5. The Blind Side
What is it about: The movie tells the story of Michael, a young black homeless kid who is offered a second chance in life after a woman ( played by Sandra Bullock) welcomes him to live with her and her family in their home. He becomes part of the family and after going to school they notice that he is also a talented athlete. So they want to help him use his talent and potential.
Why is it overrated: What were they thinking when they made this movie? Let’s make a fairy tale about a black boy being accepted in a white suburban home and lets add some pseudo inspirational sports plot so everybody can enjoy it? This movie being considered as one of the 10 best movies of that year is just a shame for the Academy.
It can’t be white guilt, If so, they would have given the award for Best Actress to Gabourey Sidibe (Precious). But hey, Sandra Bullock playing a well to do white woman, must have been a real stretch for her, we all know. The movie has the taste of a 90’s low budget family drama TV series. It is not interestingly directed and it lacks something that should have been their number one priority, sincere feelings.
4. The Tree Of Life
What is it about: The Tree Of Life is a movie directed by Terrence Malick. It tells the story of Jack and his complex relationship with his father. It is a movie that deals with existential dilemmas, with very little dialogue and a lot of vivid images.
Why is it overrated: Because it is too tiring, too experimental and too…boring. The images are fascinating and so is the concept but it lacks clarity. The scenes mostly have no connection to each other and that makes it hard for the audience to focus and understand what is going on. Yes, we get it, it looks artsy and it imposes you to not speak bad about it.
But Mr. Malick, we can’t get inside your head like that and experience things as you do. So maybe you should try harder to make things simpler. Maybe also a bit more interesting so we can enjoy being part of your weird world. Maybe next time you can use less imagery and more dialogue because there are top actors out there that would work for you for free.
3. The Departed
What is it about: The Departed is the parallel story of two cops, Billy Costigan (Leo Di Caprio) who is infiltrated by the police as an undercover agent to investigate Irish mob boss Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), and Collin Sullivan (Matt Deamon) infiltrated in the police department for the sole reason to report to Costello. It is chase of cat and mouse, a game intriguing and dangerous at the same time with the goal to reveal the identity of their counterpart without blowing out their own.
Why is it overrated: If you’d show all of Scorsese’s movies to someone who hasn’t seen them and then ask them to choose one movie that would win him an academy award for best director, be sure that he would never in a million years pick The Departed.
While the movie itself isn’t bad at all because it’s still a Scorsese movie, it lacks style and patience and it looks too fast paced at times. With Di Caprio exaggeration in showcasing his emotions at times (he should have used more of that on Revolutionary Road) and Nicholson overdoing it with his improvising as if they didn’t mail him the script on time, the movie looks too chaotic at times.
Even the badass ending doesn’t save it. Maybe the adaptation of a Hong Kong thriller to a film about the Irish mob in Boston wasn’t the best idea. How hard is it for a guy who’s name is Martin Scorsese to find an original screenplay anyway?
2. The King’s Speech
What is it about: A King’s Speech tells the story of George VI, a well known stutterer, who is set to become king after his father dies. Being in the verge of war and dealing with the low morale of the people, who desperately seek for a true leader, he hires a speech therapist to overcome his humiliating problem and be ready for a radio-address to inspire his people and unite them for the war that is at their door.
Why is it overrated: Because it just sets the bar lower than it already has gotten. The movie is basically only the Firth and Rush scenes, due to their amazing chemistry. They are a joy to watch. When they are not in the same scene, the movie just gets boring and almost unbearable. The movie’s purpose of uplifting you vanishes quickly as it becomes too comical and predictable.
It is more of a parody than a historical drama (full of untold stories, but that’s another issue). The taste of parody remains, if you think back now after 5 years that this movie won the Academy Awards for Best Picture. How did it come to that? Was it the accent? Firth’s charm? The somehow weird underdog story that has become such a cliche? Did Harvey Weinstein strike once again? We don’t know. All we know is that it is as forgettable as Shakespeare In Love, and maybe rightfully so.
1. The Hurt Locker
What it is about: The Hurt Locker is an action thriller directed by Kathryn Bigelow, it tells the story of three soldiers during the Iraq war dealing with bombs and disposing them. Set in a very difficult time they have to deal with leftover bombs and diffuse them before it’s too late.
Why is it overrated: Before saying anything that might sound offensive, it needs to be said that the movie is pretty great. Everybody who likes war movies or action thrillers will enjoy this to the fullest. Second, it is THE MOST OVERRATED WAR MOVIE OF ALL TIME.
Let me explain, Apocalypse Now, Born On The Fourth Of July, Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan all are war movies that run circles around The Hurt Locker in every imaginable way. From the cinematography to the directing to the screenplay and even star power. Somehow the Academy neglected them and they never got the recognition they deserved. Thankfully that time did them justice and that they are now being showered with nothing but praise in retrospect.
However, that is not the case for for The Hurt Locker. For a movie like that to win 5 of the most important Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director is a travesty. It just lacks the depth that all the previously mentioned movies have. Some scenes are just too long and repetitive (we get it, they dispose bombs, we don’t need four exact scenes to understand).
It sometimes even lacks purpose. Kathryn should have used less documentary style and more real American war movie style where soldiers cry, die, do drugs, have sex, fight and self destruct. America has an established record of being able to make impressive war movies that feel raw and gritty.
However, it is safe to say that the American war movies about the Middle East have failed to live up to the standard that was set by its predecessors that depicted Vietnam or WWII. Maybe time will do wonders for the Middle East war movies subgenre. And perhaps world peace too? “I’m a f*cking dreamer, man!”