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This thread is to discuss classic films that are overrated. Classic can be interpreted however you wish, but as a guideline, let's say at least 20 years or older.

I am by no means a film buff, but I enjoy them and watch them often. However, I haven't seen many classic or must-see movies in my 27 years. I get a lot of "OMG I can't believe you've never seen _______ !!!" from a lot of my peers. Over the years, I've been trying to watch the odd classic film here & there to satisfy said peers, or simply to cross it off the list. Many of these films appear on "best-of" lists according to critics or fellow movie lovers. In the past week, I've had the (dis)pleasure of watching the following classics for the first time which, in my opinion, are overrated and leave me wondering why anyone considers these among the best films ever made.

Goodfellas

-8.8 user rating and #15 on the Top 250 on IMDB
-97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes
-deemed "culturally significant" and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress.
-#92 on the American Film Institute's "100 Years, 100 Movies" list

Really? Watching a bunch of gangsters say f*** over 300 times over the course of 2+ hours is considered culturally significant? I thought it was pretty good, but not one of the best ever, not by a longshot. As the film progressed, I developed an appreciation for the pacing & editing, as it emphasized what Ray Liotta's character was experiencing on film. There were certainly aspects I enjoyed, but left no lasting impression on me, other than how overrated it is!

Side note: I loved The Departed and Shutter Island - two films which really divided Scorcese fans. I turned Casino off after 30 mins I hated it so much, and was unimpressed by Taxi Driver. Go figure.

Back to the Future

-8.4 user rating and #72 on the Top 250 on IMDB
-96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes
-selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"
-American Film Institute's 10th best film in the science fiction genre.

I'm sure if I had seen this as a kid, BTTF would forever live on as a great movie in my mind. But seeing it for the first time as an adult, it was a silly sci-fi comedy that generated a few laughs and clarified a few pop culture references. My girlfriend insisted I watch this after discovering I'd never seen it. She didn't laugh much and seemed disinterested while watching, yet when I asked her if it's as good as she remembers, she said yes. What?! She said she used to watch it all the time with her brother, so I'm thinking she's more fond of the memories spent with her brother rather than the movie itself.

Side note: I compare this movie to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I loved that movie as a kid and still watch it today. And I think it's a great movie! But I'm betting much of that is because of nostalgia, and I'll bet that BTTF is the same way for a lot of folks. But one of the best films ever? Nope.

A few more that come to mind over the past few years that I've tried to appreciate but simply consider to be overrated:

Citizen Kane, Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life, 2001: Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, The Godfather Part II, Doctor Zhivago, Jaws.
 

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I found 2001: Space Odyssey to be very underwhelming. ;)

Not many movie stand the test of time. Especially one with a sci-fi theme.
 

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Casablanca consisted of bad acting, extremely bad studio backgrounds such as DC3 aircraft taking off at very end of movie. A few good lines will last forever and probably misquoted such as here: "of all the gin joints in the world ....." and "play it again Sam ... you played it for her". Same thing with that famous quote by Humphry Bogart in a movie whose title escapes me at the moment "Tennis anyone?" What he really said was "anyone for tennis?". The misquote is a thousand times more acceptable.
 

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An interesting thread. Coop, you and I seem to think alike, I agree with all of your choices for overrated films. Especially Back to Future, sure it was fun and a good entertaining movie, but great? No way. If I was going to grade it I would give it a B-. I did think that Taxi Driver was close to being great, I'll give it an A-. Other disappointments? I'll give it some thought, right now Gone with the Wind comes to mind (very good yes, great, no, I'll give it a B+).
 

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"It's a Wonderful Life"? Definitely not overrated. We still watch this 1940s gem every Christmas season and it never gets stale. The sign of a timeless classic movie.

On the other hand, has anyone gone back and watched the original Star Wars movie lately?......
 

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I disagree with most of the movies listed as overrated. It's easy for a young person to look at an older movie and dismiss it. OTOH, we are talking about movie making in context for the time and social/political environment in which they were made. These movies were ground breaking or significant at the time they were made. It's easy to look at a 50 year old movie and say it's just an old, badly acted B/W movie. Go back 30, 40, 50, 60 years, to a time when movie making technology and social conditions were much different, they do become significant. Most of these movies have been copied many times, rarely better, often worse. They were ground breaking at the time and remain socially significant and/or entertaining while many other movies have become dated or unpopular. As for comparing these movies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, gimme a break, puleeese.
 

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OTOH, we are talking about movie making in context for the time and social/political environment in which they were made.
I'm not sure what the socio-political background to "Jaws" is - or if there even is one - but I agree with cooper83 that it's an over-rated "classic".

It's easy to look at a 50 year old movie and say it's just an old, badly acted B/W movie.
Especially if it's just an old, badly-acted B&W movie. ;) It's much harder to do that if it's an old, well-acted B&W movie. :)

And, anyway, these are all subjective opinions. It's like art: I don't care how supposedly "groundbreaking" Voice of Fire was - it was and still is an over-rated piece of...*ahem*..."art".
 

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Jaws was significant because it broke new ground in the making of suspense movies and due to audience reactions, which were quite pronounced. It was also quite remarkable due to the technology available. It's one thing to make this type of movie by spending $50 million on CGI, it's another to do it successfully with props, mock-ups and real water. Like I said, go back 30-40 years and put yourself in the movie making environment of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
As for comparing these movies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, gimme a break, puleeese.
ScaryBob, I never compared Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to these other movies, only Back to the Future. I used it as an example of a nostalgiac movie from my past, which for many (most?) of these films is reason enough for being a classic movie to appear on best-of lists. Which brings me to...

"It's a Wonderful Life"? Definitely not overrated. We still watch this 1940s gem every Christmas season and it never gets stale. The sign of a timeless classic movie.
So if It's a Wonderful Life qualifies as a classic best-ever because you watch it every year at Christmas, then by the same logic, Home Alone should be right up there because I watch it every year at Christmas. I'm simply debating the logic at this point, not the films themselves. But that's partly the point I'm trying to make - do these classic films appear on these lists because they're actually superior filmmaking, or because the voters of these lists are nostalgiac?

Jaws was significant because it broke new ground in the making of suspense movies...
Except for the suspense part! :p

And, anyway, these are all subjective opinions. It's like art: I don't care how supposedly "groundbreaking" Voice of Fire was - it was and still is an over-rated piece of...*ahem*..."art".
I remember seeing that as a kid when my parents took me to Ottawa! My mom was livid about it!!
 

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Except for the suspense part!
Maybe not now, after seeing numerous newer movies that broke new ground and/or copied previous movies, like Jaws. At the time, the suspense was new and real. While I agree that many movies may seem to be overrated today, taken in a historical context most are not. I still like many of these older movies, even the ones I first saw as an adult, and appreciate newer movies. Some genres, like sci-fi and action, do not age well due to advances in technology. Others may seem dated due to advances in acting techniques. That does not mean they are not significant.
 

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a classic best-ever because you watch it every year at Christmas
Then hands down the best Christmas movie ever made was "Christmas Vacation". ;)

But I agree with you Cooper. And as Baz likes to say about nostalgia and advice, "dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth".
 

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I personally don't think Citizen Kane, Godfather II, Taxi Driver, or Dr. Strangelove to be overrated at all. True classics in my mind. As ScaryBob alread pointed out, you need to do is view these movies as commentaries on their time. If you view Dr. Strangelove through the lens of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis ... it really is remarkable. There are contexts to a number of films that are considered classics that amplify the achievements of the filmmakers. Would Unforgiven be considered a classic if it wasn't for Clint Eastwood's previous movies? Possibly not, but that context helps elevate the movie. Would To Kill a Mockingbird be feted like it is without the context of the times? Would Guess Who's Coming to Dinner even be made today? Not likely ... but the movie as a daring social commentary of the times in which is was made is what makes it a classic.

On the other hand, 2001 is just boring. In any era, at any time. I'd mention Forest Gump as dreadful tripe that's overrated, but it's not quite 20 years old.
 

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So if It's a Wonderful Life qualifies as a classic best-ever because you watch it every year at Christmas, then by the same logic, Home Alone should be right up there because I watch it every year at Christmas......
That's not what I said. .....
We still watch this 1940s gem every Christmas season and it never gets stale. The sign of a timeless classic movie.
I would include "Groundhog Day" in my list of Classic films, and one of the main reasons(not the only reason) is that you can watch it over and over, there are nuances that you miss the first, second, nth time.

Home Alone is not nuanced, nor is your logic.

It's A Wonderful Life has a brilliant script, and exceptional cast of actors.

Why do you consider the movie overrated?
 

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First thing. No such thing as an overrated Classic since it's an oxymoron.

Citizen Kane, Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life, 2001: Space Odyssey, Dr. Strangelove, The Godfather Part II, Doctor Zhivago, Jaws.
Some of the greatest movies in the history of cinema.
 

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I understand ScaryBob's point about context, and agree, up to a point. Accordingly, I will cut an old movie a lot of slack. But still, ultimately, I think a classic movie must stand the test of time. And like the original poster, I am often very disappointed by these so called great classics. Some of my major disappointments are Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia, Chinatown, Easy Rider, Back to the Future (how could that pablum possibly make a list of classics?), Goodfellas, The African Queen. I consider all of these to be good movies, just not great classic ones.
 

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Citizen Kane is normally regarded as the greatest film ever(amongst the self proclaimed experts). I think it has survived the test of time and should be on most peoples top 10 list.

IMHO the greatest movie of all time is All About Eve and it has the most Oscar nominations to go along with that title.
 

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Thanks James99 for saving me the bother with your post number 15; thanks JohnnyCanuck for the most eloquent and succinct review of Forest Gump I've read.

Casablanca remains the best movie ever made, for me. Of course, I actually proposed to my wife after watching it, fortified with some Moet Chandon. For you critics, I'm actually younger than Bogart. What would be horrifying would be Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan instead of Bogey and Bergman! Reagan would have been great in Forest Gump -- no acting required, unlike his final role.
 

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I assume Coper83 saw these movies on a tv screen. Makes a big difference. I saw 2001 in a cinerama theatre and will never forget it.
 

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Yeah, Citizen Kane is often regarded as the best movie of all time. I just didn't like it at all, and I couldn't even see what was supposed to be so great about it. Yet, I thought Grapes of Wrath, made at about the same time, was great. Go figure. As for Casablanca, I was disappointed in it too, but I can at least appreciate that it was a great movie for its time.
 
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