Say It One Time for the Overrated

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The Onion's AV Club celebrates Classic Movies It's OK to Hate. This is the kind of catalogue that should have at least 40 or 50 entries, instead of just 10, and even with this short list there are some I disagree with. (Anybody who doesn't think Carrie is a career-best for everybody involved, including even the King of Horror, should have his/her head examined.) But they're all interesting, if historically limited, picks. My favorite:

Network (1976)

Reputation: Network is widely considered a savage, visionary satire that uncannily predicts the sordid state of television's future and the rise of reality programming.

Why it's okay to hate it: Network is too choked with bitterness to be funny, and Paddy Chayefsky's revered dialogue sounds so mannered that the characters might as well be speaking in iambic pentameter. Furthermore, Chayefsky repeatedly violates the dictum "show, don't tell." He doles out his heavy-handed messages in shrill monologues. And does predicting that network television and its audience will grow increasingly degraded and desperate qualify as Nostradamus-like prescience, or mere common sense?

Dissent from Keith: Network is still better than all the cutting satires before it that suggested television might not just be dumb, but also dangerous. Wait? There weren't any? Hmmm…

Everything's right except the dissent. (For pre-Network satires specifically arguing that TV was stupid and dangerous, see A Face In the Crowd, Fahrenheit 451, Rollerball, and about a bazillion other movies. For the generally negative view big-screen productions have always taken of the small screen, see All That Heaven Allows, Putney Swope, The Thrill of It All, and just about every other movie that has ever featured television in the plot.) As with just about every good Sidney Lumet movie, 95 percent of what's good about Network—by my calculation, assembling a Mt. Rushmore cast of craggy-faced superstars; shooting dialogue scenes as action scenes; and not using a soundtrack—is Lumet's own contribution. (And all of these strengths can be seen to better advantage in Dog Day Afternoon.) The highly praised Paddy Chayefsky script contains some funny lines and Beatrice Straight's Oscar®-winning speech, but for my money the most interesting thing about it is its political ambidexterity: The anti-capitalism and contempt for the American populace ensure the good will of the left, while the dripping hatred of blacks and Arabs pleases conservatives and New Republic liberals. It's political uplift with a capital P.U.

Anyway, check out all the overrated classics.

NEXT: Free Rush Redux! Or, Move Along, Nothing's Up Here....

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  1. Star Wars

    Why it’s okay to hate it: You know what else the Indiana Jones movies had? Clever dialogue and snappy pacing, two elements Star Wars sorely lacks. Remove Harrison Ford’s swaggering charisma from Star Wars, and what’s left? The Phantom fucking Menace. And has there ever a soggier slice of white bread than Mark Hamill? The prequels didn’t violate the timeless genius of Star Wars; their awkward dialogue and stiff performances simply carried on the wooden tradition of Lucas’ 1977 original.

    FINALLY! Someone besides me who thinks this.

  2. I sorely disagree with The Shawshank Redemption. It’s one of the few movies I’ve seen that really, beautifully, portray the struggle fighting the inept law and corrupt government to do what they know is right. Not feel is right, not think is right, know is right. I loved it. Still do.

  3. Your comments about “Network” were hel of sweet. I will be repesenting them as my own thoughts for the rest of my natural life

  4. “Network” was definitely over the top in its day. But it is one of the prime examples of my own saying, “there is no satire so outrageous that it won’t someday come true.”

    My problem with “Network” has nothing to do with the nits you guys picked. It’s that the movie’s hit-you-over-the-head impact — at full force when I saw it during its original theatrical run, as a young twenty-something munching popcorn in a tiny theatre on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley — is now well and fully Nerfed by real developments in TV networks and their news coverage throughout the ensuing decades. In one word, “Network” is now tame, even quaint. Network news a circus? Duh. Cameras following people in their “real lives” and distorting those lives away from reality as a result? Duh again.

    “Network” was in the right place at the right time; it really wouldn’t have worked much before or after it was released. It has not aged gracefully — we might even see it on Cinema Insomnia someday. But during it’s moment, it was as powerful as Howard Beale’s original epiphany, or his later conversion by the crafty Ned Beatty character.

    Ya hadda be there, I guess.

  5. I think the collection makes a good (if unintentional) point that critics should be judged on their writing skills and insights because their taste is not one scintilla better than anyone else’s.

  6. I think anyone who hates Star Wars is taking it too seriously. It’s the all-time classic popcorn movie, and it defines the phrase “Space Opera”, aside from ripping off several other genres. Seriously, take a step back and consider this synopsis:

    Frontier farm boy teams up with a hermit wizard to rescue a princess from the superfortress of an evil cyborg sorcerer, with the assistance of a swaggering smuggler, two quarreling servants, and a lovable furry monster.

    Or these classic scenes:

    Farm boy and wizard wander into trading post saloon to meet smuggler, but are accosted by a violent escaped criminal. Wizard beats him to the draw and leaves him bleeding on the floor.

    Evil cyborg is about to shoot farm boy, but just then the smuggler comes riding out of the sunrise and kills the cyborg’s, um, horse.

    I mean, this shit is ridiculous. And yet Lucas manages to make sense of it for an entire two hours. You’re supposed to turn your brain off the moment it starts, and I’ve never been more entertained by a movie. It’s pure mind candy. I guess if you found it boring, the dialogue might be more grating, but if you found it boring you need help.

    Besides, the opening shot of the movie is one of the single best movie openings ever. And I’d nominate “that’s no moon, that’s a space station” as an all-time best scene too.

  7. FINALLY! Someone besides me who thinks this.

    Me three. Star Wars stinks.

    But whoever that guy is that pans Caddyshack — that boy ain’t right.

  8. The Big Lebowski is a classic? I love that movie, but I wouldn’t call it a classic. Roger and Me? Not a classic.

    My favorite overrated classic is Dr. Zhivago. I never got that movie. That scene where that cloying soundtrack is blaring, and Omar Sharif is staring at sunflowers or something like he’s the village idiot – WTF is that?

  9. Frontier farm boy teams up with a hermit wizard to rescue a princess from the superfortress of an evil cyborg sorcerer, with the assistance of a swaggering smuggler, two quarreling servants, and a lovable furry monster.

    It’s poorly written and poorly acted. Give me “Big Trouble in Little China” ANY day.

  10. How about ten films to watch instead? Examples: Chopper over Clockwork, and Raising Arizona over Lebowski.

  11. Proving Les’s point, the appearance in the linked article of a writer who uses “delicious” to signify anything other than “mighty tasty” is so strong an indictment of The Onion‘s editors that it undermines all the magazine’s mockery of everything, ever.

    And Casablanca is shitty.

  12. Agreed: Star Wars is fine as space opera (Lucas only did it because he couldn’t get the rights to remake Flash Gordon), and Network was fine in its day, but nothing dates like topical satire.

    When I saw The Exorcist at a preview screening in a theater with maybe six other people, it was almost overwhelming, but ultimately I felt cheated. There’s little building of suspense, just a series of shocks: not enough Hitchcock, too much jumping out and saying “BOO!”

    Carrie deserves some respect as a great adolescent revenge flick: who among us hasn’t, at one time or another, wanted to burn down their high school with everyone in it? And that scene at the end when the hand comes out of the grave…yikes. That so startled my girlfriend of the time that she grabbed my arm in the same way, so I had the complete Feel-O-Vision experience. William Castle couldn’t have planned it better.

  13. The only thing that ages worse than topical satire is horror. I didn’t catch Carrie until the early ’90s when I was in college, and rarely have I been so thuddingly bored. Ditto for Exorcist.

    Star Wars, on the other hand, is one of my all-time faves. Probably strongly related to the fact that I first saw it when I was 6. Yes, the dialogue is almost unbelievably bad, but the (non-Luke) characters are great and the settings fantastic (sci-fi sets are almost always better when made with less money).

  14. I offer no thorough explanation of my opinion, but Network is fucking beautiful! In my top ten favorites for sure. Smart, great dialogue, just fantastic. Relative to 99 percent of Hollywood movies it is an amazing cut above the rest. Whatever one can tastefully feel about this movie, hate is not an option. And hell, unrealistically beautifully composed dialogue is part of what makes great writing great.
    On the other hand, I also love Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – despite the painfully long soliloquies.

  15. I thought Network aged pretty well. What gives Network a leg up is that it was pretty on the mark. If the topical satire is woefully off the mark it doesn’t make sense. I watched it with my girlfriend a couple of months ago and she said, “Well, I guess some people saw all of this shit coming.” Not only did it predict reality TV, it predicted Bill O’Reilly (in the form of Howard Beale).

  16. I always thought Ah-nold did a pretty bang up job in Running Man.

    Also: Is it just me, or is does anyone else find it odd that two stars from Running Man ended up as Governors?

  17. “Paddy Chayefsky’s revered dialogue sounds so mannered that the characters might as well be speaking in iambic pentameter.”

    I can’t recall the movie she was reviewing — perhaps
    it was Network — but, about re Chayefsky’s vaunted
    ear for dialogue, Pauline Kael wrote that it was in
    “full cauliflower”.

  18. You mean predator?

  19. Ok, so also predator then.

  20. Lebowski was great. Dumb schmucks.

    Most Over-rated: Gone With The Wind.

  21. Carrie has to be one of the worst movies ever made. It is laugh out belongs on MST 3000 bad. I hadn’t seen it since I was like 10 and watched it a few years ago and just couldn’t believe how campy and rediculous it was. How did anyone ever take that movie seriously?

    My classic movie that it is okay to hate, Its a Wonderful Life or anything with Betty Davis.

  22. “You mean predator?”
    And of course another actor from Predator ran for Governor of Kentucky at one point, but withdrew from the race.

    Best Arnold movie ever is still Conan the Barbarian.

  23. I suppose these are classic movies in the same sense some people believe there is such a thing as 1980’s classic rock, but only Fantasia and, arguably, The Exorcist qualify as classics and several of the others in the list are beneath contempt (Roger & Me, The Big Lebowski, Network), the imprimatur of The Onion aside. The Shawshank Redemption is a well done “feel good” movie in classic Capra style even as The Exorcist is at least a credible attempt at making a non-B horror film. A Clockwork Orange? Kubrick is an acquired taste and an uneven and overrated director. Caddyshack is probably the best of Rodney Dangerfield’s movies and a good vehicle for Bill Murray, but it also includes Chevy Chase at the near sea level peak of his miraculously overlong cinematic career. In terms of sheer ability to irritate, Chase may have been surpassed in the entire history of film only by Pauly Shore.

    A few highly overrated classics from the IMDb Top 250 include: Gone With The Wind, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Forrest Gump, and just about every Steven Spielberg movie on the list. (And, btw, I’m not even considering currently popular but crappy non-classics on the list like Fight Club and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.) Of course and as always, YMMV.

  24. EION:

    WAT ARE THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE?

  25. D.A. Ridgely,

    A Clockwork Orange is just a nasty piece of pornography. I really can’t stand that movie. Kubric did much better work in Dr. Strangelove and Paths of Glory.

  26. All of these movies noticably sucked the day they were released.

    Except Star Wars. Wife, children, and extended family aside, I can think of no better reason to live than to hope for a third trilogy.

  27. A Clockwork Orange is just a nasty piece of pornography. I really can’t stand that movie.

    I’m guessing then you really hated this.

  28. I didn’t find The Exorcist remotely scary, maybe because so much of what was shocking in 1973 has been done a million times over since then. Rosemary’s Baby holds up much better.

    My pick for the most overrated movie of all time? Well, you’ve heard rumours about that one guy who thought The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was imterminably boring, right? That was me.

  29. OK losers. Listen up.

    You guys are such morons, you don’t even realise there’s a mathmatical formula that determines the genuine sweetness of a film.

    Sweetness = yx

    Where y = the number of bona fide female breast sightings

    Where x = the number of minutes Jean Claude Van Damme is on screen.

    In this way, it has been scientifically proven that Bloodsport is the greatest movie ever. Kickboxer comes a close second.

    If you disagree with me, then you disagree with science, which makes you a mormon.

  30. I have never seen that one DA. But I dislike Clockwork more for its gratutitous violence and rape than for sex.

  31. The entire LOTR film trilogy was interminably boring because it was interminably long. A full third or more of each film was wasted on pan shots of the scenery (isn’t New Zealand pretty?) and close-ups of the damned ring (okay, we get it — the ring is important to the, um, plot). Peter Jackson couldn’t cut a fart, let alone a movie. If he’d had his way, the damn things would have taken longer to watch than it probably took Tolkien to write the books.

  32. I didn’t think much about Lebowski when it came out. I’m a Cohen Brothers fan and I just felt it was OK.

    Then one day recently, I was trying to explain the movie to someone who never saw it before and I found myself retelling one hilarious scene after another. I guess I needed some time for it to age in my brain to appreciate it.

    Fargo OTOH, is sorely overrated. Not that I hated it, but I just didn’t get the big deal everyone was making when it came out. Entertaining? Yes. Instant classic? No.

    Now, in terms of movies it’s OK to hate: American Beauty. What a smoking, fucking turd. To use the term de jour, only the batshit insane could think this is the intellectually masturbatory masterpiece that the press made it to be. No rational being could walk away from this nihilstic cacophony of collectivist, dysfunctional anxiety and find it moving. Overacted, 1-dimensional characters, nobody to identify with; every character was unredeeming and truly hate-worthy.

    Fuck, I hate that film.

  33. I will be the heratic and stand up for the LOTR trilogy. I think the first movie was excellent, the second good and the third got a bit long. The movies were about as good of a straight forward retelling of the books as could have been made. If you think the movies are long and boring then you probably would find the books that way as well. I am not sure how else Jackson could have made those movies without just ignoring the books. He made a tremendous stab at making what amounted to an unmakable movie. This is of course over and above how amazing looking the movies were. I know it is cool and hip and all to say how bad those movies were, but I just don’t agree. They are not the greatest movies ever made but I don’t think that you could make any better of an adaptation of the books.

  34. The entire LOTR film trilogy was interminably boring because it was interminably long. A full third or more of each film was wasted on pan shots of the scenery (isn’t New Zealand pretty?)

    Wrong Ridgely. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    LOTR was so awesome that if you threw the special DVD Box Set into the ‘very fires of Mount Doom’ it would not melt – Only grow more awesome.

    And NZ is beautiful. I went there last year with my girlfriend (one lucky lady) and we did this walk through Tongarira (sp) national park – where they filmed mordor. I spent the entire time doing a gollum voice and hiding behind rocks. Actaully, on second thoughts, I’m not so sure my girlfriend did enjoy it…

  35. JW,

    How many times does Hollywood have to revisit the theme of “suburbia is really just corrupt and horrible underneath the veneer”? It is such a tired cliche. Inevietably if a movie maker does that or points out that (shock) the South had a lot of racial problems he is gaurenteed to be lauded as a couragous genius.

  36. I think its a little harsh to say “hate” about some of these movies. Just because some of them are campy it doesn’t make me hate them. My favorite part of the exorcist is the doctor offering Burstyn’s character a cigarette as he telling her it will all be okay if Reagan takes some Ritalin.

    Not every classic is classic because of cinematic genius, flawless dialogue, and superb acting. Some (especially on this list) are classic mindless fun or easy entertainment. Its like a food critic panning McDonalds, for not being Charlie Trotter’s.

  37. Now, in terms of movies it’s OK to hate: American Beauty. What a smoking, fucking turd.

    YES YES YES!! Good call JW.

    Oooh look at me, i’m so deep, I’m filming a plastic bag. Up yours hippy! If I went to school with that loser I’d kick him in the nuts. Really hard.

    That film was communist propoganda. Don’t like your high paying job and nice couch Spacey? Perhaps you’d rather live in Moscow scraping together 4 months wages to knock up a turgid cup of cabbage soup for dinner….

    Goddamn I hate actors.

  38. Mark VII,

    I really hate actors who make movies that say exactly what the media and their peers want to hear and then talk about how couragous they are for doing it. I remember when the Cider House Rules (not a bad movie BTW) won some oscar for something and some twit was up there talking about how much courage it took to make such a movie. Yeah, it takes so many balls to make a movie where an abortionist is the hero. You are sure going to get run out of the screen actors guild for that one. Give me a break.

  39. Has anyone seen ‘Thankyou for Smoking’ yet – I’m looking forward to that.

    And! ‘Snakes on a plane’. This Samuel L Jackson cracker looks like it might deliver the greatest film line ever; ‘GET THESE MOTHERFUCKING SNAKES OF THIS MOTHERFUCKING PLANE!!!’

    YEAH!!!!

  40. Star Wars. Yuck. Only movie I ever saw where I wanted every character to die. Especially those gay robots.

  41. Gangs of New York

    Astonishingly bad; grotesque, pretentious, self-indulgent crap. Et c, et c. I was laughing my ass off by the time that movie finally “climaxed.” Talk about your homoerotic subtexts.

    But it wasn’t the worst movie in the history of movies- that was Starship Troopers.

  42. I spent the entire time doing a gollum voice and hiding behind rocks.

    One lucky lady, indeed!

  43. I fuck you in ze ass! I fuck you in ze ass! I fuck you! I fuck you! I fuck you!

  44. But it wasn’t the worst movie in the history of movies- that was Starship Troopers

    What the??

    Dude – what’s wrong with you?

  45. SW trilogy – first one was great, second one was darker but good, third one sucked

    LOTR trilogy – first one was great, second was darker but good, third one sucked

    But the most overrated classic: E.T. Took my kids (then 7 and 10) to the 20th anniversary re-release – they said it was boring and hated it. They loved Jaws, though. My kids are strange.

  46. Great concept, but I dissent on all the Onion choices except Network and Fantasia. (Actually I’ve never seen Roger & Me and The Shawshank Redemption because I assume I’d hate them.)

  47. uknowit,
    They may be strange, but not all that strange. I also took my daughter when she was nine to see ET. She was bored silly, only occasionally thinking that it was amusing.
    “Short Circuit” OTOH, she loved that movie. She must have watched it 5 times.

  48. But the most overrated classic: E.T. Took my kids (then 7 and 10) to the 20th anniversary re-release – they said it was boring and hated it. They loved Jaws, though. My kids are strange.

    I think Jaws is overrated – way too long and not all that scary. (On the other hand, I liked Spielberg’s 1941.)

  49. The Big Lebowski is one of the best movies ever made.

    Seriously. Like Pulp Fiction, it’s one of the few movies where the casting, dialogue, music, and cinematography are just *perfect.*

    I could watch that movie over and over.

  50. Jaws is right up there with Carrie as one of those movies that you can only laugh at now and wonder how anyone ever thought it was a good movie. It is absolutely unwatchable.

  51. Office Space should have won an oscar.

  52. Peter Jackson couldn’t cut a fart, let alone a movie.

    Funny line. I was struck by how much less I liked the LOTR movies on TV than I had in the movies. It’s probably not fair to expect a big-screen spectacular to perform at 19 inches, but I was really surprised at the length, the stiffness, and the loose editing I had not noticed when enjoying all three movies in the theater. (Actually, it had been obvious even in the movie house that the third one went on too long.)

    At this point, nobody is still arguing that American Beauty was a classic, so there’s no percentage in attacking it. In fact, that movie’s reputation has been so downgraded that it seems to have taken the careers of Mena Suvari and Thora Birch down with it, which is a damn shame. In a better America, audiences would insist that Mena Suvari and Thora Birch be the stars of every movie made.

    Fargo may have been overestimated because it was the first Coen movie that even the squares could grok, but it’s still a good movie. At this point I’m convinced the Coens are incapable of making a movie that doesn’t have at least a few interesting things going on. Even the remake of The Ladykillers had a handful of brilliant performances.

  53. The Reason blog hates on Network yet again? Quelle suprise!

  54. Tim,

    The Ladykillers is worthy of respect for no other reason for the scene when the smug aging hippie lectures the young black man about what a great favor the benevolent white liberals did by coming down there in the 1960s and getting his people the right to vote to which the young black man responds “I don’t vote, so fuck you.” It was just classic.

  55. I don’t “get” acting and I’m not terribly interested in plot, so what I watch movies for is the visuals and the sound, so for me “Star Wars” and just about every Kubrick movie I’ve seen are masterpieces. Alex and his droogs driving down the dark road, or following the kid on the Big Wheels through the hotel in “The Shining”– to me, that is what films are about. “Paths of Glory” has lots of similarly brilliant camerawork, like the long scene where the camera rolls backwards through the trench, and of course the assault through No Man’s Land, shells bursting all around the French infantry. I even loved “Killer’s Kiss,” an early Kubrick noir he financed himself. Beautiful use of the New York skyline, streets and architecture. Sure, Kubrick (and of course Lucas) is vulnerable to charges that he wasn’t good at directing actors or that a film’s ideology is muddled or whatever, but those criticisms make no impression on me if I am seeing and hearing something beautiful or impressive or scary that I haven’t seen before.

  56. The best part of The LadyKillers remake was when the Vietnamese guy (the Colonel?) jammed his fingers up the robber’s nose. After that, the movie went downhill a bit.
    I also enjoyed hearing the S. Carolina colloquialisms and accent used. The Coen brothers seem really interested in that kind of thing. I love them for that.

  57. At this point, nobody is still arguing that American Beauty was a classic, so there’s no percentage in attacking it. In fact, that movie’s reputation has been so downgraded that it seems to have taken the careers of Mena Suvari and Thora Birch down with it, which is a damn shame.

    Hey, a man can vent can’t he?

    You must run in better circles than I, as the liberals I know still rave at it’s “brilliance” when the topic comes up. Feh.

    I am suprised at Network being broguht up at all. That’s a movie that few under 30 even know it exists. Beyond TNT showing it a few months ago, I can’t remember the last time someone mentioned it.

    YMMV.

  58. “In fact, that movie’s reputation has been so downgraded that it seems to have taken the careers of Mena Suvari and Thora Birch down with it, which is a damn shame.”

    Tim, did you see Spun?

  59. Most Over-rated: Gone With The Wind.

    Hell yeah. Long, boring movie that glorifies slaveholders. Stupid.

  60. Most over-rated movie? Royal Tennenbaums. And I love Bill Murray.

    P. Brooks,

    Well said! Gangs of New York was comical, it was so bad.

  61. Oh, and after seeing Fight Club, I had to shave my eyes.

  62. At this point, nobody is still arguing that American Beauty was a classic, so there’s no percentage in attacking it. In fact, that movie’s reputation has been so downgraded that it seems to have taken the careers of Mena Suvari and Thora Birch down with it, which is a damn shame.

    I thought Sugar & Spice and Dungeons & Dragons, respectively, were responsible for that.

  63. Thora Birch was great in Ghost World

  64. In a better America, audiences would insist that Mena Suvari and Thora Birch be the stars of every movie made.

    Especially Thora.

    This is why Terry Zwigoff is a genius. I couldn’t cast better if I tried: Thora, Scarlett Johansen, Lauren Graham, Stacey Travis, Lauren Tom…

  65. What?! No 2001: A Space Odyssey? No Citizen Kane? How can you talk about unwatchable “classics” without those two?

  66. Hmm… don’t get the hate for American Beauty, or how it’s commie propaganda, especially considering that in the end voice-over, Kevin Spacey’s character is talking about how much he loved his suburban life, when it came down to it…

    And any movie that includes Thora Birch topless can’t be that bad.

  67. I hated American Beauty for the trite lefty truism that a militaristic asshole patriarch must also be a closeted homosexual, and for the dreadful grocery-bag-in-the-breeze metaphor. And because, while I understand that Annette Bening’s character was supposed to be unbearable, I genuinely did find her unbearable.

    I love Network because it is bombastic and totally over-the-top. I admit that Straight’s speechifying is hard to take though. On the other hand, I think Faye Dunaway was brilliant and her Oscar well-deserved. I can’t think of another actress who could have pulled off that sex scene where she talks about shares nonstop and climaxes in two minutes. Also, Network is the film that begat the expression “crusty but benign,” which is just…so classic and right on.

  68. >>Network is still better than all the cutting satires before it that suggested television might not just be dumb, but also dangerous. Wait? There weren’t any? Hmmm?

  69. As far as really crappy movies that won Best Picture awards, yes American Beauty qualifies easily, for all the reasons mentioned. Let us not forget, however, other recent pieces of fecal material, namely “Dances with Wolves” and “Titanic”.

    The idea that Mr. Potatohead, otherwise known as Kevin Costner, could not fail to ruin any movie he acted in, to say nothing of directing, is simply absurd to begin with. However, when one combines those talents with a plot that has a wolf making friends with the Enlightened White Man, instead of eating his horse at first opportunity, well, there are no words to describe how dreadful that movie is.

    As for Titanic, I was admonished for laughing out loud as Lenny Decaprio and one of the villains had a running gun battle as their ship was about to slip into the North Atlantic. I was asked to leave for guffawing at Lenny’s pretty and poetic death speech to his beloved while clinging to some debris in the icy sea. Geez, what crap.

  70. The idea that Mr. Potatohead, otherwise known as Kevin Costner, could not fail to ruin any movie he acted in, to say nothing of directing, is simply absurd to begin with. However, when one combines those talents with a plot that has a wolf making friends with the Enlightened White Man, instead of eating his horse at first opportunity, well, there are no words to describe how dreadful that movie is.

    Comment by: Will Allen at June 27, 2006 07:00 PM

    Here, here.
    I gotta say, The Last Samurai is more-or-less a retread of Dances with Wolves, how big/Bad/modern/capitalist America is crushing the noble so-called savages who are more civilized than we are.
    I don’t know much about the Indians, or especially their specific tribes, to make a blanket statement if they were the paragons of virtue that Costner makes them out to be, but Costner as the lone voice of reason agaisnt the entire Union army. Feh! Please note that I last saw this when I was about 13, and slept through half of it, and wanted to punch Costner in the face for swithching from the kick ass Robin Hood to this 😡
    Also, the Boooooooooringness of it, the stupid/sappy quasi-Western operatic music, and the lady they got as Costner’s love interest whose name should be Face that Causes Tears, bleh! This movie is a turd.

    Now, Last Samurai had many of the same qualities that could’ve ruined it: the overrated actor, the harshness against modernity, the glorification of a feudal/brutal warrior culture, oh that last part I thought was maddening since this movie could’ve easily describe the journey of John Walker Lind, how a messed-up American found peace and virtue with a band of warriors that taught him how to live the moral, virtuous life, grrr.

    Luckily, Last Samurai is what Dances with Wolves without teh Suck, namely DWW needed NINJAS, lots of NINJAS, oh and kick-ass samurai battles…

  71. The Indian tribes of North America were pretty damned brutal to one another; they just lacked the technology to brutalize each other with greater efficiency. Heck, when I was a kid, it was an eye-opener for me to visit some of the Pueblos of the American Southwest, and hear the members of those tribes speak more contemptibly of the Apache than the Spanish Conquistadors.

    As for the hideous movies of Kevin Costner, for a while when I was single, it seemed every woman I dated wanted to see a Kevin Costner flick, and I remember thinking that this was the Circle of Hell than Dante neglected to mention. To illustrate the depth of my depravity, I once turned to my date, and she inquired, “Wasn’t that great!”, as the credits for that titanically monumental piece of sewage that is “The Bodyguard” rolled. I just replied, “Wow, I can’t believe it.”

    Yes, she was among the physically hottest babes I ever went out with…..

  72. Will, I liked Bull Durham and No Way Out. Maybe Field of Dreams if I’m bored.

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