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Film Feature: Best & Worst of 2017 So Far by HollywoodChicago.com

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

StarWORST OF 2017 SO FAR by Spike Walters

Fist Fight
Photo credit: Warner Home Video

THE SPACE BETWEEN US: This is a woebegone young adult romance about (literally) star-crossed lovers that had me slapping my forehead in incredulity, starting with the opening sequence in which a scientist (Gary Oldman) explains his mission to Mars using some of the most tiresome third hand clichés picked up from old sci fi movies. And it’s all downhill from there as Asa Butterfield (playing a wide-eyed wonder for like the 12th time) is a boy raised on Mars who falls in love – via instant message – with a surly foster kid (Britt Robertson) on earth. So he makes the journey back, but as the film so heavy handedly exclaims “his heart can’t handle our gravity.” This film takes the diseased “Youth Adult” lovers cliches to gobsmackingly awful extremes, with precious few stars to brighten the mood.

DESPICABLE ME 3: This film was one of the most painful experiences I’ve had at a children’s movie yet this year (but then again I haven’t seen “The Emoji Movie” yet so there’s a chance this may get bumped off the worst list by the time the end of the year rolls around). I have never been a huge fan of Gru and his Minions in this series, but I found them at least tolerable before. “Despicable Me 3” was my tipping point, with its long lost twin brother conceit and Minions reenacting prison movie clichés for absolutely no reason. It wastes a talented voice cast with Steve Carell, Kristin Wiig, and Trey Parker with jokes that fall in that weird no-mans-land… too lame and overworked to appeal to parents, yet full of references that’ll fly right over the heads of the target kiddie audience. I’m also over Illumination Entertainment’s style of elongated limbs and grotesque sized bodies and heads as well. Unsophisticated younger children will still probably stay still for its seemingly interminable 90 minutes, but I happily would have taken a trip to the dentist over another trip with Gru and company.

FIST FIGHT: Here’s something of a modern miracle – a major studio movie without a single redeeming asset. Everything that can go wrong does in this alleged “comedy” about teachers at a failing high school (let’s laugh at the state of poor kids in public school ha ha!) settling their differences like children with a fight on the playground. This is the kind of movie that sticks to everyone involved and makes you think a little lesser of them. It’s a tone deaf descent into hack comedy hell with a premise that can’t even sustain the film’s own two minute trailer… much less an entire movie. But getting something this wrong is exceedingly hard to do, and I haven’t seen a movie yet that comes close to this film’s ability to find rock bottom and then smash right through it.

WORST MOMENT OF THE WORST: “Fist Fight” is full of them, but the moment when Charlie Day (who portrays a teacher) and his 8 year-old daughter litter the stage with F-bombs – while performing a rap at a children’s talent show – was a particularly cringe inducing example of a gag that even Adam Sandler has abandoned for being done to death.

”Baby Driver,” “It Comes at Night,” “The Big Sick,” “The Hero,” “The Beguiled” and “Despicable Me 3” are still in theatrical release. See local listings for theaters and show times. “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Space Between Us” and “Fist Fight are available on DVD or digital download.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2017 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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