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Son of Frankenstein (1939)
Underrated, thy name is "Son of Frankenstein"...
Definitely the most underrated of the three "Karloff-as-Monster" films. To my mind, it's the one that plays best today. Bela Legosi gives his finest, most understated performance as Ygor. The cinematography is spectacular. Lionel Atwill's performance is my favorite of his (and one of the few times he didn't play a villain). I could go on and on ad infinitum, but I don't see the reason to. The film speaks for itself. It gets one of my highest recommendations.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Overrated, and hardly deserving of the "Best Picture" award...
The idea that this common romantic comedy actually won the "Best Picture" Oscar is absolutely perplexing to me. Don't get me wrong, it is a good movie, but not a great one. It's a light, airy romp full of attractive actors acting like actors. Nothing more. Perhaps after years of choosing "heavy" movies, the Academy just wanted something light. I think that's disappointing.
I didn't feel that any of the performances were Oscar-worthy (that award is just going to cause Gwyneth Paltrow's already huge ego to swell up even more). This is the second year in a row in which the undeserving film won the award. L.A. Confidential should have won in 1997, just as Saving Private Ryan should have won in '98. It's unfortunate. I hope this downward trend ceases.
American Pie (1999)
What can be said, besides "bleargh"...
After all the hype surrounding this flick, I expected to laugh. I didn't. At a couple points, I smiled. I thought the relationship between Jim and his father was fairly well done. But otherwise, this is just another worthless teen comedy, kowtowing to the least discriminating of audiences. Is it too much to ask for a comedy that makes me laugh? There hasn't been maybe of those in a the past few years. Most of them are more obsessed with making penis jokes. It makes me want to spit.
Urban Legend (1998)
And the resurgence continues downward...
If it were up to me, I'd eliminate Scream from existence.
Because it spawned trash like Urban Legend.
I am most definitely not the biggest Scream fan. I wasn't fond of the film at all. But it made a respectable attempt to poke fun at one of the most moribund genres in movie history: the slasher film. Therefore, I had no beef with it.
Of course, then came the clones. And the second smearing of horror's name in the last two decades. Whiles the eighties had such classics as the original Nightmare on Elm Street and Hellraiser, most eighties horror consisted of explicit gore and dead teenagers. Nothing scary.
The early to mid-nineties started off well for horror, I thought. We had intelligent horror films like Candyman and Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Well-written horror that was actually scary. Then came Scream. And all that changed.
Scream ushered in a brand of horror that was self-referential, utilizing humor and gore over suspense and scares. Every horror movie since has followed the same formula. There's no such thing as originality anymore. Gone are the days of creative horror movies, such as the Phantasm and Evil Dead series. In are schlock films such as Urban Legends, wherein teenagers walk around darkly lit rooms and bump into each other, screaming and spouting ridiculous dialogue until they're bumped off by the mad slasher. Films that, as I said, place gore and humor above scares.
Is it so wrong to want to be scared by a horror film? Is it so wrong to want to have the same feeling I got when I saw the original Halloween, taking in the creepy atmosphere, the suspense? Is it so wrong to want to see a horror film that keeps me at the edge of my seat, instead of making me laugh at its complete ineptitude and self-referential story (or lack thereof)? Am I not "with it"?
It seems so. True horror fans are being given the shaft, so that fans of poorly-acted, unoriginal slasher flicks full of the popular teenage actors of the day can be appeased and exploited, in an attempt to bring in the almighty dollar. The very thought makes me sick.