The movies hated by famous directors

From Marvel movies to Citizen Kane

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 4. (Murray Close/Lionsgate)
Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick: Chapter 4. (Murray Close/Lionsgate)

When a director releases a film one would think that they hope the film resonates with its audience, or at least entertains them in some way. But there are times when directors have shared their thoughts on other filmmakers' works, and hated it.

Recently Oliver Stone criticised John Wick 4, directed by Chad Stahelski, by calling the film "disgusting beyond belief" because of the violence it portrays.

In an interview with Variety, he shared: "I saw John Wick 4 on the plane. Talk about volume. I think the film is disgusting beyond belief. Disgusting. I don't know what people are thinking.

"Maybe I was watching G.I. Joe when I was a kid. But [Keanu Reeves] kills, what, three, four hundred people in the f***ing movie. And as a combat veteran, I gotta tell you, not one of them is believable. I realise it's a movie, but it's become a video game more than a movie."

Stone is not the only director to have some choice words about other people's work, and here are some of the films that have been called out.

Marvel Films

BOLOGNA, ITALY - JUNE 02: American movie director Martin Scorsese meets the audience at Arlecchino Cinema on June 02, 2023 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Getty Images)
Martin Scorsese has said that Marvel films are "not cinema" in the past (Getty Images)

Probably the most famous example of films that directors have spoken out about are the Marvel films, which multiple directors have been asked to comment on over the years.

Martin Scorsese caused an uproar amongst the public when he said in an interview with Empire that he didn't think the superhero franchise was "cinema", which also led to others sharing their opinions on it.

Read more: Secret Invasion: Marvel fans 'not prepared' for first episode's major death

The Taxi Driver filmmaker told the publication: "I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well-made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks.

<p>Marvel's long-awaited smackdown between Captain America and Iron Man didn't disappoint with that epic airport showdown providing fan boys with enough superhero-on-superhero action to keep them going until 'Avengers: Infinity War'. Spider-Man's debut set up nicely for 2017’s ‘Homecoming’ too. </p>
An image from Captain America: Civil War (Marvel Studios)

"It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being."

Francis Ford Coppola, the filmmaker behind the Godfather trilogy, also called the films "despicable" in the past, though he clarified what he meant in a follow-up interview with Deadline.

He explained: "Scorsese says that the Marvel picture is not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 23: Francis Ford Coppola speaks onstage during the 2023 IMAGE Awards Gala during the 2023 Atlanta Film Festival at The Fox Theatre on April 23, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)
Francis Ford Coppola has also criticised Marvel movies in the past (Getty Images)

"Arguably, I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again, which is the Marvel movies. A thing that has no risk to it.

"I’ve said before, making a film without risk is like making a baby without sex. Part of it is risk, and that’s what make it so interesting, that’s why we learn so much when it’s made.”

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises  Christian Bale  Batman
Christian Bale in The Dark Knight Rises (Alamy)

Speaking of superhero movies, The Dark Knight Rises was also criticised by David Cronenberg in 2012 in an interview with Next Movie.

Per Vulture, he said: "A superhero movie, by definition, you know, it's comic book. It's for kids. It's adolescent in its core.

Read more: Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Everything we know as the director is confirmed

"That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying The Dark Knight Rises is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don't think they know what the f*** they're talking about."

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: Director David Cronenberg attends the Donostia Award photocall during the 70th San Sebastian International Film Festival at the Kursaal Palace on September 21, 2022 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage)
David Cronenberg once criticised The Dark Knight Rises, but has since said his answer was more in reference to superhero movies in general (WireImage)

He added: "I think it's still Batman running around in a stupid cape... Christopher Nolan's best movie is Memento, and that is an interesting movie. I don't think his Batman movies are half as interesting, though they're 20 million times the expense."

In 2013, he clarified with IndieWire that he hadn't even seen The Dark Knight Rises and that his answer was in response to being asked about superhero movies, adding: "I wasn’t talking specifically about that movie and I wasn’t criticising it directly."


Philip Seymour Hoffman Film: Magnolia (1999) Characters: Phil Parma  Director: Paul Thomas Anderson 08 December 1999   **WARNING** This Photograph is for editorial use only and is the copyright of NEW LINE and/or the Photographer assigned by the Film or Production Company and can only be reproduced by publications in conjunction with the promotion of the above Film. A Mandatory Credit To NEW LINE is required. The Photographer should also be credited when known. No commercial use can be granted without written authority from the Film Company.
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Magnolia (Alamy)

Kevin Smith famously called out the film Paul Thomas Anderson's 2000 film Magnolia, saying that it would "never watch it again" and claimed it represented a "bloated sense of self-importance" but in June 2023 he retracted the statement on Twitter.

Read more: Director Kevin Smith feels like 'an a**hole' for past Bruce Willis comments

Responding to a fan on social media, he said: "Over 20 years ago, I s*** on Magnolia. And it was largely because critics were giving it more attention than Dogma."

Smith went on: "Now I love Magnolia. I wanna go back in time and explain this to Young Kevin Smith - that petulant a**-hat."

Citizen Kane

CITIZEN KANE 1941 de Orson Welles Orson Welles. code RKO 130 Prod DB © RKO Radio Pictures - Mercury Productions
Orson Welles in Citizen Kane (Alamy)

Ingmar Berman also famously called Orson Welles' film Citizen Kane a "total bore" despite the film largely being seen as a cinematic masterpiece.

Per Far Out Magazine, Berman said of the director: "For me he’s just a hoax. It’s empty. It’s not interesting. It’s dead.

"Citizen Kane, which I have a copy of — is all the critics’ darling, always at the top of every poll taken, but I think it’s a total bore. Above all, the performances are worthless. The amount of respect that movie’s got is absolutely unbelievable."

Netflix movies

US director Quentin Tarantino waves as he arrives for the Closing Ceremony and the screening of the film
Quentin Tarantino has called the current era of cinema one of the "worst" in history. (AFP via Getty Images)

Quentin Tarantino never minces his words when he discusses films, recently saying that Netflix's films were not "part of the zeitgeist", but he has also spoken about the state of Hollywood in general.

Read more: What you need to know about Tarantino's final movie

In an appearance on The Video Archives Podcast in June, Tarantino said of the state of cinema: “Even though the ‘80s was the time that I probably saw more movies in my life than ever – at least as far as going out to the movies was concerned – I do feel that ‘80s cinema is, along with the ‘50s, the worst era in Hollywood history.

"Matched only by now, matched only by the current era.”

Watch: Tarantino looking to cast new leading man