Going to the movies is such a pleasure of life. Making it a night, even more. Grab some dinner, rush to finish it, pay the check and bolt to the theater. Whether it was a life-altering event or a complete waste of time, one thing is for certain: it’s pretty fun. A group of strangers all gathering in one room to experience the same thing and all experience their own thing is part of what art is about. But for me, what can alter everything in a split second is when the final credits roll and the unimaginable happens, the audience claps. It could be in my Top Ten Most Hated Things. I get embarrassed, I blush, I put my head in my hands. But this is totally my own thing. People enjoyed the film and are celebrating it. Perhaps they couldn’t help but clap, as though it was a natural reaction (like I only did once while watching Margot at the Wedding, which for the record, I was alone watching in my bed and not in a crowded theater). However, I have never experienced the opposite, when a crowd of people vocalize their extreme distaste for a film and begin to boo and hiss at the screen. Perhaps this is also something they cannot help, their knee-jerk reaction. Last week it was announced that Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest stylish-noir Only God Forgives was booed after it’s premier at Cannes, a film festival famous for its boos. What a phenomenon! To so much despise a movie that when it is over the audience boos, out loud, instead of in their heads which I probably have done. Movies, like anything else in the art world (or the world for that matter), can be polarizing. Let’s take a look at some of the films that received the ultimate un-praise. With some you might agree wholeheartedly while others might take you by surprise.
1. Taxi Driver
It’s hard to believe such a classic could receive such a reception. To be fair, the film wasn’t booed directly after the screening but rather, when it was announced to have won the Palm d’Or, which is like way worse in my eyes. According to this newspaper clipping, Martin Scorsese was present on the French Riviera but not but not in the room at the time of the announcement. He and DeNiro must have been sipping Sidecars and drafting the treatment for Raging Bull.
2. Antichrist / Melancholia
Lars Von Trier can’t seem to get it right. I almost feel sorry for this dude as he has become a prime example of what to do to get your film booed at Cannes. Step One: Title your film Antichrist and pump it full of sex and blood. Step Two: Write an apocalyptic script about a rogue planet destined to collide with Earth and be sure it is full of doom with very little aspects of redemption. Step Three: Sympathize with Hitler. Okay, so basically the third step will do the trick. Even Kirsten Dunst is like WTF.