10 Famous Directors’ Biggest Missteps

Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut

Kubrick’s final film had a rather illustrious canon to stand up to upon its release, which is perhaps unfair to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s quiet, hypnotic allegory. Easily as divisive as Barry Lyndon, but more far more universally reviled, Kubrick’s erotic portrait of a marriage struggled against censorship, conflicting reports about the filmmaker’s opinion (Full Metal Jacket actor R. Lee Ermey said Kubrick was “disgusted” by the movie, while actor and friend Todd Field claimed the opposite of Ermey’s “slanderous” comments), and a publicity campaign that churned the hype machine about nude actors, real sex, and masked orgies. (And let’s not forget the ostentatious tell-all that was released around that time.) Critics never seemed to get beyond the movie’s sexual dynamics and instead pegged the film as a generally self-indulgent misstep, “ridiculously though intellectually overhyped for the very marginal entertainment, edification and titillation it [provided].”