I’ll be honest, I didn’t get the opportunity to watch a new film to review this week. Struck by glorious inspiration, the majority of my time went into writing, either for a graduate school application or my novel. I really hope that I didn’t mix any of the two up with each other, or else the admissions office is going to be treated to some rather specific details about how noisome a decaying corpse can be.
It seemed unfair to review a film that I hadn’t watched in quite awhile, so I decided instead to peruse the IMDB list of top 250 films (as rated by viewers) and determine any ones that in my opinion should (or shouldn’t) have been included in so exclusive a list. Of the 250, I have seen about 150 of them (scary, now that I think about it,) and only a few had me really scratching my head as to their inclusion.
1. District 9 – 219th
This two hour political allegory wasn’t horrible, that is to say, unless you’re opposed to really over-the-top alien violence. Think Starship Troopers, except this one actually tried to be serious. There were some very cool moments, the story was solid, but what it did to merit an 8.0 rating is beyond me. The main character is obnoxious, and his development is more in the form of slowly turning into a stranded alien limb by limb than it is anything detectable emotionally speaking. The message of the film is incessantly shoved down the viewers throat to the point where you want to scream “Alright! I get it!” only about a half hour in.
Determination- A fun movie with a group of people, but likely won’t hold your attention for two hours solo unless you have some avid interest in South African politics. Should be about a 7.0
2. Donnie Darko– 178th
Every preppy “like” High school girl’s go-to film when they want to feel deep and thoughtful, Donnie Darko represents the logic in the movie industry that if you make the viewers think they didn’t fully understand the movie, that it must be exceptional. It worked: I admit I enjoyed it myself; but on any list of painfully overrated movies this one deserves a high ranking. It’s average in every way; the dialogue is nothing special, the soundtrack isn’t memorable outside of one song, and the message is cloudier than incorporating time travel into the life of a fairly typical teenage boy in anything other than a comedic setting. Look for Rotten Tomatoes for an even greater indie slobbering.
Determination- Should be enjoyed by a lot fewer people than it has been.
3. Fight Club– 10th
The brain child of my incredibly strange high school generation, Fight Club offers up a grimy view of an underground brawling ring with all the outstanding acting of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Forcing past my obvious sarcasm, what you’re left with is yet another film which received an unprecedented amount of love for having a twist ending. Somehow, the trademark which began to earn M. Night Shyamalan a great deal of grief has propelled this average dreary flick to the top 10 voted ratings of all time. All I can say to that is: really? The large number of high schoolers who believe this film somehow outrageously changed their lives forever has vaulted this production over Casablanca, Apocalypse Now, North by Northwest, Citizen Kane, and The Green Mile.
Determination- Count me amongst those not buying into the hype on this one. If you’d like a better Norton performance, watch The 25th Hour.
Next week, along with my review I’ll have a brief list of criminally underrated films; those that should be in the top 250, but aren’t.