Friday, December 01, 2006

Premiere Magazine’s Top 20 Most Over-Rated Movies

Premiere Magazine recently came out with their list of top 20 most over-rated movies. I think this might be a list they update and re-publish every year, as I found a similar list by Premiere online with a previous year attached to it. Here’s their current list as of 2006:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey

  • A Beautiful Mind

  • American Beauty

  • An American in Paris

  • Chariots of Fire

  • Chicago

  • Clerks

  • Easy Rider

  • Fantasia

  • Forrest Gump

  • Field of Dreams

  • Gone with the Wind

  • Good Will Hunting

  • Jules and Jim

  • Monster's Ball

  • Moonstruck

  • Mystic River

  • Nashville

  • 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.


Uncle Andy said...

you have no idea what a good movie is

most of the movies you said were overrated were in fact classics. I can't for the life of me understand how any human could dislike gladiator or pulp fiction. Pleas watch movies before you rate them. Watching clips of them on tv doesn't count

Anonymous said...

You haven't even seen all of these movies... Fargo, Pulp fiction, and Gladiator some of the best of all time not a very researched blog. Maybe you should stop blogging and start watching these movies all the way through!

umberhaven said...

Wow. Funny how a simple blog post about my *opinions* on movies in 2006 could elicit hostile comments two years after it was posted and another two years after that, the 2nd just coming in today. Well, I don't mind responding...

Uncle Andy said, "You have no idea what a good movie is."

My response: In a weird way, we all have an idea what a good movie is, because film is subjective, and everyone's taste is different. There are plenty of movies I like or even love that are generally accepted as good by most people who see them. But, there are some movies I like that a lot of people don't like or have never heard of. And, there are some movies that I don't like, even if they get nominated for major awards. I’ll bet the same is true of Uncle Andy. If he only likes what everyone else likes and only hates what everyone else hates, he may have a problem.

Uncle Andy said, "I can't for the life of me understand how any human could dislike Gladiator or Pulp Fiction."

My response: I can't understand why some people love the two Michael Bay Transformers movies either. I'm not saying Uncle Andy is one of them; I'm just giving an example. But, life is full of mysteries, and I do, in fact, dislike “Gladiator” and, after the first hour or so, I had no interest in seeing the rest of “Pulp Fiction.”

Uncle Andy said, "Please watch movies before you rate them."

My response: I do watch movies before I rate them. But, I didn't rate, score, or fully review any movies here. This blog entry was about a list of over-rated movies. And, there are few of those movies I consider over-rated because they were boring enough, annoying enough, or distasteful enough that I didn't want to sit all the way through them. And, I fully admitted when that was the case.

Uncle Andy said, "Watching clips of them on TV doesn't count."

My response: He’s probably referring to "Master & Commander." I've continued to catch bits & pieces of it on TV, and I'd have to say that one is growing on me. My opinion of it was valid at the time, but opinions can sometimes change over time. "Blade Runner," however, still hasn't grabbed my attention.

[to be continued...]

umberhaven said...


Anonymous said, "You haven't even seen all of these movies."

My response: I never claimed to. The list at the top came from Premiere Magazine. That was their list, not mine. I wonder if Anonymous has seen every movie on the list. I commented on the ones I *had seen*. And, in the few cases where I hadn't seen quite the whole movie, I admitted it. And, in the context of “overratedness,” not wanting to see a movie all the way through still means something.

Anonymous said, "Fargo, Pulp Fiction, and Gladiator are some of the best of all time. Not a very researched blog."

My response: Those three movies are some of the best *to you* -- and, also, to a lot of other people. But, it's still just *your opinion* and the *opinions* of others. My opinion is different. And, this is an opinion blog, *not* a "research" blog.

Anonymous said, "Maybe you should stop blogging and start watching movies all the way through!"

My response: Regrettably, I don't blog very much as it is. And, if I did, it would just be more opinions. I do, typically, watch movies all the way through when I have the time, opportunity, and interest. In fact, while I might have occasionally changed the channel or stopped a DVD if I felt like giving up on a movie, I'm not sure I've *ever* walked out of a movie in a theater (if so, it was rarely and nowhere near recently), and I've sat through some bad movies because of it.

Having strong opinions about movies, I’ve definitely disagreed with a lot of other blog posts & comments about movies by other people. There’s nothing at all wrong with disagreeing. But, as much I sometimes disagree, I try to remember that everyone is different. So, I refrain from attacking a person just for having an opinion. I simply give my side of the story as best I can and let people agree or disagree accordingly.

On the other hand, Uncle Andy & Anonymous gave no specific reasons for why Fargo, Pulp Fiction, and Gladiator were such good movies. So, I don’t feel educated, enlightened, or motivated to change by their comments. They basically just implied that I’m an idiot and doing something wrong for sharing some thoughts on an informal blog that is little more than a neglected hobby. If they thought some of the movies on my list deserved such a good review, they had their chance to write it -- or, maybe they can get their own blogs and do it there.

Oh, and since Uncle Andy seems to have trouble with capitalization & punctuation, and Anonymous left out a couple words, including a conjunction between two of his sentences that should have been separated, I cleaned up their comments when I quoted them. I have better movie taste -- and better grammar. ;p