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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Most Overrated Movie of All Time

I don't know if this one will ultimately take the prize, but the beautiful Dr. Dimino and I wasted 100 minutes last night watching The Postman Always Rings Twice -- the Lana Turner version.  The movie centers around an adulterous affair and the lovers' plots to kill Turner's husband.  The acting is mediocre, the plot is predictable (apart from the suspended sentence of probation Turner gets for her guilty plea to manslaughter!), and the use of music is the worst I have ever heard.  Every time the main characters are about to kiss, the music rises to a roar, resulting in the scene being laughable rather than sexy.  Furthermore, the significance of the title is not clear until the very end, and I still think it was a poor choice.

Feel free to nominate other overrated movies in the comments.

Posted by Michael Dimino on September 26, 2006 at 11:18 AM in Film | Permalink


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What about more modern disasters like "Waterworld"??

Posted by: Steve Vladeck | Sep 26, 2006 3:01:54 PM
Waterworld is far from overrated.Everyone knows it's absolute crap.
My nominee goes to.Scarface - Complete and utter garbage.Worst performance of Al Pacinos career.

Posted by: Chris | Feb 9, 2009 9:45:20 PM

Clearly, nobody here has seen The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Posted by: Joel Smith | Jan 4, 2007 5:19:13 PM

I think the TWO most overrated movies of all time are Grease and Dirty Dancing. In Grease, a decent woman turns into a tramp just so she could keep her boyfriend. Then in Dirty Dancing a young woman learns to dance in order to fill in for a woman who can't because she is having an abortion. The dancing is extremely vulgar and provocative. I did not like the storyline in either movie. The only redeeming quality either one has is the soundtrack.

Posted by: Christine | Jan 2, 2007 10:38:25 PM

Chinatown? That's blasphemous.

Posted by: Bart Motes | Sep 27, 2006 4:22:03 PM

Second Blow-Up, and note that for terrible music, The African Queen is a strong contender.

Posted by: Anderson | Sep 27, 2006 11:17:10 AM

Chinatown, hands down.

Posted by: tRJ | Sep 27, 2006 10:25:51 AM

I will second Crash: it seems to justify people's fears, rather than question them. I will defend Casablanca not on the merits (it is flawed as a movie), but what it says about the times and how the culture views itself. The plaudits for Forrest Gump are also revealing, but for all the wrong reasons (should I share my Forrest Gump as Reagan theory with all of you? Not to give the wrong idea, there are a few, very few, things about Reagan that I find interesting, but certainly not appealing or worth imitating).

Posted by: Shubha Ghosh | Sep 27, 2006 9:56:36 AM

Crash. What a tired mishmash of stereotypes and melodrama. The film could only have been revelatory to the previously willfully blind.

Posted by: GBQ | Sep 26, 2006 6:58:29 PM

There are some interesting social dynamics at work here. There is an inherent cost to posting any movie. But people risk special opprobrium by choosing as "overrated" a movie that many folks love and respect. E.g., Casablanca. But since it's movies, the stakes are low. And the benefits of venting about an "overrated" classic must be high.

That said, it is much less costly to choose "Gump" than "Casablanca." And I, for one, have always hated "Gump." But isn't it au courant to hate "Gump"? I always thought Helen Hunt was overrated, but she hasn't worked in a while, so perhaps that Oscar was an anomaly.

Posted by: Matt Bodie | Sep 26, 2006 6:44:36 PM

Clockwork Orange; The Graduate

Posted by: Christine Hurt | Sep 26, 2006 6:21:06 PM

I am overjoyed to encounter another gump hater.

Posted by: keith talent | Sep 26, 2006 5:31:15 PM

Yes, criticizing the old Bogart movies for unwatchability seems to me like criticizing Dickens for unreadability. We don't read Dickens for the improbably coincidential plots; we read him for the sheer joy of the language. Casablanca and The Big Sleep are famous for some aspect of incomprehensibility - The Big Sleep's incomprehensibilities made it into the final cut and continue to this day. As to Casablanca, it's well known that the actors had no clue what the plot was as they were filming, and the end result was a happy accident. I am shocked, shocked to hear others say otherwise.

I find watching 2001: A Space Odyssey to be something of a painful experience, but I can't attribute it to Kubrick, because I was sitting there entranced while my friends were either snoring or walking out during Barry Lyndon.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Sep 26, 2006 5:06:48 PM

My nominee: "The English Patient." Okay, there was some cool scenery. But there have been plenty of movies with cool scenery.

Posted by: Miriam Cherry | Sep 26, 2006 5:05:03 PM

Are movies such as "Titanic" and "Gladiator" actually "overrated"? If selling lots of tickets and winning some awards = overrated, then yes. If we're looking more at critical reaction, then maybe not. "Forest Gump" is an excellent choice for most overrated, because some critics really did buy the "America as innocent abroad" theme. On the other hand, I still love "Casablanca."

I'll nominate "Gone With the Wind."

Posted by: Joseph Slater | Sep 26, 2006 4:39:03 PM

Jeez, I must be the only one here who loves the Maltese Falcon. The scene where Spade suddenly goes from holding all the cards to none of them, without any additional dialog, is classic.

I think "Titanic" is on the right track. My three-word review: "Needs more iceberg." But at least it's watchable. Even worse was a movie I thought was awful and ludicrous, and yet still won Best Picture: "Gladiator." Also, as someone in favor of gun control, I thought "Bowling for Columbine" was vastly overrated. We couldn't even finish it, it was so tendentious.

Posted by: Bruce Boyden | Sep 26, 2006 4:27:50 PM

...or, dare I say, "Titanic." As David Letterman would always say, "what's the big deal? The ship sinks. We all know that!"

Posted by: Steve Vladeck | Sep 26, 2006 3:02:50 PM

Tung -- Casablanca is unwatchable???

What about more modern disasters like "Waterworld"??

Posted by: Steve Vladeck | Sep 26, 2006 3:01:54 PM

This may be too easy. Two words: Forrest Gump.

Posted by: Shubha Ghosh | Sep 26, 2006 3:01:18 PM

I third Bart and Tung, but for something slightly (but maybe not enough) more contemporary, I find Mean Streets to be almost unwatchable - weird because Raging Bull and Goodfellas are so great.

Posted by: David Zaring | Sep 26, 2006 2:28:03 PM

Bart's point above about old movies and context is probably right, but I've found a lot of the old Bogart movies including "The Maltese Falcon" as well as "Casablanca" and "The Big Sleep" to be almost unwatchable. In the case of "The Big Sleep," it was especially galling, since I've really enjoyed Raymond Chandler's novels.

Posted by: Tung Yin | Sep 26, 2006 2:24:32 PM

This rather reminds me of the bit of dialogue about the "Academy of the Overrated" in the movie Manhattan.

Posted by: Paul Horwitz | Sep 26, 2006 1:59:40 PM

Blow-Up. The racy scenes of David Hemmings cavorting with the two underage girls on purple paper and Vanessa Redgrave offering herself up as the price for the film stoked teenage prurient interest in the 60s.

I still prefer the Mad magazine satire, particularly its now definitive interpretation of the final scene with the "air tennis."

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Sep 26, 2006 1:45:56 PM

The Verdict. Maybe it's because there have been so many good law/courtroom dramas since then, but it seemed pretty blah to me, despite its rep as some sort of classic.

Posted by: Scott Moss | Sep 26, 2006 12:14:15 PM

Old timey movies can often only be appreciated with their subtexts and cultural mores/limits firmly in mind. I recently watched the Maltese Falcon and much of it seems laughable or offensive taken at face value, but as a cultural artifact, it's fascinating. I haven't seen Postman, so I don't know if cultural archaeology has any value for it, but my advice generally is to look at in those lights. Also, you may get more value if you read up on the history of the production and the personalities involved. If you see tension in some scene and know that the actors were involved in some drama offscreen, it may improve your enjoyment.

Posted by: Bart Motes | Sep 26, 2006 11:58:45 AM

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