100 percent Rotten Tomatoes movies that haven't aged well

Rotten Tomatoes is a useful site for a getting a quick idea of what film critics think of a movie. While tastes obviously vary, you can generally count on a film with a high score (and especially one with a 100 percent score) to be very good. After all, critics often disagree, so a unanimous endorsement means a lot. 

However, while scores and the reviews that generate them stay up on Rotten Tomatoes forever, most of the reviews were written when the film in question was first released. Most great movies will stand the test of time, but some do diminish as perspectives change and what once seemed perfect eventually reveals its flaws. With that in mind, here's a look at some movies that haven't aged particularly well, despite their 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes scores.

An Evening with Kevin Smith

The really wild thing about learning An Evening with Kevin Smith has a 100 percent score is the reminder that anybody ever thought of it as a movie. It's a video release from 2002, with a truly ridiculous 224-minute runtime, consisting of Q&A footage from Smith's 2001-2002 university speaking tour. He talks about movies, but he also makes a lot of penis jokes, even more gay jokes, and of course talks a lot about smoking marijuana. The latter is clearly what the target audience is meant to be doing while they spend almost four hours listening to the man behind Silent Bob shoot the breeze. 

It's easy to forget how much of a mainstream spotlight Kevin Smith still had in 2002, now that he exists in more of a pop culture niche. But there was a time before he had recorded hundreds of hours of podcasts (indeed, before podcasts were even a thing), when his devoted fans had not yet heard every single thing he might have to say. This video was an early opportunity to hear more from Smith than anyone really needs to.

The Interview

If you're surprised that The Interview got a 100 percent score, you're probably thinking of the 2014 James Franco/Seth Rogen movie about North Korea. That movie has also aged badly, but it wasn't well-loved to begin with. This Interview is a 1998 Australian crime drama starring Hugo Weaving that made a big splash in U.S. indie film circles when it was released here in 2000. The question is, why? The film consists almost entirely of an interrogation of Weaving's character at the hands of a police detective played by Tony Martin. It's like an Australian The Usual Suspects, but with worse writing and no budget for flashbacks. The nature of Weaving's character, and whether he's guilty or simply being railroaded, is kept from viewers to a degree that makes it had to find any truth in the story to latch onto. If you want proof that Hugo Weaving is a very good actor, The Interview will accomplish that. But if you're looking for a gripping crime drama, you'd best look elsewhere.

Roger & Me

In 1989, Roger & Me seemed charming. The work of a then-unknown documentary filmmaker named Michael Moore, it features Moore telling the story of his troubled hometown of Flint, Michigan, and Moore's quest to talk to GM CEO Roger B. Smith about the harm GM did to Flint by laying off huge numbers of workers there in favor of cheaper labor in other countries. Smith never meets with Moore, but Moore's dogged pursuit drives the narrative of the film. 

In 1989, this was nothing like the impersonal documentaries that audiences were used to. But nearly three decades later, everything that came after makes it harder to enjoy. Flint never recovered, and is still a city in crisis today. Michael Moore, meanwhile, is still doing his best to present the same "dogged everyman" persona that won over audiences in this film, but it feels far less sincere coming from an industry veteran in his 60s than it did from an unknown in his 30s. In 1989, Michael Moore became a liberal hero, but these days many voters, regardless of their politics, view him as an annoyance. In that sense, you could say that Moore's own success has ruined his best film. It's a shame, really.


Normal means well. Written and directed by Jane Anderson, based on her own play, it tells the sensitive story of an aging couple in middle America who are thrown into chaos when the husband announces his plans to transition to living as a woman. It was basically Transparent more than a decade before Transparent. But as you may know, Transparent is often criticized by transgender people for casting a cisgender man as its transgender woman lead. This is a practice that's widely considered unacceptable among trans people, because it perpetuates the false idea that trans women are just men dressing up. Even Transparent's creator, Jill Soloway, has acknowledged that casting men as transgender women is a bad idea.

That brings us back to Normal, in which the trans woman is played by Tom Wilkinson. At the time, few objections were heard. Mostly likely that's not because real trans people were cool with it, but because they had less of a public voice in 2003. But revisiting Normal in the present, it's impossible not to see that problem at the center of it.

Before Sunrise

Writer-director Richard Linklater was at the height of his powers in 1995, as were Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, both talented actors beautiful to behold. But this movie could not be more 1990s in its style, fashions, and attitude. Also, its youthful romantic sentiments are so naïve that they made a sequel nine years later in which Hawke and Delpy's characters admit they were embarrassingly young and stupid when the events of this movie happened. 

In case you've never seen it, Before Sunrise is about an American man and a French woman who spend one romantic night together in Vienna and make a deliberate choice not to exchange home addresses or other information. That might feel romantic in your early 20s, but the older you get, the less sensible it seems. And it's particularly bizarre in 2017 to think that these people from different countries didn't think it was worth the effort to be together, when in today's world they'd be having regular Skype dates.

There have since been two sequels, each spaced nine years apart: 2004's Before Sunset and 2013's Before Midnight. So it's even harder to relate to the romantic idea of spending only one night together when you know that these two characters will meet again and ultimately have a long-term relationship. Before Sunrise is still a good movie to be sure, but the magic it seemed to possess in 1995 has largely evaporated.

Longtime Companion

Longtime Companion was a movie that needed to be made, and broke ground with its 1990 release as the first widely distributed motion picture dealing with the AIDS crisis that had been decimating the gay community for a decade. But for 2017 audiences, the sadness of its story is far from the only thing that makes it hard to watch. 

Craig Lucas and Norman René, the writer and director of the movie, respectively, were both gay men who lived in the world they were depicted. However, it's clear they were playing it safe in their depiction of the gay community. Their likely motivations were admirable—they wanted to show straight audiences what a powerful and tragic impact the AIDS epidemic had—but the movie feels deliberately toned down. Afraid to depict gay men as flamboyant or feminine, and afraid to depict their relationships as truly romantic and sexual. 

Lucas and René were probably right to do this, as straight audiences and critics of the time almost certainly wouldn't have responded as positively to a more unvarnished look at gay life. After all, it's clear that a major goal of the film was to tell a story that needed telling to the people who hadn't heard (or lived) it. So in that sense, Longtime Companion was a success in its time. But nobody watches it anymore, and there's a reason for that.

The Terminator

The Terminator is a sci-fi classic, but it has a few big things working against it from a modern perspective. First of all, the apocalyptic future where the film begins doesn't feel at all real. It's empty in a way that just betrays the film's low budget, and all the futuristic machines in the movie (including the skinless terminator skeleton) seem sort of weightless and obviously fake.

Secondly, there's Sarah Conner. Played by Linda Hamilton, she's the target the Terminator is sent back in time to execute. By Terminator 2: Judgment Day, we've seen her evolve into a muscular, battle-ready action hero in her own right. In fact, that's the main thing that makes it feel so off to revisit this first movie and see her as a nearly helpless big-haired damsel in distress who has to be rescued by a man. On top of that, the fact that she's not being targeted because of anything special about her own life, but rather because of the son she'll bear, is not the most empowering storyline for a female science fiction lead. None of this ruins the movie, but all of it does make it feel terribly dated.

Love and Death

Love and Death is a broad parody of Russian literature, particularly the works of Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and it's pretty weird that such a movie was made in 1975 to begin with. On top of that, the style of comedy that dominates the film was old-fashioned for its time, owing more to Bob Hope and the Marx Brothers than other comedies of the 1970s. 

The major difference is that Love and Death has way more sex jokes. What makes it even worse is that most of those sex jokes are made by Woody Allen, who wrote and directed the film as well as starring in it. Many of them are directed at Diane Keaton, who plays Allen's character's much younger cousin, with whom he becomes romantically and sexually involved. In Czarist Russia, such a relationship would be completely acceptable, and to be fair it's not as if Keaton's character is meant to be a minor. Still, in light of the allegations Allen has faced in the years since, not to mention the fact that he married his own stepdaughter, the whole thing feels a bit gross. In fact, many modern viewers object to the presence of Woody Allen in any film. Regardless of your stance, it's hard to deny that Love and Death is far more fraught today than it was in 1975.

The Searchers

John Ford's 1956 western The Searchers is one of the most beautiful films ever made, and contains easily the best performance by screen legend John Wayne, who plays Ethan Edwards, a Civil War veteran who spends years looking for his niece after she's kidnapped by Native Americans of the Comanche tribe. Edwards hates all Comanches, and his racism is treated as a flaw in his character, which is a far more nuanced and progressive perspective than was common in westerns of that era. 

Unfortunately, that nuance just makes the still-ingrained racism throughout the movie all the more glaring. There's a whole subplot with a Native American woman who believes herself to be married to a white man who has no interest in her, and it's played entirely for laughs. Beyond that, Ethan's blatant racism—particularly when he expresses a willingness to kill his own niece if she's slept with (or even been raped by) a Comanche man—makes him seem less of a deeply flawed antihero and more like a monster. The Searchers is absolutely worth watching for its cinematography, its locations, and its performances. Sadly, however, there's a lot you'll have to ignore to enjoy those aspects.

Holiday Inn

Racism has to be pretty egregious to stand out in a movie from 1942, but Holiday Inn manages to pull it off. It stands out on the basis of one scene—and if you've watched it, or just the trailer, you've already know which scene that is. 

The premise of the Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire musical revolves around a resort that's only open on holidays, and each holiday has its own song and dance number. Lincoln's birthday is celebrated with a number in which the white performers are dressed as black stereotypes, complete with exaggerated blackface makeup of the type common in racist minstrel shows of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The entire sequence has long been cut from TV airings of the film, but today most people watch it on DVD or streaming, where the film remains uncut. There's a lot to like in Holiday Inn, and a lot of great music and dancing. But this one shockingly racist scene just about ruins it.