Many, many mobster movies, such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino and Scarface. Far too many people see the big houses, beautiful women, expensive cars, and fancy suits and think of the protagonists as "men of honor". They completely forget that the characters are thieves, murderers, and drug dealers who lose everything and everybody close to them by the end. Worse still in that some of these movies are based on real events.
The horrible things that the lead does in Goodfellas have Real Life analogues: Goodfellas was The Movie of a nonfiction book. Henry Hill was a real person.
Casino is also The Movie of another nonfiction book by the same author, Nicholas Pileggi. Ace Rothstein was based on an actual guy, though the name was changed and Ace is comparatively less of a thuggish bastard, if only by virtue of certain incidents not making it into the film.
In an episode of Key And Peele, the hosts note the cult popularity that mafia films have among African-Americans and Latinos. They go on to question why this is, since Italian-American gangsters tend to be notoriously racist.
Slasher Movie characters like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees (all brutal serial killers) have huge fanbases, with many a teenage girl proclaiming their undying love for one or the other. The fact that Freddy and Jason are undead monsters who could ONLY exist in the safe world of the imagination probably helps. Although in the sequels to these movies, you are often clearly meant to root for the killer; in which case siding with other characters (Such as Busta Rhymes) is Misaimed Fandom. As Clive Barker, creator of the Hellraiser series, put it, "You've got Pinhead, who hasn't done a single decent thing in eight movies, and still gets mail from women who want to have his children."
The Italian Fantozzi films were adapted from communist propaganda books, but all people cared was that they were so funny. This may be a rare good twist of this trope.
Judd Apatow's movies (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, etc.), are actually meant to subvert the sex comedy subgenre and ridicule the glorification of sex and promiscuity within our culture. Many people, however, miss this important point and watch these films during All Night Sex Parties, Make-Out Parties, etc.
A Goofy Movie and its sequel have a number of fans who criticize the more sympathetic fat character, PJ, misrepresent him, dismiss him, or, at best, define him as "the fat guy" on the grounds of his weight. In the second movie, he explicitly states this is a cultural problem—YouTube comments for that very scene show this pattern. There are also a number of people who have missed the fact that PJ's general lack of confidence is because of child abuse— even though the movies (especially the first one) are not very subtle about it—claiming him to be yet another member of an annoying cliche of "fat guy with no confidence." He was designed to be a diametric opposite to his father [[Pete, an older fat character]].
Speaking of Gaston, there's a number of fans of Beauty and the Beast who think that he's a fantastic guy who Belle was a bitch for not marrying. This is skating over the fact that he attempted murder, bribed the asylum owner to commit Maurice, and heavily implied that if/when he got Belle to marry him, he'd be forcing her to be the kind of woman he approved of.
It's common for movies with prominent animal characters to spark waves of reckless pet adoptions. Finding Nemo is notable for doing this despite unambiguously condemning taking animals out of the wild to keep as pets.
Films — Live-Action
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A number of women and Dogged Nice Guys find Tom's actions in (500) Days of Summer to be romantic and passionate. Despite this, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has stated that Tom's actions were meant to seem creepy and selfish, as he only cared about the idea of Summer, rather than her agency as a person.
Barry Humphries' fish-out-of-water movie The Adventures Of Barry Mc Kenzie was supposed to be a satire based on everything he detested about unrefined stereotypical Australian "ockers." In the end, according to director and co-writer Bruce Beresford, "the people he most loathed most loved the film" and were arguably the ones most responsible for getting the sequel made.
August Rush managed to accomplish the inverse of this - it missed its intended demographic. It was supposed to play particularly well to musicians and music lovers, but those were the people most likely to spot the film's numerous problems.
Avatar's position on technology. It seems to be advocating responsible, low-impact technology use. Given its general lack of subtlety, a subset of viewers interpreted it as anti-technology, instead of pointing out that it's the uses that matters while being more broadly anti-imperialist. Many pointed out the apparent Broken Aesop of a film that required oodles of technology to be anti-tech. In addition, there are the people who liked the sight marines and Na'vi going to war, similar to the above examples for Jarhead and Apocalypse Now.
There are fans of the film version of Battle Royale who seem to wish that they could enter The Program, with their classmates. This isn't helped by the in-film character who signed up "for fun" and seems to be having the psychotic time of his life.
If the YouTube comments for the film The Believer are any indication, then the Nazi Villain Protagonist / Anti-Hero of the film has earned a lot of white supremacist fans despite the film being anti-Nazi and the protagonist being Jewish.
Inverted with the film version of The Birth of a Nation where the fandom got the racist subtext of the original Thomas Dixon work but D. W. Griffith apparently didn't or just went with it anyways. Griffith was himself not really a racist; his next film Intolerance actually dealt with the negative effects of prejudice. His later film Broken Blossoms even went out of its way to make the Chinese protagonist very sympathetic as a reaction to the rabid anti-Chinese sentiment of the time.
No soundtrack album was ever released for the Tim Robbins movie Bob Roberts (about a right wing folksinger-turned-candidate). It's been reported that Robbins worried that the music (satirical folksongs about such topics as drug use, immigration, welfare, etc., from the point of view of a right-wing straw-man) would be played out of context.
Many people enjoy The Bourne Series for its action and car chase scenes, but cheer for the CIA the entire way through because they wish the real life U.S. government had a program like Treadstone/Black Briar in place. In fact, the producers shot an alternate opening and closing sequence that played up to that sentiment, given the social/political climate at the time of its final release (originally 2001, pushed to 2002).
Boys Don't Cry is about young trans man Brandon Teena struggling to find his identity as an adult and as a man, since for the first time in his life he can truly be who he is inside. Most reviewers loved it, but while sympathetic to the character, referred to Teena as female and seemed to think it was a story about a lesbian who felt she had to pretend to be a boy because of homophobia or something. One reviewer even said something like "in disguising herself, ironically, this young woman helped other girls find themselves." (Yikes.) In real life, Teena was your average somewhat macho straight guy and had the kind of enlightened opinions on feminism and lesbianism you'd expect from a young man born in the Bible Belt in the early seventies. The fact that Boys Don't Cry is on at least thirty "Best Lesbian Movies" lists is even further proof and Boys Don't Cry is listed on Netflix as a Lesbian movie. Most reviewers seemed to leave with the thought that it was a touching, heartbreaking lesbian film. And when told Brandon Teena was a trans man, and therefore not a lesbian, people will often say "she wasn't a real man, so obviously she was a lesbian" *Face Palm*. Also, the movie doesn't shy away from the fact that Brandon Teena was not the finest, most upstanding human ever. Obviously, he didn't deserve to be raped or killed for his transgendered status, but he was known to have stolen checks from friends and lied to many people for many (usually petty) reasons. Teenaged girls (gay and straight) who think he was "so sweet" are misplacing their fandom.
On the subject of high school movies, Ally Sheedy's character Allison in The Breakfast Club is seen by some fans as some kind of proto-goth heroine and they were furious that she undergoes a makeover in the last 5 minutes of the movie. What they may fail to realise is that the character is deeply unhappy being on the fringe of school society and desperate, in fact, for attention and friends. Essentially, she's messed up, and so when Claire helps her feel special by giving her a makeover (she finally smiles), it's supposed to be a good thing for her character - a new beginning with new friends, and potentially a new boyfriend (Andy). Her previous appearance (with straggly hair and scruffy clothes) might appeal to some viewers (who may see her as something of an Audience Surrogate) but in the context of the film, it just made her look unapproachable to her contemporaries. We're supposed to be pleased for her, not horrified she's "not weird like us" anymore.
Many tween-age girls completely missed the point of Clueless — a vapid and shallow girl realizes how meaningless that sort of life is — and instead attempted to ape the fashion and attitude of the characters from the beginning of the film. According to the PBS documentary Do You Speak American? (which is about the different dialects found in the United States), Clueless is directly responsible for speading the Valley Girl dialect across the entire country; before that, it was contained to the West Coast. That's right, the movie that tried to mock Valley Girls turned their way of speaking into a nationwide phenomenon instead.
The Dark Knight's version of The Joker is an especially disturbing case of Misaimed Fandom, since we're talking about a guy who does his evil deeds For the Evulz. Though he makes a plot-critical miscalculation of human nature at the climax of the film, Joker fanvids like this one say things like "everything The Joker says is true." They wrote him extremely well, and he was acted very well by an actor who died between filming and release. He lives in a Crapsack World where his Straw Nihilist philosophies do seem true at first and still have truth in them, but it's heavily implied that he crafts these philosophies to get under people's skin or persuade them, not because he actually believes what he says.
There's a similar (albeit more understandable) Misaimed Fandom towards Ra's al Ghul in the previous Batman film, Batman Begins. Consider, for example, this video; some users in the comments section were saying they prefer Ra's al Ghul's philosophy to Batman's and that Ra's al Ghul had the right idea, whereas Batman was just foolishly defending a city with no hope. There is a difference between agreeing with a Straw Nihilist and agreeing with a Knight TemplarWell-Intentioned Extremist, but the issue is the same: people agreeing with the villain more than the director probably intended. Although in Ra's case, Christopher Nolan and David Goyer did both state that everything Ra's said was true, unlike The Joker. However it's defending Ra's methods (turning all of Gotham into mindless lunatics to destroy the guilty few) that mark him as firmly in this trope.
Dazed and Confused is often incorrectly labeled a Generation X movie. Given that the film's main characters would've had to have been born between 1957 and 1963, they're still technically Baby Boomers. They also frequently exhibit Boomer characteristics, such as a clear distrust for authority, and are missing the "slacker" characteristics often associated with Gen-X. Richard Linklater himself has stated that he doesn't like being labeled a "Generation X spokesperson", both because D&C was never meant to make any kind of generational statement and because (being born in 1960) he himself is actually a Baby Boomer.
Many people sympathize with Colonel "You can't handle the truth!" Jessup of A Few Good Men and his famous courtroom speech (intended as a Motive Rant) in which he admits he ordered the "Code Red" ("You want me on that wall! You need me on that wall!") is admired by many.
Jessup may be the villain, but he's a decorated war hero with a long, distinguished career. His speech in defense of his decision (which cost a sub-par soldier his life in an illegal training accident) makes several good points. His villainy stems not from the unintentional murder of the young soldier, deplorable as that was, but rather from his after-the-fact cover-up where he left two of his subordinates facing a possible death penalty instead of taking responsibility for the orders he gave them.
Fight Club. Many people mistake the message of the film to begin and end with Tyler Durden's anti-consumerist, neo-primitive philosophy, even though he's the villain. It doesn't help that he's explicitly the embodiment of a man's ideal self, and his plot to blow up the banks succeeds. Ultimately the film is trying to show the valid points of Durden's stance while rejecting his extreme methods.
Many current or former military (or people who are staunch military supporters) are also fans of Full Metal Jacket. This is likely because many claim the depiction of Vietnam era training to only be slightly over-the-top. In particular, some laud R. Lee Ermey's Drill Sergeant Nasty as being harsh, but getting results, ignoring how one of his charges snaps and kills both the sergeant and himself by the end.
Glengarry Glen Ross was, like the play it was based on, a satire of the sales world and the dishonest lengths to which successful salesman will go, with Alec Baldwin's profanity-ridden "motivational" speech intended as the culmination of ruthless capitalism. However, many real-life sales managers now use said speech out of context as an actual motivator for salespeople. Worse yet, some managers show it in context, sometimes to take a stance against ruthless capitalism, and sometimes to let their employees know that they want nothing less.
Allegedly Hitler liked The Great Dictator. (It is proven that he watched it twice, but it's not proven whether he liked it.)
Dr. Hannibal Lecter attracts a lot of fandom despite being a European aristocrat by birth with strong intellectual leanings who still displays snobbish elitism and who has little tolerance for poor taste. Oh, and did we mention he's also a maladjusted serial killer who eats his victims?
Many viewers applauded Hard Candy as a Take That toward pedophiles. While Jeff is obviously beyond redemption for what he's done, many viewers don't take into account the fact that Hayley's methods are obviously supposed to demonstrate that she too is an incredibly sick individual. Word of God is that both Hayley and Jeff are intended to be equally repugnant. So misaimed it even created a real live group!
Debora Kampmeier's film Hounddog is meant to depict the horrible consequences of child abuse. Many critics (and viewers) see this differently.
Disaffected youth have long put up posters of Hud in their rooms as a mark of admiration for this iconic counter-culture hero. The story is about Hud trying to get his father falsely declared mentally incompetent and himself power of attorney so he can sell his father's farm and keep the money. And he attempts to rape his love interest.
Quite a lot of people take Idiocracyseriously, pointing to the (purported) stupidity of modern pop culture as proof that this movie is a good predictor of the future. This causes so much Hype Backlash that it scares some people away by making the movie seem very preachy and Anvilicious when it's really just a goofy, high-concept comedy running on Rule of Funny.
Supposedly, the graphic rape in I Spit on Your Grave was supposed to be shocking and horrifying. When Roger Ebert reviewed it, he listened to what his fellow audience members said regarding it, and "if they seriously believed the things they were saying, they were vicarious sex criminals."
Jarhead includes a scene in which the Marines cheer for Apocalypse Now. On the commentary track, it is noted that marines never see anti-war movies as such; the book the movie is based on goes so far as to say that there are ''no'' true anti-war movies precisely because this trope will always kick in. Case in point: there are tales of Marines cheering the "soldier mutilates an Iraqi corpse" scene in Jarhead.
The 1970 film Joe starred Peter Boyle as a working-class reactionary who fantasizes about murdering hippies (and does so in the film's climax). Boyle was horrified to find audiences cheering the character at screenings, and reportedly turned down the role of Popeye Dole in The French Connection at least partly out of fear of inspiring a similar reaction.
The Karate Kid series. Judging by the nature of the posts on the IMDb and other film-discussion sites, some people have a pathological hatred for Daniel Larusso, calling him "Danielle" or "Whinielle," and are big fans of Johnny, Kreese, Chouzen, Mike Barnes and Terry Silver.
Leaving Las Vegas was criticized for glamorizing alcoholism. Apparently, these people missed the bit where the protagonist decides he's going to drink himself to death and does. Then again, that summary can translate easily to "alcohol is worth dying for".
Mean Girls is most popular (almost to the point of cult status) among the same kinds of teenage girls that it spends two hours mercilessly making fun of. In any given American High School, you're likely to meet more than a few suspiciously Regina George-like girls who have every line of the film memorized.
Misaimed fandom often results from the viewer's failure to grasp certain subtleties, but this could be the opposite; because the Plastics are caricatures, their real life equivalents may not see themselves reflected in them.
The rules of the Plastics and their actions are based on real life testimonies given by high school students. It's more probable that wannabe Regina George's see the Plastics as versions of themselves.
"Das Millionenspiel" is a German movie from 1970 about a (fake) game show, which is about a group of people hunting and trying to kill the competitor, who will win one million Deutschmarks if he survives for 7 days. The film was pretty intense for its time and some people even thought it was a real game show. But that's not the point. Besides people who were complaining in indignation, there were also people who attended for becoming competitor, or even one of the hunters.
Many fans celebrate the film Natural Born Killers because of how the two villain protagonist, Mickey and Mallory Knox were able to go on a killing spree, take on the system, and escape. However, the point of the film was to highlight the viewers dangerous obsession with graphic violence and how it gets sensationalized in the public media. Sadly, the fans response to the film, proved director Oliver Stone's point.
Howard Beale of Network has quite a bit of quotable dialogue ("I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!" for one), but many of his fans forget that he essentially went insane as a result of working in television news for too long, and treat him as some kind of visionary.
Interestingly, the Howard Beale example works equally well in-universe as well. Chayefsky lampshaded the Misaimed Fandom nature of Beale's popularity, and yet the character is still subject to it in real life.
Spider-Man: Calm down? Why? Every time I calm down, someone steps on my face! For once I'm not going to calm down! I'm going with how I feel! Remember when you took me to see the movie "Network?" Remember what the crazy T.V. newscaster said? Words to live by, MJ. I'll see you. (slams down the receiver)
Mary Jane:(to herself) Yes, Peter. I remember what the crazy newscaster said. He said, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymor." And he got killed at the end.
The Dutch comedy series New Kids and the movie New Kids Turbo center around a group of anti-social losers whose music tastes and fashion sense went painfully out of style 20 years ago. The police in the area where the series is set claims that a sharp increase in (verbal) aggression towards police officers has been observed since the movie, where the protagonists do the same, came out.
Office Space: Ron Livingston, who played Peter, has said that a lot of people have told him they were inspired to quit their jobs. Probably not the best lesson to learn from the movie considering the efforts of Peter, Michael, and Samir to get out of work for life nearly get them sent to prison, and at the end of the movie they're all relieved to have jobs again.
Upon its release, Party Monster was revered by a small demographic of high school and college age kids who reveled in the fashions and debauchery of late-1980s and early 1990s Club Kid culture and conveniently ignored the real-life murder that took place.
Francis Ford Coppola intended the opening speech in Patton, and Patton's character in general to be ludicrously jingoistic. However, many have found George C. Scott's portrayal of the WWII general patriotic and inspiring. Supposedly it was one of Richard Nixon's favorite movies. However the writer intention does not matter here because Patton was an actual person and that speech was a combination of many of his actual speeches. So people are not misinterpreting a character. They just like a real guy.
Red Dawn is mistaken as a pro-war movie that glorifies children fighting and killing when the film makes it clear that the kids lose their humanity, with one character even questioning "what's the difference between us and them", showing the protagonists shoot unarmed men, and portraying a Cuban Colonel in a sympathetic light.
Reefer Madness, meant to warn of the perceived dangers of marijuana use, eventually became a pothead cult classic that has been shown at pro-legalization fundraisers.
The same is true, but less so, of other So Bad, It's Good anti-drug PSAs. And some other PSAs generally get to be popular for the MST3K tradition.
Robocop: Textbook example of the audience not even realizing that the movie was making fun of them for taking it at face value. If you go to the Place Worse Than Death page and search under Detroit / Film, you will find a link to a magazine article that argues 10 reasons Why a Robocop Statue [built in Detroit by the residents of that City] is a Bad Idea. Here is the first of them:
1. It is insulting to Detroit and to Detroiters who have lived here through the worst.The reason Detroit is the setting for Robocop is because the city is considered a hellhole. Robocop may be a man/machine who overcomes injustice, but the Detroit in that movie is no compliment. The statue would serve as a perpetual reminder that Detroit holds the distinction of being the most believable dystopia in America.
Rollerball found its biggest success among people who were excited only by the rollerball scenes. Rollerball is a ridiculously violent sport that is the centerpiece of the movie's satire of a society increasingly desensitized to violence (another scene features people at a party blowing off steam by taking a flamethrower to some trees.) Some sports people even asked the filmmakers' permission to create a rollerball league. Almost certainly this is due to the deliberate slowness most of the Author Filibuster scenes are played: The non-sport scenes are either a bit of wonderful contrast, or really draggy.
The cast of rollerball players in the movie actually had a great deal of fun actually playing rollerball between takes and before and after shooting using the areas and props depicted in the film.
To make it even worse, the symbolism of the original film was completely lost in the remake, which was little more than a typical sci-fi movie about a Blood Sport.
Saturday Night Fever is strongly remembered for John Travolta's iconic disco dance sequence at the end. However, within the movie itself, it is strongly implied that Travolta and his partner are actually the LEAST impressive dancers in the competition, and the only reason they win over their black and Puerto Rican opponents is because the judges are racist. Travolta's character recognizes this and in disgust gives the trophy to the runner-up couple. It shatters his vision of himself and makes him want to move beyond the shallow lifestyle he built around disco. The movie is remembered for how glamorous it made disco look.
If Scarface isn't the epitome of a film doomed for misaimed fandom, nothing is. Brian De Palma intended for this movie to be a dark, unrelenting look at the downfall of a gangster who quickly climbed to the top of the drug trade world, only to become addicted to coke and alienate those around him. Instead, rappers sample Tony Montana's quotes, admire him for being all gangster, and have a bunch of their fans and misled teens suddenly become fans or the film without seeing what the point of the film was at all. Brian De Palma isn't happy about this at all.
It is very common to find copies of Scarface, posters, as well as tons of "bling", clothes and personalized weapons based on or inspired by Tony Montana's tasteless excesses in the raided houses of many a cartel narco.
A frakkin' VIDEO GAME of the movie was made too. Which was a sequel to the movie, dictated that Tony Montana somehow survived the ending of the film, and has him go about his business with no negative consequences. Takes misaimed fandom up to eleven.
This misaimed fandom has been parodied before. Slipknot's tune (sic) parodies this by sampling the quote from Carlito's Way "Here comes the pain!". Another example is in The Lonely Island video "Jack Sparrow" where at the end, when the guys tell Michael Bolton that Pirates of the Caribbean is not an appropriate example for their song, one of the films he references is Scarface, dressed as Tony Montana with a machine gun, tossing cocaine around, using one of his "cock-a-roaches" quotes, and closing his solo by yelling "THIS TOWN IS A GREAT BIG PUSSY WAITING TO GET FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKED!!!!"
Deconstructed in Zadie Smith's 2000 novel White Teeth, in which a young Muslim extremist admires the gangster characters portrayed by Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, et.al., but also feels tremendous guilt about this admiration (mostly because those characters are from Western popular culture, and therefore anathema to radical Islam). This ultimately becomes a subversion, however, as the boy remains an unrepentantly violent Malcolm Xerox-type radical who imagines himself as Michael Corleone as he carries out a religiously-motivated assassination attempt. Then, double-subverted when the assassination plot fails and he experiences a Heel-Face Turn at the end of the novel.
In-universe, drug lord Nino Brown in the 1991 crime film New Jack City is a noted fan of Scarface, watching Tony Montana's shootout at the end of the movie multiple times and quoting the "the world is yours line" as an inspirational motto. He probably quits watching before Montana gets shot, or he might have drawn parallels between the Miami drug kingpin's demise and his own possible (and eventual) downfall.
Scream (1996) was intended to be a parody and final-nail-in-the-coffin for the Slasher subgenre. The film wound up having the opposite effect, and actually breathed new life into the then-dying genre, helping it live past the 80s. It did, however, put an end to many of the Slasher-genre tropes that its characters discussed throughout the movie. Though Slasher movies still exist, they tend to be more self-aware than in the past.
A particularly creepy example of this trope: reportedly, teens were cheering in theaters during Schindler's List when Ralph Fiennes' monstrous Nazi officer randomly killed innocent people.
Despite the fact that Paul Verhoeven is anti-war and anti-fascism (likely from having bombs dropped by the Allies in his backyard as a child when aiming at fascists), people will accuse him from now until judgment day that Starship Troopersglorifies war, fascism, and blind, jingoistic patriotism. To think Paul Verhoeven made the mistake of being too subtle.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In-universe. Moby-Dick is part of Khan's private library and he quotes Captain Ahab throughout the movie. Either Khan missed the point of the novel or alternatively, he understood the point of the novel completely and recognised the parallels between himself and Ahab, but was so consumed by his rage that he didn't care, or just so arrogant that he believed that, unlike Ahab, he could slay his white whale without destroying himself and his crew. Also, it's possible that Khan knew he would die as a result of his actions, but he wanted to take Kirk with him. A "The Only One Allowed to Defeat You"-sort of thing.
Detractors of Star Trek: Insurrection tend to be the ones who defend Admiral Dougherty and the Son'a, claiming that the relocation of the Ba'ku is for the good of the Federation and citing The Needs of the Many. Never mind that their plan is essentially kidnapping and subjugating an entire sovereign civilisation to steal resources from them, something we'd typically see from Federation enemies such as the Borg and the Dominion.
It also has to be said that the fanatical love many fans have of Boba Fett is something of an anomaly. He was essentially an Elite Mook alongside a handful of others brought in to show the Empire was enlisting specialists to help capture our heroes. He had very few lines and never got into a serious fight with the protagonists, taking potshots at them while the Imperials lead by Vader actually arrested them. In the end when a fight does break out, his jetpack gets shot near the start by a mostly blind Han which sends him careening down the Sarlak's throat. This hasn't stopped him from being one of the most popular characters with the best selling toy and piles of fanfiction written about him. That Other Wiki even has several hefty paragraphs dedicated to why he is so popular, which essentially boils down to the fact that he was a cool looking blank that kids were able to project themselves and their fantasies of being a badass into.
A Streetcar Named Desire has, of course, Stanley Kowalski. Marlon Brando, whose intense portrayal made the character into a sex symbol, himself hated how women melted for Stanley. An ardent feminist, Brando's reaction could be summed up as "Are you kidding me?! You seriously want to have sex with this abusive piece of shit? That's fucked up."
Taxi Driver has Robert DeNiro trying to kill a politician. Some guy watched the movie many times, got obsessed with Jodie Foster and, after many attempts to contact her, decided to impress her by shooting Ronald Reagan...
Taxi Driver scriptwriter Paul Schrader blames Executive Meddling for the intentional toning down of Travis Bickle's racism (he was much more susceptible to muttering racial slurs, in addition to inciting hate crimes), thus making DeNiro's character a complex counterculture icon rather than the paranoid, simpleminded racist the character was intended to be.
The theme song of Team America: World Police, "America, Fuck Yeah!", ironically gets a lot of use from people who spout pro-American rhetoric, despite the song (and the whole movie) lampooning their patriotic views.
Linda Hamilton and James Cameron have both said on an audio commentary that Sarah Connor after she Took a Level in Badass in Terminator 2 was supposed to be a cruel, violent, emotionally unstable person, not an ideal feminist. John himself could arguably be considered a deconstruction of The Chosen One and/or Kid Hero: it shows what happens when your mother has been so determined to protect you that she drags you around the country committing acts of terrorism and teaching you paramilitary skills instead of anything close to a normal childhood. Maybe the Aesop was broken because, you know, she does raise the man who manages to defeat the machines, so she can't be all wrong... right?
Harry Lime from The Third Man is a black marketeer who sells his loyal girlfriend to the Russians and runs a "medical charity" that sells watered-down penicillin that results in mass death and illness. The movie even goes so far as to show a hospital room full of dying children. How does the audience respond? By demanding more adventures of Harry Lime. The result was The Lives Of Harry Lime, a radio series chronicling his further adventures. This may have had something to do with the excellent performance by Orson Welles.
One of the interesting things about The Third Man is that this also happens within the film. Most of the main characters are convinced that Harry is just a loveable rogue, the protagonist is actually taken to the hospital specifically to dissuade him of this belief. In the end his love interest hates him for turning against Harry, despite it being the right thing to do.
The Japanese live action/anime hybrid film Twilight of the Cockroaches was quite popular with various minorities, especially Jews who identified with the cockroaches' struggle to survive the humans' callous attempts to exterminate them. One can only imagine what their reaction would be on learning that, according to the director, the whole thing is an allegory for the fall of the Axis Powers.
There is a sequence in the movie version where Pink hallucinates that he is a fascist leader, leading a vicious army of skinheads. This scene is meant as a look at the relationship between a performer and his fans... but a group of Real Life white supremacists didn't get the joke and based themselves off the scene, adopting the crossed-hammers symbol of Pink's army and dubbing themselves the "Hammerskins".
A great deal of the extras in that scene were in fact legitimate white supremacists. They were picked simply because of the energy they would generate in a scenario like the one Pink is creating in his head. If you look carefully, you can actually see many of them giving the Nazi salute which was 100% improvisation on their part.
Even the album it's based on was influenced by misaimed fandom; Roger Waters (Pink Floyd's bassist and leader) once stated this in an interview. During the tour for Animals, members of the audience were so crazed that a mesh fence had to be erected between the stage and the seats, creating a literal wall. (It was not lost on Waters.) In one incident, a fan climbed up the fence; Waters insulted and spat on him... and the fan went nuts. Not mad, but happy. Waters decided that a metaphysical wall existed and started working on the album.
The movie also has a lot of misogyny due to the main character being an Unreliable Narrator who has issues with women. You sometimes run into fans of the film who praise it for showing "the truth about women" or something.
This a particularly egregious example. "The Dictator", a rock star, commands his fans to follow him in order to prove their loyalty. If you see The Wall live, when Roger Waters does the hammer salute as The Dictator, look around the audience and see how many people salute back...
Gordon Gekko from Wall Street was supposed to represent the worst excesses of the 1980s. Many people took him as a role model, taking his famous "Greed is Good" speech completely at face value, and ignoring all his underhanded dealings. Michael Douglas did too good a job at making him charming.Wall Street 2 tries to correct this, but is nowhere near as good of a movie. Michael Douglas said that every time a stock broker says that Gekko was the inspiration for his job, he feels a little sad, as Gekko is clearly the villain.
With The Wicker Man, there are two groups of misaimed neopagan viewers. Some, who have a beef with Christianity, actually applaud the Summerisle Pagan cult for killing devoutly Christian Sgt. Howie at the end, despite the fact that this is murder and not supposed to be admirable or justified in the least, and while prudish and foolish, Howie was the one in the right here. Other neopagans resent the film for portraying their religion in a bad light, when in fact the Summerisle cult is stated in film to be a special case with a history behind it, and is in no way representive of other neopagan groups around the world. Christopher Lee himself states that it's less a condemnation of paganism and more of a condemnation of cults in general.