5 Films Everybody Loves But Me
I’ve compiled lists before of what I consider overrated movies. This list, though, consists of movies that my negative opinion is solidly in the minority; movies that everybody loves, reveres and idolizes. I used to not get it; now I just accept those things which I am powerless to control; such as audiences’ strange affinity for that which I find…not repugnant…just overwhelmingly mediocre.
These crowd pleasing comic books are lazy. There are no real people in them. Just a “suicidal crazy cop on the edge, man,” a growing cadre of kiddie show level characters (Joe Pesci – really?), and Danny Glover as the black partner to the crazy white cop, forced to placate and perform the menial tasks of his job as if everyone exists in a strange “Jim Crow” version of Los Angeles. The industry’s “fetishizing” of writer/director Shane Black, the 80s wunderkind of excess, has always remained a mystery to me. Is it any surprise that when he was handed the keys to Iron Man 3, he so thoroughly botched it?
4 Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore
One of the most successful and wealthiest “comedians,” Adam Sandler’s run of hits through the 90s and even today that includes stellar achievements like That’s My Boy and Grown Ups 1 & 2, boggles my mind that his body of work turns up on some people’s lists of “funniest movies.” These two early works in particular, show up time and again. I’ve had “friends” who wouldn’t even associate with someone if they didn’t think Madison or Gilmore were not the “f*&kin’ funniest movies ever.” When you put this smirking, self-aggrandizing, no-characterization muppet up against real comedians like Bob Hope, Danny Kaye, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, etc. you realize how truly weak he is. (Plus anyone who can’t get through a performance of one of his own “comedy songs” without cracking himself up deserves a slap in the face and a pink slip.)
Kevin Smith, the personality, is very smart and funny, and he’s made a career out of appearing places in his hockey jersey and baseball hat cocked to the side, waxing philosophic. But from his very first film, all the way through Jay and Silent Bob in their many flat incarnations, Smith has proved He. Cannot. Direct. His characters all talk with that internal, hipper than thou, college-dorm sameness. His shots are flat and, worse than unimaginative, visually uncomfortable. And Clerks, revered as the end-all be-all of hipness, shot in B&W because…um…it means he’s a director of… “substance?” was the creature that begat a worthless series of weaker clones. I don’t get it and never will.
2 Moulin Rouge
There was a great film about the artist Toulouse Lautrec made by John Huston in 1952 that is powerful, beautiful, lyrical, and important. This is not that film. Baz Luhrmann, who has yet to make a good movie, helmed this hysterical (as in crazy), noisy, incoherent mess that set out and succeeded in humiliating Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor as they screamed 80s pop hits at us while a psychedelic cartoon of early 19th Century Paris assaulted our every orifice. One of the jobs of a director is to conduct and moderate the tone of a film. Luhrmann set Moulin Rouge at 11 and walked away. Please flush this negative down the river and fast. And explain to me, while you’re at it, why people love it so much.
1 Star Wars
If I haven’t alienated you yet, I know I just did with my number one selection. I saw this “groundbreaker” in 1977 and promptly fell asleep. Yes, for the time, the effects were awe-inspiring, but so were King Kong’s in 1933, and that film still holds up. Star Wars has always been my Emperor’s New Clothes. I point at the screen and say, he can’t act, that shot is washed out, this makes no sense, and people stare at me like I just voided on their mother’s easy-chair. The acting, besides Alec Guinness, who must’ve been conned into appearing with the promise of booze and sex, is atrocious. Harrison Ford has this duh-look on his face through most of the film with line readings that ring as false as a Kim Kardashian appearance, as well as Carrie Fisher, admittedly completely lost, and an irritating C-3PO robot that is only the first in an upcoming slew of annoying characters (Jar Jar Binks) to permeate the series, ad infinitum, and you get — I don’t know what you get — from this flat and cliché laden fairy-tale. As well, any film that the director/producer has to keep going back to in order to tinker and fix, (when did it become Episode IV, a New Hope?) signals there’s trouble brewing.
Now I know I’m in a tragically small minority, and I’ve said my piece. I will gladly admit and accept defeat. Now get off my lawn. Happy New Year!