10 Most Overrated Films of the Past Decade
These are the films that, for one reason or another, just didn't live up to their hype.
1. "Gravity" (2013)
"Gravity" hit the theatres in 2013 and had everyone at the edge of their seats...mostly because of motion sickness. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts who are stranded in space after their shuttle is destroyed. While Bullock's performance as a distressed astronaut was captivating, the film quickly turned into a series of unfortunate space events, essentially becoming a space-themed version of "Final Destination."
The CGI was commendable, but the plot? Not so much. It was like a particularly long episode of "Looney Tunes" – Wile E. Coyote keeps falling off the cliff, but somehow survives. Only this time, it was Sandra Bullock floating through the cold, heartless void of space.
2. "American Hustle" (2013)
"American Hustle" boasts an impressive ensemble cast, including Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, and Jennifer Lawrence. The film, a chaotic web of deceit set amidst the backdrop of the late 1970s, was unfortunately as confusing as the hairstyles of the era.
The movie lacked a central, grounding element, causing it to feel disjointed and lost amongst the gaudy costumes and extravagant set pieces. It was like trying to find your way through a hall of mirrors while wearing roller skates – dizzying, disorienting, and just a tad overdone.
3. "La La Land" (2016)
"La La Land" – or as I like to call it, "Hey, Let's Sing About Traffic" – was a cinematic spectacle that left audiences divided. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling deliver heartfelt performances as aspiring actress and jazz musician, respectively, chasing their dreams in Los Angeles.
However, the film's self-indulgent homage to classic Hollywood and its insistence on romanticizing struggle felt more exhausting than enchanting. Despite the beautiful cinematography and catchy tunes, the narrative ultimately succumbs to the weight of its own ambition.
4. "Dunkirk" (2017)
Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk" is a war film that experiments with time like a child with a new toy. The narrative follows three interwoven timelines during the Dunkirk evacuation in World War II. Although it's visually impressive and does a decent job capturing the desperation of war, the time-bending narrative comes across more as a gimmick than a compelling storytelling tool. The characters are as thin as paper, and it's hard to invest in their survival when we barely know their names.
5. "Joker" (2019)
2019's "Joker" featuring Joaquin Phoenix was hailed as a gritty, thought-provoking exploration of society's ills. Yet, it felt more like a high schooler's understanding of nihilism than a profound critique of society. Yes, Phoenix's portrayal of the iconic villain was captivating and well-executed, but the film's approach to mental health felt ham-fisted and borderline offensive. The story itself was a series of bad days for the main character, creating a bleak, one-note narrative that didn't offer much beyond its grim aesthetic.
6. "The Revenant" (2015)
The tale of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio), a fur trapper left for dead in the brutal winter wilderness, gripped audiences worldwide and finally secured DiCaprio his much-anticipated Oscar. Yet, "The Revenant" is, at its heart, a fairly straightforward revenge tale that runs a whopping 156 minutes.
Yes, the cinematography is visually stunning and DiCaprio's commitment to the role was commendable (we all remember the raw bison liver incident), but its $135 million budget and its subsequent box office success of over $530 million seems a tad excessive for what is essentially "Man vs. Nature: The Movie."
7. "Avengers: Endgame" (2019)
Now, don't get me wrong. "Avengers: Endgame" was a significant cinematic event, providing a closure to a saga that spanned over a decade. The hype was real and the film grossed a record-breaking $2.798 billion worldwide. But if we peel away the layers of nostalgia and spectacle, we're left with a fairly convoluted plot riddled with time-travel paradoxes.
In the race to deliver fan service, the film at times lost sight of narrative coherence. A movie that expensive shouldn't leave viewers scratching their heads and reaching for a quantum physics textbook.
8. "Frozen" (2013)
With "Frozen," Disney warmed our hearts and then proceeded to freeze our eardrums with the omnipresent anthem, "Let It Go." The film is a commercial juggernaut, grossing over $1.276 billion worldwide and creating an Elsa and Anna frenzy. Yet the story, a tale of sisterly love conquering all odds, while touching, was not particularly groundbreaking. The movie's resounding success seems to be more a testament to its catchy soundtrack and marketing strategy rather than its narrative depth.
9. "Bird Box" (2018)
Netflix's "Bird Box" had everyone blindfolding themselves and almost walking into traffic. Starring Sandra Bullock, the film follows a woman navigating a post-apocalyptic world where unseen creatures drive people to suicide. Despite garnering over 45 million views in its first week on Netflix, the film suffers from a predictable storyline and a half-baked exploration of the intriguing premise. Essentially, it's a 2-hour game of "Marco Polo," but with more screaming and less pool.
10. "Bohemian Rhapsody" (2018)
Rounding off our list is "Bohemian Rhapsody," the biographical film about Queen's lead singer, Freddie Mercury. While Rami Malek's performance was outstanding (he won an Oscar for it), the film itself felt like a glamorized music video rather than an insightful look into Mercury's life. The $55 million film raked in over $900 million worldwide, but its historical inaccuracies and oversimplified portrayal of Mercury's complex life and sexuality left a lot to be desired.