EO has a nice post of 100 Most Overrated/Underrated Films. How much time does it take to make such a list, esp. including links to all the movies? Yikes. I like many of his suggestions, and here are some of my own.
- Most overated / underated of all time: Citizen Kane | The Matrix – Yeah, I know these movies are very different, and The Matrix is highly regarded. But I think it’s a modern masterpiece. Citizen Kane may be historically interesting and siginificant, but it lacks the iconic power to last as great movie – it’s really just a historical curiosity for film buffs.
- Boxing: Raging Bull | Rocky – Sure, Rocky was successful, but I am amazed at how many ‘educated’ people won’t see Rocky because it stars the ‘low-brow’ Stallone. It’s one of the greatest underdog movies of all time.
- Visual Appeal: Sin City | The Cell – Frank Miller is touted for his cool visual style, and it is pretty neat. But the Cell is often passed over because the movie stars J-Lo, which is too bad because it is visually stunning, and Vincent D’Onofrio’s villianous serial killer is masterful. So what if it stars J-Lo? She’s a cutie and an underrated actress.
- Trading places: Trading Places | Double Take – the latter is a light but intelligent and funny identity-switch comedy with Orlando Jones and Eddie Griffin – with some great music to boot.
- Stylish time-travel: Donnie Darko | Butterfly Effect – BE was a nice morality play with some really nice moments.
- Computer Animation:
The Polar Express | Final Fantasy, the Spirits Within – The touted animation technology of TPE is just spooky, making people look like animated corpses. Even though FF was made "back in" 2001, it has some of the most impressive computer-animated humans ever seen on screen. Beautiful animation and good space adventure story.
- Dragons: Dragonheart | Reign of Fire – Sean Connery may lend a nice voice to the dragon, but Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey are great in the gloomy Reign.
- Wedding Movie: My BF Greek Wedding | Monsoon Wedding – the former is way overrated, the latter is a really fun masterpiece of the wedding genre.
- Zombie Movies: Night of the Living Dead | Resident Evil – RE does the zombie sci-fi genre justice with just enough splatter and just enough believable science. And lots of style.
- Comic Book: Spider Man | Spawn – look, SM was well done, but it seems too much like a teen romance movie. Spawn is hilarious and more for adults.
- Stallone: Rambo | Demolition Man – the latter is rewatchable many times, if for nothing else than Wesley Snipes’ character.
- Meaning in life: It’s A Wonderful Life | Mr. Destiny – Jimmy Stewart’s acting seems wooden and contrived. In Mr. Destiny, James Belushi does an admirable job of playing the frustrated 30 something.
- Lampooning Religion: Dogma | The Meaning of Life – The former is superficial and snide, while the latter seems timeless in it’s irreverence and fun. Life of Brian is also underrated.
- Martial Arts: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon | Hero – while the women’s fight scene in the temple in CTHD was good, the humor and equally good cinematography in Hero elevate it quite a bit. Kudos also to House of Flying Daggers for beautiful use of color.
- Will Smith Movie: Independence Day | iRobot – iRobot is full of substance, thanks to the three laws concept nicely woven throughout. And this film is not sickeningly jingoistic.
- Cancer: Brian’s Song | My Life – The former is just plain depressing, not inspiring. In My Life, the protagonist is in the process of trying to beat his cancer, and has to face his drive for success, his bitterness towards his parents, and his emotional isolation from his wife. Amazing.
- Tommy Lee Jones on the US/Mexico border: No Country for Old Men | The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada – The former was notable for being graphic, but the drama unfolding in Three Burials is slow but riveting.
- Pseudo-Scientific Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth | Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed – Interestingly, while both have some questionable science in them (and I would argue, MORE in the former, since the latter is merely allowing atheists to speak for themselves), many people missed Expelled due to it’s subject matter, having no taste for ideas that conflict with their own world view.
BTW, the ones I really agreed with from EO were:
- Kevin Costner sports movie: Field of Dreams | Tin Cup
- Movie about teen angst: Rebel Without a Cause | Ghost World
- Martial arts movie: Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon | House of Flying Daggers
- Movie based on a comic book: Superman | Hellboy
- Sci-fi movie: 2001: A Space Odyssey | Serenity
- Movie about a pig: Charlotte’s Web | Babe
I also disagreed with a few. I thought the following WERE rightly dismissed as awful:
Related Posts: 50 Spiritually Significant Films