Staff Picks 2018: Most Overrated
Overwhelming praise can be exhausting. Can’t we just accept that some things aren’t incredible, even when we want them to be? This is maybe the most painful opinion to voice, because you always feel like you’re in the minority— it seems like everyone and their grandma (especially their grandma) loves these movies. But don’t worry, we aren’t afraid to call BS on these totally overrated movies.
Ugh. I’m not sure what else I can say at this point to convince you that this isn’t all it's chalked up to be. Check out my review if you really want to get into it, but please, don’t @ me in the comments. Yes, I’ll admit that the first half of A Star Is Born is the diamond-in-the-rough romance that we all wanted it to be. It was gloriously acted, well-directed (kudos to Bradley), and filmed with a surprisingly delicate artistic touch (shaky cam + pink stage lights = cinematography). When Gaga and Cooper had an equal share of the narrative, of the screen time, the film worked. Their beginning, from the parking lot to their first tour together, was adorable, and filled with the delicious excitement many of us felt from the trailer. This energy was palpable because of the chemistry between Gaga and Cooper. There was an indulgent, but balanced cheesiness that was fun to watch: a high sometimes felt when the leads of a rom-com finally get together, or when the underdog wins the big game in a sports drama. A predictable, but undeniably enjoyable series of scenes. And then, everything that seemed to be going for this film began to deflate. A Star Is Born’s second half is almost completely stripped of its female lead— her absence so extreme, in fact, that the only star being born, at least on screen, is Bradley Cooper’s directing career. For a movie supposedly about Jackson and Ally, and marketed as Cooper and Gaga, there seems to be too much Jackson… too much Cooper… a bottom-heavy, soggy-diaper of a movie that leaves behind the beauty of a dynamic duo in favor of yet another narrative about male pain at the bottom of a bottle. —Emily Figueroa
While it would be a gross overstatement to say that Hereditary is a bad film, I never felt that the warm reception it received necessarily lived up to its actual quality. On a technical level it was great, but it ultimately felt like a hodgepodge of interesting traits slapped together and tied up with a far-too-convenient narrative bow. While many were upset that it got snubbed at the Golden Globes, and felt it deserved a top spot on many year end lists, I didn’t even think it was the best horror film (or A24 film) released this year. While I certainly understand some of the praise it has received, it left me feeling underwhelmed, failing to even crack my top fifty. —Michael Murphy
Audiences and critics alike lauded Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star is Born for taking on hard hitting issues like alcoholism, toxicity in relationships, and the inherent (and erosive) relationship between art and business. That’s a lot to live up to. It’s also a lot of social commentary to expect from a remake— Cooper was, after all, working within the confines of a plot that lends itself to melodrama and a good cry. Either way, the movie’s reception led me to believe that it contributed something to the discourse, namely the one surrounding the celebrity industrial complex. Not so. A Star is Born provides Cooper a fantastic vehicle to showcase his directing skills, and Lady Gaga her acting ones, but it is just that— plus some good ass music. And that’s okay! Hollywood loves movies about the entertainment industry, so the awards buzz is no surprise. But I don’t know why we’re pretending this movie is cutting-edge. —Bessie Rubenstein
This will be an unpopular opinion, but the movie I thought was most overrated in 2018 was Black Panther. I appreciate the cultural significance of the film; having an predominantly-black cast is important, especially when the country (and the world) is so polarized about racially sensitivity. Plus the soundtrack is amazing (I mean, who doesn’t love Kendrick Lamar?). However, the actual movie wasn’t any better than the year’s other typical superhero fare. The acting was fantastic, and I thought the casting was very well done, but the movie got too much hype. Many people seemed to conflate its importance with its quality. I was expecting to be completely blown away by every aspect of the movie. In the end, I did enjoy it, but I think its cultural significance ended up being far more meaningful than the movie itself. —Emma Steiner
As the date of the 91st Annual Academy Awards approaches, I am getting more and more worried that the overhyped and ultimately average A Star Is Born will win Best Picture. I don’t hate this movie. In fact, I thought the first hour was awesome. If the rest of the movie continued with that same momentum, I wouldn’t have a single gripe about its eventual wins and nominations. But the back half of A Star Is Born is both tedious and disingenuous. It shifts its focus from the up-and-coming Ally to the down-and-out Jackson— a decision that kills every good thing it built for itself in the first half. Bradley Cooper’s aggressive turn as the alcoholic singer Jackson Maine is supposed to make you cry and sympathize, but the lack of resolution in his storyline means he never gets to prove his worth. He is broken for sure, but by no stretch is he a good person by the time the credits roll. When the movie ended, I felt cheated. I bought a ticket to A Star Is Born: the story of a struggling young pop star learning to love herself trying to make it in the music industry. But that’s not the movie I saw. What I saw was A Star is Born: the story of a domineering rocker who stifles and embarrasses his lover by trapping her in an abusive relationship and making her feel guilty for his own demons. But “Shallow” was great. —David Merkle
To check out our upcoming Staff Picks— including Most Forgettable, Weirdest Movie of the Year, and Best Movie Nobody Saw— check the Staff Picks 2018 page under the Opinion tab!