5 Vastly Overrated Movies

I have seen many good movies, and many bad movies. For the most part, I do tend to agree with the general population. What most people like, I like too. What most people dislike, I dislike too. However, there were some movies I just could not believe how it was people enjoyed them as much as they did. Thus inspiring this list of some of the more overrated movies I have seen.

5. Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004)
Director: Kang Je-Gyu
Starring: Jang Dong-Gun, Won Bin, Lee Eun-Ju

Tae Guk Gi is a South Korean war movie set during the Korean War. Lee Jin-Tae (Jang) volunteers for the Republic of Korea army in order to protect his younger, recently drafted brother Jin-Seok (Won). Granted, what I did like about this movie was its fair look at the Korean War; it did not fall into the trap many American movies about the same war did by immediately saying communists are bad, anti-communists are good. Tae Guk Gi showed both sides were equally capable of committing wartime atrocities. However, what I did not like about the movie was how desperately it wanted to be the Korean Saving Private Ryan. From the battle scenes to little things like the frame-flashback storytelling, you can tell that director Kang really wanted to emulate Spielberg’s movie. On top of that, the ending was very Hollywood, which was odd considering how realistic the rest of the movie tried to be.

4. Ghost in the Shell (1995)
Director: Oshii Mamoru

Ghost in the Shell is a cyberpunk anime movie about people who just moved their essences into artificial souls, or “ghosts”, to occupy robotic bodies. GitS was a very pretty movie. In fact, it was one of the prettiest anime films I have ever seen. And, that’s exactly all the movie had to offer: pretty visuals. I simply could not help getting bored with the philosophical discussions that went on just for a little too long. To me, it seemed like Oshii was trying to make the movie not all style with no substance, but how he did was rather clumsy. This brand of science fiction was done much more well by Ridley Scott in Blade Runner (1982).

3. Devdas (2002)
Director: Bharat Shah
Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Aishwariya Rai, Madhuri Dixit

Devdas is the 2002 Bollywood love story of the title character’s (Khan) downward spiral into alcoholism after being forbidden to marry his love Parvati (Rai). Much like Ghost in the Shell, Devdas is a really pretty movie. Everything from the grandiose sets to Aishwariya Rai’s very presence on screen makes Devdas a bit of a treat for the eyes. However, Devdas had literally nothing below the surface. Shahrukh Khan has proven time and time again that he cannot act, and neither can Aishwariya. He was obviously made lead because of the large number of teenage Indian girls who were in love with him. Nonetheless, if you want to see Devdas, see the older (and better) one starring Dilip Kumar.

2. The Japanese Wife (2009)
Director: Aparna Sen
Starring: Rahul Bose, Chigusa Takaku

The Japanese Wife is the story of Bengali schoolteacher Snehamoy (Rahul Bose) and his Japanese pen-pal Miyage (Chigusa Takaku). TJW belongs in a genre that can only be defined as the Aparna Sen genre. This movie was nothing short of pseudo-intellectual garbage (much akin to Sen’s earlier 15 Park Avenue) where most of the movie (scenes like the “kite fight” and anytime the widow who moved in interacted with Snehamoy) felt like it was there purely to pad its length. I did appreciate the movie’s attempt to be multicultural by giving lessons of Japanese culture to an ostensibly largely Indian audience. I couldn’t help but feel that Sen was on a huge ego trip whilst making this; it almost felt like she was trying to convince me of my own stupidity since I was unable to appreciate this movie which was quite convinced of its own greatness. The acting was bad and the story as stagnant as water in a moat. The Japanese Wife is definitely a movie to skip, despite the positive reaction it met with in India.

1. Titanic (1997)
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane

Yes, I committed the ultimate sin: I say James Cameron’s movie about a cute model pretending to be a hobo drawing a naked woman and a ship inconveniently sinking is overrated. In fact, I think it is the single most overrated movie to have ever been made, and the worst movie to have won the Oscar for Best Picture. Cameron’s more recent Avatar seemed to be a popular movie for people to jab for its tepid characters and weak writing. I’ll also admit this: I enjoyed Avatar. What puzzled me was how Avatar was exactly like Titanic with grandiose visuals while running on a half-baked story, only everyone loves Titanic and everyone hates Avatar.

Leonardo DiCaprio, as proven in more recent films like Blood Diamond or Inception, is actually an amazing actor, but Cameron seemed to have told him to just hang around and look pretty in Titanic, and this pretty much applies to Kate Winslet as well. Also people slap Quaritch from Avatar for being a flat villain. While Quaritch was the stereotypical jingoistic military bad guy, Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) was the stereotypical rich bad guy as exemplified with anything he ever said or did while the Titanic was actually sinking.

Despite the historical background, Titanic gradually went from being mildly improbable to just stupid by the movie’s end. Also interesting fact: while there is a three way tie between Titanic, Ben-Hur, and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King with eleven wins, ten of them were for technical feats, like cinematography. I can only guess how it won Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan.