Lists by Tin_ear
The following films have an obvious agenda or are otherwise hopelessly out of touch with common sense (or decency). For lack of a better word these films are pretentious. They pretend to be something they clearly aren't.
Some movies bear a subtle yet undeniable fingerprint of an uncredited inspiration. That's a polite (and legally safe) way of suggesting the filmmaker ripped his idea off from some poor sucker. Mind you many films are similar to earlier ones, that is inevitable, and parallel thinking is not impossible. But if you even have to wonder if something is stolen, it is already, and at very least, a bad sign you're watching a hackneyed idea at work.
Here are some less-noted but circumstantial cases of theft (needless to say, I will disregard the comically blatant cases of hackdom and save Avatar and the Turkish Superman knock-off for another list). Let the indignant outrage and incredulous comments ensue.
The overrated movie list. (Note: This list is based on the popularity of films according to IMDb score, thus will tend to skew toward more iconic and modern titles.) If you're of the mind wildly popular or acclaimed films are beyond criticism, you are deluded. Let me explain why.
There is nothing more disheartening than tapping out of a movie after half an hour realizing that it has no potential and is not going to get better (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly). Conversely, there is nothing as painful as sitting through a snoozer after you've made a commitment for three hours (Avatar). Normally I could care less about feedback but this is one of the few times that I'd like to have someone set me straight. Please tell me which of these is legitimately worth a shot, because my ability to judge quality from a trailer is terrible and I haven't seen a good movie in long time. These look the most promising.
Good films should be celebrated, but enough with The Godfather and Taxi Driver and Pulp Fiction already. They are great, but these movies make everybody's "greatest list." Here are some great films that practically nobody has ever seen. Some alternatives to watching Raiders of the Lost Ark on DVD for the fiftieth time. At this point you have to be getting kind of sick of watching the Nazis' faces melt off. You might have a hard time finding some of these outside of Netflix, but if you want to see them for free, check out TCM, Hulu, or Youtube.
Don't take this list as a sign of these individuals' lack of talent or range. Take this list as evidence of the waste of that amazing talent and range, sometimes by circumstances out of their control (but usually not). They have a gift when it comes to making movies yet they have so little to show for it. (As an indicator, just count how many times I use the word "mediocre" or mention the film Dune.)
And for those of you too dumb to get the gag, the last one is obviously not referring a real person named "James Bond."
Think of it as jumping the shark. Perhaps the scriptwriters simply ran out of ideas. Maybe a director got a tad too overzealous with his "artistic vision." Perhaps it was simply a bold move gone disastrously wrong or studio interference. Whatever it may be, the movies below illustrate how a single ill-advised plotting decision can sabotage otherwise great films.
And if you have enough free time on your hands to read this you might as well give some feedback. Your Barbara Streisand fan-page updates and Facebook personality quizzes can wait a few minutes, Kyle.
Somebody once observed that movies adapted from Stephen King books are almost always better than the books themselves. Now that I've read a King novel it got me thinking. Please comment or suggest some others if you can think of any noteworthy paper-to-celluloid classics I missed.
It certainly seems that more remakes than ever are being greenlit, which makes sense when you consider there are only so many good ideas left. Perhaps that is true, but there remains a long tradition of official retreads and 'reboots' in film history; Cecil B. DeMille remade his own Ten Commandments and famously reshot Squaw Man three separate times in twenty years. I've covered rip offs, it's only fair I cover official remakes. Adaptations of wildly popular books or legends, or that otherwise do not owe its story or existence to a preceding incarnation (The Talented Mr Ripley, The Thing, Batman, Dracula, etc.) do not count.
For simplicity's sake I'll exclude the 'lesser' film.
If there is a hell, these films are surely screening there. These few, select, bottom-feeding bombs are not merely bad but define what it means to be a failed film. I don't mock to feel good about myself but out of genuine outrage that filmmakers can get this crap made and widely distributed while legitimately interesting scripts and directors are ignored (or worse languish in t.v.).
To attempt to rank the list from most irredeemable to merely stupefyingly awful is beside the point, each film is horrendous in its own unique way, all deserving of their rare "one star" rating. They are not "so bad they're good," they just suck. This is a crash course in incompetence.
These are the films I feel have been given a short shrift by the film review world or audiences in general. By my own judgement these films rank at least one or more stars higher than what IMDb represents. They are by no means all great or equal to each other, just under-appreciated.
Like high school year-book photos and fashion, movies too age, often horribly. Some only improve with time and solidify their prestige like Casablanca or Gone With the Wind. Others go the way of the beehive and paisley shirts.
Just because your high-school english teacher ruined The Bard for you at a tender age doesn't mean you can't still enjoy him on the big screen. Coincidentally I'm still waiting for a great Timon of Athens adaptation.
There is a reason comedians describe unsuccessful stand-up performances as "dying" on stage. Bad comedy is painful for all involved. Anyway, here are some movies that are definitely worth your time.
All feedback is appreciated.
Sure, 'definitive' is hyperbole, but I can tell you that I have lost too many hours of my life watching and thinking about this fictional movie character to let them go to complete waste.
T.v. is supposedly the "writer's medium." Unfortunately that's probably because the small screen is full of falling or not yet risen stars, is devoid of interesting directors, and rewards creative mediocrity (it's hard enough to have one good story idea a year let alone twenty-two), seriously, what would you you expect from a medium with an executive title as literal and lackluster as "showrunner."
Where a lot of writers can adapt other's work (sorry, Paul Schrader) or produce a single decent original story amid a bag full of duds (Tarantino) or specialize exclusively in niche-skills like writing great dialogue (who else would you guess but John Milius), the following are noteworthy for having a consistently high batting average creating their own original content. They hit pay-dirt repeatedly. Good writing in my mind is about quality not quantity, and preferably an expression of a single mind not a platoon. Rarified air if ever there was in the business.
I named the worst endings, now let me list some of the climaxes that I feel are the best in cinema. I'll try not to give too much away. A terrible ending can destroy a film, so too a great one can elevate or even make a movie.
I intended this to just include the best twenty movies made in the last twenty years (beginning in '92 and ending in 2012) but I find with the accessibility of great films available, what with Netflix and Hulu, etc., the list is woefully incomplete and scope too narrow.