Thanksgiving is nigh, and moviegoers with an appetite for snark can’t resist the prospect of carving up the year’s biggest movie turkeys.
Tastes vary on just what constitutes a turkey. Is it a film that bombed at the box office. That’s one barometer, except that Edge of Darkness, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, though perhaps a financial disappointment, received strong reviews and is just now finding its audience on home video, for which its title was changed (“Live. Die Repeat.”)
Is it a film that failed to exceed high expectations? By this criteria, Interstellar might be considered by some to be a turkey for its confusing story (“15 maddening ‘Interstellar’ plot holes,” was one Entertainment Weekly article) and controversial sound design that compelled one theatre to post this sign: “Please note that all of our sound equipment is functioning properly…This is how it is intended to sound.”
Can a box office success be a turkey? Ask the critics who reviled The Transformers: Age of Extinction. The Other Woman, or Dumb and Dumber To.
It’s all subjective, so in serving up some of this year’s ripest movie turkeys, let’s keep the focus on box office and films that earned some of the most egregious reviews.
Like Left Behind, starring Nicholas Cage at his Cagiest in the faith-based drama whose reviews were anything by rapturous. “Cement(s) its place in the Bad Movie Hall of Fame,” wrote New York magazine critic Bilge Ebiri.
Or Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal, a raunch-com about which Time’s venerable critic Richard Corliss bemoaned, “A slow, agonized mudslide of failed intentions.”
One of the year’s biggest flops critically and commercially was the animated Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, which earned less than $19 million against a $70 million budget. “This is one of those movies that parents will have to ask themselves if they love their child enough to sit through it,” offered Roger Ebert.com’s Susan Wloszczyna. The Nut Job, at least was a box office hit, although it, too, earned withering reviews, such as “More flatulence jokes than anyone deserves,” from The New York Times.
Even with a bizarre cameo by Will Smith as the Devil, the time-tripping romance fantasy Winter’s Tale starring Colin Farrell got a chilly reception at the box office, earning less than $13 million against a $60 million budget, as well as unforgiving reviews (“Charmless and frequently silly,” spat the New York Post).
Sabotage, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s third box office bust in a row, was also his worst opening ever. It made only $14 million worldwide against a $35 million budget. Speaking of disasters, Pompeii cost $100 million to produce but earned a mere $23 million domestically.
Incredibly, 2014 gave us TWO Hercules movies. The one without Dwayne Johnson earned less than $19 million domestically against an $80 million budget.
Blended, which reunited Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, was a box office hit, but you can’t have movie turkey without Sandler. The comedy earned a mere 31 score on the review aggregation site Metacritic, and a 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer.
So many movie turkeys, so little space. We haven't even mentioned A Million Ways to Die in the West and Grudge Match.
But now it's your turn: What movie disappointed you most this year?