They Said What

They Said What?!

They Said What?! is a recurring column in which Chris Coffel explores the highs and lows of film criticism through history. How did critics feel about a certain movie at the time, and do we see it differently now?

Explore the full They Said What?! archive below

The Cable Guy

What Critics Said About 1996’s ‘The Cable Guy’


In 1996, Jim Carrey took home a record paycheck when he made ‘The Cable Guy.’ What did critics think of his foray into dark comedy?


What Critics Said About 2004’s ‘Saw’


James Wan and Leigh Whannell burst onto the scene in 2004 with their twisty morality tale about a killer that likes to play games. What did critics have to say about ‘Saw?’

Mortal Kombat

What Critics Said About 1995’s ‘Mortal Kombat’


‘Mortal Kombat’ is a cheesy, brainless fighting flick, but it proved that video game adaptations have a proper place in cinema.

Silent Night Deadly Night

What Critics Said About ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’


‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ created a stir in 1984 for its offensive portrayal of Santa Claus. Three decades later and it’s a holiday horror favorite that confronts trauma.

Speed Racer

What Critics Said About ‘Speed Racer’ in 2008


‘Speed Racer’ was a panned flop when it released in 2008. But these days the Wachowskis’ live-action anime has started to earn cult status.

Halloween Iii Season Of The Witch

What Critics Said About ‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’


The film that nearly derailed the ‘Halloween’ franchise is now one of the most popular entries in the series.

Prince Of Darkness

What Critics Said About John Carpenter’s ‘Prince of Darkness’ in 1987


At the time of its release, this John Carpenter film received middling reviews. These days it’s considered an underrated gem.

Batman Forever

What Critics Said About ‘Batman Forever’


‘Batman Forever’ was written off by many as too campy at the time of its release, but is it actually the perfect Hollywood blockbuster?

War Of The Worlds Tom Cruise

What Critics Said About Steven Spielberg’s ‘War of the Worlds’


In 2005, Tom Cruise faced off against aliens in a film ripe with 9/11 imagery. We explore how its critical reception may have changed over the years.