Ten Classic Movies that Critics Hated

I guess I’m like half a movie critic, as I review over 50 films a year in a pitch to someday get on Rotten Tomatoes. No, I don’t get free tickets or private screenings, but I still try to analyze the best I can.

But there’s a certain expectation of snobbery among critics circles sometimes where a film can be good, but because it doesn’t meet certain intellectual criteria, it must recieve low marks. Using the Rotten Tomatometer, I’ve pinpointed ten titles I consider to be classics that critics seem to generally have hated for one reason or another.

Yes, you can debate the merits of each film, as you too may hate some of these, but surely, not all of them. Check out all the films below, complete with some of the best critical quotes I could find for each of them.

1. Hook – 24%

No matter how much cash Hook earns, it will take more than pixie dust to fly this overstuffed package into our dreams.

– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

This enormous wheeze comes over like the proverbial movie with a 40 million dollar set and a five cent script, which may hold its interest for under-fives but will leave most others cold.

– Angie Errigo, Empire

Hook is overwhelmed by a screenplay heavy with complicated exposition, by what are, in effect, big busy nonsinging, nondancing production numbers and some contemporary cant about rearing children and the high price paid for success.

– Vincent Canby, New York Times

2. The Mighty Ducks – 8%

Harmless enough, but its schematic retread of a screenplay and its lethargic acting detracts from the unassuming, passable entertainment it might have been.

– TV Guide

I can understand why these unknown child actors were involved with this movie but as for the grown-ups, all I can figure is that they were each fulfilling some kind of community service obligation.

– Majorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle

Steven Brill, who has a small role in the film, constructed the screenplay much as one would put together some of those particleboard bookcases from Ikea.

– Rita Kempley, Washington Post

3. Home Alone – 47%

When Kevin’s parents discover they’ve forgotten him, they find it impossible to get anyone to follow through on their panicked calls – if anyone did so, the movie would be over. The plot is so implausible that it makes it hard for us to really care about the plight of the kid.

– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Hughes, though, can’t resist turning Home Alone into a sadistic festival of adult-bashing. When Kevin is set upon by a pair of bumbling thieves (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), the kid proceeds to defend the family castle by rigging an elaborate series of booby traps. The movie devolves into an egregious Three Stooges painfest.

– Owen Glieberman, Entertainment Weekly

4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 47%

Unlike Trainspotting, Fear and Loathing doesn’t shock or fascinate. It simply disgusts and repels.

– Judith Egerton, Kentucky Courier-Journal

Although the picture’s final moments establish it as a morality play, it’s been so previously vacuous that the effort is futile.

– Forrest Hartman, Reno Gazette-Journal

As for Depp, what was he thinking he made this movie? He was once in trouble for trashing a New York hotel room, just like the heroes of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” What was that? Research? After River Phoenix died of an overdose outside Depp’s club, you wouldn’t think Depp would see much humor in this story–but then, of course, there *isn’t* much humor in this story.

– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

5. Death to Smoochy – 42%

A dark comedy that blows up like an exploding cigar, leaving nothing much behind but smoke, noise and a bad taste.

– Michael Wilmington, Chicago Sun-Times

A loud, ugly, irritating movie without any of its satirical salvos hitting a discernible target.

– Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter

A broad, braying yuk fest that revels in coarse jokes … lacks the courage of its own cynicism … and refuses to develop its own premise.

– John Powers, LA Weekly

6. Super Troopers – 36%

Jay Chandrasekhar helms this wacky vehicle with all the conviction of a defective police siren…feels more like an excuse for Chandrasekhar and his fratboy Broken Lizard comedy troupe players to merge and serve up their pet project just to kill some time

– Frank Ochieng, Movie Eye

Just a long string of high school-style pranks and hazing exercises. And as with such gags in real life, they’re never as much fun for those who aren’t taking part.

– Brian Webster, Apollo Guide

This seemingly endless sitcom is too infatuated with its own hijinks to realize they’re virtually witless.

– Mark Palermo, Coast

7. Wet Hot American Summer – 30%

A putrid, insipid, morbidly unfunny comedy.

– Shawn Levy, Oregonian

That whooshing sound you hear is the majority of the jokes in Wet Hot American Summer sailing right over my head.

– David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews

This is an almost laughless bomb.

– Tom Maurstad, Dallas Morning News

8. Equilibrium – 37%

Wimmer delivers the already labored story with the subtlety of a sledgehammer.

– Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly

Derivative dystopia is a muddled, maudlin and laughable mess with a few nice fight scenes to break up the failure.

– James Rocci, Netflix

A dull, somnambulant exercise in pretension whose pervasive quiet is broken by frequent outbursts of violence and noise.

– Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee

9. Man on Fire – 39%

Exemplifies a widely-held mindset of its era, one that calls for simplistic, brutal solutions to highly complex, awful things that are happening in the world.

– Brian Webster, Apollo

Shamelessly manipulative and sadistically violent… a new low for both Washington and Scott, and one of the nastier bits of business in quite some time.

– Steven D. Greydanus, Decent Films Guide

Moviegoers have a duty to admonish Hollywood for turning the multiplex into a Two Hours Hate, asking us to cheer the fascist aesthetic of movies like Man of Fire.

– Stephen Himes, Flak Magazine

10. The Boondock Saints – 19%

An embarrassing waste of time, and nothing even resembling the guiltiest of guilty pleasures…

– Felix Vasquez Jr, Cinema Crazed

A ridiculous, self-important amalgamation of rehashed macho posturing and slow-motion bloodletting. Do yourself a favor: do not attend a convocation with these Saints.

– Brent Simon, Entertainment Today

It is, by turns, hilariously awful and just plain unhilariously awful, full of its own nonexistent momentousness, an unintentional parody of hardboiled gangster flicks.

– MaryAnn Johanson, Flick Filosopher


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