I have said many times that lists are a lazy way to fill a magazine (or VH-1). Lists are easy to write, easy to edit down for space considerations, just plain easy. Some magazines seems to be made of nothing but lists (Worth
, Men's Health
, and Cosmo
come to mind). 10 Ways To Trim Down Your Abs, 17 Mutual Funds You Should Be In Right Now, 10 Simple Paragraphs To Fill Up Page Two. People like them because they are easy to read. Lists boil down the content of a story into little manageable bites. No wonder USA Today loves them.
All of that is a convoluted way for me to say "But I like this list!" Premiere magazine had a list
of the 20 most overrated movies of all time that I thought was provocative. I have not seen all of the movies on the list, but I give a resounding "Hell yes!" to many of those listed.
I particularly agree with these:Good Will Hunting
This movie feels like a screenplay. The central premise of a genius abused kid working as a janitor at MIT, that's too cute by half, but then they (the real writers of the screenplay, not Damon and Affleck) make him SO smart, it is almost a superhero movie. Robin Wiliams and Stellan Skarsgard have some interesting exchanges as old friends and rivals, but many passages of the movie should have a big blinking "OSCAR CLIP" subtitle like in Wayne's World
It is sort of funny that young retarded sweet innocent Gump interacts with all these famous people and events, but the gimmick gets old fast, and that's all this movie is a, a gimmick. I also despise the revisionist counterrevolutionary tone: a black radical with a huge afro walks around incoherently shouting slogans (to no one in particular), the token hippie guy beats up his girlfriend, and as the Premiere magazine article points out, the promiscuous drug-using girl dies of AIDS. Of course. Oh and it is HILARIOUS how Gump's mom prostitutes herself to get Gump into regular school. Playing that for laughs sickened me. Even friends of mine that are fans of this movie admit Gump's years long run across America was utterly ridiculous.Monster's Ball
Like Requiem For A Dream
, Monster's Ball
piles on the tragic events to ludicrous heights. Shakespeare can get away with that (it helps being the greatest writer of all time) but this movie will make you snicker after awhile. By the time Halle Berry's son is killed in a hit and run, you want to throw something at the screen and yell "Come on!" Halle Berry did not deserve an Oscar for this. She gives the fifth or sixth best performance in the movie. Fuck, P Diddy acted better than her. Billy Bob Thornton, Peter Boyle, Mos Def, and Heath Ledger were all excellent.Easy Rider
This movie must have been a blast to make. Everyone on the set was apparently baked, coked up, or tripping the entire time. It has the production values of a C-grade horror movie, the kind they would play on TBS in the early 1980s. The trip scene in New Orleans last five minutes and feels like fifty. Gone With The Wind
Because of its huge success, fame, and staying power, this has to be the most overrated movie of all time. There are many other historical epics that were highly praised once but now look worse in retrospect (Dances With Wolves
come to mind) but Gone With The Wind
still has tons of fans. It must be the cast and the big gaudy sets. Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable are all-time movie stars, no doubt. Leigh has more charisma in this movie than every Gwyneth Paltrow performance put together. Clark Gable was a stud, a cool dude, an American James Bond with the best last line in a movie ever. So there is something
to this movie. BUT...it is a four-hour-long snoozefest! It's interminably dull, and it glorifies a racist aristocracy that richly deserved to get its ass kicked. Setting aside the politics, this movie bores me to tears with its overwrought silliness. I don't think the real Civil War lasted as long as this damn movie.
I really DON'T agree with these:
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Wizard of Oz
I am on the fence about one choice. American Beauty
was overhyped for sure, but I still think it's a great movie. I get why people think it's annoying (the gay Marine dad is too easy, and the creepy next door neighbor kid IS creepy), but I love the riff on the pointlessness of modern American society. Kevin Spacey has never been better.
Right after Gone With The Wind
, which I believe inflation-adjusted is still the biggest grossing movie of all time, number two on my list of most overrated is E.T.
This beloved clot of treacle is one of the most popular movies ever, and so saccharine sweet diabetics can't watch it safely. Except for Bambi
, no other movie is more crassly designed to make little kids cry.