15 Movies So Bad Even Their Own Directors Can’t Stand Them

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There are plenty of cinematic attempts that fall short, but then there are movies directors hated as much as the critics. Not all movie directors have a perfect batting average, and even the best have some films in their catalog that they are not proud of. However, there are also some movies that their directors absolutely hate, and some of which the director completely disowned. From directors like David Fincher, who have proved themselves in the industry, to Tony Kaye, who simply walked away from filmmaking after a bad experience, these directors hated what they saw.


As seen with the Snyder Cut drama of Justice League, a lot of bad blood can boil up behind the scenes of a troubled production. In most cases, the directors feel that the movie was taken out of their hands. Sometimes, the studio has someone come in and re-edit a movie without the director there, and it ends up looking nothing like what the director had envisioned. In other cases, the director just failed to meet their vision and moved on, disappointed in the final cut that reached theaters. Despite the best intentions, the talent involved, and a lot of hard work, the results were movies the director hates, which is a particularly harsh bit of criticism for any movie to bare.

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15 Honorable Mention: Tony Kaye – American History X (1998)

Available to rent or purchase on Prime Video

American History X is a good movie, but when talking to director Tony Kaye, it’s a very different story. Kaye came on to direct a movie about racism from the point of view of an older brother who ends up in prison and a younger brother who follows in his footsteps. However, he was locked out of the editing room as star Edward Norton took over editing the movie and changed it from Kaye’s vision into something very different. This was one of the movies directors hated so much that Kaye wanted it to be credited to Humpy Dumpty (via The Guardian). He quit directing movies for years after this experience.

14 Michael Bay – Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen (2009)

Available to rent or purchase on Prime Video

Michael Bay’s Transformers movies have never been popular among critics, but his second entry in the franchise was a disappointment to the filmmaker himself. The movie dealt with the Decepticon known as The Fallen launching an attack on Earth while targeting Optimus Prime. With too many jokes and major plot holes, the movie seemed disjointed, jumping from one action scene to the next. Bay explained this by blaming the writer’s strike, which caused a rushed schedule with an unfinished script. He lamented that it was not an ideal way to make a movie and is one of the movies directors hated, with Bay calling the sequel “crap” (via Empire Magazine).

13 David O. Russell – Accidental Love (2015)

Available to stream on Tubi, Pluto TV, Vudu, and Prime Video

David O. Russell shot the movie Accidental Love, then titled Nailed, in 2008, only to have it released in 2015. The problems arose when the cast and crew members didn’t get paid on time and walked out. The studio kept trying to finish the film, recutting it in a way that caused Russell to refuse any further work on it. While he was required to have his name on the movie based on the work he did, he demanded a pseudonym, an out for movies directors hated. Of the movie, Russell said, “I, unfortunately, am no longer involved in the project and cannot call it ‘my’ film.” (via THR).

12 Joel Schumacher – Batman & Robin (1997)

Available to stream on HBO Max

When Batman & Robin came out, it marked the end of the franchise for the Caped Crusader at the time. The movie was the second Batman movie by Joel Schumacher, who chose to move away from the dark gothic look of Tim Burton’s movies and make it a more colorful comic book-looking movie. Fans hated it and there was not another Batman movie until Christopher Nolan rebooted it. Schumacher was also apologetic for Batman & Robin, saying, “I want to apologize to every fan that was disappointed because I think I owe them that.”

11 Arthur Hiller – An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (1997)

Available to stream on Hoopla

In a case of art imitating life, Arthur Hiller signed on to direct a mockumentary movie called An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn. As the title suggests, it is about a filmmaker who had the unfortunate name of the pseudonym used by movies directors hated. What happened was that Hiller ended up losing control of the movie, and he asked to be referenced as Alan Smithee to disown the movie. The problem came with producer and writer Joe Eszterhas, who recut the movie, earning it several Razzie nominations. Hiller demanded his name be removed after seeing the final cut (via Wall Street Journal).

10 Kevin Yagher – Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996)

Available to stream on HBO Max

Hellraiser: Bloodline‘s director took his name off the movie. While special effects maestro Kevin Yagher signed on for this fourth installment, he wasn’t happy with the final product. He ended up changing his credit to Alan Smithee, a pseudonym for movies directors hated. Yagher did his job and turned in the movie under budget and on time, but the studio wasn’t happy. They hired Joe Chappelle to come in and finish the movie when Yagher refused to appease the studio with re-shoots and a happy ending. Yagher said the final movie was not the one that he put so much work into.

9 David Lynch – Dune (1984)

Available to rent or purchase on Prime Video

David Lynch is one of the most respected filmmakers in cinema history. However, when it comes to his attempt to adapt the sci-fi classic Dune, the director has nothing but bad memories of the project. However, among movies directors hated, it developed a cult following. The rough cut of the movie was four hours and Lynch’s cut was three. However, the studio wanted it shorter and chopped it up. Lynch left dissatisfied, and he won’t even talk about the movie now if he can help it. Lynch later said he felt he “sold out” while making the movie (via AV Club).

8 Noah Baumbach – Highball (1997)

Available to stream on Plex

Writer-director Noah Baumbach is one of the more unique voices to come out of the ’90s independent film scene. With great character pieces like Kicking and Screaming, Frances Ha, and The Squid and the Whale, he has proven to be a master of dialogue-driven dramas. However, in 1997, he directed a movie that he never felt he got right. Eric Stoltz and Justine Bateman starred in Highball, a movie where a couple tried to spice things up by throwing rollicking cocktail parties. As one of the movies directors hated, Baumbach ended up taking his name off it, crediting it to the pseudonym Ernie Fusco (via The A.V. Club).

7 Mathieu Kassovitz – Babylon A.D. (2008)

Available to rent or purchase on Prime Video

When Mathieu Kassovitz directed Babylon A.D., he had a strong vision for the movie. But despite directing the critically-acclaimed La Haine in 1995, the studio would not keep their hands off Babylon A.D., and he said they interfered every step of the way. The movie starred Vin Diesel as a man transporting a woman from Russia to the United States with the woman carrying an organism inside her that might be the Messiah. Kassovitz said that he wanted to tell a story about the difficulty of crossing borders in a modern world, but what resulted was “pure violence and stupidity” (via The Guardian).

6 Alan Taylor – Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Available to stream on Disney+

The production of Thor: The Dark World was unlike any other movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Marvel has let directors go before, this Thor movie was seemingly mishandled from the start. It began when they fired Patty Jenkins, who left and directed the DCEU’s breakout hit Wonder Woman. They then hired Alan Taylor, who had a very different vision for Thor: The Dark World than his previous work on Game of Thrones. However, by the end, it was one of the movies directors hated, with Taylor saying he wanted the movie to have a “childlike wonder” and it ended up a dark and serious release.

5 Dennis Hopper – Catchfire (1990)

Available to stream on Tubi and Vudu

Dennis Hopper helped define 1960s movies with Easy Rider. However, while that movie was a huge success and helped change Hollywood forever, his 1990 movie Catchfire was a different story. It started with problems on the set between Hopper and his star, Jodie Foster (via Express). It ended with the studio bringing in someone to re-edit the movie before its release, which caused Hopper to sue them. While he didn’t win any money, he did get the Alan Smithee credit added instead of his name as one of the movies directors hated.

4 Jerry Lewis – The Day The Clown Cried (1972)

If there is any sign of movies directors hated, it would be when they made sure that it was never released for anyone to see. This is what happened with Jerry Lewis when he directed the comedy The Day the Clown Cried. Once he finished the movie, Jerry Lewis refused to release it. The story follows a German clown who entertains children as they are led to death in the gas chambers. Lewis would call it a mistake and shelved it forever, making sure The Day the Clown Cried would never be released while he was still alive.

3 Josh Trank – Fantastic Four (2015)

Available to stream on Disney+

When Fox wanted to reboot the Fantastic Four franchise, they looked to a director who had proven himself with an original superhero movie. Josh Trank directed Chronicle, a found-footage superhero movie about a group of kids who developed powers. However, what resulted was one of the worst-rated superhero movies ever made. Trank hated this as it was edited without his input (Den Of Geek). He pointed to the studio while they blamed him for being unable to handle the big budget. He has only made one movie since this bomb.

2 Kiefer Sutherland – Woman Wanted (1999)

Available to rent or purchase on Prime Video

Kiefer Sutherland wanted to step behind the camera and try his hand as a director, and he had a nice small movie in 1997 with Truth or Consequences, N.M. However, his second directorial effort was not one of the movies directors hated. This movie was Woman Wanted and Sutherland co-starred in it with Holly Hunter as well as Sutherland’s own mother, Shirley Douglas. He has never talked about what he hates about the movie, but he did disown it, giving it the Alan Smithee title. Interestingly, this was the last movie to use the Alan Smithee pseudonym before it was discontinued in 2000.

1 David Fincher – Alien 3 (1992)

Available to stream on Starz

David Fincher’s directing career speaks for itself, but he had a rough first movie with Alien 3. He had a tough act to follow as Ridley Scott created a seminal horror movie with Alien and James Cameron followed it up with one of the best sci-fi action movies of all time in Aliens. While Fincher is one of the best directors of his era, he struggled with Alien 3 and did not have a good experience with the movie either (via The Guardian). He said in an interview that he was fired from the movie more than once and had to fight for everything. He also said that for everyone out there who hates the movie, no one hates it more than him.

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