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.
History proved them wrong, but #5 and #8 went too far.
“With ‘Clue,’ though, one ending is more than enough.” Roger Ebert / image source
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.
Fire Walk With Me (1992)
“In Twin Peaks the Movie, all the twists get straightened out. The thrill is gone.” Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer / image source
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.
A 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 / image source
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.
Blade 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 / image source
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.
The Shining (1980)
“I can’t recall a more elaborately ineffective scare movie.” Gary Arnold, The Washington Post / image source
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 atmosphere over horror.