10 ‘fresh’ films that should have received rotten tomatoes

We recently released our list of ‘rotten’ films the critics got wrong, which has prompted plenty of debate, so we figured we’d go in the other direction and slay some sacred cows. These films were all rated ‘fresh’ by review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, but in our humble opinion, each and every one is wildly overrated. Here’s our list of 10 ‘fresh’ films you should steer clear of, along with recommendations on what you should watch instead.

Editor’s note: These choices are, of course, subjective and even some within the DT ranks are divided on a few of these titles as you’ll see below — there’s just no accounting for taste.

Critical opinions pulled from Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus.

Jurassic World (2015)


Rotten Tomatoes: 72 percent

Reviewers say:Jurassic World can’t match the original for sheer inventiveness and impact, but it works in its own right as an entertaining — and visually dazzling — popcorn thriller.”

We say: Is Jurassic World one of the highest-grossing films in history? Sure. Did it launch Chris Pratt into superstardom? Yep. Are its effects impressive? Absolutely. Is it a good movie? No. No it’s not. Everything about this film that isn’t a carbon copy of the original feels so totally paint-by-numbers that the end product comes off hollow and soulless. Pratt’s down-home, simple-yet-wise raptor trainer feels generic as a hero, and after he spends the first two hours of the film chastising Bryce Dallas Howard for manipulating the natural order of things, he falls for her anyway. Never mind the deadly disaster that she was complicit in causing — or the fact that the two had zero romantic chemistry in the first place — this is movieland, dammit! Of course they have to end up together.

Watch instead: Duh! Jurassic Park (1993).

Editor’s note: Some of us actually found this to be a fun ride. You’ll find an alternate viewpoint here.

Watch them now on Amazon Video:

Jurassic World (2015) Jurassic Park (1993)

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)


Rotten Tomatoes: 92 percent

Reviewers say: Silver Linings Playbook walks a tricky thematic tightrope, but David O. Russell’s sensitive direction and some sharp work from a talented cast gives it true balance.”

We say: We get it. The form mirrors the content. It’s a story about all-over-the-place, mentally troubled people, and thus the narrative itself is helter-skelter. The problem is, as good as that sounds on paper, it doesn’t play well on-screen. Silver Linings Playbook gets top-notch performances from all of its principals, but its story is so disjointed that they get lost in the shuffle — especially during the wacky final act.

Watch instead: Looking for a dramedy about mental illness? Try One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975).

Watch them now on Amazon Video:

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)


Rotten Tomatoes: 90 percent

Reviewers say: “With intelligence and emotional resonance to match its stunning special effects, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes expands on its predecessor with an exciting and ambitious burst of sci-fi achievement.”

We say: The problem with this one is not with the apes, but with the human beings. Whenever the titular simians are off-screen, the film becomes sinfully boring — and they’re off-screen quite a bit. Somewhere, somehow, someone got the idea that the second installment of every franchise/trilogy has to be “the dark one,” and director Matt Reeves seems to have taken that to heart. As the male and female leads, neither Jason Clarke nor Keri Russell display even an ounce of charisma and the film collapses under the weight of the gravitas it so badly wants to have.

Watch instead: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011): The franchise’s first installment wasn’t quite as well received, but was nonetheless much better.

Editor’s note: For a dissenting opinion on this film, click here.

Watch them now on Amazon Video:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)


Rotten Tomatoes: 87 percent

Reviewers say: “Visually spectacular and suitably action packed, Star Trek Into Darkness is a rock-solid installment in the venerable sci-fi franchise, even if it’s not as fresh as its predecessor.”

We say: Oh, how we wanted to love this film. Even with all its flaws, we came close, but it’s just much too convoluted and overburdened. Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan should have been a home run, but somehow he feels disconnected from this film, almost as if he were acting in a different movie. Maybe it’s because he has too much star power for his relatively limited role. Or maybe it’s because there are one too many villains — and ideas in general — at work in Star Trek Into Darkness.

Watch instead: Star Trek (2009): Once again, the sequel can’t match the predecessor.

Watch them now on Amazon Video:

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) Star Trek (2009)

Her (2013)


Rotten Tomatoes: 94 percent

Reviewers say: “Sweet, soulful, and smart, Spike Jonze’s Her uses its just-barely-sci-fi scenario to impart wryly funny wisdom about the state of modern human relationships.”

We say: Its premise — lonely man falls in love with sophisticated A.I. interface — is brilliant, but it’s handled in much too somber a fashion. Rather than acknowledging the absurdity of this scenario, Jonze buries it and treats his subject matter far too seriously; so much so, that the film’s attempts to be tender come off vaguely creepy and its attempts to be poignant come off downright silly.

Watch instead: Ex Machina (2015): An Examination of human beings’ relationship with and reliance on technology … minus Joaquin Pheonix’s creepy stache.

Editor’s note: This film also caused dissension in the ranks. Read another take here.

Watch them now on Amazon Video:

Her (2013) Ex Machina (2015)

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