Big List

10 Worst Films of 2020 (So Far)

From Robert Downey Jr.'s "Welsh" accent to a Nazi satire that skimped on the satire, you're better off avoiding these movies...

At WeLoveCinema, it kind of goes without saying that we're somewhat fond of cinema. But we have to draw the line somewhere. For a movie to be good, of course, an endless amount of things need to go right – most of them out of the control of filmmakers grappling with insurmountable odds behind the scenes.

For a movie to be bad, well, that's a lot easier, because basically everything in this business is always going wrong, all the time. Nobody sets out to make a bad movie, of course – yet some, inevitably, wind up stinking way more than others. All this is a conflated way of saying: here are the 10 worst films of 2020 (so far), based on our least flattering reviews of the year…

 

10. A Rainy Day in New York

Where to watch it: Various streaming services

Woody Allen is no stranger to accusations of self-plagiarism, but A Rainy Day in New York breaks new ground in its efforts to avoid anything bearing resemblance to originality. As an unashamed hodgepodge of ideas stolen from his great and not so great works, the film finds Timothée Chalamet and Elle Fanning – both miscast as a student couple – on a trip to New York, bumping heads with a slew of famous actors – Jude Law, Rebecca Hall, Diego Luna – in vastly underwritten parts. A complete washout, in every sense (read our full review).

 

9. Jojo Rabbit

Where to watch it: Various streaming services

The internet's collective fascination with Jojo Rabbit's self-proclaimed standing as an “anti-hate satire” speaks volumes about everything that's wrong with it. Namely, what the hell is this thing? It's a satire without satire; a comedy without laughs; a film with no clearly defined reason to exist. Like Wes Anderson, if Wes Anderson had made an ill-judged decision to create a film about Nazis in which he specifically sets out to humanises some of the Nazis (read our full review).

 

8. Sonic the Hedgehog

Where to watch it: Various streaming services

After the internet expressed its collective horror over the reveal of Sonic's initial design, the animators of this live-action video game adaptation went back to the drawing board in a bid to fix their mistakes. Unfortunately the overhaul didn't extend to the film itself – a dated attempt to bring Sonic back from the depths of obscurity that forgot to cash in on what makes him great: speed. Even Jim Carrey, chewing the scenery as Doctor Robotnik, couldn't rescue an oddly lethargic and unpowered film that spent most of its time behind the wheel of a truck (read our full review).

 

7. Trolls World Tour

Where to watch it: Various streaming services

Trolls World Tour broke new ground when Universal decided to skip its planned theatrical unveiling in favour of a VOD release, making it the first blockbuster in history to do so. But there's nothing else notable about this by-the-numbers sequel, which seemed to forget what made the first movie somewhat appealing in the first place – the songs! Very quickly the fast-paced frolics begin to grate, descending into a shrill and sugar-coated hell made worse by the fact that James Corden is along for the ride (read our full review).

 

6. MS Slavic 7

Where to watch it: MUBI

Imagine a film in which somebody sorts through papers and reads those papers and, uh, that's about it, that's the film? Sofia Bohdanowicz and Deragh Campbell's ponderous, self-indulgent meta-movie about a young woman delving into an archive of letters between her great-grandmother and a Polish poet offers little in the way of entertainment. With no drama to speak of, and nothing in the way of incident, it's about as yawn-worthy as you'd expect from a film about the reading of documents (read our full review).

5. Coffee and Kareem

Where to watch it: Netflix

“Ed Helms comedy film” is a term certain to strike fear into the hearts of even the most casual of moviegoers. His latest misguided foray, the painfully title cop caper Coffee & Kareem, does nothing to counteract the notion that basically every movie starring the former Office funnyman is a trip into the depths of anti-comedy. This one reinforces everything that's wrong with your typical Helms yarn: unlikeable characters, dated jokes, a crassness that mistakes potty humour for edginess. Who will save this guy, and us? (read our full review).

 

4. Love Wedding Repeat

Where to watch it: Netflix

Given the “time loop” premise driving rom-com Love Wedding Repeat, which stars Sam Claflin as a reluctant guest at his sister's beautiful Italian wedding, there was potential for clever antics and acute romantic observations. Instead Love Wedding Repeat forgets to be charming or funny and settles instead for broad gags and wacky physical comedy that repeats itself across multiple timelines. Watch it and then pray for a time loop where you didn't (read our full review).

 

3. Dolittle

Where to watch it: Various streaming services

“Do little” would have been a better choice. Instead this baffling CG monstrosity set out to do way too much, resulting in one of the year's most overblown – yet somehow equally underwritten – blockbusters. Here Robert Downey Jr.'s supposedly Welsh-accented hero, gifted with the ability to talk to an endless array of celebrity-voiced animals, mumbles his way through two hours of incoherence, culminating in a scene in which a dragon farts out a bagpipe. You can't make this stuff up (read our full review here).

 

2. The Iron Mask

Where to watch it: Various streaming services

The coming together of legendary action icons Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger should have been a cause for celebration. Instead relentlessly terrible and incomprehensible action thriller The Iron Mask – yet another shady venture of co-financed movie making aimed at the global market – offers two hours of bafflement. Worse still, among the bad special effects, insulting dialogue, and a story that Alan Turing would struggle to get his head around, Chan and Schwarzenegger – despite their prominence on the poster – are reduced to mere bit parts. A crime of cinema on a global scale (read our full review).

 

1. Artemis Fowl

Where to watch it: Disney+

The usually reliable Kenneth Branagh turned in not only his worst ever directorial effort with this long awaited adaptation of a beloved book series, but arguably the worst YA movie adaptation ever. You thought you suffered through The Spiderwick Chronicles and Percy Jackson? Masterpieces of nuance and tonal cohesion, compared to this! Miscast, misdirected, and featuring an outright concerning performance from Judi Dench as an elf, Artemis Fowl is the longest ninety minutes of the year – an unintelligible car crash of mindless, swirling special effects, incoherent plotting, and a lead character with all the charisma of a potted plant (read our full review).

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Reviews

Last and First Men review – a mildly fascinating alien object

The late film composer Jóhann Jóhannsson's one and only directorial effort is a strange and bewildering video essay, narrated by Tilda Swinton

Make Up review – a profoundly unsettling Cornish chiller

Claire Oakley's superb debut melds ghostly visuals with a very real and stark sense of place, to hypnotic effect

Proxima review – grounded sci-fi gives Eva Green her best role in years

Eva Green shines as a mother heading to Mars in a powerful but patchy look at space-age sexism

Summerland review – Gemma Arterton shines in a pleasant but airy period piece

Gemma Arterton is brilliant as a writer wrestling with her own past in an otherwise underwhelming and all too familiar WWII drama