Film critics have a very important job. Experienced pundits in the world of cinema can give us a heads up if a film is worth shelling out the cash to see, so we don’t have to run the risk of wasting money and time on a total flop. The analysis of critics from sites like Roger Ebert, Rotten Tomatoes, and even good ol’ Screen Rant can come in handy if we’re torn. Even if we take a critic’s opinion with a grain of salt, they can definitely help us make an informed decision of where we should place our two hours.
Film critics, though, are also people. They’re capable of flaws and errors. This is especially true when it comes to the following fifteen films that were just nowhere near as good as critics claimed. But who are we uncultured swine to judge?
These movies either had a wide gap between critical approval and audience reviews, or audiences just hated them so much that they didn’t go to see them, resulting in major box office flops.
Check out these 15 Movies WAY Worse Than Critics Claimed.
The 2004 film Crash (not to be confused with the Cronenberg thriller of the same name) is an obvious choice for this list. Despite the critical success of the film, it was ultimately far from deserving of the pedestal it was placed on. Director Paul Haggis has gone so far as to admit that the film didn’t deserve its Best Picture Oscar.
The dramatic stories of various people dealing with social and racial issues in ’90s Los Angeles had a ton of promise. However, Haggis failed to fill the movie with much insight. The movie tries to say something about racial tension but ultimately says little. The connections between all the characters is clearly an attempt to make the movie seem more well-written, but it ultimately failed.
Crash is a good example of why controversy shouldn’t be cooked up just for the sake of controversy– there are better films about racism out there.
14. Blair Witch Project
Critics were all about this 1999 found footage horror film is definitely a cult classic, spawning a remake and pop culture references to this very day. The Blair Witch Project has been referred to as the greatest horror movie ever made, the grandparent of found footage horror, and one of the most armrest-gripping terror trips cinema has ever produced. Everybody saw it– the movie made 4,000 times its budget at the box office.
But let’s be real here. This movie was far from great. The plot was messy from start to finish. It begins on a good creepy track, but soon it becomes a mess of heaving breathing and a significant lack of scares.
It deserves its cult status for its cheekiness alone, but The Blair Witch Project is in no position to win awards.
There have been quite a few Incredible Hulk films through the years, none of which have been particularly gold. But Ang Lee’s 2003 Hulk adaptation was as far away from gold as you can get, despite it making a hefty cut of cash at the box office.
Critics generally disliked the film. But many also tried to cut it some slack, particularly Roger Ebert, who praised it for focusing more on a story than cheesy sensory-overloading visual effects. But there’s little else to praise Hulk for.
While the Incredible Hulk as a character has been far from a personable creature, Eric Bana’s Hulk completely lacked character and personality. The few special effects we are afforded are downright terrible. We know it was 2003, but the CGI in the film makes Hulk seem more like Shrek.
12. The Descendants
The 2011 drama The Descendants was massively successful. It won an Academy Award, multiple Golden Globes, and the hearts of a ton of viewers and critics alike. George Clooney’s performance was great (as it usually is) and the premise of the movie was interesting at the very least.
Despite being total Oscar bait, The Descendants had one of the most underwhelming scripts since The Blind Side. The storyline was much more simple than many viewers anticipated for a film that seemed to promise a deeply emotional journey through grief, forgiveness, heritage, and reconnection.
The script’s sleepy humor was boring and immature (and cringey at moments), the more emotional scenes felt too manipulative and anti-climactic, and the only real attention-grabber was the brief scenes of beautiful Hawaiian scenery.
With Guillermo del Toro and Adrien Brody connected to a film, there’s no way it can go wrong, right?
The 2009 sci-fi horror movie Splice follows the story of two scientists who get into DNA splicing. When nobody wants to get behind their desire to splice human genes, they decide to experiment on their own with disastrous results.
The movie had a lot of issues from bad writing to interspecies incest (sort of?) that turned audiences off, despite receiving favorable reviews from critics. The New York Times in particular wrote about how the director Vincenzo Natali “hasn’t reinvented the horror genre. But with Splice he has done the next best thing with an intelligent movie that, in between its small boos and an occasional hair-raising jolt, explores chewy issues[.]”
The movie ended up being a box office flop and was unable to make back what it cost to produce.
10. Berberian Sound Studio
Berberian Sound Studio has made many articles that cover films that audiences and critics can’t agree on. The gap between audience distaste and critical approval is pretty massive for this film from British director Peter Strickland. The film follows a sound engineer named Gilderoy who begins to lose his sanity while recording dialogue and sound effects for an Italian horror film.
Critics went crazy over this film when it first came out, applauding Toby Jones for his performance (which is well-deserved, in all honesty) and raving over the film’s thematic tribute to Giallo horror films. But the movie was just one giant reach that never quite grasped the object of its affection– fear. The movie was so monumentally un-scary and self-absorbed that many viewers were left pretty disappointed.
9. The Informant
Matt Damon stars in this 2009 crime comedy about Mark Whitacre, a whistleblower that exposed the lysine financial conspiracy during the nineties.
Sound boring? Well, it is, but don’t tell that to film critics or the people behind the Golden Globes. Roger Ebert himself gave the film 4/4 stars, finding delight in the film’s use of storytelling and slow burning revelation.
The film itself was a mess of strung-along snooze-worthy dialogue that initially promised some very smart laughs, only to take a nosedive as the film progressed. Anti-climactic is the best way to describe The Informant! – despite the spicy exclamation point and colorful cinematography. The film believes itself to be loads of laughs and pressures you to enjoy it, but you just can’t.
8. We Are What We Are
The 2013 horror film We Are What We Are is an English-language remake of a Mexican film of the same name. The remake was equally as polarizing for American audiences and critics as its predecessor was for Mexican audiences and critics.
This story of a cannibalistic family was a hit with a lot of critics at the time of its release. Some praised the film for its quiet deliberateness while others lauded the film for its subversive plot. However, the film was much worse than audiences could anticipate.
The original movie at the very least had some humor to it, but the 2013 adaptation was as dry as they come. While the film’s ending makes it almost worth sitting through this snore fest, it’d be a miracle if anybody was able to make it that far.
7. Killing Them Softly
Killing Them Softly is an adaptation of the George V. Higgins’ novel Cogan’s Trade. The neo-noir story follows three criminals who steal funds from the mob, and the mob sends out a pair of hitmen (Brad Bitt and James Gandolfini) to take care of the problem.
The film was a box office success and was praised by critics for its critique of capitalism and dark humor. Unfortunately, Killing Them Softly ended up being one of those films that treats the audience like a gaggle of idiots. The film was very choppy and uneven– the onslaught of clips of Barack Obama talking about the recession didn’t match up well with the Sopranos feel director Andrew Dominik was going for.
6. The Bay
Who doesn’t love a good viral outbreak catastrophe film? The 2012 horror film The Bay is a collage of smartphone footage, 911 calls, web cam videos, and other media used to tell the story of an outbreak that claims the lives of most of a small seaside town.
In classic mockumentary fashion, the film was pretty awful– but for some reason a ton of critics praised the crap out of it, with many claiming the film was like a smarter Blair Witch Project. Unfortunately, this wasn’t really the case.
The movie couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a horror movie (with extremely minimal scares) or an ecological thriller (which it executes poorly). Using multi-source media to compose a mockumentary could be a potentially cool way to tell a story, but The Bay failed terribly at it.
Critics were in love with this action thriller from Steven Soderbergh, which boasted an all-star cast including the likes of Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, and more. The story of Haywire follows a badass government operative (played by MMA star Gina Carano in her first film role) who is double crossed.
Critics were dazzled by Carano’s martial arts abilities (as any viewer would be, she’s an incredible fighter) but there were glaring flaws in this film that were not addressed at all. Though stylish, Haywire seems more occupied with looking cool than having a plot.
4. Willow Creek
2013’s Willow Creek is one of the most drastic examples of a found footage film being loved by critics but disliked by audiences. Critics raved about Bobcat Goldthwait’s take on the Bigfoot myth and hailed it as one of the very few awesome found footage horror movies.
While Willow Creek is definitely a roller coaster of a film, audiences didn’t agree with critics’ sentiments. Through the movie, it becomes more and more obvious that the film is going to be boring, predictable, and far from the original material you’d expect from Goldthwait.
We can appreciate an edge-of-your-seat slow burner. We can also appreciate a movie that keeps the monster out of view to allow our minds to run wild. Neither of these things make Willow Creek bearable, unfortunately.
3. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
What do you get when you put Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Xzibit, and Val Kilmer in a crooked cop comedy-drama? Nothing good.
The writers behind Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans attempted to combine a very European avant garde filmmaking vibe with a typical dark American flick. Many critics thought director Werner Herzog had succeeded in doing this– maybe he did. But Nicolas Cage’s shockingly underwhelming performance and the film’s overall directionless focus is exhausting to watch.
Violent to the point of cringeyness and with one of the most underwhelming endings ever, we could have done without this drag of a movie. None of this film’s stars could have saved it, even if Cage decided to put a bit more gusto into the performance.
The 2011 suspense drama Coriolanus is a timultuous journey through the life of a feared general as he seeks to gain a more powerful political position. Shakespeare shouldn’t be so difficult to adapt, but Coriolanus is notorious for being one of the playright’s most difficult plays.
Critics thought Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus was an intelligent and thoughtful anti-hero epic, but viewers weren’t so keen on the film. Many thought it was pretentious and violently boring, and the language barrier (the film’s dialogue is in Shakespearean English) had made it difficult for the average viewer to understand.
Nobody was entirely surprised that Sharknado was not an Oscar-worthy film. The title alone makes it clear. But Film critics were in love with Sharknado’s very clear and unapologetic awfulness. Maybe that makes Sharknado okay, or at the very least self-sufficient and brave.
Or not. A lot of regular viewers had similar sentiments, only they leaned more in the direction of “we want this to be so bad it’s good, but it’s just looped around back to bad again”. Where famously bad films like The Room were likeable for their awfulness in addition to their integrity, Sharknado is just bad in a cheap way.
Most can assume that its four sequels (yes, FOUR) are equally as awful, progressively getting farther and farther from what makes a bad movie iconic.
Are there any movies critics loved that you just can’t stand? Let us know in the comments!
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