Perhaps without you knowing anything about movies, there are some films in the lower ranks of the IMDb Top 250 that obviously don’t even deserve to be revered as all-time greats, but there are others still worthy of a spot somewhere on the list that have climbed higher into the user-rated ranking system than their actual value warrants. Niche films, hyped releases, and cult classics populate this list of overrated films.
(You might notice the mentioned rankings on the IMDb Top 250 that I’m referring to is slightly different than the current list. I “froze” the list from August 17th, 2015 when I started watching them all from bottom to top. Here it is.)
We all love the first 45 minutes of this film It’s so good that it established an otherwise unknown Vincent D’Onofrio and the typecast R. Lee Ermey as legitimate actors. But their dramatic departure gives way to a meandering second act, which aspires to preach the futility of war, but never delivers real punch or development.
While its prequel The Dark Knight implements themes of morality and justice with tremendous philosophical insight, The Dark Knight Rises is a stumper of a film that takes too many liberties in both narrative structure and character capabilities. A hobbled and imprisoned Bruce Wayne manages to travel from who-knows-where (presumably overseas) to halt a complicated citywide terrorist act, and his timing is so ridiculous that it nearly ruins the human element of the entire Nolan trilogy.
A convoluted story from the start, Snatch. fails to create any meaningful characters, stresses quirkiness in the midst of a “serious” situation, and leans heavily upon Brad Pitt to save the mess. He performs well enough, and the film manages to end with some degree of catharsis, but the preceding screenplay generally feels like a waste when you finally get there. Lock, Stock is a far superior version of this comic/violent clunker.
Props to Tarantino for daring to “rewrite” history in this Nazi-hating bloodfest, again featuring Brad Pitt in another bizarre role. Hitler dies, and we cheer as his waxy caricature is shot up to oblivion and then burned alongside his comrades, but the rest of the film is ridiculous and forgettable.
Alien generates tremendous tension and fear by employing the fear of the unknown. You suffocate along with the crew as the incredibly dangerous extraterrestrial closes in and knocks them off one by one. Aliens aspires to do the same, but throws a kid in there to give us something to worry about besides macho space marines. Despite this, the film turns into a gorefest and even does the “Yeah, I’m evil, and here are my insidious ulterior motives” speech with the antagonist.
If it weren’t for Christopher Waltz’s quirky yet satisfying performance, this movie might be a throwaway. I get the whole racism vendetta — which, by the time I arrived at this ranking, was getting worn out — but it depends heavily on the obvious prejudice and absurd violent revenge against the ugly/fat/rich white people to propel its shaky screenplay. Jamie Foxx is a lot of fun, but it’s certainly not his best role.
Its shoestring plot, which condescends to and beats the viewer over the head with the predestined good guys’ march to victory, is a head-scratcher without the far superior prequel in The Empire Strikes Back. Hamill plays a one-dimensional plastic-looking Luke, and, save for Han Solo’s clever quips, the lines are borderline cringeworthy. The Ewok implementation ranks alongside the obnoxious Jar Jar addition in The Phantom Menace as an unbelievable Lucas flub in an otherwise sturdy series of films.
Even with a myriad of stunning foreign features populating the IMDb Top 250, the French Amélie manages to hurdle several of its contemporaries for no particular reason. The core love story is underwhelming and barely involves the eponymous lead beyond ridiculous contrivance, overshadowed by a legitimate and far more compelling love story in Georgette and Joseph. Everything else is included in the film as clever ideas that don’t really have a connection to its lackluster screenplay.
While one can accredit the film as an artistic masterpiece due to its prolonged shots of desperate scenery and intentional sparse use of dialogue, the pacing is so deliberate that it literally put me to sleep. Its absurd ranking is as a true sign of old school fanboy-ism — Sergio Leone’s work is certainly legendary, but this empty screenplay coupled with paper thin characters doesn’t warrant its bloated placement on the IMDb Top 250.
Traversing through this list generated within me a huge respect for Brad Pitt as a chameleon of an actor (see 12 Monkeys, Seven, Ocean’s series). But even his compelling performance couldn’t save this swirling, unfocused faux-cyberpunk film. It starts off nicely with a sturdy premise, but it gradually deteriorates as the film tries to be cool and relevant, diving headfirst into a rabbit hole and never recovering. The movie is somewhat polarizing in nature, but an objective approach makes Fight Club‘s hype terribly evident.