- Movie reviewers have had some pretty scathing takes on films throughout the years.
- One reviewer referred to a film as like “Grease: The Next Generation” acted out by the food-court staff at SeaWorld.
- Another riffed “Some movies leave a bad taste in the mouth. This one causes full-on halitosis.”
For many viewers, a movie can simply exist as something to fill a void of upwards of 90 minutes. Film critics, who spend their lives scribbling notes in dark theatres, ask for a little more.
“I have a colleague who describes his job as ‘covering the national dream beat,’ because if you pay attention to the movies they will tell you what people desire and fear in their deepest secrets,” the late Roger Ebert wrote in 1992. “At least, the good ones will. That’s why we go, hoping to be touched in those secret places. Movies are hardly ever about what they seem to be about. Look at a movie that a lot of people love, and you will find something profound, no matter how silly the film may seem.”
Sometimes the best thing to come out of a movie is a blistering review. INSIDER rounded up 50 of the funniest, most searing movie reviews ever written.
Critics said that heartbreak was preferable to watching “Valentine’s Day.”
“‘Valentine’s Day’ is being marketed as a Date Movie. I think it’s more of a First-Date Movie. If your date likes it, do not date that person again. And if you like it, there may not be a second date.” –Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
Critics eviscerated “Twilight,” but the movie still made more than $US390 million at the box office.
“I’ve had mosquito bites that were more passionate than this undead, unrequited, and altogether unfun pseudo-romantic riff on ‘Romeo and Juliet.'” – Marc Salov, The Austin Chronicle.
“The Other Woman” wasn’t a hit with critics.
“I know what you’re thinking … ‘Enough beating around the bush. Just tell us whether you liked it.’ Consider this, which I will say in terms this movie would understand, if you were on an aeroplane, ‘The Other Woman’ might not be preferable to simply staring into your empty airsick bag, but it has enough nicely executed physical comedy that in the event you become ill, it is definitely preferable to staring into your occupied airsick bag.” – Linda Holmes, NPR.
“The Emoji Movie” has an 8% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“This is a movie about how words aren’t cool, but you can still expect a girl to fall at your feet in response to mild wordplay. Please keep up. Or throw whatever device you’re reading this on into the ocean. Send me a postcard… tell me what it’s like to be free.” –Kaitlyn Tiffany and Lizzie Plaugic, The Verge.
Netflix is making a sequel to “Bright” despite the fact it was totally panned by critics.
“While I had the misfortune to see ‘Bright’ in a theatre, most people will simply press ‘play’ out of curiosity on their Roku remote. I am willing to concede that this might elevate the experience a little … the ability to take a quick trip to the kitchen or restroom after shouting ‘no, don’t pause it’ to your partner on the couch will be liberating.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair.
“Battlefield Earth” was a box-office bust and a critical failure.
“‘Battlefield Earth’ saves its scariest moment for the end: a virtual guarantee that there will be a sequel.” – Desson Howe, The Washington Post.
The basic plot of “Milk Money” perplexed critics.
Roger Ebert imagined what the conversation between studio executives would have looked like when they greenlit the movie:
“Studio Executive A: Kind of like ‘Working Girl Turns a Trick?’
“Studio Executive B: Cuter than that. We start with three 12-year-old boys. They’re going crazy because they have never seen a naked woman.
“Studio Executive A: Whatsamatter? They poor? Don’t they have cable?”
Even fans of the HBO series prefer to pretend “Sex and the City 2” doesn’t exist, according to critics.
“When viewed as a rom-com, ‘Sex and the City 2’ is terrible and crappy and a horrific inversion of everything the show once was. But when viewed as a science fiction film, ‘SATC2’ is subversive, stylish and chilling. Like The Island from ‘Lost,’ we may never know The City’s true identity – Is it a VR computer program? A malevolent interdimensional god? Satan?” – Cyriaque Lamar, i09.
Making fun of “Gigli” became a national past-time.
“Even making a little game of it, and trying to pinpoint the exact moment when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez fell in love, stops being fun after a while. Perhaps it’s when he says, in an attempt to seduce her, ‘I’m the bull, you’re the cow.’ Or when she beckons him into foreplay by lying back in bed and purring, ‘Gobble, gobble’ – which could forever change the way you view your Thanksgiving turkey.” – Christy Lemire, The Associated Press.
“The Adventures of Pluto Nash” wasn’t a hit with critics.
“It’s good to know that, if we have to leave Earth someday, we won’t have to go without our kitsch. Forensics experts will be digging through the rubble of this fiasco for a long time, trying to reconstruct the accident. How did so many lines fall flat? Why were the action scenes so corny and unconvincing? Who put the stink on this?” – Jack Mathews, New York Daily News.
“Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2” has a 2% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“At its best/worst, ‘Superbabies’ hallucinatory idiocy inspires open-mouthed horror at what happens when an ill-conceived premise leads to even more jaw-droppingly misguided execution.” – Nathan Rabin, AV Club.
Critics thought “Gotti” was so bad it was almost criminal.
“I’d rather wake up next to a severed horse head than ever watch ‘Gotti’ again. The worst movie of the year so far, the long-awaited biopic about the Gambino crime boss’ rise from made man to top dog took four directors, 44 producers and eight years to make. It shows. The finished product belongs in a cement bucket at the bottom of the river.” – Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post.
Critics got personal with their contempt for “Jaws: The Revenge.”
“In the just-released ‘Jaws: The Revenge’ the shark’s main course is intended to be Roy Scheider’s widow, Ellen Brody, a frumpy middle-aged woman played by boring actress Lorraine Gary, who happens to be married to the president of MCA Universal, which finances the ‘Jaws’ films and which explains her lead role. Let’s put it this way: When you see and hear the nasal Lorraine Gary on screen you want the shark to eat her.” – Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune.
“One Missed Call” didn’t warrant anyone’s attention, according to critics.
“The kid in front of me spent most of the movie playing Tetris on his phone. I didn’t care enough about the movie to ask him to stop, or to find a cooler game.” – Wesley Morris, The Boston Globe.
The critical response to “Jack Frost” was icy.
“With emotions as sincere as the soap flake snow on its sets, ‘Jack Frost’ goes on to show how much fun it is to have a snowman as a loving, though dead, father … As one more Hollywood effort to look on the sunny side of fatality, ‘Jack Frost’ is so sugarcoated that it makes other recent efforts in this genre look blisteringly honest.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times.
“The Snowman” left critics cold.
“‘The Snowman’ is like if aliens studied humanity and tried to make their own movie in an attempt to communicate with us. This simulacrum contains all the requisite pieces of a movie, but humanity got lost in translation.” – Barbara VanDenburgh, The Arizona Republic.
Critics saw “Batman & Robin” as more of a cash-grab than a movie.
“The people who made this movie – which, as always, is set up for a sequel – will be laughing all the way to the bank. But isn’t there someone in that bank who can lock them all inside a safety-deposit vault and throw away the key?” – Peter Rainer, The Phoenix New Times.
“Cool World” was almost universally hated by critics.
“The plot of Michael Grais’ and Mark Victor’s screenplay is even more nonsensical than it needs to be, revolving around frequent unmotivated trips between parallel cartoon and live-action universes, and around the question of whether cartoon women will have sex with human men.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times.
“Titanic” won 11 Academy Awards, but critics thought it took its sweet time getting to the point.
“‘Titanic’ is a good, often stunning movie caught in a three-and-a-half hour drift. As we marvel at the physical spectacle of the Titanic’s last few hours, we’re left staggeringly untouched by the people facing their last moments. This movie should have blown us out of the water. Instead, we catch ourselves occasionally thinking the unpardonable thought: ‘OK, sink already.'” –Desson Howe, The Washington Post.
“Howard The Duck” was a one-note movie that prompted critics to question for whom exactly the movie was made.
“The story has no center; the duck is not likable, and the costly, overwrought, laser-filled special effects that conclude the movie are less impressive than a sparkler on a birthday cake. George ‘Star Wars’ Lucas supervised the production of this film, and maybe it’s time he went back to making low-budget films like his best picture, ‘American Graffiti.'” – Gene Siskel, The Chicago Tribune.
“Catwoman” is considered by critics to be one of the worst superhero movies ever made.
“The film could have turned out worse, but only via the addition of a Tom Green cameo, or an accident in which the actors caught on fire.” – Keith Phipps, The AV Club
Critics thought “Mac and Me” was a discount version of “ET: The Extraterrestrial.”
“‘Mac and Me,’ which opened yesterday at the Guild and other theatres, has a final police shootout and a fiery explosion in which Eric is the victim. When a doctor announced that Eric was gone, a small boy behind me said, ‘He ain’t dead,’ with all the calm assurance of an experienced moviegoer who knows perfectly well that if E.T. came back, so would Eric. Cloning is a dangerous thing.” – Caryn James, The New York Times.
Only a sucker would bother watching “Sucker Punch” after reading reviews.
“In the end, though the metaphor of mental institution as battleground is an interesting one to explore, that is not the analysis at the heart of this movie. Nope, ‘Sucker Punch’ is a two-hour $US82 million fetish film examining how hot sad schoolgirls look when holding weapons. Snyder should have just made a porn movie – it might have been better, and it definitely would have been cheaper and more honest.” – Dodai Stewart, Jezebel.
“Movie 43” prompted devastating reviews.
“It’s as if ‘Movie 43’ was itself a feature-length f— you to Hollywood, a movie made simply to show how bad a movie a studio could be induced to make and actors could be persuaded to act in.” – Richard Brody, The New Yorker.
The best thing critics could say about “Fifty Shades Freed” was that the trilogy was finally over.
“Universal has had some fun with its marketing campaign, using the tag-line, ‘Don’t miss the climax.’ It’s a shame, though, that the posters exhibit considerably more ingenuity than the film itself.” – Brian Lowery, CNN.
“A Christmas Prince” falls squarely in the category of “so bad it’s good.”
“It’s a Netflix original movie, but it feels like a violation of nature that it somehow isn’t from Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel. Nathan Atkins is credited with the screenplay, but this film is such a perfect amalgam of established tropes that I am not entirely convinced that isn’t a pseudonym to keep us from discovering that Netflix has created the artificial-intelligence technology to generate a script using auto-complete.” – Dana Schwartz, Entertainment Weekly.
“A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding” seemed to revel in shoddiness.
“It plays like a piece of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan fan fiction, written by a child who actually doesn’t know who they are but has watched the ‘Princess Diaries’ films.” – Carly Mallenbaum, USA Today.
Critics thought “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was far too depressing for a superhero movie.
“An even less charitable way to put it is that a clearly excited 7- or 8-year-old kid sitting in front of me busted out crying and had to be whisked out of the theatre by his father within the first five minutes. Perhaps he was unnerved by the harsh, operatic violence of Bruce Wayne’s parents getting murdered – the mum’s pearls get tangled around the gun, somehow, which allows for some very tight and poignant slow motion – or maybe he was offended by the notion that a 2016 Batman movie felt it necessary to depict Bruce Wayne’s parents getting murdered. Either way, this kid bounced.” – Rob Harvilla, Deadspin.
Critics thought “Transformers: The Last Knight” was simply too incoherent to describe.
“I’ll admit, I’ve been dreading the thought of trying to at all explain the plot of this movie – even in broad, simple terms. I honestly had anxiety dreams last night about this moment. It’s like staring at a projected kaleidoscope for two and a half hours and then trying to tell someone about the plot.” – Mike Ryan, Uproxx.
Many thought “The Brown Bunny” was tedious and only remembered for its inclusion of one explicit scene.
“It’s not really a movie. I suppose it’s what could be called a recorded behaviour. It simply reproduces, with some crude fidelity, the hapless anguish of a grieving man as he copes with his loss. It has no characters, it has no conflict, it has nothing that could be called a plot. It offers no reason to watch it – that is, no reason within the picture.” – Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post.
Critics were thoroughly disgusted by “The Human Centipede,” but they were also bored by it.
“This is one of those movies where victims repeatedly have opportunities to escape but choose not to, guaranteeing still more grotesque degradation, full of gore, torture, and sexual humiliation – and contains not an iota of wit or intelligence to justify any of it.” – Michael Ordoña, The Los Angeles Times.
“Avatar” is still the highest grossing movie of all time, but not everyone was a fan.
“‘Avatar’ isn’t about actors or characters or even about story; it’s about special effects, which is fine as far as it goes. But for a movie that stresses how important it is for us to stay connected with nature, to keep our ponytails plugged into the life force, ‘Avatar’ is peculiarly bloodless. It’s a remote-control movie experience, a high-tech ‘wish you were here’ scribbled on a very expensive postcard. You don’t have to be fully present to experience ‘Avatar’; all you have to do is show up.” – Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.
Critics thought “I Know Who Killed Me” was embarrassing for everyone involved.
“Pretentious and inane, ‘I Know Who Killed Me’ arouses unexpected sympathy for its embattled star. ‘Should we populate the movie with competent, strong performances, or were we looking for stars?’ asks the producer, Frank Mancuso Jr., in the film’s production notes. Out of the mouths of producers.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times.
Critics thought there was nothing redeeming about “Sorority Boys.”
“I’m curious about who would go to see this movie. Obviously moviegoers with a low opinion of their own taste. It’s so obviously what it is that you would require a positive desire to throw away money in order to lose two hours of your life. ‘Sorority Boys’ will be the worst movie playing in any multiplex in America this weekend, and, yes, I realise ‘Crossroads’ is still out there.” –Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times.
“Forrest Gump” won multiple Academy Awards, but it still prompted some biting reviews.
“With two decades of perspective on ‘Forrest Gump’s triumph, you get the sense that ’90s audiences were relieved to see a film that said it was OK – even honorable – to ignore all the bad stuff about war. So, too, was the Motion Picture Academy, which 12 months after lauding ‘Schindler’s List’ decided, ‘Screw it, let’s give the awards to the movie that sells cookbooks.’ – Amy Nicholson, LA Weekly.
Critics absolutely hated “Life Itself.”
“‘Life Itself’ thinks you’re stupid. Or, if not stupid, unable to understand how a movie should work. It’s a movie made for people who can’t be trusted to understand any storytelling unless it’s not just spoon-fed but ladled on, piled high, and explained via montage and voiceover” – Kate Erbland, IndieWire.
“Ridiculous 6” felt intentionally offensive.
“There’s the broad racism and misogyny of the piece. After the controversial walk-offs, Netflix claimed that this was ‘satire.’ It’s not. There’s nothing satirical about Sandler’s bad Native American accent, which totally comes and goes, by the way, or Schneider’s Hispanic caricature. Saying that this is satire is like the drunk guy at the bar telling you how many black friends he has after telling a racist joke. Don’t fall for it.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com.
“The Village” felt like a waste of time to some.
“[M. Night Shyamalan] directs the material as if he’d written it (which he did), and not a single friend dared tell him the truth.” – Mick LaSalle, SFGate.
The extreme level of product placement in “Crossroads” was an issue for critics.
“It turns out that ‘Crossroads’ is not a music video, not yet a movie, but more like an extended-play advertisement for the Product that is Britney.” – Ann Hornaday,The Washington Post.
Critics thought “Grown Ups” was a lazy attempt at comedy.
“The movie is symptomatic of a social attitude that might be called the security of incompetence. There’s something reassuring about a bad movie that doesn’t ask you to think or feel or even pay attention … we can all be happy D-minus students huddled together in communal self-disgust in a D-minus world.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times.
Critics thought “Grown Ups 2” was so bad that it made them appreciate the first movie.
“In ‘Grown Ups 2,’ which is set on the last day of school, our heroes are now all living in the same small town together, and everybody’s pretty happy, so there’s little to motivate the action. It makes the first movie look like ‘The Maltese Falcon.'” – Bilge Ebiri, Vulture.
Some thought “Suburbicon” was too smug for its own good.
“You absolutely can fault [George Clooney] for wrongheadedness in making a movie that condemns racism, and specifically segregation in the postwar housing boom, albeit in the most broad, perfunctory, awareness-ribbon-wearing way while barely allowing its black characters to speak. ‘Suburbicon’ might be the biggest embarrassment to pious Hollywood liberalism since ‘Crash’ won best picture in 2006.” – Chris Klimek, NPR.
“Mother!” may not have been enjoyable, but it certainly was memorable.
“I admired the camerawork, the wide-angle close-ups of flaring nostrils, and the pandemonium of the crowd scenes in the second half of the film when it goes haywire and insanity reign. It’s an odd sensation to still remember moments of technical brilliance in a movie I never want to see again.” – Rex Reed, The Observer.
Some thought “Freddy Got Fingered” was an embarrassment for everyone involved.
“This movie doesn’t scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn’t below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
Critics thought there just wasn’t anything funny about “Joe Dirt.”
“Why do American audiences accept the stance that silly movies have to be terrible by definition? There’s nothing enjoyable about ‘Joe Dirt.’ Absolutely nothing. Spade’s generic nonperformance is the centrepiece of a very wobbly story, and he simply isn’t enough of an actor to keep you interested.” – Paul Tatara, CNN.
Critics thought “Fantastic Four” was the opposite of fantastic.
“My notebook usually remains near my lap, but at this movie, it made involuntary trips over my mouth to cover all of my gasping. The entire experience is shameful – for us, for the filmmakers, for whoever at the studio had the job of creating the ads, in which the cast appear to be starring in hostage posters.” – Wesley Morris, Grantland.
“From Justin to Kelly” was embarrassingly amateur, according to critics.
“How bad is ‘From Justin to Kelly?’ Set in Miami during spring break, it’s like ‘Grease: The Next Generation’ acted out by the food-court staff at SeaWorld.” – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly.
“National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers” has a 0% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Just how repellent is ‘National Lampoon’s Gold Diggers?’ So stupefyingly hideous that after watching it, you’ll need to bathe in 10 gallons of disinfectant, get a full-body scrub and shampoo with vinegar to remove the scummy residue that remains. Some movies leave a bad taste in the mouth. This one causes full-on halitosis.” – Jen Chaney, The Washington Post.
“Venom” was a tonally-uneven, muddled mess, according to most critics.
“For all of its cult potential, and my God, is this film rife with it, it is ‘Venom’s’ insidious political intonations, which were entirely avoidable, that become the least palatable aspect of the film. And this is a movie where you see Tom Hardy eat out of a garbage can.” – Sarah Tai-Black, The Globe and Mail.
“North” almost universally disliked by critics and prompted one of Roger Ebert’s movie memorable reviews.
“‘North’ is one of the most unpleasant, contrived, artificial, cloying experiences I’ve had at the movies. To call it manipulative would be inaccurate; it has an ambition to manipulate, but fails … I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
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