IMDb Polls

Poll: 26 Brilliant Movies That Critics Were Wrong About

This is a group of films, ranging from art-house gems to big blockbusters, that David Sims (staff writer at The Atlantic) believes deserve a fresh look. According to Sims, they were all unappreciated by critics or audiences on release and deserve a fresh look.

Which of these films do you most wish to watch or watch again?

After voting, please discuss here.

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Used Cars (1980)

    Directed by Robert Zemeckis — Not long before he hit it big with the blockbusters Romancing the Stone (1984) and Back to the Future (1985), Robert Zemeckis made this anarchic black comedy about the cutthroat world of used-car sales, starring Kurt Russell as a dealer trying to stay one step ahead of catastrophe.
  2. Vote!

    Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

    Directed by Tommy Lee Wallace — This entry in the never-ending Halloween horror series took a chance by not featuring the popular serial-killer antagonist Michael Myers, who had anchored previous films.
  3. Vote!

    Dune (1984)

    Directed by David Lynch — Before Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel arrives in theaters this fall, David Lynch’s attempt at the material is worth revisiting, even though it was a critical and box-office calamity.
  4. Vote!

    Ishtar (1987)

    Directed by Elaine May — Elaine May’s most recent film as a director was such a colossal flop that its name became synonymous with bad movies.
  5. Vote!

    Poetic Justice (1993)

    Directed by John Singleton — After his Oscar-nominated debut Boyz n the Hood (1991), the wunderkind director Singleton had immense hype to live up to. In his follow-up, he tried to tell a softer, less polemical tale of life in his neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles.
  6. Vote!

    Clifford (1994)

    Directed by Paul Flaherty — Released as a star vehicle for the comedian Martin Short, Clifford (1994) was widely derided in 1994—not because it’s unfunny, but because it’s so deeply weird.
  7. Vote!

    The Glass Shield (1994)

    Directed by Charles Burnett — The film that should have launched Burnett to wider success, The Glass Shield (1994) is a melodrama about police corruption that feels years ahead of its time, full of incisive observations about institutional rot in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.
  8. Vote!

    Dead Presidents (1995)

    Directed by Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes — One of the few films to touch on the experiences of Black servicemen in the Vietnam War, the Hughes brothers’ follow-up to their shocking debut, Menace II Society (1993), is an unfairly unheralded work
  9. Vote!

    Trouble Every Day (2001)

    Directed by Claire Denis — A bloody, outré work from one of France’s finest auteurs, Trouble Every Day (2001) was greeted with revulsion by critics on release, especially because it followed Denis’s highly acclaimed Beau travail (1999).
  10. Vote!

    Psycho (1998)

    Directed by Gus Van Sant — Van Sant’s big-budget follow-up to the Oscar-winning Good Will Hunting (1997) completely baffled critics and audiences: a shot-for-shot remake of one of the most famous films of all time, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960).
  11. Vote!

    Forces of Nature (1999)

    Directed by Bronwen Hughes — From a decade defined by romantic comedies and A-list actresses such as Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, and Drew Barrymore, Forces of Nature (1999) is an odd outlier, a comedy presented as a whirlwind romance that transforms into something quite different.
  12. Vote!

    But I'm a Cheerleader (1999)

    Directed by Jamie Babbit — Something of a cult classic now, But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) was unfairly jeered on release as a John Waters knockoff.
  13. Vote!

    Jason X (2001)

    Directed by James Isaac — By the 2000s, the major slasher franchises—Halloween (1978), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), and Friday the 13th (1980)—had long passed their commercial apex, and some were embarking on reboots and remakes to try to recharge their brand. But Friday the 13th went in a different, far sillier direction with Jason X (2001), the 10th installment in the series revolving around the lumbering killer Jason Voorhees.
  14. Vote!

    Blood Work (2002)

    Directed by Clint Eastwood — In between his Best Picture–winning classics Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004), Clint Eastwood churned out eight solid-to-great films—all mid-budget dramas, and all but two based on best-selling novels. One of the least loved is Blood Work, a fun, gritty thriller adapted from a Michael Connelly book.
  15. Vote!

    In Her Shoes (2005)

    Directed by Michael Connelly — A terrific sibling dramedy starring Toni Collette, Cameron Diaz, and Shirley MacLaine, In Her Shoes (2005) is that Hollywood anomaly—a major film mostly focused on the relationships between well-drawn female characters.
  16. Vote!

    The Skeleton Key (2005)

    Directed by Iain Softley — My favorite kind of horror movie is one that derives most of its scares from the atmosphere of an unusual location. The Skeleton Key (2005), a supernatural thriller starring Kate Hudson and Gena Rowlands, is set on an isolated plantation home in southern Louisiana, and so much of the fun is the detail put into its creepy production design, which evokes a place laden with dark secrets.
  17. Vote!

    Æon Flux (2005)

    Directed by Karyn Kusama — Undoubtedly one of the oddest blockbusters ever produced by a major studio, Kusama’s adaptation of the cult ’90s MTV series was critically derided and somewhat disowned by its director, who said it had been reedited for commercial appeal.
  18. Vote!

    Deja Vu (2006)

    Directed by Tony Scott — In his career, the high-octane master Tony Scott made five terrific thrillers with Denzel Washington. Initially Deja Vu (2006) seems like a fairly routine collaboration, following the ATF agent Douglas Carlin, who’s trying to unravel the mystery of a bomb attack on a New Orleans ferry. Washington is playing the kind of dogged blue-collar character he often inhabits, but Déjà Vu takes a surprising sci-fi turn when he’s introduced to an FBI team that, through magical surveillance technology, has opened a window into the past.
  19. Vote!

    Morning Glory (2010)

    Directed by Roger Michell — The workplace-comedy genre is mostly confined to television at this point, but Michell’s Morning Glory (2010) is a recent, overlooked cinematic example that’s filled with stars and propelled by peppy humor.
  20. Vote!

    Killing Them Softly (2012)

    Directed by Andrew Dominik — One of few movies to have gotten an “F” CinemaScore from audiences, Morning Glory (2010) is a grim adult drama based on the crime novel Cogan’s Trade by George V. Higgins.
  21. Vote!

    Lockout (2012)

    Directed by Steve Saint Leger and James Mathers — A delightful piece of sci-fi trash from the French production company EuropaCorp, Lockout is essentially Escape from New York (1981) set on a space station.
  22. Vote!

    Hotel Transylvania (2012)

    Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky — In this gag-heavy, horror-themed film, the director Tartakovsky’s skill in rendering physical comedy and its lead actor Adam Sandler’s love for Borscht Belt humor combine to spectacular effect.
  23. Vote!

    By the Sea (2015)

    Directed by Angelina Jolie — A seemingly autobiographical project written, directed by, and starring Jolie, By the Sea (2015) centers on a couple vacationing in France whose marriage is on the rocks.
  24. Vote!

    Teen Titans GO! To the Movies (2018)

    Directed by Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail — I decided to watch Teen Titans GO! To the Movies (2018) on a whim while bored on a plane. I had never seen the children’s cartoon series that it’s inspired by—I really didn’t know much about the Teen Titans at all. It doesn’t matter. The film is the most effective cinematic spoof of the never-ending superhero trend I’ve ever seen.
  25. Vote!

    Plus One (2019)

    Directed by Jeff Chan and Andrew Rhymer — One of the best romantic comedies in a decade that saw the genre flounder in theaters, Plus One (2019) is just waiting to be discovered by a bigger audience.
  26. Vote!

    The Empty Man (2020)

    Directed by David Prior — Released at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Empty Man (2020) was essentially dumped by its distributor into vacant theaters. Still, the quiet horror film eventually found an audience—a testament to its quality.

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