Is Crash the most controversial Oscar Best Picture winner? It’s certainly up there. If anything, it’s the most surprising one. The only major precursor it won was the SAG ensemble award. It was also the second film in history to take home the Best Picture prize without earning a Globe nomination for Best Picture in any of the three major categories. Its win was a statistical anomaly, so naturally, people were pretty upset that it won over the favorite, Brokeback Mountain.
Best Picture nonsense aside, people genuinely love the movie. In fact, its IMDb rating is actually higher than Brokeback Mountain. That’s almost as much of an outrage as the controversial Oscar win. Crash is an overly safe drama that shoves the central message down the viewer’s throat until he or she can’t breathe.
There’s no subtlety to be found in this two-hour preach fest. The big theme isn’t problematic or anything. It just doesn’t need to be so annoyingly preachy. The same message can be delivered in a way that isn’t so in-your-face.
The SAG ensemble win was warranted. The cast does a phenomenal job even when the script makes you want to roll your eyes in the back of your head. It’s just not enough to save a flawed movie. Is it worth a watch? Absolutely. It’s just not worth the rating that it has been given.
Zack Snyder has had it rough recently with his apparent undoing of the DC Extended Universe. To be fair, Batman v. Superman was an unmitigated disaster and Justice League wasn’t all that much better. What’s surprising is the fact that people are just now realizing that Snyder isn’t exactly a hitmaker.
Sure, there were some people who caught on pretty quickly to the fact that his movies lacked substance, but a lot of people thought of 300 as action masterpiece when in reality it’s an overly masculine circle jerk with a sepia filter slapped onto it.
300 basically aims to be the manliest movie of all time. It’s two hours of scantily clad beefcakes hitting each other with pointy sticks while screaming at the top of their lungs. As a bonus, there’s an implied rape scene because apparently there’s nothing more masculine than dominating a defenseless woman.
Yes, there are plenty of great movies aimed at men, but 300 isn’t one of them. It’s so caught up in wearing masculinity on its sleeve that it forgets to include character development and plot. Instead, it’s a whole lot of violence without a whole lot of purpose. Say what you will about Mad Max: Fury Road’s non-stop action, but at least that has some social commentary. 300 is just empty-headed.
With all of that out of the way, why were people surprised to see a very grumpy Superman blowing up buildings and killing countless innocent people? That’s Snyder’s thing, after all. Excessive violence aimed at teenage boys is what sells tickets for him, so he had no reason to change the formula just because the material really could have benefited from some depth.
8. The Blind Side
The Blind Side is generally considered one of the worst Academy Award nominees for Best Picture. It’s not quite as detested as 2011’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, but the response to the nomination was still anything but positive.
Most people believe that the surprise nomination convinced the Academy to once again change up the rules regarding the number of Best Picture nominees. In theory, that would prevent filler movies like The Blind Side from sneaking into the competition again. Basically, this movie helped undo the changes made after 2008’s controversy.
With all of that in mind, it’s a little shocking to go on IMDb and see that The Blind Side has a very respectable 7.7 rating. Considering the backlash, it’s odd to see it scored higher than Moonlight, Selma, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and The Tree of Life. Few people complained about these nominations, yet they still managed to earn a less enthusiastic response from the general public.
This could be because The Blind Side is a very safe movie compared to something like The Tree of Life or Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s a movie made for average Joes who happen to have an IMDb account. The main people complaining about the nomination are snobbier, artsier film snobs.
To be fair, the film snobs are one-hundred percent right to complain. The Blind Side is too tame for its own good. It’s only successful because it’s able to manipulate the audience with tired clichés and semi-powerful acting.
The film’s inability to take risks is a problem from a critical perspective, but it also helped the movie earn tons of money and tons of fans. People love the movie precisely because it checks off the melodramatic boxes. The fact that it’s unable to do anything more than that is only liable to affect certain people who simply don’t outweigh the majority.
This list features a lot of subpar action movies that people have mistaken for good action movies. Taken, for example, may have made Liam Neeson into an action superstar, but it isn’t a good movie. Sure, the “very particular set of skills” monologue remains insanely quotable, but the rest of the movie is pretty standard stuff. As an escapist action movie, it’s definitely watchable. It’s just a shame that the movie couldn’t have done more to embrace its inherent silliness.
That’s the movie’s biggest downfall. It can’t decide if it wants to be a schlocky action movie or a serious thriller. It leads toward the former, but the serious subject matter and occasionally grim tone undermine the fun. If it was more willing to embrace its absurdity, it wouldn’t veer into unintentional hilarity like it does on several occasions. It’s all good fun most of the time, but that tonal imbalance makes it an awkward viewing experience.
Liam Neeson is undoubtedly the highlight here. The grouchy badass makes the movie far more enjoyable than it should be. In fact, his performance may be the reason people are so forgiving of the uneven tone and unoriginal plot. With an absurdly high 7.8 IMDb rating, people clearly love Taken for some reason. Let’s give credit to the lead performance because there’s not much else worth praising.
For some reason Warrior sits at #153 in the IMDb top 250 at the time of writing. Its score is higher than Rocky, The Fighter, The Wrestler, and The Karate Kid. It’s the third-highest rated fighting movie on the website below only Fight Club and Raging Bull. Too bad it borrows all of its strongest aspects from better movies.
While Warrior is an incredibly well-made movie, it doesn’t have an original bone in its body. It relies so much on an established formula that it’s hard to tell apart from the competition. The acting is strong, but the movie is a snore for people who have been forced to sit through countless similar films.
Seriously, the melodramatic sports movie thing was done the year before with the release of The Fighter. Warrior switches it to MMA and proceed to earn heaps of praise from the movie-going public. The dialogue is riddled with cliches, the story has been done to death, and everything is a bit predictable. We get it IMDb, you love Tom Hardy. Now can we please judge his movies fairly?
In Warrior’s defense, this article is making the movie sound worse than it is. There’s a lot to like in the movie. It just doesn’t deserve to be rated this highly. It’s not one of the top 250 movies of all time. It’s an above average fighting flick thanks to strong performances, but nobody needs to watch it if they’ve seen the movies it takes inspiration from.