The Overrated Films of 2017
We might as well subtitle this article “Calm the Fuck Down.” Because that’s mostly what I mean by overrated. Overrated has nothing to do with a film’s quality, it has everything to do with what you assholes say about them.
I say ‘you assholes’ because everyone should be indicted by that. Whether you’re responsible or not, you should take it upon yourself to look at whether or not you contribute to narratives about a movie in the wrong way.
For instance: last year — La La Land was my favorite movie. But, knowing where that film was headed, all I’d say when it came up was, “I loved it” with that little ‘what do you want from me’ shrug. Why? Because I am aware that it’s not for everyone, and not everyone will share my opinions on things. So rather than turn off someone on the fence about seeing it, I just simply state my opinion and leave them to make theirs. Nothing turns me off more than someone who’s loud about an opinion and tries to force you into something. I much prefer, “I really loved it and I’m curious what you think about it.” Because now, all the pressure is self-imposed on me. The other way, I’m already against a movie because you’re telling me I need to like it. And too often now are opinions, “This is how I feel and fuck anyone who says different.” Liking movies has become a mob mentality.
So here I am, as I am every year, to say, “These movies are not that good, calm the fuck down.” Movies on this list might be in my top ten. They might be movies I hated that everyone else loved. The point is not to try to chop down something you think is high art that changed the way we look at movies. The point is simply to say, “Just fucking chill.” Like your movie. Just don’t try to make everyone else conform to your beliefs.
So here are the films I consider to be the most overrated of 2017:
1. Atomic Blonde
This is an example of one of those movies — it’s all flash, but there’s not a whole lot actually there. Not that I had a problem with that. I loved the movie. But it definitely was one of those… they’d been advertising it for a while, you saw it everywhere, it looked like it was gonna be awesome… and then it was just a fun movie. I think a bit too many people (at least, around me) were exclaiming how great it was and all that stuff. Which kind of made me pull back and go, “Hang on, why can’t it just be a fun movie? Why does it need to be great?” So that’s why this is here. People, in their fervor to say how much they liked it, went overboard. That’s all. But that’s what this list is for. Not necessarily to say, “You’re wrong for liking this,” but more to say, “Just pull it back a bit. It didn’t cure cancer.”
2. Beauty and the Beast
This, like a lot of movies, was a case of — people come out of the theater and are so high on something, and then months go by and you realize… wasn’t that great. Didn’t really do anything special. Really what tweaked me to this one was that people kept saying, “Oh my god I loved it! It was amazing!” It was this, it was that. The whole thing. But… what you like is the original. That’s what’s amazing. This is like, the hollow recreation. I could see talking it up if it did anything new or original. But no… pretty much the same stuff. None of the charm that made the original work. It’s just like the rest of the live-action Disney remakes — what you love is the original. They’re just selling you knockoffs because you’re buying them.
3. The Beguiled
This one’s more directed to the ‘art wing’ of the film community. This movie was so talked up the first half of the year. Coppola won Best Director at Cannes and this movie was being talked of like it was some revisionist masterpiece. And then it was exactly the same movie as the Clint Eastwood movie except slightly different and it looked better. The costumes and sets were nicer. Otherwise, basically the same movie. Any feminist twist you’re seeing is something you’re reading into the movie, because it’s basically the same story as the other one. Maybe Colin Farrell plays the role a bit differently than Eastwood did, but it’s the same movie.
4. Call Me By Your Name
It’s not a masterpiece, guys. It’s great. It’s really great, and I should be 100% on board with this movie. But to immediately label something a masterpiece and talk it up like it’s the second coming of christ (did he also come in a peach?) — calm the fuck down. There is no way this is not one of the most overrated movies of the year. You can think it’s a masterpiece, but you need to acknowledge that people are talking this up way too much. It’s just a really nice movie. (It’s tough to find ways to talk about how things are overrated without resorting to shitting all over movies. Something I’m refusing to do unless it deserves it.)
5. The Disaster Artist
It’s not… that great a movie. I mean, it’s funny, and it works, but really the joy we get from this is that it exists and that it’s this weird little movie about a weird little movie. And I think we all responded to, “Oh wait, this is about something.” But it’s not particularly high cinema. The way this was buzzed about up until now, you’d think we suddenly got Citizen Kane or something. It’s good… but relax. Like that fucking Rick and Morty show. Chill, guys. You’re ruining it for everyone else.
Because it’s just a good war movie. I’m not even sure it’s the best war movie this decade. But I think we all, I think, feel like because it’s Christopher Nolan, and he did that time thing, we all had to think it was amazing. I came out of the theater thinking it was amazing. But I also said, “You know what? Let me wait on this and see it again in a few months to see what I really think about it.” Because I caught myself. I didn’t really know why I liked it so much. In the end, I did like it as much as I thought I did, but I feel like a lot of people, over time, weren’t as impressed by this as the overwhelming reaction would have made it seem. This is one of those that, while most people liked it, I think we can all agree that it’s kind of overrated.
7. Get Out
The only reason this isn’t automatically the #1 most overrated film of the year is because it’s actually more of an original film and probably a better film overall than Wonder Woman. But still — even if you think this is the best movie of the year, it’s still one of the two most overrated movies of the year. It’s just good. It’s not that groundbreaking. It satirizes race. I get it. It works. It’s not as good as people are saying. The worst thing I can hear from people is “Get Out or GTFO” in terms of the Oscars. Or anything. The problem is this is a film championed by the wrong people. The people who feel like unless a movie has some sort of political or social message, there’s no reason to ever see it. And that’s what took this from, “Wow, this is a really great debut and one of the more intriguing and original films of the year,” to, “If you don’t consider this one of the five best movies of the year you’re a piece of shit and a racist.” I’ve actually heard more than two people say to me (with varying degrees off sincerity, but the sentiment was there) that they felt they had to tell people they loved this because they didn’t want to feel ostracized for not liking it. That’s practically the definition of an overrated movie (and fascism).
8. A Ghost Story
There’s always one film I use as my ‘pretension meter’ for a year. This is that one. I feel like there’s a certain segment of the film community that basically ejaculated upon watching this movie. You can swap this out for a small handful of films that are basically the same thing, but this one for sure is the one for me. I mean, I enjoyed it. I appreciate its ambitions and the fact that it was doing something way different from the norm. But it’s not like it reinvented cinema. And however many people wanna ascribe so much thematic significance to all the stuff that happens in this movie, also realize it has a dude standing under a fucking sheet for like 70 minutes and features a seven minute scene where someone eats an entire pie on screen in a single take. There’s like a ten minute scene of a dude mansplaining how life is bullshit. Truly I want someone to explain to me how this is a better overall experience than the movie The Boss Baby. Okay, fine, you think I’m kidding. How about Logan Lucky? How is this better than that? That’s all I’m saying. Just because something is artistic and aims high doesn’t make it the greatest thing in the world.
This is definitely one of those where it’s like — calm the fuck down. It’s a solid horror movie that does a lot of things right. But it’s not like it’s this amazing movie. To me, horror movies have a very low bar to hit to actually be considered good. And for me, most of them never meet it. This one met it by focusing on the actual story of the film, rather than setting up one of the same five scenarios and going through the motions until the jump scares happen. This actually managed to do some interesting stuff. But again, calm down. Once we start getting into Oscar nominations and all that stuff — cool it. I probably wouldn’t get too upset if this was in people’s top ten of the year, just because I could see someone really loving it to the point of putting it there. But I’d also want to see what the rest of that top ten is before I passed judgment, because I feel like a lot of the people who have this in their top ten have more than one of the other films on this list in there as well. Know what I mean?
10. Kong: Skull Island
I had friends say they thought this was the best King Kong movie that’s ever been made. Which is a joke. This movie seems engineered all the way through to me. Which is fine. But so much of it felt like they were going, “Oh, there was too little Godzilla in Godzilla? Well here’s Kong doing a bunch of shit, like killing random sea creatures, and looking off into the distance.” I don’t know. It was fine. People got too excited for this. It feels like one of those movies that feels like a B/B+ that people are trying to turn into an A. Just… let it be a fun movie. No reason to try to say it’s one of the best movies of the year.
This is on here for one reason and one reason only: I saw a review (that the marketing quoted) saying this is on par with epics like Giant and things of that sort. That’s where I draw a motherfuckin’ line. Hold your goddamn horses, right there (and help me bury this old guy). (That was a Mudbound joke for those of you who’ve seen it.) This is nowhere near the level of films like Giant. It’s not even an epic! I don’t even think it spreads out over a couple of years. Like, you see them meeting and getting married, but most of the action is in the same time period. Fucking Giant starts with them getting married, and by the end, their kids have kids! Also… I saw this movie… it’s not that great. It’s very good, but it’s not that great. This movie will not be remembered overly fondly in five years, let alone 50. People will think it was good, but that’s about it. Fortunately, the Netflix thing will (ideally) be moot in a lot of years, but there’s no way this is gonna stand up as one of the best films of the decade. It’s just not. The people who are talking it up as such feel like they’re working from some sort of narrative they’re trying to start. There’s always one film a year they try to do this with — they try to make it way better than it is, which only serves to turn people away from it. This is a movie that’s gotta be nourished, not forced down people’s throats.
12. The Shape of Water
This entry might not be for this film per se, but it’s just my general entry for the big Oscar contender that gets a bunch of awards that a lot of people think just isn’t as great as the awards bodies are saying. You could say it’s this, The Big Sick, Lady Bird, Three Billboards, Florida Project, Darkest Hour — chances are, you strongly agree with one of them. I put this one just because it just got another 12 nominations from BAFTA and seems to be the darling of the awards season, and having gone through an experience where I tried to show this to my mother, father and grandmother (on Christmas Eve, no less) to disastrous results, something tells me a lot of people aren’t gonna understand what this movie is going for. So, I went with this. Despite me really liking all the movies I listed in this entry, I’m sure one of them is legitimately overrated. I’m just not sure which one I think that is yet. So I wanted to acknowledge that (since I am nothing if not attempting to be objective about stuff in spite of my own personal feelings). Plus, anything else I would have put here would have been something I did not agree with or put here simply because it made a bunch of money and sucked (which is not how I consider something overrated) or because it looked great at the beginning of the year and was hyped and didn’t turn out great. Which is more disappointing than overrated. I feel like, at least one of those Oscar movies, someone will have on their list, saying, “It’s just a movie about a woman and a fish,” or, “It’s just a mother-daughter movie,” or “It’s just little kids running around.” So I’m acknowledging whatever backlash or feeling there is out there for any of those movies. Since it’s totally legitimate, even if I think they’re all great.
13. Thor: Ragnarok
This is the Marvel entry. We’re counting this as all three: Spider-Man, Guardians 2 and Ragnarok. You can pick whichever one you want to be the most overrated. I would side with Thor, even if it might have been my favorite of the bunch. I think Spider-Man is ultimately the best, but I had the most fun watching Thor. But fun is one thing. It’s not like it’s the greatest movie. Again, an underutilized Marvel villain, not a whole lot of actually emotional moments, and probable flimsy storytelling that moves so you don’t really pay attention to the problems. (I only saw it the once, so I haven’t thought a whole lot about it, but no Marvel movie is perfect.) Spider-Man — it’s good, but it also has its problems. As does Guardians. I generally reserve one spot a year for Marvel, since people just eat this shit up and talk it up undeservedly. This year, it’s generally more deserved than usual, but still, nothing they’ve made since the first Iron Man has transcended the way Logan did this year. (I’ve already reserved the Infinity War spot for next year, not surprisingly.)
14. War for the Planet of the Apes
I respect the hell out of this franchise, but I bet if I looked closely at this movie… it’s not that great. It’s a lot of war but not a lot of… I don’t really feel like the Caesar character went anywhere in this one. It just kind of felt like his arc peaked at the last one and this was just shit happening around him until an inevitable conclusion. The trilogy was really solid, and deserved all the great reviews… but this is a situation where the movie’s just kinda solid, and its getting a lot of the benefit of the doubt because you respect it so much.
15. Wonder Woman
The most overrated movie of the year. I love it, but even I recognize.. it’s not the best movie. The story is really generic, and is also straight up stealing elements from other movies. It wins on charm, but the whole is way better than the sum of its parts. This is that player that makes the hall of fame on intangibles, because we all feel they’re great, and then you look at their stats on paper and you’re like, “Really? They were a career .267 hitter?” I love the movie, but the way people are talking about this — I’m never gonna underestimate its cultural impact and its importance in that sense… but cinematically, this isn’t the best movie. So let’s not try to bring that into the argument. The fact that people are saying this should be nominated for Best Picture… let’s agree that we want to do it for reasons other than straight up quality, and then I can maybe get on that page. But there’s no denying this is the single most overrated movie of 2017.
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