The world of cinema is often a divisive one. How often do you watch and love a film only to find that the overall critic consensus is negative? Often, you'll find that audiences did not care for a movie you also enjoyed. It's always disappointing to see, but as they say, there's no accounting for taste.
On a movie forum, viewers question which films critics have been unfairly maligned. It's astonishing how many movies I love that undeservingly have a critic's score below 50%. Let's take a look at some solid films that deserve some love.
1. Murder Mystery- 44% (2019)
Films that combine multiple genres are typically crowd-pleasers, but the reception for this Netflix original was extremely mixed. And that is a shame because this Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston flick is an exciting and hilarious romp.
Murder Mystery is high-energy, raucous fun. The story follows a couple entangled in a genuine conundrum while on vacation in Italy. It's a movie that combines mystery, comedy, action, and romance, with a fantastic rapport between Sandler and Aniston. Surprisingly, this has such a low score, as it's one of Sandler's best in years.
2. Laws of Attraction- 18% (2004)
Laws of Attraction follows a pair of rival lawyers, each defending a member of a couple going through a bitter divorce. Sparks inevitably fly when they travel to Ireland to settle a property dispute. It boggles my mind how poorly received Laws of Attraction was by critics. The consensus for this romantic comedy is that it's bland. But I find it charming and relatable. And the chemistry between co-stars Julianne Moore and Pierce Brosnan is sizzling and sweet.
3. Hope Floats- 27% (1998)
Hope Floats is a film I've often heard mocked and ridiculed in general, so it's not entirely surprising to see it have such a low score on Rotten Tomatoes. One reason is that the film was marketed as a comedy when it is a much more dramatic film. If that is the case, those criticisms are unfair. Regardless, this film has a lot of worthwhile qualities that deserve praise.
The story is a heartfelt one. It follows a woman who returns to her childhood home with her young daughter after discovering her husband has been having an affair. Trying to pick up the pieces, deal with her parents, and take care of her daughter, she unexpectedly finds love with a childhood friend.
Each of these relationships gives this film its poignancy. Plus, we are treated to tender and natural chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr. and genuine tear-inducing moments from a remarkable young Mae Whitman.
4. National Treasure- 46% (2004)
Family-friendly adventure films that aren't lame or hokey are challenging to find. So, when I first saw National Treasure, it felt like a breath of fresh air. And even though the premise is somewhat far-fetched, it feels just believable enough that you can sit back and have fun with it.
National Treasure works wonderfully, thanks to a script that mixes reverence for American history with light comedy and a fantastic cast with genuine chemistry. It's the kind of story that only happens in the movies, but that's why it's so great. We need more PG comedic adventures like National Treasure.
5. Scoop- 41% (2006)
Woody Allen films, in general, are hit or miss, but I think it's a shame that Scoop is rarely brought up, let alone praised. This film is light and funny, has a unique premise, and has a terrific cast.
In the film, the ghost of a deceased journalist appears to an aspiring writer (Scarlett Johansson) while on stage in a magician's vanishing cabinet. It seems he died before he could reveal a colossal scoop- that the identity of the infamous tarot card killer is playboy Peter Lyman (Hugh Jackman). Enlisting said magician (Allen), the pair tries to uncover this mystery.
Allen has mastered the comedic neurosis persona, so those who enjoy his typical shtick will love Scoop. The banter between him and Johansson is hilarious, and the story goes in unexpected directions, subverting expectations and making for a thoroughly engaging comedy.
6. Bewitched- 24% (2005)
Bewitched is a film that has received so much criticism that I don't understand. Directed by Nora Ephron, it doesn't reach the heights of You've Got Mail or Sleepless in Seattle, but it's still an adorable, sweet, and funny little film.
Instead of a straightforward retelling of the 1960s TV series, the premise is that much like Samantha, a witch named Isobel (Nicole Kidman) wants to live an every day, mortal life. By sheer happenstance, she runs into actor Jack Wyatt (Will Ferrell), who is playing Darrin in a potential reboot of Bewitched, and he convinces her to try out for the role of Samantha. And hilarity and romance ensue.
Kidman and Ferrell have a sweet rapport and are both genuinely funny. The supporting cast, including Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine, Jason Schwartzman, and Kristin Chenoweth, is also incredible and brings many laughs. I'm not sure why this film is so disliked, but I find it utterly charming.
7. Hook- 29% (1991)
Hook is a wonderful example of a film maligned by critics but generally well-liked by audiences. This may not be Steven Spielberg's best, but it's a heartfelt and enchanting film. It's an inspired concept to tell the tale of the boy who never grows up as a man who does just that. Peter Pan becomes Peter Banning (Robin Williams) and must return to Neverland after Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps his two children.
Admittedly, I do see the flaws in this film. Sequences involving the Lost Boys are overlong and a little too 90s cheesy. But the film's heart about rediscovering childlike wonder while still maturing is beautiful, profound, and well-told.
The cast is also pitch-perfect, especially Williams, who effortlessly balances the silly and serious, and Hoffman, who disappears into the role and makes Hook hilarious and understatedly menacing.
8. The Wizard- 27% (1989)
The Wizard is known by many as the “Nintendo Movie.” And much of the criticism stems from the feeling that the film is merely a giant advertisement. At the same time, video game purists can't get past the errors presented on screen. But both of those criticisms are unfair and dismissive of the film.
While this is a comedy, The Wizard is more profound than one may expect. It's the story of two brothers who run away en route to California and a video game tournament. But that is the secondary objective. The crux of the story is to prove that the youngest brother, Jimmy, shouldn't be put in a home for troubled children. In truth, he is traumatized after the death of his twin sister.
Yes, this sounds like a very severe subject matter. But the film blends the drama with the kid adventure vibe very well. It's a fun and unexpectedly moving film if you give it a chance.
9. Flyboys- 33% (2006)
Flyboys tells the story of the Lafayette Escadrille, a team of volunteer pilots in France during WWI. The characters are both fictional and an amalgamation of several real pilots. But they are archetypal figures set against the dramatic landscape of a violent war.
Mediocrity is the word that sums up the overall critical consensus for Flyboys. But I wholeheartedly disagree. Flyboys is an engrossing film with glorious cinematography and a gorgeous musical score. The film has a grand, sweeping overall feel that's old-fashioned, beautiful, and moving.
10. The Village- 43% (2004)
It's commonly believed that M. Night Shyamalan hasn't made a decent film since The Sixth Sense and Signs. The Village was not well-received, with many finding its twist ending ridiculous. I could not disagree more.
The Village has an eerie and evocative atmosphere that creates a tense and haunting tone. And the ending is wholly unexpected. Some think knowing the twist ruins future viewings. But that's another opinion I can't agree with. The Village has become yearly autumn viewing for me. It has a fantastic spooky vibe and central heartbeat, making it a captivating watch every time.
11. August Rush- 37% (2007)
August Rush is a poignant, heartwarming drama that is very underappreciated. With some nods to Oliver Twist, the film centers on a young boy (Freddie) who runs away from an orphanage, hoping to find his parents (Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Along the way, he discovers he's a musical prodigy and uses this gift with the hope of being found.
The plot of August Rush can feel disjointed and overly sentimental to some, hence the low score from critics. But that takes away from the moving storytelling and beautiful performance from Highmore. If you watch with an open heart, you'll be touched, and its final moments are tear-inducing magic.
This thread inspired this post.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Marianne Paluso is a freelance writer and artist and holds a Masters Degree in English and Children’s Literature. Inspired by her favorite films, television, theme parks and all things pop culture, she especially loves Disney, classic films, fairy tales, period dramas, musicals, adventures, mysteries, and a good rom-com. She joined Wealth of Geeks in 2021, and has also contributed to The Nerd Machine, Catholic News Agency. She writes on her own website TheGirlyNerd.com, creates art that is sold on Redbubble and Etsy, and also partakes in the occasional Disneybound, cosplay, and YouTube video