Staff Picks 2018: Worst Movie
Bad, bad, bad. If you know what’s good for you, don’t watch these films. But if you do know what’s good for you, read why you should not watch these films.
The most upsetting thing about this film is how so many viewers are willing to turn a blind eye to its problems. Bohemian Rhapsody is a glorified Spotify playlist, riddled with inaccuracies, poorly written, and just a disgrace to the name of Freddie Mercury. There are plenty of articles and videos that break down the numerous falsehoods that pepper and propel this film into mediocrity, so I’ll just provide some links at the bottom. Or, you could just Google the movie, because it pops up in the first few search entries. If you are a fan of Queen, and you liked this movie, please, take a step back and consider the effects of altering the band’s history. Yes, movies have a tendency to bend the truth, to “Hollywoodize.” But in the case of Bohemian Rhapsody, bending the truth not only led to a villainization of Freddie Mercury as a band member, but also as a queer man.
The first inaccuracy that stands out is the decision for Mercury, in the movie, to do solo work. When he discusses this with his band members, he is scoffed at by Roger Taylor, Queen’s drummer who in real life had released two solo albums before Mercury even released his first. The decision then, to make Mercury the first solo adventurer, was merely to make him the reason for the band’s filmic fissure— a negative tension that did not need to exist to drive the film forward, and therefore just acts as a way to dramatize the narrative. The second inaccuracy that I think is worth mentioning, and that is more disruptive to Mercury’s identity, is everything surrounding Mercury’s AIDS diagnosis. In the film, Mercury is diagnosed shortly before the band’s Live Aid concert, and that news is largely what leads the band to reunite at all. According to an article published on IndieWire, Mercury’s diagnosis was most likely not before Live Aid, but rather two years later in April of 1987. Why does this matter? To use Mercury’s diagnosis as the push for the band to reunite minimizes his illness to the the point of inaccurate plot device, while also punishing him for a queerness that, in the film, was displayed as one of the driving forces behind the band’s separation— The Daily Beast wrote a great article about this characterization, which I will link to below. But if I had to pull one quote from that article, it’s this: “Mercury’s hard-partying ways, recklessly and shamefully intertwined with his sex life and gay culture, are made out to the be the downfall of the band.”
I think that about says it all. —Emily Figueroa
In what is essentially a made-for-TV movie brought to the big screen thanks to an aggressive crowdfunding campaign, Gosnell is a prime example of how impure the art form of cinema can be. The film’s sole purpose is to serve as blatant, anti-abortion propaganda. Completely uninterested in initiating conversation or dialogue about its controversial subject matter, Gosnell opts to bash the viewer in the head repeatedly with its own partisan convictions. Even worse, the film is cheap, the direction is visionless, and the performances are laughable. This has led to the film being rejected for review in virtually every major publication the week of its release. Even so, there has been much discussion about the overwhelming majority of mainstream cinema that leans towards the political left. But if this is the best the right can do, then perhaps they should look for a new medium. Regardless of political leaning or stance on the subject matter, every audience member who somehow makes it to the end credits should know, without a doubt, that their time has just been wasted. —Michael Murphy
The other day, I found out that the script for this rom-com was adapted from a novel penned by a 15 year old girl on Wattpad, and my world fell into place. Wattpad, for those of you lucky enough to avoid it in high school, is a lawless self-publishing platform where the most contrived, tacky stories thrive— oh, and there’s lots of fan fiction. So it makes perfect sense that the hellish Netflix original, Kissing Booth, spawned here. The premise is every high schooler’s wet dream: Elle Evans (yeah, that’s really her name) has to choose between her best guy friend and his bad-boy older brother. The movie is wildly unrealistic, sure the teen boys have the chiseled abs of 20-somethings, makeouts happen on the actual Hollywood sign— but what takes it from entertaining-bad to disturbing-bad is the sinister messages it feeds to the adolescent females in its target audience. Violence is romantic, says The Kissing Booth, and so is your oldest and best friend talking about you like property. Yuck. —Bessie Rubenstein
The absolute worst movie of 2018 was The Kissing Booth. Seriously, this movie was terrible. First of all, none of the characters were likable. I think I was supposed to root for Elle, the main character, but she made so many awful decisions, I just wanted something bad to happen to her so that she’d learn her lesson. She went behind her best friend’s back to date his bad-boy brother, she embarrassed herself in multiple situations because she craved attention, and she never seemed to realize that her actions were hurting herself and others. There is so much bad judgment in this movie, it made me want to scream at the TV. It might have been a cute movie if Elle actually considered how her actions affected the people around her, but she doesn’t, so it isn’t. Do not watch this movie! —Emma Steiner
Oy. This was a toss-up between two Netflix “rom-coms”: Alex Strangelove and The Kissing Booth. I put “rom-coms” in quotations because neither film is even remotely romantic or funny. But at the end of the day, Alex Strangelove takes the cake. Alex is a teen who is simultaneously planning to lose his virginity (to his girlfriend) and realizing he might be gay. The dialogue is cringey in general, but more concerning are the number of homophobic/transphobic comments spewed by the film’s supporting characters. It would be one thing if these themes were discussed and unpacked, but these lines are brushed off without any explanation. As far as coming-out movies go, Alex Strangelove has got to be the most homophobic, even if it didn’t mean to be. However, the worst bit of homophobia in Alex Strangelove is in the lead character himself. He is consistently villainized for his indecisiveness, shown to be hurting those around him (especially his girlfriend) for no good reason. We need more LGBT stories shown in film, but not more like this. —David Merkle
To check out our other 2018 Staff Picks— including Biggest Disappointment, Most Forgettable, and Best Movie Nobody Saw— check the Staff Picks 2018 page under the Opinion tab!