movies to avoid

Read the Fine Print (Movie Blacklist #1)

There’s nothing quite as maddening as browsing all the movie options on your streaming service for the tenth time, only to settle on something that swallows up your evening and later refuses to regurgitate your hard-earned leisure time. On top of that, not being able to hurl your remote at the TV screen might lead to indigestion and a night of fitful sleep. To help you avoid this outcome, here’s a very subjective list of movies that have proved to be a health hazard in the past.

1. Crash Pad (2017)

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The clash of Grady’s toxic masculinity with Stensland’s uncertain view of what it means to be a man today leads to a few instances of awkward bullying and a smattering of humor that falls remarkably flat. The source of the tension is the obvious generation gap between the two men, which emphasizes Grady’s habitual suppression of emotions and Stensland’s self-indulgent oversensitivity. Surprisingly, though, that isn’t even the worst part of the movie.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a plot, at least one that would have a clear objective, and so we’re led from one repetitive scene to the next while wishing for a redeeming plot twist that never comes. Also, none of the characters inspire great empathy, which makes a character-driven movie like this one almost unendurable. Watch at your own risk.

2. Yesterday (2019)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Now, this movie looked promising. Jack, a struggling musician, smacks into a charging bus and ends up with a nasty head injury. When he wakes up, he’s forced to navigate a world, in which a few things he’d always taken for granted have seemingly never existed. These include cigarettes, Coca Cola and The Beatles, to name a few. Ravenous for musical success, he replaces his unpopular repertoire of songs with the band’s hits, aiming to strum his way to the top. When he gets there, though, he’s ripped apart by guilt, remorse, and a serious case of impostor syndrome.

The movie is edited playfully and boasts a groovy soundtrack, but the bumpy relationship between Jack and Ellie interrupts the viewing experience like a squealing record scratch. The love between them seems more than a little forced, based on Jack’s initial shock and later reluctance to pursue anything, and terribly mawkish. Every bit of action that takes place is interrupted by an inopportune heart-to-heart. It’s also a bit unrealistic to suggest that opposite gender friendships are synonymous with unrequited romantic feelings.

3. The Dead Don’t Die (2019)

Rating: 0.5 out of 5.

It might be a bit late to address this one, but better late than never. In true Jarmusch fashion, nothing really happens in the movie. And when it does, it seems stilted, out of place, redundant and pretentious. He takes every storytelling rule there is, arranges a pretty pile, then proceeds to toss it out the window and brands chaos Art. Again, if you’re into movies that feel like unpolished student films, you’ll have a field day with this one.

The rest of us have to endure a bit of torture. Jarmusch breaks the fourth wall in a pointless show of self-awareness that serves to interrupt the only bit of action there is, introduces characters at length only to dispose of them a few moments later, and indulges in a study of some shockingly graphic zombie feeding behavior.

Then, when it’s time deliver a satisfying ending to finish on a high note, Jarmusch delivers a blunt critique of modern society that’s as welcome in a zombie movie as a sex scene in a cartoon. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a toddler abandoning his toys the moment boredom strikes. Simply put, this movie very nearly ruined Halloween last year.

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