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Martin's 100 Most Overrated Films, Part 2

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.

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 list of overrated films I’ve seen, mine also has quite a few foreign films (mostly in Part 2), as the USA is NOT the only place that makes movies!

  1. The Hangover—This movie made a bazillion dollars and appeals to the lowest sort of humor.  I occasionally like dumb films (like Talladega Nights) but this film didn’t make me laugh even once.  I know I’ll catch a lot of flack for this inclusion on the list.
  2. Michael Moore’s films—Critics usually adore his films even though he often edits his films to make people seem to say and do things they never did.  To call these documentaries is absurd and insulting to the genre.
  3. Ivan the Terrible Part 1 and 2—Dull and overacted.  Watch the leading man roll his eyes repeatedly to display pretty much every emotion!
  4. Blood of a Poet—I love some of Jean Cocteau’s movies.  Yet, some critics think his home movies and movie experiments are among the greatest films ever made.  I beg to differ.
  5. Most films by Wes Anderson (except for Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tannenbaums)
  6. Fat Girl—Vile, repugnant and pointless.  These are only the film’s GOOD qualities!
  7. The King of Marvin Gardens—This film goes nowhere…and takes a very, very long time to get there.  A waste of some excellent talent.
  8. The Leopard—Slow, artsy Italian art film.
  9. Death in Venice—Ditto.
  10. Querelle—Rainer Werner Fassbinder made either wonderful films as well as some horrible, unwatchable messes.  This is among his messiest.
  11. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant—Also from Fassbinder.  Despite sounding like a sexy film since it’s mostly set in Petra’s bedroom, it’s very slow and dull.
  12. Murmur of the Heart--In this touching family film by Louis Malle, the film ends with the mother having sex with her teenage son.  Critics adored it….but what about the pedophilic incest?!
  13. My Dinner with Andre—Perhaps the talkiest art film in history.
  14. Ran—Akira Kurosawa was a brilliant, brilliant director.  Oddly, one of his last and most ordinary films is held up as one of his best.  See his earlier work, as Ran is impressive to watch but bereft of feeling.
  15. Claire’s Knees—Like so many of Eric Rohmer’s films, I was left wondering why critics adored this one so much.  Plus, the plot is really, really creepy.
  16. Good Fellas—Oppressively crude, violent and nasty.
  17. Scarface (the Al Pacino version)—Ditto.  Plus, horribly overacted.
  18. Wall-E—I know folks will hate me for this addition, but there are much better Pixar films out there than this film which was nominated for Best Picture!
  19. Wuthering Heights—Folks adore this old film but even the director, William Wyler, hated the ending—which, incidentally, the studio added AFTER Wyler had finished the film!
  20. Death of a Cyclist—The same story as Wuthering Heights.  The film was hacked apart after the director finished. The overall film is decent but not the director’s vision nor is it as good as many insist.
  21. The Grapes of Wrath—Good but lots of overacting.
  22. The Old Man and the Sea—A super-thin plot cannot make up for by having Spencer Tracy in the lead.
  23. Atlantic City—Critics loved this—perhaps because they loved Burt Lancaster and he was nearing the end of his life.  I just thought it was dreadfully slow.
  24. JFK—The film presents crazy theories as fact—and is just a case of bad history.
  25. Coquette—Mary Pickford received the Best Actress Oscar—mostly because EVERYONE loved her.  The film and her performance, however, are terrible.
  26. Duel in the Sun—A trashy western epic starring the producer’s mistress, Jennifer Jones, as a fiery Mexican temptress.  It’s worse than it sounds.
  27. The King and I—This one makes my list because I was a history teacher and the film is complete crap.  In reality, the King was educated in Britain’s best schools and was NOT the dimwit he’s shown to be in the Rogers and Hammerstein musical.  Plus the ending simply makes no sense.
  28. The Way We Were—The romantic pairing made no sense on every level.  Slickly made but unsatisfying and illogical.  Why would these two characters fall in love?!
  29. Albert Nobbs—It’s hard to imagine a film this dull.  And, it’s one of the few films I could simply not finish.  Too restrained and slow.
  30. Audition—from Japan.  The first portion of the film is sweet and it looks like a rom-com.  Later, it turns insanely violent and cruel—yet folks adore it.
  31. What Have I Done to Deserve This?—While the Spanish director deliberately makes offensive films (some of which are quite good), this one is neither artistic nor clever—just gross.  Yet, like ALL his films, he’s a critic’s favorite.
  32. Blue Velvet—David Lynch directed this film that left me very confused and cold.  It has a cult following.
  33. Phantom of the Paradise—While his fans adore it, this Brian De Palma film is amazingly silly and also made by list for the worst films of all time.
  34. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia—Sam Peckinpah at his most excessive.  It’s currently rated 7.6 on IMDB—yet it is repellent, silly and gross.
  35. The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek—A comedy from Preston Sturgis that just isn’t funny due to a stupid premise.  Oddly, despite this and a few other poor films (Unfaithfully Yoursand Mad Wednesday among others), he’s considered a super-mega-genius writer/director.  His actual record is filled with good and bad films.
  36. Fantasia—I know, I know…it’s a classic and has lovely music and animation.  However, the whole package is, at times, pretty tedious.  It’s not a bad film, certainly, but is among the least of the feature cartoons from Disney yet it’s considered by many to be a classic.
  37. The Red Shoes—Many think this British film is simply amazing.  I think it’s simply ordinary…at best.  Plus, I’ve gotta admit that a ballet film is NOT something I generally look to watch.  Critics then and now loved it.
  38. The Tin Drum—This German anti-war film is adored and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film…and made my brain ache!  I couldn’t wait for it to end.
  39. King of Hearts—An artsy film about a mental institution makes no sense but critics adore it.
  40. Antonia’s Line—This Dutch Best Foreign Language film is amazingly offensive when it comes to how it treats sex, as the adults in this weird film copulate so loudly their kid can’t sleep and there are practically no boundaries within this bizarre blended home.  Kids also get a say as to whether or not mommy gets an abortion.  A charming lesson on parenting.
  41. The Triplets of Belleville—A critically acclaimed cartoon that was Oscar-nominated—though I found it confusing, dark and, at times, almost plotless.
  42. War Horse—He’s got a lovely horse.  It’s really just a film about an ordinary horse that is extraordinarily lucky.  If you don’t adore horses, you’ll be pretty bored.
  43. Four Weddings and a Funeral—If you think about the plot, it’s a pretty sleazy film.  How it got nominated for Best Picture is a great mystery to me as it is when people say this is romantic.
  44. Spellbound—an rare horrible picture from Alfred Hitchcock that is filled with psychological nonsense and a ridiculous plot with tons of logical holes.  The only high point is the Salvador Dali dream sequence—which does make it worth watching, but it should not have been a nominee for Best Picture.
  45. American Hustle—Nominated for practically everything at the Oscars but won nothing—perhaps because practically no one had even seen the film up until the nominations came out!  A highly over-hyped film about some incredibly unlikable people.  Good acting but unpleasant—it’s not a bad film but it is not a great film either.
  46. Stand By Me—Folks adore it, the film is #180 on IMDB’s Top 250 and I just don’t get it.  Excellent music but this story about cursing 12 year-olds left me cold.
  47. The Princess Bride—Ranked #176 on IMDB, I’ve heard many folks quoting the film over the year.  My sister-in-law has seen the film 202382341 times.  Again, just like the last popular film, I don’t get it.  It’s a nice film but nothing more.
  48. McCabe & Mrs. Miller—Although this western attempts to get rid of the clichés and overly romanticized images we’ve gotten about cowboys, it also is extremely unpleasant viewing.  Many think it’s a great film but I just found it unrelentingly depressing.
  49. Midnight Cowboy—Apart from Dustin Hoffman’s interesting performance, I cannot understand the appeal for this film nor how it won the Best Picture Oscar.  Not a terrible film—just overrated and unpleasant.
  50. Zazie dans le Métro—Louis Malle tells a girl to behave like an insufferable brat for the entire movie and critics eat it up.

Finally, here is my vote for the film most often called overrated but which is actually far, far better than you might think—How Green Was My Valley.  Because Citizen Kane lost to this film at the Oscars, folks who love Kane are prone to trash this glorious John Ford masterpiece.  Can’t BOTH films be excellent?!  See it before you condemn it. Drop me an email and let me know what you think. martin.hafer@influxmagazine.com

Article by Lead Entertainment Writer and Film Critic, Martin Hafer

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