Five overrated movies

We now take a brief break from the world of sports to discuss cinema.

citizen-kaneMovies are a matter of personal preference. A film that I may love, someone else may think is total garbage and vice versa. For example, critics acclaim Citizen Kane as one of the greatest films of all time. Personally, I think it’s unwatchable. I guess it’s a generational thing. I’m sure years down the road, people will see modern classics like Pulp Fiction or Crash in whatever technological format they’re available in at the time and think they’re pieces of crap. Or maybe they’ll stand the test of time. Who knows?

There are, however, more recent movies that I’ve sat through and wondered how people could have dubbed them cult classics. What am I missing? Again, cinema is a matter of taste. I won’t hold it against someone who thinks Titanic is the best movie of all time (it’s not, by the way), but I certainly won’t sit with them and watch it. I think I have a pretty good feel for what’s good and what’s not, but for the five movies I’m about to mention… I just don’t get it.

Do they make your overrated list? If not, feel free to throw your hands angrily in the air and tell me I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. Convince me to sit through them again and I promise to give them a fair shake… while wincing uncomfortably on my sofa. Also please feel free to comment on any movies I may have forgotten. I’m sure there are plenty.

Okay, here goes….

mad-maxMad Max – This movie is two hours of a young Mel Gibson, before he became openly anti-Semitic, driving up and down a desert road, running over freakish motorcycle riders in dusty leather jackets. Are we supposed to be impressed that some 1979 sci-fi movie predicted an oil shortage? How omniscient! That must have been real tough to come up with considering we were in the midst of an oil crisis at the time. This movie, from which a couple sequels were unfortunately spawned, is a far cry from some of the earlier science fiction films of the same era, like Terminator or Alien, which also generated considerably better sequels with a lot less dust.

donnie_darkoDonnie Darko – Ok Darko fans, don’t freak out on me. I’ve only seen it once. I’d like to try to give it another shot but I wouldn’t want to subject myself to two hours of Jake Gyllenhaal losing his mind and hallucinating to the vision of a giant stuffed bunny rabbit. But then again I didn’t watch Twin Peaks either. I rented Darko because it was labeled a cult classic. Perhaps I’ll watch it once again with a fan of the movie who could enlighten me as to what this movie is supposed to be about but then again, I probably wouldn’t want to hang out with that person anyway. I’m sure the feeling is mutual.

usual-suspectsThe Usual Suspects – Chazz Palmintieri’s bad wig alone is enough reason not to watch this movie, but what’s even more bothersome is how many bright moviegoers swear by this film. Who is Keyser Soze? Really? You couldn’t figure this out within the first five minutes of the film? IMDb voters rank Suspects as the 22nd greatest film of all time. I can name 22 other Kevin Spacey movies that are better than Usual Suspects. The only saving grace is Benicio Del Toro’s performance in which he’s utterly unintelligible but if I want to see that, I can always pop Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas into the DVD player. It’s infinitely more entertaining.

casino-robert-deniro-joe-pesciCasino – Let’s not pretend to enjoy this movie just because Robert Deniro and Joe Pesci star in it and Martin Scorsese directed it. This is the same brilliant combination that gave us Goodfellas and Raging Bull so why should I expect anything less? How many roles do I have to see Joe Pesci in before I’m convinced he can’t actually kick my ass. Casino just appears to be a forced movie where Scorsese tries to milk one last stereotypical role out of his two meal tickets. If I wanted to see a strung out Sharon Stone, I don’t have to pay admission to see it. I can just watch Entertainment Tonight.

no-country-for-old-menNo Country For Old Men – I get it. It’s a movie that’s supposed to portray the inner mind of a sociopath. I’m all for watching a Spanish guy with a bowl cut and a forced American accent murder half of Texas with a modified oxygen tank but does that really warrant an academy award? Don’t you think the Coen brothers are much more proud of The Big Lebowski and Fargo? And who could forget Tommy Lee Jones as the southern detective trying to solve the crime. We’ve never seen him in that role before.

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57 Replies to “Five overrated movies”

  1. Actually Chris, I loved all of those Movies. My wife and I are insulted, disgusted and appauled thatyou would say those were bad movies. Damn you Chris.

  2. Casino was the only one on your list I watched more than once. Have to agree with the rest.

    Let me preface this by saying I’m not a sci-fi guy, and I wasn’t 10 years old when they came out. My two most overrated movies….Star Wars and The Matrix.

  3. So let me get this straight.

    This is a sports website. Brotha E is a sports fan… allegedly. He doesn’t comment on the millions of posts I’ve written about him in the pastbut I bring up “Mad Max” and he chimes in?

    Ladies and gentlemen… this is the same man who watches PGA Tour when the NFL is on tv.

    I rest my case.

  4. Han… I have to tell you, I was raised on Star Wars.

    I did try to watch it again lately and couldn’t get through it but as a kid I loved it. It’s impact on modern sci fi in undeniable.

    And I’ll admit to being a Matrix homer. The sequels were awful but the first was pretty damn cool. Decent soundtrack, unique plot and bitchin’ wardbrobes.

    Give it another watch and focus on Trinity in leather. I think you might change your mind.

  5. Gotta admit I though Mad Max was somewhat pointless. But No Country for Old Men was absolutely terrible. I never saw the other three.

  6. Im glad you included No Country; my friend and I recently rented it (because everyone has been saying it is the best movie ever), and wow…what a disappointment. By the end I was just browsing facebook enjoying the fact that my news feed had more storyline than this picture…

  7. Nic… I loooove me some Coen Brothers. I’ve seen Fargo and Lebowski countless times.

    But No Country just didn’t do it for me. Not only that but the movie won Best Picture. What’s that all about?

    The Thursday night USF-Cincinnati will be infinitely more entertaining.

  8. Great choices Chris. I think if I put my five together it would be:

    5) American Beauty – Depressed suburban father goes through mid-life crisis and gets hot for his daughter’s smoking friend. Sounds like Hulk Hogan’s life story.

    4) A Beautiful Mind – A not quite right college professor. If you’ve ever been to a college campus just go to the math or statistics department and you’ll see a lot of guys like this.

    3) Chicago – Any guy that says he liked this movie should have his man-card revoked!

    2) Gone With The Wind – Almost made the top spot. Terrible acting, terrible set construction, terrible dialogue and unlikeable characters.

    1) Titanic – SPOLIER ALERT! The big boat sinks at the end. I hate it when I know the ending of the movie before I walk into the theater.

  9. Chris

    Anything with Pesci proves to be an anathema to me . As I for one only believe that he can play one type of role. It’s got to be none too complex and calls for him to use as much profanity as is humanly possible.

    No Country For Old Men I enjoyed in part but after a while it all became to boorish and had little to convince me that beyond Bardem’s role there was anything promising about it.

    Citizen Kane in its heyday was a great film and it is the one which all of the films are judged against. Orson Welles you have to remember what the ‘Speilberg’ of his era. His latter works in some ways were good but a great many pieces were definitely vitriolic and unwathcable.

    I’ll be going to a pre-launch screening of the new Jamie Foxx , Gerard Butler movie ‘ Law Abiding Citizen’ . It’s directed by F Gary Gray the former music video producer. It is one hell of movie and it’s complex thriller. With Foxx and Butler playing adversaries. I highly recommend it !

    What’s all this asinine talk that ESPN is going on with in comparing A-Rod to Mr October , himself , Reggie Jackson ? Are those guys as dumb as they appear to be ?

    Caught E:60 last night and the did a terrific segment on Cowboys’ linebacker DeMarcus Ware and his wife. After watching the segment , I’ve got nothing but total admiration for him as a man and as a player. What he and his wife have been through is a real testament to what marriage and relationships are about.

    Alan Parkins

  10. Wait a minute, we are arguably at the height of a sports fan season. The NFL is in full swing. Major League Baseball is in the playoffs. Hockey and Basketball are just kicking off.

    …And you’re talking about movies? Okay!!! I have only seen two of the movies on your list. I didn’t like Mad Max, but No Country for Old Men… that’s a great movie man.

  11. Casino..CASINO!!! Really??????? How could you DUDE??? I may have to use the “Dude” term lightly with you. Reach down get a grip and man up to your mistake! You call yourself a poker player? If I was there #@**#@#$@&*%$#@&&

  12. Chris, I’m a sucker for movies that tie the beginning and ending together really neatly and make you want to watch them again (from the perspective of knowing the ending). Pulp Fiction, Skeleton Key… and yes Usual Suspects and Citizen Kane. US is predictable yes but as one of the first films I’d seen Spacey in I still love it b/c he just steals film while you think you’re supposed to be watching everyone else. Now that he’s so much bigger of a star, it’s ever more obvious.

    CK – I do admit I may not have liked this one so much (or even watched it) if it weren’t required by a film class I took in college. There’s some irony in the fact that Wells directed, produced, starred in it and was pulling all of the strings – much like Kane in the film itself. There are a lot of layers there that you can miss. Part of the fun is the campy dialog. Still, I’m a big fan of old films… especially Hitchcock. Back in those days they had to do so much more with dialog and plot.

    I know this is a sports blog but I really liked this post!

  13. Frank… My stepdad absolutely LOVES American Beauty. I didn’t mind it. Thought it was pretty good and a solid statement about suburbia, mid-life crises and unhappy marriages.

    Of course in high school, I never knew a kid that could get drugs that good.

    I’m with you on the rest of ’em.

  14. Pesci’s great in Goodfellas and Raging Bull. He’s also pretty solid in My Cousin Vinny. What’s a grit? Otherwise, he’s just annoying as in those Lethal Weapon movies.

    I know I’m supposed to respect Kane for its imagery and bla bla bla but one of the greatest of all time? That’s like saying Beowulf is the greatest book of all time.

    That Law Abiding Citizen does look intriguing.

    Re: A-Rod and Reggie, you know sportscasters are just looking for that one big thing. When A-Rod wins a series by himself and hits three dingers in a game, then maybe he’ll come close to equalling, and not surpassing, Reggie. Til then, all the credit is due to Kate Hudson.

    I haven’t seen the Ware piece. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll look into it.

  15. Chris Martin… Were you an extra in Casino or something? Sharon Stone’s fluffer?

    I can name ten other Vegas or gambling-related movies that are better than Casino.

    2)Rain Man
    4)Indecent Proposal
    5)Leaving Las Vegas
    6)Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
    8)The Cooler
    10)Pay It Forward

    Check ’em out if you haven’t.

  16. The Wiz makes his first Sportschump appearance. Very nice!

    Thanks for reading, man. Sorry I missed you the other day at Smoke.

    If you like movies that tie beginning and ending together, you should check out Memento if you haven’t already. Just make time to sit through it three times over to figure it all out.

  17. Chris

    I’m down with the Coen brothers ! They’re not half bad. Burn After Reading was funny as hell.

    With regard to Citizen Kane , I’ll give Welles his due. But after that Kane the body of his work went down hill.

    Any piece of unadulterated crap with Cruise isn’t worth watching . The only time the guy gets pundits to watch his work is actually when he’s got a great ensemble cast around. He basically f_cked up a great movie in ‘ Valkyrie’ with his pis_ poor acting. Not that he was ever that good to begin with. Great cast around him and this guy was basically as wooden as they come. He can’t act to save his life.

    As for Pesci , if he ain’t going wild and beating the crap out of someone you just can’t be sure that he’s acting.

    I’ll be attending a pre-release screening of the new Jamie Foxx Gerard Butler movie ‘Law Abiding Citizen’ .

    I’ve left a link to the trailer of it for your perusal.

    Also remember the Geto Boys ? My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me. Well after hearing Kruk on ESPN comparing A-Rod to Reggie Jackson. That’s how I now feel. John Kruk has been drinking far too much of the Kool-Aid

    Trailer for Law Abiding Citizen …… You have to check it out , it’s one hell of a flick !

    I trust you got the e-mail I sent you with my latest pieces ?

    Alan Parkins

  18. Is Eric’s opinion on ANYTHING actually worth anything? About to come out with the certified DonCalvino Top Ten songs of all time. This list is 5 years in the making. As far as these movies, I hated Mad Max, Sharon Stone’s continual whining in Casino was just ridiculous & her best scene was in the car in the parking lot with Pesci. Never saw the rest of those on your list except for the Usual Suspects. I thought it was pretty good drama although there wasn’t a ton of mystery there.

  19. Al… Just checked out your latest?

    Kruk said that about A-Rod? I wonder if the four-letter encourages these guys to say that kind of stuff. He can’t actually believe that.

  20. Donny C… if I wanted that list, I can just go to Best Buy and pick up Stray Cats, Cars and Scorpions greatest hits.

    Why don’t you come up with the Top Ten Break-uP songs in history for you know who.

  21. Casino is the only one of those that I have seen…and I liked it! Especially when they waste Pesci…because he was annoying!! Guess we need to get out more!!

  22. Chris

    No one said that we’re meant to take these guys seriously. But I’d like to feel that my intelligence isn’t being insulted when they come out with these asinine comments.

    As for Beowulf , read it and it went complete above my head. I much preferred reading Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ and the ‘Iliad’ instead.

    As for Kane that’s what excellence at the time was said to be. Is it the greatest cinematographic piece of alltime ? Who knows ? I still Kurosawa has done work far better than Welles and he’s up there alongside Spielberg, Huston , Eastwood , Yates, Lean and others who I consider to be great movie makers and storytellers on film.

    Here’s my piece on A-Rod .

    Mr October …..Blah, Blah, Blah ……A-Rod Ain’t It !

    Also had dropped a little op-ed piece with pics of Ice-T’s Coco Austin.

    Coco Austin And Her Friends Asks What Are Your Deepest Desires ………….

    Alan Parkins

  23. Chris

    I swore off Eng. Lit as I was being lured – to go into teaching when I first arrived here in the States some 16 years ago.There was no way in hell I could see myself teaching kids here. I’ve not the temper for it all . Not the kids are unruly but I’d be liable to lay my hands on one, at the first sign of any unwarranted act by one of them.

    Hence it was into Logistical Management and now within the realms corporate law but more so to do with international business , equity financing compliance everything else involved in that particular sphere. And not only that but the ‘office tail’ ain’t half bad to look at !

    Alan Parkins

  24. Chris

    I’m glad that USC’s Staphon Johnson is out of hospital. But I for one can’t see the kid immediately returning to play college football. Not for a year at least as his injuries will take a great deal of time to heal. Education has now got to be the primary goal for this young kid.

    Alan Parkins

  25. Forrest Gump – American history for the retardedly challenged

    Crash – one of those self-absorbed Hollywood flicks that is supposed to make Sandra Bullock look like a serious actress

    Rachel Getting Married – Similar vehicle for Anne Hathaway with similar results.

    Titanic – Who knew they could turn a tragedy into a comedy?

    Life is Beautiful – Am I the only person who was mostly annoyed at Roberto Banana? Channeling Jerry Lewis while he is still alive is in bad taste.

    All I can think of at the moment….

  26. I can’t dispute any of the movies on your list. However I have a few that would make the catagory.
    1. “Apocalypse Now”
    2. “A clockwork Orange”
    3. “8 1/2”
    All three critically acclaimed and all three painful to watch.

  27. Chris

    I couldn’t see myself working for a paper opining on sports. Hell I’d alienate myself with any overt criticism of some self serving athlete to begin with. LOL, LOL,LOL !!!

    As for Stafon Johnson , it’s good that the kid is out of hospital . I can only hope that he can resume his education as far as his athletic career goes. We’ll just have to see what the NCAA and the Trojans will do in that respect.

    I hear our boy Limbaugh has been kicked to the kerb by the consortium looking to buy the Rams ? Now there’s word that he may well be looking seek damages against Al Sharpton , the NAACP as well as several news and broadcast organizations. What’s even worse is that O’Reilly now has his back. LOL,LOL,LOL !!! WTF ? Limbaugh brought this all on himself. What the hell did he think was going to happen ?
    The NFL was about to welcome his a_s with open arms ? That’s akin to having David Duke come to my house to talk race relations in America . F-*k Limbaugh and the horse he rode in on !

    Alan Parkins

  28. Uncle AF… When Pulp Fiction went head to head with Forrest Gump for the academy award for best film of 1994, I remember pulling for Pulp Fiction. It kind of created a Beatles/Stones dichotomy between the two movies and their fans. I didn’t mind Gump but I will agree that it did dumb down some of the issues of the time. I’m actually far more offended by the millions of Bubba Gump chains that have popped up around the country as a result of the movie.

    I did like Crash for I felt it was one of the first movies to tackle issues of diversity and racism from more than just a black/white issue. But it is the only Sandra Bullock movie I can stand watching. Fortunately she wasn’t in it much.

  29. Bo… what happened to our team, man?

    Hey, are you writing for anyone other than Fox? If so, let me know so we can exchange blogrolls.

    I like Apocalypse only because it’s the only time you can see Laurence Fishburne still weigh 155 lbs.

    And I didn’t mind Clockwork. It was bold for the time. I thought it made an interesting statement on how we treat our criminals.

  30. Al… Did you hear Commissioner Goodell’s statements on the matter? He’s generally pretty even keel but that was the most animated I’ve heard him since he took over the position.

    He was adamant about not letting Rush own part of an NFL team.

  31. Hey Rev,

    Haven’t been blogging much on sports this year. I spent a lot of the first part of the year in Boston with my Mom who passed in April. I finally had my shoulder repaired in the Spring and found it hard to write with one hand. The economy has forced me to kinda come out of retirement and tend to my companies. I actually went down from 8 Rays tickets to 2 this year rather than let people go.

    The change on the FOX page discouraged me also. What was once something good has turned into just a lot of dribble. I do blog a lot on politics but do so in a very anonymous fashion on my own site.

    I never felt good about the Sox’ chances this year. I wasn’t buying into the great starting pitching that was being talked about in the first part of the year and the reliever corps (no matter what the stats say) wasn’t as good as it was piped up to be. However, I did get to a couple of Fenway games this year for the first time in many years.

    I thought Apocalypse was so full of inaccuracies that I couldn’t follow it without getting mad. I spent a lot of my military time attached to Task Force 116 in the Delta. Nobody was getting high. Drunk maybe but never high. The way that the PBR sailors were pictured in that flic was an insult to every sailor who rode the boats. I never even saw marijuana until I was about 30 years old.

  32. Bo… sorry to hear about your mom.

    I’ve heard a lot of people have left Fox and not looked back. After three years of bringing traffic to their site, they actually deleted my profile and all my old work for posting a URL to my site. No warning, no nothing. Classy, huh? So I haven’t been back either.

    I think we need to give Theo a call in the off-season. Perhaps he can fly me, you and Josh Q Public up for a sit-down.

  33. Chris

    Goodell’s playing the consummate politician in that context. He’s saying and doing all of the right things at this juncture. He doesn’t want to run the wrath of the players and in particular NFLPA Exec’ Director DeMaurice Smith . God, when those two meet to sit down and discuss the CBA , there’s going to be some bloodletting. As Smith ain’t no choirboy . He’s from the mean steets of DC. So that should tell you all you need to know about the guy.

    What do you think all the fuss is about concerning OSU’s Dez Bryant and his meeting with Deion Sanders ? Clearly there’s a lot there that neither Bryant or Sanders wants the public to know about ! Dropped my own thoughts on the subject matter.

    A Rule Of Thumb …..Don’t Act The Fool !

    Alan Parkins

  34. Al… with the elimination the salary cap, I think we’re about to see a totally different NFL that nobody can accurately predict.

    Two things that initially concern me.

    1) We’re about to see the major market teams, or owners that want to do nothing but spend, make a serious run, leaving smaller market teams, i.e. Tampa Bay unable to compete.

    2) We’re about to see a handful of undeserving athletes who just happen to be up for contract renegotiation become incredibly wealthy.

  35. Chris

    The NFL knows that if they’re to avert the castastrophe that’ll happen in 2010-11 without a salary cap. Then Goodell and Smith had better think long and hard about what they’re getting themselves into. There’s no way in hell that the networks will agree to supplement any increase that the league will want . Not in the present economic climate. Nevermind the fact that the NFL fan won’t at all be happy with any type of ticket price or concession’s increase.

    Were you aware that Stephen A Smith came out in support of Rush on the Rams’ bid ? I know what he was trying to allude to . But how the hell can he ignore the social implications of many of the remarks that Limbaugh has made over the years ? No wonder ESPN kicked his a_s to the kerb. He was a p_ss poor journalist to begin with ! And his on air presence was akin to watching a mute trying to communicate with the hearing. He had no friggin’ presence whatsoever !

    Dropped this on OSU’s Dez Bryant and his involvement with Deion Sanders.

    A Rule Of Thumb Don’t Act The Fool !

    Alan Parkins

  36. Great post. Agree with you 100% about Donnie Darko. Worst. Movie. Ever.

    On the other hand, I happened to like The Unusual Suspects. However, I will agree that it isn’t even close to being in the top 10 of Spacey’s best roles.

  37. No salary cap hasn’t worked for baseball and it will really hurt football in ways we probably haven’t even thought of yet.

    I did hear that about Stephen A. He’s a well known conservative. Who’d have thought, right?

  38. I will agree on all the selections except Casino. It had some great life messages about the ladies- Don’t wife-up sluts, it gets costly. And good power structure tips like- Just leave the bosses retarded kin alone at the workplace. Good stuff!

  39. There’s a lonely corner in hell for people who declare Mad Max a non cult classic. Besides, which cult are we referring to anyway? And as for Donnie Darko, it’s about…well, you see this guy has a, uh, well, there’s a rabbit with a mask and…oh who cares? It’s about time travel. Anyhow, some of us know that if your taste in movies is anything like your in women then you might be the last man on the planet to take cinema advice from. OOH!

  40. Sean gets a girlfriend and all of the sudden he’s the man?

    Dude, rentals don’t count.

    I can probably rattle off a few better time travel movies than Darko. How about Time Bandits, Back to the Future, Terminator, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure?

    Dude, why don’t you come clean. Tell everybody you have a Donnie Darko poster in your bedroom. Or was that the other Gyllenhaal movie poster you have hanging wherein he plays that cowboy?

  41. I agree with Citizen Kane, it’s such a dreary movie that it’s only watchable once.. however, Mad Max 2 (aka Road Warrior) is good mindless anarchy, similar to the underrated Vanishing Point (the original), nothing but car chases and mindless violence, similar to Star Wars (substitute spaceships for cars, and you have Mad Max)..
    In a reliable poll, GONE WITH THE WIND was voted “most overrated film of all time” – I Agree! who wants to sit thru 4 hrs of a self-centered BEECH’s bad romances? this is horribly boring garbage – I actually fell asleep during my first viewing in a theater..
    Another I don’t get is THE HANGOVER – I timed it, it was 22 min in before it even attempted any humor.. I laughed once during the entire film, when the naked Asian dude popped outta the trunk and proceeded to kick ass with a tire iron on our mock heroes..
    I also don’t get Wizard of Oz – it’s a stagey musical with a little girl bigger than all but 2-3 of the adults, bad music, terrible acting, cheesy special effects.. Harvard Lampoon gave it “worst film of all time” in 39 when it came out..
    Check out my lists of GOOD films at Worlds Best Films.. (#1 on a search of this at both Google and Bing!)
    We only list and review Great Films..
    ps – Good article!

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