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Top Five Most Overrated Movies of All Time

February 11, 2010

 

Yes, I know I will get “hate comments” on some of these, but I must share my glorious opinions with the universe.  Feel free to comment as long as it is constructive and not overtly whiny (or just plain wrong). 

5.) Pulp Fiction

Quentin, I love you, but weird and disjointed does not equal inspired.

There are some die-hard fan boys who will no doubt want to crucify me on this one, but bear with me, all you drooling, internet-trolling kids still living in your parents’ basements.   There are many problems this movie suffers from, but I think its ultimate downfall is its belief in its own precociousness.  It makes me want to vomit a little in my mouth every time someone wants to either (usually incorrectly) quote this film, or to attempt to explain the incongruous “mythology” of the plot to me in order to justify Fiction’s holiness in the pantheon.  I say this – Fiction’s faults are as follows:

  • No single overall protagonist with which one can either identify or care about his/her story arc.  Quite frankly, everyone in this movie is pretty darn horrible, and not in a sympathetic or cool way in the mode of a Corleone.  They all strike me as a waste of space.  Don’t try and convince me that is the “point” of the movie.  Please.  It is a flaw of the writer – Quentin.  Example of a movie where multiple character arcs WORK:  Love Actually.
  • Stilted dialogue/camera techniques.  Also in the mode of “so ridiculous it’s cool”, which at the time was thought to be “unique/revolutionary”.  Example of a movie where “unique/revolutionary” dialogue and camera techniques actually work (and were unique/revolutionary):  Moulin Rouge.
  • Main fault:  Although it is held up as Tarantino’s “masterpiece”, I can name three movies in his repertoire that are significantly superiorKill Bill (both volumes), Jackie Brown and Inglourious Basterds.  Heck, even Death Proof was more entertaining.   Strange how all of these movies have strong female protagonists…hmmm…

4.) Pretty Woman

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen - a movie about a hooker and a john is not romantic. No matter how much money he has, or how dapper his salt and pepper hair looks.

Yes, I have seen it more than once.  No, I am not proud.  Let’s face it:  this movie tries to romanticize a man’s relationship with a (albeit fairly expensive) hooker.  Apparently, this screenplay started as a drama.  I can only dream that it had stayed that way.  Imagine the poor screenwriter at the pitch meeting watching his potentially Oscar-winning dramatic script turn into a lighthearted romp about a rich guy and his awkward gal-pal prostitute.  Directed by Garry Marshall, no less.  Poor dude.

Major Flaws:

  • Richard Gere looks like he is bored throughout the entire film.  True, this is Richard Gere’s  M.O. throughout most of his career (notable exceptions:  Unfaithful, An Officer and a Gentleman).  Still, even he can’t swallow most of the crap in this god-awful screenplay.
  • While I do believe that Julia Roberts has more range than Gere, every time she tries to “laugh playfully”, it looks and sounds like a cross between a hyena and a dying horse.
  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but one of the main components that makes a romantic comedy “click” is chemistry between the co-stars.  Yep…not seeing that here.  Examples of co-stars in rom-coms who DO have chemistry:  Sarandon and Costner – Bull Durham, Skye and Cusack – Say Anything, Hepburn and Grant – Bringing Up Baby/ The Philadelphia Story.

3.)  Gladiator

Russell is still mad that he didn't win his Oscar for The Insider, instead.

I can feel the fan boys readying their attack again.  Sigh. Where should one start.  Do I enjoy this movie?  Absolutely.  Do I feel it is Oscar-worthy?  Ummm..no.   Do I enjoy watching attractive men in togas – hell, yes!  Bring on the amusement, plebians!

Major Faults:

  • Russell Crowe won an Oscar for his role in this film, no doubt as an “I’m sorry” from the Academy for not giving him the award for the role in which he was TRULY amazing:  The Insider.  I bet even Russell himself was thinking,  “what the @#$$#%?” when he won for this instead.
  • Ridley Scott should have taken Joaquin Phoenix aside and told him to stop chewing on all the scenery.  The boy had to have some serious splinters by the time he was done.  Plus, I kept wanting to wipe the spit off of the outside of his mouth once he would get going on his “I love my sister, I am consumed with the idea of my own godliness!”  rants.
  • I love Ridley Scott.  Two movies he made that SHOULD have garnered more Oscar buzz/attention:  Blade Runner, Alien.

2.) Titanic

Well, it is 12 years later and Celine was right - my heart DID go on.

Where should we begin?  Let’s just jump right in – pun wholly intended.

Major Faults:

  • This was before Martin Scorsese reformed Leo out of his “petulance is good acting” mode.   It shows.  I actually wanted him to perish about an hour and a half before it actually occurred.
  • Billy Zane.  Sigh.  See Joaquin Phoenix remarks above, only add the fact that, well, Billy is not even an acceptably watchable actor.  To quote South Park, “Do your imitation of David Caruso’s career”….
  • First half:  good, nice character development, amazing cinematography.  Second half:  DRAG, DRAG, DRAG.  Oh, he dies? So, while Rose was busy hacking our dear Jack out of “prison” with an axe, she never thought to make sure the poor guy at least had a life vest?  Details.
  • The modern day framing device with the elder Rose and of all people, Bill Paxton – not working, never works.  At least Bill Paxton’s potty mouth was under PG-13 control.  Examples of films where Bill Paxton’s idea of acting involves massive amounts of not-entirely discernable profanity:  Aliens, Apollo 13.

1.) Forrest Gump

If only I could run, run away from the influence of this movie...

I swear, I was the only person in the theatre when this came out that actually said once the credits rolled, “Are you kidding me?  This is it?”.

Major Flaws/Personal Annoyances:

  • I can’t stand Tom Hanks.  Period.  Let me re-phrase this:  Tom Hanks in anything after 1988.  The dude was passable in Big and Splash (tough job, looking like a more accomplished thespian than Daryl Hannah, but still).  Tom Hanks has about as much range as Richard Gere (without the good looks).  Don’t try and spout that Philadelphia nonsense to me.  Watch the movie again and see how Denzel acts circles around the guy.  Trust me.
  • Forced sentimentality.  I swear this movie tries so hard to tug on your heart strings, it ends up dragging you down into the dreaded well of sappy, sad-sack schlock.   Come on, already.  Maybe I do have a heart of stone.  Ahh, who am I kidding?  I just can’t stand horrific screenwriting and hackneyed direction.
  • If one more person tries to present “Life is like a box of chocolates” or anything said by Bubba as either a piece of cinematic genius or an endearing chestnut of life-altering advice, I swear I will lose my ever-loving mind.  Give it up, already.

 

Writing about overrated films makes me want to run out and see a decent one.  Maybe I will resort to the last three weeks of Masterpiece Theatre currenlty hibernating patiently in my DV-R…

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2010 7:29 pm

    Great post. I will read your posts frequently. Added you to the RSS reader.

  2. February 11, 2010 7:30 pm

    I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
    Very interesting posts and well written.
    I will put your site on my blogroll.
    🙂

  3. Robb permalink
    February 12, 2010 8:52 pm

    Agree with four of these, but I think you miss the point with Pulp Fiction. Your suggestion about character and story arc would make it a cliche. That it didn’t do that is why it was so good. Also, the dialogue was fantastic. The only film Q has made that was better is Reservoir Dogs.

  4. February 14, 2010 2:21 am

    I’m a huge Tarantino fan, but I still can’t understand why Pulp Fiction garners more attention than any other film (including Resevoir Dogs). It is way too interested in its own quirkiness to be a truly great movie – in my opinion. There are many of my nearest and dearest who disagree, but the endless debate makes life interesting!

  5. February 14, 2010 2:22 am

    Thanks for the kudos Randy and Rick. I started the blog to escape from the daily grind and I’m glad it has found a select group of readers!

  6. Hazel permalink
    March 1, 2010 4:29 pm

    Although I am not a huge Tom Hanks fan – there are two movies where I thought he was just excellent: BIG and THE GREEN MILE.

    As for Pulp Fiction, I’ve never seen it. It’s the violence thing, but I love the way Travolta looks on the cover of the DVD!

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