Friday, December 08, 2006

The "Overrated" Parlor Game

Stealing from Roger who stole from Jaquandor, here are my reactions to Premiere magazine's list of the 20 most overrated films:

20. American Beauty.
I have to admit to finding the whole finding-rapture-in-a-plastic-trash-bag thing impenetrable. But overall I did like the film, especially Spacey and Bennett's performances.

19. Chicago.
Love it. I think some of the backlash against this is coming from folks who just hate that a musical won for Best Picture. The whole thing was put together wonderfully, with the singing, acting, and dancing all executed superbly. And as much as I am leery of the notion that the only way to get an audience to accept singing in a musical is to make it explicitly fantasy, I love the whole "in Roxie's" head conceit - it fits with the theme of the film so well--that this woman is so obsessed by show business that she thinks and sees the world around her in purely show business terms.

18. Clerks.
Agreed. When I finally got around to see this I was amazed that not one review or commentary I had read noted how cringingly awful the acting was. I still don't understand why Kevin Smith insists on directing, as opposed to just writing. He has no feel at all for actors or the camera.

17. Fantasia.
Given that I can never get myself to just sit and watch the thing, I probably have to agree. In theory I should love it - I love classical music and Disney animation- and yet somehow I always find myself bored watching it.

16. Field of Dreams.
I'm not sure I've ever seen this all the way through.

15. Chariots of Fire.
Saw it as an eight-year old (my father thought he was taking us to see the caveman movie that came out around the same time with "Fire" in the title - Quest for Fire? Haven't seen it since, but I do remember enjoying it a lot--just not why.

14. Good Will Hunting.
I loved this movie. Sweet and touching and well-acted and with an absolutely luminous Minnie Driver. They did cheat at the end though - the final breakthrough Robin Williams achieves with Matt Damon is kind of forced in there and doesn't really make any sense.

13. Forrest Gump.
Love it. Completely. I have a theory - if Gum had bombed at the box office, it would be beloved by critics today. But because it was a monster hit, they hate it. Hanks' performance seems easy, but it's really a remarkable bit of acting. It would be so easy for Gump to be a joke, and caricature. That he's not is a testament to how good Hanks is.

12. Jules and Jim.
Never heard of it, let alone saw it.

11. A Beautiful Mind.
I liked this one a lot as well. Great score by James Horner and Crowe is just great. I do squirm a little at how literal they made his schizophrenic delusions.

10. Monster's Ball.
A movie I liked fine but that I have no real urge to see again. So maybe it was a bit overrated.

9. Moonstruck.
Come on. This is as perfect a romantic comedy as has been made. Just fun in every frame.

8. Mystic River.
A moving, engaging film. I think a lot of these are really just a matter of the magazine overreacting to some of the praise. It's not the greatest film ever, but it's well-made, well-acted, with a great script - and a great source in Lehane's somber novel.

7. Nashville.
On the list of "must see."

6. The Wizard of Oz.
Now they're just being deliberately provocative.

5. An American in Paris.
Never seen. But a brilliant piece of music.

4. Easy Rider.
Never seen. And have no real desire to.

3. The Red Shoes.
Haven't seen.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Agreed. I finally saw this a few year's back and was wholly non-plussed. Bored, really.

1. Gone with the Wind.
Never seen it.

Until Whenever


bill said...


Field of Dreams. Can't discuss the claim as I absolutely hate the movie. It's flat and uninteresting and sucked all the life out of what is a magical story. Shoeless Joe is a wonderful book and W.P Kinsella is one of my favorite authors. Another baseball movie I hate is The Natural; Robert Redford should be hanged for his crimes against literature.

An American in Paris. Yeah, probably overrated. However, the last 20 minutes--the dance set to Rhapsody in Blue is mind-blowingly beautiful. Screw the story, plot, and any attempt to make sense, let's dance! Helps that I first saw it on the big screen at a run-down repertory theater about 20 years ago.

Roger Owen Green said...

Don't think you need to SEE Jules et Jim, but since you are a raconteur of some note, you SHOULD know what it is: