Films Audiences Loved, Critics Hated

Posted
Getty Images

Most of us have strong feelings about our favorite movies. We expect our friends to enjoy them, and we assume that movie critics know how to fairly judge them as well. Audiences and critics, however, do not always see eye to eye. PrettyFamous wanted to find out which films the crowd loved and critics hated.

Using data from Rotten Tomatoes, PrettyFamous calculated which movies have the biggest difference in audience versus critics ratings. Our ground rules? To be considered, a movie had to receive an audience rating of above 80 and a critics rating of below 60. Also, each film needed at least 100,000 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

From clear disagreement, to complete opposition, here are 25 films that audiences loved but critics hated.

#25. Saw


Average Audience Score: 84
Average Critic Score: 48
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 36

Would you kill to live? This is the premise of the 2004 horror film "Saw," as well as multiple sequels, including "Saw VI" and "Saw 3D: The Final Chapter." While critics were generally repelled by the "gore fest," audiences seemed to be entranced by the balance of gruesome thriller and psychological mind-meld.

#24. Rent


Average Audience Score: 83
Average Critic Score: 46
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 37

It sounded like a good idea to make "Rent" into a movie 10 years after the musical enjoyed glowing reviews and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. However, critics were not impressed with this two-hour-plus rock opera.

One searing review from a critic: "The movie is so slick that the grime comes from a spray can and the grungy bohemian costumes look rented from a Betsey Johnson boutique sale."

#23. Center Stage


Average Audience Score: 82
Average Critic Score: 43
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 39

Many millennials might be disappointed to learn that "Center Stage" received an average rating of 43 from critics. In fact, some critics on Rotten Tomatoes slam the film, calling the acting "wooden," "insultingly stupid," and even "a bad joke."

Personally, I am in the camp that remembers the phenomenal dancing and melodramatic teenage romance - if this movie happened to be on Netflix, it would definitely be in my queue.

#22. Gridiron Gang


Average Audience Score: 81
Average Critic Score: 42
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 39

The Rock and Xzibit inspired fans through their portrayal of probation officers-turned-football coaches for a rag-tag group of high school inmates. Critics, however, were not impressed with the film's corny, over-the-top dialogue, and The Rock shouldn't be holding his breath for any acting awards.

#21. Green Street Hooligans


Average Audience Score: 87
Average Critic Score: 47
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 40

Between filming "Lord of the Rings" in the early 2000s, Elijah Wood starred in "Green Street Hooligans," an R-rated drama centered around "the underworld of British football hooliganism." Fans likened the film to a younger, edgier "Fight Club," while critics felt it was dumbed down to lots of drinking, shouting and British guys punching each other in the face. Plus, it's hard to picture Elijah Wood as a gritty, street-wise fighter.

#20. Fear and Loathing in Las Vagas


Average Audience Score: 90
Average Critic Score: 49
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 41

It would appear that the phenomenal combination of actors Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro, novelist Hunter S. Thompson and director Terry Gilliam (the creator of "Monty Python") would come together to create cinematic gold - and they did, for audience members, at least. Critics accused the film of focusing too heavily on psychedelic, visual elements, rather than Hunter S. Thomson's complex, provoking plot. Critic Emmanual Levy goes far enough to say that the film is "almost unwatchable."

#19. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


Average Audience Score: 81
Average Critic Score: 40
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 41

Audiences were highly entertained by four fighting turtles with a penchant for pizza. The film does not take itself seriously - it's silly and full of cheesy one-liners ("Cowabunga" "Bodacious!" "Totally Tubular, Dude!" "Hellacious"). This goofiness did not sit well with critics, who called it a "dismal, tedious affair," "a product plug for a nationwide pizza delivery company" and even, "an overt glorification of violence."

#18. The Guardian


Average Audience Score: 81
Average Critic Score: 37
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 44

"The Guardian" combines beloved actors Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher, dramatic rescues at sea and star-crossed love. Perhaps this is why 81 percent of Rotten Tomatoes audiences liked it. Critics saw beyond the big stars and scorned the predictable plot and "bloated" dialogue.

#17. Equilibrium


Average Audience Score: 82
Average Critic Score: 38
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 44

"Equilibrium" is a futuristic flick starring Christian Bale as a bad guy-turned insurgent. While the stylized sword fights are entrancing, critics snubbed the film as being too video-game-centric and lacking a character-driven plot.

#16. August Rush


Average Audience Score: 82
Average Critic Score: 37
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 45

This film is brimming with big names - Robin Williams, Terrence Howard, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Keri Russell, and even young Freddie Highmore. Audience members were drawn to this heartwarming story that intertwines love, music and family. However, critics could not get past the film's predictable ending, and the fact that it was just too sweet. As critic Tricia Olsewski put it, "It doesn't matter if you love music or inspirational stories or Robin Williams - this is enough to make your teeth ache."

#15. Tommy Boy


Average Audience Score: 90
Average Critic Score: 44
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 46

The 1995 buddy comedy "Tommy Boy" was undoubtedly not trying to win any prestigious film awards. Critics lambasted the film's crude humor and obnoxious one liners ("Holy Schneikes! "Son of a...!"). But fans forgive the film's shortcomings and recognize "Tommy Boy" as Chris Farley's best performance.

#14. Memoirs of a Geisha


Average Audience Score: 83
Average Critic Score: 35
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 48

Director Rob Marshall is responsible for blockbuster hits including "Chicago," "Into the Woods" and, of course, "Memoirs of a Geisha." The film won three Oscars: Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Art Direction and Best Achievement in Costume Design.

Despite this recognition, critics widely agreed that the acting, script and plot were mediocre at best. Plus, many critics took issue with various cultural and historical inaccuracies; critic Matt Pais called the movie, "as unauthentic as cheeseburger teriyaki."

#13. The Butterfly Effect


Average Audience Score: 81
Average Critic Score: 33
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 48

Another Ashton Kutcher flick, "The Butterfly Effect," follows slightly deranged Evan through space and time as he tries to create a future in which he ends up with his cursed lover Kayleigh. Writer Eric Bress (also known for "Kyle XY" and the Final Destination series) has a talent for drawing audiences into bizarre, supernatural situations.

Nonetheless, most critics loathe this film; reviews ranged from "pretty dumb and utterly pretentious," to "lobotomized entertainment that's dark, violent and hilariously dumb."

#12. Man on Fire


Average Audience Score: 90
Average Critic Score: 39
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 51

This movie has what audiences enjoy: Strong performances from Christopher Walken and Dakota Fanning, and Denzel Washington in his classic role as a good man with a dark past on a revenge mission. Critics disregarded Denzel's star power and condemned the film's "shamelessly manipulative and sadistically violent" nature.

#11. Half Baked


Average Audience Score: 81
Average Critic Score: 29
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 52

It's no surprise that a comedy centered around getting high did not go over well among critics, who almost universally agreed that "Half Baked" is full of flat jokes and boring characters. Still, fans see "Half Baked" as Dave Chappelle's best and most-classic performance.

Lovers of the stoner comedy genre might want to check out "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle" - a film that still highlights the adventures of young pot smokers, but received a 74 percent average rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.

#10. The Phantom of the Opera


Average Audience Score: 85
Average Critic Score: 32
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 53

With a whopping 52 point difference between audience and critic reviews, "The Phantom of the Opera" kicks off our top 10. The star-studded musical impressed the crowd, but critics felt that director Joel Schmacher (also responsible for the abysmal 1997 film "Batman & Robin") exploited Andrew Lloyd Webber's famous musical.

Critic reviews range from "overblown" to "Deserves to be locked up in a dank, water-filled dungeon and left to molder."

#9. I am Sam


Average Audience Score: 87
Average Critic Score: 34
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 53

One of the more serious movies on this list, "I am Sam" features seven-year-old Dakota Fanning, Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer and a heart-wrenching plot. Although audiences were moved by Sean Penn's performance, critics were downright insulted at the film's simplistic portrayal of mental illness and formulaic script.

#8. Super Troopers


Average Audience Score: 90
Average Critic Score: 35
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 55

"In this town, you don't mess with the law ... the law messes with you."

Depending on how you look at it, "Super Troopers" is either a hilarious buddy comedy about a bunch of lovable, incompetent state troopers, or an hour and 43 minutes of tasteless jokes about sex, drugs and "a long string of high-school style pranks and hazing exercises."

#7. Daddy's Little Girls


Average Audience Score: 81
Average Critic Score: 26
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 55

Tyler Perry is a wildly successful director, and fans also love actors Idris Elba and Gabrielle Union. "Daddy's Little Girls" follows a loving father who loses custody of his daughters, the fight to get them back, and a predictable romance with his conveniently beautiful lawyer.

Although Tyler Perry's films aways do well in theaters, and this was no exception, critics were turned off by the "cardboard characters and awkward dialogue."

#6. Stomp the Yard


Average Audience Score: 81
Average Critic Score: 26
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 55

This 2007 film taught audiences that brawny, tough-looking guys can dance and clap in unison, and still be cool. The dance numbers are entrancing, but critics felt the movie lacked substance.

Amusing critic bite: "The Yard is a minefield of clichés - step at your peril.

#5. Madea's Family Reunion


Average Audience Score: 84
Average Critic Score: 25
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 59

Audiences love the Madea series so much so that Tyler Perry created seven spinoffs starring himself as the jovial, titular grandmother. No matter how many sequels are made, cross-dressing Tyler Perry in a fat suit will probably never impress critics, who took issue with the script and Tyler Perry's over-the-top portrayal of the lead character.

#4. Empire Records


Average Audience Score: 84
Average Critic Score: 24
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 60

"Empire Records" follows a group of too-cool-for-school teenagers who work in a record shop and their various dramatic liaisons. It is now regarded as a cult classic, and helped launch the careers of Liv Taylor and Renee Zellweger. Critics saw little more than a predictable teenage romance movie.

#3. Step Up


Average Audience Score: 83
Average Critic Score: 19
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 64

The third dance-centered film on this list, "Step Up" tells the tale of a young Channing Tatum pulled from the streets of Baltimore to give classical dancing a serious try in a prestigious school. Of course, there is also a star-crossed love story. (Tatum actually met real-life wife Jenna Dewan Tatum filming this movie.) "Step Up" was directed by acclaimed choreographer Anne Fletcher, and critics faulted her lack of film knowledge, stating that "Step Up, "Displays atypical laziness and tone-deaf direction for a feature concerning the electric boogaloo secrets of the underprivileged."

#2. Grandma's Boy


Average Audience Score: 85
Average Critic Score: 16
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 69

Like "Super Troopers," and "Half Baked," "Grandma's Boy" entertains with jokes about being in various states of inebriation. Crowds love the film about this lazy, video game nerd and the hilarity that ensues when he moves in with his grandmother (played by Shirley Jones).

The abysmal 16 percent average rating from critics does not come as a huge surprise - it's too offensive and one-note for most critics.

#1. The Bookdock Saints


Average Audience Score: 91
Average Critic Score: 20
Critic vs. Crowd Disparity: 71

Willem Dafoe and Sean Patrick Flannery take to the streets of Boston in this revenge drama. The film has a cult following, and many will strongly disagree with the 20 percent average rating from critics. The crowd loves to watch brothers Conner and Murphy tear apart Boston as they take down the Russian mafia.

Critics, on the other hand, saw the protagonists as ultra-violent, flat characters. As a whole, they believe the film is trying too hard to be a Tarantino clone and ultimately fails.

Research Thousands of Movies on PrettyFamous


TALK TO US

If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions