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Poll: Most Overrated Film Ever Made?

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6 thoughts on “Poll: Most Overrated Film Ever Made?

  1. My first instinct was to say Drive, since it’s a perennial favorite of mine to pick on, but I have to go with Raging Bull. Perhaps in watching it after having seen much of Scorsese’s other work, I inadvertently tainted my ability to view it through the lens of Barthes’ “death of the author;” regardless, I had certain expectations going into it that the film’s meandering biopic approach simply couldn’t live up to. De Niro was outstanding, don’t get me wrong, but the story itself left a lot to be desired (in my mind, at least).

    • I certainly would put Raging Bull a notch below Scorsese’s masterpieces–it’s an excellent film, but it’s so damned gloomy (and Scorsese always works best with a touch of humor–I’ve considered making the case for Taxi Driver as a dark comedy), and outside of De Niro and Pesci’s performances, it does sag a bit.

      But for me, even though I think it’s quite a good film in its own right…I’d have to put Casablanca at the top of the list.

      • Oh, ouch. That’s right near the top of my list of favorites (I’m a rank sentimentalist, to quote Claude Rains). Still, I can absolutely see an argument for it being overrated, even if I’ll never cop to that myself. That said, it did just occur to me that there is cult classic that drives me up a wall far more than Raging Bull: Donnie Darko.

        I remember being so impressed with it the first 20 times I saw it, but as soon as I got hold of some of the director’s other films, I realized he’s just a bullshitter who doesn’t know how to say that he has nothing to say. The most captivating thing about Donnie Darko is the sense of there being much greater forces at work than we perhaps are meant to understand as viewers, but taking the relatively nonsensical nature of Richard Kelly’s other films (particularly Southland Tales) into consideration, I can’t help but wonder if even he doesn’t understand what’s happening in his films. It’s as though he memorized the chapter on how “mindfuck” movies are supposed to look, but then closed the book immediately afterward, thinking he was ready for the test. He’s one of those fool’s gold filmmakers who are just barely able to hide the fact that they have no idea what they’re doing.

      • I haven’t given Donnie Darko a proper watch. I’m morbidly fascinated by Southland Tales (and I’m honestly rather curious about The Box). What I’ve seen of DD looked all right, but it didn’t stick with me all that much (it was some time ago, to be fair).

        Someday I’ll rewatch Casablanca and, assuming my feelings about it stay the same, I’ll write a well-informed article on why I don’t love it. As it is, I feel like most peoples’ appreciation of it is deeply emotional, and I just don’t connect with it on that emotional level. I’m entertained by it–but there are other films that entertain me more. Its a fine piece of Hollywood craftsmanship–but there are, I feel, many better ones. I also find Ilsa a rather drab character (and am not all that impressed with Bergman’s performance), so that might explain some of my lack of enthusiasm. Rains is awesome, though.

        Really, it’s not that I’m not sentimental, but you either respond to sentimentality or you don’t–there’s not much middle ground, unless you consider the far end of being actively put off by it. And the sentimentality of Casablanca doesn’t click with me.

      • Totally understandable. It’s one of those movies like Children of Paradise and Amadeus that I wouldn’t dare expect everyone else to appreciate on the level that I do.

        Incidentally, in trying to remember some other heavily overrated films, I happened to Google search “overrated films.” If you haven’t tried it yourself, then do so at your own risk–some of the results are…utterly depressing, and make me question how good of an invention the internet really is. Empowering idiots to speak is never a good thing.

      • Well, I do love Amadeus, and I’ve been meaning to see Children of Paradise for years (it’s my dad’s favorite movie), so I think we should be on the same page in that regard.

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