Weird History

The Most Scathing (But Also Kinda Funny) Movie Reviews From Critics

List Rules
Vote up the most brutally insulting reviews from film critics that also made you laugh.

Whether they specialize in summarizing and rating the latest Hollywood flicks or older classic films, moviegoers value the assessments critics provide online and in print. Good critics often spend years studying the film industry and journalism to contribute fair and unbiased evaluations for their readers, and audiences rely on their opinions when deciding to commit time and money to a film.

As honest and reliable sources in the entertainment industry, reviewers often expose the flaws and shortcomings of the movies they rate. While readers expect to get honest and sometimes unflattering film reviews from their trusted sources, they often assume critics will remain professional and courteous with their words. However, now and then, a critic will hate a particular film so much that they feel obligated to voice their unfiltered opinion. Although their most likely intent is to provide a seriously harsh analysis, the scathing reviews from these critics often come off to readers as quite comical. 

This list features 22 such instances of funny movie reviews from critics who despised the films they critiqued. Some aren't that surprising, as the movies did not go over so well with general audiences, either. (Yet they are still, ultimately, hilarious.) However, some of the featured films won numerous awards, becoming instant classics in the hearts of fans and seemingly every other critic who watched them. 

Vote up the most brutally insulting reviews from film critics that also made you laugh. 

  • Giving the 2000 film only half a star, Roger Ebert thought sitting through Battlefield Earth was about as enjoyable as sitting next to someone who stinks for a few hours in a tight, enclosed space: 

    Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It's not merely bad; it's unpleasant in a hostile way. The visuals are grubby and drab. The characters are unkempt and have rotten teeth. Breathing tubes hang from their noses like ropes of snot. The soundtrack sounds like the boom mike is being slammed against the inside of a 55-gallon drum…

    Hiring Travolta and Whitaker was a waste of money, since we can't recognize them behind pounds of matted hair and gnarly makeup. Their costumes look like they were purchased from the Goodwill store on the planet Tatooine… The Psychlos can fly between galaxies, but look at their nails: Their civilization has mastered the hyperdrive but not the manicure…

    Some movies run off the rails. This one is like the train crash in The Fugitive. I watched it in mounting gloom, realizing I was witnessing something historic, a film that for decades to come will be the punch line of jokes about bad movies. There is a moment here when the Psychlos' entire planet (home office and all) is blown to smithereens, without the slightest impact on any member of the audience (or, for that matter, the cast). If the film had been destroyed in a similar cataclysm, there might have been a standing ovation.

  • One descriptive “hate” just wouldn't suffice for Roger Ebert as he voiced his distaste for the 1994 film, North:

    I have no idea why Rob Reiner, or anyone else, wanted to make this story into a movie, and close examination of the film itself is no help. North is one of the most unpleasant, contrived, artificial, cloying experiences I've had at the movies. To call it manipulative would be inaccurate; it has an ambition to manipulate, but fails.

    The film stars Elijah Wood, who is a wonderful young actor… Here he is stuck in a story that no actor, however wonderful, however young, should be punished with…..

    What is the point of the scenes with the auditioning parents? (The victimized actors range from Dan Aykroyd as a Texan to Kathy Bates as an Eskimo). They are all seen as broad, desperate comic caricatures. They are not funny. They are not touching. There is no truth in them. They don't even work as parodies. There is an idiocy here that seems almost intentional, as if the filmmakers plotted to leave anything of interest or entertainment value out of these episodes…

    I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it.

    The hate-heavy line from the review became so famous, Ebert's book collection of bad reviews is titled after it.

  • Esteemed Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert thought Tom Green should consider bringing rocks into the theater to throw at the audience in case they assaulted him for making such a horrible film:

    This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.

    Many years ago, when surrealism was new, Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali made Un Chien Andalou, a film so shocking that Bunuel filled his pockets with stones to throw at the audience if it attacked him. Green, whose film is in the surrealist tradition, may want to consider the same tactic. The day may come when Freddy Got Fingered is seen as a milestone of neo-surrealism. The day may never come when it is seen as funny. The film is a vomitorium consisting of 93 minutes of Tom Green doing things that a geek in a carnival sideshow would turn down.

  • In a reference to The Godfather, the film that spawned the modern mob movie, reviewer Johnny Oleksinski claimed he would choose being threatened with an animal carcass in his bed over sitting through Gotti for a second time:

    I’d rather wake up next to a severed horse head than ever watch Gotti again. The worst movie of the year so far, the long-awaited biopic about the Gambino crime boss’ rise from made man to top dog took four directors, 44 producers and eight years to make. 

    It shows. The finished product belongs in a cement bucket at the bottom of the river… Travolta, who’s made a career out of Italian stereotypes, obviously thought the Dapper Don would be his Don Corleone. It’s his Chef Boy­ardee. His performance is a leather-faced freak show. And the plot is nonsensical… [It] is an excuse for ­Travolta to shmact and for his wife, Kelly Preston - playing Gotti’s wife, Victoria - to howl like Medea…

    It’s the worst mob movie ever, but I see a bright future in midnight showings. “The Gotti Horror Picture Show.”