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You Can't Please Everyone: Negative Reviews Of Some Of The Best Loved Films In Cinema History

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 17, 2012 at 10:02AM

As you may have noticed, the review embargo on "The Dark Knight Rises" broke yesterday, and the word, including that from our own Todd Gilchrist, is mostly good. We say mostly, because as with most films, there are objections from a few reviews -- Christy Lemire from the Associated Press, Marshall Fine at Hollywood & Fine, Christopher Tookey at the Daily Mail, Devin Faraci at Bad Ass Digest -- coming in on the negative side of the fence. And as has become increasingly common in the last few years -- particularly with Christopher Nolan's films, Pixar movies, and even "The Avengers" -- the fans are in uproar at the sheer concept that reviewers dare give a negative notice to "The Dark Knight Rises" (regardless of the fact that these fans haven't yet seen the film for themselves).
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The Searchers
"The Searchers"
"The Searchers" is somewhat disappointing. There is a feeling that it could have been so much more. Overlong and repetitious at 119 minutes, there are subtleties in the basically simple story that are not adequately explained... Wayne is a bitter, taciturn individual throughout and the reasons for his attitude are left to the imagination of the viewer... The John Ford directorial stamp is unmistakable. It concentrates on the characters and establishes a definite mood. It's not sufficient, however, to overcome many of the weaknesses of the story." - Ronald Holloway, Variety

I was bored, it's Sunday and sat down really looking forward to this supposedly great western to fill the evening void. Maybe I'm not qualified to comment fully as I didn't make it past half an hour. I figure if a film hasn't grabbed me by then it probably won't get any better. Usually a rubbish film will grab you then go downhill but this.......... well, first off I'm English and even I know that those funny things sticking out the earth don't come from Texas they're somewhere in Utah. That's the first insult. It may be great scenery but great scenery a great film it doth not make. And there's nothing glorious about glorious Technicolor either. It's like being hit on the head with a sledgehammer. Then, oh I dunno just that dumb acting from that time, those stupid children full of beans and cockadoodle dandy acting just irritate the hell out of me as if lots of energy will make up for real acting. Embarrassing. The story just plods along and doesn't build any tension whatsoever with a lot of hammy acting by our stars more fit for a TV show. Then it's just cliché after cliché and the end result is wishing the maker of this film would stop insulting my intelligence and pi** off. I disliked John Wayne as a small boy because I thought he was boring. I think he's boring now. If you wanna watch a good Western with interest and real characters, story development, tension and drama that sucks you in watch Unforgiven. I'll never forgive this pile of dross. - jackbenimble, IMDB

2001
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
"A major achievement in cinematography and special effects, "2001" lacks dramatic appeal to a large degree and only conveys suspense after the halfway mark.... The plot, so-called, uses up almost two hours in exposition of scientific advances in space travel and communications, before anything happens, [including] the surprisingly dull prolog... Film ends on a confused note, never really tackling the 'other life' situation and evidently leaving interpretation up to the individual viewer. To many this will smack of indecision or hasty scripting." -- Robert B. Frederick, Variety

"This is certainly one of the most boring and meaningless films I have ever seen in my life. I love science and science fiction both. They are in fact 2 of my main interests in life. This movie still bored me beyond description! The accolades being heaped upon this hunk of garbage is hilarious. The most amusing tendency among the fans of this movie is ridiculing those who think it is boring and meaningless as stupid, ignorant or both. I am a professional in the computer design and engineering business. I am not stupid. And guess what? This movie is still boring and meaningless... It's a collection of very long, very boring scenes that never seem to end... For those who will attempt to dismiss my comment along with the other people they have dismissed let me be perfectly clear. I understood everything in the film. It is simply a terrible film. This pseudo-intellectual drivel is a director who thinks he's quite brilliant in his high school level presentation and vision of the journey of man. Of course he is very wrong indeed!... It's disjointed. It lacks cohesiveness. It adds elements of science fiction, horror, fantasy, and pre-teen created entertainment. It also fails to deliver in any of these categories. Stop attacking those who do not like this film. They aren't nearly as stupid as is implied here... There is nothing brilliant about meaningless film that must be "interpreted" by the few viewers who claim they have the answer. Thats just incompetent lazy film making." - tom_jones, IMDB

Chinatown
"Chinatown"
"The most acclaimed private-eye saga since 'The Big Sleep' has the torpor of a wake... Evans and Polankski are masters of Hollywood 'dramatic organization.' They ram home what they see as major points... 'Chinatown' brings to question not only their lack of subtlety, but their hypocrisy... Polanski never favors compassion over carnage. He has none of Towne's emotional stakes in the film... Polanski smothers Towne's script. He never lets in any air... Polanski revels in artifice. Every shot in 'Chinatown' locks into a larger puzzle, and each character's smirk hides a secret." - Michael Sragow, New York Magazine

"Got two hours of your life to waste? Want to wonder watch the same actor who scared you in the Shining bore you to death? Want to wish you had not already cleaned out the cat's litter? I have the film for you. Two hours of the most excruciating boredom watching male chauvinistic pigs who think there is nothing wrong in raping, beating or in general any other form of abusing women, sprinkle in some under-age sex with your own daughter (how ironic that three years later the film's director will be charged with such an offence – was he planning his own future? Oh, sorry I forget 15 is too old for him) and add a cherry on top for being absolutely pointless and you have Chinatown. If anyone can tell me what Chinatown has to do with the film's plot I will give you the cherry myself. And before you all start jumping on me I do understand the 'rape' refers to the water supply controversies of the early 1910's. However, please, seriously, do not tell me that you enjoyed this film. I am only saying what everyone else is too scared to say - it really is not that good a film." - b-jhoree, IMDB

Die Hard
"Die Hard"
"On a technical level, there's a lot to be said for 'Die Hard.' It's when we get to some of the unnecessary adornments of the script that the movie shoots itself in the foot... the filmmakers introduce a gratuitous and unnecessary additional character: the deputy police chief (Paul Gleason), who doubts that the guy on the other end of the radio is really a New York cop at all. As nearly as I can tell, the deputy chief is in the movie for only one purpose: to be consistently wrong at every step of the way and to provide a phony counterpoint to Willis' progress. The character is so willfully useless, so dumb, so much a product of the Idiot Plot Syndrome, that all by himself he successfully undermines the last half of the movie. Thrillers like this need to be well-oiled machines, with not a single wasted moment. Inappropriate and wrongheaded interruptions reveal the fragile nature of the plot and prevent it from working. Without the deputy chief and all that he represents, "Die Hard" would have been a more than passable thriller. With him, it's a mess... you can't go wrong if all of the characters in your movie are at least as intelligent as most of the characters in your audience." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

This film has almost everything that I despise. I do like the action, explosions, and Alan Rickman since he stars as Severus Snape in the seven Harry Potter flicks. Rickman is excellent at playing the bad guy. Bruce Willis thinks he is so cool; however, but nothing but a fool. So the two stars are for Rickman and the action. The subtraction of eight stars is for the ballooning votes that this movie has been given, the violence, the nudity, the vulgarity, Bruce Willis, the mindless acting by the majority, the length of the film, and finally not giving Rickman more lines. Yes, it's a slight obsession with Rickman as it seems, but I had to think of eight reasons and ran out of ideas. So if you like or love this imbecilic claptrap, you will most likely disagree with me and jump to conclusions while forming stereotypes. I don't blame you. I only wish Hollywood wouldn't contribute to the degenerating of our civilization where people don't care about humans they don't know - jamesolio, IMDB

This article is related to: Features, The Dark Knight Rises


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