If Top 10 lists are aspirational — not least because a good portions of the movies on them have yet to open — worst-of lists are cathartic, a way to retrieve something from the wreckage of time wasted and expectations dashed. The A.V. Club’s “Worst Films of 2013” favors the time-wasters, little-known (and less-loved) movies that for the most part barely made a dent in our collective consciousness. (Disclosure: I contributed to some of The A.V. Club’s year-end features, although not this one.) Remember Dario Argento’s Dracula or Dealin’ With Idiots? Didn’t think so.
That said, in at Number Four is a choice that’s bound to generate plenty of controversy — sorry, I mean “polite discussion in the comments section” — Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. “With this single movie,”Scott MacDonald writes, “the trend toward ‘serious’ superhero stories officially achieves entropy.” The overall winner? A Good Day to Die Hard, which even devout John McClane aficionados acknowledged was one yippee-ki-yay too far.
The A.V. Club’s Worst Films of 2013
1. A Good Day to Die Hard
2. Dealin’ With Idiots. “The out-of-nowhere finale concludes with Garlin and the cast dancing in a circle around the camera, perhaps as part of some ritual to ask for the viewers’ forgiveness.”
3. And While We Were Here
4. Man of Steel
5. A Haunted House. “Working in the contemplative tradition of contemporary art cinema, Marlon Wayans and director Michael Tiddes fill A Haunted House with long stretches of inactivity and visual empty space, affording viewers ample time to think about all of the terrible decisions the’’ve made in their lives — like, say, watching A Haunted House.”
6. Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor
7. Austenland. “This Sundance-approved rom-com seems less informed by the best of English literature than the worst of Saturday Night Live.”
8. Gangster Squad
9. The Big Wedding
10. Dario Argento’s Dracula
12. Battle of the Year. “It’s probably a bad sign when a large chunk of a movie consists of the characters watching a different, better film about the exact same subject.”
14. Hatchet III
15. Girl Most Likely