5   +   8   =  

It seems nowadays that everyone is a critic, especially when it comes to movies, and more apparent than ever is the fact that a movie being labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is simply the product of personal opinions. What one person likes, another will hate…that, friends, is human nature. Let us pose this question, how often have you come out of the cinema uttering the age old “it wasn’t as good as everyone said it would be” and “were the critics watching the same movie I was?!“. Equally frequent sentences to leave the lips of movie watchers are the familiar lines “it was better than I expected it to be” or “why don’t more people love this film?“. So with that in mind, let us share with you the most underrated and overrated films. In our opinion, of course. Feel free to hate our guts if we mentioned your favourite movie…

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OVERRATED: Fight Club (1999) – Suggested by Chris Parker

fightclub

Featuring one of the most famous plot twists of all time, David Fincher’s cult classic is a smart thriller that slowly unravels throughout its runtime. With a drained colour palette and a vacant, ear-grating performance from Edward Norton, the film slogs through its anarchy and ultra-violence without much wit. The film seems hollower with each repeat viewing.

OVERRATED: The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – Suggested by Kane Basterrechea

theshawshankredemption

Is it possible for a classic to be overrated? The Shawshank Redemption is clearly brilliant and is easily among the best films of the 90’s but somewhere along the way it has become The.Best.Film.Ever (it currently tops IMDB’s list of the top 250 films, as voted by users). I’m tired of people I know citing it as their favourite film, especially people who don’t watch that many movies. Look, I’m glad you saw it and I’m glad you liked it but why do I get the feeling you’ve never seen a movie made before 1990?

OVERRATED: Taken (2008) – Suggested by Will Tait

taken

Taken is a film that I heard a lot about before I saw it. Perhaps this was what ruined it for me, as the frenzied ravings of Liam Neeson fanatics served only to create an anticlimax. Taken shouldn’t be seen as an action thriller, but more as a comedy. It is over the top, badly written and the acting is wooden. That said, I do enjoy watching Neeson deal out throat jabs to some stereotypical baddies.

OVERRATED: Marley & Me (2008) – Suggested by Natalie Xenos

marleyandme

The so called ‘saddest film EVER’. Why people place Marley & Me in the box of weep-worthy movies is a mystery. Yes, we all love animals, dogs especially, but this movie is just not that heart-breaking. The fact that you can see the ending coming from the outset steals any tears that might have been ready to make an entrance had the conclusion been a shock. Dull, dull, dull.

OVERRATED: The Usual Suspects (1995) – Suggested by Amy Salter

theusualsuspects

The greatest trick Hollywood ever pulled was convincing the world this movie was good: a critically acclaimed 90’s movie with an Oscar-winning screenplay…except it is vastly overrated. The only interesting thing about this film is the twist ending, which after years of saturating our popular culture fails to make even a dent of an impact anymore. The crime plot tries to be complex but just bores. Thankfully Bryan Singer’s X-Men movies make up for this limping misstep. Yes, I went there.

OVERRATED: Titanic (1997) – Suggested by Sue Sheard

OSCARS-BEST PICTURE

I could spend all day writing puns to describe how bad I found this film but good taste and sensitivity prevents me. At the time I thought my heavily pregnant state had perhaps altered my judgement but watching it again several years later I still had to question how on earth this has become one of the most financially successful films ever made. Not even lovely Leo Di Caprio can sway my opinion on this one. The dialogue was appalling, half of it consisted of the two lead characters shouting out each others names. The highly lauded computer imagery didn’t impress me for a minute and attention to detail, real detail, was negligible – when did ladies in early 20th century England ever stick up their middle fingers as an insult?

And then suggested again by Jack Reynolds

Surely Titanic must be one of the most overrated films ever! I mean it’s not bad by any means but 11 oscars? Bloody hell, really?

OVERRATED: Crash (2004) – Suggested by Chris Parker

crash

The controversial Best Picture winner is almost inseparable from discussions regarding overrated cinema. Possessing the same theme of equivocation as Shakespearean tragedy, the series of vignettes intertwine and overlap to deliver a story of the just and the unjust. Whilst the ambition may be high, the film is void of subtlety and punches its audience in the face with a message marred by cliché.

OVERRATED: Avatar (2009) – Suggested by Melanie Kress

avatar

The same plot as Pocahontas, except the Disney classic had better music and was a little less racist.

OVERRATED: Black Swan (2010) – Suggested by Natalie Xenos

blackswan

It’s coined as a mystery, darn right – the mystery is why so many people consider it to be a cinematic masterpiece. The most overrated movie of 2010, Black Swan was hyped up to within an inch of its life. With Natalie Portman and Vincent Cassel in the lead roles, and Darren Aronofsky as the director, the film should have been a done deal. Instead it got tangled up in its own narrative, resulting in a movie that seemed to confuse even itself. It’s technically brilliant but ultimately disappointing.

OVERRATED: Friends With Benefits (2011) – Suggested by Will Tait

friendswithbenefits

This film has only ever received mediocre reviews and yet I feel it has been flattered beyond its worth. The script is predictable, to the point where one only needs to watch the first half of the film to know what the rest will entail, and I can only assume that the huge amount of money generated by the film was mainly because of gawping adolescents paying to see Mila Kunis with her kit off. This film can only have been the end product of some lazy writers and producers who needed some extra cash, but couldn’t be bothered to try for it. Utter rubbish.

UNDERRATED: Kingdom of Heaven (2005) – Suggested by Chris Parker

kingdomofheaven

Launching it’s crusade in the slurry of post Lord of the Rings epics, Ridley Scott’s grand tale was mauled for a lack of depth to support it’s stunning sieges. Restored to it’s Director’s Cut on DVD however, the film finds both heart and purpose with Eva Green’s Queen and with a haunting performance from Ed Norton. Orlando Bloom, cast as his trademark blacksmith, commands with enough confidence to distract from the slow burning, faith laden plot. Far enough from the camp action of Troy, this ambitious history needs its knighthood.

UNDERRATED: Sunshine Cleaning (2008) – Suggested by Natalie Xenos

Emily Blunt stars in Overture Films’ Sunshine Cleaning.

Sometimes the best films are those that seem a little offbeat on the surface but have a heart-warming sentimental message underneath. Christine Jeffs’ Sunshine Cleaning is a gem of a film that seemed to fly under the radar after premiering at Sundance in 2008. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are on top form as the unlucky in life, love and pretty much everything sisters, Rose and Norah. Rather than being laugh out loud funny, Sunshine Cleaning is quietly amusing and, quite often, those are the most rewarding movies to watch.

UNDERRATED: Young Adult (2011) – Suggested by Amy Salter

youngadult

Commended by critics but still unfairly overlooked, this 2011 film was an amazing vehicle for Charlize Theron, who put in a powerhouse performance as the unlikable, narcissistic Mavis Gary. With a wickedly funny screenplay from Diablo Cody and great direction from Jason Reitman, people may have been expecting another Juno – but Young Adult is a far better, more endearing, and darkly poignant tale.

UNDERRATED: Inland Empire (2006) – Suggested by Chris Parker

inlandempire

After Oscar-nominated success with Mulholland Drive, director, writer, actor, painter, musician and coffee-maker David Lynch next offered a profound experiment with the digital medium. Shot on a DV camera from a script of scenes often written the night before filming, the enigmatic story of a woman in trouble is a haunting descent into a selection of themes and abstractions Lynch appears to have nurtured for decades previously. Containing snippets of the Lynch short Rabbits, Inland Empire may well be a stretch of patience for some, but is also a needed challenge to modern cinema. The film, an abstraction in itself, attracts its Lynch obsessed audience with an eroto-surrealism presenting a dark void that many might find hard to stare into.

UNDERRATED: Blue Streak (1999) – Suggested by Rob Xenos

blue streak

‘He’s a cop that’s not.’ One of Martin Lawrence’s best filmic offerings, Blue Streak is hilarious. Lawrence plays Miles, a jewel thief who hides a $17 million diamond in an air vent before being arrested. When he’s released from prison two years later, he goes straight to where he hid the diamond, only to find the location is now a police station. Hilarity ensues as Miles poses as a cop to get his hard-earnt prize. As far as prizes go, this film gets the award for most unbelievable premise but also the award for one of the most criminally underrated action comedies of the 90’s.

UNDERRATED: Martin (1976) – Suggested by Kane Basterrechea

martin

The 70’s was a golden age for horror films and the decade that gave us The Exorcist, Alien and Dawn of the Dead also gave us this criminally overlooked movie about a troubled teenager who may or may not be a vampire. Directed by zombie maestro George A. Romero between his first two ‘Dead’ instalments, Martin is equal parts charming and disturbing and it desperately deserves a wider audience.

UNDERRATED: Adam (2009) – Suggested by Natalie Xenos

Scene 47 Adam and Beth in Adam's livingroom

Finally a ‘romance’ movie that isn’t a sickly sweet story of guy-meets-girl-they-fall-in-love-they-breakup-they-get-back-together-they-live-happily-ever-after. Hugh Dancy puts in an incredibly subtle yet brilliant performance as Adam, a young man with Asperger syndrome. The mix of intelligent dialogue and awkward acting makes it a thoroughly engaging film; it’s a shame more people haven’t heard of Adam, let alone watched it.

UNDERRATED: Drop Dead Fred (1991) – Suggested by Cassie Andrews

dropdeadfred

“Morning. So who’s for snot flicking?” Long live Drop Dead Fred for reminding full grown adults that it’s perfectly ok to enjoy ridiculous and immature movies when they’re this good.

UNDERRATED: The Wicker Man (2006) – Suggested by Chris Parker

thewickerman

Unfairly destroyed in the shadow of the Robin Hardy horror classic, the Neil LaBute remake lets Nicolas out of his cage. With a gleeful abandon and glorious expression, the Vampire’s Kiss star asks just how it got burned; and its incendiary material. Surrounded by bee obsessed feminists, Cage searches for a missing girl who inevitably turns out to be his daughter. It’s heart wrenching to watch as, dressed as a bear, he attempts to save her clawing other women in the mouth and even stealing a bicycle. Liam Neeson eat your heart out. Nicolas Cage wants his new daughter back and the material is so resplendent that no humanoid bonfire can kill the infectious, captivating charm with which the Cage launches into his vigorous investigation.

UNDERRATED: Signs (2002) – Suggested by Natalie Xenos

signs

Poor M. Night Shyamalan has a tough time of it. He’s pretty much always slated by the critics and, whilst most of what they say is entirely warranted, not enough credit is given to his 2003 sci-fi fantasy Signs. Ok, so the plot is a little wobbly but it’s jam-packed with suspense, some eerie camera work and great performances from Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. The scene where Gibson walks in to find Phoenix and the two kids sitting on the sofa with tin foil hats on their heads is priceless.

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