Sunday, November 09, 2008
pointless sunday list: the five most overrated films of all time (according to me)
#5:  Titanic (1997)
The only reason that Titanic comes in at #5 is because I'm fairly confident that there are very few who would try to argue that this film is not overrated.   A cliched story of two star-crossed lovers undone by circumstances beyond their control, Titanic offers positively nothing new in terms of plot or theme.  Sure, the acting is fine, the plot pedestrian but not terrible, and the set meticulously researched and executed. But really... it's the top money making film of all time?  It ran in the theaters for an incredible 9 months?  The Academy - a group of people who are supposed to know more than the rest of us about what makes for great cinema - felt this sappy, over-priced soap opera was deserving of an award for Best Picture?  Really???  My current theory is that Celine Dion embedded subliminal messages into "My Heart Will Go On," forcing the mass of humanity to go temporarily insane for the whole of 1997 until the latter part of 1998, when we finally awoke - confused, hung-over, and wondering what the hell we were all thinking.

#4:  Forrest Gump (1994)
I'm not going to lie - I loved Forrest Gump when I first saw it in the theater.  Of course, I was also sixteen-years-old and still pretty wet behind the ears.   But even now that I'm older, snootier, and significantly more jaded, I'll admit that Forrest Gump is an enjoyable film with a fantastic soundtrack.  It's just that it's all a little too cutesy, convenient, and artificial to truly be deserving of all the serious critical praise heaped upon it.  Seriously, it won six Oscars, including one for Best Picture.  And, sorry,  Was the Academy comprised entirely of sixteen-year-old girls that year? Stupid is as stupid does, indeed.

#3: Scarface (1983)
Ugh...Scarface.  Just saying its name makes the bile rise in my throat.  Unlike the rest of the films taking up spots on this list, Scarface is the only one that I will argue is a truly terrible movie with absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever.   It is a poorly acted, poorly written, comically violent, flaming piece of crap.  Every single character is unlikeable, Pacino's Cuban accent is laughable, and it's sprinkled with just enough jump cuts and f-bombs to make every fifteen-year-old boy in America laud it as a work of sheer brilliance.  And for those who would try to defend its language and violence on the basis that it is a gangster movie, then please - watch Goodfellas, The Godfather or Casino to see how it's supposed to be done.  If I could, I would tell this movie off, right before punching it out in front of all its jerk-face friends.   Scarface.  Blech.

#2: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1986)
Okay, hear me out on this one.  I know that 2001: A Space Odyssey is considered a pioneering film in terms of visual effects, and I will not even attempt to argue that it is undeserving of that praise.  However, in terms of plot it's a three hour long, confusing, meandering mess.  This movie crawled as far as pacing, and not in way that I could defend for its artistry.  As a cinematographic exercise, "2001" is great; however, as a watchable film, I'm sorry but it's a giant FAIL.  Now go on, sci-fi nerds  - throw your Spock ears at me.  I'm a big girl.  I can take it.

#1: Citizen Kane (1941)
Citizen Kane is widely considered the finest, most important film ever made.  It's the #1 film listed on the AFI's Top 100 Films of All Time, and is hailed a masterpiece by critics great and small.  But what I honestly want to know is, why?  Sure, technically speaking, Kane is pretty great.  As a character sketch, it does the job quite nicely.  And in 1941, its techniques were highly innovative and worthy of both admiration and awe.  But if one were to compile a list of its charms, then surely pacing and plot would not be listed  among them.  Speaking frankly, Citizen Kane takes tremendous effort to watch, and does not warrant multiple viewings.  Is it a bad movie? No.  Is it an important movie?  Yes.  Is it the single best film ever made?  Um, no.  I think not.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with #1 & #2 if I had written them myself. I kind of wish I could get the hours back that I spent watching those.

Blogger Mary said...

I saw Titanic the weekend after my live in boyfriend dumped me. As far as I was (and still am) concerned it takes far too long for the boat to sink and Jack to freeze to death. I hate that movie.

Blogger Mrs. White said...

Mary, I had a sort of similar situation re: The English Patient, but even still I can't bring myself to hate that particular movie. But I should. The guy I saw it with was a total douche.

Blogger JMW said...

I've never seen 2001, but I'd like to -- I'll do so with tempered expectations. Titanic was terrible, and Forrest Gump was even worse. I was a little older than you when I saw it -- 18? 19? -- and thought it was OK. My opinion of it has been steadily in decline ever since.

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