4. The Shining
Kubrick is good at making movies that everyone dislikes, realizes that they were chumps for disliking it, and then pretends to have liked it all along. For example – Roger Ebert gave the movie a bad review, only to go back on it later.
Variety regarded the film as a destruction of everything that made the Stephen King book terrifying, and said that Shelley Duvall “transforms the warm sympathetic wife of the book into a simpering, semi-retarded hysteric.” In fact – Shelley was nominated for a Razzie for worst actress for the role, along with – and I shit you not – Kubrick for worst director! Wow.
In fairness – the movie was probably the worst adaptation when you think about, and by ‘worst’ I mean least loyal. Hell – Jack doesn’t even have an ax in the book, but rather a mallet. But hey – can you imagine if Kubrick kept that in? Tom and Jerry use mallets – horror films, not so much.
3. The Third Man
This is kind of funny, but not in the ‘ha ha’ way. See – the film did great in both the States and the UK, but what’s the interesting part is where it bombed: Austria, the country that it was set in. In that country, specifically in the city of Vienna where the film takes place, critics were less than excited about the film. It’s not hard to imagine why either – the film takes place and was released not far after World War II. Basically the critics and the audience of the town went into the theater to escape the gloom that was their busted city only to be treated to the exact same goddamn gloom. Of course they hated the film.
As William Cook of The Guardian put it, “…they got a bleak foreign drama, filmed by the victorious Allies in the ruins of their hometown. ‘A city fearful of its present, uncertain of its future,’ declared the breathless trailer, but it wasn’t quite so thrilling if you actually had to live there.”
So yeah – funny, but not like… ‘ha ha’ funny.