In today’s world of instant feedback and Twitter reviews it feels like movies don’t get a chance to breathe anymore. Once the reviews for a highly anticipated blockbuster come out there’s a vicious feeding frenzy, where it’s instantly dubbed the best thing ever or the death of cinema itself, when often it’s neither.
There’s very little middle ground in those views either, and if a film picks up a bad reputation for itself it has a hard time shaking it off afterwards. A lot of times they deserve their public flogging, but a few of them actually have some merit, and their biggest crime is they didn’t live up to impossibly high expectations.
Fortunately, time is kind. These films can build up a fanbase over time and eventually get redeemed. Movies like John Carpenter’s The Thing and Alien got rotten reviews initially, but are now considered classics. And over the last thirty years there’s been a steady stream of enjoyable blockbusters that have - for many different reasons - been slammed by fans and critics, and as a result have low self esteem issues.
They may not be classics, but here a bunch of movies that deserve an appeal hearing.
Waterworld is considered the prime example of a huge flop; it was a runaway production fraught with ego battles, bad weather and a rising budget. Kevin Costner was a huge star at the time, so the press had their knives ready when the early buzz on it wasn’t great.
Anyone watching Waterworld today though might wonder what the fuss was about since it’s a perfectly enjoyable adventure. It’s basically Mad Max on the water, with some stunning pre-CGI action scenes like the assault on the floating city. Costner is a bit too glum in the lead, but Dennis Hopper is a hammy delight playing the villain. It also looks stunning, and it will be hard for anybody watching it now to believe all the sets were practical.
Importantly, while it often gets reported as a bomb it actually made its money back, and anybody checking Waterworld out now might be surprised to find themselves having a good time with it.