Many movies that were considered masterpieces are now dismissed by critics and audiences on release. Blade Runner and The Wizard of Oz are prime examples. However, the reverse also happens. Some films are celebrated in their day but viewed far more negatively by subsequent generations.
Redditors recently got together on r/movies, the largest film subreddit, to discuss which movies were feted on release but lost respect as the years went by. Their picks include several Best Picture winners, a musical, one of the highest-grossing movies ever, and a Bond film.
10 ‘Crash’ (2004)
Paul Haggis‘s Crash weaves together multiple storylines, from a racist police officer grappling with his own biases to an immigrant struggling to protect his family’s store. Through these characters, the film examines prejudice in society. It won that year’s Best Picture Oscar, but many contemporary critics dismiss it. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, for example, called it the worst movie of the 2000s.
“It is corny, manipulative, reductive and engages in the very same stereotypes it pooh-poohs even if some of it is undeniably effective cinema and Matt Dillon is really good in it,” said user haddonfield89.
9 ‘A Star is Born’ (2018)
A Star is Born, the fourth film version of the story, was a smash hit in 2018, grossing over $400 million, producing several hit songs, and receiving eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. However, it remains to be seen whether it has staying power. Some Redditors suggested that its appeal may already be waning.
“Not necessarily lost respect, but no one really talks about A Star is Born after the Oscars that year. ‘Shallow’ was EVERYWHERE and seemed like it disappeared overnight,” said Redditor joker_75. “B/c it’s an overrated movie w/ an overrated song,” replied user sum_dude44.
8 ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ (1952)
The Greatest Show on Earth might be the prime example of a movie acclaimed in its day but no longer rated highly by critics. Directed by the legendary Cecil B. DeMille, it takes place within a traveling circus and revolves around the intertwining lives of various characters, including circus manager Brad Braden (Charlton Heston), trapeze artist Holly (Betty Hutton), and the mysterious Sebastian (Cornel Wilde). They attempt to manage all kinds of financial challenges, internal conflicts, and romantic entanglements.
“The Greatest Show on Earth, which according to that website, was the fourth most acclaimed film of 1952. It was on 203 critics’ top ten lists. It would end up winning the Oscar for Best Picture. Nowadays, it is looked down upon as one of the worst best picture winners,” said user greatopinionator1.
7 ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (2015)
Perhaps no film was more hyped than The Force Awakens, the long-awaited return to a beloved galaxy far, far away. It was undoubtedly a box office triumph, quickly becoming the third-highest-grossing movie ever, but it eventually generated a backlash among some fans. In particular, some criticized it for rehashing plot elements from A New Hope.
“By the time of its release, the movie received critical acclaim, with many reviewers/influencers calling it the third-best Star Wars movie. After the whole controversy with Episodes 8 and 9, people are much more harsh towards TFA too,” said Redditor Mango424. “My coworker once said that all three of them together are like one giant, very well-funded fan fiction project. Not sure they were necessary, to be honest,” said user Poultrygeist74.
6 ‘The Bourne Identity’ (2002)
The Bourne movies were among the leading action franchises of the early aughts, for a while displacing James Bond as the go-to espionage thriller. It introduced the iconic protagonist (Matt Damon), a man found adrift in the Mediterranean Sea with no memory of his identity but possessing extraordinary skills. As Bourne begins to piece together his past, he discovers that he is a highly trained assassin and becomes the target of a relentless pursuit by the CIA.
“I still love the Bourne trilogy, but I see this negative sentiment towards it many times in Reddit, youtube, and other movie discourse. Reviews from the past few years generally made claims along the line of ‘Bourne trilogy ruined modern Hollywood action movies until John Wick gave it a revival shot,'” said user tsundere-man.
5 ‘The Artist’ (2011)
The Artist is a modern silent film that pays homage to Hollywood’s golden era. Set in the late 1920s and early 1930s, it revolves around George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a charismatic silent film star whose career begins to decline with the advent of “talkies.” At the same time, he crosses paths with Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo), an aspiring actress whose star is on the rise. It’s a delightful movie, but several Redditors felt it was overpraised when it came out.
“No one talks about that silent black and white film that friggin’ won BP in 2012,” said Redditor presidentkangaroo. “Yeah, a pleasant little black and white film. That’s it, that’s all it was. Now it gently drifts away into the ether, never to be thought of again, a wisp of pleasantness,” said user tonyedit.
4 ‘Green Book’ (2018)
Set in the 1960s, Green Book chronicles the unlikely friendship between Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), an Italian-American bouncer from the Bronx, and Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a highly accomplished African-American classical pianist. Tony is hired as Dr. Shirley’s chauffeur and bodyguard for a concert tour through the racially segregated Deep South.
It’s by no means a bad movie, but many were surprised that it won Best Picture over amazing projects like The Favourite and Roma. “Stumbled across that a couple of years ago, pleasant little film, looked it up afterwards… It won WHAT???” said user tonyedit.
3 ‘JFK’ (1991)
JFK, directed by Oliver Stone, delves into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Kevin Costner stars as Jim Garrison, a New Orleans district attorney who looks into the case and uncovers a web of conspiracy and government cover-ups. The movie challenges the official explanation of the killing, drawing praise from some while others accused it of indulging conspiracy theories.
“With the exception of Wall Street, no one talks about Oliver Stone much anymore. Too many of his films give you the sense somebody is staring at you daring you not to like it,” said Redditor Expensive-Sentence66. “I remember really liking Salvador, Platoon, JFK, Wall Street, The Doors, etc. But don’t see them discussed all that much these days and haven’t revisited any of them myself,” agreed user double_shadow.
2 ‘Die Another Day’ (2002)
Pierce Brosnan‘s final outing as James Bond sees 007 teaming up with Jinx Johnson (Halle Berry), an American intelligence agent, to clear his name and bring down the villains who framed him. The mission takes him everywhere, from an ice palace in Iceland to the tropical island of Cuba.
“Not critically acclaimed, but Die Another Day was a big box office hit on release (the highest-grossing Bond movie to date in dollar terms) and was generally viewed fairly positively by audiences. Popular opinions started to decline in the years after, especially once the franchise embraced a ‘dark and gritty’ tone with the Craig era, and it’s become popular to say that Die Another Day is one of the worst Bond movies ever,” said Redditor Vanquisher1000.
1 ‘Rain Man’ (1988)
Rain Man is another Best Picture winner that some Redditors now consider to be overrated. It centers on Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), a selfish and ambitious car dealer who discovers upon his father’s death that he has an older brother named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), who is an autistic savant. Seeking to gain control of his father’s inheritance, Charlie takes Raymond on an impromptu cross-country road trip, initially viewing him as a burden, but their journey changes both men.
“Rain Man didn‘t age well, I find,” said user noizoo. “I rewatched it with my son. It was so slow, the depiction of Raymond’s autism was so cliché, Tom Cruise plays such a totally unlikeable character, and there is not a lot happening in that movie. Also, I used to love Hans Zimmer‘s soundtrack when it came out, but it sounds a bit cheesy these days. There are [two-three] funny scenes, and the casino bit is cool, and “Iko Iko” slaps though.”
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