Every year brings us a new slew of movies – and with those movies come the usual slew of viewer opinions. In most cases, it’s the usual range of like, dislike and in between, with a clear majority opinion; however, in some cases, a film splits audiences right down the middle into two opposing camps - ‘love it or hate it’ movies that have little middle ground with viewers.
2015 had more volatile splits in opinion than we've seen in recent years, (is that a reflection of the films or the culture, one wonders…), and it doesn't seem like the gaps in opinion regarding THESE 5 films will get bridged anytime soon. Did you find them as divisive as we did? Let us know in the comments, once you've had a look at our 5 Most Polarizing Movies in 2015.
7 It Follows
Haters Say: One of the most boring and unoriginal horror flicks in a long time. Totally low-budget and way overhyped. It's not even scary.
Lovers Say: A retro-styled throwback flick that clearly and concisely exemplifies how horror can be done oh so right.
The freaky (and deliciously straightforward) premise of David Robert Mitchell's supernatural psycho-thriller served as metaphor for any number of different concepts that people are still debating (STD's, heartbreak, romantic karma, etc...), so it's clear that It Follows had some depth to go along with all the jump scares. However, like the #dressgate photo that became a viral phenomenon, some viewers didn't see shining white and gold in this film; they just felt black and blue from having spent money on a low-budget, no frills, bore (their words).
Haters Say: Spike Lee has turned an important issue (the insane murder rates in Chicago) into a messy and bombastic soap box farce comedy music video. In short: It doesn't work.
Lovers Say: Spike Lee is back to making the Do the Right Thing, School Daze, She's Gotta Have It-style films that mix real insight with an auteur's flamboyant signature. In short: It's Lee back doing his thang, in a promising way.
After failing to follow Inside Man with additional high-profile hits (anyone recall Miracle at St. Anna or that Oldboy remake? Nope. Didn't think so) - and even struggling to hold on to some indie cred (sorry Red Hook Summer and Da Sweet Blood of Jesus), it's interesting to see Lee's cinematic work once agin stirring up so much debate and discussion. As for Chi-Raq? Well, what is seen in a Spike Lee film is often invariably tied to the viewer's opinion of the director himself. So...
5 Furious 7
Haters Say: Why is this franchise still alive??? It's gotten so ridiculous at this point that it's almost parody. A horrible way to send Paul Walker off. (And so sick of that damn tribute song...).
Lovers Say: The franchise has gotten so over-the-top that it's pointless not to enjoy the wild ride. Great action, and a poignant, powerful, send off for the late Paul Walker.
Look, if you mention the Fast & Furious series anywhere online, to say that the reactions are typically divisive and volatile would be a gross understatement; in fact, it's almost blasé to argue about it at this point. What we will say is that director James Wan (The Conjuring) left a great horror streak behind to do this movie; it had monumental setbacks and challenges thrown its way; and Wan still managed to turn in a complete and even (at times) impressive blockbuster movie. That alone is worth commendation.
4 The Hateful Eight (70mm Roadshow)
Haters Say: Tarantino has gone even further down the rabbit hole: More "N-word" drops than Django, unapologetic woman-beating, and a general air of cruelty and crassness to the film that make its 3+ hour runtime a grueling ordeal.
Lovers Say: Tarantino is one of the few left who gets what true cinema is all about. The 7omm shots are gorgeous; the characters (and actors playing them) are raucous good fun; the full presentation (complete with overture opening and midpoint intermission) is classic theater goodness; and the film is, in general, the beloved crazy, violent, high-stylized bantering world of Tarantino.
There are probably a lot of people who have yet to see Hateful Eight as 2016 begins; no worries though, we went ahead and previewed a debate you are sure to hear raging, soon enough. Since the film WAS released in select cities before the end of 2015, it qualifies for this list. (Having seen the split between critics first-hand, I know it does.)
3 Jurassic World
Haters Say: It's a soulless and hollow knock-off of the original, with more money and CGI effects thrown at it. The characters and story are absolutely ridiculous.
Lovers Say: It's a harmlessly fun popcorn adventure flick, that does for kids today what the original did for kids in the '90s: brings dinosaurs to life in a compelling way.
Jurassic World was the big billion-dollar winner of 2015... at least until Star Wars Came along. Even so, Jurassic World was by far the bigger surprise, exceeding everyone's (financial) expectations. And no matter how bad the story (and characters) were, the real winners were arguably the wondrous imaginations of kids all over the world, and the dinosaur museum exhibits they'll now be visiting.
2 Honorable Mention: Mad Max: Fury Road
Haters Say: 'They should've called it "Mad MAXINE!"'
Lovers Say: One of most balls-out and artfully cinematic action flicks in years. George Miller's still got it.
No movie gets universal love, and even though Mad Max: Fury Road earned high critical praise and $375 million at the worldwide box office, there has been a steady line of detractors who think that it either doesn't measure up to The Road Warrior, or lacked enough actual dialogue and presence from Mad Max (Tom Hardy) to be deserving of the franchise title. Uh, fair points, we guess...
1 NEXT: Screen Rant's Top 5 Movies of 2015
That's our lineup of polarizing films released in 2015 - do you agree? Have any additional picks to offer? Let us know in the comments!