2022's worst movies: Toxic, self-indulgent star vehicles and bad sequels

Julia Roberts and George Clooney's "Ticket to Paradise" was toxic and unfunny. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios
1 of 5 | Julia Roberts and George Clooney's "Ticket to Paradise" was toxic and unfunny. Photo courtesy of Universal Studios

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Most bad movies only cost you a couple of hours and are easily forgettable when you can celebrate the best of the year. The worst movies of 2022 are so egregious with toxic messages and self-indulgent bloat, they ought to be called out for misappropriating the Hollywood resources they had behind them.

Many of these selections are bittersweet for their missed potential, whether streaming or theatrical, but there are no participation trophies in cinema. The artists who chose to use their platform to promote damaging messages don't get a pass. Find links to our full reviews for more elaboration.


10. 'They/Them'

They/Them is the most frustrating kind of disappointment because it begins with a genuinely inspired premise. A slasher movie at a conversion camp combines formulaic movie horrors with real-life horrors of intolerance and abuse. Unfortunately, those two concepts work against each other, and some of the film's twists suggest problematic connections between sexuality and violence.


9. 'Day Shift'

Daytime vampire hunters with action from the John Wick team sounds like fun, right? Unfortunately, Day Shift can never decide what it wants to be. It's a buddy movie between veteran Jamie Foxx and by-the-books rookie Dave Franco, but then it's also about Franco's character turning undead, bad guys coming after Foxx's estranged family and all the minutiae of the vampire hunting bureaucracy. The action isn't cool enough to save this.

8. 'Scream'

The fifth Scream did well, so the franchise will continue next year, but this year's entry was the worst of the franchise and a frustrating entry. Attempts to make meta horror relevant to the legacy sequel generation felt superficial. As much as the new filmmakers seem to love the original series, it doesn't seem as though they understood it.

7. 'Sonic the Hedgehog 2'

A bad family movie is probably relatively harmless compared to other titles on this list. However, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 gets so bogged down in expositional subplots, at two hours long, that it's hard to imagine kids getting excited about a human wedding subplot. Perhaps those are built-in bathroom breaks for the tykes.


6. 'Cheaper by the Dozen'

This family comedy is even more disappointing because it could have been good for representation with a blended family. But, its episodic nature pays lip service to relevant issues and feels rushed through a series of shenanigans, instead of a coherent narrative.

5. 'Father Stu'

The real Stuart Long may have turned his life around and been a positive influence on many lives. His biopic, starring Mark Wahlberg and produced by him, gives co-star Mel Gibson a chance to make more oddly anti-Semitic allusions. Were this a scrappy, upstart indie production, it could maybe pass as a TV movie, on a non-premium channel. Hollywood heavyweights allowing irresponsible language that's irrelevant to Stu's story costs them any good will.

4. 'Ticket to Paradise'

The premise here is that you'll love to watch a divorced couple fight at their daughter's wedding as long as they're played by pretty, charming celebrities. So one should resent Ticket to Paradise from the very foundation, and the film makes no effort to disavow itself of such a toxic premise.


3. 'Jurassic World Dominion'

While legacy sequels like Top Gun: Maverick showed how to find drama in decades-old franchises, Jurassic World completely ran out of ideas. Oh, they got the original cast back, only to have them stand around saying, "Hey, good to see you again." Instead of dinosaurs, Dominion spent more time dealing with locusts, which were not nearly as cool, and what dino-plot was left couldn't be bothered to maintain a single thread for the entirety of the movie.

2. 'Disney's Pinocchio'

Fortunately, there's still one good Pinocchio movie out this year. Unfortunately, the Disney+ movie by Robert Zemeckis, with Tom Hanks as Geppetto, was not it. All the technology robs the story of magic and adds meaningless anachronistic references to qualify itself as "modern."

1. 'The Bubble'

By the time this so-called comedy about making movies during the pandemic came out, many successful movies filmed under COVID-19 safety protocols already were out. So not only was The Bubble irrelevant, but it just wasn't funny in the first place. Judd Apatow still lets his actors improvise too much, and this time they flailed with unfunny riffs on boredom, cabin fever and celebrity ego. While good movies satirized the privileged this year, The Bubble was a prime example of privileged filmmakers exercising privilege.


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