10 Not-so-‘Rotten’ Movies

Andrew Buckle,

There are many reasons, but some movies just seem to cop it immediately on release. Critics and commentators hate them, audiences don’t go and see them, and a trail of negativity follows the movie from that point on. Some movies do turn it around and become favourites amongst small but vocal pockets of moviegoers that embrace their ambitions.

One home for consumers to do their research on a movie is Rotten Tomatoes, the home of the Tomatometer. Some rely on the critics score, while others look at the audience rating. But not every movie can be Paddington 2 – which briefly usurped Citizen Kane as the best-reviewed movie ever made, before a single rotten (wrong) review broke it’s perfect 100% score – and thankfully not every movie is Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever.

In this feature we’re looking at the critics scores and are asking the question – what if they (they being “many respectable critics”) got it wrong? We’re not going to go into great detail about why the following movies aren’t so “rotten”, you’ll just have to trust us. We recommend you explore the Movie Store or your favourite streaming services for these movies and give them another go.

Miami Vice (2006) – 46%

What is it about?

Based on the ’80s TV action/drama, this slick update from Michael Mann focuses on vice detectives Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) as their respective personal and professional lives become dangerously intertwined.

Where to Watch?

Stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Fresh Feature

Colin Farrell’s look. Is this not one of the great hair and mo combos to ever grace the screen?

In all seriousness, throughout Miami Vice we see Tubbs and Crocket 100% locked in to their jobs, and they have an unspoken loyalty to one another. Their job is all-consuming, leaving fleeting moments of personal time that they cherish. In an early sequence an undercover job at a nightclub is interrupted by an unrelated distress call from an informant and they must act immediately, with urgency. There are very few instances where we don’t see them ‘on’ and this film captures a commitment to law enforcement like few others.


Ravenous (1999) – 48%

What is it about?

Upon receiving reports of missing persons at Fort Spencer, a remote Army outpost on the Western frontier, Capt. John Boyd (Guy Pearce) investigates. After arriving at his new post, Boyd and his regiment aid a wounded frontiersman, F.W. Colghoun (Robert Carlyle), who recounts a gruesome tale that prompts Boyd to head back into the wilderness to verify.

Where to Watch?

Buy or rent in the Fetch Move Store.

Fresh Feature

Genre soup. There is really nothing out there quite like this stew of conventions and tones (that we have seen). A blood-drenched cannibal Western served with grisly chunks of dark humour. It was a tough gig to market this back in 1999. What even is this trailer?


The Fountain (2006) – 52%

What is it about?

A man (Hugh Jackman) travels through time on a quest for immortality and to save the woman (Rachel Weisz) he loves. As a 16th-century conquistador, Tomas searches for the legendary Fountain of Youth. As a present-day scientist, he desperately struggles to cure the cancer that is killing his wife. Finally, as a 26th-century astronaut in deep space, Tom begins to grasp the mysteries of life, love and death.

Where to Watch?

Buy or rent in the Fetch Move Store.

Fresh Feature

Clint Mansell’s score. Independent of the movie – a film of cosmic ambition – this is a grand, ethereal musical achievement. Mansell collaborated with the classical string quartet Kronos Quartet and the post-rock band Mogwai on the score. Here’s one of the tracks:


National Treasure (2004) – 46%

What is it about?

Historian and code-breaker Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) has been searching his whole life for a rumored treasure dating back to the creation of the United States. Joining an expedition led by fellow treasure hunter Ian Howe (Sean Bean), Gates finds an ice-locked Colonial ship in the Arctic Circle that contains a clue linking the treasure to the Declaration of Independence.

Where to Watch?

Buy or rent in the Fetch Move Store.

Fresh Feature

The family-friendly action-adventure. This is a genre that is getting rarer and rarer. There is always a place for some Indiana Jones or E.T- type adventures. Today the family market is largely split between potentially-alienating expensive animated movies and even more expensive superhero franchises, with little room in between. National Treasure (and the equally fun sequel) falls into this globe-hopping, don’t-think-too-hard, fantastically-skewed escapism and sits alongside a top-shelf field of ‘90s gems like The Mask of Zorro and The Mummy and more recently the resurrection of the Jumanji franchise. More of these, please.


Wet Hot American Summer (2001) – 38%

What is it about?

Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, this witty satire follows a group of counselors who are each trying to complete their unfinished business before the day ends.

Where to Watch?

Currently not available to watch on Fetch, but you can stream spin-off series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, on Netflix.

Fresh Feature

The cast. If there was ever a premonition for future success it is this film. Back in 2001 most of this cast were relatively unknown – some had worked together as part of a comedy troupe known as The State, Paul Rudd had been in Clueless of course, but this was Bradley Cooper’s first film credit. Elizabeth Banks and Amy Poehler only had a few credits to their name. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to assemble a group of comic performers together of this quality. Wet Hot American Summer, in addition to being quite frequently hilarious, serves as a time capsule for these stars before they individually started to take over Hollywood.


Hot Rod (2007) – 39%

What is it about?

Self-proclaimed stuntman Rod Kimble (Andy Samberg) is preparing for the jump of his life – to clear fifteen buses to raise money for his abusive stepfather Frank’s life-saving heart operation.

Where to Watch?

Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store

Fresh Feature

Andy Samberg. As one of the most likeable and reliable comic actors working today, Samberg cemented his status with the hugely-popular and impressively consistent police-spoof series, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but has forayed into more dramatic comedy effortlessly with Celeste & Jesse Forever and Palm Springs. But it all started with Hot Rod (and let’s be honest we’ve never forgotten “Lazy Sunday”).


Underwater (2020) – 47%

What is it about?

A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deep water research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

Where to watch?

Buy or rent now in Fetch Movie Store

Fresh Feature

The setting. Riffs off classic sci-fi like Alien and Gravity, creating the feeling of being isolated and terrorised in outer space – except they’re actually on the bottom of the ocean. A co-op between really intricate set design, solid CG creature work and some inventive cinematography creates an otherworldly (and unique-feeling) atmosphere that captures the palpable suspense of such a terrifying situation.


Elizabethtown (2005) – 28%

What is it about?

During a hometown memorial for his Kentucky-born father, a young man (Orlando Bloom) begins an unexpected romance with a too-good-to-be-true stewardess (Kirsten Dunst).

Where to watch?

Buy or rent now in Fetch Movie Store

Fresh Feature

The Soundtrack. Just as he has done with some of his other movies (notably Almost Famous), writer-director Cameron Crowe has perfectly paired a ripper of a soundtrack with his creative tendencies. The Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst partnership is genuinely lovely too. This movie can be corny, but it’s an underrated heart-warmer.


Death to Smoochy (2002) – 42%

What is it about?

After Rainbow Randolph (Robin Williams), the corrupt, costumed star of a popular children’s TV show, is fired over a bribery scandal he is replaced by Smoochy (Edward Norton), a puffy fuscia rhinoceros. As Smoochy catapults to fame – scoring hit ratings and the affections of a network executive (Catherine Keener) – Randolph makes the unsuspecting rhino the target of his numerous outrageous attempts to exact revenge.

Where to watch?

Currently not available to watch on Fetch.

Fresh Feature

Danny De Vito. It isn’t common knowledge that De Vito also directed cult fave Matilda and it is hilarious that he followed up that weird and wonderful Roald Dahl adaptation with this wacky comedy. He brought Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris) back for a terrific supporting performance, too. De Vito is a great director, and it feels like a travesty that he hasn’t been given the reigns more often. Something tells us the return of investment on the much-maligned Smoochy (which for some reason cost $50 million to make) turned off some investors.


We Own the Night (2007) – 57%

What is it about?

In 1988, after New York’s police wage an all-out war on drugs, Bobby Green (Joaquin Phoenix), manager of a nightclub that is often frequented by gangsters, tries to remain neutral. But Bobby hides a potentially fatal secret – his brother (Mark Wahlberg) and father (Robert Duvall) are both cops. After his brother is wounded in an assassination attempt, Bobby can no longer remain neutral, joining forces with his brother for an all-out assault on the mob.

Where to watch?

Buy or rent now in Fetch Movie Store

Fresh Feature

Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix finally won an Oscar for his role in Joker but he has been quietly turning in amazing work for years. Check out The Master and You Were Never Really Here for other Oscar-worthy work. Phoenix has actually worked multiple other times with director James Gray (The Yards, Two Lovers and The Immigrant – all great), and watching him emotionally navigate this tightrope of conflict is just incredible to watch.

Bonus featureWe Own the Night also has a very impressive rainstorm car chase sequence, one of the most intense ever filmed.

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