Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Overrated

Good buddy B.W. Richardson shared a list this morning of his ten favorite movies. He’s got some interesting choices. But I always have a better, maybe easier time choosing films that fall at the other end of the spectrum. So I was delighted today to find Premiere magazine’s recent list of the 20 most overrated movies of all time. Seven on the list won Best Picture Oscars, another seven were nominated for that dubious honor. Here’s Premiere’s list, accompanied by my agreements, disagreements, and snarky comments:

American Beauty (1999) Agree. I thought this smug Oscar-winner was just a bad TV movie with big name stars.

Chicago (2002) Disagree. I adore Chicago, which makes it all the more amazing that it won the Oscar.

Clerks (1994) I've never seen it. Probably never will.

Fantasia (1940) Agree. I couldn't sit still through it as a kid, and I still can't.

Field of Dreams (1989) Agree. This Best Picture nominee inspired a friend of mine to bundle up his crap and move to Oregon. I still haven’t figured that one out.

Chariots of Fire (1981) Agree. This Oscar winner was dull, dull, dull. And I don’t care if I ever hear that damn score again.

Good Will Hunting (1997) Agree. This Oscar nominee left me cold. Is anyone else out there as sick and tired of Robin Williams as I am?

Forest Gump (1994) Agree. I saw it, forgot it. It won the Oscar. Is anyone else out there as sick and tired of Tom Hanks as I am?

Jules and Jim (1962) I've never seen it. I probably should, though.

A Beautiful Mind (2001) I never saw this Oscar-winner. And I hope to successfully avoid it for years to come.

Monster’s Ball (2001) Agree. I rented it to see Halle Berry’s Oscar-winning performance. I think I liked her better in Catwoman.

Moonstruck (1987) Agree. An Oscar nominee that I barely remember.

Mystic River (2003) Agree. I wanted to blow out my brains after I saw this Oscar nominee.

Nashville (1975) Disagree. It deserved its Oscar nomination. But my favorite Robert Altman film remains his revisionist take on Philip Marlowe, The Long Goodbye (1973).

The Wizard of Oz (1939) Disagree. Only a heartless bastard can hate this Oscar nominee.

An American in Paris (1951) Disagree. An Oscar-winner, and it’s pleasant enough.

Easy Rider (1969) Disagree. Hell, I was raised on Easy Rider.

The Red Shoes (1948) I’ve never seen this Oscar nominee. Maybe I should.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Disagree. To his dying day, my dad never forgave me for dragging his butt to this one. I was 13 and thought it was cool at the time. I haven’t seen it in years.

Gone With the Wind (1939) Disagree. Another Best Picture winner, it’s my wife’s all-time favorite movie. I’m kinda fond of it, too.

I think the best way to determine whether a movie is overrated is to check if it won an Oscar for Best Picture in the past three decades. To Premiere’s list, I’d add the horrible Ordinary People (1980), the bloated Gandhi (1982), the weepy Terms of Endearment (1983), the sleep-inducing Out of Africa (1985), the exhausting The Last Emperor (1987), and the almost unwatchable The English Patient (1996). Does anyone even rent these pictures nowadays?


At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Tom Ender said...

American Beauty (1999) Overrated. Chicago (2002) Haven't seen it. A musical with Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger? I probably should see it just for the novelty. Clerks (1994) I haven't seen it, but caught Chasing Amy, a "related film." I'd watch Clerks if I could find time.

Fantasia (1940) I liked this one. Of course, I was a big Disney fan when I saw it and also liked classical music. It wouldn't be on a short list of favorite films though. Field of Dreams (1989) Overrated. Most Costner stuff is. Open Range was tolerably good.

Chariots of Fire (1981) Didn't see it. Probably I should, but I'm in no hurry. Good Will Hunting (1997) Vastly Overrated. I thought this movie sucked, but I did like Minnie Driver. I'm not as sick and tired of Robin Williams as you, but I liked him better as Mork (or Popeye). Forest Gump (1994) Overrated. I liked Sally Field and Gary Sinise in it. I suppose I could possibly like Tom Hanks in a movie again, but prefer Big to what he's been doing lately.

Jules and Jim (1962) I've also never seen it. I also probably should. A Beautiful Mind (2001) Overrated. Although Jennifer Connelly does okay, I liked her better in Hulk. Monster’s Ball (2001) I've seen pieces of it, and thought it Overrated. IMHO for a great Halle Berry movie try Swordfish.

Moonstruck (1987) I never saw it. I don't feel any need to now. Mystic River (2003) Ditto last entry. Nashville (1975) I never saw it. I liked much of Robert Altman's TV stuff (Peter Gunn again) and MASH. I still haven't seen The Long Goodbye, but will eventually.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) Great stuff. This is one my grandson (he's 2) and I can both watch. An American in Paris (1951) Also great stuff. I'm a sucker for musicals and a delicious Leslie Caron adds attraction. Add Gene Kelly dancing and its a cinch I'd like it.

Easy Rider (1969) Great stuff. Didn't like the ending though. ;) The Red Shoes (1948) Like you, I should see this. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) I liked it, but it wasn't Kubrick's best. Gone With the Wind (1939) Great stuff.

Loooong comment.

At 6:19 AM, Blogger B.W. Richardson said...

American Beauty and Ordinary People look so bad I've never bothered to watch them. I have to disagree with the house on Field of Dreams. Sure, there's quite a bit of suspension of disbelief required, but it's about a guy who hears magic voices that tell him to build a ball field, what do ya want?

The Wizard of Oz overrated? The guy probably drowns kittens, too. 2001? I've always been fascinated by that one - first movie I ever saw eight times in the theaters - but I do admit to every once in a while wondering, "Is the emperor wearing any clothes here?"

My all-time over-rated, bloated, WTF did I waste three and a half hours of my life on this thing: James Cameron's Titanic. I squirmed through the first 90 minutes getting to know nothing I cared to know about a pile of unappealing characters, I laughed through parts of the serious sinking scenes, and I was enraged at the end with what that old lady does with a multimillion-dollar jewel that could have rewarded all of the research team's labors. Oh damn, now I've gotten started ... The heartbreaking part is Cameron had done so many really terrific films before that clunker. But what do I know? After Titanic the guy never needs to work again.


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