Bad Reviews of Beloved Classics

As the saying goes, “Everyone’s a critic.” But what happens when the professional critics get it wrong? We looked back through history and found a treasure trove of scathing reviews of what we now know to be beloved classics. Here are a few of the worst.

From an early review of clouds:

“Picture a pristine morning sky. Bright. Azure. Full of possibility. Now add some obese floating sheep. Oh, I’m sorry—did I ruin the mood? Ladies and gentlemen, meet clouds: amateurish puffs of mediocrity better suited to a child’s scribblings than our heavenly firmament. Some artist types may posture that clouds add texture, depth, and a note of majestic melancholy. Posh. These are the same anhedonic killjoys who claim that a beach picnic isn’t complete without sand in your sandwich. And, speaking of ruined picnics, did I mention that clouds are from whence come rain, thunder, lightning? That’s right, folks—these flying sheep can kill you. This critic prefers his flocks where they belong: back on the ground. Zero stars for clouds.”

From an early review of dogs:

“You’re on a pleasant stroll through your village, your lovely wife by your side. You carry the bread, and she the milk and cheese. Her auburn hair is pulled back in a bun, accentuating her simple beauty. You turn to compliment her, but, before you can, she is mauled and eaten by a pack of wild dogs. (Adding insult to injury, they even eat the milk and cheese!) After a tornado of blood, fangs, and mingled howls of canines and of your dying bride, the demonic pack vanishes and, with them, any chance of your future happiness. (Good luck finding a new wife once the whole village hears how you just stood there and watched!) Sound familiar? Such is the scourge of dogs, man’s worst enemy (not to mention an egregiously derivative ripoff of wolves). Perhaps someday humans will learn to domesticate these devilish fiends, but, for now, this reviewer will be happy safely cuddling the most trustworthy, selflessly devoted animal on earth—a cat!”

From an early review of friends:

“First, God created Adam. From Adam, Eve. All was at peace in Eden—man, woman, harmony. Thanks a lot, serpent! Cast out of Paradise, we now live insufferable lives overstuffed with a cacophony of Cains and Abels, plus a new phenomenon (spreading like the plague) called ‘friendship.’ What, pray tell, is the point of a friend? People claim that you can ‘make’ friends, but can you fashion one out of your own rib? Can you be fruitful and multiply with a friend? That’s two hard nos. Friends serve no purpose other than to silently judge you, gossip about you, and, on occasion, steal your Eve. (You know who you are, ‘friend.’)”

From an early review of books:

“Cave paintings depicted our lives as hunters and gatherers. Stories told around the fire passed along the simple, timeless wisdom of our elders. But now, thanks to the ‘written word,’ we have books. An avalanche of self-indulgent ruminations, these long-winded headache machines seek to complicate our notions of life, love, morality, mortality, and war. Look at me, I’ve read a couple books and suddenly I can’t shut up! Wait, why am I writing this down instead of saying it aloud to others, whereupon it would be told and retold, entering into the shared history of our oral tradition?! Shame, ruin to anyone who writes things down, I shall immediately stop writing things down—why can’t I stop writing things down?! What is this demonry?! I shall destroy these words, rip up this parchment, set it ablaze—no, I can’t. . . . Some of this copy is actually pretty snappy. OH, DEAR GOD, WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME? SOMEONE, PLEASE HELP ME!”

From an early review of death:

“God created all life—so varied, so rich, so diverse. But how does all life end? (Spoilers.) Death. Yes, all living things meet the exact same end. Isn’t that a bit one-note? Cookie-cutter? Phoned-in? Putting aside all afterlife hypotheses, aren’t there at least some among us who deserve to live forever? Couldn’t there be a selection process, merit-based, whereby some are chosen to walk the earth for eternity? Suggestion: Considering their vital role in helping humanity comprehend life itself, perhaps critics would be good candidates for immortality? One critic’s prediction: God will finally wise up and replace this drab, formulaic punctuation mark to existence with something more interesting, within the decade.”

From an early review of humanity, by God:

“Boy, you fuckers complain a lot, huh?” ♦

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *