There are quite a few film directors whom we call "masters" of their craft. When we watch their movies, we admire the way they can create this atmosphere that makes us plunge into the story's events, it feels as if we're part of the film ourselves. Heck, it wouldn't be far fetched to call some of these directors geniuses, in their own right. In fact, they are, but they're still people. And all people, make mistakes — no exceptions.
Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Ridley Scott — there are at least two things that all of these great directors have in common. All of these men have made some of the best movies of our time and became the legends of Hollywood. All of these men also have at least one movie that was torn apart by the critics. Let's see what movies were torn to shreds, just to remind ourselves that work isn't always good work.
15 Steven Spielberg: 'Hook' (1991)
Steven Spielberg is one of the most successful directors of our time. He received two Academy Awards for Best Director for Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, along with several nominations for other films. Most of his films were acclaimed by both critics and audiences, and, well, made a lot of money.
However, not all of Spielberg's movies were so successful. For example, Hook (1991), a story about Peter Pan and how he grew up, turning into a corporate suit became a disappointment both for viewers and for the director himself. In one of his interviews, Spielberg confessed, "I want to see Hook again. I still don't like that movie. I'm hoping some day I'll see it again and perhaps like some of it."
Even though the film made some money, it still became a financial disappointment. Despite the distinguished director and the all-star cast that included the late Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Maggie Smith, and Julia Roberts, this film only scored a 29% on Rotten Tomatoes.
14 Clint Eastwood: 'The 15:17 to Paris' (2018)
Clint Eastwood, who's considered the Hollywood icon of masculinity, created a number of masterpieces, including Million Dollar Baby and Unforgiven that received Academy Awards, as well as multiple westerns, action films, thrillers, and dramas.
This year, this iconic director made a mistake that was based on a noble desire to praise three young men who stopped a radical attack on a train on its way from Amsterdam to Paris, in August of 2015. According to some viewers, the biggest mistake was to cast these three young men as themselves. We can't diminish their merits and we should appreciate their bravery, but these people aren't actors. For this reason, their performance wasn't so good.
Besides, prior to the actual act of heroism, the movie told details about the characters' school life that, at times, were rather boring. As a result, the movie about three brave men that risked their lives turned out to be much duller than we expected.
13 Tim Burton: 'Planet of the Apes' (2001)
A lot of people enjoy Tim Burton's eccentric films. His Corpse Bride, Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, and other films received mostly positive reviews for their unusual plots, brilliant performance of actors, and great directing style. And lot of people also like the Planet of the Apes films, and keep on watching all the remakes made by multiple directors. It seemed that Burton would be able to make a good movie out of the popular franchise. However, his version was repeatedly called one of the worst ones.
What was the reason of Burton's failure to recreate Planet of the Apes? People name a lot of them. First, most viewers had an impression that the actors were miscast. Secondly, the movie's plot was silly. And third, it simply seemed to be dull compared to the original. Nevertheless, the makeup and special effects in Burton's Planet of the Apes were very good, even though digital effects technology wasn't well-developed back in 2001.
12 Peter Jackson: 'The Lovely Bones' (2009)
When we watch Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies, we think that the man who made them would never be able to produce a poor film in their life. It seems, however, that Peter Jackson is a genius who somehow understands the makings of a successful movie. But, as life shows, even geniuses make mistakes. Jackson's film The Lovely Bones proves it once again.
First of all, viewers say that Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel of the same name, looks much poorer than the book. The director missed a lot of details of the story to make it look less dramatic. But, by doing it, he deprived it of its original power. Secondly, it seemed that the use of special effects and CGI were more important to the director than the characters and the story itself. The resulting film turned out to be not as successful as Jackson's gargantuan trilogies.
11 Mel Brooks: 'Dracula Dead and Loving It' (1995)
Those of you who watched and loved Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, History of the World, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, might have expected a lot from Dracula: Dead and Loving It. All the earlier movies by this director were hilarious and captivating, so everyone wanted to see the same kind of humor in his 1995 parody that featured Leslie Nielsen.
However, we all were disappointed, because Dracula was nowhere near Brooks' earlier comedy masterpieces. This movie received an overwhelming amount of negative critical reception. Critics said that its humor was only "sporadic" and that "As a result, unfortunately, Dead and Loving It is so mild, it comes perilously close to blandness." Even Nielsen's comedic talent didn't save the film. So if you want to spend a good evening watching a funny movie by Mel Brooks, better opt for the good old Young Frankenstein.
10 The Wachowski Sisters: 'Jupiter Ascending' (2015)
I don't know about you, but when I heard that the creators of Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta, and Cloud Atlas, were making Jupiter Ascending that featured Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, and Eddie Redmayne, my expectations were extremely high. But when I watched the movie, these expectations fell into ashes and turned into disappointment.
So many things were wrong about Jupiter, that it's hard to decide where to start. The film didn't have any taste or imagination. Its plot was tedious and ridiculous. It was full of awkward dialogues, dull scenes, and clichés... It was so predictable that the viewer could guess every move of the main characters.
So, if you don't want to waste two hours of your life, don't watch this movie. And if you have seen it, better forget about it.
9 Martin Scorsese: 'Boxcar Bertha' (1972)
Martin Scorsese's directing career spans over 50 years. His Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, and a number of other films are considered masterpieces and Hollywood classics. But some of the movies he made in the beginning of his career weren't as good.
Boxcar Bertha has the lowest rating among all films directed by Scorsese. The story about two train robbers and lovers who then became fugitives lacked the captivating plot and interesting twists that are so inherent of Scorsese's style. This film was much more boring than other movies by this director. But we can understand why it happened: the director was only beginning to create movies and he was bound to make mistakes, only to learn from them, and then present audiences with masterpieces later on. Fortunately, he only made successful movies after it.
8 Ridley Scott: 'A Good Year' (2006)
When A Good Year came out, everything seemed to be weird from the very beginning. The film was directed by Ridley Scott, the creator of Alien, Blade Runner, Hannibal, and Gladiator. The main role was given to Russell Crowe, who starred in Gladiator, and quickly became many people's favorite actor. It might have seemed that the Scott-Crowe tandem should work out once again, but A Good Year wasn't an action movie, or a historical drama — it was a romantic comedy, and neither Scott nor Crowe were good in making people laugh.
The result was obvious: the movie received predominantly negative reviews. It lacked humor and charm that'd make people like it. It was also called "dull" and "lifeless." In fact, A Good Year's failure proves one simple fact: a genius action movie director, like Ridley Scott, who never made comedies before, should never make them again.
7 Woody Allen: 'Wonder Wheel' (2017)
Wonder Wheel featured an all-star cast that included Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Jim Belushi, and Juno Temple. And, on top of it, it was directed by Woody Allen. It seemed that this film was destined for success. However, it failed. Hard.
First of all, the movie's plot touches an extremely controversial subject, talking about a relationship between an adult woman and a young man. The script seems to be very dull and it only leaves actors stuck with cliché lines.
Critics say that even though the movie's cast was great, the "actors weren't able to breathe life into Allen's project." And the whole movie seemed to be a rough draft, not a finished project. As a result, Wonder Wheel became the lowest rated film made by Woody Allen.
6 Francis Ford Coppola: 'Jack' (1996)
After directing The Godfather trilogy and Bram Stoker's Dracula, Francis Ford Coppola became one of the greatest film directors of all time. But in 1996 he made a mistake by creating a comedic drama called Jack. The film was about a boy who had Werner syndrome and aged four times faster than normal. Even though this idea could turn into a overwhelming masterpiece, the result was a mediocre, underwhelming film.
According to the critics, Jack was a "tedious" and "uneventful" movie that only wasted the talents of everyone involved in it. Some people even thought that Coppola didn't actually make the movie. They suggested that the famous director was abducted by aliens and was replaced by an impostor to direct it.
So you can imagine the degree of disbelief that Coppola's genius could create something like this film.
5 Sofia Coppola: 'Marie Antoinette' (2006)
Sofia, the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, also became a successful film director and made a lot of great movies, including Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides. But she also made her mistakes. And one of them was Marie Antoinette.
The movie about the infamous French Queen received mixed reviews from critics. A lot of people criticized the film and claimed that it was historically inaccurate. Besides, its contemporary soundtrack ruined the atmosphere of the XVIII century, despite the luxuriant costumes and good performance of the actors. And, according to one of the critics, "Although it is purposely devoid of substance, it is still devoid of substance."
It doesn't mean that Marie Antoinette was a horrific movie. It just wasn't as good as it could have been, and certainly not as good as what we expected to see from the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola.
4 David Fincher: 'Alien 3' (1992)
Everything seemed to be forming into a successful movie. It had to be the third part of Alien the movie that became a classic horror. It featured Sigourney Weaver and it was directed by David Fincher, the man who gave us Seven, Fight Club, and Zodiac. However, it was one of the first movies by this director, and it wasn't as successful as other films he made.
People didn't like Alien 3 and most fans of the franchise were disappointed, because this film was much worse than the first and second parts. Some fans were so frustrated that they lost interest in the franchise. Eventually, even Fincher himself claimed in his interview with The Guardian, "No one hated it more than me; to this day, no one hates it more than me."
It's good that he understood his mistakes. But I'd like to ask him, did he really think that it was going to be a good movie when he was making it?
3 Guillermo del Toro: 'Mimic' (1997)
This year, Guillermo del Toro won an Academy Award for Best Director for his fantasy film Shape of Water. Apart from this Oscar, he has a number of other awards, including a BAFTA and a Golden Globe. Del Toro's works are widely acclaimed and loved by both critics and the audience.
But it doesn't mean that the entire directing career of del Toro was so successful. In 1997, he made, Mimic, his first Hollywood movie, that told a story about cockroaches that spread a deadly disease, and about two scientists who were attempting to stop the epidemic. This film wasn't completely bad, but it also wasn't as good as all other del Toro's films. Now, when we look back at all his projects and compare Mimic to Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy, or Crimson Peak, we understand that it was the weakest film del Toro ever made.
2 Oliver Stone: 'Alexander' (2004)
Oliver Stone is the director who gave us such great movies as Wall Street, Nixon, W., and Snowden, and received a lot of awards and nominations for his work. But he made a mistake, at least once in his career. He decided to direct a movie about Alexander the Great, a Macedonian commander who conquered half of the world's countries when he was in his 30's. Everyone expected to see something epic, but instead, the film turned out to be a complete disappointment and a box office failure.
Alexander was torn apart by critics and historians for a lot of reasons. Critics claimed that it didn't have any "emotional involvement" or "dramatic flair," while historians were shocked to see all the inaccuracies in it. Some of them even suggested to stop calling Alexander a historical movie and call it fiction instead.
1 Rob Reiner: 'North' (1994)
If you watched Stand by Me, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, and A Few Good Men, you know that Rob Reiner is a brilliant director. You should also know that he was recognized by the Directors Guild of America for his merits. And, if you like Reiner's films, you should wipe North out of your memory, because this film was downright bad.
North was based on a novel whose name tells it all: North: The Tale of a 9-Year-Old Boy Who Becomes a Free Agent and Travels the World in Search of the Perfect Parents.
The film had an all-star cast that included Elijah Wood, Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, Bruce Willis, and a 9-year-old Scarlett Johansson. But all these brilliant actors didn't save it, because, according to many critics, it was one of the worst movies ever made. Even though North was supposed to be a comedy, it wasn't funny at all and it didn't have any emotional impact on the viewer. Sadly, it just was a waste of talents of everyone involved.