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Buzz In: What Are the Most Divisive Movies?

Recently, I was doing some reading about the Netflix Prize, the $1 million Netflix has offered to the person or team who can improve the movie rental service's recommendation feature by 10 percent. So far, no team has made it, and a big part of the reason is what's being called "the Napoleon Dynamite problem" — the notion that there's just no good way to predict whether people will love or hate the 2004 comedy. To be fair to Napoleon, it's not the only one: I Heart Huckabees, Lost in Translation, and Kill Bill are also among the culprits.

That got me thinking about movies that even people who have similar tastes can't agree on. What are the movies that have caused divides in your movie-going circles? What films are you nervous to recommend? Do you think there's any good way to tell if someone will love or loathe Napoleon Dynamite?

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Jon Heder in When in Rome 2010-01-27 12:00:00

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spaghetina spaghetina 7 years
Oy. I loved Napoleon Dynamite, I Heart Huckabees, and both Kill Bills. I've only seen bits and pieces of Lost in Translation, but from what I saw, I enjoyed it. As for predictors, who knows. My movie tastes are pretty eclectic, and sometimes it's even hard for ME to know what I'll feel like or enjoy next.
new new 7 years
wow I love Requiem for a Dream, that's my favourite movie of al times. I really loved Juno as well, although I can't exactly point out why. i also really love donnie darko, even though i don't really get it lol. i think the Virgin Suicides is another movie that is divisive (i love it). other movies i heard various opinions about: brokeback mountain, big fish, magnolia and goodbye lenin.
californiagirlx7 californiagirlx7 7 years
I think Juno, Napoleon Dynamite, and Borat were way too overhyped. I thought the dialogue in Juno was good...but it just wasn't as good as I thought it would be, especially the ending. My sisters & cousins have watched Napoleon Dynamite so many time and told me how hilarious it was that I grew tired of it quickly. I was so sick of hearing all of Borat's catchphrases by the time I actually rented the film that I didn't find it funny at all.
jeneeena jeneeena 7 years
pirates of the carribean..
Allyace Allyace 7 years
Kill Bill is one of my favorite movies. Esp the second one. But I can see how others wouldn't like it. I have to agree with those that weren't that into Juno though. It was cute, but definitely NOT best picture nom worthy.
supertramp supertramp 7 years
I've never met anybody that didn't love Donnie Darko, so that's kind of shocking to read some of these. I always get mixed reviews about Drop Dead Gorgeous and Teeth. I love both by the way. I'm also probably the only person on the planet who despises it but The Nightmare Before Christmas!
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
I think a lot of these movies are just overhyped, and there are probably lots of us get annoyed by the very fact of the overhyping. I hate Kill Bill with a passion. But then again, I hate Tarantino anyway. Talk about overhyped.
Grantz Grantz 7 years
I can understand people not liking Juno. Because, I still havent been able to sit through a full viewing of Pirates of the Caribbean. And it seemed like a lot of people liked it. Juno's script is obviously awful to some. But, it won an Academy award as best Screeplay of 2007 for Diablo Cody. And I agree with the academy voters. I do believe Diablo Cody was rewarded for the dialogue in the script, as opposed to the plot. Because unplaned pregancies by a teen has been done a hundred times before. A movie I loved, that only one other person told me they liked was Vanilla Sky. I got chastised for recommending that one. It was bizarre. Requiem for a Dream, is another movie I really like, but have to be careful about suggesting. Cheers~ Grantz
vintagesugar vintagesugar 7 years
I am the only person alive who hated *My Big Fat Greek Wedding.*
verily verily 7 years
Now see, I liked Napoleon Dynamite, but barely liked Juno. I found Juno tried way too hard to be edgy and hip. The script was utterly awful: half of the stuff she uttered made me roll my eyes. It was the acting and the overall plot that didn't make me hate the movie. Napoleon did the same thing--make references to a lot of pop culture icons--but it felt less contrived and more honest.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 7 years
I'm going to go out on a limb and say "Babel". I hated it but some people loved it enough to even consider it the best movie of the year.
LoveSarah LoveSarah 7 years
Ugh, I hated Napoleon Dynamite and Borat. But, I knew some people who loved both of them, and other than those two movies we like all the same movies.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I hated Napoleon Dynamite and I Heart Huckabees - I just didn't find them at all funny, just trying too hard to be different. I've also never gotten Donnie Darko, and no matter how many times I watch Eyes Wide Shut I just can't like it. But then, I also HATED The Notebook, like with a burning, fiery passion. Netflix mostly gets it right for me, but my other choices wouldn't predict why I would despite those movies, so I'm not sure how to make it better.
Phorrest99 Phorrest99 7 years
Lots of people I know loved Borat, I've never even seen it because it seemed stupid. The same with the Jackass movie. I tend to like movies with stupid humor, but those just seemed unappealing. I'm not sure what a good mechanism for figuring out recommendations would be, because I know how I differ from one movie to the next. And sometimes movies I think (or Netflix thinks) I'll hate, I end up loving.
pequeña pequeña 7 years
I don't have a problem with slow-paced movies, and I generally like indie films, but I just didn't get was so great about Juno's script. It was as if they wanted the movie to be offbeat and original but didn't succeed. There are other movies that deal with teenage problems that are far more original: Fucking Amal, The Virgin Suicides, Mean Girls, Ghost World, Stand By Me... just to name a few.
pargie pargie 7 years
I think to like Napoleon Dynamite you would have had to be the outcast/nerd/weirdo/introvert or jock/class clown/bully in high school. Nothing in between. No, but seriously I have no clue. I loved Napoleon and Lost and Translation, and thought Kill Bill was just ok. Haven't seen I Heart Huckabees though. I think certain people can handle slow and offbeat movies (Napolean, etc) because they are offbeat themselves. Most of the indie films I watch my husband hates because he doesn't watch movies to see "ordinary people do ordinary things"...he wants to see suspense and watch things blow up! So he hates Napoleon, even though I loved it.
Grantz Grantz 7 years
Well, for risk's sake, I always point out whether a movie is slow or not. There are many good movies that move slowly; and a lot of casual movie goers do not like slow. I usually never recommend art house films to people offline that view less than 6 movies a year in theaters. I love romance movies more than anyone I know, male or female. So, I get asked about those alot too. If Im recommending for a couple, I make sure its an action/romance as opposed to a pure romantic drama. That seems to work well minimizing risk. Also, I recommend according to age, 20s, 30s etc. The most risky recomendation is suggesting a slow or offbeat movie. And, Ive learned to be careful about alerting for graphic violence when recomending and raunchy content as well. For me, Lars and the Real Girl would be a risky recommendation to casual movie goers. Because of its offbeat nature. Of course I loved it. The Assasination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, was another risky recommendation. I was careful to point out it's very slow moving pace. And only recommended it to film purists. Juno's greatness laid in the dialogue. Many scripts rely on special effects and action to carry the film. Most directors will tell you, dialogue is the most difficult part of a script to write. But, Juno would be a risky recommend to people over 40. Mongol, is a great movie. But another type of very risky recommendation because it is sub-titled. And the battle sequences intensely and graphicly violent. Marie Antonette; also very risky because of its extremely slow pace. But I liked it too. I guess in the end, when recommending with the least ammount of risk. I try to elaborate on the film's genre,as extensively as I can to each prospective viewer. And always relay the pace of the film. Cheers~ Grantz
kafarine-tin-tin kafarine-tin-tin 7 years
Is it lame that I had to Google:Define what "divisive" meant? Regardless of that, I think pretty much think that all Quentin Tarintino's films are divisive. I know a lot of people who love them, and and then more who can't stand them.
teagirl teagirl 7 years
I am completely with you on Juno pequena! I was so disappointed after watching that film because everyone I know who saw it loved it and they couldn't stop raving about it! I found Napoleon Dynamite to be silly, slow-paced, and a bit odd. Lost in Translation was slow but it had depth to it. Also, I loved that it was filmed entirely in Tokyo so I loved just looking at the city. All of those movies seem to be in a league of their own I guess!
pequeña pequeña 7 years
I never got what was so great about Juno. It was OK, but I found the character a little irritating and the script wasn't that good. I'm generally not a huge Tarantino fan either. He's a good director, but I think he repeats himslef a little and I don't like the way he films violence. I haven't seen I Heart Huckabees or Napoleon Dynamite, but I loved Lost in Translation.
hayworthgilda hayworthgilda 7 years
Donnie Darko is definitely one! History of Violence and Jerry McGuire are two dramas that fittaht list.
hayworthgilda hayworthgilda 7 years
Donnie Darko is definitely one!History of Violence and Jerry McGuire are two dramas that fittaht list.
Linda-McP Linda-McP 7 years
Borat for me as well. Everyone I know loved it, but not me.
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
Ahh I can't stand Napoleon Dynamite! (funny, there was just a commercial for it on TV, cuz it's on Comedy Central @ 8.) Borat. I hated that movie, but so many of my friends love it. Ergghhhh. Also, Donnie Darko. I didn't hate that movie, but all my friends hyped it up so much, and I was really disappointed. Of course they all wanted to shoot me after that, lol.
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
Ahh I can't stand Napoleon Dynamite! (funny, there was just a commercial for it on TV, cuz it's on Comedy Central @ 8.)Borat. I hated that movie, but so many of my friends love it. Ergghhhh. Also, Donnie Darko. I didn't hate that movie, but all my friends hyped it up so much, and I was really disappointed. Of course they all wanted to shoot me after that, lol.
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