The 20 Most Overrated Films I’ve Seen: Part One

In working to complete the movie portion of the 2011 Pop Culture Challenge, I started thinking of the contents of IMDB’s Top 250 List, and its slant towards, well, guy movies.  You know – mobsters, war, sci-fi…  all of the stuff that seldom does anything for me.  I stare at the IMDB ratings on certain movies and wonder if I saw a different movie or if the userbase is just oblivious to quality films.  Thus, may I present to you the first of two posts, in which I tear apart twenty movies that are, in my little opinion, overrated.

Now, before we proceed, let’s keep two things in mind:  1)  this is only my opinion, and is subjective (and I’ve seen plenty of lists bashing some of my favourite films, like Pulp Fiction, so opinions vary); and 2) overrated does not always mean bad – it just means that I feel it received more acclaim, accolades or audience love than it deserved.  In this first half of the list, wherein I tackle the lower ten, you’ll find many movies I actually liked; they’re just not worth the hype they were given.

20.  Inglourious Basterds

That’s right, I did it:  I started with Tarantino, whose work I generally love.  People went absolutely ballistic for this film when it was released, generally praising the hell out of it.  Now, I enjoyed this film, as I enjoy all of Tarantino’s work – even Four Rooms – but for me, it was not the second coming of Pulp Fiction-esque perfection it was painted as by so many.

This film desperately needed an edit.  I personally feel that the use of multiple languages detracted from Tarantino’s strongest gift, which is his ability to write fucked up yet intelligent dialogue sequences.  The action elements and general plot were wonderful fun, but sequences like the drawn out ‘little miss theatre owner Jew chick has dinner with douchebag guy associated with the SS’ were way too long and, frankly, boring as shit.  This was only made worse by me having to read subtitles.  The first half of the film is, for the most part, a snore, made only tolerable by our lovely ‘Jew Bear’ Donny, portrayed by Eli Roth.  I’m actually pretty sure that most of the hype for this film is derived from Roth’s performance and that fact that the SS takes it up the proverbial ass, which is indeed incredibly satisfying.  It’s not a total letdown of a film, nor is it by any means bad; it’s just not as good as people made it out to be.

19.  Twilight Saga

Given that the Twilight films have taken a hell of a slagging from critics and the public, they’re not overrated per se.  However, the box office take for these films is proof that impressionable young minds will gobble up anything if properly packaged – and do so over and over… and over.  In that sense, the Saga is way overrated.

You can’t blame the movies entirely; the source material is pretty dreadful, with a weak heroine devoid of depth and common sense, a presumed hero who is rewarded for being a stalker who is disturbingly controlling, and a BFF who verges on date rapist in the third book/film.  That said, the movies are… wow.  I can’t honestly imagine being a fan of the books and finding the films satisfying, given the poor acting, the weak special effects (‘gay man vomited on me’ glittery vampires, anyone?), dropping the few key character defining moments from each of the movies, making me wonder why Rosenberg was hired for these scripts…  The list goes on.  The most tolerable of the lot is New Moon, the second installment, because Weitz stays pretty true to the original text, making one adjustment that brings a more visual element to something that works better on paper (Bella’s hallucinations). It can’t fix the fact that Nikki Reed’s roots are always showing or that her eyebrows betray the fact that she is not a natural blonde like Rosalie, proving Hardwicke cast her because they’re BFFs.  Horrid actress, that bitch is.  And don’t get me started on Jackson Rathbone’s poodle hair…

These films are fun to watch intoxicated, or to approach like a bad soap opera like Passions, but they generated way too much revenue.  Summit thanks you, tweens.

18.  Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

This is another one of those films where it was a good movie, and I enjoyed watching it – but only to a degree.  This film, one of Guy Ritchie’s babies (another of his is coming on this list), has the cool British crime element and plays out like the constantly shifting plot spawn of Tarantino and McQuarrie’s The Usual Suspects.  When the film is good, it’s really fucking good and funny;  however, there are moments of lag and other moments of confusion as the plot grows increasingly convoluted, to the point where my brain just shut off, annoyed at keeping the characters straight.  It’s almost as if it began with the awesome bits, only to have them hastily written into a coherent stream and packaged as a film.

Unlike Basterds, this film needed to be a bit longer, better establishing the key players in each gang so that the viewer is arsed to keep them all straight.  Granted, I never saw the director’s cut; maybe it would satisfy me more?  All in all, a worthwhile watch, but not nearly as awesome as The Usual Suspects or, say, The Departed.

17.  Diary of the Dead

When us horror afficionados think zombies, we think George A. Romero, similar to how we associated the dramatic crazy horror style with Wes Craven, or stalker-slashers with John Carpenter.  No one can ever discredit Romero’s vision and how it has influenced legions that have followed him (gleefully chanting, “Braaaaaiiiins”).  That said, Diary of the Dead falls extremely flat, and is perhaps worse than Land of the Dead, if only for the acting factor – as in, no one can act in this piece of crap.

Although not an excessively hyped film, Romero did win a 2008 Critics Award for the flick, with even lesser reviews equating the film and its social commentary with previous films.  I have to disagree entirely; everything in this film has been done and said before, only better.  The idea of social networking and blogging being our conduits for information during a disaster?  It’s been alluded to before in several films, including Halloween: Resurrection.  The filming it to document it?  Hello, Blair Witch Project. It’s also done better by Paranormal Activity.  Even the finale at Ridley’s place is all too reminicent of The Walking Dead comics and series. The acting is atrocious, with these supposedly talented theatre students not selling me at all on their backstories, emotions or motivations.

Skip it, entirely; don’t ruin Romero for yourself.

16.  Rosemary’s Baby

Here we come to another of the horror/suspense genre, one of the long-regarded old-school classics.  I have to say, aside from a few Hitchcockian moments, the film’s a snore.  The plot on paper sounds terrifying and creepy:  Rosemary’s husband falls in with Satanists in their building, and allows his wife to be drugged and impregnated with what she begins to suspect is their child, but the devil’s spawn.  Rosemary is increasingly isolated, with nowhere to turn, and then… Well, spoilers!  That said, the suspense just never came through for me.  It plods along, and frankly, Rosemary should have caught on way sooner and bailed while pregnant.  I mean, come on:  her due date is 6/66?  It’s also painfully cliched and insulting to actual witches, who are not Satanists, contrary to the interchanging of terms in this film.

It’s worth a watch, but I do not fathom its epic legacy in the genre.  Then again, Polanski’s work has never really impressed me.  It’s only tolerable because of Mia Farrow’s performance.

15.  ET: The Extra-Terrestrial

This is where I duck the pitchforks of the waiting mob, although a quick Google of overrated films tells me I’m far from being the only one who’s not completely enamoured with Spielberg’s big 80s classic.

This is another movie, like Basterds, that could be saved with a massive edit.  It plods on far too long in the beginning, especially for an 80s film, and I often find myself tapping my foot, waiting for ET to just fucking move in with Elliott and go for the iconic bike ride, already.  I also have always found the scientist invasion of their home just… overdone and overdramatic.  And what the hell is with ET ‘dying’ and then reviving?  Was he faking dying?  How did he magically get better once severing the link with Elliott?  Are we to believe that humans are toxic to aliens?

Ah, that explains War of the Worlds, then!

It’s aimed as a family movie, but ultimately, it seems out to make children hysterical as it threatens the deaths of a CHILD and the adorable alien simulataneously, with no good explanation for the deus ex machina-esque resolution.  Plot fail.  It’s a B+ movie at best, not the classic film people gush over.

14.  Snatch

And here comes Guy Ritchie’s second film of the list!  It almost pains me as a British woman to diss the man twice, but quite frankly, he deserves it.  He also deserves it for Swept Away but since that film garnered no positive attention, I can’t have it on this list.

Snatch is a recycled Lock Stock:  same convolution of crossing plots, same crazy-weird characters and crime theme, same double and triple crossing crap.  Unlike Lock Stock, which at least tries to have a good story (and has too many of them going by too quickly at times), Snatch is basically a collection of interesting characters and performances (Brad Pitt’s being the one that many remember) that are quickly lumped into factions and ridiculous events in order to use them on screen.  It’s uninspired, unoriginal, and frankly, I zoned out for the middle half of it.  See Lock Stock – it’s worth a single viewing, at least – and skip this one.  Why watch a remake of a less than stellar film?

13.  Ocean’s Eleven (the Clooney one)

Okay, seriously:  why the fuck do people love Clooney so much?  I don’t get it.  He’s not attractive.  He acts in terrible movies.  His only redeeming factor is his charity work; at least he’s spending his undeserved money in nice ways, I suppose.  But enough about Georgey boy; let’s get with the movie.

Ocean’s Eleven is a big-ass heist movie with tons of double-crossing, but it plays like the film where they rammed in a lot of big names to hide that fact that, aside from sucessfully screwing three casinos, it’s a flaming paper bag waiting to be stomped out on someone’s porch…. Kind of like the original and its Rat Pack cast.  It’s just too perfect, somehow, and Clooney’s cocky ass just makes me hate the crew, rather than cheer them on for sticking it to the man.  Julia Roberts is annoying as hell in this one as Tess, Ocean’s fairweather girlfriend.  I mean, come on:  do you really think she left Benedict just because he offered to trade her for cash?  No way; she left because the money Benedict had was now in Ocean’s possession.  I ain’t sayin’ she’s a gold digger

Has anyone made a fanvid of this shit to Cee Lo’s Fuck You yet?

On a side note, I feel bad for Brad Pitt.  He’s in three films on the list, through no fault of his own.  He’s great in Basterds!  His character in Snatch is a fun watch.  I’ll forgive him this one.

Just a grating movie experience, namely due to Clooney and Cheadle’s pathetic accent.  And Julia Roberts is a bitch.

12.  The original Star Wars trilogy (now episodes 4-6)

The only purpose these movies serve is endless joke fodder for Spaceballs and a drinking game that will induce alcohol poisoning.  True facts.  I have watched these films as a kid and an adult, and other than the Ewoks being cute, they blow.  Utterly and totally blow.

That said, Harrison Ford is an amusing Bond-esque cocky asshole, and I really love Spaceballs. So I’ve only made this #12.  That and there are enough Trekkies in the world to constitute a large amount of people insisting these are overrated.

Where to begin?  The melodramatic acting?  Luke’s endless whining?  Blowing up the Death Star twice because Lucas couldn’t think of anything else to fucking do?  Oh, and Leia Organa?  Lay-a-organ?  WTF, Lucas?  The middle film, which is as weak to the franchise as The Matrix: Reloaded?  Let’s face it: Star Wars is a soap opera that believes it is serious film, and even Lucas never had the entire story figured out from the start.  As a result, the plot seems slapped together in places, and gets contradicted in others.  Oh yeah, and the love triangle resolution is deus ex machina’ed.  Lame.  Fuck this franchise in the ass.  I can’t watch it sober; it’s that contrived and ridiculous.

Good thing I have this!  Last time, I just drank when people had bad feelings and Luke whined and man, I was wasted!  Now that’s turning lemons into Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

(I may not be a Trekkie, but Trek owns Wars, the end.)

11.  Chasing Amy

I love Kevin Smith’s work.  I love his boldness, his profanity and vulgarity, his repeated casting of Jason Lee…  Hell, I hate Salma Hayek but she’s fun in DogmaChasing Amy had the most mainstream critical success of all of his films (Clerks is the most successful overall, in terms of accolades and cult devotion), and has been critically acclaimed as Smith at his best.  Even Taran-fucking-tino said it was a “quantum leap forward” from Mallrats and Clerks.

I hate it.

The film means well, but honestly plays like a love-note vehicle for Smith’s old flame, Joey Lauren Adams.  Adams plays Alyssa, a lesbian who strikes a friendship with Holden.  Holden writes a comic with his roomie Banky, who, by the way, is homophobic.  Convenient, right?  Instant angst – especially when lesbian Alyssa and Holden fall into bed and begin a relationship.  ZOMG Holden, how can you bang a dyke?!  Oh noes!  Sexuality is a dichotomy!

Spoilers ahead: Things get even more bi-phobic when Holden finds out Alyssa’s boned other men.  *sniffle*  You mean, my cock isn’t your first, Alyssa?  Ugh.  Is Holden an unspoken cherry hound?  Why does Alyssa have to refer to her time with men as experimenting?  She obviously likes dick to a degree; why can’t we leave it at, “I prefer women and so I identify as a lesbian, for easy understanding”?

But wait, there’s more!  Banky is gay and in love with Holden or something?  They should all fuck, too!  Go Holden!  Get you some!

End spoilers: Smith’s film is a fucking insult to gays and bis everywhere, has a too pat explanation for a so-called good character’s assinine behaviour, and, oh yeah, it’s fucking boring.  This would have been better off as a porno plot.

There you have it!  The first ten victims of my overrated films list have taken their respective beatings.  Look for the continuation soon, in which I bemoan a few Disney outings, shred a few supposed old classics, crap all over James Cameron and diss the dumbest dumb comedies ever made.  Stay tuned!

UPDATE:  Part Two Is Now Available!  Click Here!

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2 thoughts on “The 20 Most Overrated Films I’ve Seen: Part One

  1. […] Butterflies and Hurricanes "Love is our Resistance…" Skip to content HomeAboutThe 2011 Pop Culture Challenge2011 Movies Watched2011 Reading List ← The 20 Most Overrated Films I’ve Seen: Part One […]

  2. […] issues making out over half of what he said, so it wasn’t just me.  It reminded me of one of my bitches about Inglourious Basterds:  when a dialogue master castrates his own dialogue, a film is made lesser by […]

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