Monday, August 5, 2013

10 Critically Acclaimed, Wildly Successful, Extremely Popular Movies That I Don’t Like

I was perusing IMDBs top 250 list the other day, looking for some additional films to add to my rental list. There are some films on this list, for one reason or another, that I just can’t get into. The fact that I don’t particularly care for these films says nothing about their quality and everything about me. Probably some unacknowledged, unresolved issues I need to deal with. I’ve listed what I think they might be along with my two cents about the films.

Amélie: No matter how much European sophistication and whimsy this film contains, I just can’t get around the fact that the main character, ably played by Audrey Tautou, creeps me out to no end. People like this character only perpetuate the stereotype of middle-aged, single women as weird and unstable. If someone like her actually existed in society, I hope she would be locked up immediately. Also, this is one of those films where I know I watched it, but I have no idea what it was about. A few tweaks here and there and it could easily become a psychological horror film. She's already got the scary look in her eyes.

What my opinion probably says about me: that I’m a typical American movie-goer who can’t appreciate anything that’s not loud, shiny, or packed with catch phrases.

The Deer Hunter: Even though it won the Best Picture Oscar in 1978, I don’t think this film is as popular as the “Big Three” Vietnam films (Apocalypse Now, Platoon, and Full Metal Jacket) for one main reason. At 182 minutes, it’s too long. It lacks the punch that a shorter, more focused film would have delivered. My ideal film length is 90-100 minutes. Any more time than that and there better be state-of-the-art special effects or Jessica Alba-level nudity to justify keeping me in my seat any longer.

What my opinion probably says about me: I have ADD. I like the will or ability to appreciate art when I experience it (for three hours).

Forrest Gump: This is the film that stole the Best Picture Oscar that should have gone to Pulp Fiction. That in itself justifies my lack of enthusiasm for it. There are other reasons too, though. The story about a mentally challenged man who sails back-asswards through key moments in American Baby Boomer history is something only Hollywood insiders like Robert Zemeckis and Tom Hanks could get made. It’s weirder than anything off-the-wall directors like Terry Gilliam or the Coen brothers have come up with, that’s for sure.

What my opinion probably says about me: I’m biased against the mentally handicapped. And I hate America.

The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II: I sat through these films for hours on end, coming out on the other side wondering just what the big deal is. I’m definitely more of a fan of The Sopranos and Martin Scorsese’s organized crime pictures (specifically, Goodfellas and Casino). To me, those tales of the day-to-day lives of street-level thugs are much more interesting than the operatic mythology of the Corleone family.

What my opinion probably says about me: I don’t appreciate ‘70s films. I'm biased against Italians, at least the ones who dress up in tuxedos and own mansions.

Million Dollar Baby: 2005 was the one year I made a point of watching all five Best Picture Oscar nominees before the award was given out. I thought this film was the least deserving of the nominees. Just about everything in this film felt like it was lifted from other films that I had already seen. Clint Eastwood the actor kicks all kinds of butt, but I guess I’m just not a fan of Clint Eastwood the director, because I also didn’t enjoy…

Mystic River…, which felt to me like a two-hour long “Law and Order” episode. Also, I think Sean Penn's terminal humorlessness has turned him into a one-note actor (rip out heart, show to audience, repeat). Could this be same the guy who made his big-screen debut as Jeff Spicoli?

What my opinion probably says about me: I’m incapable of appreciating the genius of Hollywood legends.

Saving Private Ryan: The first 20 minutes of this move are incredible, a cinematic punch to the gut, hands down the best battle scene ever put on film. The rest of it is average at best. The exquisite technical aspects of the movie can’t make up for a story that feels like it was taken from a 1940’s B-picture. And the A-list cast and familiar-face cameos never let me forget that I’m watching a Big Hollywood Production, although that didn’t bother me with films like The Longest Day. When Ryan repeats on cable, I’ll watch the beach landing, then leave and come back two hours later for the battle at the bridge.

What my opinion probably says about me: I hate the troops. I still hate America.

Schindler’s List: I’m not a callous or cynical person, and I'm not anti-Semitic. This film just didn’t move me the way it obviously did millions of others. The performances are great, the cinematography is suburb, the horrific subject matter is handled with the utmost dignity and care. I might be too far removed from the actual events to feel it as deeply as those who were directly touched by what happened.

What my opinion probably says about me: I’m a callous and/or cynical person.

Sin City: My first reaction after seeing this film was "visually stunning and morally bankrupt." I'm not saying a film has to have an uplifiting message or teach life lessons in order for me to like it. But I’ve grown out of violent-and-gross-for-violence-and-grossness-sakes films like this one, now matter how beautiful the thing looks. Frank Miller’s bottomless pit of tortured gloom and societal decay works better on the printed page. I’m a fan of Robert Rodriguez and a big fan of “Guest Director” Quentin Tarantino (how does one guest direct a film, anyway?), but when these two get together they tend to come up with a whole that’s less than the sum of its parts (as in: From Dusk ‘Till Dawn, Four Rooms, Grindhouse). Someone needs to keep ‘em separated, at least far enough away from each other to keep them from collaborating on any more movies.

What my opinion probably says about me: I’m not hip. I’m not cool. I’m out of touch with what the young people want. I’m not in Hollywood’s key demographic.


  1. i have to say i was excited to see your list, hoping to see the likes of overrated movies like citizen kane at the top of the list. alas, you criticize a bunch of movies i like - and only one i dont (schindler's). good writing though.

  2. That is a really great list of yours, especially because I agree with many of them.
    Amelie besides Saving Private Ryan (agree with you completely: first 20 minutes stunning, the rest....nyah) would be my "top" movies from that list, followed by Godfather.
    From the most recent movies I would add "The Departed" to the list, because I didn't think that this movie lived up to the hype.

  3. Spot on! Thank you. I assume you were trying to list newer films so older drivel like Gone with the wind or Sound of music didn't make the list.

  4. Jeebus but Gump really, really was awful.

  5. I am one of the few people in the U.S. who has not seen Forest Gump. It has become a point of pride.