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Can we believe Critics' endorsements?

(32 Posts)
Eloethan Thu 03-Oct-13 11:37:38

Some of the comments on another post about Blue Jasmine made me think about the number of times I've been disappointed by films or books that have received almost universal rave reviews from critics or that have even won awards.

In Guardian Weekend's letter page on 28 September, a reader wrote:

"In Emma Brocke's interview, Stephen King says, "I read The Hunger Games and didn't feel an urge to go on." Hang on: not 3ft away from me is a copy of said book with this endorsement: "'Constant suspense .... I couldn't stop reading' - Stephen King."

Has anyone else found a book or film absolutely awful and yet critical opinion has been overwhelmingly positive?

Tegan Thu 03-Oct-13 11:53:28

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Rave reviews [5 star rating in The Independant]. Worst two hours spent in a cinema in my 62 years. Dire. Oh; forgot Meeks Cutoff. Same reviews; equally as dire.

MiceElf Thu 03-Oct-13 12:35:27

Where to start? The top of the list was that film about Hypatia who was a mathematician in ancient Greece.

The critics loved it, but such a fandango of historical nonsense, melodrama and bad acting made it one of the worst films I've ever seen.

We're going to see Hannah Arendt later today. I'll report back.

gracesmum Thu 03-Oct-13 13:02:03

I think selective editing of what the ciritcs actually say can play its part. Hypothetically - "If I were on a desert island and absolutely stuck I still would not welcome this new book" grin

MiceElf Thu 03-Oct-13 13:07:17

True, sometimes. But I read all the full notices in four papers for Hypatia and Blue Jasmine.

DH has just informed me that the screening this afternoon is at 3.30 and it's called Silver Screen. Us old dears get a free cup of tea and a biscuit. Grrr. It's wine I want.

Eloethan Thu 03-Oct-13 13:19:21

Several years ago my daughter, very kindly, bought tickets for my birthday for she and I to go and see a play called "Closer". We very rarely go to the theatre as it's quite expensive and sometimes disappointing but we were really looking forward to this production because it had won several awards and received wide acclaim.

It did not live up to expectations and we sat, rigid with embarrassment, at the crudity of it (and neither I nor my daughter are especially prudish). The couple in front of us left during the interval and we both wished we had done the same.

I absolutely hated the film "Atonement", which, again, had received rave reviews, though I believe that many cinemagoers enjoyed it.

gracesmum Thu 03-Oct-13 13:40:31

brew and a cupcake??
Huh - wine every time for me! They need to know what really gets us grannies over the threshold!

Lona Thu 03-Oct-13 16:55:44

I'm extremely cynical usually (who me? shock ), so if a film/play gets gushing reviews I avoid it like the plague.
I only went to see Blue Jasmine because my friend was so keen. I would have refused, but she is inbetween chemos at the moment so I was being nice!

Several of us went to see Sweeney Todd a while ago and two of us loved every blood spattered minute and the other two were nearly sick!
Lust for Johnny Depp overcame the reviews then!

Tegan Thu 03-Oct-13 17:08:14

We went to see The Great Beauty last night; I enjoyed it [it was very Fellini'esque which is why I wanted to see it] but the S.O. was extremely bored [which took the edge of it a bit as it was a very long film and I could sense it]. Mind you, I could easily have seen Rush again, which has had rave reviews and deserves every one of them.

FlicketyB Thu 03-Oct-13 19:10:03

Film: M. Hulot's Holiday. I LOATHE mime
Book: Martin Amis; Money. Gave up after 4 chapters

Penstemmon Thu 03-Oct-13 19:23:10

I love M Hulot though prefer Jour d Fete! grin &DDs used to love Mon Oncle.

Worst film ever: Mama Mia!

Tegan Thu 03-Oct-13 19:28:41

Yes; I can't stand Mama Mia. Tried to watch it on the telly once but gave up very quickly. It isn't even 'so bad it's good'; I just find it embarrassing.

Deedaa Thu 03-Oct-13 21:14:28

I was dubious about Mama Mia but my friend wanted to see it. The audience ranged from young teenagers to pensioners and everyone was singing along the whole way through ............. brilliant!

I don't normally find that film reviews are too far wrong - depending on what I know about the reviewer, but I often find that I seem to have watched completely different TV programmes from the ones being reviewed.

Nelliemoser Thu 03-Oct-13 22:21:37

I went to see Mamma Mia with a group of friends because it had been well received. I started to watch it thinking "Oh dear! This is really not my sort of film at all", but I just got carried away by it's sheer enthusiasm.
It was just enjoyable fun not complicated or pretentious at all no message just great fun. smilesmile

Maggiemaybe Thu 03-Oct-13 23:06:04

I'm so pleased to see two gransnetters at least hate Mama Mia as I do. After the way my friends had built it up, I'd really looked forward to it. I gave up after 20 excruciating minutes of simpering twittery and have been made to feel that I'm a poor excuse for a woman ever since. I also loathed Captain Corelli's ruddy Mandolin, the book (I wouldn't have put myself through the pain of watching the film).

Grannylin Thu 03-Oct-13 23:19:10

Love Mama Mia, dislike Captain Corelli but loathe Chocolat most of all.

whatsgoingon Thu 03-Oct-13 23:26:46

I hated Mama Mia also. I know it got wonderful reviews but after 20 minutes or so into the film I was ready to bang my head against the wall if only to drown out the noise of the film.
I have to admit that I am not the biggest Abba fan in the world so perhaps that may well have had something to do with it.
As for critics endorsements....... I usually make my own mind up and I refuse to like something just because some "expert "says I should.

harrigran Thu 03-Oct-13 23:45:34

Did not like Mama Mia, Captain Corelli or Chocolat and neither did I enjoy the book by Joanne Harris. Everyone I know says how great her books are but I just can not get into them. I usually find that the more the press hype a new film the less I enjoy it.

Jendurham Thu 03-Oct-13 23:49:35

Whatsgoingon, I do not understand. Why did you go to see Mamma Mia when you do not like the music?
Do critics have to do that, go to see films when they know they are anti before they go?

Agus Fri 04-Oct-13 00:07:02

I watched a film years ago called Shining Through which the critics had slammed. I loved it. 11 years on, found the DVD on amazon and watched it again, still love it.

Hated Mamma Mia.

When a film has too much hype I tend to avoid watching it

Lona Fri 04-Oct-13 07:48:03

It's clear from this thread, that as we all have wildly differing tastes and opinions, only some of us can "believe the critics' endorsements".

It's good to have somebody to blame though! grin

Nelliemoser Fri 04-Oct-13 07:57:30

I was bored silly by the Lord of the Rings series. Particular the battles and those "f***ing" elves. That goes right against the adoration of all things Tolkein.

Greatnan Fri 04-Oct-13 09:26:22

I post honest reviews of hotels, excursions, etc. on Tripadvisor and I have exchanged pms with some other people who wanted more information, or when I wanted some myself. I do realise that rival owners often pretend to be customers, or friends of owners post glowing reports. I look at a wide selection of views and so far I have not been disappointed.

whatsgoingon Fri 04-Oct-13 23:18:41

Jendurham I did not go and see the film. I watched it on DVD in my friend
I was keeping her company while her husband worked.
At that time she was too ill to be left on her own.
The choice of film was hers not mine.
Sadly my friend has since passed away.

As for critics having to see films when they are ”anti " towards the topic of the film I don't know. As I am not a professional film critic I am unable to comment.

Penstemmon Sat 05-Oct-13 11:06:25

I liked Chocolat! A complete fairytale!

I have never seen Sound of Music except at a sing a long version with all the words on the screen and dressed up as a brown paper parcel tied up with string grin