Some of the worst films of 2021 have starred some of Hollywood’s most popular names: LeBron James, Gary Oldman, Amy Adams, Amanda Seyfried and Anthony Mackie.
These movies were rated the lowest among all of the films released in so far this year, according to the movie review aggregator Metacritic. We’ve narrowed the list to focus on films with at least 10 critic reviews, to arrive at the worst of the year.
And the “winners” are…
(TIE) 42. “My Salinger Year” (Metascore: 49)
Sigourney Weaver and Margaret Qualley star in this literary-driven drama from director Philippe Falardeau.
The Guardian called the film a “simpering knock-off of ‘The Devil Wears Prada,'” and said the dramedy “is so wet you could shoot snipe off it.”
(TIE) 42. “Things Heard & Seen” (Metascore: 49)
“You know a ghost story is a hot mess when it strands a stellar Amanda Seyfried and a top cast in a remote, country house haunted by toxic masculinity, dangling plot threads and nothing worth hearing or seeing,” wrote ABC News.
The thriller stars Seyfried, James Norton and F. Murray Abraham.
(TIE) 38. “Six Minutes to Midnight” (Metascore: 48)
Eddie Izzard, James D’Arcy and Judi Dench star in the spy drama centered around a school for the daughters of the Nazi high command.
“The photography is elegant, but nothing else is,” wrote the Globe and Mail. “With action that is standard and not at all tense, the melodrama is much higher than the reward.”
(TIE) 38. “Spirit Untamed” (Metascore: 48)
The animated film features the voices of Isabela Merced, Eiza González, Julianne Moore and Jake Gyllenhaal.
“With its saucer-eyed, bobblehead-like characters, it’s a version barely distinguishable from the majority of animated children’s movies these days – more like ‘Spirit’ domesticated,” wrote the New York Times.
(TIE) 38. “Gunpowder Milkshake” (Metascore: 48)
“Though not without its moments, the film offers too little of interest for its leading ladies to do,” wrote The Hollywood Reporter of the Karen Gillan-led assassin movie.
“[The film] feels throughout like an adaptation of a comic book that was written for the sole purpose of being sold to an IP-hungry film studio.”
(TIE) 38. “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” (Metascore: 48)
“The best thing about the ‘Escape Room’ film series is that it gives audience members clear directions in the title about what they should immediately do: Escape. Room,” wrote the New York Post.
The publication advised: “Get out of that theater and go see ‘Black Widow’ instead. Run for your lives — and sanity!”
37. “Yes Day” (Metascore: 46)
The family-friendly Netflix movie stars Jennifer Garner and Édgar Ramírez as parents who devote an entire day to saying yes to their children’s every whim.
“The promising beginning shows that it could have been something more than dumb. Alas, it’s not,” wrote the Arizona Republic.
(TIE) 32. “The Tomorrow War” (Metascore: 45)
“‘The Tomorrow War’ is a big, dumb, sometimes tedious, sometimes fun civilization-vs.-aliens showdown,” wrote Variety.
The film stars Chris Pratt, Betty Gilpin, Yvonne Strahovski and J. K. Simmons.
(TIE) 32. “Earwig and the Witch” (Metascore: 45)
The latest Studio Ghibli movie was called “ghastly” by Paste Magazine.
“It’s a movie almost too ugly to consider beyond the surface … ‘Earwig and the Witch’ is, by normal standards, a misfire — and by Ghibli’s standards it’s much worse.”
(TIE) 32. “Outside the Wire” (Metascore: 45)
The Anthony Mackie-led Netflix film was called “a futuristic war movie that lacks imagination in the present,” by The New York Times.
“[The film] is neither curious nor bold in the ways it depicts a sentient robotic revolt.”
(TIE) 32. “12 Mighty Orphans” (Metascore: 45)
Sony Pictures Classics
The sports movie is based on the true story of the Fort Worth orphanage football team, the Mighty Mites.
The film stars Luke Wilson, Martin Sheen and Robert Duvall.
(TIE) 32. “Seance” (Metascore: 45)
“‘Seance’ doesn’t just grow more mysterious, gory, and spiky as it goes on, it also grows more convoluted,” wrote IndieWire.
“Yes, many things can be true at once, but ‘Seance’ might benefit from being pared to a more streamlined story.”
(TIE) 26. “Cherry” (Metascore: 44)
Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo and Damon Wayans Jr. star in the Apple TV+ drama.
“There’s hardly a moment in ‘Cherry’ that’s believable, but the film’s true crime is that there’s hardly a moment in it that’s enjoyable either. The only emotion the movie conveys is being full of itself,” said Variety.
(TIE) 26. “Willy’s Wonderland” (Metascore: 44)
Screen Media Films
The film critic from Consequence described the Nicolas Cage-led thriller as “flavorful as Chuck E. Cheese pizza.”
“The scares aren’t scary. The jokes aren’t funny. The action itself is doubly disappointing, as poorly choreographed as it is incomprehensibly filmed.”
(TIE) 26. “Voyagers” (Metascore: 44)
The sci-fi film about teenagers out to colonize a distant planet was called a “half-assed attempt at an updated ‘Lord of the Flies,'” by the New York Post.
“[The film] makes you long for a good old-fashioned school bus and a pig’s head on a stick.”
(TIE) 26. “The Marksman” (Metascore: 44)
Open Road Films
Liam Neeson plays an ex-Marine attempting to save a migrant child from a murderous drug cartel.
Movie Nation called the movie “a thriller that misses the mark, and not by a little.”
(TIE) 26. “City of Lies” (Metascore: 44)
The Forest Whitaker and Johnny Depp-led drama is based on the story of the murders of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac.
RogerEbert.com said “it’s a dull, overly familiar affair that really only reminds one that Depp should have segued nicely into old man roles if his personal life and on-set behavior hadn’t derailed his trajectory.”
(TIE) 26. “Mortal Kombat” (Metascore: 44)
Warner Bros. Pictures
The martial arts thriller is based on the video game of the same name.
“In spite of its occasionally engaging displays of gnarly brutality, the film too often feels like an adaptation of a player select screen,” wrote Slant.
25. “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” (Metascore: 43)
The “Peter Rabbit” sequel features the voices of James Corden, Lennie James, Elizabeth Debicki and Margot Robbie.
“Like the jelly-bean sugar high in one of the more manic running gags, it’s all terribly exhausting in the way most movies tailored to the under-10 crowd can be,” wrote the Austin Chronicle.
(TIE) 23. “Locked Down” (Metascore: 42)
Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor play lovers in a broken relationship during the 2020 pandemic lockdown.
“Given the choice between watching this film again and having to stay in my apartment for another ten months, I might have the tiniest temptation to pick the latter,” wrote Vanity Fair.
(TIE) 23. “The Ice Road” (Metascore: 42)
“‘The Ice Road’ is so often inept and heavy-handed that not even the reliable presence of Liam Neeson can rescue it,” wrote The Wrap.
“Apparently, no one budgeted for realistic-looking explosions, avalanches, or shattering ice in a film that contains at least one of those elements every five minutes.”
(TIE) 19. “Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse” (Metascore: 41)
“‘Without Remorse’ is awful – an incoherently shot, grindingly dull movie in which just about every actor manages to seem miscast,” wrote Vulture.
The action drama stars Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith and Jamie Bell.
(TIE) 19. “The Woman in the Window” (Metascore: 41)
“‘The Woman in the Window’ is so silly and broad that it begins to border on camp,” wrote Slash Film about the Amy Adams-led drama.
“I have a feeling this could become the type of cheesy dreck that people get a hoot out of if they follow Anna’s (Adams) lead and down one or two or ten bottles of wine. By the time the film climaxes with multiple predictable but utterly preposterous twists, you’ll probably be reaching for a bottle yourself.”
(TIE) 19. “Silk Road” (Metascore: 41)
The drama, based on the darknet website of the same name, stars Nick Robinson, Alexandra Shipp, Jason Clarke and Jimmi Simpson.
“At the end of the day this is a hollowly reductive account of what happened with a weird subtextual rich punk against blue collar cop agenda falling woefully flat,” said The Film Stage.
(TIE) 19. “Crisis” (Metascore: 40)
Armie Hammer, Evangeline Lilly and Gary Oldman star in this drug drama.
The Washington Post called the film “so overstuffed with baloney and cheese it ought to come with a pickle on the side.”
(TIE) 15. “The Boss Baby: Family Business” (Metascore: 40)
“Truth be told, they’ve taken this idea and pounded the cute right out of it. Time to put the pacifier in this boss baby and move on,” wrote Movie Nation.
The family movie features the voices of Alec Baldwin, Amy Sedaris, Eva Longoria and James Marsden.
(TIE) 15. “Bliss” (Metascore: 40)
Amazon Prime Video
“A promising premise gets a dull, lead-footed treatment,” Variety said of the sci-fi film.
“Bliss” stars Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek.
(TIE) 15. “Here Today” (Metascore: 40)
Stage 6 Films
Billy Crystal directed and stars in a comedy the Wall Street Journal called “afflicted with terminal unfunniness.”
“In a movie about the anguish of forgetting, they’ve forgotten to make even the funniest stuff funny,” wrote the publication.
(TIE) 15. “Spiral: From the Book of Saw” (Metascore: 40)
RogerEbert.com called the film “more frustrating than the average mediocre horror sequel because you can easily decipher the wasted opportunity up there on the screen.”
The horror film stars Chris Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Marisol Nichols and Max Minghella.
14. “Chaos Walking” (Metascore: 38)
“An attempt to start a film franchise out of Patrick Ness’s YA sci-fi books — about a planet where everyone hears your thoughts — falls flat on its face its first time out,” said Rolling Stone.
Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley star in the fantasy movie.
(TIE) 12. “The Unholy” (Metascore: 36)
The horror film based on the 1983 James Herbert novel “Shrine” did not receive glowing reviews.
“If the devil did exist, then surely he’d have the power to destroy films as dull as this,” wrote The Guardian.
(TIE) 12. “Space Jam: A New Legacy” (Metascore: 36)
NBA star LeBron James teams with the Looney Tunes gang in this animation-meets-live action movie.
“The core issues of the film – its numbing swirls of rainbow light popping out every which way, the excruciating pop-culture catchphrases passed off as humor, LeBron’s stilted, if game, acting, the half-assedness with which it delivers the dusty moral to be yourself, the fact that it is unaccountably one half-hour longer than its predecessor – all seem minor in comparison with the insidious ulterior intentions that power this fandom dynamo,” wrote The Guardian.
11. “Awake” (Metascore: 35)
The sci-fi drama exists in a world without electronics or sleep. It stars Gina Rodriguez, whose character might have the key to curing global insomnia.
“Rodriguez has to carry the picture, but hamstrung by the ‘reality’ of the role, she only plays two notes – exhausted and manic,” wrote Movie Nation.
10. “Thunder Force” (Metascore: 34)
The Netflix film was called “what happens when filmmakers take a moderately interesting premise and surround it with witless writing, cringe-inducing acting, stagnant action, humor-deprived comedy, and feckless drama,” by Reel Views.
Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer star in the superhero comedy.
(TIE) 8. “Tom & Jerry” (Metascore: 32)
Warner Bros. Pictures
Bringing the animated cat and mouse duo into the real world did not sit well with film critics.
“‘Tom & Jerry’ is five to ten minutes of action that might have worked in one of the cartoon duo’s shorts, surrounded by an inordinate amount of unimaginative, unfunny human-based conflict,” said The Hollywood Reporter.
(TIE) 8. “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” (Metascore: 32)
“The characters are so wacky you don’t believe them as killers or strategists or even just bystanders who are in the right place at the right time. You simply don’t buy anything about them. Ever,” wrote the New York Post.
Antonio Banderas, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Richard E. Grant, Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Samuel L. Jackson star.
7. “Infinite” (Metascore: 28)
“The more you start to nitpick this movie, the more innumerable its plot holes appear, until the whole thing collapses in on itself,” wrote Variety.
The action film stars Mark Wahlberg, Rupert Friend and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
6. “Blithe Spirit” (Metascore: 26)
“The problem is the script, the script, the script,” wrote the San Francisco Chronicle.
The paranormal comedy stars Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann and Isla Fisher.
5. “The Misfits” (Metascore: 25)
The Avenue Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan, Jamie Chung and Nick Cannon star in this heist thriller.
“The characters are bland, the dialogue is atrocious, the action is mediocre, and even the heist is a boring bust,” wrote RogerEbert.com.
4. “Breaking News in Yuba County” (Metascore: 24)
Allison Janney, Regina Hall, Awkwafina, Mila Kunis and Jimmi Simpson star in this dark comedy.
“It’s the kind of movie that seems to suck your soul out while you’re watching it, variably crass and slapstick humor landing with a bloody thud,” wrote IndieWire.
3. “American Skin” (Metascore: 24)
“A clunky, heavy-handed film that takes a pressing contemporary issue and flattens it under two genres the writer-director seems ill-equipped to handle,” wrote The Wrap of the Nate Parker race-related drama.
The movie stars Omari Hardwick and Theo Rossi.
2. “Music” (Metascore: 23)
“‘Why don’t you watch my film before you judge it?’ Sia tweeted in November, when outrage about the movie’s casting started to percolate. Well, I have watched the film, I am judging it, and it’s awful,” wrote a Slate film critic about singer Sia’s project.
Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr. and Maddie Ziegler star in the musical drama.
1. “Vanquish” (Metascore: 21)
Not even Morgan Freeman could save this action thriller from negative reviews. “Don’t be fooled by the name Morgan Freeman,” advised the New York Post.
“The 83-year-actor appears alongside Ruby Rose in the new action movie ‘Vanquish,'” their critic writes. “But the Oscar winner can’t lift this heinous material by director and co-writer George Gallo. Popeye couldn’t hoist it up post-spinach.”