When you come across a movie that leaves a profound emotional impact on you, chances are it’s a good movie. There may be flaws and inconsistencies here and there, but ultimately an individual experience supersedes and overcomes any other person’s opinion on a movie. As long as there’s an intelligent and respectful conversation to be had about the pros and cons, we all win. Which is why calling something “overrated” is complete bullshit.
Overrated is a term implying something is getting unwarranted praise. We’ve all thought something was more well received than we thought it deserved (remember when everyone loved Avatar?). But so what? Who cares what you think? And at the same time, I want to hear all of your thoughts on what worked/didn’t work for you in a movie. Understand that I’m not saying “your opinion sucks” or anything of the like. If we’re going to be talking about movies, we should be talking about movies. “Overrated” dismisses any opportunity to get some real dialogue going among everyone.
It’s like disagreeing with a film review. Does a critic lose credibility when they give a movie you disliked a higher grade than something else you loved and they didn’t? Hell to the no! Dave loved Birdman. I have strong negative feelings towards it. I still respect Dave and I’m pretty sure he still respects me. (Please don’t fire me for not liking Birdman.) We’re mostly civil here at AE so we can talk about our vastly differing opinions without resorting to foul name calling and general immaturity. But having something be called overrated is far broader than the one on one exchanges.
To determine the merit of a movie stems from everything the movie attempts to encapsulate. Did it follow through on what it set out to do? Was the script in line with the director’s vision? How did the actors work? Believe it or not, there is an objective way to look at the technical aspects of a movie. Lighting, script, production design…all of these can be determined objectively on how successful they are. The further discussions come into play when we talk about whether or not they worked for the film from our individual perspectives. Perspectives are debatable, presentation is usually not (there are always examples for stuff like this that will come back to bite me in the ass).
Most importantly: Don’t tear down one popular movie to get your other movie noticed. Yes, I’m insanely guilty of this myself (as a majority of us are). But we need to be careful not to shit on one piece of art to raise up another. We live in a world where Frozen, a movie aimed at inspiring children to be true to themselves, gets a bad rap because it’s the most popular animated feature. Yes, I too enjoy Wreck It Ralph, Tangled, and Big Hero 6. Just because I think Frozen is a better movie doesn’t mean I’m forgetting about those movies in any way. You can love more than one thing (movie polygamy?).
The overrated use of overrated is affected by the cultural zeitgeist in which we reside. We need to stop letting the masses influence our expectations. It’s plenty of fun to ride those hype trains for big movies until their release dates hit. I practically live for those shenanigans. But when a movie like Star Wars 7 is released this year, it won’t be the best movie ever (that falls to Furious 7). I have no doubt in my mind it’ll be good (if rumors ring true, even great), but I like to pride myself on being able to remain objective as possible (Furious 7 = world peace). If something is “overhyped,” it’s not the movie’s fault. It’s yours for positioning it as a product specifically meant to satisfy your unrealistic expectations. You’re Tom from 500 Days of Summer. Don’t be Tom from 500 Days of Summer.
Now that doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong position here (only Tom is wrong). It only shows how easy it is to have your opinion changed by the masses. Block out that noise and go in with believable expectations, and see how you come out. If you still don’t like it, that’s perfectly fine as long as it’s clearly your own opinion. Stay true to what you believe.
If you respond positively to a movie like Jurassic Park, awesome. If you respond negatively, why didn’t it work for you? This doesn’t mean we should start interrogations or witch hunts. Let’s just all take time to start healthy wordplay.