When you boil it all down, it’s all subjective. Movie critics are really just people who are better at communicating their opinions clearly, but they aren’t perfect all of the time. Nor are they psychics in any way. Sometimes time (and audiences) won’t going to agree with them, and that’s okay.
As the following ten movies show us, there are times when a film isn’t an instant classic. Some require a bit more time to be broken in. Today’s trash might be tomorrow’s classic.
10. Fight Club
Don’t worry… There are actual “classic” films on this list. However I wanted to add some potential classics to this as well. Just don’t go freaking out.
Not the worst reviewed movie out there – but that’s actually what makes it interesting. What I mean is that this is the kind of movie you’d expect people to either hate or love – as Roger Ebert puts it in his October 1999 review of the film: “Fight Club is a thrill ride masquerading as philosophy – the kind of ride where some people puke and others can’t wait to get on again.” What’s interesting, however, is that even that review doesn’t love it or hate it. In fact most reviews for Fight Club aren’t polarized but rather so-so.
See for yourself. New York Daily News called it “hardly groundbreaking”, the Miami Herald referred to it as “a bit of a dud”, and the Boston Globe said that its “chic indictment of empty materialist values fizzles.” They were all just too cool for this film.
There were some great reviews out there as well – but it’s interesting that when the critics didn’t like it, it was because they were bored by it.
It’s not hard to imagine a movie about a giant nuclear lizard getting mixed to poor reviews if it were released today – but for 1954 it’s a pretty groundbreaking concept. He might not be the first of his kind, but Godzilla is certainly the Mickey Mouse of humongous city-hating monsters.
There was a very specific reason that critics gave the film a lot of crap when it first came out in Japan – in fact, anyone who knows their history can probably guess why – it had been less than ten years since the country had been attacked in a nuclear strike on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and now they had a film about a giant ridiculous monster that resulted from nuclear testing. It just left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
If that weren’t bad enough – on March 1st of the very same year this film was released a Japanese tuna fishing boat had been exposed to nuclear fallout from the US test on Bikini Atoll – resulting in what was thought to be the first death resulted from a hydrogen bomb. So yeah.