Terry Gilliam's Tideland is the Worst Movie of the Year

October 26, 2006

Editor's Note: The rating for this film is 1 star, not -1.

Tideland is the worst movie of 2006. Terry Gilliam (Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) has recently taken a headfirst dive into sheer failure, previously with last year's The Brothers Grimm and now with Tideland. As a rule I will sit through a bad movie and soak in the hard work that went into creating it, but I was pretty close to walking out of this one. Tideland is such a deplorable movie of confusion and utterly boring scenes, that when it ends after two hours, you'll be more than happy to leave the theater at a full-paced gasping-for-air run.

Tideland stars Jodelle Ferland as Jeliza-Rose, a child of two junkie parents. After her mother passes away, Jeliza-Rose's ex-rock-and-roll father (Jeff Bridges) takes her to his old abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. Jeliza-Rose spends her days roaming the open plains nearby as her multiple personalities take on the roles of finger-puppet doll-heads and her father goes on one final never-ending drug "vacation." She eventually encounters her neighbors, Dell (Janet McTeer) and Dickens (Brendan Fletcher), both near-crazy individuals that fit right into her insane fantasy world. Tideland tries to be a fairy tale, but gets caught up too much in a sadistic reality and doesn't go much further beyond. It's complete with a talking squirrel and is the complete opposite of what its tagline, "The squirrels made it seem less lonely," would suggest.

I'll admit that Terry Gilliam is an incredible storyteller; he just doesn't have the right story to keep attentions. Tideland is so weird and so confusing that it borders on the edge of complete boredom, not the edge of "the tideland." It does deliver a wide-eyed experience into a child's endless imagination, but I don't think anyone can make sense of this ridiculous train wreck of a film. It's even more disturbing than the latest installment of the Saw series due out this upcoming Friday, featuring Jeliza-Rose cuddling with her deceased and hollowed father's remains.

The only rightly-satisfying elements of Tideland are its camerawork and its acting. Many of the camera angles are as twisted as the movie's plot. Gilliam uses a wide-angle and off-axis view that presents a very distinctive look at the rather dull environment. The young Jodelle Ferland takes a gigantic step away from the horror movie Silent Hill earlier this year and puts on a deep-south accent and imaginative mindset. Separately, Brendan Fletcher contributes a noteworthy, strikingly realistic portrayal of a quite retarded Dickens. I feel a bit awkward mentioning how horrible this movie was when I know that Brendan Fletcher put forth a valiant effort in playing his part; Fletcher deserves commendation for his work.

Last Word:
Despite being a boring child's play and a lame attempt at fantasy, I respect Gilliam's creations and capabilities in exploring this very imaginative world. In the end Tideland really is a disaster of a movie that offers two hours of confusing and unsettling playtime with a young girl and her finger-puppet doll's heads. The only reason to ever sit through this painful experience is to see Jodelle Ferland's marginally skillful performance.

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I'm sorry, but your review is one of the worst I've ever read. TIDELAND isn't for everyone's taste, that's for sure. But it veers toward sheer moments of beauty and genius than most films I've seen this year. What happened to the days when reviewers could actually say something insightful about a film other than it's disturbing and boring. Anyway, for anyone else who might read this, ignore reviews like this and judge the film for yourself. I thought it was amazing!

Janus Franklin on Oct 26, 2006


Stating that any movie is the worst of the year seriously erodes what limited credibility this reviewer has. It sounds like another critic jumping on the Terry Gilliam bashing bandwagon. (he's not Hollywood you see). Critical acclaim for Gilliams movies usually grows with the passing of time. This film I predict will follow the same pattern. I've seen it twice and consider it one of the better movies to come out this year.

Scott Robertson on Oct 27, 2006


Hey, Alex, did you get paid to write this review? Also, I'm wondering if you actually watched Tideland, or did you join the herd mentality beforehand and just base this review on what others have written? Luckily, I don't agree with you. I thought Tideland was brave and sooooooooooooooooo unique! Right right, I get it, some people hate it--mostly critics--because it wasn't made to entertain them by numbers. So what we now know is that the modern critic doesn't watch a film with any thing other than a desire to see something they've already seen a hundred times before. Once upon a time, though, people went to see Fellini, Kubrick, Lynch, and Gilliam because their films weren't about the sure-fire expectations of the masses but because those films required that the audience meet them on their own terms. That's called cinema. Of course, once upon a time critics operated with standards, willing to articulate important thoughts about movies even when they didn't like a given flick. In any case, I'm reviewing the reviewer, and you get a turkey from me. Tideland is a great piece of filmmaking, and in ten years you can always pretend that you always thought so.

Allen Jones on Oct 27, 2006


Dumb review. Great film. Caught it twice at The Music Box. Even better the second time. How come reviews like the one here spend so much time attacking Gilliam and not saying much about the movie? You get the feeling if Chris Columbus had made the exact same movie these guys would be jumping through hoops to praise him.

KYXL20 on Oct 28, 2006


Worst movie of the year? You've got to be kidding me. Tideland rocks!

Mike on Oct 28, 2006


Ok, I of course need to address all of you. Janus - Yes, I understand that people have their opinions and that is the ideal I always have when writing, and it goes for any review on our site. I don't say that this is the end-all review, this is my review, my opinion. Your opinion may be different, but this is my take and I respect that you disagree. I do suggest people judge for themselves, but in this case, I feel it's a waste of 2 hours just to do that. It is very creative and imaginative, but plainly boring. Scott - I went into this marginally "excited." I made an effort to go because I heard buzz, and really wanted to see it while I had the chance in LA. And my expectations were completely destroyed. I'm not jumping on a bandwagon, I'm giving my plain and simple realistic review. I do think Gilliam is incredible: Monty Python, Brazil, Fear and Loathing, 12 Monkeys... but this is just not one of those. Read my next part for more on that. I think Gilliam's creativity and originality is one of the best out there - very unique. I praise Gilliam often (even in this review, read the first line under Last Word), however, that does not instantly mean that a story like this one in Tideland is entertaining. It was so horridly boring, even while being creative, that it was just an awful experience. It cannot gain any credibility when it's so boring, no matter how much I appreciate what Gilliam has previously done and how creative this may be. That is what makes up the brute force of why it's the worst movie of 2006. Allen - I am a critic, and I don't review like that. My style and appreciation for films and consideration of them is much different than the mainstream critics like Ebert. But on the same token, I went into this, and came out bored and annoyed that I had wasted my time seeing it. As I just said above, I respect Gilliam, but the story and everything in this just didn't fall into place for it to become entertaining, even in an independent cinematic way. I'll never think Tideland was great because it most certainly was not, however everyone is entitled to their individual opinion. If you want to watch some good non-Hollywood independent "cinema," then watch: Science of Sleep, Little Children, The Queen, Haven, The Illusionist, Babel... those 6 movies are some of the top 6 out of the year - and are by far entertaining and not the least degree boring.

Alex Billington on Oct 28, 2006


Right, you found it boring. Boring. It was BORING to you, and boring equals "the worst movie of the year," even though you also found it to be "creative and imaginative." Boring to you merits one star...not an extra star for being creative, nor even a star for being imaginative. Boring trumps everything. Honestly, Tideland is a wonderful film and I'm with the others here who are bothered by your review. That said, I respect your opinion, but your review is proof positive that just about anyone can be a film critic: as someone once said, "No one grows up dreaming of being a critic, for it is truly the last refugee of those who can't."

Shawna on Oct 28, 2006


As a matter of fact, yes, it was that awful. I'm not talking about it being just boring, there is much more to it that was just poorly done. The only reason I gave it 1 star is because of the performances of Jodelle Ferland and Brendan Fletcher, and Terry Gilliam's creativity and originality. You should not be bothered by my review, because you should leave considering that you appreciate the movie quite a bit and not be so concerned that my own take wasn't up to your expectations. If you're so passionate about Gilliam and Tideland and think that anyone can be a critic, then please, write a review of Tideland.

Alex Billington on Oct 28, 2006


I disagree that this is the worst film of the year. It was in focus and had several excellent camera angles so I say there has to be at least one or two films that were worse. God bless the art house adolescents because without them there would be no audience at all for this pretentious pile of sh*t. Gilliam has said you have to think like a child if you are going to appreciate this film and maybe he's right, like a child I don't think Gilliam has ever had an idea he didn't like.......but this is still a boring (yes, BORING) waste of time. I actually saw someone on a film board say the movie was a masterpiece and that the best thing about it was sitting in the front row so they could see the blood entering the syringe. THAT is the type of person this movie was made for so if you know any like-minded folks send them down to Tideland!

harkin on Oct 28, 2006


What a transparent joke! Harkin, aka Billington, you're not fooling anyone. Your review is so full of holes its laughable. I love how you say the film is so awful, the worst film of the year, and yet you say the film is "creative and imaginitve", Jodelle Ferland's performance is good, and "Terry Gilliam is an incredible storyteller." You give this film ONE STAR, but say, "The only rightly-satisfying elements of Tideland are its camerawork and its acting." Uh, what? So you give props to the acting, to the creativity of it, the imagination of it, and you say: "The young Jodelle Ferland takes a gigantic step away from the horror movie Silent Hill earlier this year and puts on a deep-south accent and imaginative mindset. Separately, Brendan Fletcher contributes a noteworthy, strikingly realistic portrayal of a quite retarded Dickens." And yet these are the two main performances in a film where there are only six characters. But it's the worst movie of the year? The funny thing is, you say all this, and then you trash it for the only reason that it's boring. You articulate nothing at all except the most simple-minded grunt of someone who just can't own up to the fact that the film wasn't the film that you wanted to see. Too bad for you, but your review stinks of nothing more than the worst kind of self importance and seriously flawed critical evaluation. By the way, adolescents don't go to art house cinema, they play video games and feel ripped off when things aren't created to entertain them and keep them from being...BORED! God forgive.

Ferkin on Oct 29, 2006


Gilliam always was a class of its own, remember Brazil and 12Monkeys, but now.... Pity to see a good director going down.

milo on Oct 29, 2006


I didn't post that comment, way to go on your assumptions, however, I do see that the last 5 comments do have the same IP address - yours "Shawna." And also, nearly EVERY comment on here has the same IP address. (Unfortunately I had to delete them, because all you did is copy and paste someone else's review.) You're the one who is trying to fight this with your fanboy idiom by posting as different people. Not me, I've posted twice so far...

Alex Billington on Oct 29, 2006


Tsk tsk, Alex. I think reacting in such a childish manner toward someone only erodes your standing further. You did well earlier responding to the thoughts others had posted, but the last attack was simply silly. You should just ignore some people instead of responding. As for me, I too found Tideland to be wonderful and far from boring. Worst movie of the year? No, not even close.

Marlow on Oct 29, 2006


I was about to say something along the same lines, Marlowe. What kind of serious critic responds like that to someone? Oh, and TIDELAND IS AWESOME!!!

Terminator on Oct 29, 2006


Sorry, it's not my fault they think they can go around stuffing the comments with fake posts and call me out on something that I didn't even do? They deserve to be banned - if that were possible. I don't prefer people like that re-visiting the site, however I am more than open to anyone who has disagreements. Thank you for your comments, as those are something I appreciate and respect. Everyone is of course entitled to their own opinion.

Alex Billington on Oct 29, 2006


Dear Sir! I totally disagree with your review of 'Tideland'. Giving this film a "-1/10" score shows that your opinion (because your review is just an opinion) is shadowed by some very strong emotional rejections regarding the movie - hatred, I think. Giving a movie "-1" on a 1 to 10 scale reflects no objectivity. Worst movie of the year? Please.

Frank Booth on Oct 29, 2006


The movie was very well liked in Japan, although not so many screens to see it. I think not close at all to worse movie of year. I think the film to be so beaituful filmed with many touching moments it was gorgeous to look at. The story was very unique for a movie but not boring to me. I understand how someone can hate the story because it makes us uncomforable and maybe restless during the watching, except for me that is some of why it was good to me. Everything about Tidleland was very good, like the Photography, music, acting from little girl and retard guy, and a story where I could not say where direction it go. Maybe, Mr. Alex, you should watch again in a few months or years to see if it doesn't be something different to you. That is all I want to say, except the movie does not deserve to be hated so easy. Nobiko

Nobiko on Oct 29, 2006


Billington, I'm in complete agreement with you about those other good indie films floating around, especially The Science Of Sleep. My quibble with you is that Tideland should also be on that list. You pick this masterpiece of the weird and you-ain't-quite-seen-anything-like-it as your worst movie of the year? You gotta be kidding me. Did we even see the same movie? Man oh man.

Fort Lee Guy on Oct 29, 2006


I totally agree with you. I think that regardless of the somewhat creative yet disturbing plot, the film was incredibly boring. I personaly couldn't connect with any of the characters, and the movie was too wierd to be entertaining. I wanted to walk out, and I never walk out on a film. I understand everyone has the right to thier own opinion, however i feel it is really disrespectful to come on to a reviewers website and call them names and tell you how uneducated you are. If these people who don't agree with you liked the movie, they should write their own review. Simple enough. As for now I agree with you, and if these people don't think you know what you are talking about, they should look at the 27% the film has gotten on

steve on Oct 29, 2006


Hey, Steve, no offense, but if a film reviewer can't handle opposing viewpoints from those who don't agree with him then he wouldn't have a comments board. Anyway, 27% on rottentomatoes doesn't actually mean much because a lot of films start off with very low rankings and over the years creep up, so my advice would be to check it in a couple of years. I noticed the users rating on rottentomatoes was at 75%, but that doesn't mean much either. At IMDB the film has something like a 7.1 ranking out of 10, and, of course, I could mention that Tideland won the international critics prize at the San Sebastian Festival last year (no small award, by the way). As for my own review of Tideland, I did think it was a bit slow in the middle section. While I didn't think it was the greatest film in the world, I also didn't think it was bad to the point where it has deserved all the bile thrown its way. In truth, it's just an odd film on almost all levels. Not sure I'd want to see it again, but I really don't think it's so horrible either. Actually, it felt just like a Terry Gilliam to me, and that's usually a mixed bag. What I find most interesting, however, is that the people who hate it can't understand how anyone could love it, and the ones that love it can't understand how anyone can hate it. That alone tells me there's something interesting going in that film. As someone else on the comments board pointed out, the film did really well in Japan and drew in large crowds of teenage girls. Go figure. Still, the whole "boring" issue as a way to dismiss the movie seems a little lame to me, only because I can think of a lot of great films from the past that have pushed the limits on the boring meter and are still worthy of attention. I mean, almost any film by Tarkovsky makes Tideland look like a hyperkinetic affair, and yet Tarkovsky's films are incredible. The first time I saw Kurosawa's Kagamusha I thought it was a profoundly boring yawn fest, and yet after making myself sit through it a number of times over the years it has grown in strength and vision to me. More than anything, though, Tideland isn't alone in its initial hatred from critics at large. Hitchcock's Psycho had equally hateful and crushing reviews, but those times were different and such damning criticism only helped draw people into the theaters to see it. A Clockwork Orange is another visionary film that was greatly disdained when it came out, especially in the United Kingdom but now it is considered an essential chapter in Film Theory & Studies 101. In any case, sheer boredom isn't always a good gauge as to whether something is good or meaningful. I find classical music to be mind-bendingly dull and boring and, for me, pointless, and yet I can also understand that there is something there that is essential and important. Nevertheless, I should mention that I have yet to read one bad review of Tideland that illuminated something clearly about the failings of this film. If anything, the reviews have a gut-reaction quality that does a disservice to those who are looking to be informed. I've heard disgusting, boring, too weird, etc., but nothing that reads like an insightful analysis of the film. Unfortunately, the once-over review is pretty much a sign of our times, and the amount of critics out there now seem to outnumber filmmakers by the thousands. Plus, the times have changed, while I don't think artists like Terry Gilliam and David Lynch have. I think they're still doing exactly what they have always been doing, but what fuels the mainstream has shifted around them. If you go by some of the reviews, Lynch's new film The Inland Empire is getting dumped on with the same kind zeal as has been dealt Tideland. Lastly, I should point out something that did strike me as being important to understand Tideland on some level, and yet I haven't read a review where it was addressed: As Gilliam is using Alice in Wonderland as an influence, he obviously made an effort to move the narrative in the same manner as Lewis Carroll had done with his Alice books. In other words, there isn't really a plot in the Alice books, but, rather, Alice drifts from situation to situation which grow increasingly odd and grotestque and fantastic as the various unreleated moments unfold. In fact, Gilliam did it right, even if it feels like he did it wrong; by that, I mean, he was faithful to both Lewis Carroll and the source novel for Tideland in making the main character the plot, as opposed to having the plot dictate the actions and events of the story. This is rather something rare in modern cinema, and as a result it makes for a confusing experience for many viewers who aren't capable of viewing things from such an angle. Otherwise, I believe Alex was being honest in his review, although I can be counted among those who don't feel it was a very insightful or fair review. Plus, proclaiming something at the "worst" of anything does seem unfair. Tideland has its moments, and what's there is not without value.

Jaques St. James on Oct 30, 2006


Like Tideland or not, but no one can say Gilliam didn't know exactly what he was doing. He has called Mitch Cullin's book "...filthy, perverse, disgusting, and un-filmable," and then went on to say: "My films get bad reviews....The ones that didn't get bad reviews were: Fisher King got really good reviews; Twelve Monkeys got mixed reviews. Fear and Loathing got shitty reviews beyond belief. It's one of the most successful films I've done. My films tend to get bad reviews. In retrospect, I'm loved; it's 10 years later that suddenly everyone likes [me]." The reason the Japanese dug Tideland was because transgressive cinema isn't unusual in their culture. Takashi Miike anyone? I saw Vistor Q, an incredible film, and was shocked by it. It makes Tideland look like a walk in the park. Tideland is transgressive too in every way, and that's why a lot of folks can't stand it. Gilliam knew what he was doing though.

Larry on Oct 30, 2006


I saw Tideland yesterday and I can honestly say I don't know what to make of it. I'm a bit stunned by it and it will probably be a while before I can make up my mind if I liked it or didn't. One thing I can say is that it wasn't anything like I was expecting, but it wasn't like anything I've seen before either. At the moment I'm on the fence. However, if anyone wants the exact opposite take on Tideland than the worst movie of the review on filmnet, go to UberCine ( and read where it gets praised as the best movie of the year. Strange days we're in.

Linders on Oct 30, 2006


Tideland? I think I've heard of that. Isn't that like...uh...really boring and bad because it's really disgusting and creepy. I haven't seen it yet, but I was like so bored anyway with it and it's also creepy. Did I mention it's supposed to be revolting, but like beautifully filmed. Except it doesn't have a plot, and its really gross. Dude, I bet I won't be able tell where the story is going, so I'm sure that means it doesn't have a story because if it did I'd be able to follow it, so this movie isn't good because, like, I haven't seen something like it before. I'm not kiddin', aside from the kickass cinematography, the little girl who is like in every scene and is the best thing about it, and that gimpy guy who is like totally convincing and spooky good, and some seriously whacked out moments that no one has ever done in a film, and the music and shit that's so awesome...other than those things, this will be the worst movie of the year. But I'll wait until I really see it, because I'm sure I'll like have to downgrade it to double-plus worst movie of the year.

They Call Me Ted on Oct 31, 2006


Man you have to get another job, you don't have any perception of movie quality.. tideland is a Masterpiece. u suck

Giovanni on Oct 31, 2006


How can you call worse movie of year? The year is not over, and you would need to see every single movie made this year to say without doubt which is the worse. For me Terry Gilliam's movie is in Top Ten of what I see so far this year.

Miguel Questa on Nov 1, 2006


You state the film is boring over and over, but just that it IS, not HOW it is boring. Back up your statements, or else you'll get people who will bicker. So... How was it boring? And negative one stars? Christ, man. Did this film his a nerve for you? Seems like it.

Eh on Nov 2, 2006


Yes, it's probably not a good idea to stand on the unsteady ground of "best" and "worst" if you want to set yourself apart from critics like Roger Ebert. However, I have not seen this movie, so I'll reserve my judgement of your review until I do. What I do find most interesting about Terry's new film is the great divide. Whereas Brazil was at first disliked by the moviegoing public but beloved by the critics, Tideland is the exact opposite. A very diverse group of critics hate Tideland in a way I must admit I haven't encountered before by a film from a major filmmaker. The reviews are incredibly harsh and, well, hateful, yet I do agree that these reviews don't say more than very base reactions to the film that don't tell me much except the reviewer was either bored or grossed out or both. All of this is very different to The Brothers Grimm where both the moviegoer and critics were in accord. Any thoughts as to why, in this case, the non-critic moviegoers seem to draw meaning from the film while those who proclaim themselves as critics dislike it so. I'm not being flippant, I'm just interested in why one group sees the film in one way and the other group sees it differently. Like the amazingly cruel reviews in America of Tideland, I also haven't before read such heartfelt and equally emotive responses to defending the merits of the film. It's all rather unique to me.

Kuala L. on Nov 5, 2006


Tideland isn't the worst movie this year. Not at all. Not by a long shot. Not even close. And Kuala L., the reason the critics are dumping on the flick is because anyone who wants to be a "professional" critic belongs to a certain mindset that is fairly bland by nature. Honestly, tell me one film critic in the last twenty-five years that has created anything of value or meaning for the masses (film reviews don't count, by the way)? Most of them have forgotten where the word "critic" comes from or what being critical about something means. These days it's all slash and dash writing without an ounce of true critical reasoning involved, and if a movie is remotely challenging, way out of the box, or, god forbid, 'boring' instead of all pizza & fairy tales then they can't stand it.

Double Jim on Nov 5, 2006


How can a film with some of the most disturbing moments and mesmerizing performances of the year possible be considered "boring"? "Weird"? Definitely. "Confusing"? Well, that would be a reflection of your own limitations. Tideland is, at turns, both horrifying and hilarious, repulsive and heartbreaking, sometimes at once... but never "boring". It's easily one of the best films of the year. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but when it is so absurdly skewed, and as a "critic", stamp the ridiculous "worst movie of the year" label on a film like this, you throw out any credibilty you may have had as a reviewer. Your 1 star review shows how far from brilliance you are -that you can't recognize it in front of you. Perhaps you should give it a second go and then compare it to 90% of the recycled trash that's hit the screeens over the last 10 months.

Yann on Nov 8, 2006


That's got to be one of the most immature ratings I've ever read. -1? What is that? Ok, so you didn`t like the film personally, but aren`t critics also ment to kind of give an objective review? And even if you hate the film more than most, how can you justify a -1 for Tideland, comparing other bad films. I would sure like to know what you gave "House Of The Dead", because that`s what I would call a crappy film. You say that the camera work is good, which it is. You say that the acting is good, which it also is. Shouldn`t that alone be enough to at least put it one or two numbers up? Just because your square brain can`t handle surrealism and imagination, doens`t give you the right to trash it so horribly. All critics should consider that you are often commenting on peoples souls and life work. It doesn`t cost much to have some respect. Just because it`s not for you, does NOT make it a bad film. Your review does make you a BAD reviewer, though. I think (and hope) that this was a shot in the leg, and a career suicide for you. (If you can even call being a critic a job) Like Joey in FRIENDS said; Critics are usually wannabes and failures within the area they criticise. You should check out the rating.

Chenon on Nov 14, 2006


in all fairness, "Tideland" made an Entertainment Weekly critic's list for top ten worst movie of the year. It's in the latest issue with the Grey's Anatomy cast on the cover. I mean check out Rotten Tomatoes 25% positive reviews- respected critics blasting it over and over with, "ugly", "unwatchable" "excruciating bore" etc. You can easily dismiss these critics as idiots, but do you bother to write personal attacks to each and every one of them?

Marty Mcfly on Dec 26, 2006


A quick note: RottenTomatoes Freshness ratings are inaccurate, as stated before somewhere. Especially since reviewers have such mixed opinions. To get an accurate rating you'd need everybody on Earth (or at least 5 billion) people to review. And that's not gonna happen. Anyway, Tideland was boring, but not overly so. I think it deserved a higher rating than 1 (about 3-6). However, camera angles don't make the movie. I mean, all the director had to do was turn the camera. People at the "I love Tideland" end of the spectrum keep blathering on about this. Any half-wit director could turn a camera. And also, those at the other end (the "I hate Tideland because it's boring" end) keep saying one thing: it was boring. What else was bad? Personally, I think the themes were too strong. Terry Gilliam gives the audience too much to absorb in one go. But why is everyone going nuts over a simple movie review?

fabularis on Jan 25, 2007


Using Rotten Tomatoes as means to gauge a film is not a good idea. Tideland got 25% positive, but if you take the time to read the so-called "negative" reviews, you'll see a good number of them are ambiguous about whether they liked the film a lot or didn't, and that is apparently something Rotten Tomatoes doesn't take into account. As for the reviews that clearly hated it, please read them and you'll see that, aside from two by my count, they not only say approximately the same things--"unwatchable", "boring", "creepy", "ends fittingly with a train wreck"--but also seem to suggest that these reviewers are taking their cues from each other. Critical circle jerking is nothing new, but maybe it's time people stopped pretending that the vast majority of film critics function independantly of what their peers think; in other words, more often than not, they belong to a kindered mindset and rarely stray from the pack. Oh, and Tideland was great, by the way. It's already becoming a cult classic, something that neither wishful thinking to the contrary or ill-pondered reviews can change.

Yoji-ku on Feb 24, 2007


jeez, all I was trying to point out is that Alex isn't the only one that hated this movie- so why attack him? No one can take a single negative review in stride- why get so defensive? I only checked Rotten Tomatoes to see how many "respected" critics gave it an unfavorable review just to show Alex wasn't alone on this. Your opinion is as good as any, fine. ALL of Terry Gilliam's movies are considered cult classics- big whoop. Just like David Lynch and John Waters- they're incapable of making a movie that doesn't receive "cult" status- it's not an accomplishment for them at this point. I'm not gonna re-read a bunch of reviews and compare them- who cares? I don't know if critics all copy each other- maybe that's true, but that's still not going to change the fact that a lot of people will hate this movie. Just like some people I know hate, "Lost In Translation", "Little Miss Sunshine", "Crash" I know someone that thinks "Bad Boys 2" is genius. My brother loves, "Toys" a movie I hate with a passion, but I'm not going to try to convince him that 5 million people love it- he knows he's the only one- just let him love the movie. Let Alex hate this one. I can't believe you counted them- why waste your time sir- you could be blowing another two hours on "Tideland" (flips him a finger puppet birdie)

Marty Mcfly on Feb 26, 2007


Actually, I wasn't attacking Alex, nor was I saying he didn't have a right to hate Tideland. I was simply pointing out that film reviews and places like Rotten Tomatoes aren't exactly the best gauge for judging the merits of a given film (something, by the way, you also pointed out in your own roundabout way above). I find it strange, however, that you find it important to defend Alex when this is a forum intended for discussion about reviews that are written here, and nowhere does it say that only people who agree with one point of view or another can post here. I wasn't aware that I was only supposed to sing this critic's praises, or decline to offer my own opinion about what has clearly been an ongoing discussion here before my arrival. So thanks for flipping me the metaphorical puppet bird, although I won't return the favor. Perhaps if you wish to champion Alex you might do it in a manner that was more befitting of an adult, because otherwise your defensive-ness tends to underscore the overall childish nature of the very review and reviewer in question.

Yoji-Ku on Feb 26, 2007


well I'm a young guy, so thanks for the childish... and assuming I was being metaphorical. Tideland has renewed my love for finger puppets- couldn't help it. Alex has been getting ripped apart in previous posts- some people just attack him because they can't accept he thinks it's bad. Speaking of childish- have you read some of the mean-spirited posts above? I think my birdie is more than welcome here. I wouldn't dream of championing Alex because he loves Silent Hill, but I like the guy and this website, so there you go. We are having a discussion sir.

Marty Mcfly on Feb 26, 2007


Yes, I have read the other posts here. Some are just downright dumb and unkind, on both sides of the coin. Others, like the one posted by Jaques St. James on October 30, 2006, was well worth the time it took to read it, and Kuala L. on November 5, 2006 raised a few interesting ideas that no one else saw fit to address. Still, yes, some of the posts here are mean spirited, but only a bit more so than the one you directed at me earlier (and I certainly didn't post with ill will in mind). But I get the feeling that while a lot of the digs at Alex seem personal, they are really in response to his review and nothing else. If Alex has conviction about the validity of his opinion/review then whatever is thrown back at him should be like water off a duck's back. So Alex has had his say, now others are having their say...hence the comments page. If nothing else, it means there are people who are reading his review which, I suspect, is better than no one reading it at all. Perhaps, though, if Alex must be defended, he might should do it for himself. Anyway, glad we're having a discussion, and I apologize for assuming you were being metaphorical. And, in turn, I forgive you for assuming I'm a "sir."

Yoji-Ku on Feb 26, 2007


You say in the review "her multiple personalities take on the roles of finger-puppet doll-heads" have you never heard a child play acting to his or herself ? This is a totaly normal part of a childs life, especially one who has no brothers or sisters.

Doc on Mar 1, 2007


I think the folks over at DVD Up Close best summed up the general critical reaction to this film in The States, with Jake Barningham writing: "It was actually really embarrassing to see such extremely underdeveloped reactions come out of the so-called professional (mostly middle-aged male) film critics. Frankly, they made fools of themselves. Of course, I guess I wouldn't react very kindly to a filmmaker (presumably my age, if I were a middle aged film critic) beautifully articulating his disdain for adulthood and its increasingly absurd mentality. With Tideland, Terry Gilliam showed the world the simplest of truths: We are all weak children; incapable of escaping our own fantasy world which guards us from knowledge we deem too unpleasant for assimilation. Judging by our reactions to his film, he is 100% right. Time is a miracle worker when it comes to these little annoyances though, and I'm certain that in a few years, critical opinion will reverse itself and new eyes will look upon our initial reaction to this film and wonder (in befuddled astonishment I imagine) why each and every single negative review for this film stopped exactly where exhaustive analysis should have begun." Well put, I thought. Both Barningham's and Sara Freeman's perspectives on TIDELAND can be found here (along with at least one reviewer who disagreed about the film):

Dragon Ash on Mar 4, 2007


tis a shame that the moral majority can not appreciate the movies great use of freudian symbolism that is peppered throughout this movie, as well as being heavily juxapositioned with the movie "psycho" (ala polanskies' repulsion). truly, the majority of the hoi polloi are truly stupid.

rick on Mar 4, 2007


This movie is SICK.

Greg on Mar 4, 2007


Please visit this link to read very good analysis of Tideland movie and the DVD. This critic Bill Gribon took the time to watch the movie and to say something about it besides the usual stuff. Read here:

Marianne on Mar 5, 2007


Alex, as long as you're highlighting in power red your contributions to the comments board, why don't you fess up and highlight the 'Marty McFly' comments. 🙂

unknown on Mar 11, 2007


Why are you so insistent, even MONTHS after this film was screened and any arguements were done, that I am "still" faking posts?? The red is just a new thing added for admins who write comments, I wanted to make it a lil lighter, but it turned out too pink. And Marty McFly is a writer on here, too. Go to the About Us section and you'll see a guy named Marty Wurst, the brother of Barry Wurst, both who work for the site. Marty's nickname is Marty McFly... Stop fooling YOURSELF trying to endlessly argue that we're corrupt when I just voiced my opinion about a bad movie, one that you liked, and you can't handle that opinion.

Alex Billington on Mar 11, 2007


it was too effing weird. Someone explain to me what it means, besided being twisted I mean. I think a run over raccoon nailed to a cross eating peanut butter with a fork is unique, weird, maybe even art, but its meaningless. Still, did watch it. Sort of. All in all, its just weird. But thats just my opinion [ not ].

shooby on May 7, 2007


Articles like this get on my nerves. The reason? It's another opinion that reads as fact. Obviously Tideland was not the worst move of the year. Let's consider something a little more substantial than a subjective opinion: the compendium of critics' reviews at Based on the assumption that Tideland was released in 2006, the worst movie of that year was "Crossover". Next was "Zoom", then "The Covenant", then "Bloodrayne", then "Big Momma's House 2", etc. I personally loved Tideland, but even if I hated it, I can't possibly see how I could have found it to be worse than "Big Momma's House 2", for example. The cinematography alone made it better.

Craig on Jun 9, 2007


One of the BEST movies ever. I dont think u saw the movie in the first place.

Amr Riad on Jul 11, 2007


Lame review. Great film. I'll be curious to see how both it and this reviewer are regarded in twenty years time, although I already have a pretty good idea.

Charles Hix on Aug 20, 2007


So I guess you only saw like two movies in 2006, otherwise your review just makes no sense. I don't know if it's sad or funny that you thought TIDELAND was worse than Big Mama's House. Hopefully you'll be able to re-examine Gilliam's film at some future point and realize you might have been a wee bit too knee-jerky in your assessment of it. At least I'd expect a "good" critic to realize he or she isn't always right, sort of like how Leonard Maltin originally gave "Taxi Driver" one star (or maybe it was one and a half) in his 1979 Film Guide and slowly tweeked the stars up in subsequent editions.

Tammy Raye on Sep 11, 2007


Nah, Tammy, don't count on it. Guys like this are a dime a dozen, and they'd rather pretend they are right about everything than admit they are wrong about anything, ever. Come on, someone who aspires to be a critic has some deep-seated belief in their own omnipotence... it's that whole D&D mentality. Tideland was awesome, though.

Charles Hix on Sep 12, 2007


First off, I want to say that dumping on someone because they are a critic isn't really fair, so people lay off Alex a little, even though I agree this review wasn't very useful or, frankly, very fair. And to Alex...I listened a while ago to the podcast where TIDELAND was discussed and I heard you (or someone with you) dismiss people who defend this film as "fanboys" which isn't all that cool either, especially since people often like a given thing for a multitude of different reasons. It sounded, too, that you were somewhat bothered by what you viewed as personal attacks on this comments board, but come on, if you're gonna dish it out on some level you shouldn't be surprised if it gets thrown back at you. I also gotta chime in and point out that all this stuff about TIDELAND being universally hated by critics isn't totally true. The Japan Times gave it 4 out of 5 stars. In the UK, there was the The Guardian ("Rarely has there been such an unsentimental, unflinching portrayal of a fraught childhood on screen."), UK Times ("It's not always comfortable to watch but there is a twisted genius at work that makes Tideland an unforgettable experience."), The Telegraph ("It's safe to say that Tideland is not like any other movie you'll see all year."), and The Scotsman ("In many ways Tideland is pure uncut Gilliam, a jarring blend of Gothic Americana and Victorian English fairy fantasy.... It is a hallucinatory exploration of childhood imagination and survival."), as well as glowing BBC Radio 1 review. And that's not all. Still, none of these reviews--I think--have been tallied up in Rotten Tomatoes, even though they come from a higher pedigree of reviewing than a lot of the online sites that get recognized there. Furthermore, the friggin' flick WON the esteemed FIPRESCI Prize, selected by an international jury of critics that, in their award statement, said: "Our jury focused on the international competition and found Terry Gilliam's Tideland to be the best film of the selection." The jury consisted of Andrei Plakhov, Russia, President (Kommersant), Julio Feo Zarandieta, France (Radio France Internationale), Wolfgang Martin Hamdorf, Germany (filmdienst), Massimo Causo, Italy (Corriere Del Giorno), Sergi Sanchez, Spain (La Razon). Those guys are hardly lightweights, yet their praise of the film is never mentioned anywhere in the press, or, again, on highly-regarded yet wishy-washy Rotten Tomatoes site. Anyway, for those who are dumping on critics please keep in mind that some of the best of them weighed in on the side of Gilliam's vision, including Entertainment Weekly critic Clark Collis who scored the film a "B" and Chicago Tribune critic Michael Wilmington. But, in the end, it's the serious film buffs, not us professional critics, who will ultimately decide the long-term fate of TIDELAND, or what IFC's Michael Atkinson recently called "a snark-hunted freak just waiting for its historical moment, decades from now, when someone makes a case for it as a neglected masterpiece." As it stands now, user "critics" on Rotten Tomatoes have lifted the film to the "fresh" category (their reviews far exceeding all the professionally published reviews that exist about the film) and the same goes for over at (it has been sitting at around 6.7 percent for months now). What did I think of TIDELAND? To be honest, I found it a tad dull, but not uninspired or unoriginal. While it's understandable that comparisons would be made to PAN'S LABYRINTH, Gilliam's script and the novel that it was based on were around long before PAN'S was even an idea. Nevertheless, it certainly wouldn't rank in my TOP FIVE films of 2006, nor would it hover around the bottom of my list for that year; it was just too unique, strange, and disquieting to get castaway so easily, at least by me. My gut feeling is that time will be much kinder to it, especially when Gilliam is no longer among us and his body of work is viewed as whole. Otherwise, I think the film might have been more of an attention grabber if Mr. G had maybe trimmed out 10 to 15 minutes in the middle, while also adding the short deleted scene where Jeliza-Rose has the flashback of finding her doll heads in the thrift store bend. That's my two cents...

DC on Sep 13, 2007


I watched it last night without having heard any of the previous hoopla. I loved it. I thougth it was wierd and twisted and beautiful and innocent and a very authentic account of a young girl with f-d up parents. The actress who played Jeliza-Rose was unbelievable. She carried most of the film and was riveting to watch. I can see how it could rub people the wrong way but to say it was one of the worst films of the year is absurd.

p on Nov 13, 2007


Well, i know this is probable not important. I watch movies just like everyone else. Ummm... this movie... wtf?!?!? I love Jeff Bridges and his style of movies. I thought they did excellent acting. The girl was amazing. I thought all the characters where all well done.... but, i had NO idea what the hell was going on... the train wreck? the ending? come on! what the hell was that all about! I can understand art and actaully enjoy its many differnt quality's... the movie was actually really disappointing... what was with the ending? it didn't even make sense. I think the writter focused on more of the twisted sceniro's then actually attempting to have a decent ending. I enjoyed the twist and all... but the ending was poorly put together... why? beacuse there was NONE! If your interested in a twisted movie... watch it, but if you want a great ending... skip it... no point and I agree with the critict.... poor ending!

Ryan on Jan 3, 2008


Hello Ryan, I believe the young girl (Jeliza-Rose) is actually dead in this film; the whole family might have died from a car/train collision. The turned-over vehicle plays a part throughout. Remember, at the beginning, when she sees the orbs and eventually screams wildly as the train goes by? The orbs also play a part in the end. I could be WAY off here. Anyhow, I believe, every image with mom and dad is how she viewed her relationships with them (metaphorically and symbolically; mom-overbearing and dad-absent). Letting her father go was more difficult, mom not so much. The movie certainly inspires one to be a better parent. But most of all, I found it touching and sincere. The scene where the girl and man/boy race through the fields together holding hands is one I'll never forget. Both brought together by death. Dickins (who mentioned the end of the world as few times while thinking of ways to screw with the train tracks) was afraid of the over-turned vehicle where Jeliza-Rose had once seen the orbs. Dickins missing at the end gave me a clue that he was also dead. I have two young girls and found no offense to the subject matter. Some critics have been a bit unfair. This movie is unforgettable.

Mark on Jan 23, 2008


Reviewer, you bore me. Enough said.

Mike on May 4, 2008


I don't think this movie was the most awful of that year, but i definitely do not think it's one of Terry's better ones either. Alos, these comments from people genuienly angry at the reviewer have honestly made me laugh. I love the dedication some people have for a particular movie, and that's why i continue to pusue my dreams of one day making them.

Josh on May 18, 2008


Jeeez. If you like Babel, certainly you won't find Gilliam's work unique.

Abraham Morales on Sep 16, 2008


Well, I have to be honest but when I left the cinema I was extremely angry with myself for not walking out when I really wanted to.The only reason I stayed till the bitter end was because I was hoping for some sort of satisfying ending that would tie up all the pieces. It didnt, also my husband told me the reason he never walked out was because he thought I was enjoying it. This movie was dire and definately without a shadow of a doubt the WORST movie I have ever seen at the cinema. I am studying film and media and can appreciate camera angles and cinematography. ect but anyone can tilt a camera. A film is not just about camera angles and beautiful scenery. The review stated before I went into the cinema that it was "one of Jeff Bridges best roles".Well it doesnt say much for Jeff Bridges does it, considering all he does is sit on a rocking chair for the first five minutes with his tongue hanging out.... Not only did the film bore me to death, I thought it was exremely sick, peverted,pretentious and disappointing as a whole especially as I sat through 2 hours. What a waste of time. The film just didnt go anywhere, there was no message except do not watch this film. I was actually surprised this film went onto the big screen It does not deserve to in my opinion

rosie on Oct 1, 2008


This movie is repulsive, meaningless, anyone can vomit on a beautiful painting, it doesnt mean to say the two mixed together makes art, catch my drift?

ron on Oct 1, 2008


Tideland and Gilliam are both an inspiration to young filmmakers. Particularly to this one.

Carrie Ann on Oct 3, 2008


Your review reflects a sort of pre-calculated hangup. Nothing wrong with that per se, except that as a reviewer I think you ought to dig much deeper. With that said, the movie was was brilliant.

Moppi on Oct 15, 2008


wooow i think you see another movie the one i saw is the most is beautiful movie i have ever seen in years

xuxumatu on Oct 23, 2008


It was not quite as enjoyable as some of Gilliam's other films, but I was relentlessly intrigued throughout. I was able to shift myself to that childlike fantasy place where Jeliza-Rose escaped to, recalling my own childhood days of fantasy. Of course, mine was no where as twisted and disturbing as this movie portrays, but for that reason alone I found this film a delight to watch. It is definitely not for everyone.

nai on Mar 23, 2009


Alex Billington, You didn't get it. You didn't get the film. At all. Please - don't blame the film for your inadequacies of thought and substance. Terry Gilliam, The film is brilliant. You rock my socks. Mark, I agree. The film is unforgettable. Charles and Mike, Ditto. Rosie, It's "etc," not "ect." Enough said to you.

HAL on Mar 30, 2009


Absolutely brilliant film, although at the same time quite disturbing, your review on the other hand is pants, you don't speak of any of the deeper meaning in the film, you call Jodelle Ferlands acting "marginally skillful" both gross injustices to the film and actress. Its not everyones cuppa tea but if you are any kind of film fan you will see its well filmed, acted and thought out. My advice to you is to watch the latest Nicolas Cage or Fast n Furious movie it is all you deserve and probably the highest level of cinema you will appreciate, or for our sakes at least review only films of that calibre as you are clearly incapable of reviewing mastery such as this.

RowleyBirkinQC on Sep 16, 2009


Tideland is Gilliam's best film. (Yes, I've seen the majority of his works including Brazil and 12 Monkeys.) It's your prerogative to disagree, but "worst movie of 2006" is a pompous overstatement totally out of step with serious film criticism.

johnny on May 9, 2010


I know this is like 4 years too late, but I don't care; I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, man. I cried like a baby when I saw this movie, and I've never cried for a movie before. I guess it really struck deep down into the kid-in-me chord, since I'm the Peter Pan Complex type of person. No movie I've ever seen has ever been as honest, emotional, and heart-wrenching as Tideland. It's a film that I identify with on a level that I've never felt for any other movie before, and I've seen tons of movies and have been deeply moved by a handful of them, but none as much as this. I'm also a big fan of all of Gilliam's films, but for me, this is by far his most emotional and creative work. If you want to dislike it, that's fine, but if you do, it's because you just don't f*cking get it, man. I assume that most of the idiots making up the majority of movie-watchers would agree with you, since Hollywood has them so accustomed to the pieces of cinematic fecal matter that they excrete year by year. I guess they've all forgotten that film is a form of art, and that some films are not made for entertainment purposes, but to make you think, make you feel, make you reflect. To compare it to music, for example, I can see how a reviewer like you would give a new 50 Cent or Justin Timberlake album 20 out of 10 stars, commending them for whatever stupid bullsh*t you could come up with, and then review a new Tool album, for example, with -5 stars, calling it "weird, boring, distasteful and aimless", just because they're making something different that doesn't coincide with your watered-down mainstream meme- and paycheck-induced opinion. I thought Tideland was such a breath of fresh air from the crap we've all become so accustomed to. It's the most realistic horror film I've ever seen; it's easy to make a film like Saw, when you rely on gore to scare people, but it's a true feat of the imagination to make something so dark, so bleak, so miserable, so funny, so sweet, and so fucking beautiful simultaneously, and with almost no violence at all. It depicts a situation so unlike those seen in any horror movies I've seen, where that which induces the fear is not a presence, a creature, a killer, or a horde of zombies, but a stark and terrifying reality that is probably the life experience of many thousands of people out there. It's a window into the lives of many unfortunate wanderers who've been forced to endure similar situations; and many of them, MOST of them, were not as fortunate as Jeliza Rose, who is taken underwing by that woman at the end. I think a very small percentage of people will truly understand this movie, but because it surpasses the limits of the mainstream human mind to comprehend a work of art like this. You're all so used to your tasteless romantic comedies and your bullsh*t bad boy action flicks that you don't even know art when you see it anymore. You're all so used to your happy pampered little lives sheltered from the cold, harsh truth of reality that exists out there that it's like an insult to your ego and your presuppositions to experience something of this nature. And I think that's even more frightening and depressing than the situation portrayed in Tideland. Shame on you for this immature and destitute review. Whether you like it or not, this movie is going to go down in history as a cult classic. It's a true diamond in the rough for cinema, and I don't think that this unique type of mood or message will be easily replicated in future films. Oh, and Jodelle Ferland f*ckin acts CIRCLES around most Hollywood actors working nowadays.

solemn siren on Jun 18, 2010


I was crazy for Terry Gilliam. Great fun I am of Monty Pythons! I had him in great potition in my soul: BRAZIL, 12 MONKEYS, many movies. When I saw this S I C K thing, i got sick! Reallly Sick! Ready to spuke! (sorry for my bad English is not my language!) What is that???? The man lost it? Where he had his mind? As director (special when U are succesfull director and U dont need to make movies for money) U must be really sick if U read this N O V E L and U say NO to that, even after a second thought! If U dont do it at once with the first thought of U , that " NO" if U dont say it at once!, U are really asshore! I try to say: people who they will say yes for a movie like that or no they are asshores, except the people who they will reject tat NOVEL at once! With G A R B A G E S like that we must be only 1st: STRIGTHLY and NEGATIVE! ( ALWAYS AT ONCE!) What that thing? Is a director? For me my favourite director till I saw that movie, T. Gilliam, he became a "THING" after I saw that thing who many here they call it movie or novel! And if this is a not bad movie then the rest great woks he did for me they have to be garbages! My friends who U know T. Gilliams work, U have to deside! The situation is extreme! SO extreme as me and my words! WHtas that? Movie>? Like 12 monkeys? Like Brazil? I dont believe it at all! Thats a sick's mind and dirty's soyl work! The most dirty and unusefull garbages they will be clean a front to that tideland shit thing With all of my respect!! Mister Gilliam continue as U are Continue! U are in the perfect way to be an ass-director FU OFF Also bye bye from on great fun of U. People who they have mind they know to appreciate works and to seperate goods from garbages Brazil will never fit with Tideshit!

Dimitris on Sep 25, 2010


And I want to add as a sick person I feel I am right now! I got so sick who I continue feel sick with this garbage tideland! Where are we going? where we have our minds if we have any mind at all! Shame to all of U who U did not reject at once on movie (if that thing is movie) as this movie! I got so sick Where U have your minds my friends!?!?!?!?

Dimitris on Sep 25, 2010

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