2017 Movie Countdown: The Mediocre (#36-28)

Welcome, one and all, to the first installment of The Ranting SBox’s Annual Movie Countdown (2017 Edition)… also simply known as the 2017 Movie Countdown. For the fourth year in a row, it is my duty and honor to present you guys the 36 movies I saw throughout 2017 ranked from worst to best. If you’d like more information on the mini-series in question or if you’d like to see the full list of movies I’ll be covering in this countdown, click here for the Intro post and join me back here every Sunday from now until February 4 to see how the list continues.

Now, today is not a Sunday, but because I started the countdown late this year I decided to get the first of these 4 posts out as soon as possible. And as you may guess, this post starts with my least favorite films of the year. Thankfully, I only flat-out hated one movie from last year, which means instead of starting with the traditional “Bottom of the Barrel” category, we’re moving right into the next step up: “The Mediocre”.

The following 9 movies are those I either hated, was disappointed by, or found to be nothing special. The commonality among all of them is that I wouldn’t rush to see any of these movies again, but may tolerate/passively enjoy them if it were on in the background.

I should emphasize that the order of this list is entirely subjective and far from the worst movies of the year as a whole. I don’t claim to have seen every 2017 movie, so these are just my least favorite films of the year. That said, let’s get this show on the road!

#36: Transformers 5: The Last Knight


If you were paying attention earlier, you’d note that I only hated one movie from last year… Guess which one that was.

The best way to describe Transformers 5 is cinematic engine failure. It’s about as fun and enjoyable as running out of gas and having to push your dead car to the nearest service station one mile away. I’ve never seen a movie so devoid of passion and care in my life down to the pure laziness in keeping the damn aspect ratio consistent throughout this grueling 2.5 hour runtime which feels a lot like 3 hours. It’s a shame, too, because Michael Bay isn’t a bad director, Mark Wahlberg is one of my favorite actors working, and Peter Cullen’s portrayal of Optimus Prime is too good for this series. With the right effort and mindset you have more than enough to make a movie about giant fighting alien robots that turn into cars interesting. Unfortunately, that effort went out the door at least 3 movies ago to the point where this series just isn’t fun anymore.

For more on this movie, check out my full review here.

#35: Baywatch


I didn’t hate this movie as much as a lot of people did, but I totally understand that this isn’t very good either. The movie’s big problem is it’s incredibly lazy, by-the-numbers writing, especially when it comes to the comedy. That’s not to say that the movie isn’t funny. It just has a major problem with going for the easy jokes whenever possible, and the few really good jokes the movie has were already put in the trailer. So, far from the trainwreck everyone claims it to be, but there’s very little reason to seek this movie out; at least on purpose. Catch it on TV and you’ll have a decent time with the performances and occasional heavy hitter jokes.

#34: Kong: Skull Island


This was perhaps the biggest disappointment of the year for me. Not only do I love King Kong and the 5 main actors of the movie (3 of them MCU actors mind you), but the movie’s trailers made it look like a wonderful build-up movie for the upcoming King Kong vs Godzilla. There was a ton of potential here with a King Kong prequel not set in the 1920s, and the film is…okay. I like the setting and the performances a ton. Kong is a badass as usual, though that’s to be expected. Everything else about it was just very generic. It’s a passable movie that I still enjoyed for what it is, but it should’ve at least met the same quality as the 2014 Godzilla movie they’re connecting this to.

#33: All Eyez On Me


I’ll concede to the fact that I only saw this movie after walking into the room when this was on. Fortunately, it was relatively early in the film and I did see most of it to the end. I almost didn’t include this in the countdown at all, but I eventually concluded that the first 10 minutes wouldn’t improve my opinion by much. As it is, this was a halfway compelling adaptation of the Tupac story. I was interested enough to see it to the end, and hats off to getting Jamal Woolard back as Biggie. However, I can’t help but desire a much better film about the man than what we got. Something with a bit more intrigue, espeically coming off the decent Notorious and the amazing Straight Outta Compton.

#32: A Dog’s Purpose


Unlike a lot of the movies mentioned here, this was actually a pleasant surprise from what I was expecting. I legitimately liked this movie. I enjoyed its unique perspective, semi-anthology format, and emotional depth. The idea of dogs being reincarnated each time allows for a film that effectively breaks your heart over and over again and allows great commentary on the benefits of having a pet in your life. For that reason, I would say this is a movie worth seeing once if you’re interested or if you’re very bored. After that, I doubt many people will want to return to it again. Once was enough for me at least.

#31: The Foreigner


A political-action thriller starring the man who, according to the Internet, tragically passed away 20 times in the past 20 minutes, this movie is your bi-decade reminder that Jackie Chan is an international treasure. Seriously! I demand the Academy Awards gives Chan at least a Best Supporting Actor nomination, because his scenes are both intense and gut-wrenching. His performance carries the movie to something worth seeing. What sinks it, sadly, is whenever they cut to the political part of the story. I found those parts boring as hell, despite the fact that Pierce Brosnan is shining like the damn star that he is in those scenes.

Had they just stuck to a movie about a grieving, old, martial artist father getting revenge and limited the Irish politics somewhat, this movie would be much higher on this list. As it is now, see it for the performances and not much else.

#30: The Shack


I feel kind of bad ranking this movie this low, especially since I have a tendency to put religious movies towards the bottom of theses countdowns. (I swear it’s not on purpose. It just happens that way). Plus, this movie is actually a lot better than similar movies I covered like Heaven Is For Real and Noah. It was actually a pleasant surprise to know that this was enjoyable. I found the main character interesting, the core conflict is tragic, and the depiction of the Holy Trinity in this movie is fascinatingly unique. True, some will inevitably find said take on the Trinity offensive, but as a Catholic and a movie fan who just wanted to be entertained, I don’t see much of a problem here.

So why so low? Simply put, it’s a movie I’m glad I saw for its uplifting message and unique perspective, but I don’t see me having the need to see it again. It’s that unfortunate curse with a lot of religious films that hit the same predictable beats as the last religious movie you saw. Maybe that’s why these Christian films keep ranking low on these countdowns. Few of them challenge me or offer something different… at least something different that doesn’t go off-the-rails inaccurate (Noah). Good movie overall, but it’s too paint by numbers to justify it going any higher. However, if you’re Christian and curious, it’s worth an hour of your time.

#29: Despicable Me 3


Next to Kong, this was one of my biggest disappointments of the year. Understand that I love the first two Despicable Me movies. I find them both some of the most clever and funny animated films of the decade aided by Steve Carrel’s excellent portrayal of Gru. Unfortunately for me, this movie is very mediocre by comparison. The jokes aren’t nearly as good this time around. The setup — whether its Gru’s twin brother, an 80s-obsessed supervillain, or the Minions going off on their own — provides a lot of comedic opportunity which is ultimately wasted. For some reason 70% of the jokes weren’t landing as they should’ve and I can’t figure out why. All I know is that this is the worst of the trilogy so far. Not horrible by any means, especially for kids, but for the series track record I expected a lot more than just passable.

#28: Daddy’s Home 2


My final disappointment of the year is none other than Daddy’s Home 2, a movie that from the moment I saw the trailers I thought, “But why?” The first movie was pretty good and presented a unique scenario that (let’s be honest) a lot of people can relate to. Two dads equals inevitable competition for the kids’ affection. It had a lot of laughs and ended in a fairly good note. This movie, in contrast, is between 40-50% less funny and provides a very overblown jumbled situation that loses focus on what made the first movie work: the rivalry between Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. Here the two already get along, and Wahlberg’s character has changed since last film. So, this movie comes off more like DLC for those who saw the first one then anything else. (The Gibson/Lithgow Expansion Pack if you will).

I’m not saying there’s no reason to give this movie a shot. By all means, see it if you’re interested. I had a decent time seeing this in the theater and remember a few of the jokes fine. I’m just a lot more likely to rewatch the first movie than this one.

That’s all I have time for today. As you can see, we still have 27 movies left to cover and the movies just keep getting better and better from here. Thankfully, the next installment is coming quicker than you think. From this point forward, new posts in the 2017 Movie Countdown will be posted every Sunday until the grand finale on February 4, where I will crown the best movie of 2017. So stay tuned for this Sunday when we move on to a category simply titled “The Good”.

How many of these movies have you seen, and what did you think about them? Let me know in the comments below, because I love hearing what you guys have to say!

I’m SBox180. Thanks for reading!

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