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The List: A few movies that got a bad rap

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014 1:15 a.m. CST

Haven’t seen a certain movie at the video store?

Grab your smartphone out of your pocket and look it up on Rotten Tomatoes.

Notice a star in a movie you’ve never heard of in a box full of DVDs at a garage sale? Make sure that’s not a rotten deal.

I know I’m not the only one who has visited movie review sites like rottentomatoes.com and metactric.com in a pinch. They can come in handy sometimes.

But I took a trip back to movies from my younger years, and boy, was I was glad the closest thing I had to handheld device then was Giga Pet. You had one too. Don’t lie.

Sure, not all of our favorites are going to be universally loved by all critics, but a 31 percent rating for “Hook?” You can walk the plank for that opinion.

Join me as I list some of those movies, and newer ones, that were “ahead of their time,” “misunderstood,” and are just plain bad, yet I’m oblivious.

I’m not calling for these flicks to be revered as masterpieces of film; most just didn’t get as much credit as they deserved.

“Patch Adams” (1998)

Rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 23 percent

This one hurt, and I’m going to need a funny doctor. The movie was panned for being too “predictable” and “conventional.” I don’t see that as being a reason to dislike a movie. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman gives a good performance. Robin Williams, too. This movie deserves a second diagnosis.

Phenomenon” (1996)

Rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 50 percent

I’m not sure why, but when I was younger I thought John Travolta was the coolest. It probably had a lot to do with “Face/Off.” In “Phenomenon,” Travolta’s character, George, observes a bright light in the sky that knocks him out. When he wakes up, he possesses unbelievable intellectual powers. Travolta makes the supernatural believable, with help from a memorable performance from the lovely Kyra Sedgwick.

“Hearts and Souls” (1993)

Rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 55 percent

For the longest time, I used to say this was the best movie most people had never heard of. Apparently not. It shocked me when I looked at this movie’s rating. It’s a completely unique story about souls that follow Thomas Reilly, played by Robert Downey Jr., as he eventually helps them finish their unfinished business. It might be hard to find, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the search.

“Step Brothers” (2008)

Rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 55 percent

Ratings like these perfectly encapsulate one of my biggest gripes with movie critics: It seems like silly comedies just don’t get reviewed as they should. They aren’t being released to be the next “Gone With the Wind.” They’re being released to let people laugh, and to do so hard and without guilt. It’s as if some think laughing is something we shouldn’t do at the theaters. Well, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly made me laugh harder than I ever had, other than during “Superbad,” when I saw this in the theater. That’s worth more than a 55 percent in my eyes.

“The Break-Up” (2006)

Rating on Rotten Tomatoes: 34 percent

Vince Vaughn makes me bust a gut laughing in about anything he does at least once, full disclosure. But, my enjoyment of the sarcastic giant aside, I think this movie is completely misunderstood. Some hate it because it doesn’t have a happy ending. I think many don’t like the film because it’s very real and relatable to feelings and situations that people have had in their own relationships. Jennifer Aniston is a better actress than she gets credit for, and this movie is one of her best performances.

Honorable mention: “50 First Dates,” 44 percent rating; “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” rating: 51 percent; “The Da Vinci Code,” rating: 25 percent; and “The Day After Tomorrow,” rating: 45 percent.

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