Whether it be poor casting choices, bizarre plots, or potential political uproar, here of some of the most controversial films to hit our screens in recent memory.
The Wolf of Wall Street
When Hollywood heavyweights Leonardo Dicaprio and director Martin Scorsese collaborate on a film, it's guaranteed to get people talking. The 2013 film "The Wolf of Wall Street" was no exception. However, unlike their previous collaborations, what people were saying wasn't entirely positive.
Jordan Belfort, a real-life white-collar criminal who defrauded ordinary people out of millions of dollars, served as the inspiration for the film. The issue? Viewers felt that the film glamourized Belfort's behavior and the chaotic corruption running rampant on Wall Street, and shed no light on the victims.
"The Exorcist" is one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Linda Blair's demonically possessed head-spinning has been terrorizing audiences since 1974! While the film is an undisputed icon of horror royalty, a plethora of controversy surrounded it.
Cinema audiences of the film reportedly had horrific physical reactions upon seeing the film, including throwing up and passing out. Along with its graphic gore, it was alleged that the film employed subliminal messaging to incite those negative physical reactions from audiences. The cast and crew weren't spared either! Two main actors were seriously injured during filming, not to mention a freak fire destroyed the set! Creepy!
Ah, the 2010s. Superhero film franchises were at their peak. DC Comic fans were overjoyed to learn that beloved director Zach Synder would be at the helm of the "Justice League" film. However, their hopes were soon dashed when Synder left the production before its completion. Joss Weadon stepped up to replace Synder, however, his efforts turned out to be in vain. Fans hated Weadon's take on the film!
DC fans were so upset that they formed their own justice league! Their mission? To have director Zack Snyder's cut of the "Justice League" released. Finally in 2021, the 4-hour "Synder Cut" was unveiled. To say that it received a far warmer reception is an understatement.
The iconic musical talent of Nina Simone has reverberated through the decades. It was only fitting that her story and rise to musical greatness be portrayed on film. This is exactly what filmmakers attempted to do in 2016.
The Achilles heel of the film turned out to be the choice to cast actress Zoe Saldana in the leading role of Nina Simone. Saldana had to don prosthetics and make-up as she is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent while Nina Simone was African American. Many questioned why filmmakers didn't just hire an actress of similar descent and skin tone to Nina, especially in light of the fact that roles for such actresses are already few and far between.
The Tree of Life
It wasn’t just the ending of "The Tree of Life" that was a little confusing—it was the whole movie. It centers primarily on a family living in a Texas town, though their lives are intercut with other scenes that represent everything from the dawn of time to the afterlife.
Director Terrence Malick never specified exactly what the movie was about. However, film critics have suggested that the movie prompts you to reflect on all the good and bad in your own life and how it fits into the bigger picture. Viewers were split, some adoring the abstract nature of the film while others couldn't stand it!
He's All That
A day doesn't seem to pass by without a new teen movie packed with Gen-Z stars dropping on Netflix. "He's All That", a rather unremarkable remake of the 90s classic "She's All That", was panned by critics because of TikTok star Addison Rae's atrocious acting ability.
However, the main controversy of the film centered around its puke-worthy product placement. These days, product placement in film and television is, unfortunately, the norm, but it's usually fairly subtle. "He's All That's" product placement was so explicit and in-your-face that even Addison Rae's loyal TikTok following couldn't stomach it.
The Silence of the Lambs
This Oscar darling certainly sings for its supper. For animal lovers out there, don't fret! No lambs were involved in the making of the film. Instead, the true terror is focused on unlucky humans. Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee and the protagonist of the film, takes us on a quest to catch a serial killer with the help of none other than...Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who's, himself, a serial killer.
Clarice gets up close and personal with the skin-crawl-causing cannibal. The film appears on various "greatest films of all time" lists, so not only will it frighten you, but it will also impress your cinephile friends. The controversy surrounding the film stemmed from how LGBTQI+ characters were portrayed. Queer-rights activists have since criticized the film for perpetuating negative stereotypes associated with the community.
The mind of director Darren Aronofksy is delightfully dark! Think "Requiem for a Dream" and "Black Swan." It's almost no surprise, then, that Aronofsky's film "Mother!" was released in 2017 by polarized audiences.
The psychological horror was praised by some for its complex narrative and high production value while others found it to be overly pretentious and grotesque. Not even Hollywood darling Jennifer Lawrence in the leading role could quell the controversy.
It's no stretch to say that "The Simpsons" show has ruffled a few feathers in its 30+ (and counting) year run. The animated show is a mix of satirical and toilet humor which has always kept audiences and censors on the edge of their seats.
So it was no surprise that the film adaptation was a massive success. However, "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening has since said that since the same team was used to create the film and the series, the labor-intensive process and financial costs of the film "almost killed" the show. Yikes! This may be one of the reasons we haven't seen a sequel to the box office hit.
With three separate timelines included in the film, "The Fountain" is bound to be confusing. This 2006 movie prompted viewers to demand an explanation for the many bewildering elements when they first saw it.
However, director Darren Aronofsky refused to ruin the symbolism of the film by giving a clear answer. He stated, “It’s a film that’s a journey, and it’s a trip, and it’s an experience throughout the meditation of a lot of these questions.” If you look at the movie through that lens, you can see that it’s about the process of coming to terms with one’s mortality.
James Cameron's epic romance had...titanic...success when it was released in 1997 and still stands today as one of the most beloved films of all time. Not to mention it instantly shot Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet into the Hollywood royalty realm.
The film's record-breaking success didn't mean it was free from controversy behind the scenes. Not only was it 6 months behind schedule but it also reportedly went $100 million over budget. Yes, you read that correctly. $100 million! Even worse, over 60 crew members fell severely ill after having their lunch spiked with PCP. While the culprit has never been caught, it's assumed that it was a disgruntled crew member in response to the difficult working conditions Cameron created on set.
A Clockwork Orange
Both Anthony Burgess's novel and Stanley Kubrick's subsequent adaption of "A Clockwork Orange" are not for the faint-hearted. The film was shrouded in controversy and it's no wonder why. The plot centers around Alex DeLarge, a violently twisted criminal who commits horrific atrocities.
Not only was the subject matter and depictions of violence offensive and disturbing to audiences, but the film reportedly inspired "copycat criminals" who sadly committed similar crimes following the film's release. The real-life violence even prompted Kubrick to pull the film from cinemas.
Most of you don’t need an introduction to "The Room." It’s widely considered to be the "Best-worst film ever made," full of convoluted plotlines, incredibly bad editing, horrible music, and some of the worst acting you’ve ever seen. While many believed that it was a parody, it was actually a completely serious film made by and starring the mysterious Tommy Wiseau.
The film has gained a cult following since its abysmal release and is now one of the most popular bad films of all time. Many theaters in the United States have an annual theatrical showing of the film, and it’s always sold out with roaring and laughing fans. The 2017 film "The Disaster Artist" chronicles the bizarre behind-the-scenes shenanigans of how the film was made.
Prince of Persia
Movie adaptations of video games have a pretty rough history, much rougher than that of comic books. The odd choice to make the "Prince of Persia" series into a big-budget Hollywood flick came with Jake Gyllenhaal as the title character. They gave him all the long hair and scruffy beard they could, but it's just not that easy to turn Donnie Darko into a Middle-Eastern prince.
We're seeing more and more examples of opportunities to cast an appropriate actor squandered by Hollywood who wants the biggest name attached to their project. While we're sure Jake and the filmmakers were disappointed with the criticism, Taylor Swift fans must have reveled in it!
This cult-classic horror expertly depicts a petrifying paranoia-fueled pregnancy. The film's artistic genius and subliminal themes of women's liberation even earned it a place in the United States National Film Registry.
Mia Farrow shines as the film's young protagonist, terrified under constant threat from her creepy cult-member neighbors and by her own growing belly. The film builds to a climax where Rosemary realizes that she's given birth to none other than Satan's son. We've heard that pregnancy can be tough but this is just ridiculous! The film's pregnancy-paranoia plot was very taboo at the time n which raised many eyebrows upon its release.
My Sister's Keeper
While it's rare that a film fully lives up to a novel, "My Sister's Keeper" is a prime example of a movie completely butchering the plot and message of the book. Jodi Piccoult's novel of the same name follows a family dealing with their daughter's struggle with cancer and the role each member should play.
The novel's shock ending perfectly portrays the messages of the randomness and fragility of life. However, for some bizarre reason, the filmmakers decided to completely shift the ending and instead kill off another character. It not only made the film predictable but lacked any real substance or thought. Leaving Piccoult and her fans deeply disappointed.
We all know the saying "life imitates art." Well, Francis Ford Coppola's film "Apocolypse Now" (an adaption of Joseph Conrad's novella "Heart of Darkness") is a great illustration of it. The making of the film turned out to be pure chaos.
The film was grossly over-budget and behind schedule causing Coppolla to suffer a nervous breakdown and an epileptic seizure. The cast and crew were also subjected to intensive and dangerous shooting conditions. Lead actor Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack while a crew member lost his life on set. To top it all off, the set was hit by a typhoon AND a hurricane. Coppola later admitted that "little by little we went insane."
Dallas Buyers Club
While there's no doubt that Jared Leto's performance as a trans woman in the film “Dallas Buyers Club” was Oscar-worthy, there's since been a slew of criticism surrounding his casting.
In light of the fact that there is already a disparity in the representation of trans people on screen, many questioned the choice to cast Leto, a non-trans person in the role. His tone-deaf casting is yet another example of how Hollywood is in dire need to greatly increase its representation of roles and actors of people from all walks of life.
Ang Lee's 2005 film "Brokeback Mountain" was widely regarded as a monumental moment for "New Queer Cinema" at the time. The gay romance between two cowboys was not readily accepted by all audiences, some countries even banned the film from its shores.
While the film was the favorite to win the Academy Award for "Best Picture" in 2006, many believe it was snubbed due to its "controversial" subject matter. Regardless, it remains a hallmark of queer representation in cinema.
"Cannibal Holocaust" is one of the most horrifying controversial films produced during the time. Its content was so graphic that audiences were convinced the deaths were real.
The actors reportedly signed a contract saying they would disappear. They did so to keep up the appearance of the film being a documentary. The 1980 Italian film isn't as well known in America, and maybe that's for the best? Viewer discretion is seriously advised with this one.
You'd think that an animated film about a talking sausage and other grocery store items would be a family-friendly flick. Well with "Sausage Party" you'd be wrong! While the film has explicit sexual themes and visuals, it's not where the controversy lies.
Since the film's release in 2016, numerous animators have come forward and exposed the poor working conditions and unfair treatment they experienced while working on the film. To make matters worse, many of the animators weren't even credited for their labor!
The Lone Ranger
Nothing beats Johnny Depp as an interesting character, but this casting choice was a bit too interesting for most people. "The Lone Ranger" was a huge box office bomb for Disney, losing them almost two hundred million dollars, and Depp's casting was a primary issue. Tonto is a Native American character, and it would have been a great way for a Native American actor to show his skills. Instead, we got Captain Jack Sparrow – and his costume for the film also raised some eyebrows.
Depp's acting wasn't the problem, but his "redface" is the leading storyline when most people talk about this movie.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star as the...lovers...of this steamy "romance" film, which attempted to capitalize on the fame of the novel of the same name. Yet the movie couldn't even reach the low bar of the book; since the two primary actors had so little chemistry, the relationship came off as creepy and predatory rather than...whatever it was supposed to be in the book.
It had none of the passionate tension or interesting power dynamic of the literary version we're, uh, told. In fact, Johnson and Dornan are reported to have hated each other. That makes a romantic film tough, probably.
Snow White and the Huntsman
There was one point in history when Bella and Edward were everyone's favorite couple, even if they were fictional characters. "Twilight" fans went wild when actors Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson set the world on fire with their off-screen relationship.
Director Rupert Sanders managed to pull together an all-star cast for "Snow White and the Huntsman," but there was one actress he couldn't keep his eyes (or hands) off of. Stewart and Sanders had an affair, which led to the break up of Pattinson and Stewart amidst the rumors.
Ghost in the Shell
Nobody can decry Johansson's acting chops, but this was another misstep by casting white actors in Asian roles. "Ghost in the Shell" is a classic piece of anime history, and it was a great opportunity to give a big role to a smaller name. But the producers went with the hot hand, and Johansson starred instead.
Plenty of people wanted the role recast, and thanks to this bad press – and, we have to assume, being not a very good movie – the film became both a commercial and critical flop.
The Hobbit Trilogy
So firstly, let’s just remember that it would be nigh impossible to follow "The Lord of the Rings" with a trilogy that would even come close to the Academy Award-winning franchise. But some of the fans were at least hopeful that at least they’d be able to be transported once again to the world of Middle Earth.
Maybe there was a lack of likability among the band of hobbits or the fact that they drew out what should’ve been a maximum of two films into three. Overly long and a little bit of a slow story, these films got the overrated badge from viewers and critics alike.
The film follows the ascent of a middleweight boxer (with an added love interest from the Bronx) who gets so far and then finds his lack of emotional availability is a hindrance in the ring and in his life. With director Martin Scorcese and Robert De Niro at the helm, it's considered a classic.
However, De Niro's "method acting" approach to the character of the violent Jake LaMotta resulted in a lot of discomfort from the cast and crew. This included an unplanned real physical fight that occurred during one of the scenes between De Niro and Cathy Moriarty.
Based on the title alone, you can likely guess what "Nymphomaniac" is about. The explicit “adults only” subject matter of the film would usually be enough to stir up enough controversy to get people talking, however, there's more to the story here!
Rumors have swirled around this film ever since its release, including on-set affairs and unsimulated intimate scenes between the actors. The film has been so controversial that it was only released in a few select cinemas.
Nobody liked "Aloha." Not even Emma Stone herself, though she only joined the "this is whitewashing" crowd after she had been paid. Allison Ng is a Chinese-Hawaiian, two cultures that Stone is not, which was one of the biggest criticisms the film garnered. Overall, the film was a big flop for director Cameron Crowe, though there were plenty of poor reviews and a lack of interest to add on to casting mistakes that buried this film.
Stone told the Los Angeles Times: "I've become the target of many jokes. I've learned a lot about the insane history of whitewashing."
Sean Connery and Uma Thurman star in this remake of the long-running British spy series based on Marvel’s comic books. Both are titled “The Avengers.” One was epic; the other has been called the worst movie ever.
The movie registered a 5% on the Tomatometer. “The Avengers” tanked royally. It did not even clear its $60 million budget. On Rotten Tomatoes, it was called “inept” and a “woefully miscast disaster.” This summer release was a summer bummer. With nine Golden Raspberry nominations, it won “Worst Remake or Sequel” as well as “Worst Resurrection of a TV Show.”
Black Swan follows professional ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman), who tries to be the best she can be when cast as Swan Queen for a ballet company. Throughout the film, Nina struggles with her role, fighting not only herself but also Lily (Mila Kunis) – a talented ballerina cast as the Black Swan.
Natalie even won an Oscar for her performance. Well, that's where the controversy lies! Many have criticized her win because the majority of her character's screen time was performed by an actual ballerina, leading many to question how much of the performance can be credited to Natalie.
We all know why "Basic Instinct" is so infamous. Yep, it's that Sharon Stone scene. That rather...exposing...scene would usually be enough to keep fueling the controversy around this film for decades to come.
Well as it turns out, Stone herself has been outspoken about the scene. She alleged that she was not informed by filmmakers that she would be exposed in that manner and was given alternative reasons as to why she had to film this scene with no underpants. Filmmakers have denied her claims. It certainly makes an already infamous film even more so.
The Grindhouse film brings all the action and horror possible. The Tarantino-directed film stars Kurt Russell, as stuntman Mike McKay, and his evil pursuits of murdering young women in staged car accidents in his"death proof" car. Abernathy (Rosario Dawson), Kim (Tracie Thomas), and Lee (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) try to survive the attack from the homicidal madman in this new-wave exploration thriller.
Tarantino fans are no strangers to watching films that push the boundaries of gore and violence, however, this film seemed to take it too far. This film made even the most die-hard fans feel uneasy and queazy at the excessive violence depicted against women in the film as well as the unreasonably excessive male gaze shots throughout the film.
It's the film where two musical notes gave audiences around the world chills down their spines. We're talking about Speilberg's 1975 mammoth horror hit "Jaws." It was nearly impossible to not develop the shark-scaries after watching the film.
However, marine biologists and activists have blasted the film for inciting mass public fear and hatred toward sharks, and incorrectly depicting them as savage killers. There have been various links to the release of "Jaws" and the mass unnecessary culling of sharks worldwide.
Batman v Superman
Lex Luthor is one of the iconic comic book villains, up there with the Joker and Magneto. Plenty of people were hoping for a powerful actor who has already stunned as a bald villain – like Bryan Cranston in "Breaking Bad" when he says, "I am the one who knocks" – but instead, we got Jesse Eisenberg. He's certainly not a bad actor, looking at his previous outings, but he just didn't have the power to play this unforgettable villain.
Superman's arch-nemesis needs more, and Eisenberg just didn't have it in him. Many found his character too manic, too loud, and too wild for what a good Luther should be – a little bit too close to the Joker for a lot of people's liking. It left many fans hating the film due to its questionable casting choice.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Unfortunately, we don't live in a world where everyone gets along. This is true on movie sets as well. While two characters may be friends or lovers, the actors that play them may very well despise one another. This was certainly the case on the set of "Mad Max: Fury Road."
The film was a smashing success and received positive critical reviews upon its release at the time of the film's release. However, a few years later, it came to light that not only did the two leads, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy not get along, but Charlize felt that she was in danger. She even requested protection from Hardy during filming. It certainly douses the highly saturated film with a grey cloud, knowing how difficult on-set relations were.
The story of this film is simple and straightforward — Sarah loses her family, and in order to help her cope, her girlfriends take her to explore caves together. Yeah, we don't understand how this is supposed to help either. The movie manages to make us feel claustrophobic even though we are watching it from the comfort of our roomy home.
While it's usual to see some blood gore in a horror film, it's safe to assume that it's fake...right? Well, those with weak stomachs look away! Rumor has it that director Neil Marshall opted to use actual skeletal remains as opposed to fake ones, unbeknownst to the unfortunate cast members. Hey, we're all for realism, but this is taking it too far.
Natural Born Killers
Many films have been criticized for glorifying bad behavior, however Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers" is the quintessential example. The film centers around an (arguably very cool) loved-up couple turned mass murderers.
The film's mix of romance and violence has been credited to have inspired several "copycat crimes" including the horrific Columbine High School tragedy.
The 1987 British film "Hellraiser" is based on a story called "The Hellbound Heart." At the center of the movie are extra-dimensional creatures who enjoy hurting others and can't tell pain from pleasure.
The film's gory content was so vile that it was banned in Canada due to its "brutal, graphic violence with blood-letting throughout, horror, degradation and torture."
Godfather Part III
Hollywood is no stranger to nepotisim. However, Francis Ford Coppola's decision to cast his daughter Sofia Coppola in the highly anticipated third installment of his classic and beloved "Godfather" trilogy was a mistake to say the very least.
While Sofia is a talented filmmaker in her own right, acting is not her strong suit which made her all-too-convenient casting all the more frustrating for audiences. Given how well-received the first two "Godfather" films were by critics and audiences alike, the third film had big (shiny) shoes to fill and did not deliver. This film is likely sleeping with the fishes!
Leonardo Dicaprio's infamous post-"Titanic" film "The Beach" (2000) was shot at the magnificent Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands, Thailand. This picturesque paradise was the backdrop for the aptly named film about a group of tourists trying to start a new life. Unfortunately, in order to shoot the film in paradise, the film crew landscaped and destroyed the beach. This prompted several environmental lawsuits against the film studio.
Additionally, the film boosted the popularity of this location so much so that the intense thoroughfare following eventually led to Maya Bay having to close its doors to tourists for a few months to allow the ecosystem to bounce back.
Blue Is the Warmest Colour
French actresses Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos star in "Blue Is the Warmest Colour," an intimate and riveting romantic drama.
While the film has received international critical acclaim, both actress and crew members have since spoken out about the poor treatment and unreasonable working conditions they experienced on set. Complaints ranged from unpaid overtime work to unnecessarily uncomfortable love scenes.
No plot? No dollars. No dollars? No film studio. What does that mean? Don't make another film, Hollywood, except if it’s a la Christopher Nolan in "The Dark Knight Rises" and you're actually a director who knows what they're doing.
While Halle Berry did her character justice, the writers just didn’t seem to make it work for the comic-book hero. The “lone bright spot” had a tough time carrying the film, and for that reason, it won 2004’s Golden Raspberry for Worst Picture.
Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock’s most widely known and recognized film, "Psycho" is a classic horror thriller that still gets played today around every Halloween. The film stars Anthony Perkins as a mentally unstable owner of a hotel who has a ton of dark secrets hidden within the building where he works.
"Psycho" became the pioneer title when it comes to the genre of horror films. However, at the time of its release, the film was shrouded in controversy for its depiction of taboo content at the time. The "shocking" scenes included, an unmarried couple sharing a bed and a bare derrière...GASP!
The Blair Witch Project
Talk about spooky set conditions! The whole cast of "The Blair Witch Project" suffered a great deal of trauma while filming the horror flick. When the director sent these kids into the woods, the poor actors didn't really know what they were in for. They were taunted and terrified throughout the duration of the shooting.
Heather Donahue especially had a hard time as she had to pretend that the whole experience was real which even involved faking her own death. While this behind-the-scenes information certainly made the film controversial it also just added to its horror hype.
Young and hormonal guys were extremely excited when they heard that the beautiful Alexandra Daddario and American model, Kate Upton, were joining forces to play in a 2017 sex comedy called "The Layover". The film was severely panned by critics who overwhelmingly disliked it. "The Layover" received a measly 18% rating from 17 critics, mostly criticizing the film for being about two women fighting over a guy.
The movie was the worst offender of all time when it came to the Bechdel test, which measures the representation of women in fiction. The test simply asks whether there are two named females in a piece of fiction that are ever talking about something other than a man. Needless to say, feminists and film journalists did not like this movie at all. It seems that regular moviegoers also hated the film to a large extent, as they gave it a sad 22% rating based on almost 1,500 user reviews.
When James Cameron's epic "Avatar" hit our screens, it was heralded as a technical masterpiece due to its unmatched CGI use.
Well, what the film had in visuals, it lacked in its content and plot. Once audiences got over the "wow" factor of the film, many pointed out that "Avatar" glorified problematic themes of colonization and white-saviorism. Some have even argued the film is a copy-paste of the classic (and equally problematic) "Pocahontas."
Director Michael Powell's violent voyeuristic film captures the age-old fear of being watched by a stranger. Mark Lewis, aka "Peeping Tom" gets his fix from filming and then murdering unassuming women in their own homes. Nowadays, where cameras can be found in everyone's pocket at all times, this film is particularly relevant and poignant.
While "Peeping Tom" has since cultivated a cult status among movie buffs it was regarded as highly controversial when it was first released in 1960. This was due to the film's novel depiction of sexual taboos and violence.
Stephen King's novel "The Shining" revolves around Jack Torrance (played by the inimitable Jack Nicholson), caretaker of the Overlook Hotel who slowly descends into madness.
Although Stanley Kubrik's film adaption is regarded as a classic, it's not without its controversies. Not only did King hate the depiction of his story on screen, but the working conditions on set were infamously harsh for the cast and crew. This was especially true for Shelley Duvall who has said that her time on that set was “almost unbearable." Yep, that's what happens when you make your actors perform the same scene over 127 times!
Successfully remaking a classic Hollywood film is no easy feat. While the all-female 2016 remake of "Ghostbusters" was fairly well-received by film critics, it was audiences who "ghosted" the reboot. It just didn't meet the mark.
Audiences didn't warm to the idea of an all-female ghostbuster squad, some even calling the casting a "gimmick." However, most of the distaste targeted towards the film was rooted in divided politicized opinions as opposed to the film itself.
This movie is enough to give even the most style-savvy of people some fashion phobia. "In Fabric" answers the question (you likely never thought to ask) "What would happen if my dress was haunted?" The answer? Well, it wouldn't be pretty.
Wearers of the firey (pun very much intended here) red frock face horrific fates. As the pages of "Vogue" will tell you, fashion is pain! The most frightening part of the film is finding out what the fabric of the dress is made out of. That we'll let you discover on your own...The film's rather off-beat plot and sadistically-surreal scenes have made it a polarizing film even for the most cinema-obsessed.
Leonardo DiCaprio is known for being a method actor, completely committing to his roles in every film he's been a part of, and 2015's "The Revenant" was no exception. DiCaprio played Hugh Glass, a tough frontiersman that is badly injured by a bear attack and abandoned by his crew to survive in the wilderness on his own.
To fully embody the character, DiCaprio decided to stick to a purely raw meat diet (which was especially hard, considering he's a vegan) and sleep in animal carcasses. Not to mention the almost unbearable icy weather conditions while shooting and an almost endless barrage of quitting crew members, it's safe to say the blood, sweat, and tears went into the role that eventually landed him an Academy Award. Was it worth it though?
Alfred Hitchcock's famous horror-thriller “The Birds” not only filled audiences with fear and dread but the film's lead actress Tippi Hedren as well! Hitchcock and Hedren's on-set relationship was infamously strained, which stirred up controversy around the film.
It was reported that Hitchcock used real birds in the film, which meant that Hedren had to spend days on end being attacked by birds. The continuous feathered onslaught left Tippy almost seriously injured and mentally exhausted.
Ryan Murphy's film adaption of the musical "The Prom" answers the age-old question, "how do you make a film so bad that not even Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman can save it?" The answer? Cast straight entertainer James Cordon to play a queer character!
However, even without audiences' ruthless critique of the film's tone-deaf casting choice, there was little else about the film that could save it.
Unless you were living under a rock from 2008 until 2021, the "Twilight" saga will ring a bell(a) for you. The vampire love story set in high school not only ruffled feathers due to it's its cross-species canoodling but also because it romanticized the...massive...age gap between Bella and Edward.
Ahem, a rather worrying 87-year age difference to be precise. This was particularly troubling since the franchise's main target audience consisted of screaming tweens.
Sex and the City 2
Fans of the show "Sex and the City" are used to their beloved characters Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha's indulgence in overpriced fashion and cocktails around New York City. However, the show's second feature film's grotesque obsession with wealth left fans underwhelmed.
Not to mention the film's rather bizarre and condescending portrayal of the people of Abu Dhabi and their culture. The film's star Sarah Jessica Parker has agreed with the criticism of the film stating "I can see where we fell short on the movie."
The Scarlet Letter
“The Scarlet Letter” has been adapted to the screen many times. But only this production has earned seven Golden Razzie nominations, including “Worst Remake or Sequel,” which it won.
This film veers too far from Nathanial Hawthorne’s 1850 novel about a 1660 Puritan colony. The 1995 movie comes off as ignorant. It was greeted with the dreaded movie critique, “unintentionally funny.” During this era, Demi Moore’s name on the marquee was like a jinx. In short, her portrayal of Hester Prynne proved accidentally humorous.
When Seth Rogan and James Franco teamed up to create the 2014 film," The Interview" no one could have predicted the political firestorm it would create.
Now we've all read a bad review of a film, but North Korea's critique of "The Interview" takes the cake. The North Korean Government found the film so offensive that they threatened military action against the USA if the film wasn't scraped! We can all agree that "The Interview" was not worth starting a war over.
Star Trek Into Darkness
Who doesn't love to see Spock and Captain James T. Kirk venture into space and take on the mysteries of the great unknown? The famous TV Series "Star Trek" had a recent reboot which fans flocked to see.
The controversy centered around a scene in the second installment of the rebooted franchise "Star Trek Into Darkness" in which Dr. Carol Marcus appears in her underwear for no apparent reason. Fans criticized the film for its unnecessary sexualization of the female character. Maybe it times for filmmakers "to boldly go" into their next film without including unnecessary female sexualization!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The "Fantastic Beasts" franchise has been dubbed "the most cursed franchise in Hollywood." Yikes! The film follows Newt Scamander on his mission to save and protect the whimsical creatures only found in the wizarding world. Sounds magical right?
Well, there doesn't seem to be any magic to stop the controversy behind the scenes. Two of the film's main actors, Johnny Depp and Ezra Miller, are in the midst of their own personal controversies while the story's creator, J.K. Rowling, has come under fire in recent years for her anti-trans comments.
Memoirs of a Geisha
“Memoirs of a Geisha” was a best-selling novel by Arthur Golden. Filmmaker Rob Marshall, director of Oscar-winning “Chicago,” took on remaking it into a film.
Filmed in California, the movie was criticized for being inauthentic. “Memoirs of a Geisha” won three Academy Awards, but it received mixed reviews and was scrutinized for using Chinese actresses to portray Japanese women. Both the Chinese and the Japanese were offended. But even the book was controversial, as the geisha who inspired the author sued him for breach of their contract of anonymity.
The time-bending plot of the novel "Cloud Atlas" is confusing enough as it is. There's no need to add to the confusion with a film adaptation and the use of bizarre and offensive casting.
The film was denounced for its ethnically-insensitive portrayal of Asian characters. Namely by using make-up and prosthetics to make white actors appear Asian.
It's no surprise that the audiences initially found the plot of the horror/comedy "Jennifer's Body" to be controversial given that it's about Jennifer Check — a flesh-eating demon cheerleader. The controversy was compounded by the fact that Megan Fox, who was dealing with her own post-"Transformers" controversy, starred in the lead role.
The film is a textbook example of a sleeper hit, meaning that while it bombed at the box office when it was initially released, it's since gained cult-classic status. The film and Megan's role have even been heralded as feminist icons given the strong female-empowerment undertones depicted in the film.
Christopher Nolan is no stranger to creating awe-inspiring epics that make audiences question the world around them. Think "Inception" and "Tenet." Nolan's lead into space with his film "Interstellar" was met with a healthy dose of criticism.
Critics seem to agree the film fell short in its third act. Yep...we're talking about THAT rather abstract bookshelf scene. In a film that's been praised for its astrophysical accuracy, the film's pivot into the wacky and abstract fifth dimension was just too jolting for viewers to enjoy.
The infamous mockumentary stars Sasha Baron Cohen as Borat Sagdiyev, a journalist from Kazakhstan who is tasked with traveling to America to document life there.
The film is regarded as controversial, not only for its explicit nudity and dark humor but because several participants in the film have alleged that the way in which they were portrayed was misleading. Filmmakers have since been hit with numerous defamation lawsuits. "Very Nice!"
The Danish Girl
"The Danish Girl" portrayed the real life story of the Danish artist Lili Elbe who was one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery. The film marks a momentous moment for the trans community which made the casting of Redmayne, a cis-gender male, as Elbe ill-received.
Redmayne himself has since admitted that accepting the role of the Elbe in the film "was a mistake" in light of the fact that there is already a lack of LGBTQI+ representation in Hollywood.
House of Gucci
Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” brings the scandalous story of Patrizia Reggiani to the silver screen. Lady Gaga was cast in the role of Reggiani, the socialite who quickly became rather infamous for arranging to end the life of her husband, Mr. Maurizio Gucci.
To say that the film was clouded with controversy would be an understatement. Not only were the actors' attempts at an authentic Italian accent mocked by critics and viewers alike, but the Gucci family themselves have explicitly denounced the film. Ouch! Plus, Gaga has since admitted that during filming she lived in fear of the real-life Reggiani.
What do you get when you give Channing Tatum a bleached beard and pointy ears? The disaster that is "Jupiter Ascending." We all had high hopes for this film seeing that it came from the wonderfully whimsical minds of the Wachowski sisters. Unfortunately, our hopes descended very quickly.
It's been dubbed as one of the worst films in recent memory, mainly due to its convoluted plot and atrocious acting. We're looking at you, Eddie Redmayne. The actor controversially won a Razzie award for terrible acting in this film, just a year after winning an academy award.
The Golden Compass
While Phillip Pullman's book trilogy "His Dark Materials" is widely successful, the film adaption never managed to live up to its source material. During the early stages of the production of "The Golden Compass," various religious groups called for a boycott of the film due to its subject matter.
After succumbing to the pressure, the plot of the film was drastically changed, much to the dismay of Pullman's fans and film critics alike.
"Alexander" was a 3-hour film made of flashes of half-baked ideas sewn together, riding on the hope that viewers would be thrilled to see a bleached blond Colin Farrell, who depicted Alexander The Great, and Angelina Jolie, who played his mother, together on the big screen. If anything, the general public found this to be one of the most ridiculous things about the film, besides the historical inaccuracies. Farrel was mocked for his golden locks, while Jolie fans couldn't ignore the fact that she was cast as the mother of someone only one year younger than her. Nothing about the movie was convincing or informative.
If matters weren't confusing enough, Colin Farrell's Irish accent, along with the several other dialects of his castmates left viewers wondering what era was being depicted. "Alexander" received 6 Raspberry Award nominations including Worst Actors for Colin and Jolie, Worst Director, and Worst Picture.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
It's near impossible for a Tarantino flick to escape controversy. Well, his 2019 film "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is no exception. The film is a fantastical take on real Hollywood icons and the tragic Manson family murders.
Despite its critical acclaim, the manner in which action star icon Bruce Lee is depicted in Tarantino's tale sparked controversy. Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee's daughter, has outwardly panned the film for its offensive portrayal of her father. Additionally, many have called about the film for its explicit objectification of women and depiction of violence against them.
It's pretty rare for the lead actor in a film to go rouge and bash the film he is starring in. Well, it...happened here. The king of the plot twist, M Night Shayalam's flick "The Happening" was a total blunder. What was meant to be horror is so horrifically bad that it's almost comedic. To his credit, a film about plants killing humans just doesn't sound scary.
Despite how bad it is, further controversy surrounded the film when Mark Wahlberg, the star of the film, turned his back on the director by publically berating the film. Luckily for Whalberg, Shayalam didn't take the criticism to heart.
The Deer Hunter
This film that centered around the Vietnam war, starring Hollywood heavyweights like Robert DeNiro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep, is regarded as iconic. However, it's not without its controversy.
The film depicts traumatic torture scenes, which have since been criticized for their gross inaccuracy. It even prompted the Vietnam Veterans Against the War to protest the film's misrepresentation of the true atrocities that were experienced by soldiers.
David Ayer was tasked with directing the off-beat anti-hero superhero movie "Suicide Squad" back in 2016. What Ayer had initially intended to be a "soulful drama" was butchered by the film studio into a soulless crowd-pleasing comedy. Despite its box-office success, critics and Ayer himself panned the film.
Luckily for Ayer, DC fans rallied together and pushed for Ayer's vision of the squad to be made resulting in a "reboot" dubbed "The Suicide Squad" in 2021.
Star Wars: Episode 1-The Phantom Menace
It's no secret that the "Star Wars" prequels are divisive, even for the most die-hard of "Star Wars" fans. However, what most people can agree on is that Jar Jar Binks is perhaps the most hated film character of all time.
Not only is the character incredibly annoying, but "Star Wars" fans saw the clumsy character's inclusion in the franchise as a blatant attempt by Disney to market the film to kids. Jar-Jar became the main bashing board for "Star Wars" fans who hate the prequel to let out their criticism and disappointment. Who knew that such a silly character could almost take down such a powerful franchise?
Back to the Future
Hollywood's darling director Steven Speilberg found great success with his 1985 film "Back to the Future." It's a time travel tale that has earned beloved icon status. It propelled Michal J. Fox to mega-fame and made audiences want to hop into the nearest Delorean and travel through time and space.
However, in the decades following its release, viewers have begun to revisit the film and question its rather disturbing plot. We're talking about the bizarre storyline between Marty and his mother. Ahem...we'll leave it up to you to Google...
Beauty and the Beast
Who could've predicted that there would be a boycott against Disney's live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast"?
Director Bill Condon took the leap and used his artistic liberties to include the first-ever gay character in a Disney film. While this move was widely appealed to, many were displeased. So much so that it prompted some countries to ban the film and even a boycott from a few states in the USA.
Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman star as estranged brothers in the 1988 film "Rain Man." While at the time the film was praised for depicting a man with autism, it's since been heavily criticized.
Many have cited this film for the public's general misunderstanding of autism. Hoffman's character is autistic in the film and displays savant skills which leads to a general misconception that everyone on the autism scale will share the same trait.
The Human Centipede
For your sake and ours, we are NOT going to go into the details of the film. All we can say is that it's not for the faint-hearted. It's arguably not even for gore fans with the toughest of tummies either.
The film's grotesque plot and visuals push even horror film veterans to their limits and are regarded as one of the most twisted and atrocious films to ever have been made.