When Film Critics and Movie Fans Disagree

  • Publish Date: August 10, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 21 user comments

Movies that critics merely liked but Metacritic users loved

Our final group consists of films that received merely good reviews from professional critics but extremely high marks from Metacritic users. Movies are again ranked by the difference between critic score and user score, and need at least 15 critic reviews and at least 30 user reviews to be eligible.

1. The Dreamers (2004) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 62 | Users: 9.7 | Difference: 35

"For all the flash and sparkle, there's little heat. The Dreamers wants to be 'First Tango in Paris.' It's more like 'Last Tango Under Glass.'"

—Shawn Levy,
Portland Oregonian

"This is a painting brought to life. It's extraordinary to watch. Many will recoil from this film and that is totally understandable - there are moments of explicitness and others of arguable taste - but those who can and wish to expose themselves to an undoubtedly artistic and controversial film will certainly get their money's worth."

—User AndrewM.

2. Crazy/Beautiful (2001) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 61 | Users: 9.4 | Difference: 33

"Movingly captures the terrors and delights of being lovesick at 17. Would that it hadn't felt constrained to target only the 17-year-olds."

—Kimberley Jones,
Austin Chronicle

"You know, I truly believe this is the greatest teen movie that has been made. I'm glad that they understand fully how a teenager's life is; it's not like other ridiculous teen films where you can't connect with their emotions."

—User AlexandriaM.

3. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 64 | Users: 9.5 | Difference: 31

"You may find some of the story developments melodramatic — I did — but the film itself is quite powerful."

—Stephen Hunter,
Washington Post

"The battle sequences achieve a sustained, brutal intensity that makes the inferior Saving Private Ryan look like My Little Pony: The Animated Series. The story about brotherhood is as sincere, heartbreaking, and unpretentious as anything I've seen. This is one of the best anti-war films ever made by anyone."

—User Tely S.

4. Dancer in the Dark (2000) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 61 | Users: 9.0 | Difference: 29

"Aside from Bjork's astonishing performance, it's a grim tragedy that's deliberately drab and exceedingly painful to watch."

—Ken Fox,
TV Guide

"Seems to be an archetypal love-it-or-hate-it film, and I loved it. Everyone who hated it seems to point out smugly that the premise and characters are implausible or downright exploitative. But these pretentious, jaded critics are missing the damned point. This movie is a musical fantasy that seamlessly fuses a morbid vision with a celebration of the joie de vivre. And yes, Bjork is perfect."

—User EricS.

5. American History X (1998) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 62 | Users: 9.0 | Difference: 28

"There may be much to like about his movie, but it's all been done before to more challenging degrees of moral ambiguity. That's a pretty fatal flaw."

—Joshua Klein,
The A.V. Club

"I've lost track of how many times I've seen this, but it still makes me tear up in the end, Norton really proves himself to be a powerhouse actor, his passion and raw emotion could scare anyone."

—User Schmit93

(tie) 6. Antwone Fisher (2002) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 62 | Users: 8.9 | Difference: 27

"Affecting but formulaic."

—Joe Morgenstern,
Wall Street Journal

"One of the most deeply touching movies I have ever seen. If AF does not move you to tears, then you do not have a heart. Denzel Washington demonstrates that his talents extend beyond the camera as well. This is a must see."

—User FantasyL.

(tie) 6. The Green Mile (1999) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 61 | Users: 8.8 | Difference: 27

"Its view of spiritual healing is closer to Spielberg fantasy than religious insight. Still, its good acting and good intentions will be enough to please many viewers."

—David Sterritt,
Christian Science Monitor

"Touching film. This has got to be the film that had the biggest emotional impact on me out of them all. It's sad, witty and the acting is fantastic. It deserves more than the average it has here. I adore it!"

—User Barry

(tie) 8. Show Me Love (1999) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 73 | Users: 9.9 | Difference: 26

"A light, breezy, often charming little film, with a good cast playing mostly shallow characters."

—Michael Wilmington,
Chicago Tribune

"This is one of the greatest teen movies ever made. Unfortunately most kids my age won't give it a chance simply because it does not come from Hollywood. I think it's amazing how well this movie it's put together. One of my all time favorite movies."

—User DavidS.

(tie) 8. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 68 | Users: 9.4 | Difference: 26

"The film's relentless pummeling grows wearying at 135 minutes. The first Terminator, a half-hour shorter, was leaner and meaner."

—Peter Travers,
Rolling Stone

"It's pure Hollywood, but with the amazingly versatile and shrewd James Cameron at its helm, T2 deserves every bit of its status as a pop culture icon. Touching, cool and memorable for everyone from kids to adults even to those who like to take their films more seriously than they perhaps should."

—User GrobMan

(tie) 8. Fight Club (1999) Add to Netflix Queue
Critics: 66 | Users: 9.2 | Difference: 26

"Despite terrific comic acting...and an atomic first hour, Fight Club makes a few wrong turns and ends up lost itself."

—Michael Atkinson,
Mr. Showbiz

"Still one of the most underrated movies ever. It is finally starting to garner the respect it deserves. Its time just had to come, that's all. Like Blade Runner and Apocalypse Now, it was ahead of its own time."

—User SeanP.

What do you think?

When have the critics steered you in the wrong direction, and when have they been spot-on in their assessments? Let us know in the comments section below.

Comments (21)

  • natedc  

    Rat race has a critic rating 52 but a user rating of 8.8 (111 reviews as of this writing). That's a spread of 35! It is easily the funniest movie I've ever seen and gets funnier the more you watch it.

  • DanBurrito  

    Do you not realise that critics loved T2: Judgement Day, The Green Mile and Fight Club just as much as the users? Just because the average scores you calculated were merely decent doesn't mean that they aren't considered classics by movie fans and critics alike.

  • AndrewUltimate  

    @rixbitz Go on Google Translate.

  • 89iajo  

    Bio-dome has a 60 difference.

  • rixbitz  

    Okay, I get it. No quotation marks. Now that I know that, I can tell you that I agree with the reader who called Gomorrah - and I quote - vastly overrated.

  • rixbitz  

    Just saw "The Flight of the Red Balloon". What's the French equivalent of WTF?

  • BKTan  

    Not dissing this site, but if you check IMDB, only films here that rank above 7.0 are A Walk to Remember, Digimon, Equilibrium and I Am Sam. Most of the rest are below 6.0 and some are even below 5.0 so I think this list isn't exactly really insightful. I think Son of the Mask has a 2.0 average so the people giving it a 7.7 average here are in the extreme.

  • XTrapnel  

    Alas, the fantastic -- and slowly being rediscovered -- Gentleman Broncos amassed only 26 user reviews. Four more and, with a differential of 35, it would have topped the list (unless those four hated it, of course). Seek out this fine film.

  • XTrapnel  

    I expected to be really angry when looking at this list. Good grief, punters are morons! That sort of thing. But the lumpen public have got it right once or twice. Cold Mountain is dire. Mystic River is overheated. The Queen is unspeakably middle-brow. But what on earth is up with the dissing of Master and Commander and Drag Me To Hell? It's not as if either is particularly "difficult". Anybody who hated Hidden should be taken out and shot. Oh, it seems I am annoyed after all.

  • metametareview  

    one of the things that drives this is users are likely more extreme in their reviews---- very high or very low--- i'd be interested to see the distribution of scores for reviewers and users

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