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The 5 worst movies of 2014

Breathtakingly bad, here's the handful of movies we wish we could scour out of our heads

1/5

Men, Women & Children

Bound one day to take its place as a shrill, alarmist Reefer Madness for the social-media set, this antitech stinker wasted its decent cast on ominous plotting and panicky dialogue that would shame the most ardent Luddite. The movie's biggest casualty? Juno director Jason Reitman, who suddenly seemed 400 years old.

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2/5

Transcendence

Christopher Nolan didn't direct this one, but his former cameraman Wally Pfister did, and the resulting slab of computer-thriller nonsense marks the beginning of the end for Nolan's portentous brand of tuba-blasting heaviosity. Meanwhile, shouldn't an omniscient virtual god played by Johnny Depp be a lot more fun?

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3/5

Winter's Tale

Mark Helprin's reincarnation-themed novel is said to be a fantasy classic, but all we saw was Colin Farrell talking to his horse for interminable stretches and Russell Crowe making a beeline to the bank to deposit his check. Ah, let's not forget: This movie also featured Will Smith as—how to put this delicately?—Lucifer.

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4/5

Let's Be Cops

It's probably never a good moment to release a (deeply unfunny) comedy that celebrates unhinged law enforcement. But the timing of this movie's August release—only days after the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting of Michael Brown—was spectacularly unfortunate. Things haven't gotten better: Even now, the title gives us the icks.

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5/5

Pompeii

Parmageddon was nigh in this cheesy action melodrama that felt both overheated with plot developments (and its simmering main character, Mount Vesuvius), yet strangely curdled from a lack of histrionics that might have redeemed it as fun trash. Since February, it's been eclipsed by bigger bombs, but this was the stinkiest.

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We didn't lack for glorious movies in 2014: ambitious triumphs like Richard Linklater's 12-years-in-the-making Boyhood, or powerful debuts like The Babadook and Nightcrawler. But not every film was dazzling—or even mediocre. Some were just plain trash.

RECOMMENDED: The rest of 2014 in review

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