People Break Down Subtle Red Flags That A Movie May Not Be Worth Watching
Sammy-Williams from Pixabay

I love movies.

The cinema has long been a savior of mine and has given me some of my greatest inspirations.

But being an avid film watcher has also made me quite the critic.

I can always tell when a movie is worth the money to see in theaters or wait until it's on basic cable with commercials.

Redditor fjv08kl wanted to know what is obvious about mediocre cinema by asking:

"What are some subtle 'red flags' that tell you a movie is not worth watching?"

5 Star Crap

"Critics are calling it 'laugh-out-loud funny!'"

"It's almost always garbage."



Good Phrases

"If the trailer has blurbs from reviews, check to see who wrote each review. On bad movies, they will often put multiple blurbs from the same review."


"And quote phrases that can easily be taken out of context. That '..laugh out loud' in the trailer was actually taken from the quote "This movie was so painfully unfunny that I didn't laugh out loud even once.""



"Them desperately pointing out the director/producers/writers/studios better movies and productions that barely relate to the movie's themes in an attempt to lure in fans. To me it always meant the movie doesn't stand out enough to stand on its own."


Sing Out

"A movie has a popular song with different lyrics."



Bad Blitz....

"They push the ads way too hard on TV and reddit."


"If a studio knows a movie is bad they will use an ad blitz to get as many people to go opening weekend as possible before the word of mouth has a chance to sink them."


"Can't prove this empirically, but to me the logic has always been:"

"1-Larger the advertisement budget, the larger the revenue it needs to pull in to justify the cost."

"2-The larger the 'revenue requirement' the more the movie will cater to wider ranges of audiences (more people = more tickets = more revenue)."

"3-The more people that a movie must appeal to, means it must dumb things down or take less risks because you will be catering to a lower denominator overall."

"So yeah, that's kind of my thinking on it. If you don't have a target demographic or a specific genre you're really tying to nail, you instead just water the whole product down and get a typical 'blockbuster' formula movie instead."


Too Much too Soon

"When you feel the preview showed basically the whole movie."


"This. And also when it's obvious that the dialogue in the preview was put into the movie for the sole purpose of making the preview interesting."


The Raves...

"If in the commercial the people who are 'raving' about it aren't anyone reputable. Susan on Twitter said it was the best movie she saw in 2020. Susan didn't have many options in 2020, her standards were lower."


"This applies to games way too often too. 'Game of the year award!'"


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The Star

"It's clearly just a 'star vehicle.' Like, all the hype is about the star's riveting new performance... but no corresponding critical praise for the story, directing, special effects, nothing."



'Tis the Season....

"Release date. The only movies that go into wide release in January or February are:

  • "Oscar bait that got limited releases in December in NY/LA to qualify for the Oscars"
  • "A romance or two the Friday before Valentine's Day"
  • "Crap that the distributors are assuming will bomb that they dump onto the screens in midwinter."

"Hollywood insiders even refer to the first two months of the year as 'Dumpuary.' Every so often a Dumpuary release will succeed (Get Out and Deadpool are recent examples), but by and large it's garbage they're hoping to squeeze something/anything out of."

"Late March/early April and August/September also tend to be weaker fare. If it was really good, the studios would save them for summer blockbuster season (May-July) or award-giving season (October to mid-December). There are exceptions, but again, they're exceptions."



"If any of the actors have an overly expressive 'O' face on the films poster."




"Weirdly specific, random info dump in casual conversations between characters, especially within the first minute or two."


"People referring to reach other as 'sis' or 'cuz' because that's the only way they can convey their relation. Or when siblings talking to each other say 'our mom.' You both know her as Mom. You just f**king call her Mom."


In the Toilet

"When a comedy has poop and fart jokes, outdated meme and pop culture references."


"Toilet humour is not always bad. The trick with humour is not the literality of a joke, but what layer of sincerity you believe the piece is trying to get at. For example South Park has toilet humour all over the place, and yet it can be poignant at times."

"Also I'm not sure I get the outdated argument either, referential humour is a big part of comedy in general, and there are tonnes of comedy shows that have those but still age well. I get the point, because there are easily some references that will stick out like crazy as bad writing, but those are not subtle when you see them, they're super obvious."


No Witnesses

"If they don't screen it for critics, you know it's going to be really bad."


"That's not really subtle though. That's pretty much a big flashing neon sign reading 'We know this movie sucks!'"


"You know, I thought about that, but I feel like there really aren't many truly subtle clues that a movie is going to be terrible, so I went with my first thought. Even in this thread all of them are fairly obvious or don't make a ton of sense."


"based on a true story"

"If it’s based off of a true event that occurred less than a year prior. A fictional movie set against the backdrop of a current event is usually fine; hell, many of the greatest WWII and Vietnam movies were filmed while the war was still being fought. It's when they want to do a 'based on a true story' film before even half the facts are even known about an incident in order to cash in on it while it's still fresh in people's minds. Those films tend to be lacking in actual story and over dramatized. I'll make an exception and say Zero Dark Thirty was out a very short time after the actual event and it was actually really good in my opinion."



"In animated movies, whenever the animation is too 'clean.' It's not ugly, but everything is just a little too smooth and a little too bright. Also if there's ever pop music playing in the background. The music's also always slightly out of date, like 6 months after its heyday."


Monsters Inc Animation GIF by Disney PixarGiphy

Casting Concerns

"The emphasis of who's in it over what it's about. I don't care who's in the movie half the time."


"There's some exceptions to this. There are a few actors who are like the potatoes of the film world, not that exciting on their own, but are super versatile and somehow manage to elevate everything they are in, no matter what it is."


Behind the Scenes

“'By the producer of' If they can’t name someone behind the creative part of a previous film then you’ve got to wonder. Just because they had someone with a previous track record of finding money doesn’t mean much to me. Unless I know that producer is someone who gets involved more in the process. 'They always knew that ...' as the opening line is a definite sign for me that the film will be crap."


"being yourself"

"Any recent popular songs, a narrator speaking over the trailer, a cheesy message about 'being yourself' advertised in the trailer, telling the audience instead of showing them (too much exposition), and so forth. #1 offender: Ferdinand."



Middle Fail

"Certain really bad movies (The Room), are so far from what we consider good, they become laughably bad, which for some reason makes people like them. Movies that are in the middle fail to meet a person's threshold for a "good movie" but aren't bad enough to be laughably bad. So they end up in this weird zone where they don't appeal to either side of the movie spectrum."


Lady Bits

"Boobs in the first 10 minutes. I've watched a lot of really bad movies and one surprisingly common thing with them is that they have a naked woman some time early on in the movie. My theory is that they are trying to get you to stick around for the rest of the movie; 'surely,' you think to yourself, 'if there were boobs in the first ten minutes, there will be some more boobs later.' But don't be fooled. Those were the only breasts you will see."


The signs of mediocrity abound, and sometimes they aren't that difficult to spot.

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