The joy of bad reviews

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Mike Broadman, May 24, 2002.

  1. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have a confession to make: I am really starting to enjoy reading negative movie reviews.

    If it's a movie I didn't like, I like seeing someone slam it more eloquently than I ever could. If it's a movie I do like, than it's a kick seeing a totally different perspective (for example, I really liked Lord of the Rings, but some of the negative reviews were very amusing), or the writer looks so stupid, and it's entertaining in a different way.

    Am I just an evil, sick bastard?

    I'm usually the first one to knock critics, but some of them can write well, even if they are full of it.

    I just read a review at cnn.com that completely slams "Enough." Funny, funny stuff. I had and have absolutely no desire to see the movie, but love reading the review.

    I'm not gaining any valuable insight to film, but it's just so fun. Also, I'm not talking about fan-boy internet type things like, "It sux!!" I mean cleverly written, scathing remarks from bitter, vicious critics. Very entertaining.

    I think I've just reserved a place for myself in Cinema Hell.
     
  2. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    Roger Ebert has a very amusing book out, I Hated, Hated, HATED This Movie (the title comes from his review of North) that is a treasury of rips. Oftentimes, these reviews are far more entertaining than the movies themselves.
     
  3. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2000
    Messages:
    9,063
    Likes Received:
    1
    Damn straight Jason. I love that book and go back and read a few reviews all the time. His Halloween H2O review is hilarious...
     
  4. Julie K

    Julie K Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2000
    Messages:
    1,962
    Likes Received:
    0
    I enjoy well written and entertaining negative reviews as well. Mr Cranky is one of my favorite critics.
     
  5. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 1998
    Messages:
    9,709
    Likes Received:
    173
    I also enjoy well written, needle sharp negative reviews. A witty, funny put down can be lots of fun.
     
  6. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    9,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used to read Mr. Cranky a lot, but after awhile it seemed like his reviews didn't have anything to do with the movies themselves. I remember his review of Tin Cup, for instance, had a big spoiler section because he couldn't articulate what was wrong with the movie without it, but as of a year or so ago, they just seemed to get generic.
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 1999
    Messages:
    16,738
    Likes Received:
    129
    I love a well-written screed. Makes me wish Hunter S. Thompson took up film criticism. Talk about entertainment.

    In my own rock'n'roll reviews, I felt my prose was at its best when I was slamming an act. One heavy-metal band I was assigned to in 1990 earned this from me: "The band's set was the aural equivalent of enduring a root canal." Later in the review, I compared the act's ear-splitting show to the noise a Saturn V made at liftoff. I loved writing nasty stuff like that.

    So the big-league critics must love it as well.
     
  8. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2000
    Messages:
    5,058
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yeah, I always read the negative reviews first, no matter what I thought of the movie.
    Like today, the only one of Ebert's reviews I've read is his *1/2 reviw of "Enough", in which he compares it to "I spit on your grave". He says it's better, but not by much. [​IMG]
    Actually, I just checked, and ebert not only hated, hated hated "North":
    [​IMG]
    /Mike
     
  9. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2001
    Messages:
    3,019
    Likes Received:
    0
    Seconding Julie's endorsement of Mr. Cranky [​IMG]
     
  10. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2002
    Messages:
    5,059
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Filthy Critic's my cup of tea, even when he's skewering my favorite films.

    Ebert's negative reviews are hilarious, too.
     
  11. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    I love writing one star reviews! Here's a copy of a review that (thus far) has netted me over a dozen emails full of hate:
    Patch Adams
    The final proof that Hollywood will sink to any depths. This is a joyless, lifeless, pathetic and ugly movie. The assumption here is that if they pretend to care about sick people, then it's OK to point at and pity cancer patients and the emotionally disturbed. A staggeringly predictable and moronic story with really nothing to recommend it, unless you're a fan of amateurish, sloppy and manipulative filmmaking. Robin Williams should truly be ashamed.
    Patch Adams is so unquestionably bad in every respect that I want to weep. It also made over like $120 million or something, which poses an interesting question: Why do so many brain-dead and awful movies explode like this? Easy answer: People are MORONS! People like to have their emotions tweaked in an artificial fashion. They like the same lame jokes repeated by the same actor in the same movie. Come on, if there's ONE authentic scene in this pile of crap, please enlighten me as to what lump of smelly artifice it was hiding under.
    OK, so what makes Patch Adams so much worse than any other "unbelievably lame Hollywood movie in which there is no real effort displayed by anyone" movie? Where to start? Try the beginning when we meet Hunter Adams, who commits himself to a loony bin. STOP! OK, are ever we told WHY he's so sad and disturbed? Are we told ANYTHING about him? No, but he sures likes staring off and looking bemused. (Get used to it. He does it the whole movie.)
    Hunter realizes that he can help cure manic and mentally ill patients simply by playing along with their delusions. (Silly mental patients.) Of course we get to meet a "loony" bunch of inmates that is so stereotyped and sad, I can't believe it was made in this day and age. OK, get this--The first doctor we meet....is COLD and ABRASIVE. Hunter also meets some Yoda-type guy in the asylum who explains that if he can just stare at his hand until everything gets blurry, he'll be sane. (I swear I'm not making this up.)
    So Hunter starts calling himself Patch and joins medical school because he loves people. The terribly evil dean hates his methods and he also meets a nerdy gang of students to hang with. (Hey, I just saved you like a half-hour right there.) Problems arise when the dean says "Hey, Patch, I don't like you coming in to my hospital and making my cancer patients giggle. You have to wait until your THIRD year until you can come in to the hosptial and stop mugging for the camera!"
    There is not ONE scene in this movie that doesn't possess the following things:
    1. Robin Williams with a crooked smile and big wide eyes and a bunch of talent being so wasted you want to hit him in the face with a rock.
    2. Horrible and schmaltz-heavy piano music. God forbid people try to find their own emotion in a movie. Much better for us to have these 'emotional cues' so we know when we should be sobbing.
    3. Just the most trite, formulaic, predictable, inane and familiar dialogue I've heard in a while: Stuff like
    "People have names, not numbers"
    or
    "Are you ever serious? giggle"
    or
    "I've loved you since I first time I met you"
    and
    "I like to prostitute cancerous children to further a pathetic movie career."
    This movie is just so desperate to connect on any level, it's like a barrage of constant grief:
    Boom--Cancer kids?--That one didn't get you?
    Boom--Mental retardation?--Still not weepy?
    Boom---The tacked-on 'Forced and pathetic deathbed' scene?
    OK, Still holding out? Well, we could be here all day, since we're also treated to:
    The 'Shocking Death of an Attractive Person' Scene
    The 'Standing Up in the Face of Authority' Scene
    The 'Huge Pathetic Grandstand in a Courtroom Scene, but wait, there's no Trial in this Movie but who Cares?' Scene
    The 'Everyone Clapping while the big idiot looks on wistfully' Scene.
    It's all familiar and it's ALL here, and there's some unique spins on OLD pathetic scenes also:
    The 'Wow, look at all the Balloons in Here!' party Scene
    The 'Crying pathetically and Pounding on a Coffin' Scene
    and my personal favorite:
    The 'lets all put on our Red Enema Noses to show support for the Misunderstood Moron' Scene.
    Originality is not this movies' strong suit, I guess is what I'm saying.
    Individual scenes of depravity that Robin Williams jumps right into with a big grin are all that keeps Patch Adams moving. You wonder how much more pathetic can it get. I'm still having horrible flashbacks:
    Robin Williams in a pool full of NOODLES with some dying old lady? Huh?
    Robin Williams flailing his arms and buzzing like a bee while cancer-ridden children giggle and lose their teeth, and then he puts a bedpan on his HEAD and wears them as SHOES also? HUH?
    Robin Williams startling a near-dead man awake and throwing fifty balloon animals in his face? What the HELL is going on here? (P.S. This scene makes absolutely no sense, since the scenes where we could have learned about this patient were obviously edited out. Just another sign of respect from your filmmakers.)
    Never before have I seen a movie sink to such horrible methods just to evoke some emotion. Their thinking must have been "Hey, how can anyone trash a movie where we make little tiny cancer kids giggle? THINK, people!"
    Actually, there are a few scenes (OK, one) when another character (Patch's pompous roommate) tells him exactly why he is so annoying and pathetic. I was cheering the roommate's every line, and I knew the screenwriter would close the scene with Robin muttering some muttered insult, thereby getting the last word, then leave the room. I was exactly right about how this scene ended, and I threw my DVD remote across the room.
    Pandering, simpering, ugly, mawkish, uncomfortable, unfunny and a vile affront to any intelligent moviegoer. Forced, fake, false and transparent, it tries to address medical problems by sugarcoating them in the worst possible Hollywood fashion. An obvious hack job, yet it still struck a chord with the masses, and for this I simply ask "Why?"
    Patch Adams is true embarrasment and Robin Williams needs to learn to stop with these condescending and falsely-life affirming movies. He has now become the textbook example of what a sellout is. Want proof of how false and sad this movie actually is? Try showing it to some kids who have actually suffered through cancer treatment and see if they think Patch Adams' medical techniques are "wacky" or "funny".
    ---
    Keep in mind that I wrote this three years ago. I think I've improved as a writer a little. [​IMG]
     
  12. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2001
    Messages:
    8,189
    Likes Received:
    411
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    Real Name:
    Chuck Mayer
    You are not alone. www.mrcranky.com is a regular Friday stop. When I discovered him last year, I went through the archives at work. Big mistake.
    My favorite of movie of 1998 (may the year live in shame) is Ebert's Armageddon review. The big E skewers them old school.
    And Scott, I enjoyed that review when I first read it awhile back. Share the e-mails. Bet they are funnier [​IMG]
    I loves the bad reviews...
    Chuck
     
  13. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    422
    Likes Received:
    0
    I always rush to the [​IMG] [​IMG] and [​IMG] (and sometimes [​IMG] [​IMG] ) reviews that Ebert writes, they're always more entertaining than the films he reviews.
     
  14. Randall Dorr

    Randall Dorr Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2000
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  15. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2001
    Messages:
    4,951
    Likes Received:
    1
    Scott, that was simply marvelous. [​IMG]
    I've written and spoken a fair game, but I never felt like posting my real hatred of specific movies here because I just know I'm gonna get hit from all sides.
    Last night I saw K-PAX... 'nuff said.
     
  16. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2000
    Messages:
    6,283
    Likes Received:
    417
    To S. Weinberg

    I read part of your review. I can see why you received hate mail. It is one thing to pan the movie,most likely people won't care enough to respond. There are people who probably thought it was a good film, so when they read comments calling them morons, it becomes personal. They are apt to respond with e-mails stating like comments about your reviewing skills.
     
  17. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2000
    Messages:
    7,477
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very good point, Edwin. I'd debated over re-writing that review, but (as I said) it's one I wrote rather early in my reviewing career.
    Not surprisingly, I unconsciously learned to curtail such 'personal' references as I progressed as a writer.
    (And to be fair, what I said was "People are morons!" I can hardly be faulted if a reader assumes I'm referring specifically to him. Perhaps they need a bit more self-esteem [​IMG] )
    I appreciate your comments, fellas.
     
  18. Rob P S

    Rob P S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    Messages:
    1,999
    Likes Received:
    2
    Real Name:
    rob
    I love reading bad reviews, especially for movies I have no intention of ever seeing. Scott and James Berardinelli and Roger Ebert write bad reviews better than anyone. I love Roger's review of Armageddon (a movie I love), Scott's review of Patch Adams (which I liked), and James's review of Bad Boys II (which I will never see). Keep it going, guys. [​IMG]
     
  19. Chris Harvey

    Chris Harvey Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Messages:
    267
    Likes Received:
    0
    Over at the CHUD messageboards, someone reviewed LXG by saying "LXG is worse than beating a small retarded child to death with an even smaller retarded child." [​IMG] LOL!
    I agree - savage reviews are dreadfully fun to read, even if they're unfair or about a movie I enjoy. The New Yorker critics can be fun in this way, and Mike D'Angelo from TIME OUT NEW YORK can be brutally funny and witty (often with other cinema references). His review of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, for example: "Genius genius shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit genius genius shit shit."
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  20. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 1999
    Messages:
    1,663
    Likes Received:
    0
    And everyone in this thread has clicked on my signature, right? (I already know Scott has!) [​IMG]
    I used to review movies for the local newspaper in Bradenton, Florida. I remember taking some pride in a couple slams. These are probably tame by the standards I've come to discover, but I still stand by 'em!
    (Unfortunately, I'll have to paraphrase, but - hell - I'm paraphrasing myself, so who's going to care?)
    "This is a true shake-and-bake action flick - just add star and stir." - CLIFFHANGER
    "They may have you believe the title should be read as "ALIEN cubed" but the result is actually more like the cube root." - ALIEN3
     

Share This Page