I’ve found that if a movie is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (75 percent or higher), it’s generally pretty good. And conversely, if a movie is really rotten (like, below 30 percent), it’s generally pretty bad. However, there are some movies that I dearly love and even own that were absolutely trashed on Rotten Tomatoes. I actually blogged about some of these movies back in 2013, but I found there are plenty more where that came from. Not sure what that says about my taste in movies. 😉 Here are some of my favorite “certified rotten” movies, and I’d also love to hear what movies you enjoyed that critics hated.
Austenland (2013) – 30 percent
After feeling burned out in her career, relationships, and life, rabid Jane Austen fan Jane Hayes (Keri Russell) books a vacation to Austenland, a decidedly quirky British retreat that allows guests to pretend to be an Austen-era heroine (of course, there are handsome Mr. Darcy-esque gentlemen to entertain them). While the fantasy is fun for a while, Jane catches herself actually starting to fall in love with one of the employees. As expected, dramatic plot twists ensue. This is a very funny though somewhat wacky film, and it’s probably not for everyone. However, as an avid Austen fan myself, I enjoyed how this film lovingly pokes fun at obsessed Austen fans while also ending on a sweet note, showing that happily ever afters don’t have to be just fantasy.
The Mummy (1999) – 56 percent
While this film just barely missed out on a fresh rating, I feel the Rotten Tomatoes summary actually captures it pretty well: “It’s difficult to make a persuasive argument for ‘The Mummy’ as any kind of meaningful cinematic achievement, but it’s undeniably fun to watch.” Starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, this is a fun (and funny) sort-of remake of a classic 1930s horror film. Though they absolutely should have known better, a band of adventurers decide to investigate an Egyptian burial site and accidentally awaken an ancient, undead priest (oops). This movie may not have been groundbreaking, but it’s an entertaining, swashbuckling adventure.
Cuban Fury (2014) – 51 percent
Again, this one isn’t going to be classified as a “cinematic achievement,” but I found it to be an entertaining comedy that at least tries to veer off the beaten path of standard Hollywood romcoms. Simon Pegg’s frequent partner in crime Nick Frost plays a man whose days as a salsa dancing competitor are far behind him, and he’s grown apathetic towards life. Then, a possible romance inspires him to start dancing again and face his rival (played by Chris O’Dowd of “The IT Crowd” fame). Although Rotten Tomatoes says this film is “far too short on laughs,” I personally thought it was very funny and charming. I do love Pegg and Frost together, but this time it was nice to see just Frost, who can definitely carry a film on his own.
Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) – 34 percent
Apparently it’s just me, but I thought the lower-rated “Horrible Bosses 2” was actually even funnier than its predecessor. Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day, and Jason Bateman return as dimwitted would-be entrepreneurs who decide to get back at the man who crossed them by kidnapping his son (played by Chris Pine). Of course, things do not go as planned, and the friends just create more trouble. The sometimes-underrated Chris Pine shows in this film that he has a knack for comedy, and I was glad to see Jamie Foxx reprise his role as a wacky criminal consultant named…well, just watch the movie. 😉 Although Rotten Tomatoes claims this sequel “fails to justify its own existence,” I actually laughed really hard throughout the movie, and I’ve seem it twice. So at least I enjoyed it!
The Three Musketeers (1993) – 31 percent
A lot of what I said about “The Mummy” applies here too. This movie may not make the “best films of all time” list, but it is a fun, swashbuckling action/adventure. Tim Curry has a blast chewing the scenery as the evil Cardinal Richelieu trying to disband the famous French Musketeers, while Kiefer Sutherland, Oliver Platt, Charlie Sheen, and Chris O’Donnell play the Musketeers trying to stop him. I always love a good period piece — and a good old-fashioned swordfight!
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) – 17 percent
At less than 20 percent, this movie wins the dubious honor of “most rotten” entry on this list. 😉 Critics weren’t kind to it, calling it a “great premise ruined by poor execution.” Although it has been a few years since I watched this (so maybe my opinion would be a little different now), I have seen it several times and it is a part of my DVD collection. The movie is steampunk adventure set in the early 1900s that rounds up famous literary characters like Dorian Gray, Captain Nemo, and Tom Sawyer to help save the world. It’s based on a comic book series by Alan Moore, which I haven’t read, so perhaps for those who have read the comics, this film is ultimately disappointing. However, I found the film to be intriguing and entertaining, even though it was a box office flop.
Armageddon (1998) – 39 percent
I actually covered this movie in my previous post but I couldn’t resist mentioning it again since it’s probably my favorite “rotten” rated movie. We can all just agree the premise is impossibly far-fetched: a bunch of oil drillers are turned into astronauts and sent into space to destroy an asteroid before it can destroy the Earth. But hey, it’s Hollywood, and I think this movie is the perfect popcorn flick. There are quite a few famous faces in this one — Liv Tyler, Owen Wilson, Billy Bob Thornton, Ben Affleck, Steve Buscemi (who elevates comic craziness to an art form) — and, of course, the one and only Bruce Willis. I can’t help myself; I love this movie.