Anyone that’s into movies knows that January is a notoriously awful month for new releases, so much so that it’s commonly referred to as the “dump month.” With releases like The Bye Bye Man and Norm of the North, it’s not hard to see why. In an article published by Metacritic in 2010, they found that the median rating for January films was a mere 38.5 throughout the 2000’s. Yeah, it’s really that bad. Here, we look back at three of the best and worst January releases.
The Best January Releases
City of God (2003)
Release Date: January 17th, 2003 (USA)
Since it’s initial release, City of God has become a classic. It’s hard to come across a list of the best films of the 2000’s that doesn’t include Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund’s masterpiece. True, it did have an earlier release in its home country, Brazil, but it didn’t release in the USA until January of 2003. The film follows the path of individuals who go down vastly different paths, as they struggle to live in Rio De Janeiro’s slums in the 1970’s. The film is based on a true story, and every bit of it feels hauntingly real.
Release Date: January 20th, 2017 (USA)
Split, a sci-fi/horror kidnapping flick, is a recent January release that turned out to be quite entertaining. Sure, it’s not the best film necessarily, but it’s hard to deny that the story behind the film is captivating. Just a few years prior to this release, M. Night Shyamalan marked his return-to-form with 2015’s The Visit. In a very similar fashion to The Visit, The Sixth Sense and Signs, Split contains just about every Shyamalan-ian element you can think of. It’s a great film by itself, but perhaps the most exciting part of the film was its post-credits scene, which set up for this year’s most anticipated January release, Glass.
Release Date: January 18, 2008 (USA)
Cloverfield is, truly, one of the best found-footage films of all time. The suspense and tension it builds up throughout its running time is unprecedented. It’s rare that the found-footage concept is executed right, but Cloverfield shows that, with the right talent behind it, the filmmaking behind the method can be quite riveting. It may not be a classic, but it’s really damn entertaining, and quite a surprise for a January release.
The Worst January Releases
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)
Release Date: January 3, 2014
This is genuinely one of the worst films ever made. Remember how Cloverfield was one of the best found-footage films? Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones is the complete opposite. It does just about everything wrong, and falls down the holes that most found-footage films fall down. There’s not enough scares here, and no reason to care about anyone in the film. In one word, it’s just boring. Sitting at just 84 minutes, it felt like an eternity sitting through the film.
Meet the Spartans (2008)
Release Date: January 25, 2008
Here’s another film that’s genuinely one of the worst films ever. In a painfully unfunny parody of 300, Meet the Spartans is painful to sit through. It was made during the phase of filmmaking that included all the Scary Movie films, Epic Movie and Vampires Suck. It’s hard to imagine how on Earth these films even got funding, and Meet the Spartans may be the worst of them all.
That Awkward Moment (2014)
Release Date: January 31, 2014
To this film’s credit, it’s not quite as bad as the other two listed as the worst January releases. When you look at the cast for That Awkward Moment, it just leads you to question how this could’ve possibly been bad. Starring Miles Teller, Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Imogen Poots and Mackenzie Davis, there’s no shortage of talent here. The problem? The script is so, so weak. The script gives you no reason to care about these characters. There’s nothing that keeps you hooked on the story because it’s completely predictable. More than anything, That Awkward Moment is just a big waste of talent.