Over the years I’ve done blogs about movies I love, animated movies, movies I hate, movies about work, individual movie profiles and I could go on. One thing I have yet to do is take down the movies I think are royally overrated- meaning critics or fans love them, me not so much. These are not necessarily bad movies. I just think they aren’t as good as they are touted to be. Basically I was expecting to be wowed and left feeling blahhh.
I know some of you will be exasperated by my choices so please leave your comments.
1. Good Will Hunting (97% on Rottentomates.com)- This is a movie I hate but it is also vastly overrated. To think Ben and Matt won an Oscar for writing boggles my mind. The screenplay is obvious, sentimental and is copied from a million other movies. As someone who has experience, the therapy sessions don’t ring true and the language is ridiculous. Somehow curse words end up being nouns, adjectives and verbs. That is an Oscar winning script?
The reason I hate Good Will Hunting is it is the perfect example of the oversimplification Hollywood gives when tackling mental illness. Will has serious issues but the therapy is trite and only received through the connections of high brow professors at MIT seeing him as ‘exceptional’ and then it is only through embracing those avenues that his life has any meaning. How much more interesting would a movie be about a janitor who isn’t rescued by the elite but deals with mental illness in a real authentic way and lives a normal life.
2. Moneyball-(95% on Rottentomatoes.com)- My friend Emily and I rented this movie with high hopes. With a high RT score and favorable reviews from friends, we were expecting to enjoy the film. Sadly we were both disappointed. Everyone had told me that it is a ‘baseball movie for those who don’t like baseball’. I don’t get that at all. I thought it went on and on about baseball, how they were making up the teams, what players to acquire and why. All that and you didn’t even get the satisfaction of the tense game with the big plays. It was all board rooms and talk about baseball…
And I like baseball. I’m not the biggest fan in the world but I don’t hate it either. I used to go to Camden Yards and watch Cal Ripken play (that would be a good movie). The language was also more than we expected from the PG-13. I also wish the characters had been better developed, especially the relationship with Brad Pitt and his daughter. It was an after thought used to provide music throughout the movie.
3. Dark Knight- (94% on Rottentomatoes.com) I know. The hate mail can start. I did not like the Dark Knight. I can’t say I was expecting to like it. In fact, I had fought watching it for months and months but finally my friends pushed me into renting it. It is a very well made movie and well acted but I did not enjoy watching it. I found it creepy, sad, dark, and gloomy. I had nightmares for weeks.
I seem to be alone in my dislike of the Dark Knight and I’m ok with that. Superhero movies have never been my cup of tea so I guess that’s part of it and batman is a particularly annoying superhero. He growls and grimaces and begrudgingly helps people. Half the time you can’t understand his mumbling and the villains are always more interesting (that’s something I dislike in all superhero movies).
4. American Graffiti- (97% on Rottentomatoes) A lot of people think this is George Lucas’ thoughtful film. To be honest, I thought it was a big bore. Granted it has been a while since I saw it but I didn’t see what the fuss was about. I guess I don’t care about cars and would rather just listen to the soundtrack all day. The characters were bland and obvious and I was bored.
5. Breakfast Club- (91% on Rottentomatoes). Maybe I would have appreciated this movie more if I was a teen in 1985 (I was only 4 when it was released). I didn’t see it until a few years ago and I’d heard how great it was. I wonder if it would be better as a play? It feels like a play with a group of high school students and if I went to that play I’d probably like it but as a movie I was underwhelmed.
All of the kids are more caricatures than characters and perhaps that is the way things are in high school but it made the script very predictable. You’ve got the jock, the popular girl, the bad boy, the druggy, the brainiac. They all behave basically the way you expect them to and in a movie that is a total character piece (no sets outside of library, no special effects, just script) that doesn’t work.
The music is great. I will give it that.
6. Social Network- (96% on Rottentomatoes.com) I guess I just don’t like Aaron Sorkin’s writing because I thought Social Network was way overrated. To me it took the easy way out and made the rich guy the enemy. Surely Mark Zuckerberg is more complicated and interesting than the idea thief he is painted as here. Why not get a little bit into his head? Tell a little of his backstory?
If the point of the movie was to profile just facebook and not Mark it gets too distracted from its point. I did like the montages of when facebook was first being developed but there is so much more to the site that isn’t really delved into. Why do we feel a need (myself included) to share our lives with the world? What was present in the society in 2003 to make facebook so popular? I don’t feel like I got any of that. Instead, it was a court procedural with the big rich guy looking awkward and one-note.
7. Godfather- (100% on Rottentomatoes.com) Another one that will probably get hate mail. I had heard how great this movie is. It is even quoted in one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail, as the ultimate guy movie. Maybe that is why I thought it was a big bore? I get the symbolism that the Godfather promises us happiness if we will only obey just like God offers (I had an entire lecture on this topic at BYU!).
Truth is, with all the shootings and mob-vengeance, I thought the Godfather was boring. The story is so slow moving and I didn’t care about any of the characters. They were all pretty slimy. It is beautifully filmed and the acting is quite good but I fell asleep. I’m told the 2nd one is better but maybe its just not my genre?
8. Titanic- (88% on Rottentomatoes.com). Growing up in the 90s you either saw this movie 12 times in the theater or rolled your eyes when all your friends talked about it. I was in the latter group. In fact, I avoided seeing it until I was on a plane traveling to Italy in 1998. I haven’t watched it again because I thought it was so dumb the first time.
Am I made of stone you ask? Not quite. I have seen documentaries about the Titanic where I was genuinely moved but in this movie version the only people I really cared about (although not much) were Jack and Rose. Thousands were drowning and the only one that seemed worthy of any emotion was Leonardo DiCaprio. The romance is so sappy and stupid. It is pretty much a soap opera on a ship and a boring one at that.
9. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon- (97% on Rottentomatoes.com) This would be a good martial arts movie but I HATE THE FLYING! The flying while technically smooth and skilled took me out of the scene every time. Why fight at all if someone can just fly away at a moments notice? There are fights in this movie that are literally stopped at their peak so a character can fly off?
Even with other good things in the movie I couldn’t get over the flying. Too distracting. Its like they took the fight scenes in The Matrix and went nuts and it just doesn’t work for me. Totally overrated.
10. The Graduate- (88% on Rottentomatoes.com). I must admit I had always been curious to watch this movie because of the music and it is alluded to all the time on the Simpsons which made me wonder. The visuals are great and the acting I suppose is fine but I thought the story was really dumb.
First of all, why is it somehow edgy and cool for an older woman to prey on a younger man but not the reverse? Mrs. Robinson is creepy and sad, yet the only character in the story with any real personality. You don’t get to know Ben or his bride Elaine and are quite baffled with his choice at the end. (The Graduate also started the dramatic ‘leaving at alter’, wedding scene we’ve seen a million times). Am I supposed to feel sorry for any of these characters? I certainly don’t like any of them.
Also I think the theme of The Graduate is supposed to be about finding your own path and bucking the traditions of your parents but how is that going to make the characters happy? It seems their choices are lousy and will lead them to a lot of sadness, especially if they marry without any love. Why is this not explored at all? I felt no sense of satisfaction or triumph when Elaine and Ben leave the wedding but only hope that they wouldn’t be together and that someone would knock some sense into them. I guess this is an interesting line of thought but not explored enough to make the movie compelling.
So yes, it is pretty to look at with cool pool shots and camera angles but that does not a good movie make.
Ok. That’s my list. What do you think? Are you outraged? Agree? Please share your comments and what movies you think are overrated.