous.

1. Pain & Gain was Michael Bay’s idea of tossing off a high-decibel, low-budget passion project — about muscle-bound bumbling idiots.

Alynda Wheat, People

5. Frances Ha. Somehow, the irrepressible charm of the least-capable mammal in New York was lost on me. I dig Greta Gerwig, but Frances Ha is little more than an explication of how good it is to be blonde and cute when one lacks talent, focus, maturity, drive, accountability, problem-solving skills, and an innate sense of self-preservation.

4.The Counselor. Forcing viewers to sit through two hours of pseudo-academic word vomit, just to see a few cool ways of separating people from their heads, is nearly as brutal and inhumane as devising cool ways of separating people from their heads.

3. Gangster Squad. Maybe the cliché-riddled script with plot twists evident from miles away is forgivable. Maybe they get a pass for sidelining a talent like Emma Stone as the gangster’s moll. But slapping a Dick Tracy villain mask on Sean Penn, while asking an audience not to repress its giggles? They go too far!

2. The Lone Ranger. A couple of brilliantly choreographed fight scenes notwithstanding, Gore Verbinski’s misguided update is convoluted, senseless, and disturbingly violent. Besides, if I wanted to see Johnny Depp in weird makeup spouting bizarre dialogue, I’d watch — say it with me, y’all — everything else he’s ever done.

1. After Earth. Honestly, I didn’t know Jaden Smith was a movie star. In my defense, neither did he. Is it unkind to say mean things about a child who’s only trying to do his best in a film? Yes, it is, which is why you should blame his father for buying him his own big-budget sci-fi misfire, complete with marquee director (M. Night Shyamalan). Maybe now Will Smith will stop trying to make “fetch” happen.

Stephen Whitty, The Star-Ledger


Baggage Claim

The Hangover Part III

After Earth

Upstream Color

Metallica: Through the Never

The Lone Ranger 


The Big Wedding 

The Counselor

Movie 43

Owen Williams, Empire Online

Scary Movie 5

The Big Wedding

A Good Day to Die Hard

Only God Forgives

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

The Last Exorcism Part II


G.I. Joe: Retaliation

May I Kill U?

The Family

30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon


The Internship


Movie 43

Worst-Movie Critics Poll: The Complete Ballots