5 Most Overrated Films

I have great respect for people that make movies. It’s an impossible feat that many attempt, but few succeed. It takes a lot of hustle, money, and balls to make a movie. Most people have one of the three, a few obtain two of the three, the people that actually make a movie have all three. However, just because you can, does not mean you should.

I have listed five films that, in my opinion, are overrated. You may or may not agree, but allow me to make a case for each. Enjoy.

The Departed

thedepartedThis film won Academy Awards for Best Director, Best Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture. So, how in the hell can I even dare suggest that The Departed is overrated? Easy. It’s a hodgepodge of scenes loosely tied together by an over performed part by Jack Nicholson.

The Departed was Martin Scorsese’s shining moment according to the Academy and critics. The film was a remake of a Hong Kong film called Internal Affairs and its two sequels. Internal Affairs was a huge success in Hong Kong. The Departed uses all three Hong Kong pictures as a source.

The problem I have with Scorsese’s film is that I think it plays like a long music video with interludes of dialogue. Wahlberg was wonderful, DiCaprio, as well. Damon was a charming maniac, but failed to show the same depth as DiCaprio. Alec Baldwin was funny, but a caricature. Nicholson was awful. Oh sure, Jack had his moments, but overall, it felt thin and forced.

As for the story… Well, it’s no Internal Affairs. Like most films these days, it wasn’t allowed to grow slowly, ease into the drama, develop the characters. We are immediately thrust into a world where empathy is scarce for both characters and audience. The web gets so tangled, you find yourself listing the plot points in order to understand where this thing is going. The ending is less than satisfying and is only saved by Wahlberg’s final act. Then there is the laughable imagery and blatant symbolism. I couldn’t wait for this film to end.

Before many of you go crazy and start calling me an idiot, let me just say that I saw the movie four times. I wanted to like it. I wanted it to be Scorsese’s actual shining moment. But it’s not. I’m afraid the awards are a giant apology for the Academy stiffing poor Martin all these years. When it comes to Scorsese’s body of work, The Departed ranks at the bottom. Now you can call me an idiot.

The African Queen

africanqueenThis film was directed by John Huston and stars Humphrey Bogart and Kathrine Hepburn. It was produced in 1951 and was labeled as an “adventure” story. However, The African Queen is anything but an adventure.

This is the movie that finally won Bogart his Academy Award. Really? Out of everything this dude made, he gets it for putting up with Hepburn on a river in a boat. Granted that does deserve an award, but not Best Actor. Then again, he didn’t strangle her to death.

The African Queen is actually a slow boat to China when it comes to moving the story along. It’s a long movie even when you’re just 15 minutes into it. For an adventure movie, there isn’t much to talk about. Everything happens in the final act, but it’s too little too late and really not that impressive to begin with. I’ve never been so bored in my life watching a Bogart film. Hepburn, yes. Bogart, no. That must have been one hell of a campaign during the awards season.

American Graffiti

amergraffitiNostalgia is a terrible disease that eats away at the marrow of society. American Graffiti is a film about the cruising days of 1962 California. It’s filled with cool cars, great music, and a thin story. If it wasn’t for Wolfman Jack, there wouldn’t be a reason to watch this movie.

The film was co-written by George Lucas, Gloria Katz, and Willar Huyck. Lucas directed it and it stars Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, and Paul Le Mat. There’s some other familiar faces in it that you’ll recognize from television, making American Graffiti the launching pad for some great careers. However, the movie itself is like looking at old photographs of some car nut’s love for the past. If you want to see what brought on Happy Days, then check it out. Otherwise, just watch Happy Days.

True Grit

truegritLet me start by saying that I love this movie starring my favorite actor John Wayne. But I also know that it is a poor adaptation of a book and a so-so performance by the Duke.

True Grit was produced in 1969 and directed by Henry Hathaway. John Wayne won the Oscar for Best Actor after being snubbed for his performances in The Sands of Iwo Jima and The Searchers. Seven years later he would give an Oscar worthy performance in The Shootist. Looks like the Academy jumped the gun, so to speak.

The film also stars Glen Campbell and Kim Darby, with an appearance by Robert Duvall. It has grand landscapes and humorous moments, but it lacks depth. Forty-one years later, Ethan and Joel Coen would make their own adaptation of the book starring Jeff Bridges. It is a far more superior film.

Forrest Gump 

forgumpYes, Forrest Gump is a beloved film, groundbreaking in special effects, and woven together like a fine Persian rug. The film won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, and Gary Sinise. It has a great score and is beautifully shot. So, what’s the beef? Jenny.

Forrest Gump is a lovable idiot that fumbles his way through historic moments while longing for the love of his life, Jenny Curran. He befriends dimwitted Bubba and melancholy Lieutenant Dan. He becomes a successful businessman and worldwide sports figure. He helps his community, keeps his word, and defends the weak.

Jenny, on the other hand, is a cold-hearted whore trying to dull her painful past with sex, drugs, and deceit. She snubs Forrest at every turn, until finally, after years of partying, she comes home, worn out and depressed, only to give Forrest a pity love making session. Then she splits, leaving Forrest pining over her, once again. A few years later, doctors diagnose Jenny with AIDS and she reaches out to Forrest so that her son, Forrest’s bastard child, can have a home when she finally croaks. Jenny marries Forrest then kicks the bucket and Forrest and his son, Little Forrest, live happily ever after.

Need I say more?

That’s it for the list, however, I’ll include one as honorable mention.

Mrs. Doubtfire

This little gem stars Robin Williams and Sally Field. I hate mrsdoubtthis movie and I have good reasons, too.

Williams is great in it, but let’s break the film down in simple terms. It’s about a vindictive bitch of an ex-wife that has a court remove all rights to her ex-husband’s children. The only way he can get close to his children, is to dress like an old English woman and become their nanny. WTF? There’s nothing charming or funny about divorce and their certainly isn’t anything wonderful about a dad having to dress in drag just so he can see his children. Giant turd of a film.

6 thoughts on “5 Most Overrated Films

  1. Gary – I agree with you on THE AFRICAN QUEEN. Slow boat to China is an excellent metaphor. Instead of blasting your other choices (Films I found entertaining) – I’ll give you my four substitutes. (4) SKYFALL – The James Bond reboot had some cool action but Daniel Craig is awfully miscast as the uber cool James Bond. (3) PUBLIC ENEMIES – was jacked to watch Johnny Deep and Christian Bale in a Michael Mann film. Absolutely dreadful blown opportunity. (2) MATRIX TWO – I understand its a sequel but the original was epic. The dissapointment of this film haunts my core. (2) X-Men series…The storyline departures from the classic comic book series are criminal.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly on THE DEPARTED and FORREST GUMP. Two clear examples of “I’m watching this and I *really really really* wanna like but I can NOT”.

    Love THE AFRICAN QUEEN though. Despite the “slowness” I watched it as a teenager and found myself MESMERIZED by the atmosphere and its universe. That it was marketed as “an adventure movie” is not the fault of the movie. This is one of those colorful dramas where it is all about the characters and their huge development.


  4. Thank god someone feels the exact same way about the departed as I do. I’m not only confused in the ratings it got but why the academy hailed it. What an overrated mailed in movie. DiCaprio and Wahlberg were great and Baldwin was funny. Nicholson was terrible, completley miscast and the entire performance felt forced it was laughable. And other scenes were forced too. Scenes the should have hit you hard were laughable. The movie played out exactly the way you’d described it. I can’t believe when people hail it as some of Scorseses best work. Some say its head and shoulders above the masterpiece that is goodfellas. I can’t believe what I’m reading sometimes. Can’t believe people even put it in the same sentence with goodfellas. Some say it’s the 3rd best mob movie ever. Lol
    These people must be nutz or have no taste whatsoever. It’s a joke. Infernal Affairs was better. Much better. God forbid you tell them that. They’ll argue you’re wrong till they’re bull in the face . I don’t get it. I’m a huge Scorsese fan too. Aviator was his best recent movie and even shutter Island blows away the departed for christ sake. Very refreshing to read this.

  5. Just watched The Departed and then searched a review about it being overrated, which it most definitely is. Another sad example of the Academy trying to make up for past wrongs and giving out the big prizes to what they think will be their last chance of redemption. Marty getting the accolades for this is like Al getting his prize for Scent of a Woman. It had some good performances, like Leo bringing so much depth to his role and Martin Sheen managing to give us some warmth in this cold movie. Sadly the bad performances killed it. I love Ray Winstone but he was badly miscast, Matt Damon played his character all wrong and the scenes with him lacked the seriousness required, then we have Jack who should be nowhere near a Scorcese film as he will only try to overshadow it, which he does, badly. Basically unlike other Scorcese mob films this has no character or charm, even with big names there is no depth to the characters. It’s overcomplicated and lacking gravitas and the ending is just a tragic attempt at giving us sad alpha males a huge dose of testosterone whilst hoping we acted shocked. Sorry I just don’t like it, maybe I wouldn’t have cared if people paid to review films didn’t like it so much. Another sad day for the Academy, and another 2 hours lost. Great post by the way, I’ll keep a lookout for more.

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