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Misaimed Fandom / Film

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Examples of Misaimed Fandom for characters in Film.

Examples are listed alphabetically.

Examples from animated movies go here.

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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 self-centered, as he only cared about the idea of Summer, rather than her agency as a person. Others have since taken this view to the extreme and view him as a contemptible and entitled Hate Sink, forgetting that he's still a well-meaning and sympathetic character whose attitude evolves over the course of the story. Many viewers forget that the story is based off of the screenwriter's own experiences with a failed relationship and the mistakes that he made during that time.
    • On the other side of the spectrum, it also gained a Misaimed Hatedom from more social justice-minded viewers due to a belief that Summer is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl and the film is misogynistic because of it, even though in reality she's a deconstruction of this concept much like Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
  • The helicopter attack scene in Apocalypse Now is likely one of the most infamous examples of this. The scene is both the Trope Maker for the association of Ride of the Valkyries with helicopters, as well as the originator of phrases such as "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" and "Charlie don’t surf" which became ingrained in popular consciousness and are today quoted unironically. The scene was originally intended to draw allusions to the Nazis, where American Air Cavalry callously attack a seaside village because their racist commander wants to go surfing.
    Kilgore: We’ll come in low out of the rising sun, and about a mile out we’ll put on the music.
    Lance: Music?
  • Barry Humphries' fish-out-of-water comedy The Adventures of Barry McKenzie 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 use 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 of marines and Na'vi going to war, similar to the above examples for Jarhead and Apocalypse Now.
    • Due to the film's Anvilicious combination of Humans Are Bastards and Can't Argue with Elves, there are a lot of people who support the RDA and hate the Na'vi. Nothing entirely wrong with this, but it gets a little disturbing when these people try to defend or justify destroying the Na'vi's home and killing a good number of them, including their elderly and children.
  • Many Western viewers of The Battle of Algiers overlook its anti-colonialist, pro-Algerian message and root for the French. This probably results from Western attitudes towards terrorism and Islam in general. In fairness though, the filmmakers show the FLN as also being guilty of atrocities and portray Colonel Mathieu, the main French character, as a sympathetic, coolly professional soldier, allowing for some moral ambiguity.
  • 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. Disturbingly appropriate, since the film was inspired by the life of Dan Burros, a Neo-Nazi who commited suicide when his Jewish identity was revealed. George Lincoln Rockwell even praised Burros. Then he said that Jews were "a unique people with a distinct mass of mental disorders" and attributed the suicide to "this unfortunate Jewish psychosis".
  • Blazing Saddles has reportedly been enjoyed by several people who hold racist views, apparently not seeing that the entire film is dedicated to mocking them. Every white character who uses racial slurs non-ironically in the film is presented as extremely stupid and/or extremely corrupt.
  • No soundtrack album was ever released for Bob Roberts (about a right wing folksinger-turned-candidate). It's been reported that Tim Robbins worried that the music (satirical folk songs 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).
  • Despite Boiler Room very clearly being against boiler rooms and their deceitful sales practices, there are those who consider JT Marlin's methods as being worthy of learning and emulating. Doubly ironic, since characters in-universe have this relationship with Wall Street, adoring Gordon Gekko's Corrupt Corporate Executive methods.
  • 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 opinions on feminism and lesbianism you'd expect from a working-class young man born in the Bible Belt in the early seventies. The fact that the film is on at least thirty "Best Lesbian Movies" lists and listed on Netflix as a lesbian movie is even further proof. 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". 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 transgender status, but he was known to have stolen checks from friends and lied to many people for many (usually petty) reasons. This of course doesn't stop teenage girls (both gay and straight) from thinking he was "so sweet".
  • 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. The fact that the makeover is a huge example of Fashion Dissonance doesn't help.
  • The "Cell Block Tango" from the musical Chicago, particularly its film adaptation, has been adopted by many (particularly on Tumblr) as a kind of female empowerment anthem because of its passionate beat and chorus where the female prisoners confidently assert that their male victims "had it comin'!" Apparently these people haven't listened too closely to any of the other lyrics, since it becomes immediately clear that all but one of these prisoners is in fact a self-serving liar cynically trying to twist what are clearly petty acts of murder committed for no other reason than jealousy, greed or spite into noble acts of justice. And the one exception isn't a murderer at all. And since the point of the musical/movie is how easy it is to let yourself be blinded by shallow 'razzle-dazzle' and surface appearances that fit your existing preconceptions rather than focusing on the actual substance of the matter, it can be argued that they're also missing the point of the story in general.
    • This was actually brought up on, of all places, Glee when the girls are assigned to do a song on female empowerment and pick this number. For once, Sue makes total sense when she rants on how they completely missed the point of the song and the assignment.
  • 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.
  • A Clockwork Orange - see entry under Literature.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • 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. Of note is the Joker's claim that he doesn't plan anything, when the film actually shows a fairly complicated long term plan from the beginning. Many people took his claims at face value, not realizing they were supposed to be lies.
    • 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 Templar Well-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 marks 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.
  • Justin Simien's Dear White People managed to acquire a rather massive Tumblr fandom composed almost entirely of people (of all races) who praised the film because they thought that it was the perfect movie for educating ignorant white people about the true nature of racism. This despite the fact that Simien has repeatedly stated that he never intended his film to be any kind of accusatory statement about racism, but rather, an in-depth look at the complex nature of racial identity, and how it conflicts with individual identity. Most glaringly, the character Sam—a perpetually angry radio host with an Everything Is Racist bent—acquired an unironic following from Tumblr users who apparently missed that she was part of the satire.
  • Nate, Andrea's boyfriend in The Devil Wears Prada, has gotten a lot of hate online for apparently being unsupportive of her and basically her Wet Blanket Wife. But the screenwriter, Aline Brosh Mc Kenna, says they're missing the point:
    I think that now, however many years later, what people focus on is that he's trying to restrict her ambition ... But her ambition is going towards something that she doesn't really believe in, so he has a point.
  • Downfall is praised by neo-Nazi groups as a heartfelt tribute to the Fuhrer. Some Germans also regard it as a memoriam to the soldiers who defended Berlin in the final days of the war. The actual themes are that 1) Hitler was an egotistical maniac hiding under a friendly exterior, who manipulated people into fighting a war they shouldn't have and blamed everyone but himself when things went wrong, and 2) that Germany should have surrendered earlier to reduce casualties.
  • The more upbeat, disco version of One Night Only is one of the most iconic songs of Dreamgirls, but it's not meant to be viewed positively at all. It's meant as Stylistic Suck, a Take That! to the disco era and is plagiarized off of a former member of the group just as she was starting to make a living on her own, for extremely selfish reasons. The plagiarized version's lyrics Dramatically Miss the Point of the original, which was about being in love with someone who doesn't give a crap about you and only wants you for one night. The disco version changes the "you" in "you really don't have to time" to "I", making it from the point of view of the one who doesn't give a crap and glorifying it.
  • Driving Miss Daisy was both applauded for its look at race relations, and similarly mocked for its simple-minded examination of that same issue, as well as attacking Hoke as a caricature. However, the film was based on author Alfred Uhry's own grandmother and retainer, and the theme of the play (and film) was about growing older and finding friendships late in life.

  • The Elite Squad is the best example in Brazil, where Captain Nascimento is hailed as a "true Brazilian hero", despite it being obvious that the director was portraying him as very deeply flawed at best. It was used as a plot point in the sequel, where Nascimento is Kicked Upstairs after his unit massacred a prison revolt. The in-universe public hailed Nascimento as a hero, so his superiors couldn't punish him directly for his "success".
  • Joel Schumacher was dismayed by the number of people who identified with D-FENS in Falling Down and praised him at screenings for "telling it like it is".
  • Many people sympathize with Colonel Nathan "You can't handle the truth!" Jessup of A Few Good Men and his famous courtroom speech. Jessup admits he ordered the "Code Red" that got Santiago killed, and the speech is admired by many. This is partly because the film removed Kaffee's rebuttal; the stage play has Kaffee point out that Jessup essentially defied his responsibility as a Marine to uphold the law. And even with all that, some fans of the scene miss the key context that Jessup is justifying the fact that he ordered the murder of one of his own troops because Jessup thought Santiago would slow down his unit. The whole outburst was intended as the Motive Rant of a murderer, not a justification or lionization of the military. Indeed, after the verdict is read where the defendants are found guilty of "conduct unbecoming of a United States Marine," they're dishonorably discharged. The defendants realize that "Just Following Orders" isn't an excuse for what they did, and that they failed to live up to Marine standards. Jessup thus serves as a foil to the defendants; the former hides behind his status as a Marine to justify himself, while the latter realize that their military status is no excuse for how they acted. In spite of all that, some people take Jessup's speech at face value without knowing the context — or worse yet, knowing the context and agreeing with him anyway.
  • Fight Club:
    • Many people mistake the message of the film as beginning and ending 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, a change from the original novel in which his plan ends in failure. Ultimately the film is trying to show the valid elements of Durden's stance while rejecting his extreme methods.
    • Then there are the fans who think the point of Fight Club is the Fight Club.
    • Tyler Durden practically deserves his own page. Yes, he is cool, cocky, has swagger to boot, and is played by the Uber cool, ultra masculine Brad Pitt. That doesn’t change the fact that he is a walking textbook case of narcissistic borderline personality disorder who was created to make fun of fake, cocky, macho tough guys. If you found the average Tyler Durden fan what would they be? Cocky alpha male jocks.
  • First Blood portrays Rambo as, while clearly sympathetic and a badass, a deeply screwed-up, mentally ill, smelly man who performs his violent actions out of justifiable but irrational panic. His Arc in the movie is to accept that the war is over, and to come to terms with his own emotions in the process. While his strength as a soldier is exceptional, he's far from superhuman, and is merely a well-trained fighter reliant on luck as much as anything. More broadly, the film condemns the hypocrisy of the American establishment in sending a generation of young men to fight and die in an act of political theatre, then refusing to own up to their own failure and incompetence. What then follows is several movies intended as Fanservice for an audience who saw Rambo as an aspirational figure, and wanted to see him, in his element, murdering hundreds of Communists for America. These movies were significantly more commercially successful than First Blood, while John Rambo as a pop-culture icon is virtually synonymous with hung-ho One-Man Army.
  • 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, completely missing the point that only a bad drill sergeant can lead to such a situation and whitewash his Too Dumb to Live final rant.
  • Gangster films: 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.
    • The Godfather: Several scenes show uncompromisingly how the mafiosi just murder many of their most loyal minions if they are no longer useful to them. Michael Corleone even goes so far that he orders to have his own brother murdered in Part II. The endless cycle of revenge is also shown and the effects it has on the family. Don Corleone loses his eldest son because he gets mowed down in an ambush. When he hears the horrible news he bursts into tears, knowing that all of this wouldn't have happened if he had lead a different, more honest life.
    • Fans often treat Michael as the ultimate bad-ass, to the extent that "he's the Michael Corleone of x" is the ultimate compliment you can pay to The Chessmaster. Except the entire point of the trilogy is that Michael's story is a tragedy — a brilliant young man who loses his soul and ultimately his family as a result of his intelligent but utterly amoral moves in pursuit of power. The very last scene of the trilogy is Michael dying alone after the death or alienation of everyone he ever loved.
    • In an episode of Key & 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, including many of the ones depicted in those films, tend to be notoriously racist.
    • The Trope Codifiers of Gangster Films (Little Caesar, The Public Enemy (1931), and the original Scarface (1932)) were actually what led to the creation of The Hays Code (along with allegations of leering female sexuality). The Moral Guardians were so disturbed that the American public saw these criminals as heroes that they created this code and the rule that criminals couldn't be seen as heroes nor could they do things that impressionable viewers could imitate.
  • Glengarry Glen Ross like the play it was based on, is a satire of the sales world and the dishonest lengths to which successful salesman will go. Alec Baldwin's profanity-ridden "motivational" speech intended as the culmination of ruthless capitalism. Even worse, it's clear Baldwin's character doesn't believe what he's saying; he speaks to the office manager "out of character" immediately before starting. Also, he disparages the rest of the salesmen in the office, lets them know they'll be fired if they don't sell enough, and refuses to listen to the rather reasonable excuse that the leads the salesmen get are bad ones. However, many real-life sales managers now use this 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.
  • Director Shusuke Kaneko clearly stated that the version of Godzilla in the film Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack! is pure evil and that no one is supposed to root for him. Guess which monster ends up getting the most praise.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): A surprising number of viewers thought the government was being reasonable with their Gotta Kill 'Em All demands at the start of the film. Said viewers argued that with what little the human race knows about the Kaiju at the film's start before the ending proves Serizawa and Emma were right about how the Titans are essential to maintaining Earth's ecosphere, the government's demand comes off as highly understandable. Of course, this argument ignores the fact that Monarch have already established before the film's start that the Titans are ecologically essential, and that the government are basically getting it into their heads that they somehow know better than the professional Titan experts.
  • Allegedly, Adolf Hitler liked The Great Dictator. It's been proven that he watched it twice, but it's not proven whether he liked it.
  • 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!
  • Screenwriter Neil Simon said he was surprised when people came out to him to say they identified with Lenny, from the original The Heartbreak Kid (1972), since he was intended to be a jerk - he leaves his wife while on their honeymoon for a Shiksa Goddess who, he claims, lacks the neuroses and competitiveness of his New York peers. These viewers must be forgetting the last scene, where Lenny is again alienated, discovering that the "traditional values" family he was joining was just as disfunctional - not to mention how antithetical it is to espouse support for family values just after leaving his new bride. It became so bad that the 2007 remake just made Lila a gross, stupid drug addict, and the woman he leaves her for a truly perfect match.
  • Director John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood) really tried to make Remy, the Anti-Villain of his 1995 teen drama Higher Learning, so despicable that no one could possibly identify with him. In addition to being a certified racist Neo-Nazi who kills a black girl by shooting her in the stomach, Remy is a coward, a slacker, and an all-around loser looked down on by everyone, even his fellow Nazis. It backfired: Singleton made Remy so pathetic that he actually elicited sympathy; of course, early scenes showing him as a perfectly innocent college freshman being bullied by the wannabe black homeboys who live in his dormitory also didn't help matters. Actor Michael Rapaport, Remy's portrayer, says he was stunned when blacks came up to him to tell him how much they identified with the character!
  • A History of Violence goes to great length into showing how traumatizing in real life would be the brutality of your typical action thriller, with all the consequences and unpleasantness, not to mention huge quantities of Gorn. Cue numerous people being excited with the fight scenes. Teens usually cheer during the beat-down of school bullies, even if it's directly followed with a tense scenes about all the consequences of such action.
  • 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.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire includes a scene where one little girl tells Katniss that she wants to volunteer as a tribute, just like her, and Katniss is absolutely horrified. It is likely directed to fans who glorify the games, forgetting the fact that it's about teenagers killing each other.
    • When the movie came out, a number of companies tried to capitalize on the popularity of the franchise, including Subway ("Where victors eat!") and Covergirl with their Hunger Games makeup line ("Soon, you can look a little bit more like Katniss or your fave Capitol citizen!"). Remember that Katniss was made famous because she killed other teenagers in a sadistic gladiatorial game for the entertainment of a corrupt upper class. Ironically, the in-universe Capitol might have put out ads just like these, given the amount of popularity the victors had.

  • Supposedly, the graphic rape in I Spit on Your Grave was supposed to be shocking and horrifying - you know, like a rape scene. 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."
  • A surprising number of people take Idiocracy seriously, pointing to the (purported) stupidity of modern pop culture as proof that this movie is a good predictor of the future. The filmmakers themselves eventually rolled with this, although it was more for socio-political reasons and insidious business practices than lethal stupidity caused by mass consumer culture.
  • Several of Roland Emmerich's films are popular among audiences with anti-American sentiments, quite the opposite of what he intended, but scenes like the destruction of the White House in Independence Day or the Americans refugees illegally crossing the Rio Bravo in The Day After Tomorrow made audiences clap and cheer enthusiastically in movie theaters in some regions.
  • Into the Wild is a dramatized account of Christopher McCandless' final days living alone in Alaska. Like the book and the real-life events that inspired it, the film ends with Chris (weak and starving to death) realizing that "happiness is only real when shared", and that you need other people in your life to live and thrive. Soon after this, Chris dies alone while wanting to be with his family again. That goes without mentioning he dies due to serious lack of preparation and skills needed to survive in the wilderness. Yet, bring the subject of the film or [] up online, and you'll see at least a few people who either romanticize his actions or show disdain for modern society, seeking to emulate him.
    • Unfortunately, some of these people went as far as making pilgrimages to the actual bus site, which is a 26-mile hike from the nearest road; many were unprepared for such a deep trip into the Alaskan wilderness, and ended up having to be rescued (with several even dying in the process). In 2020, the Army National Guard airlifted the bus to an undisclosed location (and later relocated it to a museum in Fairbanks) to avoid further incidents.
  • The film Joe (1970) 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 Doyle in The French Connection at least partly out of fear of inspiring a similar reaction.
  • Juno got some appreciation from anti-abortion groups, because Juno considers an abortion and opts out. The filmmakers did not share that position on the issue and were surprised to hear this praise. (It's particularly strange since one of the scenes, where one of Juno's ditzy classmates is protesting outside an abortion clinic saying nonsensical things like that fetuses have fingernails, seems to be mocking anti-abortion protesters.) After all, Juno doesn't change her mind for moral reasons; she just finds the clinic almost inexplicably intimidating. And certainly the film doesn't seem to be arguing against the legality of abortion, or even availability to teens without parental consent.
  • 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. And this is actually a real problem in martial arts culture that may sometimes be extremely competitive and aggressive. Ask many people who practice martial arts, boxing, wrestling, etc and they will tell you that the villains of the movie is what an average fighter acts like.
    • This eventually led to the creation of Cobra Kai in which Johnny Lawrence is the protagonist to deliver a more in-depth exploration and a complete deconstruction of this behaviour. It is repeatedly shown that the toxic rivalry between Daniel and Johnny is ultimately self-destructive for both of them and all of the teenagers involved in their competition become increasingly aggressive, ruthless and/or dangerous.
  • 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".
  • After the James Bond movie Licence to Kill was released, Robert Davi, who played drug lord Franz Sanchez, was taken to meet with an actual drug lord in South America. Apparently, he loved his portrayal of Sanchez.
  • 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 as glorifying such things.

  • The first Mad Max film was intended to show the dangers of reckless driving. The hoons and rev-heads who saw it felt that their lifestyles had been validated.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe series.
    • Loki gets this quite a bit. Most reactions to him range from Evil Is Cool to Evil Is Sexy, forgetting the "evil" part. In spite of Loki eventually pulling a Heel–Face Turn, he was trying to take over Asgard, killed countless people in Manhattan, and did it all over a petty grudge. Yet more than a few people like Loki, feeling him to be a Jerkass Woobie who was justified in lashing out at his family.
    • In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos is a genocidal madman whose goal is to wipe out half of all life in the universe by using the Infinity Gauntlet. Ostensibly, this will "restore balance" and make it fair for the remaining half still left after he's done. Many a fan saw Thanos as a Well-Intentioned Extremist instead. Even a few casual movie-goers felt that, while Thanos was absolutely wrong to attempt such massive loss of life, his end goal made a certain kind of sense. This ignores how Thanos could use the Infinity Gauntlet to create an infinite amount of resources, or do something equally noble instead of killing trillions, and that killing half of all life in the universe would only "fix" the issue for about 30-40 years at absolute most (a fraction of a heartbeat of the time humanity has existed, let alone Earth, let alone the infinitely older universe). Not helping is that Thanos does show a few moments of genuine Villain Respect which make him out to be more sympathetic. note 
      • In response, the filmmakers made an Author's Saving Throw with Avengers: Endgame by making Thanos even worse. First and foremost, even though Thanos does indeed kill half of all people in the universe, it doesn't do what he hopes to do. And when a past version of Thanos sees that it doesn't worknote , he changes his goal to just killing everyone and starting completely over. As a result, while most people got the message, there were still a scant few who insisted that Thanos was right, in a perverse sort of way.
  • The Matrix:
    • In July 2002, a woman by the name of Tonda Lynn Ansley shot her landlady in the face. She proceeded to go for the Insanity Plea by claiming that she believed she was in a computer simulation, saying: "They commit a lot of crimes in The Matrix." The really weird part? This actually worked. A year later, a San Francisco man named Vadim Mieseges used the same defense, for the same crime, even. This has led to "The Matrix Defense" being adopted as a real legal strategy.
    • This previously came up during the Columbine shooting, when some journalists speculated that Harris and Klebold might have been inspired by a certain amount of misaimed Matrix fandom.
    • Believing that reality is somehow unreal is a common delusion, the Matrix just happens to fit a paranoid feeling that some people have always had ("The Truman Show delusion" immediately preceded it).
    • The term "redpilled" is nowadays used by a great number of extremists who claim that they have woken up to how the world "really" is, mostly in regards to something they perceive as a societal ill. This is in spite of the fact that taking the red pill has Neo waking up to see the world as a Crapsack World or the fact it's simply another layer of delusion and propaganda, used by machines to control anomalies within the system.
      • It is particularly popular among many reactionary right-wing groups, misogynists and the like. This is despite the fact that the movies were directed by two trans women and per Word of God are allegories for being trans. Lilly Wachowski replied to one instance of Ivanka Trump and Elon Musk talking about the red pill, which became a meme in the trans community.
  • 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.
  • Way too many people who saw Midsommar see the movie as the story of a young woman who gets out of a bad, abusive relationship and gains a sympathetic community that gives her everything she was lacking before, without taking into account the constant manipulation and gaslighting of everyone, especially the protagonist Dani, by the Harga, the cult that functions as the movie's primary antagonist and which engages in Human Sacrifice. It's implied at the end (and explicitly stated in the screenplay) that Dani has gone completely insane as she fell into the cult, culminating in a very creepy Broken Smile as she watches her boyfriend getting burned alive. Not to mention that, due to said manipulation, the 'cheating' that her boyfriend Christian does with Maja is actually rape. Regardless, the film's brightly-lit Folk Horror aesthetic wound up influential on decidedly non-horrifying forms of female-oriented pop culture, in particular being credited with the popularity of "cottagecore" in the early 2020s. A common joke about Midsommar is that it's the Distaff Counterpart to Fight Club in terms of viewers Dramatically Missing the Point and taking away the opposite of the film's clearly-stated message.
  • Das Millionenspiel is a German movie from 1970 about a (fake) game show, which involves 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 wanted to become competitors, or even one of the hunters.
  • Viewers of The Mist, of course, are not meant to sympathize with the crazed fundamentalist Christians, led by nutbag Mrs. Carmody, who demand sacrifices from the non-believers. That hasn't stopped some viewers - even some non-religious ones - from pointing out that Mrs. Carmody seems to have been right all along, and some have even suggested that she was the Only Sane Man. She is the only one to remain calm during the store incursion on the first night, correctly surmises that David and his group going to the pharmacy will attract more monsters to the supermarket, unites the majority of the survivors and prevents them from falling into despair, and ultimately the mist clears after David kills Amanda and Billy; the two people who Mrs. Carmody had demanded to be sacrificed.
  • Many fans celebrate the film Natural Born Killers because of how the two villain protagonists, 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.
    • This one actually gets referenced in Web of Spider-Man #13 (1985), where Peter, tired of putting up with the universe constantly dumping on him has this phone conversation with Mary Jane:
      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 anymore." 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.
  • The Notebook: A lot of women loved this movie, and wanted a relationship like Allie and Noah. The fact is, for all his charm, Noah is basically a stalker and their relationship is ridiculously toxic. They do nothing but fight when they’re not making out, he asks her out, she says no, he refuses to take no for an answer, essentially emotionally blackmails her into going out with him. While he does build her dream house on a whim, and writes her 365 litters, one for every day of the year, but it is just part of his constant pressure on Allie. At least part of the misaimed part comes from the fact Noah is being played by young and deliberately very sexy Ryan Gosling.
  • 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. What Peter has truly learned is that most people aren't in love with their jobs, but instead of chasing the dream job that never comes (and inevitably being disappointed by everything they do), they should find something they're at least comfortable with (as Peter does when he ends up doing construction work) and then make their own happiness some other way (as he does with his relationship with Joanna).
  • 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.
  • The Purge:
    • The franchise often gets flak from viewers who take its central premise, an annual holiday in which all crime is legal for twelve hours, at face value, pointing out all the logical flaws with it. The thing is, these exact criticisms form part of the text of the films themselves. The Purge was created as a thinly-veiled attempt at population control and authoritarian suppression of minorities and dissidents, which grows increasingly clear with each subsequent installment. All the stuff about "releasing the beast" and letting people run wild for one night to reduce crime during the rest of the year is portrayed as a propaganda figleaf for the New Founding Fathers' actual goals of enriching themselves and letting their loyal paramilitaries legally murder their foes.
    • In the other direction, there are also fans who wish that the Purge was real, and lots of jokes that revolve around people talking about who they'd kill or what they'd otherwise do during the Purge (especially minor misdemeanors).

  • Rebel Without a Cause, the film that made James Dean the cultural icon to an entire generation of teenagers, was made essentially as an After School Special to warn that "juvenile delinquency" would bring about the downfall of society. It does help that the movie played almost all of the teenage characters as sympathetic characters with poor home lives, which was much more nuanced than other "teens are monsters" movies that came later.
  • Reefer Madness, meant to warn of the perceived dangers of marijuana use (which was shoehorned in due to the Hays Code), eventually became a pothead cult classic that has been shown at pro-legalization fundraisers, mostly because it's such an unrealistic and ridiculous portrayal of marijuana.
  • RoboCop: Fans of the film erected a Robocop statue in Detroit as a tribute to the character symbolizing their city, apparently not realizing that the film was deliberately set in Detroit because it was the most realistic setting for a near-future dystopia.
  • 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.
  • Romper Stomper and American History X are quite popular among Neo-Nazi skinheads. Higher Learning, too, is defiantly embraced by some white viewers (and, bizarrely, even some black ones!) as some sort of reverse civil-rights tract, despite (or, arguably, because of) its depiction of its skinhead Anti-Villain as a hopeless loser. The depiction backfired when viewers took him as The Woobie instead of a murderous psychopath. In the case of American History X it is mostly thanks to its Broken Aesop in the end (Danny is murdered by a black gangbanger right after he and Derek abandoned their neo-nazi views). The fact that Derek, before being arrested, is portrayed as a strong and charismatic leader also doesn't help.
  • 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 (1983) 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, 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. 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 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. While one of the most famous examples, The World Is Yours is hardly the sole offender as Grand Theft Auto and other games in the crime genre are Misaimed Fandoms by their very nature.note 
  • 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 Saw franchise has a disturbing number of fans who believe Jigsaw's methods of torturing people into appreciating life is actually beneficial. Never mind the fact that the guy's a manipulative, hypocritical, homicidal sadist who ruins far more lives than he saves, but he's also endangered dozens of innocents, including children. Quite a few characters actually call him out on this throughout the series, including a Dirty Cop looking for his son, a doctor he's holding hostage to cure his brain tumor, and even his own henchmen. Saw VI even has a scene where one of the survivors rants about how Jigsaw and his minions made her life irrevocably worse, and how stupid you'd have to be to think any of Jigsaw's methods help people.
  • Showgirls is a satire of Hollywood 'a star is born' narratives, mocking the conventions of that genre with its intentionally absurd plot and excessive style, while revealing the ideologically corrupt nature of these American dreams. At least, that was the intention - legions of fans just see it as hilarious trash.
  • 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 Troopers glorifies war, fascism, and blind, jingoistic patriotism. To think Paul Verhoeven made the mistake of being too subtle. Many have made the same false accusations about the novel that it shares a name with as well. There are also those who treat the film as a straight-up action movie where you should be rooting for the Federation are genuinely the white hats of the story, rather than as a Deconstructive Parody of the book where the humans are only the heroes because the propaganda-like framing of the film makes them so.
  • Picard's statement "The line must be drawn HERE!" from Star Trek: First Contact is considered a Badass Boast by many, when it's really part of Picard's Sanity Slippage in a hopeless fight against the Borg. (The fact that he actually wins the hopeless fight probably plays a big role in this.)
  • 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 civilization to steal resources from them, something we'd typically see from Federation enemies such as the Borg and the Dominion.
  • Star Wars
    • Galactic Empire has almost as much fandom as the Rebellion, with many tying themselves in rhetorical knots to justify their support for a group of genocidal fascists at their worst, and Punch Clock Villains at best. This has even been canonized in The Force Awakens, with the evil Kylo Ren idolizing Darth Vader and apparently having no idea that he turned back to the light and died as Anakin Skywalker.
      • Kylo Ren/Ben Solo's mother, Leia Organa Skywalker herself even lampshades this in Star Wars: Bloodline.
      Leia Organa: Need I remind the honorable members that Palpatine maintained the illusion of the Imperial Senate for nearly twenty years after the Old Republic's fall? A tyrant can make anything seem to be 'the will of the people'.
    • 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 Sarlacc'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.
    • Some alleged fans who get mad at the increased diversity in Star Wars and complain about the existence of characters like Rey, Poe, Finn, Rose, etc. and who generally come across as people who missed the entire point of the saga note  and have more in common with The Empire/First Order.
    • On the opposite side of the political spectrum, some fans honestly seem to think Kylo Ren is a progressive trying to save the galaxy. This mostly stems from his "Let The Past Die" ideology. Some fans who think intolerance is entirely rooted in reverence to the past seem to think he has the right idea, but then seemingly completely ignore the rest of Ren's character. For starters he is a member of the aforementioned space fascist First Order, and his vision of the future probably isn't pretty. Second, his burning of the past involves more destroying democracy than it does getting rid of biases. Third, he's a massive hypocrite whose entire character revolves around trying to finish what Darth Vader started, even after his Character Development.note  In retrospect he's probably meant to be a Take That! against the same sort of people that like him.
    • Fans complain about the Jedi taking command of an age-accelerated slave army of clones, something not helped by Karen Traviss echoing this in every one of her books. What they don't consider is just how the Jedi were supposed to fight the Separatist Army without them—the Republic had no real military to speak of, and the Order was made up of around 10,000 Jedi at the time, including Non Action Guys, the very young, and very old. In a galaxy of one billion star systems. Meanwhile, the Separatists, under Dooku, were mobilized and ready for war and had an army numbering in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. If the Jedi had stood aside and not fought at all, or tried to fight without the clones, the Republic they were sworn to protect would have been conquered by the Sith in a matter of weeks, at most.
  • 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." It seems to have carried on past Brando's portrayal of the character and goes hand-in-hand with modern viewers seeing Blanche less sympathetically. There was even a case during a modern revival where the audience cheered as Stanley raped Blanche.
  • Taxi Driver has Robert DeNiro as a violent, socially maladjusted loner trying to kill a politician (being loosely based on Arthur Bremer, George Wallace's would-be assassin). 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.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: Linda Hamilton and James Cameron have both said on an audio commentary that Sarah Connor after she Took a Level in Badass 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?
  • John Carpenter created They Live! as a satire of '80s yuppie capitalism run amok, positing a world where humanity is brainwashed through Subliminal Seduction into becoming mindless consumerist sheep in service to aliens who secretly rule the world. Given this setup, it's perhaps no surprise that Conspiracy Theorists make up a significant chunk of its fanbase, with many of them seeing it as a metaphor for The Illuminati. When Carpenter learned about neo-Nazi fans reading a specifically anti-Semitic message into the film, he told them to go to hell.
  • 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.

  • Pink Floyd's The Wall:
    • 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 ironic 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. Never mind that songs like "Young Lust," "Don't Leave Me Now," and "The Trial" show that the narrator was unfaithful and abusive to his wife.
    • 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: Money Never Sleeps tries to correct this, but is nowhere near as good of a movie. Michael Douglas said that every time a stockbroker says that Gekko was the inspiration for his job, he feels a little sad, as Gekko is clearly the villain.
  • Wayne's World: In the 1990s, many teenagers took Mike Myers' and Dana Carvey's shtick to be a cry of adolescent affirmation, not realizing they were in fact being lampooned, albeit affectionately.
  • With The Wicker Man (1973), 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 itnote  and is in no way representative 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.
  • Whiplash: There are those who saw the ending as Neiman's uplifting triumph, who are happy that he finally got the approval of Fletcher, his sadistic jazz conductor. However, the ending is really pretty depressing. Neiman has sacrificed basically everything in his life to his pursuit of music, and by upstaging his fellow players who are all trying to get noticed by talent agents for an extended drum solo, he is probably shooting himself in the foot just to one up/get recognition from his old conductor. And while he is playing his solo, there is a long shot of his father watching from off stage, looking aghast at what his son has become. An alternate ending that director Damien Chazelle had in mind was a lot less subtle, jumping a decade into the future, where we find that Neiman has died in his 30s as a burned-out junkie, and at his funeral, Fletcher calls him a fucking ingrate.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street: In a similar case to the 1980s movie Wall Street, there are reports of financial experts cheering at some of the more questionable scenes from this film.

    In-Universe examples 
  • This is where Max and Leos grand scheme in The Producers falls apart. They knew Springtime For Hitler would fail as it was a straight-up musical love letter to the most horrible dictator of the 20th century. At first, it looks like it's working as the audience is ready to walk out/riot after the opening number. But then the actor playing Hitler (a drug-addled hippie) begins his performance and the audience starts laughing. To Max and Leo's horror, critics believe the show is intended to be a campy satire and it turns into a runaway hit.
  • Boiler Room: There's a scene where the company guys are having a party and watching Gordon Gekko's introduction from Wall Street. Being big fans of the guy, they start quoting the entire thing verbatim. Gekko is in fact a Corrupt Corporate Executive who would throw thousands of people on the street for profit and ultimately goes to jail for securities fraud. This is a Justified Trope as the Boiler Room guys are knowingly scammers themselves who project an honest image to the outside world.
  • Cold Pursuit: The Social Darwinist Viking considers Lord of the Flies a guide to live your life by, and gave a copy of it to his son for his fifth birthday.
  • Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay: The paranoid, racist, warmongering Homeland Security agent tells Neil Patrick Harris that Starship Troopers—set in a fascist dystopia with the humans as Villain Protagonists—inspired him to get into his line of work.
  • 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.
  • Lord of War: Andre Baptiste Jr. asks Yuri to bring him Rambo's gun, specifically the M60 with armor-piercing bullets because he's only seen the first movie. First Blood is in fact a drama about a traumatized Vietnam vet who unleashes a small-scale war in an American town when the locals hassle him, and ends with Rambo crying into his former superior's arms about how he's lost all purpose in life and willingly turns himself in. Baptiste Jr. uses the M60 to mow down African civilians while laughing about it. Being a cannibalistic psychopath and son to a Liberian warlord, that he missed the point of the film shouldn't be surprising.
  • New Jack City: Drug lord Nino Brown 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.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: The novel 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. None of this is thematically out of tone with Moby-Dick, since Ahab himself is at least partly aware that he's dooming the entire ship over a matter of pride, but he just can't help himself.
  • Beetlejuice: The title character claims to have seen The Exorcist 167 times, "And it keeps getting funnier every single time I see it!"
  • Played for laughs with Thor: Ragnarok where, after his 'death', Loki has had a statue built in his honour and a play detailing his 'heroic' journey and death; while this was actually requested by Loki himself under the guise of Odin to fuel his ego, it's notable that the play is popular and people seem to genuinely mourn him (ironic, as he was hated in life). When Thor sees both the statue and the play (as well as the reaction to it), he's pretty unamused, but it's what makes him realise pretty quickly that 'Odin' is Loki in disguise.