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Worst movies of 2018

Bottom 10 list includes one of the year’s most successful films

With a talented cast and an interesting premise, "The Happytime Murders" was one of the most disappointing films of 2018. Photo credit: Motion Picture Artwork - 2017 STX Financing, LLC

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Here we go. The 10 worst movies I experienced in 2018.

10. Bohemian Rhapsody

Yes, Rami Malek delivered fine work as Freddie Mercury, and yes, I know Bohemian Rhapsody has become the most financially successful musical biopic of all time.

That doesn't change the fact that it's a watered-down, clumsily shot, sometimes ridiculously contrived and condescending version of events.

9. Red Sparrow

A quite unconvincing Jennifer Lawrence is a former prima Russian ballerina forced to join the red sparrows -- a team of young, attractive men and women taught to use their powers of seduction in their training to become foreign spies. Lashing out at the uncle who sent her to the program without fully explaining the, um, curriculum, Lawrence hisses: "YOU ZENT ME TO WHORE SCHOOL!"

8. The 15:17 to Paris

Just two-and-a-half years after the real-life incident in which three American heroes, among others, thwarted a terrorist attack on a train from Amsterdam to Paris, the prolific Clint Eastwood directs a docudrama about the event. Unfortunately, Eastwood cast many of the real-life, non-actor individuals from that day as themselves, and the result is well-intentioned but amateurishly performed and flat.

7. Hunter Killer

A convoluted and laughably dumb Cold War submarine thriller that will be remembered for one reason: Gerard Butler making a friendly visit to the Pentagon and finding himself in the glare of an impromptu press conference in which he had to take questions about the movie and U.S. foreign policy not from junketeers but from veteran political reporters from CNN et al.

6. Fifty Shades Freed

One of the worst trilogies in movie history comes to a close with the same sleek look, the same dopey plot developments, the same un-sexy sex scenes and wooden performances from Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan, who both can actually be quite good in other material.

5. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

In the first movie, we were told the mother of Donna (Meryl Streep) is dead.

In the second movie, Donna is dead, but Grandma is alive, and she's Cher.

Wait, what?

The musical numbers are light and frothy and mostly forgettable.

4. Tag

This creepy, odious, Heisman stiff-arm to the audience is based on a Wall Street Journal article about friends who played a month-long game of tag every year for decades. Ed Helms, Jon Hamm, Jake Johnson, Hannibal Buress and Jeremy Renner are saddled with roles that depict the five middle-aged men as selfish, immature, reckless jerks.

3. Life Itself

Dan Fogelman, the creator of the acclaimed TV drama This Is Us, is the writer-director of one of the most manipulative and macabre and intellectually dishonest tearjerkers I've ever seen. It should have been called This Is Nuts.

2. Vox Lux

Academy Award winner Natalie Portman gives the most irritating and shrill performance of the year as a Madonna-esque pop singer who survived a school shooting as a girl and is now a narcissistic, substance-abusing, scandal-ridden absentee mother with a string of vapid hit singles.

1. The Happytime Murders

Pity Melissa McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, Elizabeth Banks, Joel McHale and the other talented comedic actors trapped in this depressing, nauseating, cheap-looking, laugh-free would-be comedy set in a world where humans and puppets co-exist -- with the puppets mocked and discriminated against and abused as second-class citizens. It's dumber than it sounds. 

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