Judging by my own experiences, Millennials are really into Rotten Tomatoes. Most of the ones I've spoken to very much value a movie's RT score and do make their decisions to buy a movie ticket based on whether a movie is fresh or rotten.
For a film to be "rotten," it has to have a score of under 60%. Even films that were at first critically reviled, but have aged like fine wine, have (for the most part) had their scores boosted above 60% by present-day reviews and reconsideration. Because of that, it was actually tough to find 10 “classic” movies which are still rotten. These are all still below 60%, but as time passes they will more than likely move towards that 60 percent fresh spot. For now, they belong on this list.
Happy Gilmore (59%)
Oh, come on. As far as Adam Sandler movies go this is the holy grail. That Bob Barker fight is some kind of odd lunacy that will forever live in the cinematic time capsule. Even non-Adam Sandler fans can find something funny in this madcap 1995 comedy.
One of the best pure action movies of the past decade. This was the start of the Liam Neeson as a badass. Hollywood would try to bank on him for the next 8 years. "Taken" is one of the most copied and influential action movies of the last 10 or so years, without "Taken" there would be no "John Wick."
The Life Aquatic (56%)
This was essentially the beginning of Wes Anderson's mature phase as a filmmaker. He would go on to make "The Darjeeling Limited," "The Fantastic Mr. Fox," "Moonrise Kingdom" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel." This film has so many fans that even Criterion gave in and released it as part of their limited collection.
Home Alone (54%)
A modern-day Christmas classic if there ever was one. The film that made Macaulay Culkin a Hollywood icon. Suffice to say the critics got it wrong, very wrong. The sole exception is Gene Siskel, who ended up putting this one on his Best of 1990 list! The sequel ain't bad either and has an even worse 34% RT score.
Basic Instinct (54%)
Sleazy, erotic, mysterious, fascinating. Verhoeven. Maybe his best movie made within the Hollywood studio system. Taught in film classes and feminist classes. Sharon Stone's acting peak, alongside her turn in Scorsese's "Casino." This is a prime contender for best film noir of the 1990s.
Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas (51%)
The last truly great Terry Gilliam movie. A rambling, audacious masterpiece that might only be fully appreciated under the influence of narcotics. Maybe that's why the critics got it wrong. Always go to the job sober they say ...
Summer of Sam (51%)
A misunderstood Spike Lee joint. Never again would he go back to the kind of cinematic style that got him known worldwie. Akin to the same world he created in "Do The Right Thing," "Jungle Fever," "Crooklyn" and He Got Game," "Summer of Sam" almost feels like a final statement for Lee.
I must admit the first time I saw this chaotic Lars Von Trier film I didn't get it. A second viewing solved it for me. Then again, I can't really see anyone wanting to go back for seconds with this film. It's the kind of punishingly intense cinematic experience you want to experience just once.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (45%)
Slapstick heaven. Jim Carrey's loony detective is an Inspector Clouseau for the Millennial generation. 1994 was such a nutso year for the actor: "Dumb & Dumber," "The Mask" and "Ace Ventura" all released that year. The latter being the only "rotten" film.
Kingdom of Heaven (39%)
I'm cheating here a bit, because the director's cut is the much better version, but the original theatrical version was still unfairly maligned by film critics. In fact, now that I think about it, many of Ridley Scott's best movies were, at first, poorly received and then garnered critical support in the ensuing years: "Blade Runner," "Alien," and "The Duelists" are prime examples.
The Passion of the Christ (49%)
Mel Gibson isn’t scared of showing violence in the movies he directs. Apocalypto and Braveheart could have both been on this list, but instead we’ll settle for The Passion of the Christ. The Bible isn’t tame on violence and the film makes us well aware of that, recounting Jesus’ final days of suffering before his ultimate crucifixion. There are only three sentences in the Bible that mention the flogging of Jesus and yet Gibson dedicates more than 10 minutes of screentime to Jesus getting whipped until he collapses.
Every movie that has derived from an SNL skit has been received with bad reviews, but some pull through the mediocritiy and are embraced by cult audiences years later (mostly "Wayne's World," and "The Blues Brothers"). SNL movies don't usually catch my fancy either, but "MacGruber" is hilarious and a scene, among many others, where Will Forte is begging, pleading, to put together another team always kills me with laughter.
Based off an SNL skit, the film used cheap special effects and self-referential comedy in its attempt to construct some kind of coherent plot, all for the sake of making us laugh. That's MacGruber for you in a nutshell, a nothing burger that has you laughing until it hurts. It has practically become a cult comedy classic.
The Boondock Saints (20%)
There are a lot of people who either worship this movie or hate it. The Boondock Sants" was criticized as a Tarantino rehash in 1999, but over the year it has seperated itself from the pack and become a cult classic. If you haven't had the chance to catch this flick, make sure you do, this movie was history in the making as it bombed at the box-office, but ended up catching a cult following on home video with close to $50M in sales. An immensly quotable film, Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus have amazing chemistry together, and David Del Rocko just adds the comedic relief that makes the trio one thats hard to take your eyes off of.
Step Brothers (55%)
In Adam McKay's "Step Brothers," Ferrell and Reilly played two grown-up man-children being forced to live together as brothers in the same house. Greeted with mixed reviews (55% on Rotten Tomatoes, 53 on Metacritic), the film nevertheless garnered top box-office money ($100M domestically). Still, the way critics beat up on the film, with Roger Ebert giving it 1.5 stars and famously saying "When did comedies get so mean?" nobody in their right mind foreshadowed the inevitable fanfare the film would garner on home video and TV.
The repetitive cable airings have proven to be very beneficial for "Step Brothers," Rolling Stone had a famous re-evaluation of the film, The AV Club had it as the 21st best comedy of the aughts, Complex ranked it as the 13th best comedy of ALL TIME, but, most impressively, a BBC poll of 177 critics had it ranked as 64th greatest comedy of all-time and 7th best of the aughts. Not too shabby for a film that was the whipping boy of the critical community during the summer of 2008.
Do you disagree with any of our choices? Would you add any other titles? Let us know in the comments section below!