10 Most Polarizing Movies of All Time, According to Reddit – Collider

You won’t like these movies… or you might?
There is no perfect formula for deciding whether a piece of art is "good." There are certainly objective qualities that can be analyzed and appreciated; when it comes to movies, one could look at interesting cinematography, captivating performances, and an engaging script as undisputable facts for or against greatness.
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Filmmakers take these into consideration, yet that doesn't mean every movie is universally loved or hated. Some movies divide audiences for various reasons, such as The Polar Express and Don't Look Up, and Reddit has listed what they feel are the movies that have just as many people cheering as they do jeering.
Filled with awkward humor and bizarre situations, Napoleon Dynamite has indisputably become a cult classic for some and an irritating experience for others. It follows Jon Heder as the titular high-schooler when he decides to help his mild-mannered friend win the title of class president.
There's an undeniable charm to the film, to the stilted dialogue and uncomfortable situations, that resonates with some and definitely not with others. Reddit user FeMii adds some insight into this, saying "there’s people who watch it on a very superficial level and kind of laugh at the characters and the absurdity of some of the situations, there’s people who despise the movie seemingly for the same reason…"
Mother! is the allegorical tale of an unnamed mother, played by Jennifer Lawrence, facing the hardships of a series of bizarre, hostile intrusions to her and her isolated home. Designed with backlash in mind, even the marketing for the film was made to be confronting.
Reddit certainly feels this polarizing intent, with 22Seres commenting that "it feels like one of those movies where there's little middle ground with it. You'll either find people that absolutely adore it or those that despise it". Director Darren Aronofsky has never shied away from pushing the envelope, but this risky approach was too aggressive for some.
Many will have fond memories of The Polar Express, a whimsical tale of self-discovery surrounding a young boy taking a train ride to the North Pole. Although the hopeful messaging is still potent, some argue that the movie itself hasn't aged well at all.
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There is no doubt that many feel this 2004 movie is a Christmas classic, but lots of people also find its animation creepy and outdated. Redditor adamsandleryabish has a dissenting opinion, writing "half of people consider it an ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS CLASSIC AND MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MOVIE while the other correct half view it as an unwatchable nightmare".
Discourse on The Blair Witch Project is pretty minimal in modern horror conversation, but this faux documentary with supposedly real found footage of three student filmmakers disappearing in the woods of the Black Hills revolutionized found footage filmmaking.
It may have had great influence on the Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield movies, yet this predominant horror flick doesn't hold up for everyone. Reddit user TrenterD speculates: "I think if you have an active imagination it is an incredibly effective horror movie. But if your whole idea of horror is slasher movies and monsters and gore, then you will think it is the most pointless "horror" movie of all time".
Director Adam McKay is no stranger to divisive movies, but Don't Look Up might be his most abrasive yet. Drawing parallels to widespread disarray on current global disasters, the movie is a satire on the chaotic response that ensues when it's discovered an asteroid will inevitably destroy the planet.
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Covering these topics can be controversial to begin with, but many also took issue that the humor is handled so overtly. Reddit user gringitapo comments on this, even with liking the movie: "I watched it and enjoyed it, then felt like I had to hide when I saw the barrage of people who thought it was the worst movie ever".
A momentous, ambitious project shrouded in controversy, The Passion of the Christ follows the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ's life before his execution. It's notorious for featuring brutal violence in multiple unrelenting torture sequences.
The main defense for how gruesome these events are displayed is that "it's not supposed to be a fun watch, it's supposed to be traumatizing", as commented by Reddit user 05110909. Yet this in itself, not to mention the sensitivity of the subject, has lead to widespread criticism of The Passion of the Christ ever since it released almost 20 years ago.
In DC's attempts to catch up with the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was their first movie to integrate multiple heroes and an overarching storyline. However, the debatably clumsy integration and stilted dialogue caused many to deem it a failure from the moment it released.
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As Reddit user wingknightx explains: "there are people who hate this movie so much… there is the other group who considers this film a masterpiece, the ultimate edition of this film being misunderstood by a lot of fans". The entire DCEU is getting a complete overhaul from James Gunn, with this big first step into the interconnected DC Universe being just one of the company's many polarizing superhero outings.
One thing is to be clear, The Birth of a Nation is a challenging film to analyze and describe. Being released over 100 years ago, this propaganda piece may have defined filmmaking standards for its era, but it centers on racist ideology that was abhorrent in 1915, let alone today.
The content of the film is not what makes it polarizing, it's that it stands as such an immense technical achievement, as put by Reddit user Rckstedywatudoin: "on a technical aspect, many have [praised it]. It pushed the boundaries of film, even if it is a racist piece of propaganda". Despite this, its positive impacts in filmmaking will never outweigh the detrimentally hateful caricatures it parades.
Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson give career best performances in The Lighthouse, a Robert Eggers film about two lighthouse operators who try to maintain their sanity as they begin to hate each other while living on a remote island in the late 1800s.
There is some debate to be had on its mainstream likability, with Reddit user DuggleKnuck describing: "among my friends and I, I seem to LOVE The Lighthouse, everyone else I know hates it". This film is recognized as undeniably well-crafted and is largely admired, but perhaps its obtuse narrative and eclectic performance from Pattinson left some feeling standoffish.
The Last Jedi stands as not only one of the most polarizing Star Wars entries, it may be one of the most divisive movies of all time. With Rian Johnson taking the directorial reigns from J.J. Abrams, the character decisions, focus on humor, and subversive twists to the previous movie The Force Awakens make this a favorite (or least favorite) for fans.
Reddit user Syn7axError states it is one of the most polarizing "mostly from sheer volume. There are more divisive films, but they don't tend to be mass market blockbusters. Everyone has an opinion on it". With so many integral changes to characters and story progression, it was a bold and ultimately polarizing move to shake things up so much in the middle of a trilogy.
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Cole Jackson is a Film and TV Lists Writer for Collider and has a long history in long form film critique, analytical essays, and goofy one-line reviews that seem to get the most likes. He also has background and stand-in work experience in Hallmark films and Air Bud productions (yes, he got to pet the dogs).


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