Underrated and overrated films (and other general filmy chat)


#1

Continuing the discussion from Disney to rid Star Wars canon of spinoff books' "expanded universe":

Movie Thread!

The digression of this topic into discussions of other franchises gets me thinking.

@steampunkbanana jokingly rejects Alien3, but for me that's a film that despite its fair share of flaws I still really like. I think it had a lot of potential and I think it's pretty underrated. It has a great cast and brilliant director, and I really appreciate the attempt to go back to the claustrophobic creature feature feel of the original. I think it worked pretty well. If only they could have set it up without torpedoeing their credibility immediately by killing off Hicks and Newt off-screen. (I'd still like to see William Gibson's unfilmed movie, though).

Hell, even Alien Resurrection wasn't all bad - who doesn't love Ron Perlman and Dominique Pinon?

While I'm here, I'm also going to stick a couple of other films up here to be shot at, that, on reflection, removed from critical media responses at the time, are actually much better than they're given credit for.

The Last Action Hero - this film is just much cleverer than people think. Very post-modern, very knowing. (Hey, another Charles Dance film, too). I think it got slated because it wasn't what people expected of a Schwarzenegger film.

The Cable Guy This was just totally mismarketed. It's not a mindless comedy like Ace Ventura, but the trailers suggested it was. It's a really good, very dark comedy thriller.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Maybe this is more of a guilty pleasure. I just really like it.

On the flip side, of course, you have films like Crash and Shakespeare in Love that were popular and won Oscars, but are, with hindsight (and not too much for Crash), kinda crappy (I'm willing to bet that The King's Speech ends up here too - was it really that great? Firth was better a year earlier in A Single Man, f'rinstance).

So, have at it.


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#2

I think this entire thread should be blatantly marked with SPOILERS AHEAD.

Because in discussing movies people are going to be discussing plot points. AND SPOILING PLOT POINTS AHEAD is going to be the name of the game. if the game was called

SPOILERS AHEAD.

As such, we should establish rules, such as listing the movies discussed before proceeding. So if you see a title to a movie you were going to watch this weekend? Maybe skip that post.

That said:
Alien3
Alien Ressurected
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Kentucky Friend Movie
Hudson Hawk

Spoiling commencing, you've been warned.

I wanted to like Alien3, but having Ripley be the only survivor, while it sets the tone of the universe as bring totally apathetic and uncaring, was a really shitty move. Ripley probably would have found a bar at that point and called it a very long day. But nevertheless, I like everything about this movie during the credit sequence and then the film starts.

Resurrection had some good moments in it, but I think Ripley was already at her destructive state of rage a lot earlier in the movie and wouldn't have let it get as far as it did. I loved the turn of Winona Ryder's character as a great parallel to Bishop, But the rest of it plods along to the oncoming inevitable ending. This would have been great as a short movie.

I agree with your stance on all your underrated films, but Sky Captain has the main issue of pretty cardboard characters in a world that the director sees really well but is unable to execute the transition to ours. I loved a lot of the magical elements like seeing the movie at Radio City and a lot of the cliffhanger and matinee vocabulary that was set up, but a lot of people I know were kind of confused and thought there had been an earlier movie they missed. Sometimes the immense amounts of chromakey make everyone's acting job tougher than it should be and they come off saying these lines as best they can and pretending really hard about seeing something but in the end they don't even believe it.

I'll always have a soft spot for Kentucky Fried Movie and my Absolute, All-Time Top Guilty Pleasure That I Expect to Lose All Credibility For: Hudson Hawk. I know it's bad, so, so bad, but Bruce Willis is so goddamned charming.


#3

I just hate Alien3 for the cheap opening and just some real thuds, like the one alien being covered in lead and exploding just looks sooo hokey to me. I love 4 because it links back to the first's motif of the subconscious fears of parenthood, but adds a bit of a rape/eugenics to it. And that scene with the failed experiments is brilliant.


I love Rat Race, but I think people hate it for two reasons: 1) it retraces It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World which I don't really care about, there's enough room for both movies (and mad world doesn't get enough modern hype) and 2) excessive Cuba Gooding Jr (I think that maybe the only movie of his that I like)


#4

Worst actor ever to win an Oscar?


#5

Nicholas Cage! Do I win a prize?


#6

No love for Snow Dogs?


#7

No, because Snake Eyes is a guilty pleasure. If only for the opening scene. I love DePalma, Black Dahlia aside.

I actually like Nic Cage anyway. Raising Arizona, Red Rock West, Wild at Heart, Adaptation, Lord of War, Matchstick Men...(aside - Sam Rockwell has to have the most dislikeable persona ever - I hate every character he's ever played).


#8

I always felt like it was very much a close cousin of What About Bob? only darker.

I really like Stranger than Fiction (2006 not 2000), and it seems that no matter how many times I watch it, I can't "get over it". The Matrix (and the Animatrix) I think gets underrated because it set the bar for so many things that would later become cliche, and because Keanu. Lord of War is a guilty pleasure for me, marred as it is by the idiot Interpol "agent" and the knowledge that Interpol doesn't actually apprehend anyone- it was unforgivably stupid. Evolution is another fun time. If you pay close attention to how it depicts the military pre-9/11, it's almost spooky.

Overrated movies: Lost in Translation, my crushes on Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray notwithstanding. Nothing happens, characters don't develop noticeably. Don't get me wrong, I understand that it's a series of vignettes and is good for what it is, but it's not a great movie. Little Miss Sunshine is a good movie, but again, not a great movie. Anything by Wes Anderson after The Royal Tenenbaums is inevitably overrated. I come from a dysfunctional family. I get it, but he's prone to melodrama.


#9

I agree but this includes everything after Rushmore.

You guys have pretty good taste in movies. If you want an idea of how subjective taste can be, compare this list from the UK of the most underrated films of all time LOL BRITS and then Reddit's take on the same.

I think the underrated movies are the ones you keep thinking about, years and years later. So I'm putting Wet Hot American Summer on there.


#10

Spoilers ahead?

An underrated film is probably worth seeing if you haven't seen it already, unless it's spoiled. An overrated film. is not worth seeing, but you've probably seen it anyway. Alas.


#11

I remember being excited that I had snagged a copy of the Wicker Man bluray on ebay, until I realized that it was probably a bargain because it had Cage in it instead of Britt Ecklund's body double.


#12

I've never seen Wet Hot American Summer but you had me at David Hyde Pierce, Janeane Garofalo, and Molly Shannon.


#13

Guy Fleegman? Zaphod Beeblebrox?

I feel the same way about Greg Kinnear. The only role of his that I could stand was in As Good as It Gets.


#14

Heh. BRITS R DUM.

I see Cube and City of Lost Children are on there. Always wanted to see Lagaan, too - if you like cricket, From Balham to Bollywood, about cricketers who played extras in that film, is well worth a read.


#15

Hell yes. That's why he was perfectly cast. He's good in 7 Psychopaths for the same reason.


#16

I take that you didn't like Moon, then.


#17

Some deep truth right there.


#18

It's hard for me to talk about underrated movies because I never really have an idea how people in general like such-and-such movie. It's easier for me to just throw up a list of movies I've enjoyed but I never hear people talking about.

  • The Wind That Shakes The Barley - Infinite tears, JFC.
  • Brazil - I think this is Terry Gilliam's best movie.
  • City of Lost Children - Dark and disturbing but in a relatively understated way.
  • Miller's Crossing - I have an interpretation of this which would probably irk and also be offtopic. It's an amazing movie though.
  • Thirst - Korean vampire movie.
  • But I'm A Cheerleader - Kind of bad. Like really bad. But pretty good too. The ending is worth it.
  • Mystic River - Don't know how this one fared ratings-wise but it's amazing.
  • Speed Racer - Mindless silly fun.

I could go on but I'll spare you. XD

As for overrated, I have definite opinions there. LOTR, pretty much all of the Spiderman/Spider-man movies, Anchorman (1st one, haven't seen the second), Alexander (don't know how it was rated but it was TERRIBLE), uh ... drawing blanks.


#19

But if you read plot points to an underrated film and discover that _____ killed Dumbledore you're going to color a lot of the enjoyment.


#20

Oh, you must. One cannot forget Paul Rudd's fantastic whine in the cafeteria, but Garafalo holds a special place in my heart in that one.