Like all movie goers, critics come in all shapes, sizes and all have their own opinion on what is a great movie. And yet, I know some people who would have taken Roger Ebert's opinion as gospel or would refuse to watch anything that got less than 3 stars. Sites like Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, Screen Rant, and others can do the same thing and skew a person's initial opinions about a movie. In all honesty, I stopped listening to "what critics claim" and rather form my own opinions on movies. There have been way too many times that I have disagreed wholeheartedly with what critics said about certain movies. Case in point, possibly one of my favorite movies of all time was critically panned but has built a cult following throughout the years.
The Boondock Saints
I remember the first time I watched this movie was with my cousins back in the early 2000's. Following that first viewing, I bought my own copy within the week, watched it another 5 times throughout the month and cosplayed as them wearing a peacoat, carrying a small duffel bag and a bundle of rope by the end of the year. I know plenty of people who love this movie as well so it really shocked me to find out that this movie was hated by so many critics.
An embarrassing waste of time, and nothing even resembling the guiltiest of guilty pleasures… – Felix Vasquez Jr, Cinema Crazed
A ridiculous, self-important amalgamation of rehashed macho posturing and slow-motion bloodletting. Do yourself a favor: do not attend a convocation with these Saints. – Brent Simon, Entertainment Today
This movie took a half-baked idea and executed it so poorly that the end result is almost unwatchable. This is a cinematic disaster that should be avoided at all costs. - Brian Rentschler, Screen Rant
Like I said before, I don't listen to movie critics anymore. I could not disagree with the above statements and others enough. Here are some reasons why The Boondock Saints is a great movie and worth the watch.
The Characters and Cast
Sean Patrick Flannery (Dexter, The Young and The Restless) and Norman Reedus (Air, The Walking Dead) are two brothers who have recently gone on a vigilante rampage throughout Boston targeting all the "bad men" in the name of God with help of their friend Rocco. Willem Dafoe (Spider-man, The Grand Budapest Hotel) portrays FBI Agent Paul Smecker who has been assigned to investigate the new wave of mob-related killings committed by the MacManus brothers.
I think the actors did a phenomenal job at portraying the eccentric characters within the movie. The banter between Murphy, Connor and their friend Rocco showed the strength and love they had for each other. Whether they were drinking the night away or arguing after a plan went south, their scenes worked wonderfully to capture the bond between the three and it's no surprise to the audience that they would all go to such lengths for each other.
DaFoe as Agent Smecker is incredibly intriguing to say the least, with his odd quirks in his professional and personal life. He is arguably one of the best characters in a movie filled with great performances (Carlo Rota as Yakavetta, David Della Rocco as Rocco).
The Cinematography and Over All Vibe
Despite the flack director and writer, Troy Duffy, got for this movie, I believe he told a great story and did so in a very interesting way. Having the majority of the plot developments occurring through either the brothers recollecting past events or Smecker's deductive skills was a rather brilliant move. That coupled with the gritty vibe that has become a fan favorite over the years with films like Reservoir Dogs and Natural Born Killers lands this movie on a must watch list.
The Balance of Humor, Action and Drama
I think the real charm of The Boondock Saints comes from how Duffy managed to blend the darker tones of the movie with laughable moments. The two protagonist groups (The Saints and Detectives) each have their own comic relief/goofy ball of the group; Rocco (a.k.a. The Funny Man within the Yakavetta mob) and Detective Greenly, respectively. That's not to say that other characters don't have their moments. Agent Smecker's bizarre traits make for pretty humorous scenes as well as. And let's the brothers playfulness with each other, especially over Connor's movie-inspired assassination plans.
Some other critics and sites have panned this movie for the unrealistic scenarios, or the odd characters. But let's be honest, one the reasons movies and television exist is to take ourselves out of reality and to witness the obscure. Why does a sheriff challenge an outlaw to a duel when he can simply arrest him? How long was that runway at the end Fast and the Furious 6? How did the storm troopers not land a single shot? While these are all fair questions, why do we, as viewers, feel the need to completely dissect movies to the point that it ruins our over all opinion of the film? I can't say that I am not guilty of disliking a movie or questioning the director's final decisions but at the same time I still feel like I have the ability to appreciate the positive qualities in a movie despite the short comings. As movie lovers, I think that finding the good in the things we watch is a great exercise to practice.