- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- A Beautiful Mind
- American Beauty
- An American in Paris
- Chariots of Fire
- Easy Rider
- Forrest Gump
- Field of Dreams
- Gone with the Wind
- Good Will Hunting
- Jules and Jim
- Monster's Ball
- Mystic River
- The Red Shoes
- The Wizard of Oz
Most of these I’ve never seen or even heard of (Jules & Jim??? The Red Shoes???), but I can weigh in on six of them. First of all, I strongly agree that American Beauty and Forrest Gump are over-rated.
I remember American Beauty being a good movie the one time I saw it, but I’ve never been motivated enough to see it again. I may rent it someday to see if, in retrospect, I can figure out what everyone else saw in it and why it actually won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1999. It was good but not *that* good. I also saw three of the four movies it was up against that year (The Sixth Sense, The Green Mile, and Cider House Rules), and all three were better. Perhaps, Sixth Sense and Green Mile didn’t stand much chance since Oscars rarely go to movies with a supernatural element. Next time you go to the video store, see how many copies they have of American Beauty and how many of those are actually checked out. It’s pretty sad for a movie “worthy” of an Oscar.
Forrest Gump, while mildly amusing in spots and poignant in others, still thoroughly annoyed me. The worst part was Forrest’s long crush over the enormously screwed up Jenny. The movie tries to imply that Forrest’s big heart can overcome the deficiencies in his mind, but he wasn’t totally stupid, and even the heart has some built-in “intelligence.” To continue to kiss the ground Jenny walked on despite how much she walked all over him doesn’t have anything to do with a low I.Q. I just can’t endure Forrest’s misplaced emotions for Jenny. I know love is blind, but bad love felt by such a good heart should have its limits too. To me, it ruins any credibility or likeability that Forrest was supposed to have.
I didn’t really like Lieutenant Dan or Bubba either, and the movie loses all credibility with Forrest’s non-stop jog across America. I think it’s a travesty that Forrest Gump got the Oscar for Best Film of 1994 over Shawshank Redemption, one of my top nine favorite movies. I’m just as delighted as I am surprised to see someone in the media say this movie is over-rated, as I have always felt rather lonely in that opinion.
For 2001: A Space Odyssey, Gone with Wind, and Wizard of Oz, I have mixed feelings. I’m not particularly fond of those three movies. In fact, I have no interest in seeing any three of them again. However, I do also understand how they were probably revolutionary movies for their time. Even if I personally don’t like them, I understand their status as classics. Therefore, calling them over-rated is okay by my standards, but I’m very surprised Premiere Magazine says so too.
One movie I don’t think should be on this list is Good Will Hunting. Granted, I haven’t seen it in a while either. Maybe the movie, as a whole, doesn’t stand the test of time. But if you condense the movie into certain key scenes, particularly the “How do you like them apples!!!” scene, Affleck’s speech about Damon’s character being too good to live poor and work a blue collar job, and any scene with Robin Williams in it, you’ve still got a product I could re-watch occasionally if it came on TV more often. One major deficiency of the movie is the ending. Even though you know where Matt Damon’s character is driving to and what he’s going to do once he’s there, I still would have preferred seeing the result of that rather than seeing the back end of a car while the credits rolled.
Following are ten movies not on Premiere’s list that I would consider to be over-rated, not necessarily bad, just not as good as everyone else in the world thinks.
Blade Runner: I admit I’ve never seen this one all the way through, but anytime I catch a few minutes of it on cable TV, it looks slow & boring. I’ve heard what the gist of the story is, and to me, it had a bit of a “so what” factor to it.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Despite awesome special effects, the run-and-levitate form of flying just looks like an awkward puppet dance rather than a supernatural martial arts technique. The overly-long flashback in the middle of the movie was particularly jarring, especially since it was so hard to tell at first that it was a flashback.
The English Patient: Just plain painful to sit through. I rented it on video, so maybe I didn’t sit through it all. I’ve blocked most of it out of memory, and I’m quite thankful for that.
Fargo: Siskel & Ebert both said this was their #1 favorite movie of 1996. It was well-made and mildly amusing at times, but like American Beauty, I just don’t get how it’s *that* good.
Gladiator: Too long, too boring, waaaayyyy too much shaky cam, and too dark & shadowy an interpretation of ancient Rome. I can’t believe this won the Oscar over Erin Brockovich for Best Film of 2000.
Lost in Translation: This is another decent movie that seemed to be inflated into something more than it was. It served as a breakout role for Scarlett Johanssen and an opportunity for Bill Murray to get serious, but as a story it’s jumbled and unsatisfying.
Master & Commander: I caught parts of this on TV one Saturday. The boring story seemed to be overshadowed by how good the sound & visuals are.
Million Dollar Baby: Well made with excellent performances, this movie is also dreary & depressing, way too much a downer to bother seeing again.
Pulp Fiction: I admit I have never seen this one all the way through, but it was boring and crappy-looking up until the extremely gross scene that made me not want to see the rest of it.
Titanic: A well-made, well-acted movie, ruined in retrospect by an exhausting and annoying amount of hype. I’ve seen it once; maybe could sit through it again (probably fast-forwarding quite a lot until the scene where Kate Winslett poses for a sketch). But, after it first came out, I got tired of hearing about so many people, from teenagers to grandparents, seeing the movie dozens of times, if not more than 100 times. That’s just craziness. As a movie, I think Titanic floats; as a phenomenon, I’ve never been on board.