ShortList is supported by you, our amazing readers. When you click through the links on our site and make a purchase we may earn a commission. Learn more

Bad reviews for good movies

There's just no pleasing some

Bad reviews for good movies
03 November 2011

It's hard to make everyone happy. Just yesterday, we bought Snickers bars for the whole office and it turned out that one person was on a diet, another didn't like caramel (?!) and someone else had a nut allergy or whatever.

Even if you're a talented filmmaker and you've made a movie that everyone is pretty much in love with, you're still not guaranteed an easy ride.

Here are 30 examples of critics who've hated movies that everyone else loved.

Click on each image to read more

With thanks to Rotten Tomatoes.

Fight Club

"When you see good actors in a project like this, you wonder if they signed up as an alternative to canyoneering"

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


"An empty-headed horror movie with nothing to recommend it"

Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

Star Wars

"Star Wars is a junkyard of cinematic gimcracks not unlike the Jawas' heap of purloined, discarded, barely functioning droids"

Peter Keough, Boston Phoenix

Schindler's List

"A theme park ride masquerading as master's thesis"

Luke Y Thompson, New Times

The Godfather Part II

"Part II's dialogue often sounds like cartoon captions...its insights are fairly lame"

Vincent Canby, New York Times

The Dark Knight

"Plodding, puffed-up kitsch mistaking itself for profound psycho noir that the source material won't support"

Jurgen Fauth,


"So chic, studied and murky it resembles a cross between a Nike commercial and a bad Polish art film"

David Ansen, Newsweek

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

"An uneven movie with yawns aplenty"

David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

Blade Runner

"A very dark and far too long thriller with many dull moments that would serve the film better by moving along a bit faster."

Chris Hicks, Deseret News


"All the squealing tyres, flying bullets and falling bodies cannot save Heat from drowning in its own banalities"

Andrew Ross,


"Most of the jokes are groan-worthy, and some are downright racist."

Josh Larsen, Larsen On Film

Mad Max

"Mad Max is ugly and incoherent, and aimed, probably accurately, at the most uncritical of moviegoers"

Tom Buckley, New York Times

The Warriors

"A bad joke shoddily disguised as a gritty urban thriller"

Rob Vaux, Flipside Movie Emporium

Die Hard

"Inappropriate and wrongheaded interruptions reveal the fragile nature of the plot and prevent it from working...a mess"

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Requiem For A Dream

"If this is the future of cinema, I'd rather be home watching television"

Christopher Kelly, Fort Worth Star-Telegram


"The screenplay of Rocky is purest Hollywood make-believe of the 1930's, but there would be nothing wrong with that, had the film been executed with any verve."

Vincent Calby, New York Times

The Goonies

"I find nothing entertaining about kids screaming for two hours"

Jeffrey Westhoff, Northwest Herald


"It is a spotty, uneven drama"

Bosley Crowther, New York Times


"Dramatically unsatisfying"

Joseph McBride, Variety


"Full of repugnant junkies so unpleasant that I was hoping they'd all OD just so I could escape this torture test"

Chuck O'Leary, Fantastica Daily

Blue Velvet

"It made me feel pity for the actors who worked in it and anger at the director for taking liberties with them"

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


"It's almost like [Scott]'s trying as hard as he can to make the worst movie of all time"

Chuck Randolph, Matinee Magazine


"As pointless as it is shocking"

Rex Reed, New York Observer

The Matrix

"It's astonishing that so much money, talent, technical expertise and visual imagination can be put in the service of something so stupid"

Bob Graham, San Francisco Chronicle

The Big Lebowski

"This movie seems to me almost a mishmash of the worst bits that were left out of previous Coen Brothers outings"

Widgett Walls,

Gone With The Wind

"Badly written...a bore"

Arthur Schlesinger, The Atlantic

2001: A Space Odyssey

"Pretentious, abysmally slow, amateurishly acted and, above all, wrong"

Stephen Hunter, Washington Post


"It is a coarse-grained and exploitative work which depends on excess for its impact. Ashore it is a bore, awkwardly staged and lumpily written"

Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times

The Empire Strikes Back

"The Empire Strikes Back is about as personal as a Christmas card from a bank"

Vincent Canby, The New York Times


"One way to salvage some fun with this blunderbuss would be to fall asleep while watching and dream up a better movie yourself. Try it. You'll avoid a headache"

Kelly Vance, East Bay Express