2014 was a year full of creative, interesting movies as much as it was full of big-market blockbusters. But somewhere below that scale lies the movies that were hyped beyond belief that never quite lived up to our expectations. Not to be confused with offerings we all knew would be straight popcorn flicks (e.g., Transformers 4: Age of Extinction), there’s a less-than-elite group of movies that we all thought would be amazing and just didn’t quite land.
To make this list, the title had to fulfill a few requirements. First, it had to be a film that people were genuinely excited about. Second, it had to completely and utterly fall short of those expectations. Pretty simple stuff, yet you’d be surprised by just how many fail to fit into both categories.
1. A Million Ways to Die in the West (33% Rotten Tomatoes score)
Boasting an all-star cast with Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron, and Neil Patrick Harris, it was hard to think Seth McFarlane’s sophomore directing effort wouldn’t at least be a little funny, given the success of Ted in 2012. What we got instead was a bloated, overwrought comedy with a runtime of almost two hours. It did well enough at the box office, making $42.6 million, but in terms of sheer quality, it didn’t quite accomplish what it wanted. It’s never going to be easy making a parody of the Wild West, especially when you’re inevitably going to measured against classics like Mel Brook’s Blazing Saddles. Alas, A Million Ways to Die in the West fell well short of its potential, achieving just a few forced laughs and offering little else for viewers.
2. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (53% Rotten Tomatoes score)
It’s a rare type of movie that’s so underwhelming that a studio would consider rebooting a superhero franchise for the second time within a few years. The second installment of The Amazing Spider-Man did just that. After Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 became regarded as one of the most unnecessary superhero sequels ever made, it was hard to picture something like that ever happening again. But because Sony is required to keep on making Spider-Man movies in order to retain the rights to the franchise, we had ourselves an Andrew Garfield reboot that, incidentally, wasn’t half bad. But then the sequel came out, featuring far too many villains, a nonsensical plot, and a tired narrative. Talk of yet another reboot is making us wish that Sony would finally just give up the rights to Marvel so that we can stop this nonsense once and for all.
3. Into the Woods (70% Rotten Tomatoes score)
While critically it achieved a modicum of success, Into the Woods lost at the box office in its opening weekend to both The Hobbit and Unbroken, hauling in a modest $31 million. Having seen the fairytale-centric flick last weekend ourselves, we can say without question that it’s one of the most exhausting movie musicals we’ve seen in a long time. Less-than-memorable songs punctuated by a disjointed story that makes little sense combine for a disappointing adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s wildly popular Broadway production. Its saving grace is the charisma of Anna Kendrick and Emily Blunt, but past that, there’s not much to see here, especially clocking in at an interminably long two hours and five minutes.
4. Exodus: Gods and Kings (29% Rotten Tomatoes score)
There was a time when Ridley Scott was considered to be one of the best directors in all of Hollywood, with such classics like Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator to his name. And then along came Exodus: Gods and Kings, a film that’s been talked about as much for its racially controversial casting as its dependence on CGI. At its core, we have a retelling of one of the most over-told stories of all mediums. Anytime you pull straight from the pages of the Old Testament for a 1,000-year-old story, you’re going to come up against the challenge of somehow making it new. For Exodus, Scott sadly failed to achieve that goal.
5. Godzilla (73% Rotten Tomatoes score)
Godzilla was a movie that benefited from a simple idea: that it only had to be better than the universally reviled American adaptation from 1998, starring Matthew Broderick. With the bar set incredibly low, it did manage to improve on its predecessor. What it didn’t do, though, was show the actual monster it was named for, with Honest Trailers tallying up around 11 minutes of screen time out of the two-hour, 18-minute run of the film. Instead, we were treated to two monsters that were decidedly not Godzilla, Ken Watanabe being reduced to doing nothing but staring off into space and oddly placed familial issues that are definitely not the reason we go and see a monster movie. As a whole it managed to mildly entertain, but in terms of living up to its massive potential, Godzilla didn’t quite get there.
6. Tusk (39% Rotten Tomatoes score)
In Kevin Smith’s return to directing, we have Tusk, a bizarre horror movie about a man who’s drugged and then surgically transformed into a walrus. What we get is a movie that’s equal parts campy, strange, and hard to watch. There’s something uncomfortably odd about watching a mustachioed Justin Long slowly become a walrus at the hands of a psychotic old man, making for an effort that never really produces much in terms of scares, instead suffering tonally as it swayed between comedy and horror, never deciding on one or the other. Movies like Cabin in the Woods and Tucker and Dale vs. Evil show us what happens when a director produces a decisive tone, making Tusk look all the more sloppy in its narrative.
More from Entertainment Cheat Sheet:
- 5 Movies in 2014 That Broke the Mold
- 7 Worst Blockbuster Films of 2014
- Jackie Chan’s Newest Movie, ‘Dragon Blade,’ Looks Absolutely Bonkers
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