A similar dilemma faced those who watched Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger when it was released over 2013’s Fourth of July weekend. Was it stupid? Or just pretending to be stupid? Most critics and audiences subscribed to the former possibility. In fact, most people really, really hated The Lone Ranger. More than just stupid, they called it overlong, offensive, bloated, messy, disastrous, horrific, boring, and so on, with the hyperbolic amounts of vitriol further fueled by reports of the film’s extravagant budget. In the end, it was a financial and critical bomb, and seems to have singlehandedly destroyed Verbinski’s once-promising career in the same way the infamous 1980 flop Heaven’s Gate destroyed Michael Cimino’s, mere years after he was deemed a rising star due to the success of The Deer Hunter.
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