Posts Tagged ‘overrated’

Excruciating decisions — many lists like this exist, and so what are the criteria? A political movie needs to say something, say it well and deliver theatrically. To me political struggles are about power and injustice, the organization of society. I’ve seen a lot of films, not as many as some but more than most.

Best / Most Impact

Bob Roberts

This may be the best American political movie of all time.


This may also be the best American political movie of all time.

Chinatown (Collector's Edition DVD)


Emotional punch, rawness that isn’t apparent until the very end.

All the President’s Men

I felt obligated to watch this again, but it sure does slice deeply, if a little short on action.

Full Metal Jacket

The military culture opened up like a festering wound.

Potemkin POSTER 12
Battleship Potempkin

Classic for a reason, quite useful to study.

I Claudius

Noticed this on another list, and was instantly sold. It’s a TV production, a mini-series but why not? This deserves to be here.

The Tudors

Similarly a mini-series, set in the court of Henry VIII, done with such perfection it has to be recognized.


The most chilling, raw film on the entire list. Mad Caesar, the fitting heir to a mad culture, the pinnacle of absolute power and atrocity.

Dr. Strangelove

The cold war in a nutshell.


A favorite of mine, and we quote it often. America continues down this path every day, and it is unlikely to ever seem dated, barring nuclear annihilation.


The US military as its own universe.

The Handmaid’s Tale

The correct take and the correct villains.

Miss Bala

How a corrupt narco empire intersects with the people under its dominion.


Fascism, absurdism, escapism.

The Player

Hollywood as a class system.

American Psycho

Ivy league Mansons: the masters of the universe.


Elite self-loathing, power disparity and the obscenity of unrestrained capitalism.

The Thin Red Line

Another take on the military, war as conquest and thought the enemy of soldiers.

A Clockwork Orange

The state vs. crime, an experiment not so difficult to imagine.

Raising Arizona

Recidivism, ethics, morality and love.


Ethics vs. morality.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

The rot at the center of American politics, pervasive corruption, social manipulation.

Thirteen Days

Nuclear brinksmanship and the madmen clamoring to wage war at any price.

The Pianist

Warsaw Ghetto, the politics of survival.

28 Days Later

At the edge of civilization, humanity is stripped away.


Corporate takeover of policing and government.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Fools rush in.

How to Get Ahead in Advertising

Society necessitates a personality split, and can only continue in its present form by destroying.


Society as a high school.

The Road Warrior

The forces of civilization vs. the forces of anarchy, and one man caught in the middle.

Eyes Wide Shut

Elite depravity and unaccountability.

Bridge Over the River Kwai

Stockholm Syndrome, myopia, desperation clouds the mind.




If I can warn just one cinephile not to bother with this disastrous pile of insanity.  Steven Soderbergh I’m going to call a “hit and miss” kind of guy.  Same with Gus Van Sant.  For example, Soderbergh’s Che was a miss, and yet Erin Brokovich was a hit.  He has potential, but with Schizopolis – what were they smoking?

This is a Kentucky Fried Movie / Airplane! crazy parody romp styled exploration.  Only it’s not funny.  They’re taking that shit seriously, too seriously.  The Criterion Collection went so far as to include it as some kind of “Classic.”  If that’s what it takes to be called a classic in some circles… oh Jesus.  Note the “Genius” quote on the poster above is from “Film Review.”

Schizopolis has a lot of fun doing very strange things, stretching the audience’s patience and threshold for shtick to the breaking point.  It’s essentially about some kind of L. Ron Hubbard cult organization, but not in a funny satirical way that works.  It’s more about the oddball characters who subvert expectations by doing absurd things constantly.  This is interrupted by other absurd threads, such as a lunatic with no pants and a t-shirt with a message about the film.  An exterminator character quits the film in the middle of the scene to go act in a different action film.  These ideas sound funnier in type than they play out.  That’s the problem.


The “Idea Missing” insert shot misses the point.  There are tons of ideas.  They’re just mostly bad ideas.  At one point the main guy starts talking in Japanese to his wife, in straight dramatic scenes with no subtitles, and she responds in English as if this is normal.  Why?

There are so many better uses for 96 minutes of your life.  Trust me on that.

Onto Gus Van Sant.  To Die For (1995): Absolute genius (the real kind).  Gerry (2002), the worst piece of shit ever put on celluloid bar none (Damon owes me for my time).  Gerry is the most boring movie, ever.  Nothing happens.  After 7 years of success, the guy got worse?  Did Hollywood steal his talent?  What the flagnod?