Listed: Five Films That Divided Audiences

Occasionally there are movies that divide the movie going nation. It becomes like the Civil War—brother against brother, and friendships are destroyed. Alright, it might not be that serious, but there are some movies that people either love or hate, and love to argue about passionately. Here are five divisive movies that we at the Movie Sleuth have noticed get a rise out of a lot of people.

"I'm too sexy for
this jacket."

Drive: I distinctly remember seeing the trailer for this film and not being interested in it at all.  The trailer made it out to be some sort of Fast and the Furious rip-off starring Ryan Gosling, and that genre of movies isn’t my cup of tea. Then I started reading reviews of the movie where people lamented the lack of action, slow pacing and odd choice of music, which piqued my curiosity. The news story of the Michigan woman who wanted to sue the studio for her money back after watching Drive (it wasn’t what she expected) made it a must-see for me. Once I finally saw it my mind was blown—here was this incredible film that was getting panned by a lot of critics for “being too slow and character-driven” when it was never intended to be an action movie in the first place! Drive has one of the most misleading trailers I have ever seen, and the marketing for the film is one of the main reasons it was bashed by so many critics and movie audiences. Among the bashers on this gem was none other than Quentin Tarantino, who gave it what he calls his "Nice Try Award." This is nothing more than an ego-fueled stamp of disapproval QT brands directors with who he believes try to imitate him. Sorry, Quentin, but a lot of people still remember the first hour of Death Proof.

"No. I'm not Batman."
Watchmen: There are no pickier and harder to please people on this Earth than comic book fans. When Zack Snyder announced he would be at the helm of the Watchmen movie adaptation, a high-pitched nerdy wail was heard around the world. To say that any of this bias and nerd rage was unexpected would be to forget the equally ornery outcry over another Alan Moore-adapted graphic novel: V for Vendetta. But a bald Natalie Portman tends to help time heal all wounds. Watchmen, also by the reclusive Moore, is one of the most highly regarded graphic novels of all time, and its complex storyline was considered nigh unfilmable. When Watchmen finally came out, it was met with mixed reviews, and people fell into two camps—mostly satisfied Watchmen fanboys and confused casual viewers who had no idea what the hell was going on. Dr. Manhattan’s giant glowing, blue, flaccid penis was also off-putting to many (immature) people. I personally love Watchmen but I fall squarely into the comic book fangirl camp and may be biased, just a bit.

They don't like our movie......but maybe those people do. 

Speed Racer:  The Wachowskis and Speed Racer is an odd combination and it came as a surprise to a lot of people that they decided to direct an adaptation of the beloved anime. Speed Racer ended up being a neon-colored, frenetic, CGI filled action fest that anime fans loved and film critics hated. It stayed true to its Saturday morning cartoon roots which didn’t sit well with people expecting the Wachowskis usual deep and philosophical writing. I find it interesting when directors step outside of their typecast roles, and try something new and different. Sometimes it bombs (Speed Racer didn’t do too well at the box office) but at least something creative is produced. As a side note, Speed Racer has one of the most gorgeous Blu-ray transfers I have ever seen and should be watched at least once just to see it in action. But to those of you wondering, we still don’t find out what Matthew Fox’s tattoos mean.

"Stare into my crystal balls."

Prometheus: The Alien franchise is immensely popular and fans were frothing at the mouth at the prospect of a prequel set in that universe. Prometheus had loads of intriguing viral marketing aimed at internet-savvy Millennials, and people’s expectations were set high. The movie garnered moderately good reviews but fell short of wowing most of the people who enjoyed the previous films. Ridley Scott tried to cram a whole lot of philosophical concepts and symbolism into the film, and wound up confusing many people. It’s an incredible looking film with beautiful CGI and exceptional set-pieces but I think the expectation was for a more action-orientated film as opposed to the cerebral movie that we got. It left a lot of questions unanswered, presumably for a sequel, and that made some people feel cheated. By now, we should all be used to Hollywood films blasting us with sequel build up, but from a worthy successor to one of the finest science fiction films of all time, people were expecting something more than sequel bait. There are some who thoroughly enjoyed Prometheus, and they didn’t see the need to have every single piece of minutiae explained to them in detail—those folks were in the minority, however.  I have seen some heated arguments arise while discussing this film and the “you didn’t like it because you didn’t understand it” argument thrown around quite a bit. A film that inspires such passionate debate is a good thing though and I have seen convincing statements from both sides.

"I. Am. So. Hot."
Sucker Punch: Sucker Punch sounds amazing on paper: hot chicks fighting robots and monsters with sweet swords and guns while dressed in male fantasy-approved fetish clothing. Zack Snyder delivered on all of that but the movie was panned by most critics for resembling a video game too much, and being light in the plot and character development department. There is a plot if you care to search for it and it’s not readily apparent on the first viewing. Snyder also took some flack from the feminist camps for supposed misogynistic themes in the film, and there are some scenes of the girls being taken advantage of. It’s not often you have all female action film leads, and that may have also contributed to the film not being as popular as it could have been. The extended cut released on Blu-ray has some added storyline that helps the narrative, but most audiences only saw the theatrical cut and didn’t care to rewatch it on its home release. Sucker Punch does have a very vocal minority that loves the film, and the word of mouth that has spread since its release on premium movie channels shows that this just may just yet have a snowball’s chance of achieving cult status.

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-Michelle Kisner
-Blake O. Kleiner

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