At the end of every year, columnist Ellen Goodman writes a “mea culpa” column, in which she corrects the mistakes she made during the year. For a critic, a “mistake” is more subjective. Nevertheless, there are times when it seems like the movies we reviewed are not the same movies everyone else in the world saw.
We chose four reviews that we were most “wrong” about and asked the critics for their explanations.
Our rating: ***1/2
Percent positive on RottenTomatoes: 42
What went wrong: Critic Ryan Hurtig says “A lot of people dismissed this as just another Adam Sandler vehicle, and most of them probably wrote it off before they even saw it. But Sandler had a more refined role. I thought he and Nicholson played well off each other, and the story was more than just a “manchild must mature to save Grandma’s farm from greedy people,” which has been the plot of Sandler’s other movies to date. Besides, even the worst comedies have a few funny moments in them, and the scene where Sandler and Nicholson sing “I feel pretty” in the midst of a traffic jam should have garnered at least a chuckle out of you.”
Our rating: *1/2
Percent positive on RottenTomatoes: 89
What went wrong: Critic Marty Mapes says “I understand that most people will like this movie much better than I did. Most people will not see religious-based emotional abuse, but I happen to be very sensitive to that subject. Toward the end, the movie made me very angry when Gramps drives his granddaughter to suicide. But I acknowledge that I’m in the small minority, and most people didn’t see things that way. I wouldn’t change my review, but I also wouldn’t necessarily try to convince anyone else that my point of view is right.”
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Our rating: ***
Percent positive on RottenTomatoes: 25
What went wrong: Critic Matt Anderson says “The Cradle of Life is a movie with a lot of great ideas, from Lara Croft punching out a shark to her zooming down the Great Wall of China on a motorcycle. While the execution of most of the film’s grandiose ideas doesn’t have the zest Spielberg could put into an Indy movie with his right pinky, the movie stands on its own as a good adventure yarn. I’d stand by my review, and Lara Croft, any time.”
Our rating: *1/2
Percent positive on RottenTomatoes: 78
What went wrong: Critic Marty Mapes says “Roger Ebert led the lemmings off the cliff with this one. I understand what Bad Santa was trying to do, but it really failed with too much happy Hollywood schmaltz. It was on the verge of being as good as Ebert says it was, but it didn’t make it. No apologies.”