10 Overrated Films: Jordan’s Take

shakespeare in love

Look me in the eye and tell me that’s not the most annoying thing you’ve ever seen…

By Jordan

You know those movies that everyone seems to really rate bar you? Well, these are mine… I’m not saying they’re necessarily bad (apart from my #1), but for whatever reason their vast appeal is lost on me and I feel they’re regarded far too highly.

When it comes to film all those passionate about the medium have likes and dislikes, and agree and disagree with each other. Hopefully there are some others out there that can agree with me, even if its just to an extent, on the below choices.

For Eddie’s take click here

Plot summaries from IMDB – Reviews by Jordan

10. The Avengers (2012)


IMDB Rating: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

Directed by: Joss Whedon

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson

Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. assembles a team of superheroes to save the planet from Loki and his army.

Feverishly anticipated by throngs of loyal Marvelists as well as the general film-going public, Joss Wheadon’s supposed culmination of all that had come before turned out to be startlingly familiar and lacked any sense of danger despite it’s apocalyptic finale. It’s also simply too darn hard to fathom how Black Widow and Hawkeye can hold their own alongside those who are actually extraordinary.

9. The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005)


IMDB Rating: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%

Directed by: Judd Apatow

Starring: Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd

Goaded by his buddies, a nerdy guy who’s never “done the deed” only finds the pressure mounting when he meets a single mother.

In my opinion not only is The 40 Year Old Virgin, a comedy that lacks the laughs required to be remembered for its humor and likeable enough characters to be fondly remembered for any moments of unexpected heart, one of the most overrated of the past decade, but so is it’s director Judd Apatow, whose reputation consistently outweighs the quality of his overlong movies.

8. There’s Something About Mary (1998)

there's something about mary

IMDB Rating: 7.1, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%

Directed by: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly

Starring: Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon

A man gets a chance to meet up with his dream girl from highschool, even though his date with her back then was a complete disaster.

There’s no privilege in being the kick-starter of a sub-genre when less than a decade later your most iconic jokes are redundant and said genre is the consistently terrible gross out comedy. At least Cameron Diaz actually gets to act her age in this though I suppose.

7. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Miss

IMDB Rating: 7.9, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%

Directed by: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Starring: Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Toni Collette

A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.

Little Miss Sunshine is a pleasant film, that is sadly punctuated with bizarrely dark undertones and an off-putting Toni Collette accent. Steve Carell tries hard to break free of his funny man stigma but lacks the nuances of a dramatic actor and never appears comfortable in his role, and I found myself wishing that this road trip reached it’s destination that little bit quicker.

6. American Psycho (2000)


IMDB Rating: 7.6, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 67%

Directed by: Mary Harron

Starring: Christian Bale, Josh Lucas, Reese Witherspoon

A wealthy New York investment banking executive hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he escalates deeper into his illogical, gratuitous fantasies.

Actually, whether or not American Psycho can be considered overrated is up for debate, but it does appear that more folk love it than hate it and that does continue to baffle me. The Bret Easton Ellis novel is an explosive piece of literature, yet the Bale-led cartoonish monstrosity that is the film is insufferable for those who seek even just a slither of subtlety… surely?

5. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)


IMDB Rating: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto

A Mumbai teen who grew up in the slums, becomes a contestant on the Indian version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” He is arrested under suspicion of cheating, and while being interrogated, events from his life history are shown which explain why he knows the answers.

I’ll cheat here and quote a segment from my opinion piece on director Danny Boyle: [Slumdog Millionaire is:] “A cliched, poorly acted 2 hour romantic drama dressed in a sari and backed by Bollywood tunes and M.I.A’s Paper Planes… a conventionally minded film, complete with a mood-defying mid-credits song and dance sequence.” Harsh? Perhaps; but those who followed Boyle’s career up to 2008 knew he was capable of a lot better.

4. The Help (2011)

The Help

IMDB Rating: 8.1, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%

Directed by: Tate Taylor

Starting: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard

An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.

If all the shameless book plugs and Oscar baiting acting cues don’t alarm your inner cynic, then the midday movie soft take on a harsh subject matter in racism certainly should. The Help had me the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been in a movie seat, and I’ve seen some pretty uncomfortable movies. I realise that I’m not the target audience for The Help, a film clearly geared at females through Emma Stone’s impassioned hero, but an 8.1 on IMDB seems unbelievable.

3. Fargo (1996)


IMDB Rating: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

Directed by: The Coen Brothers

Starring: Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi

Jerry Lundegaard’s inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen’s bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

The Coen Brothers have won my respect and them some, having crafted a myriad of masterpieces and numerous characters so imbedded in pop culture they can rest assured their legacy will continue on for as long as people are capturing moving images on film. Fargo, however, one of their most instantly recognizable works, is simply too frustrating for me, due mainly to William H. Macy’s hapless Jerry Lundegaard and his gradual life descent.

2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)


IMDB Rating: 8.2, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%

Directed by: George Roy Hill

Starring: Robert Redford, Paul Newman

Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.

Robert Redford is cool, Paul Newman is exceptionally cool and the Western is arguably the coolest genre there has ever been. The super revered Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid had all the ingredients to follow suit, but then it had to go and include that infamous bicycle scene… the accompanying song is great, but the whole moment is remarkably out of place and disjoints the rest of the journey.

1. Shakespeare in Love (1998)

Shakespeare in Love

IMDB Rating: 7.2, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

Directed by: John Madden

Starring: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush,

A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s hairy upper lip, short hair do and quasi-deep speaking voice. An Academy Award for Best Picture. Enough said.

Furious? Elated? Let us know below!

102 responses to “10 Overrated Films: Jordan’s Take

  1. Some of these I still have to see sadly, but I like your analysis. If I could add one, it would be Gladiator. It is a visual spectacle and great directing, but boy is it boring featuring a story and characters I cared nothing for.

    • Gladiator is gorgeous looking, but it’s faded away hasn’t it? The only thing that sticks out to me is Joaquin Phoenix’s performance.
      I’m disagreeing with the rest of the list except for The Help which isn’t bad, is important but I’m kind of tired of WHITE PEOPLE HELPING stories. But good call on Gladiator.

    • I might just have to cancel my plans for an overrated list then man haha. What if Jordan catches The Rover surely that might bring him back into the fold?

      I gotta ask what film hurt you when you saw it on this list?

      • Mate sounds good I guess the most important things with these lists are although they might actually be good films some are just to us overrated. I know there are films I might consider 4 star movies but people may talk about them like they are 5 star masterpieces – hence overrated. Be interesting to hear what others say are overrated to them personally though.

  2. I agree with many of these, especially Shakespeare in Love, The Help was unashamedly Oscar-bait as you say, and I never got the appeal of Fargo. But as for There’s Something About Mary, I think it’s more a case that it hasn’t aged well (like many others that could be mentioned) rather than being over rated – it was very good for its time, a cut above many others in its genre.

    • Yeah I can see your point there Jase (and am glad you agree with me on some!). It may be a cut above others of its ilk but the Rotten Tomatoes rating especially I just cannot fathom – it seems very easy to get “certified fresh” these days.

  3. Occasionally on a boring day I’ll stare into the distance and become really distracted by the fact that Gwyneth Paltrow won the Best Actress Oscar for playing some random idiot in Shakespeare In Love, over Cate Blanchett’s amazing performance in Elizabeth. A total robbery. I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

  4. I agree with all but two things on this list; one being Little Miss Sunshine, only because I haven’t actually seen it yet and the other being the Avengers, I honestly think this film deserves all the praise it gets.

    • I’ll take 8/10, ha. I was annoyed that The Avengers never left me in awe like I felt it should’ve, I didn’t think it took any risks and as I stated I felt there was no sense of peril. But that’s just me!

  5. Great idea for a post. I haven’t seen them all but have never been fussed about 9 and 8 and absolutely agree about The Avengers! Most people disagree with me, but I’ve never seen the fuss about Forest Gump so that would be on my list.

  6. I agree with all of your thoughts except for ‘The Help,’ as I think it’s an underrated film, not many people in Australia really know what it is. While I enjoyed ‘The Avengers,’ I too think it’s very overrated, hope the sequel is better! Awesome post!

    • Ah interesting! You may very well be right though. Personally I just found it such a slog to sit though, feeling that they sugar-coated a really serious issue and none of the performances seemed earnest to me.
      Cheers! Jordan

  7. For some reason I didn’t like “Annie Hall”, which has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. I know it’s supposed to be the best romantic comedy of all time, and the peak of Woody Allen’s career, but it just didn’t jive with me. Woody Allen’s character was unbearably annoying. And why was Paul Simon in it? His character was pointless. Maybe if I watched it again, I would appreciate it more.

    • Ha personally I’m not a Woody Allen fan at all – I find his neurosis frustrating – but I do have to admit that Annie Hall is quite a well crafted little drama. I reckon you would find there are others that agree with you though.

    • I just didn’t dig it! I love westerns, but my taste is more skewered towards the likes of John Ford and Sam Peckinpah, and Butch Cassidy didn’t seem to be taking the genre seriously. It could be I’m missing the point though, and am more than prepared to watch it again.

  8. I’m guilty of overrating 3 out of 10 of these. Butch Cassidy (so good, though!), Fargo and Little Miss Sunshine. The Avengers was not great, but it was good for what it was. If I had to choose one to go on this list it would probably be 2001: A Space Odyssey only because I thought it was a snorefest the first time I ever tried to watch it. The movie gods probably hate me now.

    • Ha I definitely know others who feel the same way as you there, personally I think it’s a near perfect sci-fi classic and an amazing technical accomplishment, but that’s the whole point of lists like these: inspiring healthy debate!

  9. I think most everybody agrees with #1, which is widely considered one of the most ludicrous Best Picture winners ever made, ousting a far superior Saving Private Ryan, Thin Red Line, and Life is Beautiful — or so everybody says, as I haven’t watched it yet 😛 (although I have seen the latter 3 and liked them a lot).

    I predictably like a lot of films on this list —- I think most people underwhelmed by Slumdog either really can’t stand the Cinderella-style happy ending or are South Asians so scorned by the fact that a British director got so much hardware for a movie set in India that they overlook every frame of Boyle’s fantastic direction and the great chemistry between the films two leads (not to mention A.R. Rahman’s killer soundtrack, which is impressive even by his high standards). I liked the Avengers a lot, I thought it was fun, witty, and the rare Marvel movie to actually make its mega-CGI overload finale actually fun and epic. Butch Cassidy I loved because of the fear and suspense from the cat-and-mouse chase early on in the story, the hilarious “learn your Spanish segments,” the action-packed shootout conclusion, and of course Redford and Newman.

    Let’s see, what else? American Psycho is a winner for me because of Bale’s great performance, hilarious lines, and the fact that (to me at least) it’s such a deep, multilayered black comedy satire of yuppie culture, male behavior and obsession with sex, status, and violence, among other things. Sometimes you don’t need subtlety when youre this good.

    Little Miss Sunshine is very funny and I personally enjoyed Carrell’s break away from crude comedy staple, also Alan Arkin and Paul Dano were well cast. This one though, I will admit is a little overblown as it (along with Sam Mendes’ American Beauty) seem to etimome the sanitation and stereotyped nature of modern American “indie” films based around dysfunctional families with quirky characters. We’ve surely come a long way from David Lynch’s dark, somber, infinitely creepy ‘Blue Velvet.’

    Oh and ‘The 40 Year Old Virgin.’ Most of these crude mass audience comedies just don’t hit with me so I’ll agree with you on this one. It was good for a few laughs but its widespread adoration as comedy genius makes little sense to me.

    Still haven’t seen ‘Fargo,’ tho, but eventually I came around to The Big Lebowski. Both seem like typical Coen Brothers subversive comedies. How would you compare them?

    • Cheers for the thoughts mate! I’d say Big Lebowski is a winner because the dude and his entourage remain likeable throughout in a bizarre tale, whereas, in my opinion, the majority of the characters in Fargo are frustrating and often make equally frustrating decisions which is what drives the narrative.
      Oh, and Ryan, Thin Red Line and Life is Beautiful are all infinitely better than Shakespeare in Love for sure!

  10. Intresting list, thank you – I agree with most, but not Fargo or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I think they are both classics and enjoy them every time. As for the others, yes – absolutely, The Help, Slumgod Millionaire and Little Miss Sunshine had something, but didn’t deserve all the hooplah each one got. Thanks for the thoughtleader too.

  11. Woooo!!!! Creating some controversy here fellas, I love it!!

    I’ll have to go ahead and respectably disagree in the extreme about Little Miss Sunshine, though. I don’t think Carell has ever been better. We’ll have to see what he’s like in the upcoming Foxcatcher film, though. And I really love American Psycho, though I agree — it ain’t one for subtly!

    • Haha, was expecting a bit of backlash but not quite this much.
      I’m a fan of Carell (devoted a lot of time to The Office), but both he and Arkin bogged down Sunshine I thought – still as I said it remained a pleasant watching experience. I really wanted to love Psycho! But as much as I tried to make myself it just continually grated me.. it’s one of the reasons I just cannot learn to like Christian Bale.

  12. Totally with you on Slumdog Millionaire, I remember it annoying me that Danny Boyle got all these awards and acclaim for that average film after making a number of much better ones in the years prior. Have to disagree on Fargo though, that movie’s fantastic.

  13. I liked Avengers because it was pretty balanced. It could have easily gone wrong. When judged solely and compared to other superhero movies, its amazing. Totes agree on Shakespeare in Love and Slumdog Millionaire, Fargo didn’t really amaze me that much, and the Help is just the white savior trope written all over it.

    • I certainly found it enjoyable, just not breathtaking or ground-breaking which all the hype suggested it should be.
      Happy that we agree on a few others though!

  14. These are good movies (with the exception of The Help, ugh!), and I agree they are overhyped. How do I know they’re overhyped? Watch these films five times, not in a row, but over time; you’ll see why they received more accolades than deserved. Great films rarely lose their edge after five-plus viewings. Also, nowadays, too many things are deemed amazing because many people are unable to process critical thought; hence, we have the overuse of “amazing” and “awesome” as descriptions.

    • Some amazing thoughts there…
      haha, sorry, couldn’t resist. I agree with you completely, it seems that most audiences are also lowering their standards in the absence of original material.

  15. Hi Jordan!

    I don’t get The Avengers hype…

    Great list! There are a few on here I totally agree with! Although I did enjoy American Psycho.

  16. An interesting list. I am totally there with you on Slumdog Millionaire. That film is a twee piece of crap and would be number one on my overrated list. I don’t mind The Avengers, but agree it is a little overrated. The main one that I would disagree with you on is Little Miss Sunshine. I watched that recently and think it still holds up as a wonderful and pretty original flick. Nice conversation starter this list.

    • Haha love your Slumdog summary. It definitely seems that Little Miss Sunshine is the one that most people disagree with, I did enjoy it but couldn’t see why it took the indie world by storm in the manner it did.

      • For me, the issue with Little Miss Sunshine (and also Juno) is not those films themselves. But it is the fact that studios saw how successful they were and bombarded us with trite, pseudo-indie shite for a decade or so afterwards.

  17. Great read Jordan. I completely agree on American Psycho, not a fan at all. Little Miss Sunshine, too, is a warm film but doesn’t live up to the hype for me.

    Fargo, ahh no! I love Fargo, I also hold Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in pretty high regard. Hey, it wouldn’t be cinema if we didn’t agree on some things and disagree on others! Really engaging piece mate.

    I fear I’d incur WWIII if I were to admit my pick for most overrated film… (Fight Club, shhh don’t tell anyone).


    • Oh mate that is one highly regarded film to call overrated ha, it’s not one of my favourite films but I do think its a very impressive example of a narrative in a constant state of denouement. But as you say, different films for different tastes!

  18. Brilliant stuff, Jordan. Although I don’t really think that The Avengers is overrated. Sure it’s full of flaws n cliches but it never tried to sell itself more than anything that a popcorn summer entertainer. And in that department, it does a magnificent job by perfectly balancing its action, drama & humour.

    If there’s an overrated comic book film, in my opinion, it’s gotta be The Dark Knight Rises. And it’s coming from a guy who is one of the biggest fans of Batman Begins & possibly the biggest fan of The Dark Knight. I’m still heartbroken!

    • Oh I don’t know if I’ve heard someone refer to TDKR as overrated before. It’s certainly not as good as The Dark Knight in my opinion, yet still received huge accolades, so you may just be able to convince me! ha. Gee the ending was super cheesy as well now that I think about it.

  19. Avengers: Definitely overrated. Having just watched Spartacus, I would submit that one in exchange for one of the Carrell flicks.

      • I am too, but Kubrick himself didn’t like it, and it’s only half a Kubrick, and the Kubrick half is the good half. It’s a good film, I just think it gets too much acclaim, perhaps because his name is on it.

  20. How could anyone resist an “Overrated film” title? I don’t think S in L was a bad film, entertaining enough to while away a plane trip, just not *that* good. I did like Fargo though, I really liked the Marge character, the way she acted really goofy but turned out to be such a shrewd cop. Started watching the Mary film once, but really didn’t get it at all and switched off.

    • Yeah it had to be done eventually! A lot of these films I’ll admit are good (apart from S in L ha) just not worthy of their reputations. Mary I think its just an irrelevant film now that was good for its time.

  21. I’ve only watched 4 of the listed movies, and the only bit I can agree on is that Bret Easton Ellis’ book is far superior than the movie. For everything else… *does the thousand-yard stare in the opposite direction*

  22. Wow! Great piece!

    Good call on “Shakespeare in Love”, I remember screaming at the TV when it was announced that it had won the Oscar over “Saving Private Ryan”… I’m getting angry all over again! Hahaha!

    But “Fargo”? Really? 😦

    • Haha personally I thought that The Thin Red Line deserved it, but would’ve been happy with Ryan as well!
      Ah don’t hate me! In the scheme of all of the Coen’s tremendous films, I just think that Fargo is rated far too highly when masterpieces such as A Serious Man and The Hudsucker Proxy are all but forgotten.

  23. I can see why Avengers gets the “overrated” label, and this is coming from someone who puts it in their top ten all-time favorites. Same with Fargo. The former had immense build-up to the point where the end result didn’t deliver for many, while the latter was found by many to have unbearable characters.

    If I had to pick an overrated film, Fellini’s “8 1/2.” Just an absolute mess of a film. I’ve heard people rate it as the “best film about making a movie.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Its about a director pretending to make a movie so he can have an affair with his mistress while his wife is visiting the set. Its not about making a movie.

    • I’ve actually never seen 8 1/2, but have heard the same thing; that it’s one of the cinematic greats in fact. Maybe I’ll continue to hold off for a while longer then!

  24. I never understood the love for Fargo when it came out or since then. Haven’t seen it since ’96, but I doubt I’d love it any more now (not a fan of most of the Coens stuff I’ve seen since then either).

    • I do love most of the Coen’s work, but Fargo I think isn’t worthy of being rated near the top. They’d still have to be some of the most consistent directors in the business though I reckon.

  25. Congrats on having the guts to tackle overrated movies. I did a post like that last year and over 100 publishable comments later it is my most talked about post by far. I love it although it amazed me how personal some took my opinion about a movie.
    And yet I must admit in reading your list I saw Slumdog and The Help and my heart hurt for a second. I love those films, so I get why people feel so invested.
    I think both Slumdog and The Help are fables and not necessarily the most realistic stories but that didn’t bother me. I loved the characters and bought the story. I also enjoyed The Avengers and normally am not a big comic book movie fan. I get your perspective too.
    It’s great that art can inspire such differing responses. Thanks for sharing. http://smilingldsgirl.com/2013/06/17/10-most-overrated-movies/

    • Great points there, doesn’t mean they’re bad at all (apart from Shakespeare in Love). I do understand why people take it to heart though, Eddie’s list is going up this week and there are a couple on there I strongly disagree with ha.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  26. I also get that overrated doesn’t necessarily mean bad. People didn’t get that in my piece.

  27. The Help is a movie I straight up refused to see because, as you said, it was nothing but a ton of Oscar bait, and I didn’t see The Butler for the same reason.

  28. Wow. A tough category to write about because a great film can still be over-rated. For instance, in my opinion, my favorite movie is “Bubba Ho-Tep”. Since “Citizen Kane” is widely regarded as the best film ever made, even if it’s a great film, I might consider it over-rated because, in my opinion, “Bubba” is better. That being said, this is something I’m going to think about and may do my own list (the films coming to mind are already ones that I know people wouldn’t agree with).

    • Well said mate, agree with you completely. There’s no reason to take this sort of list to heart, as its all just opinion and some films just don’t click for some like they do for others. Also, it doesn’t mean I dislike most of these films, just that I don’t love them like most seem to. More importantly though, how good is Bubba Ho Tep! Wouldn’t never disagree with someone having that as their favourite – Campbell can certainly act when he isn’t hamming it up.

  29. I have to agree with you on all of these except of course American Psycho. I enjoy Mary Harrons, Bret Easton Eliis’ and almost every actor who was involved with that projects work. As for the Avengers, it could have been a lot worse but it is what it is.

    • Glad that people got more out of American Psycho than me. You’re right about the Avengers, it is popcorn entertainment that works, just not the masterpiece you’d expect given it’s acclaim.

  30. Pingback: 10 Overrated Films – Eddie’s Take | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

  31. Haha, great list Jordan! Can’t say I’m surprised by no.1, however I’m not going to argue with you! 😀
    I actually enjoyed The Help, but I hadn’t realized it had such high scores! Yep they are a bit too much! To be honest, I hadn’t realized all these films had such high scores (The 40 year old virgin, There’s something about Mary etc.), so I completely agree! Too overrated!

    • Haha thanks Maria, think I’ve got all my Shakespeare hate out of my system now…
      Glad you agree! The Help I had serious issues with ha, just seemed to push a feel-good agenda far too much in such a tragic era.

  32. The funny thing about this is that while I see where you are coming from with each and every single one of your points, they have not managed to hinder my enjyoment of any of these films – minus Shakespeare in Love, which i have actually neer liked to begin with 😀

  33. I have to defend Little Miss Sunshine, but for a very personal reason. The scenes in which the family push the van to get it started are ABSOLUTELY accurate. My father’s decrepit VW van would only start in the winter if the rest of us pushed it down the street. So these scenes always make me laugh with my whole body.

  34. I don’t find your list as contentious as Eddie’s, but on the other hand he’s taken shots at some bigger targets! (Vertigo, Apocalypse Now). One of my personal hates is Braveheart, which I thought was a ridiculous movie.

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