The Overrated Films of 2018
Welcome to the annual “Calm the Fuck Down” list.
That’s basically what this article is. It’s not to denigrate the quality of each of the films on it. It’s mostly to tell the people who are going a little too hard for them to just cool it a bit. They’re not that great. They didn’t change the face of cinema as we know it, which is what you’d think they did based on everyone’s reaction to them.
Last year, it was Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman was fine. It was fun. It wasn’t a great movie. But no one cared. They had to champion it for everything and if you said something bad about it or said it shouldn’t be nominated for every award known and unknown to man, you were a heretic. That’s overrated. When the internet becomes a publicity machine for your movie, that’s overrated. When a film has its own angry mob, that’s overrated.
This is not an indictment about any of these films. It’s truly just about, “Fucking cool it, guys. It’s fine.”
Here are the films I consider to be the most overrated in 2018:
This was the earliest one for this year. It came out just as I was starting to look into 2018 and start watching movies. By the time I got around to seeing this, you’d have thought it was the greatest movie in the history of the world. All the wrong people were championing this movie. And I’m someone who championed Ex Machina before it got noticed. Even the people around me were like, “I saw it in a theater, it’s amazing.” But after I saw it, I’d go, “What did you see in that?” And I got the sense that it was one of those movies, “I didn’t understand it, but I liked it because it gave off the aura that it was really smart.” I hate that shit. I put this on — it looked like a Netflix movie, the effects looked cheap, the story was impenetrable, the acting was flat, and the whole thing barely held my attention. And people are still talking about how great this is. I don’t get it. I may never get it. If people’s response was just, “I really liked it,” I could say, “I didn’t, but fair.” But people were actively on the bandwagon for this in a way that made me go from, “Well that was okay, but weird,” to, “Fuck that movie.” That, to me, is the epitome of something that belongs on this list.
2. Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel has reserved spots on this list every year. The movies are like, B grade and people are treating them like an A+. “Oh my god, they killed a bunch of people, that’s the most amazing storytelling trick in the history of storytelling!” Sure. It’s fine. They’re just gonna undo it next time. It’s an Avengers movie. It’s overlong, there are too many long sections that don’t matter, there are too many characters, it’s just a jumble of shit. It’s a decent, entertaining movie. It’s not great. It’s just fine. Yet everyone flocks to these. This one actually wasn’t that bad either! This could have been so much worse. It’s overrated, but it’s not sickeningly overrated. And that’s because…
3. Black Panther
Marvel had a second movie this year that was hugely overrated. This is the single most overrated film of 2018. It is. I said it. I’ll keep saying it. It’s just a Marvel movie. It’s not even one of their better ones! The effects are kinda weak, the third act is a mess (that train fight? THAT’S your Shakespearean ending?) — it’s the same mixed bag almost all Marvel movies are. But this, like Wonder Woman, became a cultural phenomenon for reasons beyond the content of the film. And somewhere along the way the actual quality of the film got lost. The fact that I constantly say this should not be nominated for all the Oscars it looks like it’s about to be nominated for and the fact that most people take major issue with my saying that tells me that this is the most overrated movie of 2018. Cultural importance ≠ greatness. If you wanna nominate this because it’s the most “important” film of 2018, then say that. No one is saying that. And until they do, this will be the most overrated movie of 2018.
4. Crazy Rich Asians
This is both overrated and underrated. I’m putting it on here for a very specific reason, and since I don’t want to put it on both lists, I will also explain why it’s underrated. Which I think we’ll begin with. It’s underrated because, seriously, guys, Asians are such an underrepresented race when it comes to movies, and what this movie did for that cannot be overstated. It’s still underrated because this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the roads that need to be paved for better representation. That said… the movie’s just pretty good. Let’s not overrate the quality of the film. It’s a decent little rom com that, if it starred white people, we’d all be saying, “Yeah, whatever.” A film isn’t automatically better because it stars people of different races. A film is a film. What it does for representation is great, but the film quality is just fine. The fact that all of that gets overlooked is what makes this overrated. The key that everyone seems to forget is that the films don’t make themselves overrated. The films are the films. It’s the people who respond to the films who make them overrated. This is our second movie in a row — hugely important for a lot of reasons… still overrated as shit. Calm down, people. The movie’s important, but it’s not that great. It’s just fine.
5. Deadpool 2
This is less overrated than the first one, but also kind of more so. Because this one… reviews were a bit lower, no one really cared as much, yet… made the exact kind of movie the first one did. It wasn’t even as fun. It felt a bit laborious in terms of how it set up its jokes. It felt like it was trying, where the first one just felt like it didn’t give a shit. And people, I feel, are getting into a place with these movies where they’re not willing to hold them accountable or up to any particular standard. They’re just gonna go and they’re gonna keep saying they love them and it’s not gonna give the filmmakers any incentive to make them any better (see: The DC universe).
6. Eighth Grade
I hate to do this, but I have to. This movie was a lovely surprise and was one of the most delightful films of 2018. But people are still talking this up a bit too much. My method on things like that is to underplay them. Get people to want to see it. You always want to see the movies when someone is really passionate about them. No one wants to see movies when it’s like, “Oh my god, you haven’t seen (that)? What’s wrong with you?” That’s why I make this list, and that’s why movies like this are on it. It’s a very delightful movie and it feels appropriate for where youth culture is now. But personally, if I’m looking at a movie that really feels what it’s like to be a certain age from the past few years, I’m looking at Lady Bird. But that’s me. I think this is a very good movie, but I also think people are overrating it. I have no vitriol to spew at this one, but I do think it’s overrated.
7. First Reformed
I almost left this one off the list because it looked like I wouldn’t have to deal with this throughout the rest of awards season. But that didn’t make it any less worthy of this list, so here it is. Why is this being listed as people’s favorite movie of 2018? I don’t get it. I mean, sure, you’re entitled to like it, but this is by people I wouldn’t expect to have this on their list. And any time I ask what they loved about it, they’re not able to explain it, and it strikes me as the kind of thing they loved because they felt they should love it based on the critical and audience response to it. I watched it (after three months of hearing people go nuts about it), and I said, “This is just boring Taxi Driver.” And that’s what I feel. It’s the slow build of Taxi Driver without the payoff at the end. It looked great, but it’s slow and didn’t add up to a whole lot. It felt a lot like most of Paul Shrader’s other movies to me. But people are still talking about what a masterpiece this is, to the point where I just don’t even wanna go back and try to find out what it is they’re seeing. I get that a movie like this, it needs a certain bit of overrating in order to get people to see it who may not otherwise, but there comes a point where you start turning people away from the movie. Or worse, you sell it to the point where there’s no way they’ll actually like it, because they’re expecting something the movie can’t give. Calm down on this one, it’s just okay.
8. Game Night
I wasn’t expecting this one to make it, because I liked this movie. It was fun. But the thing with comedy nowadays… most of them are so terrible that when a decent one comes along, people grab onto it like a door in the middle of the ocean when you just went down with an unsinkable boat and are all out of sorts because ten minutes earlier you were fucking that poor guy you met in a car. Watching it a second time, I was less high on it than I was the first time. And I’ve seen some people say it’s a top ten film for them. Cool it, guys, it’s just fine. You’re starved for comedy, I get it. But we don’t have to overrate every half decent one that comes along.
Wasn’t expecting this, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Here’s a movie that should have been great. “Another Halloween movie!” “David Gordon Green!” “Jamie Lee Curtis is back!” Even I got excited for this, and it got to the point where I thought about going to see it opening weekend (which I would normally not do for something like this). But the movie… just kind of fell flat. And while I don’t necessarily think people are still hyping this up, I feel like it was unfairly hyped up before it came out, which still counts. Overrated is overrated. I don’t really have the dislike of this that I do some of the other overrated films on this list (and again, that dislike isn’t for the film, it’s for the fervor surrounding the films), but I am pretty disappointed in how it all turned out.
Every year some horror movie comes out that they proclaim the best horror movie in a decade. And they overrate it to the point where everyone rushes out and sees it and has the same opinion because they want to fit in with the group. This is that movie for 2018. And I will say, yet again — I think this movie is a secret comedy. I laughed in the theater. The moment that was supposedly the scariest in the film, I could not stop myself from laughing in an otherwise silent theater. I think this movie was hilarious. That said, calm down, people. It’s not that amazing. It was perfectly solid and then ruined it all in the last twenty minutes. The way people are talking about this, you’d think it’s already on the list with the great horror movies of all time. Cool it, guys. Only time’s gonna tell that. And also, can we first test this theory of mine that it’s really a comedy before we set anything in stone?
11. Incredibles 2
I’ve been saying since this came out — I don’t think this is a very good movie. And every time I said that, someone would say, “Shut up, it’s amazing.” Now I think, as people rewatch it, they’re starting to come around to my side of the fence. It’s a Pixar sequel. Which means, by and large, it’s unnecessary. They’ve built their cache on original ideas that are, 90% of the time, great. Sequels just feel like they water down the brand. Toy Story managed to overcome it, but the others all felt weak. Monsters University, Cars 2 (and 3). Finding Dory isn’t as great on the second watch. But the way people responded to this, it was like the second coming of Christ or something. I personally don’t love the first Incredibles, I just think it’s solid Pixar and not top of the line Pixar, but everyone has their favorites. That doesn’t matter. To me, though, people screaming about how genius this was really did feel a lot like when Zootopia came out. And it was like, “Oh my god, can you believe what it’s saying about society?” And I’m like, “That phones are bad?/That racism is bad?” I don’t know. This is one of those movies where people felt like they overrated it so much that I actively started to dislike the movie. And it was perfectly enjoyable. I guess the real motto is: people ruin everything.
12. Paddington 2
Sorry guys. I know you all love Paddington. But it’s overrated. It’s delightful, sure. But the movie is just a fun little kids movie. This, for a time, was the highest rated movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes. Or maybe it still is. I don’t know, and I honestly don’t really care. My point is — are you fucking serious? When did the Peruvian bear become sacrosanct? It’s just fine. This is not the greatest movie ever made, this is not a movie you need to put on your top ten list to look cool. It’s just okay. If you truly love these movies, then that’s fine. But if you’re just loving them because that seems like the thing to do, stop it.
13. A Quiet Place
This got nominated for the PGA Award for Best Picture, and you’re saying it’s not overrated? It’s a horror movie with a good concept that for once decided not to use jump scares and handheld cameras. That’s it. That’s all it does. They use sign language and there’s not a lot of sound in the movie. He shoots it classically. The terror is from stillness and situation. These are the basic tenets of filmmaking that the horror genre has ignored for the past decade in order to get a quick buck in their opening weekend. The Exorcist is still considered one of the scariest movies ever made. That movie spends over an hour without anything really happening. It’s all set up to the exorcism at the end. It’s a slow build. People went way too nuts for this movie, in a way that I’m still not able to explain. It’s just pretty good. It’s well made, and it works, but people are talking about this like it’s a masterpiece. They’re pushing this for Best Picture! My favorite part about saying these movies are overrated is getting the people who start screaming back about how they aren’t, and how other movies are more overrated than these. Which is exactly the kind of thing that proves my point. This movie is a B+ and it’s being treated like an A. It’s just pretty good. That’s it.
14. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Let me start by saying — I was wrong about this movie. I thought it was there as a cash grab and was basically just gonna be a straight to DVD movie they released theatrically to capitalize on Spider-Man’s popularity. Even when people started raving about this in he weeks leading up to release, I was like, “Of course. Media machine creating a narrative that people will just accept and perpetuate blindly.” But you know what? This movie was really enjoyable and this movie had some of the most unique animation of 2018. It was a really fun movie. That said… not the best animated movie for the year. The most uniquely animated, sure. But not the best animated. Other films were better composed and directed and written. This movie was just a lot of fun and the fact that it felt like a breath of fresh air in the wasteland of studio animated releases is partly what led to it being overrated. That and the fact that all superhero movies get overrated to a point in today’s age. The animation does make me say it’s better than it is, when it’s just a pretty solid and fun animated movie. People are going nuts over this. Honestly, put a one-dimensional message on top of it, and you almost have Zootopia all over again. It’s just fun, people. This will be forgotten in five years. It’s just a decent animated movie. Let’s not pretend like anything outside of Disney/Pixar/Ghibli has had any staying power save like, three movies in the past twenty years.
15. A Wrinkle in Time
The underrated overrated movie of the year. Everyone forgot about this. I didn’t. The first four months of this year, this movie was promoted to the fucking hilt. Everyone was excited about this. They sold this as a masterpiece from a “visionary” director. They sold this as this huge movie that was gonna be amazing. And then it came out and sucked and everyone moved on and forgot all the bullshit they were spewing. I had to sit and listen to everyone overrating this movie before it came out, and then once it sucked, it was like when the NRA stops tweeting for three days after every mass shooting. Nuh uh. You don’t get off that easily. You have to own it. I own it when I say dumb shit. I just owned up to it for Spider-Man in the last entry. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. But no one seems to want to own up to this being one of the most overrated movies for the first quarter of this year. The interesting thing is, what the quality of this ended up being for most people is generally how I see a lot of these overrated movies. It’s just fine. There are problems, there might be a lot of problems. It’s when you start pretending like there aren’t that we have to put things on this list.
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