While it’s not fun admitting you loved a movie that everyone else hated, it’s perhaps even tougher to come out and admit you didn’t get a movie everyone else loved. Maybe it was an Academy Award winner that received lavish praise from critics but you just didn’t find all that compelling. Or maybe it was a huge blockbuster that made millions at the box office but left you feeling under-whelmed.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about several movies I secretly loved that weren’t well received by critics or fans, but I thought this time it might be fun to turn the tables and write about popular movies I didn’t like as much as others seemed to. It was actually a little tougher to put together this list than I originally thought it would be. I guess I find myself defending movies I think are under-rated more often than I argue movies are over-rated (not sure what that says about my taste in films). 😉 I’m also curious to see what movies you don’t care for that make you feel like the “odd man out.”
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 88 percent
Box office: $2 billion worldwide
“Titanic” was an undeniable hit for director James Cameron. It won several Academy Awards, including “Best Picture,” and it still ranks among the highest grossing films of all time. Entertainment Weekly even included it in its recent list of the best movies ever made. Unfortunately, I have to confess I wasn’t quite feeling the magic.
The film’s final half — where the Titanic sinks — is a genuinely gut-wrenching special effects masterpiece, and it does a good job capturing the heartbreaking reality of one of the most famous tragedies of the modern era. However, for me the first half of the film isn’t quite as compelling. I’m not sure why the doomed romance between Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) just didn’t work for me. DiCaprio and Winslet have both proven to be fine actors and have had solid careers post-“Titanic,” but I just didn’t buy into their love story here.
Maybe more character development, or a stronger story in the film’s first half would have helped me connect with the characters more. I still think “Titanic” is a good film — just not as good as it could have been.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 98 percent
Box office: $700 million worldwide
For many years, Pixar was the film studio that could do no wrong, and their movies have (almost) always been well-received by critics and film goers. “Up” was no exception to this. However, this remains my least favorite out of all the Pixar movies I’ve seen.
It’s not that I don’t like the concept for the film. On paper, it sounds like a whimsical, charming movie: a story about a lonely elderly man who ties dozens of balloons to his house, causing it to float away and take him on an adventure. And the montage at the beginning of the film — telling how the man met, fell in love with and eventually lost his wife — is a sweet, tear-jerking expression of true love.
Yet at least for me, the rest of the film just doesn’t have the same power. “Up” strikes me as a great idea for a short film Pixar tried too hard to stretch into a full-length feature. Various elements in the final film — including a stowaway scout, a “talking” dog, and a villainous hunter — don’t quite come together. I felt the film ultimately didn’t make the same impact as some of Pixar’s other films, such as “Wall-E” or “Toy Story.”
“The Dark Knight” (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 94 percent
Box office: $1 billion worldwide
I’ve come to terms with the fact I’m probably the only person on the planet who thinks “The Dark Knight Rises” is a better movie than “The Dark Knight.” 😉 I do believe Christopher Nolan’s darkly epic Batman trilogy is one of the greatest superhero sagas on film, but the second film in the trilogy — “The Dark Knight” — has perhaps been over-praised, and I don’t find it to necessarily be a superior film to the other two movies in the trilogy.
I won’t dispute the fact “The Dark Knight” is a good film, and I’ll even admit it is a great one. It features a chilling performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker and is widely thought of as one of the all-time best superhero films. But for whatever reason, I ended up not enjoying the film as much as “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Maybe the film was just a little too dark for me, and I didn’t find myself connecting with the characters the same way I did in the other two films. I own the other two movies in Nolan’s “Batman” saga, but — and you can go ahead and call me crazy 😉 — this one just didn’t quite work for me personally.
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 83 percent
Box office: Almost $3 billion worldwide
I promise, I’m not meaning to single out James Cameron with this list. 😉 “Avatar” did receive well-deserved praise for its eye-popping visual effects, and it is an important technical marvel in the history of film. It also currently ranks as the highest-grossing film of all time and was nominated for a “Best Picture” Oscar.
And yet, at least for me, the film’s plot and characters aren’t quite on the same level as the special effects. I remember watching the film in the theater soon after it was released and loving it from a technical standpoint, but at the same time, I couldn’t shake a slight feeling of disappointment.
I’m curious to see how this film ages, especially since I feel many of the big-budget blockbusters that have been released post-“Avatar” have been able to match “Avatar’s” level of special effects but had stronger plots/characters.
So, what films do others love that you personally don’t care for? Is there a classic film you don’t like that frequently shows up on “best films of all time” lists? What major blockbusters left you mystified about their popularity?