Crazy Critics | Script Revolution

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Crazy Critics

You may have gone out there and offered your wares to the world, perhaps via a script evaluation service, and gotten some very harsh feedback thrown back and you and perhaps an equally disappointing score. It's easy to take critical feedback to heart but it's essential to remember that it's only one person's opinion and those who love to criticize get it wrong a lot of the time.

Vertigo was dismissed as corny hack work when it was released in 1958. Last year, the British Film Institute voted it the greatest film ever. - Kim Novak

Here's a fun read through responses to some of the most revered films made in the past century. Please keep in mind that these aren't the thoughts of anonymous trolls or those paid minimum wage to churn out cheap feedback, these are responses by critics who actually got paid to submit their "hot takes" to respected publications. These are people who do it professionally. Bask in the pure cringe of their self-righteous snark, try to not to die of second hand embarrassment, and always remind yourself that your heroes never let stuff like this get to them.

The novelty wears off and the lack of imagination, visual and otherwise, turns into a drag. The Dark Knight is noisy, jumbled, and sadistic. (5/10)
The Dark Knight
David Edelstein, New York Magazine (Vulture) 

But imagination and energy are often not enough. On balance, this is the dumbest of the entries in Hollywood's anti-consumerist new wave. (5/10)
Fight Club
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon 

It is also glib, shallow, and monotonous, a movie that spends so much time sanctifying its hero that, despite his "innocence," he ends up seeming about as vulnerable as Superman. (5/10)
Forrest Gump
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly 

There's not much humor to keep it all life-size, and by the final stretch it's become bloated, mechanical, and tiresome. (5/10)
The Matrix
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader 

Scorsese's style, fierce as it is, doesn't accomplish what he clearly expected of it. Often, in many arts, fresh treatment can redeem familiar subjects, but it doesn't happen here. (5/10)
Goodfellas
Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic 

Billed as one of the most frightening, depraved films ever made. Would that it were so. Instead, this is a case of much ado about nothing. (5/10)
Silence of the Lambs
Gene Siskel, Chicago Tribune 

Nothing that suggests an independent vision, unless you count seeing more limbs blown off than usual. (5/10)
Saving Private Ryan
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader 

Simply a case of severe overreaching and the illusion that an overstuffed movie is an epic movie. (5/10)
The Green Mile
Tom Keogh, Film.com 

Shakespearean in tone, epic in scope, it seems more appropriate for grown-ups than for kids. If truth be told, even for adults it is downright strange. (5/10)
The Lion King
Washington Post

What is offered instead is merely gruesome. The trail leads to a sagging, swamp-view motel and to one of the messiest, most nauseating murders ever filmed. At close range, the camera watches every twitch, gurgle, convulsion and haemorrhage in the process by which a living human becomes a corpse...The nightmare that follows is expertly gothic, but the nausea never disappears. (5/10)
Psycho
Time

I lost track of how many times I checked my watch during the nearly three interminable hours it took Heat to play itself to a predictable conclusion of a chase scene and a shoot-out. (5/10)
Heat
James Berardinelli, ReelViews 

Inglourious Basterds is not boring, but it’s ridiculous and appallingly insensitive. (5/10)
Inglourious Basterds
David Denby, The New Yorker

On a technical level, there's a lot to be said for Die Hard. It's when we get to some of the unnecessary adornments of the script that the movie shoots itself in the foot. (5/10)
Die Hard
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Begins, at two-hours-plus, is a nonstarter. (5/10)
Batman Begins
Ken Tucker, New York Magazine (Vulture) 

Speaking of jail, "Shawshank"-the-movie seems to last about half a life sentence. The story, chiefly about the 20-year friendship between Freeman and Robbins, becomes incarcerated in its own labyrinthine sentimentality. (4/10)
The Shawshank Redemption
Desson Thomson, Washington Post 

The only remarkable thing about Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, Part II is the insistent manner in which it recalls how much better his original film was...Even if Part II were a lot more cohesive, revealing, and exciting than it is, it probably would have run the risk of appearing to be the self-parody it now seems. (4/10)
The Godfather Pt2
Vincent Canby, The New York Times 

Mainly it's marking time: the characters take a definite backseat to the special effects, and much of the action seems gratuitous, leading nowhere. (4/10)
Star Wars; The Empire Strikes Back
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader 

To the degree that you will want to see this movie, it will be because of the surprise, and so I will say no more, except to say that the "solution," when it comes, solves little - unless there is really little to solve, which is also a possibility. (4/10)
The Usual Suspects
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times 

It's big, cartoonish and empty, with an interesting premise that is underdeveloped and overproduced. (4/10)
Back to the Future
Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times 

Clearly, director Nolan is aiming for something else. But the delight in sheer gamesmanship that marked his breakout "Memento" doesn't survive this project's gimmickry and aspirations toward "Les Miserables"-style epic passion. (4/10)
The Prestige
Dennis Harvey, Variety 

The finished film remains a mess of tangled, turgid continuity and florid, mock-operatic style -- at best a collection of production numbers and set pieces waiting in rain for a story capable of accumulating suspense and meaning. (4/10)
Apocalypse Now
Gary Arnold, Washington Post

Once you've seen it all once I bet you'll wish you were watching "Groundhog Day" -- again. (4/10)
Momento
Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle

The crazier Nicholson gets, the more idiotic he looks. Shelley Duvall transforms the warm sympathetic wife of the book into a simpering, semi-retarded hysteric. (4/10)
The Shining
Variety

Van Sant's direction is surprisingly static and conventional, which doesn't help this earnest, underwhelming misfire. (4/10)
Good Will Hunting
Keith Phipps, The A.V. Club

The only thing Mr. Tarantino spells out is the violence. I have seen much more blood spilled, yet I felt sickened by the coldness of this picture's visual cruelty. (4/10)
Reservoir Dogs
Julie Salamon, The Wall Street Journal

If you’re going to invest three hours watching a movie about a convicted stock swindler, it needs to be a whole lot more compelling than Martin Scorsese’s handsome, sporadically amusing and admittedly never boring — but also bloated, redundant, vulgar, shapeless and pointless — Wolf of Wall Street. (4/10)
The Wolf of Wall Street
Lou Lumenick, New York Post 

As LaMotta, Robert De Niro gives a blank, soulless performance; there's so little of depth or urgency coming from him that he's impossible to despise, or forgive, in any but the most superficial way. (4/10)
Raging Bull
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader 

As before, the movie is more impressive for its finely detailed vision of Los Angeles as a futuristic slum than for its story, acting, or message. It's all downhill after the first few eye-dazzling minutes. (4/10)
Blade Runner
David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor 

All attitude and low aptitude. (4/10)
Fargo
Richard Corliss, Time

It's obvious that Nolan either can't articulate or doesn't believe in a distinction between living feelings and dreams--and his barren Inception doesn't capture much of either. (3/10)
Inception
Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice 

Not even bags of body parts, a bitten-off tongue or a man forced to cut off a pound of his own flesh keep it from being dull. (3/10)
Se7en
Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times 

Lacks the sexy elan of "La Femme Nikita" and suffers from infinitely worse culture shock. (3/10)
Leon: The Professional
Janet Maslin, The New York Times 

An empty-headed horror movie (1979) with nothing to recommend it beyond the disco-inspired art direction and some handsome, if gimmicky, cinematography. (3/10)
Alien
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

The surprise is that a picture made to be exciting for 136 minutes is so unexciting most of the time. It starts with a bang and keeps banging, so there's little suspense and no crescendo. (3/10)
Terminator 2: Judgement day
Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic

Travels fast and straight down a linear plot, and the ceaseless rush quickly becomes monotonous. (3/10)
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark 
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

By most standards of conventional film narrative, this movie is a mess. (3/10)
Full Metal Jacket
Julie Salamon, Wall Street Journal 

The Thing is too phony looking to be disgusting. It qualifies only as instant junk. (3/10)
The Thing
Vincent Canby, The New York Times 

Kill Bill is what’s formally known as decadence and commonly known as crap...Coming out of this dazzling, whirling movie, I felt nothing--not anger, not dismay, not amusement. Nothing. (3/10)
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
David Denby, The New Yorker 

If it's all supposed to be in fun, why does it feel so much like an insult? (3/10)
The Big Lebowski
Ken Fox, TV Guide Magazine 

Promising outer-space majesty and deep-thought topics like some modern variation on Stanley Kubrick's “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Interstellar instead plays like a confused mix of daringly unique space-travel footage like you’ve never seen and droningly familiar emotional and plot beats that you’ve seen all too many times before. (2.5/10)
Interstellar
James Rocchi, The Playlist 

It plays like a crude "Godfather" parody, the sort that might amuse as a 10-minute sketch on "Saturday Night Live," but curdles and collapses as a 143-minute film. (2.5/10)
Scarface
Jay Carr, Boston Globe 

Perfectly passable kiddie escapism. It has a thrill or two, and a chill or three, but it has no poetry, little sense of wonder, no resonant subtext (Jungian or otherwise), no art... When it's over, it's gone. Extinct. (2.5/10)
Jurassic Park
Jay Scott, The Globe and Mail (Toronto) 

A mess of a film. (2/10)
American History X
Village Voice

For those who care, Madonna has found her match in Guy Ritchie, whose absence of talent when it comes to the film medium is equal to her own. (2/10)
Snatch
Amy Taubin, Village Voice

In the end the movie goes nowhere a hundred movies haven't already been and tells us nothing we don't already know. It does so with so much violent energy, however, it's like four brutal years at film school crammed into an hour and a half. (2/10)
Requiem for a Dream
Stephen Hunter, Washington Post 

Mechanical, soulless. (2/10)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader 

Put simply, in my humble opinion, Oldboy sucks. (1/10)
Oldboy
L.A. Weekly

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