Just because a movie is successful doesn't mean it is any good, as these ten overblown and overrated movies prove...
Easy Rider (1969) – Dennis Hopper. It’s a tale of two drop outs on flamboyantly ostentatious motorcycles who pull off a massive drug smuggling deal to finance a lifestyle of bumming around the country “finding” themselves. Why do we like them? The answer is I don’t because they are plain old drug smugglers who directly contributed to the misery or many and also the hippy dream thing really dates. It’s a nice movie poster but little more on reflection. With the price of fuel these days who would just “head out on the highway” for no reason, you’d have to be nuts.
ET: The Extra Terrestrial (1982) – Steven Spielberg.
Mega successful, Oscar winning family favourite? I hate it, always have done, it’s saccharine-sweet, sentimental pap. I’m so pleased for Henry Thomas though as he managed another decent performance in Gangs of New York (2002) so he may not forever be little Elliot, the bug eyed, pepperami fingered, chocolate pudding’s best mate. I’ve also always wondered if they used the mechanics inside the puppet as the basis for the film Short Circuit (1986) but gave it acting lessons in the period between.
The Terminator (1984) – James Cameron. Maybe it’s Arnie, I hate him and I don’t generally get on with films where the only factor is the “whoah” factor. Maybe it’s also because I would hate to be bracketed with your average American bullet headed teenager who thinks this kind of thing “rocks”. That alone would do but this time-travelling chase dirge is sub-Doctor Who cack just with more pyrotechnics. When we get into the “who is Sarah Connor’s kid” bit it all gets a bit “hold the fuck on, what a load of shit” and there’s no boundaries to the plot. Time travel storylines rarely work if they are taken seriously as it’s a ludicrous concept in the first place.
The Graduate (1967) – Mike Nichols. Precocious little rich boy Benjamin kicks back and assesses his options after finishing college, he shags an older woman and realises he likes her personality free daughter as a better long term bet. Can anyone tell me what else happens? Benjamin is a horrible kid and every time I’ve seen it I can’t help thinking that the bloke Elaine was actually marrying when Ben performs his much parodied “nuptial interuptus” act must have been a nicer bloke.
Pretty Woman (1990) – Garry Marshall. OK this is mostly rated by women and as it’s Garry Marshall it’s never going to register in a Roger Ebert “best of list”. That said I just don’t get why they like it. Gere’s character is hardly charming, he’s a total shit and he remains so throughout the film, why would she like him? Just because he less of a shit than his mate doesn’t make him OK. He was kind of bloke who would hire a woman for the week, end of. Or am I being naive and it being the end of the 80′s he’s rich so he’s nice? Was that it?
Closer (2004) - Mike Nichols again. What is it with Nichols and unlikeable characters? The four main characters in Closer are all bed hopping alley cats who care little for the feelings of anyone they are supposed to be close to. Generally a film should have characters you can empathise with and it draws you in to root for them. This doesn’t and I found it pretty depressing really, plus it has Jude Law in it so it’s also pretty annoying. For the sake of balance I do actually like some of Nichols’ work, Silkwood (1983) is very good, as is Biloxi Blues (1988) and I have a soft spot for Melanie Griffith in Working Girl (1988).
Forrest Gump (1994) – Robert Zemeckis. Christ knows how they came up with this idea or why they though it would be successful as overblown as it was. But it was successful nevertheless and I have no idea why because it’s disjointed, improbable, historically inaccurate and it insults the intelligence. The mocked up scenes with John Lennon and Jack Kennedy are just embarrassing. Life is not like a box of chocolates and it’s not even a valid simile as if you read the menu on a box you really should be pretty confident of what chocolate you are going to get.
The Matrix (1999) – Andy and Lana Wachowski. Watchowski indeed. Wachowski for a totally nonsensical concept for a film. I’ll admit something now and I’ll take any criticism on the back of it, I’ve never got beyond 30 minutes of this film, it just makes no sense to me. I guess it provides some kind of pseudo religious experience for slacker Goth types, I don’t know. Can anyone tell me? They made sequels so I guess people went to see it, they bought the long leather coats and the shades so me not liking it hasn’t hurt the rake. Good luck to you, shit film making dudes.
Tropic Thunder (2008) – Ben Stiller. When you get several “stars” together I suspect it’s hard to pull off a decent movie. The three leads are all awful in this, Stiller loves the absurd and uncomfortable, I don’t. I just find it either uncomfortably absurd or absurdly……well you get the picture. Whoever though that the idea of having Robert Downey Jr’s character’s character have his skin tattooed to look like a black man needs medical help. Jack Black makes my piss boil too and it says something when Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey steal the show with cameos. Steve Coogan stinks it up too so I get the feeling it was a big back slapping event and everyone assuming their massive talents (ha ha) would just create a great film. I also, on the evidence of recent movies like Sherlock Holmes and Iron Man2, suspect that Downey Jr is letting his ego get the better of him again.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Stanley Kubrick. I almost hate myself for putting this one in as Kubrick made The Shining which is not just an excellent movie but a cinematic standard. He richly deserves his status of Directing genius. When I say 2001 is overrated I don’t mean I don’t like it, I think it’s visually stunning, has a wonderful score and there’s an interesting if pompous story and it’s very dramatic in parts. My beef with it is that it’s light on, how to phrase this……things happening and it doesn’t deserve it’s out and out classic status.
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