Premiere’s Top 20 Overrated Films

Stealing from Jaquandor, again.

Here’s the list:

20. American Beauty. Not sure. I saw it, I liked it well enough, I wasn’t surprised by the critical buzz, though I wondered if it wasn’t a bit of some guys fixated on young Mena Suvari. This falls in the category of, if you see it BEFORE the buzz really begins, it may be more entertaining.

19. Chicago. The musical had just about died, Moulin Rouge notwithstanding. I thought this was very entertaining, occasionally very funny – the Richard Gere/ Christine Baranski back-and-forth was fun, Queen Latifah was a force. And the leads were good. If the editing was sloppy, as some suggest, it didn’t detract from the (a)morality play.

18. Clerks. Horrors, I’ve STILL never seen this.

17. Fantasia. Oh, please. For 1940, this movie was AMAZING. Yeah, it could have done with some editing between the numbers. And I’ve always seen this movie (once in the theater, a few times at home) under the influence of nothing.

16. Field of Dreams. Every time I’m flicking through the channels and I see this is on, I end up watching it again. And it always gets me, Doc’s choices, the James Earl Jones’ character’s soliloquy, the Costner character playing catch with his dad…excuse me, I need a hanky.

15. Chariots of Fire. This movie suffers for me because I saw it (with my girlfriend at the time and her son) a week AFTER it had won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Looked pretty, but we said, “Is that all there is?” I dare say, if I had seen it four months sooner, I might have had a different reaction. Haven’t seen it since.
14. Good Will Hunting. I enjoyed it. Even enjoyed Robin Williams, which isn’t always the case.

13. Forrest Gump. I liked it in parts, such as the football game, ping pong matches, Lt. Dan’s missing legs, and the meetings with the Presidents. The running section, which used three different songs (only one or two which made it to the soundtrack) went on too long – yeah, it was SUPPOSED to go on and on, but still. (I seem to recall that the running, bearded Hanks was actually played by his brother. Or am I just misremembering?)
I get annoyed that Jenny, the antiwar character, is, as Weird Al Yankovic describes in the great parody of “Lump” by The Presidents Of The United States Of America called Gump, a “bit of a slut”. Forrest’s creation of the Smiley face seemed forced. Generally, I watched the film with a real detachment. Maybe it’s because I could never buy Sally Field, who was Hanks’ stand-up comedy competition in the movie Punchline six years earlier, as his mother. Yet I’m always touched by the big reveal near the end with Haley Joel Osment.

12. Jules and Jim. I saw it a LONG time ago, 35-40 years ago, remember being awed by it, but probably should see again.

11. A Beautiful Mind. I think the backlash comes from the fact that it took liberties with the facts. I enjoyed it for what was actually on the screen. Russell Crowe showed again – I’d seen him in L.A. Confidential and The Outsider – that he was a fine actor, before his persona came to the fore.

10. Monster’s Ball. My sense is that Halle Berry was playing against type and revealed aside not suspected. At that level, it worked, though it was an unpleasant film to watch.

9. Moonstruck. Obviously the reviewer needs to snap out of it.

8. Mystic River. Really wanted to see this. Or not. It came out when Carol was pregnant, and the storyline just didn’t appeal to me at that moment. Maybe I’ll see it now.

7. Nashville. Tried to watch this on video recently, unsuccessfully. Will try again.

6. The Wizard of Oz. The transformation from the b&w Kansas to the technicolor Oz as NOT necessarily where Dorothy wanted to be is an endlessly fascinating philosophical conversation. I love how many actors had two or more roles, especially Frank Morgan: Professor Marvel plus the Emerald City doorman, the Wiz himself and more is a hoot. Know what really scared me? The talking trees – yeesh!
The movie’s cultural impact based on quotes alone, is huge. They’ve made new plays, books, etc. based on the (eventual) success of this movie. Overrated? Not in this country.

5. An American in Paris. Only seen clips on TV.

4. Easy Rider. Sure it’s of its period, but the ending blew me away when I first saw it in the theater. And for good and for bad, it propelled Jack Nicholson’s career.

3. The Red Shoes. Haven’t seen.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Haven’t seen since it first came out in 1968. I said, “What the heck” a lot, but I liked it. Probably should see again.

1. Gone with the Wind. I have never seen this film in its entirety. It’s the length, the subject matter. It so peculiar, too, because I remember when it first aired on TV over two nights. It’s STILL one of the most watched programs ever. It provided the opportunity for the first black person ever to win an Oscar. But seriously, all I REALLY know about this movie, I’ve seen in Carol Burnett sketches.

Jaquandor also offers his own list of overrated films which, of the films I’ve seen, include The Usual Suspects (I don’t think so, but it did begin a series of movies with a twist which were more bad than good), Dead Poets’ Society (well, maybe), and Alien (isn’t really my cuppa, but don’t know that it was done badly).

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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