“It Got One Star, for the Cat”: Filmmakers Choose More of Their Favorite Negative User Reviews

It's no fun to read a major critic tear down your vision, but it's sometimes a different matter when the writer is a trolling internet commenter...

Talkhouse Film contributors were invited to share the negative user reviews, from sites such as the Internet Movie Database, Amazon, Letterboxd, Netflix and more, that had particularly caught their attention (or just made them laugh). Below is the second installment of their responses. – N.D.

Here’s a Netflix user review of Uncle Kent that made me chuckle:

“Sorry, I could not get into this movie. It was a movie about nothing without any Seinfeld humor. It was vulgar and people seemed to be immature. I looked up Joe swanberg and he does this types of movies. Low budget, very low budget movies. I think the most paid actor was the cat who played an excellent part. That it why it got one star, for the cat.”
Kent Osborne

I don’t think I need to say what I love about this, do I?
Penny Lane

Kinda loved this sentiment for some reason… The idea that he has aged out of being able to connect with verbosity, as if that’s new, and that he connected my verbosity to hip hop just because Jay-Z’s name is on the marketing as opposed to connecting it with Mike Leigh or Jeunet.

“Granted, this could just be an age thing, since the Hip-Hop Generation is already used to hearing incessant, mindless, staccato-style chatter in their favorite songs. So, it might not be that big a jump for them to have to listen to a non-stop voiceover for the duration of a movie.”
Terence Nance

Here’s my favorite one:

“It fails much in the same way The Room fails, but Sabbatical is less memorable and more difficult to sit through.” – septimus77 on Letterboxd

I think the greatness of this assessment speaks for itself. If only I could get some that sweet midnight movie cash…
Brandon Colvin

I like how this purported “doctor” is simultaneously grossed out by people and mad at them for not always making the best choices. I wish she were my primary care physician.

Also, given her sadness that the film doesn’t cover “physician shortages and the added costs associated with untreated illnesses” I bet we’d find a lot of common ground in terms of the kinds of documentary we like. Sadly that tired where’s-the-hard-facts level of critique was the same the film got from…The New York Times.

For fun, I pasted I response to DrSarahR from another commenter below. I think it sums things up nicely.

Jeff Reichert

Here’s a review that stands out to me.


A few of aspects of this bum me out. It bums me out that my film is being watched on an iPad and worse, that the subtle sound design is coming out of those built in speakers. It bums me out that someone is doing something so multi-taskery as cooking while watching my film (cooking can be loud too, so again, those speakers…). And finally, it bums me out that Erin seemed to have such a hard time making something as easy to make as enchiladas.
Riley Stearns

Amazon reviewers normally just criticize a movie as “dumb” or “sucks” or “stupid”. Michael Nelson of Alaska decided to dig a little deeper, with a full two sentences. He first rated it one out of five stars, but for whatever reason still gave Buzzard a B. And he didn’t even get through it. It was “just to dumb”.

Joel Potrykus

Not an amateur review but a very well-crafted one from Mr. Jonathan Rosenbaum (so maybe it doesn’t count?)

I don’t think I could create a pull quote I like more than “entertaining and reprehensible”, and if a writer I admire hating my movie was what was necessary to motivate this cri de cœur in defense of criticism itself, it was totally worth it.

Also, this alt version of the Room 237 trailer incorporates comments from the thread below the official version.
Rodney Ascher

Here is one for The Pyramid, which I co-wrote.

Nick Simon-Pyramid

It’s kind of hard to argue with someone called Meatsuit4angels. I mean, 5-year-olds probably wouldn’t have walked into a haunted pyramid in the first place. I would also love to hear from the 1 of 1 people who found that helpful.
Nick Simon

I work outside of the studio system, so I can see why one might not understand my vision…

Frankie Latina

There are so many!

Here’s three.



Caveh Zahedi

This isn’t really an altogether bad review, but it’s certainly the strangest of any film I’ve made. Not every day you get four out of five vulvas.

“I’m going to give this one 4 out of 5 vulvas. It’s a good rating. There was realistic masturbation movements and a realistic depiction of not orgasming from getting banged. Yay Hoosiers! And Yay Richmond (cause you’re an Indiana town and your streets are in this movie)!”
Zack Parker

The two below are my favorites. The first for not spelling out the word “sex”, then complaining the scenes with sex were not erotic enough. Also for hoping that “whoever wrote this has never experienced this stuff or knew anyone who did.”

The second for assuming “sexual parties” are an “east coast thing.”


Zach Clark