Film, like any other art form, is subjective, and I would never have it any other way. Afterall, if we all liked the same thing then life would be very boring indeed, however as someone that is very passionate about films, I feel compelled to bring to the world my top ten most overrated films of the last decade.
Though there is certainly no exact science to it, I have tried to base the order of this list on a combination of what I think of the film compared to general reviews it had at both the time of release and at the current time, along with their current scores with the likes of imdb, Metacritic and rotten tomatoes.
I am of course not saying to anyone that holds these films in high regard that they are just wrong (as of course film, as previously stated, is subjective), and if anyone can justify why they regard any of these films on this list as great films then that is welcomed. However, there is no denying that films do sometimes get consistently high praise because some people feel obliged (for various reasons) to give them praise, but I am not afraid to defy the (sometimes politically correct) hype that surrounds them and simply defy this nonsense to just actually have an independent opinion and say: “just think about it, these films aren’t actually that great…”
10. Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig’s coming of age drama /comedy was a bit of an awards darling at the time of release and received rave reviews. However, despite Gerwig’s obvious talent as a writer and director, some great performances and an initially interesting premise the film is severely let-down be feeling way too pleased with itself and a script that often relies way too heavily on quite nasty, trailer-friendly put-downs that are both unfunny and leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
9. Boyhood (review)
When I wrote my review of Boyhood I predicted that once people had gotten over its unique gimmick of being filmed over 12 years it would be forgotten about, and that does seem to be the case. It did however receive extremely high praise at the time and was frequently referred to as a masterpiece that was in many peoples ‘best of 2014’ lists. Though I would regard it as a good film (I gave it 7/10), and its unique approach does bring certain qualities, it is also a gimmick that often produces contrivance and a film that is overall quite forgettable – and no certainly no ‘generation defining masterpiece’ like was frequently claimed at the time.
8. Django Unchained (or any Tarantino film) (review)
No overrated film list would be complete without a Tarantino film, and I would argue that all three of his films from this current decade were overrated in their own way, but on reflection the most overrated has to be his Western about Jamie Foxx’s freed slave who tries to rescue his wife from Leo DiCaprio’s plantation owner. Django Unchained was very highly regarded at the time and still holds relatively high scores on aggregator sites, but like all of Tarantino’s films is in my view an overlong, self-indulgent mess that entertains and frustrates in equal measure.
There are certainly some good performances and some very good individual scenes that feature some great dialogue, but there is so much unnecessary filler in a way-too overlong running time, and this combined with the pointlessly over the top violence just makes for an overall quite boring film.
7. Lucy (review)
Lucy is the odd one out on this list; while the other 9 are films widely regarded as masterpieces that I regard as average, Lucy had some good reviews at the time of release and still has respectable scores on the aggregator sites, but I happen to regard it as one of the worst films of the last decade! Luc Besson’s bizarre sci-fi / action hybrid about a Scarlett Johansson’s titular protagonist accidently being injected with a drug that allows her to use 100% of her brain and defy the laws of, well, everything is an absolutely horrific experience. The plot is an infuriating, nonsensical mess, while the ‘action’ sequences are a combination of stupid and pointless. Besson seems to forget one of the main rules of action films, when the protagonist can suddenly and inexplicably do anything (and I mean literally anything) it does have a tendency to remove any sense of danger.
6. The King’s Speech
Admittedly, with its textbook, award friendly narrative, The King’s Speech was made to win awards (and win awards it did), but for me what makes this film so overrated is the fact it still has very high scores on the aggregator websites. It is certainly a decent enough film with some good performances that is worth a watch once, but it plays everything so painfully safe within its story that it baffles me why it is still held in such high regard.
5. American Hustle (review)
Another film that featured on everyone’s ‘best of the year’ lists and got an abundance of awards nominations (though thankfully very few actual wins), and yet I could not understand for the life of me why. American Hustle has some good performances and some great individual visual moments, but due to the overwritten script that feels way too pleased with itself, it produces a laborious running time of 138 minutes, it is an often quite dull and boring film to watch.
4. Joker (review)
Todd Phillips’ origin story of Batman’s most famous foe certainly has a lot going for it; it features an exceptional performance from Joaquin Phoenix, and it looks, sounds and feels great, with a stunning musical score and gorgeous cinematography. However, beneath all this surface is a film which in my view has absolutely no substance and a weak and lazy plot that relies on lazy mental health clichés and some clunky and shameless links to the DC universe. Not only are there much better films out there about an individual’s descent into madness (Fury Road an example from 2019), but Joker also takes obvious inspiration from other films, and while there is nothing wrong with that in isolation, it only serves to remind us just how much better these other films are. Joker is certainly in my view a decent film that is elevated by its leading performance, but there is certainly nothing shocking about it, and all the extreme hype surrounding it (negative and positive) is completely unjustified. There is very little within this film to get either excited or angry about.
3. Get Out
We seem to live in more reactionary times than ever before, and often when a film comes along that seems to tackle some important political issues within its narrative (no matter how vaguely) people are seemingly falling over each other to lament that film with as much high praise as possible. I try to keep away from the politics when reviewing a film, as there are always people out there far more qualified than myself to discuss the apparent issues within that film, and so I just try stick to commenting on the film’s strengths and weaknesses as a narrative piece of storytelling, and for me Get Out is a decent enough film, but certainly nowhere near the apparent masterpiece that it seems to be regarded as by so many.
It of course goes without saying that people from all races, cultures, sexualities and genders should be allowed a voice, and there of course should be filmmakers from these various aforementioned backgrounds making films. Likewise, they should certainly be encouraged to make films which explore political ideas and break boundaries that are told from their unique point of view. However, if a film does potentially touch this subject it does not in my view automatically make it a great film. Jordan Peele’s Get Out, with its plot that combines elements of a supposed commentary of race politics within America with elements of The Stepford Wives and The Skeleton Key is a watchable, but very formulaic horror / thriller that does admittedly have some good individual moments. However, that is it in what is otherwise a very forgettable film that relies way to heavily on contrivances and clichés, and it is certainly no masterpiece.
2. Black Panther
I once again repeat what I just said in my comments regarding Get Out, and I think we can all concur that Black Panther existing is a good thing, and hopefully there will be big budget films now that not only have far more diverse main characters, but also have more diverse directors, writers, producers etc. However, just because Black Panther is the first big budget film to feature a predominantly black cast and have a black director does not make it automatically a great film, and it did feel that at the time that people felt obliged to say how great it apparently is – I will leave it up to others to conclude why. For me Black Panther is one of the weaker films in the MCU; though it has a half-decent villain and is watchable enough, it has a weak and generic story, poor dialogue and some extremely dodgy CGI.
1. Inside Out (review)
Though the hype around this painfully average Pixar film seems to have dwindled a little over the last few years, it still holds an inexplicably high score on the aggregator sights and did feature near the top of a lot of ‘best films of 2015’ lists, and because of this and the fact that I regard it as very average film that is a case of great concept, poor execution, it has to be in my view the most overrated film of the last decade. The simple story of how an individual’s personality is shaped by the various characters inside them that reflect the different aspects of their personality is an interesting one, but due to the repetitive nature of the narrative and the fact that the film feels very pleased with itself, it is just about watchable, but for me is one of the more forgettable of the Pixar films.
This is truly a great post. I may not agree with all your choices, but it was interesting to read and I can see the reasons behind what you wrote. Actually, I only disagree with you on Ladybird and Get Out!
Couldn’t agree more with your last 3, especially Inside Out. Pixar really fell off this decade with all their sequels. and Inside Out was no where near the level of storytelling their last films of the decade were. A big disappoint for me.
Thank you – I thought i was the only one that regarded Inside Out as average. Pixar do need to return to the drawing board as a lot of their recent sequels have been below par.
Please check out my top films of the decade and tell me if my number 1 is overrated!