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Denzel Washington’s Not-Great Movies, Ranked (New Substandard)

On the latest Substandard (subscribe, review, etc.), we talked a bit about Denzel Washington and how he's great. I mean, obviously. But we highlighted the fact that he has a very low number of true misses: his batting average is incredibly high for a guy that's been working for 30 years or so. Even his movies that aren't necessarily great (American Gangster, say, or Flight) are generally pretty good. And he elevates fare that otherwise might be dismissed as generic shlock (The EqualizerUnstoppable) simply by being there.

But, of course, they're not all winners. And I mentioned on the show that I had made a list of his worst films. Then I never got around to unveiling it. So, after the embed and for the first time EVER, you will see Sonny Bunch's list of Denzel Washington's not-great movies. I say "not-great" as opposed to "bad" or "worst" because, I mean, honestly, even The Magnificent Seven is still pretty okay. I know, I know: This is an exciting moment for all of us. But calm yourselves. You won't do any good freaking out now. Listen to the show. Breathe. Then read on.

5. The Magnificent Seven

I am not opposed to remakes, per se. I just ask that they bring something more to the table than a brand name. And while I love the way the film fetishizes firearms and Denzel Washington's mustache in this movie is amazing, I'm not sure it's enough to make the entire endeavor worthwhile.

4. The Taking of Pelham 123

I don't hate this movie, exactly, but I do kind of hate Tony Scott's over-reliance on step-printing, which gives this movie a kind of blurry, smeary aesthetic.

3. John Q.

I feel like this still rather perfectly captures the absurdity of this movie, which combines melodrama with social conscience to make an entirely disagreeable little stew.

2. Deja Vu

I'm going to be honest with you: I … cannot remember what this movie is about. I may even be confusing it in my head with the similarly themed Next, starring Nic Cage. Something about time travel and stopping a tragedy? This fact by itself suggests to me that it was bad-to-very-bad.

1. Virtuosity

Last place for that hat and jacket alone. My God.