Here it is! JBN’s list of the ten least understood movies of the year that were either made by, starred, or about Jews. We say they were misunderstood because some of us at JBN really hated them, and some of us, while recognizing their obvious weaknesses, still enjoyed them. And so, instead of getting into a huge brawl in our virtual editorial offices (which can get pathetic), we decided to modify the headline from the straight forward “10 worst movies” to the more benign “misunderstood.”
But all of us, without an exception, agree that the Night at the Museum was a serious stinker.
10) Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
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From director Shawn Levy (the first of 2 times that he makes the list) and starring Ben Stiller, this is the third and god willing final installment in the Night at the Museum series. The first two were also dumb but they made tons of money.
Secret of the Tomb was both panned by critics and a box office bomb having only grossed a paltry $17 million on its opening weekend and a total of only $25 million in the U.S. as of Christmas Eve. This against an estimated budget of almost $130 million.
No wonder Stiller made the number three spot on Forbes’ list of overpaid actors.
This god awful rom com starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. The plot, if you can call it that, has something to do with the two stars pretending to be a couple and then falling in love.
Hopefully this bomb will be taken as the last straw for movie studios when it comes to bankrolling Adam Sandler films. The actor was just named the most overpaid actor in Hollywood by Forbes.
8) This Is Where I Leave You
From director Shawn Levy, this movie about a family sitting shiva has a mostly non-Jewish cast. It was written by Jewish writer Jonathan Tropper and based on his novel.
While it gets an A for effort, the movie falls flat on its face. It falls into the “didn’t know if it wanted to be a comedy or a drama” category and you can’t have it both ways.
It was a real disappointment because it wasted the talents of comedic actors like Tina Fey and Jason Bateman.
7) Under the Skin/Lucy
One of our favorite actresses and one of the world’s most beautiful Jewish stars (her mother is Jewish) had not one but two stinkers this year.
The first, Under The Skin, was never in wide release and while it did have some critics fawning all over it, the movie was quite frankly a bore. The plot felt like something that we’ve seen already a number of times on TV shows like The Outer Limits and previous Sci-Fi movies. An alien takes the form of a beautiful woman and proceeds to seduce then kill various men. Why? Who cares? At least we got to see ScarJo naked.
Then there was Lucy. This became a runaway box office hit internationally grossing more than $450 million worldwide on a budget of only $40 million. Somehow Scarlett Johansson’s character gets superhuman powers after overdosing on a new designer drug and runs around all over the world as a bunch of bad guys chase her everywhere.
6) Men, Women & Children
People expected much more from writer/director Jason Reitman who brought us Up in the Air with George Clooney. But this movie did star Adam Sandler, ‘nuf’ said! It was deservedly both a critical and box office bomb.
The idea was to show how the Internet and social media has changed our lives and how the younger and older generations deal with it differently. But someone forgot to add real characters, good dialogue and a plot.
5) Draft Day
This dud from director Ivan Reitman starred Kevin Costner who has not had a hit film in 20 years. In it Costner plays the general manager of the Cleveland Browns who trades away his team’s future for the number one pick just before draft day. He then makes some more moves that both his head coach, played by Dennis Leary, and his owner, played by Frank Langella, do not understand. It seemed to want to be a football version of Brad Pitt’s hit Moneyball.
It’s portrayal of how NFL teams operate was absurd to say the least and it rightfully bombed at the box office.
4) Sin city: A Dame to Kill For/ 300: Rise of an Empire
These two movies are both sequels and they both starred Eva Green. They were also both awful.
Sin City also starred Joseph Gordon Levitt and Jeremy Piven. Like the original, it is a series of interwoven vignettes. Unlike the original, none of them come together in any real way and so the movie is just a bore.
The 300 sequel was also a stinker and its original film was not very good either. This one uses the same CGI affects throughout that the first movie did. It at least did well enough at the box office to make money, unlike the Sin City sequel.
It also features Eva Green topless a number of times, which alone was made it worth the price of admission for some people. The actress has appeared nude in just about all of her movies.
3) Wish I Was Here
Zach Braff directed, co-wrote and starred in this stinker, his second time behind the camera. Co-starring Kate Hudson, it tells the story of a 35 year old man having an early mid-life crisis. What a disappointment after Braff waited ten years since directing his first movie, Garden State, which was an indie gem.
2) The Angriest Man in Brooklyn
Based on the Israeli film The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum which was written by Assi Dayan, this movie is about “Jewish’ish” characters and includes Mila Kunis in the cast.
Robin Williams plays always angry and bitter man Henry Altmann, who finds out that he only has 90 minutes to live.
It got all of a 10% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. Too bad this was one of Williams’ final two films.
1) The interview
Yes we put this movie from the writing/directing team of Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg at number one on our 10 best list too. That’s because it belongs on both.
If it were not for the controversy, the threats of violence against theaters that show it and the fact that the Great Sony Hack of 2014 happened because of it, then it would not have been significant at all. It would have been just another cheesy, dim witted comedy filled with bathroom humor.
Take away the controversy and it probably would have bombed even if Sony had not pulled it from wide release. Ironically, because of it the movie would have made a fortune if Sony had not pulled it.