Sometimes – not always, but sometimes – there’s nothing more fun than the pure pleasure of watching a bad movie.
Ah, yes, the combined joy of terrible acting, bad CGI, awful storyline, and an overall convoluted or confusing mess. And even the worst movies will usually have some defining bit that stands out. After all, who still doesn’t get a little excited at the thought of pod racing from Phantom Menace, a literal Alien vs. Predator grudge match, or a tornado flying through New York filled with sharks!
This is what critics – the ones who can make or break films – tend to forget: not every movie needs to be a masterpiece. Sometimes, movies can just be fun. Sure you may forget them as soon as you’ve seen them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not great in the moment.
There has been a recent run of movies panned as mixed to mostly awful, but actually, have their own worth and are worth actually watching. We took a look at anything on Rotten Tomatoes that had less than 70%, meaning they all got some undeserved hate.
On that note, here are 15 Recent Movies That Are WAY Better Than The Critics Say.
15. The Dark Tower
Instead of seeing The Dark Tower as a fantasy adventure sealing the fate of our world in a balance of good versus evil, we looked at this movie like a feel-good buddy-cop flick! There’s the old grizzled veteran who is days away from retirement (a la, the end of the universe) and his new partner, the young hotshot who’s more idealism than skill, and they work to stop an evil kingpin, with some pretty fantastic henchmen, who literally wants to watch the world burn.
If you view if this way, Idris Elba’s angry charisma overflows from the screen, Matthew McConaughey – while in no way terrifying – is at least a smarmy and entertaining villain, and even Tom Taylor’s Jake Chambers is surprisingly easy to root for by the end.
14. Jupiter Ascending
Besides the classic The Matrix, the Wachowskis are always going to be polarizing in their work. Either you’re thrilled to see the CGI-heavy spectacle that is their unique cinematic vision, or you’re just not feeling their over-the-top and overly-complicated style.
Jupiter Ascending is probably the best (or worst, depending on how you feel) example. It’s an incredible space soap-opera that’s as beautiful as it is insane. You’ve got great actors who do their best with lines like, “Bees don’t lie.” Plus, there’s a space orgy and a pool full of human remains. And yes, Channing Tatum is half human, half-wolf space bounty hunter.
Try not to take it seriously and it all becomes a lot of fun. The fight scenes are epic and the movie is beautifully shot. You could simply turn off the sound and still find this movie a blast.
Much like Speed Racer before it, the story isn’t the joy of this film; the joy is sitting down and going along on the ride. And what an interstellar acid-trip of a ride it is.
13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows
The first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was made to capitalize on the nostalgia trend of the millennial’s youth and resulted in a movie that wasn’t quite ridiculous enough to be fun, and wasn’t quite fun enough to be ridiculous. It floundered in the between a serious action flick and live-action cartoon.
Luckily, the filmmakers knew exactly what to do with the sequel, Out of the Shadows. Upping to dial to far beyond 11, this film had everything for those who grew up with a clear favorite turtle.
There was teleportation, mutation, interdimensional villains, and, yes, the Technodrome! We even got fantastic throwbacks to both the cartoon and the classic SNES video game with Bebop and Rocksteady, Krang and Casey Jones!
This is a rare example where the sequel far outdoes the original. The jokes are fantastically slapstick, the action is high caliber, and it’s full of Easter eggs and inside references. It’s not a film for everyone, but for that nostalgic audience, it’s damn perfect.
12. Blair Witch
The original Blair Witch Project was a game-changer for both the horror and indie industry. Made on a shoestring budget, it gripped viewed by the throat and refused to let go until the last second, when you could finally breathe again.
The threequel (and direct sequel to the original), Blair Witch, tries to recapture that tense feeling of instant urgency. And while you can’t really go home again, it turns out you can go back into the woods for another round of scares.
This film is miles better than the second in the series, Blaire Witch: Book of Shadows. The scares are real and you find your heart pumping on the edge of your seat more than once. True, a lot of it feels like the original re-done, but if you loved the first go, why wouldn’t you enjoy doing it all over again? Plus, there are some pretty solid twists throughout the evening.
11. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
The legend of Arthur has been done so many times by now that even mentioning it makes us yawn. Kid gets sword, becomes king, forms a band of do-gooder knights in an age of magic, and everyone is happily sitting around a circular table.
Good on Guy Ritchie for at least trying something new. And while it doesn’t all work, when it does, it’s spectacular. The movie is filled with fast-paced gray-tinged action sequences that clang with the sound of swords. You get caught up in the rush.
It’s clear that Guy Ritchie took the cliff-notes of the source material and just went, “Screw it, let’s do whatever we want.” And that dive-off-the-cliff gung-ho nature makes this movie a blast.
Plus, is there really any better casting for a grungy King Arthur than Charlie Hunnam?
What the story lacks in structure and overall plot, it makes up for in fantastic action sequences and beautiful people beating the hell out of each other with swords. Really, sometimes, what more could you ask for?
10. Swiss Army Man
Yes, this is that movie about a farting dead Daniel Radcliffe on a deserted island. And it is glorious.
This is one of the best buddy-comedies released in a long time, if for no other reason than the whole story is so wonderfully twisted that it makes you stop and go, “What did I just watch?”
Daniel Radcliffe has chosen some strange movies in his post-Harry Potter career, but none have been more wonderfully weird than Swiss Army Man. Counter-balancing him is the terrified, lost Paul Dano, the living half of this duo stuck on the island. It makes for a wonderful melding of two people with two very different personalities (and, you know, heartbeats).
Legendarily, during its first screening at Sundance, audience members walked out, unsure of what they were watching and unwilling to give it that chance. Don’t be like them: give it a chance.
9. The Neon Demon
The Neon Demon might bore you, it might confuse you, but dammit, you’ll feel something.
Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s films tend to elicit both rabid applause and fantastical disdain, and this is no different. It’s beautiful. It’s boring. It’s so well acted. It’s so utterly devoid of substantial plot and characters.
It also grabs you and does not let go. When you think the movie is over… it’s not. Oh ho no, not by a long shot. It keeps going, pushing way beyond where you think it will go and then further still. You’re captivated by the boldness of this choice, even if you kind of hate where it’s going as it as it goes along.
8. Saban’s Power Rangers
Sure, Power Rangers is lacking a strong story. If you can sum up a full movie in seven words (“troubled kids get superpowers, save the world”) then it’s probably not going to be a masterpiece. But neither was the original show, and that didn’t make it any less fun.
The CGI is solid, the action scenes are action-packed, and you really do enjoy watching these misfits come together to kick ass.
Credit is due to the writer, John Gatins, who basically took the names of the five original heroes and completely re-wrote their personalities. Who needs source material when you’re working to create the super powered Breakfast Club?
Plus, Elizabeth Banks is off-her-face twisted as villain Rita Rupulsa. She clearly had a blast playing a one-note gold-obsessed villain and oozes slimy wickedness… as well as basically just oozes. Check those sores, girl!
It’s no Transformers when it comes to a reboot of cheesy pop-culture, but for two hours of fun, it absolutely makes you want to get your action figures out of storage for another mighty battle.
7. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
When we learned that Luc Besson was going back to his sci-fi roots and bringing to life another world filled with beautiful plants, strange creatures and epic action-packed storylines, à la Fifth Element, who wasn’t excited?
Sadly, Valerian didn’t quite live up to the expectation of its predecessor. However, it didn’t crash and burn as some critics would have you believe, either.
This movie is bright, candy-colored, and it whizzed by at the speed of light. Some of the scenes are so cinematic it’s hard to slow down enough to actually appreciate them. The film, especially the first half, is filled with so much energy and insanity you feel like it may reach out and shock you.
Yes, the plot is weak and it does fall apart towards the end, but who cares? Movies like this are meant to be seen on a giant screen with the sound turned up and your eyeballs as wide as they possibly can be. Hold tight, it’s a hell of a ride.
6. The Accountant
Fresh off his stint as the brooding billionaire in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Ben Affleck took a starring turn in The Accountant.
This is the story of a criminal accountant with high-functioning autism, which feels like it could wade into awkward territory, and yet, it pulls it off with heart. If anything, in Affleck’s hands, this character is one of inspiration rather than insult. He’s a badass genius assassin who also happens to be somewhere on the spectrum, which is really something new.
The last act sees the movie crumble apart, but not before a giant showdown where you do root for him to win. Plus, Warner Bros. have already announced that they’re working on a sequel, so, happily, this won’t be the last time we see Chris Wolff do math or murder people, and we’re just fine with that.
5. Monster Trucks
How did you feel when you first read the title Monster Trucks? If there was a groan or a giggle, you pretty much know how you’re going to feel about this film.
But stuff those cynicisms in your tail pipe and give this sweet, funny, weird movie a go, especially if you’ve got a kid in tow. The jokes are juvenile but they will make you smile, and the titular monster is pretty damn adorable, even when hiding out under the hood. Plus, it has some of the best creature CGI we’ve seen in a film in a while. It’s so good, you may even start to believe in monsters again.
4. The Magnificent Seven
Is there anything more disarming than the smile of Chris Pratt – even when he himself is armed? We say no.
The cast alone makes The Magnificent Seven great: Pratt, Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Lee Byung-hun, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier. All seven stars do amazing work with a script that’s pretty light on substance.
Now, there’s an easy jab here about how magnificent this movie is not, but it’s just plain fun to watch a colorful characters gather together to shoot the hell out of bad guys. Sure, it’s a weak rip-off of better western movies (and of course, of the original), but all of the actors are having so much fun that it’s a joy just to be there with them.
3. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
For the longest time, it seemed like there was a soft rule about Tim Burton’s work: his original work (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish) were a genius, and his adapted pieces (Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland) were, well, sometimes less than so.
However, it seems like he finally found that right balance with Miss Peregrine’s, a great book turned into an entertaining film. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise since it has all his trademark favorite things: creepy children, unusual worlds, beautiful and strange women, and a twisted story about life and death.
The special effects are truly top-notch and you feel like you’ve entered a macabre fairy tale world for weird and wonderful superhero orphans.
If nothing else, come for those special effects but stay for Samuel L Jackson giving a delightful fun and twisted villain role, complete with terrifying hair and dead-eye contacts to complete the maniacal mannerisms. If nothing else stays with you from the film, his performance will.
We’re including Pet on this list for the sole reason that it did not get the horror-movie cred it deserved.
Barely in theaters and given only mixed reviews by critics, this psycho-thriller is one of the most underrated gore films in a while. It comes complete with fantastic performances by its two leads (Dominic Monaghan and Ksenia Solo) and a hell of a twist we honestly never saw coming.
We don’t want to give too much away with this one but this movie will stick with you for weeks after the credits roll. Director Carles Torrens builds real tension between these characters, who play off each other wonderfully.
Plus, this film is funny, especially in situations that shouldn’t at all be funny. You may find yourself laughing, feeling bad about it, and then laughing again.
1. The Belko Experiment
Who hasn’t, at one time or another, wanted to murder all of their colleagues?
The Belko Experiment, penned by Guardians of the Galaxy helmer James Gunn, has been described as “Battle Royale meets Office Space,” and at that point, you know exactly what you’re getting into. If that sounds like a combination you’d like to clock-in for, you’re in for a treat.
Yes, the film lacks any deeper message than “people will do what’s needed to survive”, and as the carriage amps up, the story breaks down. However, you get to see Dr. Cox from Scrubs and President Grant from Scandal go insane inside an office building, and that alone is worth hitting play for. There are some truly gruesome moments and a few that loudly made us gasp.
Really, haven’t you always kind of wondered what Lord of the Flies would look like if it went down to your cubicle? If the answer is, “Yes,” then, my friend, this is the film for you.
Did you enjoy any of these movies? Which movies do you love that critics dissed? Let us know in the comments!
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