You can’t always please everyone.
For better or worse, Rotten Tomatoes has done well to establish itself as the go-to site when it comes to gathering reviews of TV and Film projects. It’s important to note that reviews are ultimately rooted in opinion. Rotten Tomatoes recognizes this and is nice enough to provide both critic and audience scores in one easily accessible place.
The spectrum of evaluations isn’t hard to follow either. Projects will either land in the rotten (negative) or fresh (positive) rating. In general, critics and audiences tend to agree. You won’t find many people arguing for Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey to have a spot in the Criterion Collection.
But every year has its share of anomalies. Critics and audiences have, at times, been unable to reach a consensus with some notable films. You never can know who your film will resonate with! Here’s a small list of films that have highlighted the divide between critics and general audiences.
‘The Greatest Showman’
Review Scores: Critics (56% Rotten) & Audiences (86% Fresh)
Musicals have a certain artistic license that pushes the limit of extravagance and truth. While audiences didn’t mind the realistic portrayal of ‘Barnum, The Greatest Showman,’ it seems critics weren’t so forgiving.
Still, audiences found themselves easily mesmerized and entertained by a stellar cast and artistic choreography. It’s a musical of acceptance and innovation for the whole family! Great acting with even better dancing performances from Hugh Jackman, Zendaya, and Zac Efron are just a few of the highlights this film has to offer.
Review Scores: Critics (50% Rotten) & Audiences (84% Fresh)
Ahh yes. The twist ending is done right.
How do you approach a horror film after the release of films like 28 Days Later and The Ring? For director James Wan, the answer was to shift toward psychological horror.
Critics have often cited the excessive goriness that flirts with torture fetishization as a drawback. However, audiences loved the film for having an intriguing plot that actively engaged viewers. How are these characters supposed to escape these barbaric death puzzles? Who’s behind all these ‘games’?
The film shifted the lens on what a slasher film could become if manically tweaked. The debut film managing to spark multiple sequels well into a new decade speaks for itself.
Review Scores: Critics (46% Rotten) & Audiences (76% Fresh)
“I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence.”
The 2004 adventure film starring Nicholas Cage has one caveat to enjoy: Don’t take it so seriously. Critics were quick to brush aside the movie for its lack of plausibility and outlandish scenarios. But if you set aside your thinking cap for the duration of the film, you’ll find an exciting and dramatic plot filled with charismatic performances. It’s a cult classic that found its audience years after its release. To many, it has become a comfort film with infinite replay value.
For a breakdown of what it means to be a cult classic and more examples, we’ve got you covered! Check out this article written by TGON’s witchybop!
Review Scores: Critics (55% Rotten) & Audiences (69% Fresh)
It’s going to be pretty hard to find a movie more quotable than this 2000s comedic masterpiece. For a great reason too.
A film that nosedives into its stupidity and embraces it wholeheartedly is further elevated by the chemistry of actors Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly. Its raunchiness is reminiscent of the first installment in the Scary Movie parody series. But it’s for that reason that it did not sit well with critics.
Review Scores: Critics (43% Rotten) & Audiences (63% Fresh)
The Looney Toons, Michael Jordan, and Bill Murray. All in the same film. What more could you ask for?
It’s a movie that has taken a beating as it continues to age from a technical standpoint. Although the 2D animation is surprisingly well made, the blend of 3D animation leaves viewers unsettled. Nostalgia is the factor that continues to work in favor of the audience scores.
The soundtrack and plot centering around superstar Michael Jordan make this a perfect 90s time capsule-like film fit for all 90’s babies.
Review Scores: Critics (30% Rotten) & Audiences (80% Fresh)
Critics and superhero movies continue to have a complicated relationship. While Venom isn’t exactly emblematic of the classic superhero, the newest take Eddie Brock received much of the same, if not worse, treatment from critics. Even if the film did contain a fresh performance from Tom Hardy, who is no newcomer to the superhero genre.
Fans were more than pleased with the classic fan service and grander tie-in into the Marvel-adjacent universe. The convolution was easy and fun to follow for most but just too much for critics. In this film, the 50% divide just shows it’s easier to agree to disagree.
Review Scores: Critics (60% Rotten) & Audiences (75% Fresh)
Yet another classic of the 90s that is perfectly balanced. Plenty of action-packed sequences, comedic moments, and supernatural elements alongside a charismatic performance from Oscar-award winner Brendan Fraser.
Critics often cited the film’s habit of falling into adventure-style Hollywood tropes, but if you can look past that, you’ll be treated to another nostalgic thriller.
Review Scores: Critics (35% Rotten) & Audiences (68% Fresh)
The predecessor to the Saw franchise. It’s no surprise this cult horror classic plays on psychological and supernatural elements. A bit too cliché by critic’s standards, but just enough of it to be engaging to general audiences. The disparity between critics and audiences’ scores are testament in itself.
How many ways can death be cheated?
What are some of those guilty pleasures of yours you’ve heard critics tell you aren’t quality films? Let us know in the comments!