Behind every good movie are bad reviews. Very few movies are met with universal acclaim out of the gate, but it can still be surprising to look back on now-classic or cult movies and see what complaints critics had.
“With ‘Clue,’ though, one ending is more than enough.” Roger Ebert.
The comedy staple Clue was given a lot of grief for having three endings, which was seen as a gimmick to sell more tickets (which it likely was). But stranger than this are the critics who held it to the same standard as a straight-faced mystery film, which it clearly wasn’t.
9Fire Walk With Me (1992)
“In Twin Peaks the Movie, all the twists get straightened out. The thrill is gone.” Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer.
Depending on who you talk to Fire Walk With Me is either incredible or pointless for using the same bag of weird tricks as the show. More legitimate complaints focus on the tedium of a prequel, which will inevitably retell parts of the story the audience already knows.
8A Clockwork Orange (1971)
“What in the hell is Kubrick up to here? Does he really want us to identify with the antisocial hilt of Alex’s psychopathic little life?” Roger Ebert.
Kubrick’s controversial film was raked over the coals for its depiction of violence, especially sexual violence, which many saw as being framed in a positive way.
7Blade Runner (1982)
“…’ Blade Runner’ begins to look rather grotesque, like an acrobatic dancer whose seams rip in the act of performing a split.” Gary Arnold, The Washington Post.
The now genre-defining film was criticized out of the blocks somewhat unfairly: it opened against E.T. And Wrath of Khan, both of which were seen as more visually pleasing.
6The Shining (1980)
“I can’t recall a more elaborately ineffective scare movie.” Gary Arnold, The Washington Post.
Initial criticism of Kubrick’s “The Shining” fell into two camps: those who felt deviating from the novel was a mistake, and those who simply found it dull, chiding the choice of the atmosphere over horror.
Fans of the cinema weren’t accustomed to the depiction of violence presented in Psycho. Many critics were initially caught off guard, some of whom dismissed the film entirely because of it.
4Fight Club (2000)
Similar to the controversy of A Clockwork Orange, some reviewers felt that Fight Club lost its own point by being so graphic, a discussion that continues to this day.
In many eyes, Halloween is the grandfather of the modern slasher genre, but critical reviews took to attacking the mundane setting and the film’s slower pace. Strangely, even the harshest critics still praised the film’s score.
The cult classic remains divisive to this day, though the Broken Lizard Group has found great success since the film’s release. But lowbrow humor is always going to be hit-or-miss, and unfortunately for Super-Troopers, it didn’t pan out until it found its niche on television.
1Apocalypse Now (1979)
A lot of the flak for Apocalypse Now comes from the ten-year production time. During the lengthy preview process, a common complaint was the heavy-handed literary references.