15 Times Critics Ripped Beloved Movies And TV Shows A New One
Sure, we've had our fair share of rants and headaches over movies and TV shows we inexplicably loathe, but critics get paid to do nothing but review and evaluate, and gosh golly gosh, can they really get into it sometimes. Imagine a movie being a cow, grazing in the meadow ever so peacefully. Now imagine a critic being those alien things from A Quiet Place, just coming out of nowhere and swooping across the sunny field to devour that peaceful cow in a heartbeat.
Or is that us, the fans? Huh, maybe we're not that different.
“(It's) The film I imagine Ricky Fitts would grow up to make after the events of American Beauty. Gotham City certainly has the emo-depressive aura here of a discarded plastic bag blowing in the wind…for three hours that admittedly proceed at a gallop, and which are bookended by the same earnestly deployed Nirvana needle-drop (OK, doomer).”
Top Gun (1986)
Roger Ebert had this to say about the movie that apparently made everyone think it’s okay to just burst out in song in public because of a girl:
“Cruise and McGillis spend a lot of time squinting uneasily at each other and exchanging words as if they were weapons, and when they finally get physical, they look like the stars of one of those sexy new perfume ads. There's no flesh and blood here, which is remarkable, given the almost palpable physical presence McGillis had in Witness."
The Wizard of Oz
Otis Ferguson, film critic for The New Republic, did not care for the Oz bunch when the film came out and thought kids should rather go and see the Tarzan movie.
“It has dwarfs, music, technicolor, freak characters and Judy Garland. It can’t be expected to have a sense of humor as well — and as for the light touch of fantasy, it weighs like a pound of fruitcake soaking wet.”
The Godfather Part II
New York Times columnist Vincent Canby was totally not into the Coppola sequel that won six Oscars:
“It’s a Frankenstein’s monster stitched together from leftover parts. It talks. It moves in fits and starts but it has no mind of its own…. Looking very expensive but spiritually desperate, Part II has the air of a very long, very elaborate revue sketch.”
Time magazine’s review of one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous and revered films was not so full of praise:
“The old master has turned out another Hitchcock-and-bull story in which the mystery is not so much who done it as who cares.”
Space Jam (1996)
Rene Rodriguez from the Miami Herald could not care less about Michael Jordan’s cartoon romp that also miraculously featured Bill Murray somehow.
“The saddest part about this whole affair is that it took Bugs and Co. 60 years to make their feature debut—and this is what they get. At one point, Daffy Duck is discussing merchandising royalties and says, ‘We gotta get new agents—we’re getting screwed.’ In Space Jam, even the cartoons are in it only for the money.”
While every other Gen-Xer/Millennial man will probably still burn their mother to defend this ‘99 Fincher film, Roger Ebert wasn’t having it, even back then. On the contrary, he almost seemed bored with the ultra, borderline juvenile violence.
“Women, who have had a lifetime of practice at dealing with little-boy posturing, will instinctively see through it; men may get off on the testosterone rush … The message in Fight Club is like bleeding scraps of Socially Redeeming Content thrown to the howling mob … Fight Club is a thrill ride masquerading as philosophy — the kind of ride where some people puke and others can't wait to get on again."
David Ansen, critic for Newsweek, did not mince any words ripping into the other ‘90s Fincher classic:
“So chic, studied, and murky it resembles a cross between a Nike commercial and a bad Polish art film… Set in a rainy, portentously unnamed burg (The City of Dread?) where overhead lighting has yet to be invented, Seven seems to believe that if you drop enough references to Dante and Chaucer you have achieved seriousness.”
Mission Impossible (1996)
Hal Hinson, staff writer for the Washington Post, opined that the original film should instead have been called “Mission Implausible.”
“Brian De Palma's big-screen adaptation of the popular '60s television series, is a stone drag — humorless, charmless and flat. The impossible part is that the filmmakers have botched such a seemingly unbotchable premise … From the beginning, the action appears dated, as if the filmmakers were still locked in a Cold War mind-set.”
“Here’s a show that instantly will make you lose your appetite. Fox’s latest animated series is about a family that runs a struggling fast-food joint next to a funeral home. The opener is riddled with juvenile humor consisting of jokes pegged to corpses, crotches and child molestation. It’s almost enough to trigger a case of mad cow disease.”
Friday the 13th
Like Ebert, Gene Siskel had a lot to say about a lot of movies that found favor with audiences. Siskel called Cool Runnings an insult to preteen humor. About The Silence of the Lambs, he said: “Billed as one of the most frightening, depraved films ever made. Would that it were so. Instead, this is a case of much ado about nothing.”
But Siskel hated Sean S. Cunningham’s horror movie about Jason Voorhees so much that he went ahead and spoiled the reveal-ending for readers of the Chicago Tribune. That way, he reckoned, no one would go see the film he hated so much.
“A disgusting, artless shocker...A cruel film that offers teen-age girls in peril, as well as a gruesome beheading. Only for sickies.”
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Barbara Shulgasser for the San Francisco Examiner said of the acid romp starring Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson: "Fear and Loathing is one long offensive treatise on just how vile two human beings can be. And speaking of Nazis, as Hannah Arendt noted, evil can be surprisingly banal. Not that taking drugs or drinking are inherently evil, but when our heros are blasted on mescaline, ether and LSD (not to mention tobacco and beer) the notion that these two are somehow violating the careful balance of systems that make the human body run so well is difficult to ignore. The term wretched excess comes to mind.”
She ends her review saying: “This movie inspires no fear in me, but loathing? Yes. Oh yes.”
Variety’s Sonia Saraiya did not find Glenn Howerton’s philosophy professor turned high school teacher sitcom all that funny:
“It’s a premise rooted in contempt for practically every constituency involved — teachers, school administrators, students, parents, philosophers, people who live in Ohio, and Harvard grads (well, who cares about the Harvard grads) … Each caricatured student is another punch-line persona; each elaborate scheme is another stagey bit. You see? It’s comedy.”
It’s no secret that Stanley Kubrick didn’t have all the fans back in the day. Critics were harsh, and many came out to trash his Stephen King adaptation that today might be more famous for how he treated actress Shelley Duvall during production. Famous critic Pauline Kael from the New Yorker said Kubrick’s obsession with technology hindered audiences from connecting emotionally to a frame, any frame. Gary Arnold from the Washington Post lamented the film’s price tag. And Dereck Malcolm for The Guardian wrote:
““The genre within which the film is cast exerts too great a price. Nicholson’s performance, even if deliberately over the top, still shouldn’t encourage as much laughter as fear. Nor should the final twists of the plot look so illogical. If The Shining isn’t trivial, it certainly encourages one to think that it is.”
Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV)
The first ever Star Wars movie produced fans left and right, but not everyone cared for George Lucas’ space opera featuring men with big blaster guns and women with giant side buns. John Simon from New York Magazine called it a “dull new world,” and Joy Gould Boyum from The Wall Street Journal said that it was depressing “seeing all these impressive cinematic gifts and all this extraordinary technological skills lavished on such puerile materials.”
No one, however, ripped into Star Wars the way New Yorker critic Pauline Kael did:
“Star Wars is like getting a box of Cracker Jack which is all prizes. This is the writer-director George Lucas’s own film, subject to no business interference, yet it’s a film that’s totally uninterested in anything that doesn’t connect with the mass audience. There’s no breather in the picture, no lyricism; the only attempt at beauty is in the double sunset. It’s enjoyable on its own terms, but it’s exhausting, too: like taking a pack of kids to the circus. An hour into it, children say that they’re ready to see it again; that’s because it’s an assemblage of spare parts — it has no emotional grip. Star Wars may be the only movie in which the first time around the surprises are reassuring…. It’s an epic without a dream.”
Thumbnail: New Line Cinema/Paramount Pictures