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

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by The Playlist Staff
December 24, 2013 7:03 AM
161 Comments
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Sam Chater
Underrated: “The To Do List
When it comes to girl coming-of-age comedies “The To Do List” is no “Whip It” or “Easy A”; Aubrey Plaza may be a thinking man’s pin-up but she doesn’t quite have the left-of-centre charm of Ellen Page or Emma Stone. However that doesn’t make her any less perfect (in my eyes at least) playing the competitive, goal-driven, Hillary Clinton-admiring over-achiever on a mission to de-virginize herself—usually viewed as a male concern, societally and cinematically. Reviewers have complained that film is confusing because it's unclear whether it is a criticism of enforced promiscuity or a blast of the feminist horn for sexual empowerment, which is an unfortunate black-and-white lens through which to the view the story, as is so often the case with a female-led cast with a female writer and director. Critics want to know “What's your agenda lady?” To be honest I like a gross-out comedy as much as the rest, but I enjoyed the character of Brandy more, who Plaza deadpan-delivers perfectly. She’s a girl who is less phased by “the virgin-whore dichotomy” than by getting what she wants (or at least thinks she wants) and maybe also learning along the way that you can be too goal-oriented. “The To Do List” is yet another female-led film (in our post-”Bridesmaids” era) that feels realer and more relatable. Sidenote: all the supporting cast also bring the lulz, so more of Alia Shawkat, Andy Samberg and Donald Glover et al. in 2014, please!

Overrated: "Only God Forgives"
I wasn’t sure if “Only God Forgives” actually was overrated (boo-ed at Cannes, savaged by critics, ignored by U.S. audiences) until I saw the Foreign Box Office for the film sat at just under $10 million, and realised just because everyone I know hates “Only God Forgives” doesn’t mean everybody else does (obviously). I mean I don’t know anyone that voted for crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, but he still got elected, didn’t he? Prior to watching “Only God Forgives”, I thought I was a fan of the Ryan Gosling x Nicolas Winding Refn combo—I mean I liked “Drive “at the time—but on reflection I think I just loved the opening scene and the soundtrack. “Only God Forgives” doesn’t have the soundtrack or a dynamite opening, all it has are pretty lights (courtesy of Bangkok) and Gosling's face staring blankly. And it turns out when he doesn’t have a really cool jacket on, his face is a pretty boring one, and won't carry a movie, even if it is only 90 minutes. “Only God Forgives” crawls along and for a film with almost no dialogue, the script that exists is incredibly awkward and stilted. Winding Refn even makes veteran Kristin Scott Thomas look like a hack, and all his efforts at shock e.g. making her say “cum-dumpster” come off as forced in context, which is a shame because I'll admit “cum-dumpster” is something I’ve found myself saying more than I expected after the screening. So there's that.

Rodrigo Perez
In an unpopular move, I'm electing to cover an "Underrated" pick and a "Disappointing" rather than "Overrated" pick. Reasons below.
Underrated: The Past
Follow-ups to great pieces of art are difficult to reconcile for audiences and critics alike. And while Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” is far from his second film, since the beloved and Academy Award-winning “A Separation” it was the first of his films to really pop internationally, “The Past” gets saddled with the sophomore album-slump, thematically and emotionally touching upon similar issues (“A Separation” is about a marriage coming to an end, “The Past” is about a divorce about to be finalized), and yes, “The Past” is not quite the A+ shot of cinema that its predecessor is. And yes, there’s a bit of an overly-involved mystery in the third act that’s arguably a bit overcooked, but Farhadi’s movie has tons of value. It’s a moving, memorable and powerful film about family, secrets and lies and perspective. It also features some terrific performances from its cast—not only the three leads, Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, but its lead children Pauline Burlet and Elyes Aguis who have to depict the trauma of being at the center of this marital maelstrom. Never shrill, “The Past” is emotionally messy, but don’t look at that as a knock. It’s a plus given the extreme situation of a wife and her new lover trying to briefly live together with an ex-husband. Part of “The Past” being overlooked is a function of following the aforementioned “A Separation,” but also having to compete for attention at the crowded Cannes Film Festival. Yes, Bejo took the best acting prize, but more noise was made about the polarizing “Only God Forgives” due to its divisive nature. This happens at every festival and to be fair, “The Past” is only hitting theaters this month. But the conversation for it has cooled off since Cannes and I believe the picture deserves more love, and a second look.

Disappointing: “Out of the Furnace
Anything that's "overrated" or "underrated" is so subjective because the terms mean so many different things to so many people (just see this feature). And yes, "disappointing" generally falls under this same rule. But to me, Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace" isn't disappointing because of expectations (a crime drama from a sharp director with a stellar cast) but because the characters, themes and narrative themselves hold so much promise that’s never fulfilled. Modeled in the vein of "The Deerhunter" or even "The Godfather," via its brooding meditation on brotherhood, moral absolution and spiritual journey into darkness, Cooper understands the lost art of subtext which earns him innumerable points these days. And there are so many impressive emotional choices in the movie, so many moments left unsaid (and understood) rather than spoiled with words, because Cooper understands the power of expression and the moving well of unspoken body language; it takes a perceptive director to not only write this kind of material, but to pull it off as well. And for the entirety of the movie he pulls it off with terrific internalized performances by Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck and especially Christian Bale. But what the movie can’t do is coalesce these themes and reconcile them with a third act that instead becomes a rather generic revenge movie. It’s not even that the movie can’t stick the landing; its problems lie deeper. The movie tries to say so much about things like socio-economic class, poverty, salt-of-the-earth struggle, but does very little with those themes. Through Casey Affleck’s character, the movie paints a rather bleak portrait of a post-traumatic stress-afflicted Iraq war veteran with few options, but other than presenting his issues, the movie says very little about these issues. And that’s kind of “Out of the Furnace” to a tee, a movie with a lot of thematic texture to it, but one that rarely says anything meaningful or moving about it. Which in many ways makes the ultimate outcome of this otherwise auspicious movie a real shame, and certainly a disappointment.

Please keep in mind once again, that these are individual choices, so before you mash your keyboard in fury (or agreement), remember who to point your feedback toward.

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161 Comments

  • 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

  • DJP | December 18, 2013 2:42 AMReply

    Drew Taylor: "Slavery is one of the worst atrocities of humankind. Django Unchained had the guts to turn slavery into an abstract, blood splattered comic book." Idiot.

  • Piotr | December 21, 2013 11:30 AM

    And Django Unchained is more or less the same as Inglourious Basterds. Insert atrocity into pre-existing revenge storyline.

  • DJP hates tarantino | December 20, 2013 2:43 AM

    12 years a slave is more or less the same as the butler

  • Tyler | December 18, 2013 1:58 AMReply

    Underrated - Upstream Color. Why? Besides being the best film to come out of Sundance this year, it is one of the few movies I have seen that's so incredibly aesthetically, emotionally and intellectually engaging (on par with Enter The Void, Tree of Life and 2001: A Space Odyssey).

    Overrated - Stories We Tell. Why? Because it was so damn dull. Does anyone really like watching family home videos of strangers? (Dear Zachary made this idea work so much more effectively)

  • josh | December 20, 2013 10:08 AM

    I agree, I was so disappointed with Stories We Tell. Some people may have found meaning in it but to me it was just too self-indulgent and relied too much on background music and gimmicky direction.

  • Reese | December 17, 2013 11:59 PMReply

    I have never left a comment like this before but I was curious to see the type of people you have writing for you on staff and I was a bit baffled to read the selection of movies picked. This has got to be one of the worst film critic staff's ever.
    Kevin Jagernauth- I agreed with you picks completely, all though I did enjoy Spring Breakers, the acting was horrendous but the part of me that enjoy's shitty movies, enjoyed it.
    Kimber Myers- Never saw In A World but have no desire to because of you thoughts on Room 237.
    Cory Everett- How did you get a job? Really? Pacific Rim? I get where your trying to come from but to claim it is underrated is a joke. You clearly have no taste in movies. And for you thoughts on Blue is the warmest color, that is hands down one of the best most realistic looks at what modern day love actually is, leaving the fact that they are lesbians out of it. There way love is depicted was right on point. If anything that and The Place Beyond the Pines are the only 2 movies to come out this year that have been worth loving.
    I want to keep going and go into more detail with anyone is they are willing to email me.

  • Carlton | December 19, 2013 9:05 AM

    Cory, based on you opinions on "Blue" and "Pines," perhaps your tastes would be better suited to a forum with less refined standards for film criticism. Give Ain't it Cool News a shot.

  • Cory Everett | December 18, 2013 8:25 AM

    I'm not sure you understand what the word "underrated" means. Also: "The Place Beyond The Pines" was terrible. Cheers!

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