It’s the end of November, and Peter Travers knows that turkeys on the Thanksgiving table means plenty of turkeys at the movies. So while you’re recovering from your tryptophan coma and trying to figure out what film to see, our fearless critic has brought out his faithful Scum Bucket – and his fowl friend Gobbles! – to help you steer clear of November’s worst movies.
Fittingly, the worst-of-the-worst is Free Bird, a poorly animated kids movie about turkeys that Travers urges you to avoid at all costs. And while The Best Man Holiday provides a few laughs, by the end Travers was desperate for any sort of conflict to break-up the overwhelming sentimentality. The holiday schlock thankfully ends with the atrocious Christmas Candle – not that Spike Lee’s miserable remake of Park Chan-Wook’s revenge thriller Oldboy is worth seeing either.
Travers is also plenty distraught over the disastrous Diana, which stars one of his favorite actresses, Naomi Watts, in the title roll. Director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s film does an awful job at chronicling the last two years of the young Princesses’ life before her fatal car crash. As for Shia LaBeouf’s certified “career crusher” Charlie Countryman, it’s so awful it makes Travers utter the unthinkable: “I almost wish he would do more Transformers movies because this is so awful.”
Kicking off the top three is the Sylvester Stalone-penned Homefront, in which Jason Stathem plays a widowed DEA agent who tries to get his daughter to quit the drug business, but ends up being followed by a manic meth dealer (played by James Franco). “Everybody in this movie is cast against type and they are breathtakingly awful,” Travers says, citing Franco’s failed attempt to prove he can play Walter White.
In Delivery Man, an allegedly true story, Vince Vaughn plays a guy who’s collegiate sperm donations led to lawsuits from 142 of his 533 biological children asking to meet their father. The entire movie is a miserable one-joke mess – Travers has “mad props” for everyone who made sure to avoid it last week – but not even Delivery Man can hold a candle to “Scum-vember’s” worst film: Ender’s Game, a sci-fi flick about children trained to save the universe from evil aliens that look like ants. While the politics of Orson Scott Card, the author of the film’s source material, are absurd enough to warrant total dismissal of the movie, there’s plenty wrong what ends up on the big screen anyway: “What’s the message of the movie?” an incredulous Travers asks. “You kids that stay home and play video games all day and night and never go out, you’re the saviors because you can learn from video games how to defeat the ants.”