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Top 10 Overrated Movies

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Akil Goin Not every good movie is a masterpiece. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 overrated movies. For this list, we’re sticking to movies that had overwhelming critical acclaim or were even Academy Award winners and contenders, but that may not have really deserved all that praise and hype. This means that not just any mind-bogglingly successful film counts. You heard us “Twilight”; you’re dismissed. Special thanks to our users RambovsTerminator, arimazzie, Gabriel Domingo, Andrew A. Dennison, Dusto22, Logan Farrell, Cordero Estrada and Alex Johnson for submitting the idea through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Written by Akil Goin

Top 10 Overrated Movies


Not every good movie is a masterpiece. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 overrated movies.

For this list, we’re sticking to movies that had overwhelming critical acclaim or were even Academy Award winners and contenders, but that may not have really deserved all that praise and hype. This means that not just any mind-bogglingly successful film counts. You heard us “Twilight”; you’re dismissed.

#10: “Atonement” (2007)

A ‘Best Picture’ nod? Really? Calm down “Atonement,” with your seven Academy Award nominations. The film isn’t bad, but its praise exceeds its quality. What sent critics buzzing might be the A-list cast or the relative success of how it adapted its bestseller novel. Still, the movie has a pretentious way of politicizing class and war, and goes overboard in overdramatizing its characters. With some of these scenes, we can clearly see the Oscar bait served up, but it’s not worth biting.

#9: “Chicago” (2002)

This film wasn’t only nominated for Best Picture, it won the trophy, among other awards – and the year was far from a dry spell for good cinema. While it prompted a fresh resurgence of the musical drama, “Chicago” is further proof that critics just spew compliments at any nicely performed 1920s period piece. With its lack of character development and the simplicity of its story, this one has far too much style and not enough substance. The original score and the musical numbers are often touted as some of its crowning achievements, but if that’s the case, that’s what the soundtrack album is for.

#8: “Life of Pi” (2012)

It’s the survival story of a young castaway, and practically every critic loved it because it was a creative project for director Ang Lee. The film adaptation of the Yann Martel novel starts off with a bold religious thesis that aims to prove the existence of God, then beats us mercilessly with the narration of its own symbolism. That’d all be well and good if it stayed focused on its themes, but it’s also a surreal 3D adventure movie, and a good one. “Life of Pi” has groundbreaking feats of visual effects work that earned awards, but in general, it’s somewhat disorganized and mostly celebrated for its twist ending.

#7: “The Butler” (2013)

It’s a civil rights-related story about a man who grew up on a plantation and ends up serving as the butler to multiple U.S. presidents, so how can this movie NOT be critically acclaimed? This was likely the perspective of the marketing executives that promoted the film’s sensitive themes. Critics ate it up only because they were morally obligated to. While Forest Whitaker does carry the film with the talent we’d expect of him, we’re too inundated emotionally by shock value content and forced melodrama to see the film’s strengths from any other angle.

#6: “Frozen” (2013)

[Play “Let It Go” song from the movie] That catchy, Oscar-winning song is perhaps the only reason “Frozen” is the most successful Disney movie of all time. It’s easy to believe that the powerful sisterhood of its protagonists is a game changer as it finally empowers Disney Princesses and that’s cause it actually is. But it takes more than them not needing to be rescued by men to be as revolutionary as the critics keep insisting it is. How about a main character that doesn’t run from her problems? Actually, we agree: Let. It. Go!

#5: “Les Misérables” (2012)

It’s an overrated musical that’s trying too hard to be creative by recording its actors singing live instead of having them lip-syncing the soundtrack, as is done traditionally. Unfortunately, this artistic misfire leaves the editor at the mercy of the cameraman’s excessive close-ups and shaky-cam techniques. Judging by the rave reviews and Oscar nods, actors that sing while they perform were enough to power the hype machine. But it also banked on the success of the renowned stage play it adapted.

#4: “Shakespeare in Love” (1998)

An inventive rom-com for its time perhaps, but far from deserving of Best Picture, this fictional story tells of William Shakespeare’s personal and romantic life while he was writing “Romeo and Juliet,” with Gwyneth Paltrow playing his muse. Creative and well executed as this was, it’s yet another star-powered cast in flamboyant old costumes, which must have encouraged film critics to put this on a pedestal. Also, the portrayal of Shakespeare as a suave womanizer is biographically inaccurate, as was the success of his play.

#3: “Crash” (2004)

The rave reviews were the first mistake; the Best Picture Oscar was the second. A film with condescending social messages about stereotypes, race relations and prejudice is criminal when it’s this oversimplified and offensively preachy. Granted, the acting was its saving grace. And that’s probably why “Crash” gets an A-for-effort for daring to address tough topics, but the Hollywood mob of interest in this film clearly made its reviewers exaggerate its virtues.

#2: “The English Patient” (1996)

This story about a nurse and her WWII crash victim’s flashbacks features some decent cinematography, but doesn’t really take its romantic drama to grand territory; instead settling on just “good.” Sure, it’s competent in every way, nicely written, acted and cast, but it’s just unnecessarily long. Actually, it’s the 162-minute runtime that makes the film borderline boring, especially for such a dramatic, existential think piece on identity.

Before we rate our top pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- “Paranormal Activity” (2007)
- “Black Swan” (2010)
- “Napoleon Dynamite” (2004)
- “Cold Mountain” (2003)
- “Out of Africa” (1985)

#1: “Avatar” (2009)

This is an unoriginal sci-fi morality tale about colonialism that’s only as highly rated as it is because of the pioneering, expensive and revolutionary technology behind its 3D visual effects and post-production. In a nutshell, its plot has been compared to those of legitimate classics like “Pocahontas,” “FernGully: The Last Rainforest,” and “Dances with Wolves,” but what really gets critics hot for “Avatar” is the power and legacy of the James Cameron-as-director brand name: the guy who brought you “Aliens,” “Terminator 2” and “Titanic” just seems to have a Midas touch for film – or does he?

Do you agree with our list? Which overrated movies did we miss? For more entertaining Top 10s every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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