Here at TMW we're occasionally baffled by the praise heaped on movies we feel are undeserving, while other times we champion a movie only to see it trashed in the mainstream. Using the consensus of Rotten Tomatoes as a reference point, here are 10 examples from the first six months of 2014 where our evaluations differed wildly from the general consensus.
August: Osage County
RT says: "The sheer amount of acting going on in August: Osage County threatens to overwhelm, but when the actors involved are as talented as Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, it's difficult to complain."
TMW said: "August: Osage County is the latest slice of Cheddar Cheese Chekhov from the bizarrely acclaimed playwright Tracy Letts. Here he adapts his Pulitzer Prize winning play, resulting in a screenplay that's all play and no screen."
Dallas Buyers Club
RT says: "Dallas Buyers Club rests squarely on Matthew McConaughey's scrawny shoulders, and he carries the burden gracefully with what might be a career-best performance."
TMW said: "It seems American cinema is as uncomfortable dealing with homosexuals as it is Jews, Blacks and Native Americans, and so we get Dallas Buyer's Club, a "true" story about a subject that overwhelmingly affected the gay community yet has a straight lead character, and a "comically" homophobic one at that."
RT says: "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."
TMW said: "Perhaps Jonze truly has made a movie for those in love with their phones. His film is tailor made for "second screeners"; they can completely ignore the screen and follow its dull narrative while catching up on that important life they seem unable to put on hold for a film's running time."
RT says: "There's no arguing with its impressive production values, but Stalingrad should have devoted more attention to the screenplay and spent less on special effects-enhanced spectacle."
TMW said: "In a fight between these guys and the pretty boy surf dudes of Lone Survivor, my money's on this lot every day."
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
RT says: "Suspenseful and politically astute, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a superior entry in the Avengers canon and is sure to thrill Marvel diehards."
TMW said: "A few nights ago I watched a double bill of Filipino midget spy movies (don't ask) and looking back, despite their awfulness, they didn't make the basic storytelling errors you'll find here."
RT says: "Choppily edited and largely bereft of plot, Brick Mansions wastes a likable cast on a pointless remake of the far more entertaining District B13."
TMW said: "Brick Mansions is a whole lot of fun, even if it is for all the wrong reasons."
RT says: "Oppressively misanthropic and ineptly made, The Canyons serves as a sour footnote in Paul Schrader's career -- but it does feature some decent late-period work from Lindsay Lohan."
TMW said: "In critiquing modern visual art, Schrader may well have ironically advanced it, by creating the first film as GIF."
Venus in Fur
RT says: "Provocative, funny, and brilliantly acted, Venus in Fur finds Roman Polanski in top late-period form."
TMW said: "As filmed plays go, this is one of the laziest."
22 Jump Street
RT says: "Boasting even more of the bromantic chemistry between its stars -- and even more of the goofy, good-natured humor that made its predecessor so much fun -- 22 Jump Street is the rare sequel that improves upon the original."
TMW said: "'Maybe we weren't meant to do this again,' Hill remarks at one point, but rather than laugh along at such a knowing line, we can only agree wholeheartedly with the statement."
RT says: "Epic in technical scale but breathlessly intimate in narrative scope, Boyhood is a sprawling investigation of the human condition."
TMW said: "While it's intriguing to watch the time-lapse physical development of Coltrane, like thumbing through a photo album in a stranger's dusty attic, there's little else to keep us hooked."
Find the full reviews of these, plus lots more movie goodness, at The Movie Waffler