Martin's 100 Most Overrated Films, Part 1
Here is a selection of films some folk consider classics, however, prolific Film Critic, Martin Hafer, would disagree and thinks of them as overrated. Whether you agree or disagree, it's an intriguing list and this is only the first 50.
I know that I probably skipped a few deserving overrated films. I am not perfect, nor have I seen every movie. These are all ones I have seen and think are just way, way overrated. Some are terrible films, some are good—just not as good as conventional wisdom says. My list, like all such lists, is heavier towards the more recent films because film critics were pretty much non-existent until more recently. Also, unlike most lists of overrated films I’ve seen, mine also has quite a few foreign films, as the USA is NOT the only place that makes movies!
- 2001—Despite some amazing special effects and great music, the film has the prologue with guys in ape costumes, a bizarre and dumb ending and also some incredibly bad music as well.
- The English Patient—How did a dull film with completely unlikable characters manage to win the Best Picture Oscar?
- The Last Emperor—Ditto.
- Inside Llewyn Davis—Some critics practically wet themselves praising this film. I have absolutely no idea why.
- The Tree of Life—Did anyone actually SEE THIS FILM before it was nominated for Best Picture? Not a single person I know who did liked it.
- It’s a Wonderful Life—A very good film. But, not the classic everyone insists it is.
- Django Unchained—Currently ranked #51 on IMDB’s Top 250 list. Nasty, historically inaccurate but entertaining in a brain-dead sort of way. Plus, the director has made better films.
- Gandhi—Not only is this bio-pic highly inaccurate, but it’s dull as dust.
- Persona—Ingmar Bergman made some great films. This one is oppressive and awful.
- Cries & Whispers—Ditto. It’s all about a dying woman and repressed feelings. How fun.
- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?—If you enjoy watching people get drunk, scream and destroy each other then this film is for you!
- Butterfield 8—Elizabeth Taylor got the sympathy Oscar for this film, even though it’s pretty awful.
- Barry Lyndon—One of the dullest costume dramas I have seen. Yet, because it’s Kubrick, people go gaga over it.
- The Great Ziegfeld—It won the Oscar for Best Picture—beating out wonderful films like Dodsworth and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. Flo Ziegfeld’s real life was VERY different and the film is amazingly dull.
- An American in Paris—Best Oscar winner is all dance and practically no story.
- The Greatest Show on Earth—Super-dull film by DeMille with lots of guest appearances but little of substance, it beat out several films that were clearly better.
- The Ten Commandments (the 1956 remake)—A badly written script with terrible dialog make this film unintentionally funny. It did more to promote atheism than any film in history!
- West Side Story—Yes, it won a billion Oscars and critics love it, but I think singing and dancing and prancing gang members is just plain silly.
- Reds—A film that romanticizes a communist agitator that Hollywood fell all over themselves adoring but the public was left baffled and avoided the film.
- Terms of Endearment—Another Best Picture Winner. Apart from Jack Nicholson, I didn’t care about the characters at all.
- The Accidental Tourist—An amazingly ordinary Best Picture nominee. Not a bad film—just overrated.
- Field of Dreams—Either you love the premise or you hate it. I would love to see a sequel where the ghosts next tell Kevin Costner’s character to dance naked inside a McDonald’s or pour jello down his pants!
- Fargo—A one-joke film that is not among the Coen Brothers’ best.
- The Insider—I don’t get it. It’s an exposé that says the cigarette industry is evil. And?!
- Lost in Translation—Huh!?!?! Am I missing something here?!
- Broken Flowers—Ditto.
- Moneyball—Not a bad film, but should THIS have been considered for Best Picture?
- Fight Club—This is a good film—just not as great as some folks insist. Plus, I was teaching high school when this came out and teens soon started creating their own fight clubs because they thought the film was AMAZING.
- Red River—A good film up until the end. Didn’t anyone else notice that John Wayne’s character just murdered someone?! Watch the film and pay close attention to the happy ending(!).
- I Want to Live—Susan Hayward received an Oscar for her overwrought performance. It was so bad that I am sure this was the inspiration for John Waters’ film Female Trouble.
- Crimson Tide—A horrible ending that I just couldn’t ignore.
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s—Why is this film so famous?! Why is it a cult favorite?!
- Breathless—French New Wave didn’t have to be this bad nor have characters this unappealing.
- Alphaville—Jean-Luc Godard must have laughed himself silly that critics loved a film with such horrible sets, props and this meaningless script.
- Pierre le Fou—Another nonsensical film from Godard. In the end, the hero(?) paints his head blue, ties dynamite around himself and blows himself up!
- Aguirre, the Wrath of God—Oppressive and not enjoyable on any level.
- Rocky Horror Picture Show—Go and have fun at midnight showings—it’s great in a crowd. But the film without all that is just awful and rather dopey.
- Annie Hall—The film has some good moments but you wonder why this particular Woody Allen film got so much hype as well as the Best Picture Oscar.
- An Affair to Remember—This film is only beloved because they made such a fuss over it in Sleepless in Seattle. It’s actually a remake and the original film, Love Affair, is so much better and less syrupy.
- Love Story—According to the film, ‘love means never having to say you’re sorry’. This is HORRIBLE advice for lovers…and a pretty awful film.
- Around the World in 80 Days—Long, slow and filled with unnecessary ‘guest appearances’, it won the Best Picture Oscar but took me a couple attempts to actually sit through this 175 minute mega-picture.
- Superbad—Nasty and not very funny.
- Blade Runner—About the most rabid cult film fans are the ones for this movie. I don’t hate it—I just don’t like it very much. A lover of the film insisted I watch it again and I’d change my mind—I did and I then didn’t!
- Pretty Woman—As a father of two daughters, this film horrifies me. I’d love to see a line-for-line remake starring a REALISTIC hooker—with herpes sores and needle marks.
- Good Will Hunting—Worst depiction of mental illness and treatment in film history. Therapist throttles patient and guy with an antisocial personality (considered by many to be untreatable) is instantly cured.
- American Graffiti—This film has great music and folks from this era love it. But, show it to someone who is not nostalgic for the 1950s and they’ll wonder why folks in the 70s loved it so much.
- Mouchette—A dreadful art film that might just push you to suicide.
- Stromboli—A very dull film that was proclaimed as genius by some—perhaps due to negative public attention the pregnant Ingrid Bergman got due to her affair with the director. This withstanding, the film is terrible.
- Beasts of the Southern Wild—I absolutely hated most things about the film—the unsteady camera, the insane plot and how critics praised it immensely.
50. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie—Luis Buñuel was so beloved by critics that many of his later films were ridiculous yet critically proclaimed as the work of genius.
Article by Lead Entertainment Writer and Film Critic, Martin Hafer