With summer slouching towards its sweltering end, Hollywood is throwing everything and the kitchen sink into theaters, hoping something will magically turn into blockbuster gold. Unfortunately for them, Peter Travers is back with his trusty Scum Bucket — and he’s itching to fight these films back and vanquish the 10 worst movies of August.
First up is The November Man, in which Pierce Brosnan plays a spy nowhere near as cool as James Bond and who’s stuck doing the same old boring action movie stuff (like screaming, “Run!”). Next is the latest in the Step Up series, Step Up: All In, which, per Travers, begs the question: “How many times can you make the same movie and pretend that its new?”
Helen Mirren’s outrageous, forced French accent is the tip of the terrible iceberg that is The Hundred-Foot Journey, while Life After Beth relegates the fantastic Aubrey Plaza to the mediocre role of a teenager navigating the trials and tribulations of growing up — while also being a zombie. Also going into the bucket: The Giver, the latest young adult novel to get the film adaptation treatment, and one so unfulfilling that not even its fantastic cast, which includes Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, can save it.
Into the Storm is yet another digitally-rendered disaster movie that amounts to nothing more than garbage, while Travers calls Are You Here the biggest disappointment of the month. Though it stars Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis, and marks the film debut of Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, it’s no different from any other buddy movie ever made — except worse. “I want Matt Weiner to come out and say, ‘Somebody’s using my name, I never did this.’ That’s how disappointed I am in that.”
And then there’s Let’s Be Cops, in which Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. pretend to be police officers, and The Expendables 3, with Sylvester Stallone once again corralling his crew of washed-up action heroes to do the same thing they did the first two times. “It’s like AARP goes to war,” Travers cracks.
And finally, Peter Travers’ arch nemesis, Micahel Bay, returns for the second time this summer to terrorize moviegoers, this time as producer of the reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Of course it’s a huge blockbuster — and Travers can’t find anything good to say about it. “It makes me just want to rant and rave and say, ‘Damn you, Hollywood for treating the audience with such contempt!'”