Five Overappreciated Films

I am a critic-loving filmgoer. When critics get excited about something, I am immediately attracted to the film, and even more so when audiences also really get excited. Even with this mindset, there are some critically loved movies that I just never understood what all the hype was for. So here is a list of five of the most overrated critically acclaimed movies.

5. The English Patient. The main thing I remember about this movie is that it was long—very long. We are supposed to be immersed in this love story and the desert scenery, yet the film moves by so slowly and deliberately that you are too preoccupied with the length to admire anything going on. There is no chemistry between Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas; they seem like they are going through the motions of being sensual without every being sexy or interesting. Juliette Binoche as the nurse caring for Fiennes is there just to hear his story, and gets her own romance that really adds nothing to the overall story except to give her something else to do while caring for him. The only character I remember being at all interesting was the thumb-less Willem Dafoe. However, I have no idea what he is doing in this movie; I think he is there because he wants revenge on Fiennes, but his character does not add to the other characters’ situation or make them more interesting.

4. Knocked Up. To throw a comedy in here, I decided to go with Knocked Up, Judd Apatow’s follow up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin, starring Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. Now, I love The 40-Year-Old Virginseeing Steve Carrell dealing with being a virgin and growing up and the way his relationship grew, not just with his girlfriend, played by Catherine Keener, but also with his co-workers. The film touches on their issues as well, all while feeling natural and also being funny.

So, Knocked Up is very disappointing, because the characters have no chemistry together. Originally, that is supposed to be part of the joke; Rogen is such a man-child and Heigl is this straight-laced career women. They are forced together and throughout the time they never feel like a couple that could be together or would want to. I mean that for both of them; beyond Heigl being “attractive,” she has no personality beyond her job, and Rogen is so immature that it defies logic that he is able to even feed himself. Why would we root for these people to get together?

Inevitably with a movie like this, we know that Rogen’s character will start to grow up and be responsible. I was looking forward to seeing how this man could turn his life around, then all of a sudden he just has this great job and is living in this really nice apartment. WHAT?! This just comes out of left field and seems really forced. In The 40-Year-Old Virgin, we got see a progression out of Carrell and the rest of the cast as they changed gradually, and it worked much cleaner this way, as they grow up to varying degrees. This change in Knocked Up is so odd and off-putting you feel cheated out of what could have been a very interesting character evolution, but even more annoyingly, as an “adult,” he still has no chemistry with Heigl!

Finally, for a comedy, I cannot remember a single joke. Literally no lines, no interesting character situations, nothing stands out in my mind as being funny. And just to rip on something else, I really cannot stand Katherine Heigl. She is the interchangeable blonde actress; you need a blonde actress in a movie, she is the go-to person, but she has no depth and she isn’t funny. In this movie she doesn’t have much to work with, but she also does nothing to move beyond the material, either.

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Benjamin is a film connoisseur and Oscar watcher who lives in Minneapolis and, when not reviewing movies, works at the Hennepin County Library.

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