In order to properly and completely dispose of 2013's worst films, Peter Travers has brought out his sacred scum bucket for one last boo-riddled bonanza. Our film critic kicks off the festivities with Pain and Gain, the latest entry from his number one directorial nemesis, Michael Bay. There may have been two scenes worth watching in this movie about bodybuilders who kidnap a businessman, but the rest was total dreck. At number nine comes Hollywood's bizarre attempt to honor of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination, Parkland, a film about the hospital where he was treated that Travers calls "disrespectful and awful."
Grudge Match, the recent release that pits Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone against each other as aging boxers, falls at number eight and delivers a tragic knock-out punch to the legacies of Raging Bull and Rocky. Proving number seven is actually unlucky – and that even great directors can mess up – Terrence Malick's dull To The Wonder may have looked beautiful, but Travers says its plot consists of little more than Ben Affleck wandering around aimlessly. The documentary Salinger, which prods egregiously into the beloved author's choice to remain a recluse, stumbles into the scum bucket at number six, while The Hangover III follows close behind at number five. The Counselor checks in at number four, despite being written by the great author Cormac McCarthy, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem. "Not only is it going in the bucket," Travers laments, "but it goes in. . . with a little tear."
Travers gets controversial at number three with Baz Luhrmann's over-the-top adaptation of The Great Gatsby, which was atrocious on every level, from the mediocre performances (particularly from Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway) and the silly lines of text from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel that dissolved, in merciless 3D no less, over the audience. And while it was a tight race for the bottom of the scum bucket, with Travers calling the two worst films of 2013 "almost interchangeable in their badness," it's The Lone Ranger that's spared the disgrace of the number one spot. Even with Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the titular masked crusader, the film was a hulking, horrible beast of boredom. "Nobody went near The Lone Ranger," exclaims Travers. "So, I commend everybody out there for knowing this sucked before you even saw it! There was some kind of vibe, a drum beat out there that said, 'I'm not going near.'"
Which leaves us with the worst film of 2013: After Earth. For once, a summer sci-fi blockbuster starring Will Smith goes terribly, terribly wrong, with the actor giving his son, Jaden, a bigger, duller role in a film directed by M. Night Shyamalan. "I call this not only the worst movie of 2013, but a career crusher," Travers says before banishing After Earth to the scum bucket. "I don't want to see anyone associated with this movie for a very, very long time."