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The most disappointing movies of 2013

Jimmy Kemper | Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 was a big year for the box office, with record numbers across the board and a plethora of great films hitting the big screen. However, as many great movies as there were, Hollywood delivered a number of flicks that weren’t particularly good, and some that were just downright awful. (“After Earth,” anyone?) In the midst of this movie theatre chaos was a group of films that had the potential to be great, but left audiences with empty hearts and empty wallets. This list is dedicated to those pictures, the most disappointing movies of 2013. 


5. “A Good Day to Die Hard”

It had been six years since Bruce Willis’ last foray as John McClane in “Live Free or Die Hard,” but apparently that still wasn’t enough time. “A Good Day to Die Hard” simply could not live up to its predecessors, and resembles a shell of what used to be. All the big, explosive action sequences that have become a trademark of this great series are there, but they have become long and drawn out, creating no tension or interest for viewers. The screenplay was just as bad, with Bruce Willis awkwardly attempting to gain his son’s approval as they take down generic Russian bad guys. The writers couldn’t even make any of Willis’ wisecracks funny, a terrible disappointment for fans of such a beloved franchise. “A Good Day to Die Hard” had so much potential thanks to the success of the previous films, but the team just dropped the ball. Hopefully they do a better job when the inevitable “Die Hard 6” comes around.


4. “Insidious Chapter 2”

The original “Insidious” was a great haunted house film, with some of the creepiest imagery and most truly frightening scares seen in that genre in decades. The issue with the horror genre the imagery and scares don’t transfer that readily to sequels, making films such as “Chapter 2” that attempt to capture the spirit of their predecessors by retreading old grounds feel predictable and dull. The dialogue dragged for eons and what should have been a build up to the scares really just put audiences to sleep. By far the most disappointing point of the movie is the conclusion, which does not really conclude anything and sets the story for an absolutely unnecessary threequel


3. “Man of Steel”

The problem with “Man of Steel” is not that it was necessarily a bad movie, it’s just that there was no way for it to live up to the feverish levels of hype surrounding it. With Christopher Nolan producing and Zach Snyder of “300” directing, Superman’s fans were hoping for the next “Dark Knight”. Instead, we got something that resembled the ugly hybrid of that and a Michael Bay film. The action sequences are loud, explosive and exciting at first, but David Goyer’s script that alternates between the past and the present kills the momentum of the movie, and pushes Man of Steel into the generic territory. The final fight against General Zod initially is incredibly stunning, but quickly grows stale as it drags on for the next half hour. The movie seems to be steeped in the pretentiousness of the Dark Knight Trilogy without having anything groundbreaking to show for it. With the upcoming Batman and Superman film though, Nolan has a chance to turn things around and rediscover the things that made his previous forays into superhero films so intriguing. 


2. “The Great Gatsby”

“The Great Gatsby” had absolutely all the necessary ingredients for a perfect movie: a great cast of actors (save Tobey Maguire), an excellent book to use for the story, and access to all the tools and funds needed to produce whatever was necessary. Poor F. Scott Fitzgerald must be spinning in his grave, as this is the fifth time that Hollywood has failed to capture the spirit of the Jazz Age novel of sex, lies and consumption. The execution was horrendous, with an obnoxious sound track put together by Jay-Z (because hip-hop makes retro things relevant and cool), an overly complex art direction that drowns the characters in ridiculous set pieces, and a lack of any soul due to the stiffness of the characters. Director Baz Luhrmann’s rendition of a classic American tragedy was a huge letdown, failing to have even remotely the emotional impact that Fitzgerald’s book did. But you know what they say, the sixth time’s the charm. 


1. “World War Z”

Words simply cannot describe how disappointing this film was. Read Max Brooks’ novel of the same name, and then cry because Hollywood managed to turn a wonderfully unique look at a zombie apocalypse into a dull, generic lone-hero-saves-the-world-from-zombies-and-stuff movie that could only rival “Resident Evil: Afterlife” in terms of awful zombie movies. They could have at least tried to keep the themes or storytelling of the novel, but instead we got just another stale zombie movie in an incredibly saturated genre. 

Contact Jimmy Kemper at jkemper2@nd.edu