Oftentimes, we rely on the opinions of critics to point us toward good movies – and steer us away from the bad ones.
But as it turns out, the critics aren’t always the wise, objective voices we think they are. In fact, sometimes their opinions are flat-out wrong!
From Jumanji to Venom, there are plenty of movies that are loved by movie-goers but haven’t earned the respect of critics. In fact, their Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes are downright dismal.
Some of these films have been labeled as mediocre, while others were apparently seriously unfunny failures in the eyes of top critics. However, they are anything but in the eyes of audiences. Many of these movies deemed “bad” by critics have picked up tons of fans. Seriously, find me one person that hates The Mighty Ducks.
Audience Score: 71%
It isn’t Halloween until I’ve watched Hocus Pocus, one of my favorite movies from childhood. Max and little sis Dani move to Salem, Massachusetts, where they accidentally free three evil witches who terrorize the town’s children. They get help from Binx, the boy-turned-immortal-cat, as they try to prevent the witches from becoming immortal.
As you can see, we’re starting off with a shocker. The Halloween classic only garnered a 38% rating from critics. Did they even watch the same movie as the rest of us? Apparently, critics find it a “mediocre” and “muddled” flick that doesn’t “live up to the talents of its impressive cast.”
Audience Score: 81%
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, Reese Witherspoon, and Jennifer Love Hewitt, 1999’s Cruel Intentions is a classic filled with some of the hottest Hollywood stars of the time. In it, the prep school headmaster’s daughter gets caught as a pawn in a wager between two vicious step-siblings.
Although Cruel Intentions scored higher with critics than many other movies on this list, a 54% isn’t exactly an A. There’s still a huge difference between them and the rest of us. According to critics, Cruel Intentions is nothing more than “uneven performances and an uninspired script.”
Audience Score: 76%
In 1991’s Hook, the late Robin Williams is a middle-aged lawyer who rediscovers his magical origins as Peter Pan. He returns to Neverland to find the Lost Boys, resentful that he left them and grew up. Dustin Hoffman is his old nemesis, Captain Hook, and Julia Roberts plays Tinkerbell.
Hook’s low score on Rotten Tomatoes truly baffles me. According to critics, “Hook never sets sail” and “Steven Spielberg directs on autopilot here.” I’m not an expert or anything, but I think the critics got this one wrong.
Audience Score: 83%
Independent record shop Empire Records is the setting of this film of the same name. It’s in serious trouble, and the tight-knit group of music-loving young employees is facing the possibility of the store being bought by a big chain.
While Empire Records has an audience score of 83%, the critics only gave it a 29% approval. Critics think the film is a predictable teen dramedy – and while that might be kind of true, that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.
The Greatest Showman
Audience Score: 86%
Hugh Jackman put the Wolverine claws away to star as P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman. It chronicles Barnum’s rise with the creation of the Barnum & Bailey circus, and it’s filled with show-stopping performances and catchy musical numbers.
Like Cruel Intentions, The Greatest Showman wasn’t at the bottom of the barrel for critics, but it also didn’t receive very high marks, either. That score from critics stands in stark contrast to the 86% from audiences. I guess they just weren’t dazzled and ended up disappointed by the less-than-truthful depiction of the real-life Barnum.
Audience Score: 76%
I can readily admit that 2004’s National Treasure is nowhere near believable. It’s full of historical inaccuracies and features a highly improbable plot. This is exactly what critics will tell you, too.
However, audiences know that you don’t need historical facts when you’re watching Nicholas Cage. There’s a hidden treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence! This movie is ridiculous, fast-paced, and fun. Just don’t expect to take it seriously.
Audience Score: 62%
Another Robin Williams film landed on our list! He plays Alan Parrish, who has been stuck inside a magical board game for decades. He is joined by siblings Peter and Judy, and they face giant bugs, rhino stampedes, and mischievous monkeys in an effort to win the wild game.
I’m actually more shocked by the audience score than the critics’ ratings on this one. I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone who said they didn’t like Jumanji. Are you one of those people?
Audience Score: 90%
Five Vermont state troopers are avid pranksters with a knack for screwing up. Hey, at least they’re having fun keeping motorists on their toes. They find themselves going head-to-head with the local police department as they try to solve a crime first in an effort to save their jobs.
The difference between critics’ responses and audience ratings is staggering for Super Troopers. Hey critics, it’s okay to admit you have absolutely no sense of humor.
Audience Score: 64%
Sometimes you just want to watch a funny movie. It doesn’t need to have some deep plot and massive character development to provide some laughs. Hot Rod does this, thanks to the silliness of comedy trio The Lonely Island. Andy Samberg plays Rod, an accident-prone aspiring stuntman who really wants to kick his stepdad’s butt.
Just like with Super Troopers, I’m convinced that most critics just don’t have a sense of humor. COOL BEANS, guys.
Audience Score: 78%
After confiscated drugs go missing from their police precinct, two detectives have five days to track down the contraband before the department gets shut down. There’s a lot of epic action, as you’d expect in a buddy cop comedy.
Audiences found it entertaining and funny, but not even Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are safe from the critics. They apparently think that director Michael Bay was too focused on set pieces and explosions to worry about the storyline.
Audience Score: 73%
NASA scientists discover they have eighteen days before a massive asteroid hits Earth, threatening to destroy all life. They decide the only way to stop it is to drill into the surface and detonate a nuclear bomb. The film stars heavy hitters like Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and Liv Tyler.
Another entry from director Michael Bay, 1998’s Armageddon was more than just a commercial success – it was the highest-grossing film of the year. Clearly, it wasn’t critics who were buying tickets to the movie, though, because it received mostly negative reviews. Comments include the likes of “so predictable it could have been written by a chimp who’s watched too much TV,” and “big and noisy and stupid.” This is definitely a case of audiences not agreeing with critics.
The Mighty Ducks
Audience Score: 65%
Ah, The Mighty Ducks. A true classic. Lawyer Gordon Bombay is assigned as coach of a kids hockey team as part of his community service. He’s reluctant, but he eventually comes around, leading the pee-wee team to victory against the Hawks.
Critics apparently didn’t love it as much as I did. The film only holds a 21% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. According to them, the film was predictable at best. Someone tell them it was meant to be a kids’ movie!
Audience Score: 63%
Although Space Jam might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, it was certainly a slam dunk for many movie-goers. It features Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes as they play basketball alongside the legendary Michael Jordan.
Critics weren’t keen on the slapstick, I suppose. They mostly saw it as an over-the-top mess. Not even Danny DeVito and Bill Murray could save this one from the negative reviews.
The Princess Diaries
Audience Score: 68%
Anne Hathaway plays shy, nerdy teen Mia, who is stunned to find out she’s a real-life princess. Strict grandmother Queen Clarisse Renaldi, played by Julie Andrews, shows up to help Mia on her journey to the throne – but it’s a comical journey, to say the least, as she gets “princess lessons.”
Someone needs to tell these critics to stop desecrating the classics! Sure, the makeover movie for young girls has been done and done again, but this is still a good one. Sometimes, it’s okay to like predictable movies.
Audience Score: 81%
In Venom’s first solo film, Tom Hardy stars as Eddie Brock, a journalist who gains superpowers after becoming the host of Venom. With the popularity of superhero films, it’s unsurprising that Venom set several box office records. It spawned a 2021 sequel, and a third film is reportedly in development.
The difference between the critics’ approval rating and the audience score is impressive. It was even labeled by one critic as “the worst Marvel film released since Elektra.”
Really, the critics consensus from Rotten Tomatoes says it all: “Venom’s first standalone movie turns out to be like the comics character in all the wrong ways – chaotic, noisy, and in desperate need of a stronger attachment to Spider-Man.”