READER REPORT:

Five bad films that are actually good

CRAIG SMITH
Last updated 05:00 07/01/2014
tom cruise
WAR OF THE WORLDS: Tom Cruise can make it easy to hate a film automatically.

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The Shawshank Redemption is a great film. I don't need to tell you that. It will generally appear in any film-lover's top 10. The scene on the roof, the crawling through the sewer pipe, it all adds up to a film with real heart. Sure, it's a little too long and I still haven't worked out how he stuck the poster back on the wall from inside the tunnel (spoiler) but it is a definite favourite and something I will generally re-watch once a year.

The Happening is a bad film. What was M. Night Shyamalan thinking? I can accept the premise of plants killing people. As a horror fan from way back I can even appreciate some of the deaths (people feeding themselves to lions et al) but when the plants decided that they would only kill people in groups of five or more I was out. Career worst performances from Zooey Deschanel and Mark Wahlberg.

Which brings me to my topic for this piece: films that I think are good but are roundly criticised, joked about and generally slapped down by people.

This is a chance to stand up for films that you think are unjustly treated, so feel free to add some of yours below.

War of the Worlds (2005)

I could have picked any Tom Cruise movie really. There's a lot of hate for this guy and it can distract from the movie. I found that the case with Oblivion - I felt like I was watching Cruise on screen rather than the actual character. Not the case with War of the Worlds. Fast forward the first five minutes of deadbeat dad character-building and you have a stunning 30-odd minute attack sequence.

Major set pieces continue throughout the movie and there's even time for a charmingly off tempo one-on-one with Tim Robbins.

Two major issues people have with this film (apart from my man Tom) are Dakota Fanning screaming all the time, and the ending. I thought Fanning was fantastic. What were people expecting a 9-year-old to do when aliens invaded? As for the ending, it matched my memories of the book.

Daredevil (2003)

I'm really not sure why this film gets the hate it does. The special effects are a bit dated now but having recently watched Man of Steel where one obviously animated character beats up another obviously animated character for a good 20 minutes I don't think they are too bad.


A blind superhero and a way to show his "sight" on screen, it's a bit different and for me it worked. I thought the story was good and the acting fine, Jennifer Garner was hot and even the soundtrack had its moments.
One issue was pacing but that was corrected in the director's cut - a much better film. I can only assume that the hate came from the anti-Affleck brigade who were out in force at the time.

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The Lovely Bones (2009) 

Roger Ebert called the film "deplorable". I'll admit that on my first viewing, having just read the book, I was hugely disappointed. There was too much computer-generated imagery (CGI) at the cost of the surviving family members' stories.

When I picked up the blu-ray and re-watched it a few years later it was a much better film. When not directly compared to the book I could appreciate the story a lot more, take in Saoirse Ronan's fantastic acting and see just how pretty the movie was.

It still should have had less CGI and more focus on the family, but all is forgiven.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

It has Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds in it so you know the hate isn't coming from the ladies' side.

It's chock-full of mutants, which is what you want in an X-Men film, and has a decent plot around creating a super-mutant. Throw in some great Queenstown locations for that "been there" factor and you have, in my opinion, the third best X-Men film.

The main issue people seem to have with this film is the special effects. Indeed, some do look a little unfinished but

I'm OK with them. For some reason I get more annoyed/distracted with the bad ragdoll physics in movies like Man of Steel or Spiderman 3 than I do with claws that look like they came straight out of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Pearl Harbor (2001) 

As I look at the IMDb message board the top comment is "Worst war movie ever? Or worst movie ever?", so this could be a hard sell.

Let me start by saying I'm a special effects junkie. The battle scenes in this film allow me to gloss over quite a few of the plot holes and historical inaccuracies. One shot of a destroyer exploding feels like a physical blow - something that is rare even with today's CGI advances. Add to that some great cinematography and I will happily stand up and say I've watched this more than twice.

Guilty pleasure? Maybe, but it's a love story set during Pearl Harbor rather than a documentary, and it's entertaining.

So there are some of the films that I feel often get an unfairly bad rap. What about you? Did you actually like Showgirls? Do you own Wild Wild West on Blu-ray? Do you have a Ghostrider tattoo?

What films do you like despite the weight of popular opinion? 


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