The way films are so immediately and widely received these days makes it harder than ever for certain movies to escape from under a cloud of hasty judgement and find the audience they were made for.
Here I am going to cite five recent movies that received an overwhelmingly negative response (both critically and commercially) and argue for why they shouldn't be dismissed outright.
Disclaimer: I love movies. I mean, I really love them. There's no two ways about it. I've written more than my fair share of negative reviews, but I still believe that films are a more subjective experience than popular culture often wants to admit. Which is to say: forget what everybody else thinks (except for me), and give these duds a chance.
The hate for this one really was particularly perplexing, but then again, comedy is the most subjective of all genres. And it seems like audiences and critics were really put off by Derek's constant fat-shaming of his pubescent son. Which was pretty harsh, admittedly, but also wholly in line with the character. I laughed a lot during this film, much more than in the majority of studio comedies. It's important to remember that the original Zoolander was pretty negatively reviewed upon its initial release as well, and took several years to really build its audience. Hopefully such a fate awaits Zoolander 2.
Gods of Egypt
It's not difficult at all to see why this fantasy epic got ragged on by critics (12 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes!) - it's a big shiny beast of a film overflowing with garish production design and outlandish CGI shenanigans. I freaking loved it. The spirit of Ray Harryhausen is alive and well in Gods of Egypt, which contained more than enough eye-popping imagery, trap-centric set-pieces and gargantuan beasts to keep me well-entertained. Plus it's worth watching alone for the sight of sun god Ra (Geoffrey Rush) fighting off the cosmic darkness to keep Earth's lights turning on every morning. I also really dug the afterlife concepts on display here - they were Old Testament Awesome. All this film was missing was Hedonism Bot from Futurama.
The Finest Hours
Although not quite as critically derided as the other films on this list, this real-life tale of Coast Guard courage nevertheless failed to find much of an audience earlier this year. The most frustrating thing is that the film was repeatedly attacked by critics for the very qualities that make it so great. It's old-fashioned and earnest, sure, but that suited the period setting as well as the often-stirring story, which was greatly enhanced by some of largest ocean-centric set-pieces since Titanic. The Finest Hours outdoes The Perfect Storm on every level. People seem to like that film.
There is something fantastically ridiculous about the new Point Break remake. In fact, there are many things. It almost never makes any sense, but maintains attention with regular, genuinely awesome action-sports set-pieces executed with minimal - but probably still a lot of - CGI. The film demonstrates little-to-no understanding of how humans communicate information to each other and offers up a philosophical line so facile it makes Patrick Swayze's hippie ramblings from the original seem divine. These are all fine qualities for a film to possess, and you should all see the new Point Break.
We Are Your Friends
Okay look, this is obviously a terrible movie. A really terrible movie. But it's terribleness is artful to the point that it absolutely must be seen. It applies The Karate Kid model to the story of an aspiring DJ played by Zac Efron, if Daniel LaRusso had flirted inappropriately with Mr. Miyagi's model girlfriend. The low stakes, boringly inevitable twists and pat climax elevate the film into a realm of almost mystic mediocrity. So it's good. Sort of. I think this would make a good double feature with Point Break. For a vastly different, genuinely interesting take on a similar story, check out the French film Eden.
I also thought In The Heart of the Sea deserved more love.
Any badly-reviewed movies you've enjoyed lately? Leave a comment below!