It must be a great feeling to have a movie or TV show made about your life. To have others deem your existence worthy of being a story for the whole world to consume is priceless. Who wouldn’t want that?
As it turns out, quite a few people who have had their lives converted to scripts haven’t been happy with the final result, and they haven’t been afraid to make their thoughts known. Plenty of films and TV series have had this criticism levied towards them, with examples as recent as Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty and as far back as Patch Adams.
‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty’ (2022 -)
HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty tells the story of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s when the NBA team went from being written off as a lost cause to the most exciting and beloved team in the league. John C. Reilly stars as Jerry Buss, the team’s ambitious owner: newcomer Quincy Isaiah plays the iconic Magic Johnson, and Jason Clarke plays Jerry West, one of the greatest Lakers players of all time.
Much of the controversy surrounding Winning Time is aimed at Clarke’s depiction of Jerry West. In the show, he is foul-mouthed and extremely bitter, almost to the point of comedy. West himself has demanded HBO retract their depiction of him and refuted the belief that he had anything but love towards the Lakers organization. Magic Johnson has also spoken out against the show’s accuracy, leading him to produce his own Apple TV+ docuseries about his life, They Call Me Magic.
‘Patch Adams’ (1998)
Patch Adams is one of the more well-known Robin Williams movies. Based on the book Gesundheit: Good Health Is A Laughing Matter, the film stars the comedy icon as Hunter “Patch” Adams, a man who wants to become a doctor to help people and develops his method for healing, where he heals patients through laughter.
While the movie was a massive hit, and audiences loved it, one person who didn’t was the real Patch Adams. Adams feels like the movie featured an incredibly simplistic version of him that just made him a funny doctor and ignored all other aspects of his life, like his activism. He has even claimed that the production promised to help fund a hospital with their profits and has never made good on their deal.
‘The Blind Side’ (2009)
The Blind Side won Sandra Bullock her much-deserved Oscar for Best Actress. Bullock plays Leigh Anne Tuohy in the film, which takes in an unhoused teen named Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron). She and her husband give him a good home and help him fulfill his potential as a football player, eventually leading Michael to become a first-round NFL draft pick and an All-American football player.
The movie is an inspirational story and was a big hit for audiences, but the real Michael Oher has different thoughts about how his story translated to the big screen. In his memoir, I Beat The Odds: From Homelessness, To The Blind Side, And Beyond, Oher expressed that, while he liked the movie’s message, he was unhappy with how he was portrayed in the movie. Specifically, he has a problem with how the film made him seem like a dumb kid instead of someone who hadn’t been given proper access to education.
Moneyball is a miracle of a movie. It takes a story that centers mainly around complex numbers and statistics and makes it interesting. With so many small details involved in the writing of this baseball drama, there were bound to be some nuances lost in translation.
However, the intricacies of the details and the timeline aren’t the part of the movie with the most criticism. Oakland A’s manager Art Howe hated the film and, in particular, how Philip Seymour Hoffman portrayed him. Howe took issue with a lot of the movie, but specifically, he thought that Hoffman was playing a character that was not really him.
‘Game Change’ (2012)
Presidential elections are always political circuses, especially as of late, and you could probably turn any one of them into a compelling movie. The 2012 HBO movie Game Change tells the story of the 2008 election from the point of view of the party that lost, John McCain (Ed Harris) and Sarah Palin (Julianne Moore).
McCain and Palin asserted that the movie was based on false pretenses, and neither ever intended to see the film. However, others who worked on the campaign, like Steve Schmidt, have said that they believe the film accurately captured the essence and emotions of the real election.
‘What’s Love Got To Do With It’ (1993)
What’s Love Got To Do With It tells the story of the legendary career of Tina Turner (Angela Bassett) and her tumultuous relationship with her husband, Ike Turner (Laurence Fishburne). The movie doesn’t hold back in showing how abusive Ike was and makes their relationship the core of the film.
As probably everyone who is negatively depicted in a movie, Ike Turner did not like the movie. In his book Takin’ Back My Name, Turner praised Laurence Fishburne’s performance as him but called the character a fabrication. He took specific issue with a scene in the movie that depicts Ike committing rape, calling it “the lowest thing they could have done.”
‘The Fifth Estate’ (2013)
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a very complicated figure. Some praise him and call him a hero, while others condemn him and call him a criminal. That kind of polarizing public perception is excellent fodder for a biopic. The Fifth Estate isn’t a great biopic, but it’s an entertaining movie, and Benedict Cumberbatch gives a good performance as Assange.
To prepare for the role, Cumberbatch communicated with Assange via email. That being said, Assange was not supportive of the movie as a whole, going as far as to say the film is a lie built on a lie and that it’s essentially state propaganda.
Nina Simone is an American icon. Her music and voice have spoken to generations of people. So, it makes sense that Hollywood would turn her life into a movie. In the film, she is played by Zoe Saldana, and the movie focuses on her secret, romantic relationship with her manager Clifton Henderson (David Oyelowo).
Simone had passed away by the time the movie came out, but her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly, didn’t hold back in expressing her disappointment with the film. While she had nothing personally against Saldana, her casting was criticized because Simone had a darker skin tone than Saldana. Kelly also pointed out that her mother had never been romantically involved with Henderson. They were incredibly close, but he was, in fact, gay and the two of them were nothing more than great friends.
‘Green Book’ (2018)
Peter Farrelly’s Green Book was liked well enough on its release. It received glowing reviews from critics and audiences and even won the coveted Best Picture Oscar. The film follows two men, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) and Dr. Donald Shirley (Mahershala Ali), as Tony drives Donald on tour through the Southern part of the U.S. The movie tells an inspiring story about how human connection can combat racism.
That being said, plenty of people don’t like how Green Book portrays the friendship between Tony and Donald. The Shirley family themselves have spoken out about not being consulted for the film and how the movie exaggerates the friendship between the two to paint a better picture of Tony Lip. According to Donald’s brother, Tony Lip wasn’t viewed as a friend by Shirley but instead as an employee.
‘The Social Network’ (2010)
The Social Network is a masterpiece. It’s Citizen Kane for the modern era. It’s somehow both ahead of its time and a perfect encapsulation of the time it was made. David Fincher’s biopic of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg was thought by some in 2010 to be too harsh on the man who changed the way we interact with one another. Now, though, in 2022, Zuckerberg’s numerous controversies have caused perception to flip, with some thinking the movie isn’t critical enough of the tech mogul.
One person who still believes the movie was harsh is Zuckerberg himself. He has spoken about how, in his opinion, the film made up many false plot points to make the story of Facebook more interesting. He has even gone as far as to say he is hurt by how he is portrayed.
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