So I decided to make a list—top 10 movies to avoid, that everyone thinks are great. I’ve put on my Nomex suit to prepare for the flaming that is sure to follow. So here goes, in no particular order:
10. “The Lady from Shanghai” (1947) Orson Wells, Rita Hayworth- This is one that every movie critic adores and every film teacher makes mandatory and I find completely and utterly ridiculous. You have to give Welles credit, he is the first director to make Hayworth actually look bad on film and it’s amazing since he was married to her at this time. Odd camera angles, bad lighting, and Wells himself changes his accent at least twice in the first 15 minutes of the picture. I think Wells was experimenting on this picture and just refused to admit he failed. The only reason everyone thinks this one is so good is because Wells made it.
9. “Titanic” (1997) Kate Winslet, Leonardo Di Caprio. This movie had potentially everything going for it including brilliant director James Cameron. Unfortunately, this shipwreck of a movie has every bad romance movie cliché in it, even the old lady in a wheelchair lamenting her lost love. If you want to see a better movie on the subject, see “A Night To Remember” (1958) or better still the “Titanic” (1953) which the 1997 movie borrows heavily from. Both did the subject better, and both had more interesting stories. It’s hard to sit through the 1997 version because you know how it ends. The boat sinks.
8. “Fight Club” (1999) Brad Pitt, Edward Norton. A plodding, boring testosterone laced epic on people who like to beat the hell out of each other for kicks. Really? You can see that any Saturday night outside a Scottsdale bar. It spawned the classic line “first rule about Fight Club..don’t talk about fight Club”. Voted #12 on IDMB’s greatest movie of all time, I’m going to talk about it. It sucks.
7. “Point Break” and “Roadhouse”-(1991 and 1989) Patrick Swayze- This one’s a tie because if you think about it, they are the same movie. Another idiotic expose on people that like to get high on their own adrenaline while fisticuffing their way through life. Both these movies obviously have never seen a real roadhouse fight where in most case, when one man hits another, their face explodes resulting in a hospital visit and a large amount of stiches. In movies like this you get a red spot by your eye. You wouldn’t want to mess up the shot of the pretty boy after all.
6. “The Seven Samurai” (1957) Toshiro Mifune- Maybe Kurosawa’s epic about 7 men who come to a small town to rescue it from bandits was great in its day but today, it’s just a bore really. It’s more exciting done 100 different other times and better ways including the “The Magnificent Seven”. To be honest, I was never a Kurosawa fan. Being the first guy to do something doesn’t always make the best way to do it. Just saying. Sorry Mr. Kurosawa, not a fan.
5. “Happy Gilmore” (1996) Adam Sandler- This is really just one of his awful movies but represents all of them, and all of Adam Sandler’s movies could make this slot despite how many people swear by the guy. Unfunny, inane and similar to the kind of humor pulled by high school kids in bathrooms while wearing black t-shirts and getting high, Adam Sandler is the Beavis and Butthead of Hollywood movie makers. It’s the same character every time- someone with anger management issues who terrorizes the world around him. Not funny now and not funny then. People are finally getting wise to Sandler’s poor comedy lately, but it took 20 years too long.
4. “There’s Something About Mary” (1998) Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz. Yah there’s something about Mary, its called boredom. People love this movie for some strange reason, and also claim it’s the prototype for romance humor movies. Obviously these are the same people that never saw the original “Arthur” or thought the remake was better. This movie is still one of the top grossing romantic comedies of all time, probably because most people who saw the first time must have been drunk or on Quaaludes. Either that or they got paid off, since every joke is a cliche and as old as the hills.
3. “2001: A Space Odyssey”- Gary Lockwood, HAL- Kubrick’s “2001” is hailed as a directorial masterpiece but is a bit too esoteric to be called an entertaining film. I’ll admit the HAL computer going crazy is an interesting plot device and combined with the soundtrack, it epitomizes how even spaceflight and exploration can someday become mundane, but for almost 3 hours you are left wondering where this going and then you left hanging. Seriously, what’s with that ending? It is almost as bad as the “Sopranos” series finale. Some call it brilliant, I call it annoying.
2. “Easy Rider” (1969) Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda- This one at least I understand- it represented counterculture life of the 1960’s. With its wandering plot and flat dialogue it was meant to be an artistic sampling of life on the road. But was the counterculture really all that great or important? There were other movies that did the story better, such as “Electra Glide in Blue”. The end is a letdown as well, like most movies of the era, but it kind of makes sense. I’d like to bash this one in the head as well.
And the number one overrated movie?
1. “King Kong” (ANY version) - Every few years some fool tries to remake this one and I have no idea why. Even the original version stank up the screen with its moronic plot device of the lovely girl and a giant monkey. That’s what this movie is; a giant monkey makes it to New York and falls off a building. Oh sure there’s all kinds of developments along the way, but in the end the monkey falls of the building. So should any director that tries to make this one again. What I’d like to know is how any movie production company with millions on the line in investing in a modern motion picture would say to themselves, “yah let’s do Kong again, but this time, we will do it Jack Black” and not die from the moronic irony of it all.
There were a couple of others that almost made this list. “Fargo” was one. “Top Gun” was another. I think the closest that I left off at the last minute was “Armageddon”. I think anything with Will Ferrell in it is pretty much overrated, with the exception of “Talladega Nights” but only because I already had several comedies in this listing. Seriously, “Anchorman”?
I’m sure there are others; feel free to add your own.