Cinematic mistakes of early 2016



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Images courtesy of Tribune News Service Michael Williams Buy Photos

Let’s face it: there are some movies that just shouldn’t exist.

We’ve all been let down by projects ranging from the low quality of lighthearted mistakes like 2003’s “Justin to Kelly” to highly anticipated multi-million-dollar disappointments like 2010’s “The Last Airbender.”

Regardless of the vast financial differences, we blinked dumbly at the rolling credits with one question: why the hell does this movie exist?

Or maybe you ask yourself when you see the first preview, which is where I stand right now with the looming release of a certain sequel about mutated reptiles.

It’s actually been my most-asked question of the year because 2016 has been a garbage dump of toxic cinema.

Exhibit A: “Fifty Shades of Black.”

This movie had everything I needed for a January pick-me-up. It was written by Marlon Wayans, one of my favorite black comics, the cast was predominantly black and it was essentially an hour and a half of trash talking “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

What else could I have asked for?

Well, an actual plot would have been nice. Just because you’re marketed as a parody doesn’t mean you’re excused from having a storyline with purpose.

And I suppose it would have been cool to have three-dimensional black characters who were funny without representing harmful stereotypes and further encouraging white screenwriters to view dark skin as a joke.

But that’s my bad.

Exhibit B: “Dirty Grandpa.”

I couldn’t have found a greater piece of shit if I had nose-dived into a sewage treatment plant.

In his attempt to prove himself a great comedic writer, John Phillips wrote one of the most offensive characters I’ve ever encountered.

Word of advice, John? Even a pretty boy and America’s cool uncle can’t hide your blatant homophobia and racism.

Please go sit on a cactus.

Exhibit C: “Angry Birds.”

Who even pitched this movie? Who allowed this kind of nonsense? Who are you and are you OK?

Exhibit D: “Zoolander 2.”

There’s always an increased risk of extreme failure when you wait more than 10 years to release a sequel (i.e. “Dumb and Dumber To”).

“Zoolander 2” was no exception and I can’t really feel bad because the original was a disaster that didn’t warrant a continuation.

We were better off leaving Zoolander and Hansel in 2001 where nostalgia kept them safe from the rightful ridicule it deserved.

Exhibit E: “Gods of Egypt.”

If I have to watch one more movie set in Africa that stars white people I will actually douse myself in kerosene and walk into a campfire.

Which means I will probably go up in flames like next month because there’s nothing Hollywood loves more than whitewashing a story that belongs to people of color. Looking at you, Ridley Scott.

But if the racism didn’t get you maybe the cheesy special effects did. I haven’t seen CGI this bad since “Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage,” which I still suspect was actually a high school film project.

Exhibit F: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.”

I just don’t understand.

Yes, the 2014 original made more than double its budget.

But it also scored a 22 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The reviews tore it apart. It was called “lazy filmmaking” and critics finally called Michael Bay out for basically feeding off the stupidity of teenagers like the garbage predator he is.

So I can’t understand why another is being forced upon us unless it’s a form of 
punishment.

I’m sorry for saying you look like a failed Donald Trump cloning experiment, Michael. Please make the turtles go away.

As you can see, 2016 is in a slump — and we’re only half way through.

I can’t even say what has caused this agonizing lineup of cinematic eyesores. It could be that we, as a culture, are shifting in terms of taste. Money can’t buy our love anymore and writers don’t know how to adjust to these standards for decent media.

Or maybe Hollywood was infected by a virus that kills all creativity and understanding of people, which sounds like the plot of a Seth Rogen film.

Either way, I think these movies exemplify the low expectations Hollywood writers have of audiences if they still think racial stereotypes, homophobic slurs and trashy childhood reboots are going to fill theater seats.

They haven’t recognized our cultural maturity.

We’re not a cheap date — this isn’t the 1990s. We’re not wooed by fancy effects and pretty faces.

We demand quality content and the sad reality for Hollywood is that we don’t have to rely on them to get our fix anymore.

I am perfectly content to stay home with my Netflix and never worry about being offended or disappointed by whitewashing or kick-flipping turtles.

lnbanks@indiana.edu | @LexiaBanks

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