Watching a good movie is great. But writing – or reading – about a bad one can sometimes be even more fun. Here are 21 of the year’s worst films: dreck that couldn’t even get two stars from our critics. A few of them are still in theaters. How is that even possible? The rest can be streamed, if you dare.

1. Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

“In ‘Quantumania,’ sprightly pacing and lighthearted humor have succumbed to the turgid seriousness that plagues so much of the comic book canon. Granted, Paul Rudd still projects irresistible likability as Scott Lang, the onetime thief who as Ant-Man is the tiniest member of the Avengers team. As ‘Quantumania’ opens, Scott is reading from his new memoir, ‘Look Out for the Little Guy,’ in a cheeky montage set to the theme from ‘Welcome Back, Kotter.'” – Ann Hornaday

2. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

“The CGI varies wildly. Sometimes it’s like watching two different movies: one with a budget that would allow for vibrant creatures, diving headfirst into a brilliant new world, and another that looks like a sequel to 2007’s ‘Beowulf.'”- Olivia McCormack

3. Cocaine Bear

“‘Cocaine Bear’ isn’t so much a movie as an idea – a synopsis, an elevator pitch, a thumbnail description: bear + cocaine – that has somehow metastasised into the collection of footage that arrived in theaters. . . . It’s the length of a feature film. You have to buy tickets to see it. It was directed by Elizabeth Banks. And it stars Keri Russell, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ray Liotta, Brooklynn Prince, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Margo Martindale and Jesse Tyler Ferguson, all of whom are actual actors. But it isn’t really a movie.” – Michael O’Sullivan

4. DalíLand

“Spanish artist Salvador Dalí was a towering figure in 20th-century art history, as famous for his surrealist paintings as for his larger-than-life personality. So how, you might wonder, could a biopic about him – especially one starring Sir Ben Kingsley as the flamboyant provocateur with a paintbrush – be dull? Unfortunately, ‘DalíLand’ is just that. Directed by Mary Harron from a screenplay by John Walsh, the thoroughly unengaging film is a remarkable achievement, but only considering the misspent potential of its juicy source material.” – Pat Padua

5. Fingernails

“The agony of love or, rather, of not knowing whether your beloved loves you (and, by corollary, whether you really love the one you’re with) is treated metaphorically in Christos Nikou’s ‘Fingernails,’ a fable that takes the kind of eccentric, delicate poetry of the filmmaker’s lovely first feature, ‘Apples,’ a meditation on grief, memory and identity, and hammers it into applesauce.” – Michael O’Sullivan

6. Five Nights at Freddy’s

“Josh Hutcherson stars as Mike, a young man struggling to retain custody of his elementary-school-age sister, Abby (Piper Rubio), after the death of their mother and abandonment by their father. At night, Mike dreams of his missing brother, trying to solve the mystery of his abduction years ago. After losing yet another job, he reluctantly accepts a gig working the night shift as a security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, a theme restaurant loosely inspired by the Chuck E. Cheese franchise. There, Mike finds himself discovering new leads about his brother’s kidnapping in his dream world – yes, he’s sleeping on the job – while encountering the decaying animatronic figures that once enlivened the pizzeria. . . . Exactly who is this movie for? Ten-year-olds who have somehow developed a passion for both ‘Mindhunter’ and sappy Disney Channel movies about siblings?” – Olivia McCormack

7. Foe

“Dispiritingly, in a movie that stars two of today’s most talented young actors, ‘Foe’ is defined not by human drama but by a pervasive sense that neither [Saoirse] Ronan nor [Paul] Mescal is actually playing a real human being. Each of their characters comes across as an automaton in service of the film’s larger themes of – ironically – selfhood and individuality.” – Michael O’Sullivan

8. A Good Person

“Taking on such hot topics as distracted driving, substance abuse and teen pregnancy, ‘A Good Person’ plays like a two-hour public service announcement. In this wildly uneven melodrama by writer-director Zach Braff, no member of the talented ensemble cast is entirely able to navigate its messy plot. That a few actors do manage to stay afloat for occasional breaths of air seems like a divine miracle. But for much of the film, God is not in the details.” – Pat Padua

9. Haunted Mansion

“Director Justin Simien seems to have taken inspiration from Tobe Hooper’s ‘Poltergeist.’ (This was equally true of Simien’s ‘Bad Hair.’) The filmmaker uses similar setups and camera tricks to reference the 1982 masterpiece of PG-rated horror. It’s not a bad idea. Tasked with adapting family-friendly scares into a widely appealing film, ‘Poltergeist’ is an understandable touchstone. But Simien hasn’t mastered the tonal juggling act here: ‘Poltergeist’ was both funny and scary; ‘Haunted Mansion’ is neither. While Hooper’s film used the suburban California setting to critique consumerism and the promise of early Reagan-era America, Simien’s film plays like an extended advertisement for an amusement park attraction.” – Lucas Trevor

10. Infinity Pool

“Set in the fictional country of La Tolqa, and filmed on the Adriatic coast of Croatia – with the actual geographic location masked by signs written in a made-up alphabet of unintelligible squiggles, and a police chief (Thomas Kretschmann) who speaks with a German accent – ‘Infinity Pool’ throws up all kinds of red flags that the resort community in which it takes place is not somewhere anyone in their right mind would ever want to stay. For one thing, the tale unspools during an annual festival, known ominously as the Summoning. It involves the wearing of hideously deformed masks, available in the gift shop, that look like props from a violent home-invasion slasher.” – Michael O’Sullivan

11. Mafia Mamma

“Born in that treacherous genre wasteland between mobster movie and midlife rom-com – and centering on a woman scorned who gets her groove back after inheriting a criminal empire – ‘Mafia Mamma’ is a strange hybrid of the Godfather films, ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ – all of which are explicitly named-checked in the featherbrained screenplay by J. Michael Feldman and Debbie Jhoon, TV writers known for their work on such sitcoms as ‘Not Dead Yet,’ ‘A.P. Bio’ and ‘Kevin From Work.'” – Michael O’Sullivan

12. Magic Mike’s Last Dance

“If you thought ‘Magic Mike XXL’ was disappointingly market-driven – and we did – brace yourself against the back of your chair for this finale, which bumps and grinds and thrusts itself at you like, well, a fake police officer at a bachelorette party. The pandering symptoms of sequelitis are full-blown here. Oh, and it’s also completely bonkers. . . . [Channing] Tatum has laid-back charm in spades, but he works so strenuously to be likable, supportive, nurturing, deferential in this role – and, let’s not forget, an object of sexual desire, flipping the dynamic of the male gaze 180 degrees – that he’s practically overheating.” – Michael O’Sullivan

13. Marlowe

“Not many contemporary actors would be able to stand toe to toe with the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Robert Mitchum, not to mention Elliott Gould – but Liam Neeson would seem to have as good a chance as any. Alas, Neeson’s portrayal of filmdom’s most famous private detective in the eponymous ‘Marlowe’ doesn’t just fail to enter the pantheon, it misses it by a mile.” – Ann Hornaday

14. The Marvels

“Despite its progressive bona fides, ‘The Marvels’ is so fuelled by fan service and formula, like pretty much everything in the MCU these days, that it gives short shrift to such basics as narrative comprehension. Watching the movie from the standpoint of a normie – that is, someone who doesn’t eat, sleep and breathe this stuff – can sometimes feel like you’ve become stranded on the wrong side of one of those closing wormholes, in a parallel universe where nothing makes sense.” – Michael O’Sullivan

15. Napoleon

“The biggest flaw in ‘Napoleon,’ it turns out, is the actor who plays him. It’s difficult to understand why [Ridley] Scott would cast Joaquin Phoenix – one of the most subtle, recessive, almost fey actors working today – to play someone with such a commanding temperament.” – Ann Hornaday

16. Paint

“Not every screenplay that makes the Black List, the annual tally of unproduced film scripts most liked by industry insiders, is going to be a gem. Case in point: The 2010 Black-Listed ‘Paint’ by Brit McAdams, the story of a Bob Ross-like artist, played by Owen Wilson, who, after hosting an educational public television painting show for more than 20 years, experiences a crisis of confidence when a younger artist (Ciara Renée) is hired for the time slot immediately after his. . . . That is because there is nothing especially Bob Ross-ian about Wilson’s Carl Nargle, other than his fright-wig hair, bedroom-voice narration and propensity for painting the same mountain landscape over and over and over.” – Michael O’Sullivan

17. Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire

“It’s worth comparing the film to ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,’ from which [Zack] Snyder takes his aesthetic cues. At each turn, it feels like the filmmaker is trying to one-up George Lucas, to deliver a version of the first Star Wars film on steroids. But ‘Moon’ frequently falls short, like a picture of a picture, mimicking images and character types but failing to capture the heart and magic of its predecessor. It’s a film stripped of joy and whimsy, instead pursuing a tone of self-seriousness. Would it kill him to put a single joke in?” – Lucas Trevor

18. Sanctuary

“Over the course of an evening, Hal [Christopher Abbott] and Rebecca [Margaret Qualley] maneuver and spar – verbally and physically – over his decision to fire her and her reluctance to accept the dismissal. There is sex, in a manner of speaking, involving Hal cleaning what already appears to be an immaculately clean bathroom floor, in his underwear, with a toothbrush, but there is nothing hot about it. (Rebecca remains nearby, without ever touching Hal. It’s the mental stimulation he needs, according to her, not physical.)” – Michael O’Sullivan

19. Scream VI

“The new film opens in Manhattan, where four survivors of the last film, who have dubbed themselves the ‘Core Four,’ have relocated to escape bad memories. (Would that I were so lucky.) The Carpenter sisters, Tara and Sam (Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera), are joined by brother and sister Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin (Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy Brown), along with various roommates and love interests, played by Liana Liberato, Jack Champion and Devyn Nekoda. Did I say roommates and love interests? Make that suspects. Almost every character – including Sam, who dispatched [the Ghostface killer] in the 2022 ‘Scream’ and is the daughter of the 1996 film’s killer – is not to be trusted.” – Michael O’Sullivan

20. The Son

“Hugh Jackman plays Peter, a middle-aged New York attorney who as ‘The Son’ opens has embarked on a new life with his partner, Beth (Vanessa Kirby), and their new baby when his ex-wife, Kate (Laura Dern), shows up to let Peter know that Nicholas, their 17-year-old son, has been skipping school. Red flags abound in a story that turns out to be about adolescent depression, as well as adult self-deception, generational trauma and wobbly boundaries: Peter, a fixer by nature, is convinced he can get Nicholas back on track by virtue of good intentions and sheer force of will. What ensues is a slow-motion wreck that the audience can see coming down Madison Avenue, complete with a Chekhovian trope that’s as on the nose as it is breathtakingly offensive.” – Ann Hornaday

21. Wonka

“Even Hugh Grant, delightful in the role of an Oompa-Loompa – a miniature creature seeking restitution from Willy [Wonka] for the cocoa beans our hero has harvested without permission – is underused, entering the film late and then hardly given any screen time. Only Olivia Colman and Tom Davis, as grifters who trick Willy into indentured servitude, make much of an impression. But in their case, it’s for overacting.” – Michael O’Sullivan

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