Like my best pick of the year, my worst pick is a no-brainer. Without a doubt, THE worst film of 2014 was the Rapture-themed flick and biblical blunder Left Behind.
Whenever I see a film I try to set aside my personal beliefs and prejudices and judge it as objectively as possible. I will admit, however, that going in to the screening of Left Behind I had major problems with the entire premise of the evangelical flick. Needless to say I’m not part of the demographic which this film primarily targets. Despite my personal feelings, however, Left Behind has more than enough flaws to earn the title of worst film of 2014.
The movie is the cinematic remake of the 2000 small-screen stinker of the same name. It’s based on the best-selling series of books written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Left Behind supposedly chronicles the unbridled violence, despair, and torturous consequences awaiting non-Christians, those who aren’t quite Christian enough, people of other religions, those harboring doubts, homosexuals, adulterers, drug addicts, thieves, and people guilty of the ultimate sin of thinking for themselves during the time of the Rapture. Apparently, Hell hath no fury like a god scorned.
Left Behind stars Oscar winner Nicholas Cage (who one can only assume must be really, really desperate for cash), Chad Michael Murray, Lea Thompson, newcomer Cassi Thomson, and American Idol contestant Jordin Sparks. It was directed by former stuntman Vic Armstrong. The film is crippled by stilted dialogue, amateurish acting, and hokey special effects. Indeed there’s nothing even remotely redeeming about this bomb.
In the case of most cinematic flops there’s usually something; some element, no matter how small or insignificant, that can be pointed to as being a positive element. Other flicks are so bad that with time they earn a peculiar cult status (ie. Ed Wood’s 1959 opus Plan 9 from Outer Space and the 1995 fiasco Showgirls). Unfortunately Left Behind belongs in a category which includes only the worst of the worst. In keeping with the film’s theme, if there were a cinematic afterlife this film would be relegated to the sub-basement of Hades.
If this film was meant to recruit non-believers or convert heathens, it falls flat and is just too ridiculous to serve as religious propaganda. Instead of yearning to be saved from the threat of eternal damnation and hellfire this flick, only provokes viewers to pray for this turkey to be over. The end is near… thank God.
Maps to the Stars
Renowned Canadian director David Cronenberg has made a lot of crap throughout his career but he’s also been responsible for a number of really good films (Eastern Promises, Spider, and A History of Violence). With this in mind it’s not too surprising that his latest flick turned out to be a major disappointment. Despite the star-studded cast which includes Golden Globe nominee Julianne Moore, John Cusack, Mia Wasikowska, Sarah Gadon, and Robert Pattinson this movie is dead on arrival. It explores issues such as incest and insanity within the sphere of Hollywood but instead of being insightful or thought-provoking it’s just plain stupid and boring. Maps to the Stars is a lost cause.