Movies I hate but everyone else loves
1406 7.5 7.91. Gravity (2013)
I'll be honest, I fucking hate this movie. I never saw this in cinemas, but everyone was telling me how amazing of a movie this was. I'm a huge fan of Alfonso Cuarón's films, so I was expecting just what I'd been hearing. It left me disappointed beyond words.
Firstly, Sandra Bullock's performance is unbearable. I've never thought of her as great actress, and it kind of shows in Gravity. She wasn't the first choice for the lead role, so it still blows my mind that they'd cast her. Every single time she started screaming, I cringed. There's even one scene where she actually pretends to be a FUCKING DOG. Playing sad and dramatic music over it just made the moment unintentionally hilarious.
I do acknowledge that the movie has amazing visual effects work, but if that's all it has to offer, then I would not call it a masterpiece which is what everyone else is fucking doing. The screenplay is packed full of clichés, and it doesn't help that the main character is absolutely dull. Being stuck with an annoying character for 90 minutes makes the whole experience boring as hell, even with all the action sequences.
At the end of the day, Gravity just let me down. If my expectations weren't as high, I might've liked it more. However, I honestly can't see myself watching this again. It's basically a visual effects movie, with no substance whatsoever. The cinematography and visuals are very impressive, but it all becomes dull and repetitive very quickly. Bullock's performance is awful (she simply can not carry her own movie), and the script is just cliché and simple. Gravity is not the masterpiece people had been telling me it was.
2365 7.1 7.32. The Hunger Games (2012)
I love The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. They're exciting and have interesting themes. The Hungers Games movie, however, is quite the opposite. I'm quite surprised that most fans of the book love the movie adaptation, as it pretty much lacks the tension and emotion of the book.
The Hunger Games book isn't easy to adapt into a film. Since it's told in first person, we get to know everything that Katniss sees and is thinking. This actually added a lot to the book, and for the most part hunger is a very dangerous threat to the tributes. None of this is really present in the film. Sure, Katniss starts off starving during the opening of the Hunger Games, but it never becomes much a threat after. Seriously, all the tributes looked well fed to me. There are a dozen other elements from the book that would've actually worked in the film as well. I'll never know why some of the things that would've added a sense of tension were removed from the film.
I love Jennifer Lawrence, and I think she's a great Katniss. That being said, I still think I would've preferred a young actress. One of the things I love most about Katniss in the books is how relateable she is. She's a young girl who is actually quite naive about love. The way she behaves in the books and the decisions she makes show how young and vulnerable she really is. It just makes her feel more human. Lawrence just seems too old for my taste, but I still think she delivers a great performance nonetheless.
The biggest drawback for me with this film is the camerawork. I normally love handheld cinematography, but that's when it suits the material. The handheld look is taken to such an extreme in The Hunger Games that it actually becomes distracting. It doesn't suit the film at all. There are a few moments where I thought it worked, but most of the time it just looked distracting and unnecessary. The fact that some of the shaky cam is used to hide the violence is even worse. Honestly, I still think this film should've been R-rated. I do know that a PG-13 rating would bring in more money, but the violence would've added something scarier. The Hunger Games themselves should be horrifying and tense, but it never does due to the shaky cam and the PG-13 rating.
The Hunger Games is not the film adaptation I wanted. Everyone else seems to love this except me. Fortunately, the sequel Catching Fire was a HUGE improvement, and it definitely gives me faith for the future of this franchise. It started off pretty poor, but it seems to be heading in the right direction now.
2858 7.7 8.13. The Avengers (2012)
Before the release of The Avengers, critics were raving on about it. Some even compared it to one of the greatest comic book movies ever made, The Dark Knight! Thus, I had huge expectations. After seeing it, all I got from it was a disposable action movie. I honestly don't think there's anything that special about The Avengers, apart from the fact that it features an ensemble cast of Marvel's superheroes.
Some of my favourite superhero movies include The Dark Knight, Spider-man 2, X-Men: First Class, and Watchmen. All of these have a great visual style and a wonderful deep story. I can't say the same about The Avengers. While the visual effects are admittedly very impressive, the film looks like it's shot for TV. It literally looks like a TV movie when there isn't CGI in the shot. The look of this film is just dull and ordinary. People rave about the last action sequence of the film, but it's basically a rip-off of the climax of the third Transformers movie. The Avengers ultimately feels like an ordinary Hollywood action movie.
4232 7.3 7.74. Moulin Rouge! (2001)
I've never been a huge fan of Baz Luhrmann. I find his style over-the-top and cheesy as fuck. Now having an over-the-top style is fine, but Luhrmann mixes this with some really dark drama. It doesn't help that all his over-the-top humour is just cringe-worthy. Moulin Rouge! is a prime example of why I don't like Luhrmann's style. Everyone seems to love this movie. It was nominated for a fair few Oscars including Best Picture. However, I can't stand it.
My chief complaint is that the tonal shifts are so jarring. The film opens in a very sad and dramatic way, with a creepy song playing and some narration about tragedy. In less than a second, the intro switches from dark and sad to cheesy and over-the-top. It literally went from drama to comedy in a matter of seconds. This is fine in some films such as 50/50, but that film was somewhat grounded in a reality. The characters felt human, and the humour itself never went over-the-top. Moulin Rouge! has some of the most over-the-top humour ever. Luhrmann speeds frames up and makes sure no shot lasts more than a fucking second. It's just jarring and not funny at all.
The music is decent at best. Some of the numbers are used for humour, but come off as stupid and corny. That being said, a few songs do work well, and the drama itself isn't bad. It's just there's no subtlety here. There's never a moment where the movie calms down. This would've been great during a few of the dramatic scenes, but the editing is so fast, and most of the time the film just feels inconsistent with its tones.
1394 7.7 7.85. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
I can see why people like Moonrise Kingdom. It's got a unique style and it's visually quite interesting. I'd never seen a Wes Anderson film before Moonrise Kingdom except Fantastic Mr. Fox, so I didn't know what to expect with it. I wasn't a huge fan. I'm all for a film about young love, but I just couldn't get into this. My main complaint is that no one felt relatable or human. Films about young love are often something a lot of us can relate to, it brings us back to our childhood. The problem with Moonrise Kingdom for me is that the kids behave as if they're 40 years old. The romance itself is shoved in our faces, as opposed to keeping it subtle. Overall, I can see why most people love the film, but I felt detached from it. I found it quite average to be honest.
1257 7.2 7.66. Les Misérables (2012)
I don't hate Les Misérables as much as some of the other movies on this list, but I definitely don't think it is worth a Best Picture nomination. Fans of the source material love this film, which isn't surprising. All the singing is recorded live on set, with no auto-tune, etc. What does surprise me is a lot of audiences who were unfamiliar with the original seemed to love the film just as much. I love musicals, as long as they're well made films and have great songs. I can't say that Les Mis is a good musical, I simply can't.
Like I said earlier, I don't hate this film. In fact, I really liked the first act. This was mainly due to Anne Hathaway's performance, which was simply mind-blowing. She definitely deserved her Oscar win, her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream is amazing. However, that was pretty much the only memorable song of the film. All of the other musical numbers are forgettable, and to a certain point, some are just unbearable to sit through. The second half of the film is where I started to get bored. The film just dragged. There was nothing of interest in the second half, where as earlier in the film we had a really sympathetic and interesting character with Fantine. As the film moved on, there was nothing I could care about. It just got boring.
I really love musicals, but they have to be good. Les Misérables is ordinary at best. I respect the decision to keep the music and singing as authentic as possible, but it works better for stage than for film. The music here is just forgettable, with the exception of I Dreamed a Dream, although it was Anne Hathaway's heart-breaking performance that really sold it. In my opinion, there are so many other better musicals out there. Frozen, for example, has some truly outstanding musical numbers. When I left the screening for that film, I simply could not wait to download the soundtrack, whereas when I left the screening for Les Mis, I was just glad that it was finally over. Some call it a masterpiece, I call it slow and ordinary.
984 6.1 6.27. The Karate Kid (2010)
The original Karate Kid was terrific, and a childhood favourite of mine. While I never saw any of the sequels, it was a great stand-alone film with likeable characters and an inspirational story. The decision to remake it is ludicrous. This movie is just awful, and is possibly one of my most hated ever. I don't understand why critics and audiences alike seem to agree that this is a worthy remake. It's just terrible!
I'm all for changes in remakes. No one wants to see a complete rehash. However, the changes in The Karate Kid from the original are shocking to say the least. Firstly, changing the fighting style from karate to Chinese kung fu is fine, but why call it The Karate Kid? If it was simply called The Kung Fu Kid, I'd be fine with that. It'd just feel like some sort of spin-off. Secondly, I have a few huge problem with the age of the characters. In the original, the characters were all teenagers, and actually felt threatening at moments. Here, they're all a bunch of ten year olds. There's even one scene where Jackie Chan runs out and starts beating the crap out of some kid bullies. Words can not describe how retarded that sequence was.
I've never been a huge fan of Jackie Chan, and he's pretty bland here. Jaden Smith is actually quite great in the role, and he handles his fights well. That being said, the fights are so boring. The original never seemed to go for an action movie feel, but with the remake, they really push it. It doesn't help that you're watching a bunch of little kids beating the crap out of each other. At one point you seriously feel sorry for any youngster who just got kicked in the face.
The Karate Kid is so horrible it makes me sick to the stomach. Why did we need a remake? This is probably one of the worst remakes I've definitely seen, which makes me question why the hell people seem to love this film. I haven't even touched on the corny love story as well. There's so much wrong with this film, I fucking hate it.
1401 7.3 7.18. Melancholia (2011)
Lars von Trier has always divided critics and audiences alike with his movies. Some find them gratuitous, others think he's a visionary. I'm pretty much in the middle. None of the films I've seen from him have pissed me off, but neither have any left me completely blown away, with the exception of Antichrist which I think is a great film. Melancholia is one of his films that doesn't have as much as polarizing response like some of his other work. I, however, think this is a really average film.
I think there are great things about Melancholia. The opening montage of images shot in slow-motion is absolutely amazing. It's gorgeous and horrifying at the same time. Also, this is one of the most realistic sci-fi movies I've ever seen. The way von Trier incorporates the tropes of a sci-fi into his film is so subtle, and it makes the experience quite grounded and relatable.
Now let's get to what I really didn't like in Melancholia. Oh boy, the characters. Most of the characters are just simply so over-the-top that it makes the whole grounded nature of the film rather pointless. Dogma has always been a filmmaking style von Trier has opted for, and it works in certain moments here. As soon as any of the characters start talking, it just becomes silly. One of the most ridiculous and unlikeable characters is Justine, played by Kirsten Dunst. She's essentially just a spoiled brat, and it seems as if von Trier wanted us to feel sympathetic for her. It would've worked had she not been a fucking cartoon.
Dunst's performance has garnered many awards and praise. It's definitely a decent performance, sure, and it really shows that she has acting chops, but it's not worth all the awards she's won. Seeing her nude was great, but she doesn't pull off anything I'd deem amazing. It doesn't help that her character is completely unlikeable. At the end of the day, I think Melancholia is grossly overrated. I'm shocked that so many people have loved this, as I think some of von Trier's other work is better.
971 6.8 7.39. American Hustle (2013)
American Hustle received critical acclaim as soon as it was released, garnering many Oscar nominations. Critics and audiences alike seem to adore this film, and I don't get it. It's definitely not a bad film by any means, but I honestly found it average at best. My rating of 3/5 is extremely generous. David O. Russell's last film, Silver Linings Playbook was amazing, but I really think he let his ego get the better of him here.
The main problem with the film is that there's pretty much no clear narrative and characters. A lot of fans have praised the film for being 'character-driven', but I really don't see any characters here. They're just actors improvising and acting crazy. The cast is great, and they are without a doubt the strongest element of the film. Christian Bale is terrific, and although Bradley Cooper overacts a bit too much, I enjoyed his performance. Amy Adams comes off the best because she's only one who seems to have restraint with her performance, there's subtlety with her which is something I can't say about Jennifer Lawrence. I love Lawrence, I think she's a great actress, but she is so miscast in this film. It blows my mind she got nominated for an Oscar as I found her so out of place in this film. She almost went to the point of being annoying. While most of the cast is great, there isn't any consistency with the characters they are playing, and that's the biggest problem. These characters don't have personalities, and all I really saw were actors.
David O. Russell has stated that he hates plot and prefers character, which I can understand. I'd take interesting characters over an interesting plot any day. However, American Hustle doesn't have interesting characters, and so the plot doesn't fare well at all. With the narrative taking a back seat, we're really just left with actors doing whatever the hell they want. A lot of the dialogue was apparently improvised, which does work in some scenes. However, in other moments, it just feels inconsistent and jarring. There are times when the film tries to be funny, but it just comes off as awkward. While American Hustle is labeled as a black comedy, I can't say it's funny at all.
On a technical level, I can't fault the film. It's shot beautifully, and the soundtrack is great. The acting, particularly from Adams, is solid. However, there isn't a narrative here, and there aren't any consistent characters. While the film ends in a neat way, getting there was just a mess. Since O. Russell doesn't care about his narrative, I'm not sure why we should as the audience.
2741 7.4 7.810. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
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