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The Playlist Staff's Most Overrated And Underrated Films Of 2013

Features
by The Playlist Staff
December 24, 2013 7:03 AM
165 Comments
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Oliver Lyttelton
Underrated: "The Invisible Woman"
I was struggling to get enthused about "The Invisible Woman" in the run up to seeing it a month or two back—I hadn't been especially enthused by Ralph Fiennes' directorial debut, "Coriolanus," found Abi Morgan's previous work a bit spotty, wasn't particularly overjoyed to be facing another period literary biopic, and buzz had been muted at best when it premiered at Telluride and TIFF. That probably helped my reaction, but I like to think I'd have been knocked over by "The Invisible Woman" regardless, because it's a beautifully made and acted film that I don't think has had a fair shake yet. I've seen it dismissed it some quarters as another young-girl-falling-for-older-man tale, but I found the execution to be much more ambivalent and dark than that—it's the story of how Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), a mediocre actress with a pretty face, is essentially forced into becoming the mistress of Charles Dickens (Fiennes). She has a crush on him, certainly (who hasn't gone starry-eyed when flattered by a genius), she might even love him at one point, but after she resisted him so long, it feels more like Stockholm Syndrome, and as soon as she relents, he uses her up and moves on. It's borderline abusive stuff, and Fiennes doesn't for a second hesitate to show Dickens as a hugely unsympathetic figure, even if you can understand the appeal at the same time. He gives one of his best performances in some time, but he's overshadowed (appropriately for a film shining a light on 'an invisible woman') by the women: Kristin Scott Thomas' pragmatic, pained theatrical matriarch; warm, sweet performances from Perdita Weeks and Amanda Hale as Nelly's sisters; a scene-stealing, heartbreaking turn from Joanna Scanlan; and best of all, Felicity Jones as Ternan. It's the fulfillment of the potential she's been showing for so long, a performance that can go from the flighty, impressionable girl to the hardened, but thriving woman working as a schoolteacher years after the end of the affair. Like Morgan's smart, complex script, and Fiennes' confident direction, which feels closer to Wong Kar-wai than to Merchant-Ivory, it far exceeds expectations, and if you were thinking of skipping this one, I'd urge you to reconsider.

Overrated: "World War Z"
There were a fair few films that I found myself out of critical step with this year, some of which have been covered here by other writers ("Captain Phillips," "Spring Breakers," "Out of the Furnace"). The biggest gap between consensus and my view probably came with Alexander Payne's "Nebraska," but I'd hesitate to call that Overrated—I simply stopped clicking with Payne's work after "Election," and I'm glad for those who can find something to love there. But I'm truly baffled that anyone could really champion "World War Z," a tepid and dull blockbuster that got a soft pass from most critics, and raves from a scattered view. I'd hesitate to go as far as to call "World War Z" a bad movie, because it's more like a pretty good video game. Brad Pitt's hero, more superheroic and invincible than any other blockbuster lead this year, "Man of Steel" and "The Wolverine" included, is as blank as the first-person protagonist of some survival shoot-em-up, without a single characteristic to him other than 'loves his family.' He moves from level to level, set-piece to set-piece with a series of clear objectives: Level 1: Philadelphia—GET TO THE CHOPPER. Level 2: South Korea—GET TO THE PLANE. Level 3: Jerusalem.—GET TO THE PLANE. AGAIN, etc., etc. And if you were playing as Bradvatar (I'm sure he had a character name, but I'm pretty sure even Pitt won't remember it until he gets the script for the sequel in the post), you'd probably have a good time—look over there, those zombies are climbing a wall! Out the window, there's a nuclear bomb! Initially, the visceral, ground-level perspective feels like a good idea, but the taped-together-with-gaffer-tape script never makes the most of the geopolitics and details of the novel, and we're given so little reason to care about Bradvatar, or, really, anyone. As such, the film adds nothing here we haven't seen many, many times before, except perhaps this large a collection of actors given nothing to do. This isn't a film I hated—there's occasionally an arresting image, and the final sequence is the best budget-saving bottled episode of "The Walking Dead" so far. But "hey, this wasn't the train wreck we were expecting" isn't a reason to give something the thumbs up either.

Cory Everett
Underrated:Pacific Rim
I know what you’re thinking and yes, I am aware that “Pacific Rim” ’s central conceit is kind of ridiculous, the script is built on cliches and Charlie Hunnam is a bland lead with a questionable Fauxmerican accent. But I just don’t care, because Guillermo del Toro’s robots vs. monsters epic was easily the most fun I had at the movies all year, which is ironic because prior to its release, I had not been especially been looking forward to it. I even questioned del Toro’s status as a Geek God whose reputation (in my opinion) outweighed the quality of his output and went into “Pacific Rim” fairly skeptical. But somewhere around the 40-minute mark, with a giant smile plastered across my face, I had an epiphany that put everything into perspective: maybe del Toro just isn’t an “A” filmmaker and maybe he never will be? Unlike some of his contemporaries who sought to elevate genre material into something more respectable, with “Pacific Rim” del Toro made one of the biggest “B” films of all time that just happens to look like the most beautifully realized “A” movie you’ve ever seen. Like a modern-day Mario Bava (“Black Sunday,” “Danger: Diabolik”), sometimes you have to look past shoddy acting or a juvenile script—which is why Bava’s films aren’t usually mentioned in the same breath with classics like “Alien” or “Rosemary’s Baby”—but you’ll never be disappointed by the craft on display. Similarly del Toro’s passion for the material, silly as it may be, bleeds through into every joyous frame which is what also separates “Pacific Rim” from something like the “Transformers” series. (Michael Bay is passionate about explosions but couldn't really give a shit about robots that turn into cars.) And while I’m not generally a fan of CGI or 3D, this film proved to be quite the exception: a beautifully stylized world that I just wanted to spend more time in which may explain why I ended up seeing it three times in theatres, more than any other film this year. So while I can’t really argue with anyone who couldn’t see past their issues with the film, if you didn’t shriek with delight when that fucking monster sprouted wings, I just don’t know what to tell you.

Overrated:Blue Is The Warmest Color
Look, I’m not a monster. I will admit that there is a lot to admire about “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” the 3-hour Palme d’Or-winning sensation that made waves for its raw intimacy as well as for its extended, graphic sex scenes. I think the performances by co-leads Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux are magnificent, the IFC Center’s decision to allow teens to see the film was a brilliant fuck you to the MPAA and admittedly for the first hour or so, I was completely under the film’s spell. In fact, I think everything leading up to the first consummation of Adèle and Emma’s relationship was emotional, intimate and pretty perfect. Unfortunately the problems begin with that oft-discussed 10-minute sex scene whose main problem is less about length and more to do with point of view, which switches jarringly from Adèle’s to the director’s. Up until that scene, everything in the film had been about experiencing first love from the point of view of a 15-year-old girl and all the excitement and weirdness that goes with that but when they finally get together, all the sexual tension that had been building deflates in an instant because they’re just straight fucking. This moment should be thrilling for Adèle, instead it feels like it was constructed for the audience’s (or the director’s) stimulation—like Tyler Durden slipped in a scene from a different film—and while excuses have been made for Adèle’s “voracious appetite,” I just don’t buy it. There was no thrill of discovery there and if the scene had done right by the characters, there is literally no way it would’ve elicited snickers from audiences (as was reportedly a common occurrence). Unfortunately that was only the beginning of the film’s problems as the remaining two hours nearly drain any goodwill built up by the first. Again, the problem is not so much with length as to how it chooses to spend that screen time. Rather than focusing on large dramatic developments like showing us say, SPOILERS the indiscretion that leads to an irreparable rift between the couple END SPOILERS, instead we’re shown endless scenes of Adèle munching down on more spaghetti (not a euphemism). We get it, she has a voracious appetite! Now can we please spend a little more time with these characters while things are actually happening to them? Apparently not. By the time the film ended I was frustrated that it had squandered such promise. Its actresses and audience deserve better.

Katie Walsh
Underrated:Touchy Feely
It’s bananas that “Touchy Feely,” the most recent feature from auteur Lynn Shelton feels totally slept on. With the success of her previous gem “Your Sister’s Sister,” which garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Rosemarie DeWitt, it’s crazy that “Touchy Feely,” which is larger in scope and feels like a step forward for Shelton, hasn’t received the same attention. Josh Pais (whom we mentioned briefly in our “For Your Consideration: Actors" piece) gives a precise yet revelatory performance as Paul, an uptight dentist who discovers he has a magical healing touch. At the same time, his sister Abby (DeWitt) a massage therapist, loses her ability to touch others, which sends her into a tailspin, emotionally and professionally. Scoot McNairy is perfect as her bewildered younger hipster boyfriend, who just wants to please her but can’t, and Ellen Page also does fine work as Paul’s daughter and dental assistant, who is learning to stand on her own. And never forget Allison Janney, the MVP of everything she touches, doing damn delightful work as Reiki master and guru-of-sorts Bronwyn. For all the funny and touching characters and moments, the film achieves transcendence during the interaction between Abby and ex-boyfriend Adrian (Ron Livingston, DeWitt’s real life husband, and boy, can you tell because their chemistry is like woah, off the charts). In an almost dreamlike, possibly fantasy sequence, Abby and Adrian confront their past together, their emotional scars, and Abby achieves the closure that she needs in order to move on from her crippling bodily anxiety. The whole end of the film is set to a gorgeous live performance by Tomo Nakayama who also plays one of Paul’s patients and if you aren’t just melted into a puddle on the floor by the end of it, well then, I’m sorry to say you have no soul. Shelton’s films take up the subject area of the everyday extraordinary, injecting a bit of magical realism into intimate stories of family and love, and this one is no different, though it feels more expansive, a treading of new ground, and she truly demonstrates her storytelling chops, as well as emotional intelligence, and lets her performers shine, each in their own way. It’s just fantastic, see it immediately.

Overrated:The Spectacular Now
SPOILERS THROUGHOUT: So, I recognize that “The Spectacular Now,” is a “good” movie—well-acted, well-directed, solid, quality work. But unfortunately, the story they choose to tell resides in overly well-trodden territory. All of the characters are stereotypes from teen movies that have been around since the dawn of time: charming asshole, pretty girl who doesn’t know she’s pretty, popular bitchy blonde girl, etc. And not much is done to change up their genre-established arcs, except for one notable twist (alcoholism!), which still manages to feel old hat, somehow. As soon as Miles Teller’s Sutter busts out the flask at work, my only thought was “oh, OBVIOUSLY.” My second thought was, “James Ponsoldt, you okay buddy?” because he’s now got three features under his belt, and all three of them are about alcoholics. I sort of felt the same way about “The Spectacular Now” as I did about “Smashed,” his previous film, which is that I felt too old for both of them. Had I seen ‘Now’ at 17, or “Smashed” at 23, they might have been extraordinarily moving. But at 30, nothing about these films seem fresh or original or revelatory. I know that this statement glosses over the real skill from all parties involved in the film (and my ability to assess cinema at 17 and 23), but if you’re skillfully telling a very trite and stereotypical story, well, it’s still trite and stereotypical. I kept wanting the film to escalate even more, just to have something different and unpredictable happen. One should not be hoping that the female love interest (Shailene Woodley, fine) dies or is paralyzed in a drunk driving accident just because it might make the proceedings that much more interesting and dark. The film seems like it might go there, and then it doesn’t, resting instead on an ending that’s cliché and safe (and crowd-pleasing to teenagers who probably aren’t even watching this movie). “The Spectacular Now” tries to pull off authentic real-world problems in a high school setting, but it just ends up feeling too clean and too pat. Unfortunately, a very special episode of “90210” contains more complex emotional and moral heft than "The Spectacular Now.”

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165 Comments

  • TJ | June 5, 2014 6:44 AMReply

    I agree with most of these except pacific rim and gangster squad both really were disappointing wastes of 12$ in my opinion, and Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, and Dallas buyers Club were wayyyyyyyy better than 12 years a slave;)

  • Jim | May 25, 2014 4:16 AMReply

    PACIFIC RIM WAS BAD. Your choice in movies are not that great after all.

  • Bryan Foreman | May 8, 2014 8:00 PMReply

    You lost me at Pacific Rim. I wish I had just seen The Avengers for the third time.

  • Rosie | May 25, 2014 4:18 AM

    OH THANK GOD. Finally someone with a sense here. THANK U. PACIFIC RIM was a waste of time and money. BAD BAD BAD

  • Harry | January 21, 2014 2:00 AMReply

    'Blue' is easily top 4 films of 2013. Spectacular Now and Spring Breakers overrated? Pacific Rim underrated?

    Do us all a favor and don't attempt to write this stupid propaganda until you understand film

  • Joe H. | January 18, 2014 1:35 AMReply

    Hold on, hold on. Maybe I need to get my eyes checked. Only God Forgives OVERRATED?? Since when? Good lord, the majority of people disliked that movie, so how the hell is is overrated?

    I loved it, but that's not the point. Most people didn't. You can hate on that movie all you want, it's your opinion, but to label it as overrated is just plain incorrect.

  • Joe H. | January 18, 2014 1:32 AMReply

    THANK YOU!! I thought I was the only one who thought 12 Years a Slave was overrated.

  • Corny Collins | January 23, 2014 7:41 PM

    Sets race relations back 20 years, at least.

  • Brandon | January 12, 2014 11:22 AMReply

    This post is a fantastic reminder of why I have vowed to never use the words over/underrated. They come as majorly pretentious and dismissive of one's opinion of a film this just breeds a hostile environment to hold a conversation or debate, additionally it screams hey look at my opinion it's so much less mainstream than the other guys' opinion; that is something the Cinephile community doesn't need.

  • reggie e | January 12, 2014 5:07 AMReply

    Haitian Pirates?

  • Nik G. | January 11, 2014 1:49 AMReply

    I'm not part of the staff, but I contribute whenever I get the chance so I'd like to just throw my overrated and underrated ones out there. For whatever it's worth. (Like the intro suggests though, the terms need to be taken with a spoonful of salt - probably two of the most abused descriptors in movie conversations).

    Underrated:
    To The Wonder - Malick's latest movie got so much crap flung at it because of its abstract expressionism that people didn't even care about how stunning it is to look at. Cinematography aside, the film is less film and more essay or meditation on love, loss and faith which can understably drive so many people relying on plot and narrative away. But this is the kind of movie that reminds me of how poetic movies can be.

    Overrated: (hard to choose one to be honest)
    Gravity - both my picks share the same cinematographer and it looks like he's finally heading for that overdue Oscar with this one, so at least there's that. But, talk about a fantastic technical achievement that's hampered by a contrived plot and a protagonist that's so fabricated she might as well been part of the green screen. A technical milestone no doubt and Cuaron together with Lubezki should be applauded and awarded for their achievements but Gravity, together with Sandra Bullock whose mediocre performance might be a highlight in her career but take a look at that career for a second, is getting way too much attention and praise than it deserves. Watch it age like vinegar, not wine.

  • Lucille | January 9, 2014 7:14 AMReply

    I found American Hustle overrated

  • Cerone | January 20, 2014 4:21 PM

    Wolf of Wall Street pisses all over it XD

  • Joe H. | January 18, 2014 1:36 AM

    I do too. I loved Russell's last two films but American Hustle was a big disappointment. Surprisingly shallow...

  • PAPAJOHN | January 7, 2014 8:46 AMReply

    News flash: nobody cares about your strange loathing for Papa Johns. It's a pizza place that people work at in a place called the real world. One many people enjoy. Though I have not seen Mitty yet, that you would let something like that ruin a movie for you while I assure you the vast majority of movie goers will not give a crap seems to be saying more about you than the film. You went on and on about this non issue at length. Almost as if you had nothing else to complain about but that. Would you have been happier if it were "Papa Steve's" and people still obviously knew what real world company was being referenced?

  • Cerone | January 20, 2014 4:20 PM

    Wolf of Wall Street pisses all over it XD

  • um | January 7, 2014 4:49 AMReply

    I know you begin the article by commenting on the flaws of overrated and underrated in relation to film, but what did I just read? With two supposedly "underrated" films exceeding 90% on the tomatometer, and most "overrated" mentions proving to be critical non-events, receiving generally mixed responses all round, I really don't know what to make of this list.

  • Lucas | January 6, 2014 8:45 AMReply

    I'm sorry, but saying that "Only God Forgives" is overrated it's just unacceptable.

  • Trey | January 5, 2014 1:05 PMReply

    "Plush" by Catherine Hardwicke has been underrated. This movies stars Emily Browning and is really interesting by mixing the styles (music film, fame, erotic, thriller). It just got a limited release and it's a shame! I also think that people have been unfair with this movie: they criticized it without watching it because of the tagline "from the director of Twilight". But Catherin Hardwicke also made "Thirteen" and "Lords of Dogtown" which are very good films !

  • md | January 3, 2014 8:23 PMReply

    wha?

  • Devon | January 2, 2014 12:49 AMReply

    Unless you are familiar with Thai cinema, and Asian film in general, you cannot possibly grasp Only God Forgives. So unless you majored in Asian film in college, or have lived in Thailand, you should not be allowed to comment on the movie. Because you're just plain ignorant.

  • Gordon | January 2, 2014 1:45 PM

    This comment is completely idiotic. Film is not esoteric. Film is the most populist of all art forms and artists who try to bypass that do so at their own risk.

  • rodie | January 2, 2014 12:28 AMReply

    Calling Only God Forgives overrated is absolutely ridiculous. A film needs to be highly praised critically or make a ton of money to qualify in that category, and OGF did neither. That said, the cinematography and the music in the film were A+ amazing, and you're wrong Kristin Scott Thomas is fantastic and frightening in the movie. If David Lynch had made Only God Forgives, critics would have called it a triumph. It's flawed, but definitely UNDER-rated.

  • Marlowe | January 1, 2014 9:40 PMReply

    I thought "The Counselor" was way underrated. I know a lot of people hated it(critics and audiences) but I thought it was so nilhlistic and ballsy that it was really fascinating. I even liked the strange, Shakespearean dialogue by Cormac Mccarthy. No Country For Old Men kind of seems tame in comparison. A lot of it reminded me of 70's cinama like Sam Pekinpah films. Nice to see a rare film that didn't cater to the box office or awards. This film almost felt like one big "F You" to both of those things.

  • Jon | December 31, 2013 11:29 AMReply

    The 'male gaze' criticism of Blue doesn't really make much sense to me. The sex scene didn't differ all that much from the rest of the film aesthetically, and its dramatic intentions were clear: a depiction of Adele's voraciousness, and to show that their relationship was predicated more on physical desire than any emotional connection.

    And come on, you're really going to bring up the giggling? As if the reaction something elicits is always the fault of the thing itself. America is a prudish nation; we giggle at sex.

    Some of these complaints seem more politically than artistically motivated.

  • stefan | December 30, 2013 7:49 PMReply

    m8..u are completely idiot

  • MIke | December 29, 2013 12:22 PMReply

    Horrible is such a subjective term, so I'll just say that of the movies that I've actually seen on this list I completely disagree with everything the writer said about it. The one that sticks out more than other is "To do List". I'd go further than saying that movie isn't underrated in the least, I'd say it hella overrated considering all the people I've heard call that movie underrated -- which is why I wasting my time giving that movie a chance.

    And how is Gravity not on every single overrated list? That should be on most overrated movie of ALL TIME lists, not just 2013.

  • Alexandra | December 31, 2013 1:18 PM

    Mike, I don't know you, but I love you for saying what you said about Gravity. I thought the movie was mediocre at best. I do not understand all the critical acclaim at all. Visuals were okay, but if I want pretty pictures of space, I'll watch a documentary. As for the writing, dialogue, character development, story - terrible. Sorry, but terrible. "Either way, it's gonna be one helluva ride." NO. GTFO.

  • Coleman | December 31, 2013 4:19 AM

    Haven't seen the To Do List, but I don't get the Gravity hate dude. Were you one of the people who inexplicably found it boring or are you sick of hearing about how great it is? The movie has spectacular visuals and is incredibly suspenseful. It does some of the best things film as a medium can do. What could have improved it in your eyes?

  • MARTIN | December 27, 2013 6:34 PMReply

    Anyway, I think "Gravity", is absolutely OVERRRATED!!!! I can't stand the "universal acclaim" it holds, it's ridiculous how everyone is buying the idea of a movie like that. I was dying of boredom... If you quite the excellent special effects from it, what do you have? A movie (supposedly) about fighting "adversities". Boring. Next.

  • randall | December 26, 2013 5:16 PMReply

    The Only God Forgives entry is just silly, that film was universally shit on and in no way is overrated.

    If anything, I think the film is probably slightly underrated.

  • Michele | December 23, 2013 8:45 PMReply

    Those who can do and create....those who can't, write over rated/under rated movie comments. GO MAKE A MOVIE and I'll you how over rated/under rated your efforts were.

  • JLP | December 25, 2013 5:56 PM

    Wow, last time I checked, some of the best directors had some pretty colorful comments and opinions regarding the work of their peers. I'm surprised you find time apart from your own creating to feel so superior to others.

  • Themba | December 23, 2013 6:26 PMReply

    "At least "Django Unchained" had the guts to turn slavery into an abstract, blood-splattered comic book. " ?????????

    You mean to say you applaud Tarintino for making slavery comfortable and entertaining for Caucasians and any other race who didn't endure slavery?

    'Django Unchained' (2012) is a fictional account of slavery and was created by someone who stands on the outside looking in. '12 Years A Slave' (2013) is a historical memoir of an educated African American protagonist expressing his journey from the inside looking out.

  • Bforreal | December 28, 2013 11:02 AM

    Thank you! Thank you! My thoughts exactly. The author last all credibility when I read that racist shit. I mean, really. What kind of immature critic writes such a statement?

  • Mark | December 23, 2013 3:19 PMReply

    Drew Taylor's take on "12 Years a Slave" needs an ass whipping! Utter nonsense.

  • JAN | January 2, 2014 1:48 PM

    I think it's harmful to the black psyche to constantly see themselves as a race of slaves. Nearly all of antiquity was built upon slave labor. We're pretty much all ancestors of slaves except for the 1%.

  • Pax Romana | December 25, 2013 5:13 PM

    "Caucasians and any other race who didn't endure slavery?" ????!!!

    Where did you come up with that piece of outrageous historical falsehood? Public Education??

    Where do you think the word "slave" comes from?? And were those slaves Caucasians?? You bet they were!

  • Grego | December 23, 2013 12:48 PMReply

    I cannot share anyone's opinion that 12 Years a Slave is unemotional. It is an emotional powerhouse. Yes, it is dry, but that is what gives it its unsentimental edge that makes sure the movie earns its emotion in a way few pictures about slavery ever have. McQueen keeps us at a distance, frames all the horrors amidst a beautiful painting, so that we can fully comprehend how horrible that period was. The beauty makes the horrors all the more terrifying. I would say in this case the problem is definitely not with the film, but with the rare viewer who didn't let himself look past the surface.

  • Dan | January 10, 2014 8:08 PM

    Thank you for being the voice of common sense! I can't understand how one could not be moved by it.

  • Jack | December 23, 2013 4:45 AMReply

    Under-rated: Agree with The To-do List, also The Bling Ring
    Over-rated: Nebraska (June Squibb FTW though), Epic

  • Joseph | December 21, 2013 6:44 PMReply

    This list is complete bullshit lol

  • yeeesssss | December 21, 2013 4:52 PMReply

    12 years a slave is the only movie that might win Best Picture that will actually earn it. Refn really let everyone down with Only God Forgives. Spring Breakers was ok but Korine needs to know the difference between elaborating on your message than just repeat it over and over (also the acting was awful). American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, and Gravity were all fantastic.

    and also never read anything by Drew Taylor or Kristen Lopez ever again. Go ahead, Indiewire, call me a sexist.

  • Affirmative Actionita | December 21, 2013 2:17 PMReply

    Kristen Lopez is the perfect example of why employers shouldn't hire someone simply because they need to fill their "woman" or "latino" quota.

    Gangster Squad, underrated.
    "Haitian pirates"
    My God.

  • Hugo | December 27, 2013 4:48 PM

    Kristen Lopez: Unfortunately "Latino" isn't a race, you can call that to a person who speaks a language influenced by Latin (e.g. Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, French, Italian, etc.). Now the Americans use it in a very different way (wrong way, misconception), a different connotation, they call that to a person who just comes from a Hispanic American country and whose skin is brown or is just not white or caucasian. But it's not a matter of race or blood is a matter of languages. And yes, "Lopez" is a Spanish last name (you want it or not), therefore you can, technically, consider yourself a part of the group. And unfortunately for you "Lopez" is one of the Top 5 most common Spanish last names along with Gonzalez, Garcia, Rodriguez and Martinez. So you're not only a "Latino" girl but one with a very, very vulgar last name.

  • aa | December 23, 2013 11:50 AM

    Well I agree. Gangster Squad is underrated. I'm a white 40s male.

  • Kristen | December 22, 2013 1:52 PM

    Haha, I love the weird comments about my last name...unfortunately the "latino" in my blood is so white I can't technically identify as such but thanks for considering me part of the group.

  • Goegre | December 21, 2013 1:12 PMReply

    Underrated: Gloria
    Overrated: American Hustle and Blue is the Warmest Color

    Paulina Garcia must be in Best Actress at Oscar because she is simply amazing.

  • Tim | December 21, 2013 12:37 PMReply

    "Haitian pirates"

    Oh wow. How do these people keep their jobs?

  • Bforreal | December 28, 2013 12:27 PM

    Right! Seriously! I wondered the same thing.

  • kyle | December 21, 2013 12:36 PMReply

    Drew Taylor is a ridiculous paid-off hack.

  • Rebecca | December 20, 2013 7:45 PMReply

    Drew Taylor: I hate your opinions the most. Like, who are you? Are you kidding me that a racist piece of shit film will be as lauded as the Fight Club is now because, um what? Because YOU liked it. I wish I never read them, it ruined this whole feature for me.

  • Joe H. | January 18, 2014 1:39 AM

    He's just sharing his opinions. And you're sharing yours. It's called freedom of speech, so chill out

  • ET | December 20, 2013 2:09 PMReply

    Lopez come on, Gangster Squad was a glossy piece of trash with terrible dialogue and acting.

  • Gerard Kennelly | December 20, 2013 2:31 AMReply

    Only God Forgives doesn’t have the soundtrack ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    the reviews all agreed on two things
    1-this isn't as good as DRIVE
    2-the soundtrack is amazing

  • Justin a | December 19, 2013 11:04 PMReply

    Spring breakers is the most important film of our generation. It embodies perfectly the youth culture of our time period.

  • Bobby De Niro | December 20, 2013 2:34 AM

    @ JUSTIN A

    i have not seen spring breakers yet
    will watch it when i am drunk
    might work then
    same as rum diary or bad lieutenant port of call new orleans

  • Jonlynx | December 19, 2013 9:40 PMReply

    The pirates were Somali, not Haitian. Embarrasing mistake.

  • Kristen | December 22, 2013 1:52 PM

    You're exactly right. I can't defend that error and really feel terrible for committing it, especially in a list like this.

  • Hawaiian Punch | December 19, 2013 6:27 PMReply

    Underrated: To The Wonder (It's Malick, which means you either love it or hate it. This one is no exception.)
    Overrated: 12 Years A Slave (I think the fact that the black man is given his freedom as a present by the white man says it all. Thanks, Brad!)

  • HP | December 20, 2013 11:30 AM

    Indeed, it may have been historical fact, but it's also historical fact that black men cannot appear in popular culture without white benefactors. Given this, I think the film exposes itself as sheer self righteous hypocrisy.

  • josh | December 20, 2013 10:04 AM

    That's historical fact. Sure be a cynic about it all you want but you can't criticise a movie's story for playing out as it happened in real life.
    Can you honestly conceive of a different way Solomon could have escaped without the help of any white men?

  • notstudiofilm.com | December 19, 2013 8:34 AMReply

    Pacific Rim being called underrated is interesting. I found it to be one of those movies where there is constant action but that was it. Didn't feel like a Guillermo del Toro film, which are better paced. Maybe it is because our expectations are so high for his films.

  • Coleman | December 31, 2013 4:13 AM

    Pacific Rim didn't have the emotional intensity of Del Toro's best stuff but I think the constant action was sort of the point as an homage to the japanese anime he grew up on. I feel the film was underrated in the aspect that the fight scenes have been criticized for being hard to follow but I found them to be much more visceral because of the unique views he used and far more hard hitting than other big action set pieces like man of steel. The fights really seemed to have stakes. The characters were not very deep but much like the anime it was inspired by, there were quite a few charming and fun people to follow i.e. Hannibal Chau, Charlie Days character, Idris Elba's character. Charlie Hunnam is bland but served his purpose well as "angsty ace-pilot" and Rinko kikuchi played her part well.

  • john | December 19, 2013 7:24 AMReply

    haitian pirates? c'mon guys

  • Davide | December 19, 2013 4:09 AMReply

    Underrated: The Bling Ring
    Overrated: Gravity

  • Caleb Chadwick | December 20, 2013 2:25 AM

    exactly.

  • Rocky | December 19, 2013 1:42 AMReply

    the fact that the writers would use offensive terms like "take a tomahawk to it" and scalping it alive" is a good indication of why they enjoyed that racist piece of garbage "The Lone Ranger"

  • Piotr | December 21, 2013 11:40 AM

    @Brutal Honesty. That is the most useless comment I have ever seen in my entire life. And I should know! To compare Lincoln (historical fact) to The Lone Ranger (complete fiction) is like trying to compare Pacific Rim to Blue Is The Warmest Colour. They are not the same thing!

    @Rocky. I felt the same way about the Blue Is The Warmest Colour write-up. In one breath to talk about the complicated ethics of that sex scene, and then in the next breath to make an extremely off-colour joke about female oral sex. I don't think it's the director who has a problem with female sexuality, Cory, I think it's you. And that last part wasn't a euphemism! LOL!

  • Brutal Honesty | December 20, 2013 2:36 AM

    spielbergs Lincoln aka the generous white man throwing the black people a bone

    was that racist garbage too ?

  • Skippy | December 18, 2013 3:34 PMReply

    All I know is that I want to hear Diana Drumm's story about she got Errol Flynn's pants.

  • Lisa | February 19, 2014 9:36 AM

    ME TOO!!!!!

  • TC Kirkham | December 18, 2013 12:21 PMReply

    Katie - FINALLY Someone else that sees through "Spectacular Now". I did like this film and gave it a good review, but it was very cliche in more than one place, and Miles Teller probably couldn't have passed for 17 when he actually WAS 17 - which was NINE years ago...had they tried another lead,someone that actually looked the right age, maybe it would have worked better for me, but as it was, I didn't believe his character was a day under 24 or 25...It definitely goes on my overrated list this year, while my most underrated films were the French farce Populaire and David Gordon Green's wonderfully witty return to indie form, Prince Avalanche.

  • Jeb | December 18, 2013 11:16 AMReply

    I think Only God Forgives got a bum deal this year, but calling a film with a 37 aggregated rating overrated is a serious reach.

  • i agree with JEB | December 20, 2013 2:37 AM

    the criterion collection will give OGF the respect it deserves
    trust me

  • christiana | December 18, 2013 10:59 AMReply

    Drew Taylor's comments about 12 Years a Slave are interesting. I have heard quite a few people be critical of this film and bring up Django Unchained as a counterpoint, but I find that problematic. When I left the theater after watching Django Unchained I wasn't even sure why slavery was involved at all, that's how uninterested Tarantino seemed with the it, other than as a means to a revenge plot. On the other hand, 12 Years a Slave left me devastated and I actually attribute that to the naturalism of McQueen's direction. It's almost as if McQueen wanted his direction to seem remote, almost as if to prove that we can try to keep these horrors at arms length, but even that cannot dull their emotional potency.

  • Hannah Montanah | December 19, 2013 6:29 PM

    I think the story really swerved off track when it left off Solomon Northrop and took up with Fassbinder's fascination with the slave, Patsy. And the part when he forces Solomon to whip her? What's that about? Torture porn. With guilt.

  • Washington | December 18, 2013 10:14 AMReply

    Gangster Squad was straight garbage who are you kidding

  • Alan B | December 18, 2013 5:48 AMReply

    I hate pieces like these. They presumptuously demand a special insight into the writers' psychology to the point. How else can you explain 'Walter Mitty' being 'overrated'? And what does 'overrated' even mean? Effectively it's just someone reading that other people like something that he or she doesn't and getting annoyed by that idea.

    Alternatively, the idea of valuing something as underrated isn't so obnoxious ... in theory. However, you have some of these writers who need to declare that this film will be recognized years later blah, blah, blah. Who cares if someone recognizes a film later? Shouldn't a film be good if it stands up on its own? Can't you distinguish its quality (or lacktherof) from whether other people choose to agree with your or not?

    As for the individual writing itself, it's a COMPLETE shock that only Oliver Lyttelton doesn't seem obnoxious and ignorant. He's the only writer who deployed CRITICAL THINKING in attempting to gauge where he was coming from and why he felt that the films in question meet, exceeded or failed his expectations of the material and genre. Wow, that must have been really hard to think before you write but he seems to be the only person capable of doing so. You have other people declare that a film "had praise heaped upon on it for no apparent reason" and that's it. That's their insight into the film and other people's opinions. I guess other people must be if they only do things for "no apparent reason". Or maybe they did have their reasons and you're just unwilling or unable to engage with them on any other level than "ha, ha, ha, they're STUPID". Or maybe the director must be an alcoholic "ha, ha, ha" (oh wait, that was another writer, but really who gives a shit?)

    It's a waste of time and effort to merely engage with people who just don't want to engage with others and that everyone else doesn't get it because, umm, they have different opinions than I do. And you know what? Everyone has different opinions. Critics shouldn't be judged on what films they liked or didn't like (or their status), but how they came to form those opinions. That's the difference between a judgement and an insight. If you can't critically engage with a text, it doesn't matter what publication you write for or what degrees you have, because you will never have an insight and that's what matters.

  • Luisa | December 18, 2013 5:44 AMReply

    Lone Ranger UNDERRATED? Spring Breakers OVERRATED? Gangster Squad UNDERRATED? 12 Years a Slave OVERRATED? This post doens't make any sense, sorry.

  • Oprah is a cu** | December 20, 2013 2:39 AM

    could THE BUTLER be overrated stomach turning american propaganda ?

    are there any possibility :)

  • Joss | December 18, 2013 3:42 AMReply

    Only God Forgives holds 39% on rotten tomatoes, 5.9 on imdb and only made 10 million at the box office. To say it is overrated is plain idiocy.

  • Michael Car Lee Own E | December 20, 2013 2:42 AM

    PHIL SPECTOR is underrated

    pacino reteams with the glengarry glen ross writer/dir
    he plays a genuinely unlikable piece of work

    i predict pacino will win the GG and SAG awards instead of douglas for liberace

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