The Most Overrated Movies of All Time

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Movies can evoke a wide array of different emotions — happiness, fear, excitement, sadness — and if they’re really well done, emotional investment in the films’ characters is something you enjoy as part of the overall experience. A good story can hit you right in the feels, sure. But can movies fake us into thinking they’re better than they really are by using good actors and impressive visual effects?

The answer is yes. In fact, some of the biggest and most popular films that have been released over the last few decades were actually terrible, no matter what anyone tells you.

American Hustle

American Hustle is a true-crime comedy film that was released in 2013. The movie boasts a star-studded cast that includes Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. It was widely recognized and received several Academy Award nominations, but it’s actually kind of a bore.

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The story was inspired by a real-life FBI sting, but from start to finish the cast and the storyline just fall short. Critics called it “riotously funny,” but any funny moments in the movie are overshadowed by the insanely overdone costume design and messy narrative.

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Perhaps you remember sitting through this movie and waiting for something to happen that just never arrived. What sticks out about the movie, which was critically acclaimed when it was released in 2000, is that it feels like a set-up film.

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The storyline follows several different characters and their roles in the drug trade between Mexico and the United States. From a drug-addicted teenager to crooked cops, the movie’s characters and storylines were meant to be controversial. But it fell flat and was hard to get through. The acting was decent, but it couldn’t save the film’s forced plot.

Forrest Gump

Based on a novel of the same name, Forrest Gump is a dramedy about a young man who overcomes plenty of adversities throughout his life. He’s also in love with a terrible woman. She blows him off pretty much throughout the entire film until the very end, and he just accepts her and her child.

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It’s one of those movies that you either hate or love, but it’s had way too much hype throughout the years for what it really is. Tom Hanks gives an incredible performance as Gump, but the film itself drags and isn’t that groundbreaking. It feels like one tall tale after another as you’re waiting for it to end.

Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused is a 1993 indie film that portrays a group of 1970s-era teenagers celebrating the last day of school by going to parties, driving around in their sweet rides while drinking (not cool!) and hazing the next generation of high school students in pretty horrible ways.

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Although the film itself is somewhat entertaining and full of memorable quotes — one in particular from Matthew McConaughey — it’s not nearly as good as people make it out to be. The acting is sub-par and the storyline is flat, bordering on boring. Does anything actually happen in this movie?

Lost in Translation

Usually, any movie with Bill Murray is a real win, even if it’s just in terms of cult-classic status. But Lost in Translation was a serious miss. The film follows Murray’s character Bob and Scarlett Johansson’s character Charlotte as they cultivate a friendship after meeting in Tokyo, Japan.

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The movie may have seemed like a heartfelt and meaningful film, but it falls short because neither Murray nor Johansson really sells it. It’s also pretty much plotless, and while that may work in a film with great performances and believable emotion, this movie just didn’t have those connections on-screen.

Ocean’s Eleven

We’re not sure when it was that directors and filmmakers stumbled upon the idea that all a movie needs is a great cast to grab the audience, but someone should tell them that a film is only as good as its weakest actor. Ocean’s Eleven is one of those movies that everyone seemed to love. But was that just because there were some familiar faces?

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The cast is stacked with the likes of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle and Julia Roberts, but it’s a boring portrayal of a hotel heist. Even those beloved familiar faces couldn’t save the shoddy storyline.

Star Wars

Star Wars may just be the most overrated movie franchise of all time. Despite the fact that they’re generally terribly acted, full of plot holes and seriously lacking in the script department, so many were made.

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What’s worse is that the new films in the franchise are only heading further and further away from good filmmaking. Sure, the visuals are much better than they were in the ’70s for obvious reasons — but that’s all they have. If you weren’t a child when you saw them, there’s probably no way you’ll become a convert now if you haven’t seen the films yet. The nostalgia factor is strong, but that’s the thread Star Wars is hanging from.

Top Gun

Top Gun is a film about a young hotshot pilot dealing with the loss of a friend. He goes to a special Navy school to train more for his career. That’s it. That’s the whole plot. Which basically means that the movie is about nothing.

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Aside from the fact that Tom Cruise is one of the cheesier actors of our time, the film itself just isn’t interesting. It’s a slow burn, a boring tale about grief and Navy training, and it offers no redeemable qualities in the form of good storytelling or a top-notch script.

Avatar

Avatar became the highest-grossing film of all time when it was released in 2009. The visual graphics were out of this world, and seeing it in theaters was the best way to experience the only good thing about the film.

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The plot has been done time and time again (Fern Gully, anyone?) and although the movie had a few good names attached to it, it didn’t quite live up to “exceptional film” standards. It’s a shock that there are multiple sequels planned, considering the original story was nothing to write home about in the first place.

Transformers

Another movie that used graphics as the weight-bearing beam of the whole flick (and its numerous franchise sequels) is Transformers. If it hadn’t been for the generation of kids that loved the cartoons and toys, this film would have done nothing. The acting was poor, the storyline was forced and there were way too many fireballs. Seriously.

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The quality of the film suffered heavily because all it ended up being was explosion after explosion, with a little bit of Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox sprinkled in. Someone should tell Michael Bay that you can’t hide a horrible movie behind fire and destruction.

Shakespeare in Love

It’s hard to believe that Shakespeare in Love won an Oscar for Best Picture, but it did. The film follows the story of a young Shakespeare as he tries to write one of his famous plays, Romeo and Juliet.

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In the film, he has trouble writing his work of art and falls in love instead. This love was inserted into the storyline to help mirror the forbidden love in the play, but the on-screen chemistry never made an appearance. The film is neither engaging nor poetically romantic, and for a movie about Shakespeare, it should be both.

The Fast and the Furious Franchise

How many Fast and the Furious movies are there now? Who even knows? These movies were all terrible. Aside from the fact that the acting in them was bordering on amateur, they’re basically just cool-car eye candy in the form of feature-length movies.

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The only acceptable installment of the franchise was the very first one because it was a semi-new idea and was engaging enough to serve its intended purpose. But the films spiraled out of control when they became a franchise and gained a fandom. We’re pretty sure no one even knows what they’re about anymore.

Twilight

You might not be shocked to see this one on the list, but it’s still shocking that these films were as successful as they became. A teenage vampire falling in love with a human is the only thing you need to know about Twilight to know that it didn’t deserve all the buzz it got. Besides the fact that the story took everything cool about vampires and turned it into a joke, the acting in the film (and sequels) was atrocious.

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It could be dubbed one of the cheesiest films ever made because of every single aspect of the storyline. Robert Pattinson shines like diamonds in the sun instead of bursting into flames, and the love story between his character and Kristen Stewart’s is tense, veering into stalker territory.

A Star Is Born

Did the world really need a fourth retelling of the same film starring Janet Gaynor in 1937, Judy Garland in 1954 or Barbra Streisand in 1976? No, of course not — especially when the latest edition does little to improve the formula of the originals.

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But of course Hollywood appreciates a film devoted to celebrity worship and made by overrated celebrities. Hive mind and major publicity made this film a success, but boring, lifeless performances by the leads and an exhausting second act speak louder than Hollywood buzz.

The Hunger Games Franchise

The Hunger Games films are about a futuristic dystopia where children are meant to fight for the survival of their whole community at the mercy of a portion of the country that controls everyone else. It’s meant to be a portrait of heroism and government control.

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The acting in the films isn’t terrible, and the costume design is pretty neat, but aside from that, the story itself is a far cry from thought-provoking. The cheesy love triangle at the center of the battle-the-powers-that-be film was unnecessary and unromantic.

Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino is perhaps the most overrated director of all time — but that’s another article for another day. His film Inglourious Basterds is just one of the many examples of why Tarantino’s movies aren’t as good as his cult followers portray them to be.

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The film follows undercover Jewish officers as they work to fight against the Nazi regime. The accents in the film are off, the storyline is spotty and over the top and, if it wasn’t for the actors’ chops, it would be almost unwatchable due to how much the film trivializes very real historical atrocities.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

When the remake of 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was released in 2005, the buzz surrounding it was huge. Johnny Depp was the big name tasked to introduce a new generation to Willy Wonka and his wondrous chocolate factory. But this movie really didn’t require a remake in the first place — there was no way to improve upon the original.

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The CGI was great at the time, and Depp is the perfect person to play a weird and twisted reclusive businessman, but the film itself is too off-puttingly odd to really enjoy. The whole concept of Wonka and his factory is enough to keep you up at night with nightmares about sweet treats, but at least Gene Wilder gave the character’s eccentricities some charm and finesse.

Django Unchained

Many Western films have been cheesy and bad. It’s part of the reason why they hardly get made anymore. But that didn’t stop Tarantino from doing his best to create an updated version of the Western with a Black-experience perspective.

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The film follows the life of a freed slave two years before the Civil War begins. Although the film was trying to be a progressive depiction of slavery and American history, it actually ended up being more offensive than informative. The film was so offensive that Spike Lee boycotted it.

The Harry Potter Franchise

The Harry Potter movies were meant to be fun and magical kids’ movies, but they’re actually pretty terrifying. The family Potter lives with and the teachers who want to eliminate him are enough to make these fun movies more of a nightmare.

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The films were blessed with good acting from supporting characters and in-depth storylines, but they fall short in the way of interesting main characters. It’s hard to understand why anyone would care much about Harry, Hermoine and Ron. The source material might have been well-written, but the story itself is kind of a repetitive snoozefest.

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction has an impressive cult following. It was progressive — at the time — and a lot of the audience hadn’t seen anything quite like it before. It was a different kind of film when it was released and was meant to be a “cool guy” version of a film about nothing.

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That’s just the thing, though. It was about absolutely nothing. Nothing of note happened in the film, besides the weird Thurman/Travolta dance scene, and it’s basically just a hodge-podge of horrible people doing dumb things for two hours.

The Matrix Franchise

How anyone could see these movies as amazing is beyond the realm of understanding. The premises behind the films are good, because who wouldn’t be interested in a simulated world? But the characters and storylines are so boring that these movies might as well be packaged in an Ambien bottle.

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The Matrix movies are nothing more than weird mind melts designed to make people think about the world around them a little differently, which could have been done in one movie. Or a short story.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The highly anticipated Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie made waves for comic book fans everywhere. After all, what could be better than watching two of your favorite superheroes battling it out on the big screen?

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The truth is that a lot could be better. Watching paint dry is just one example of something that might be more entertaining than this messy movie adaptation of the classic comic books. The movie is supposed to be about an epic battle, and the filmmakers chose to have the audience wait an agonizing two hours just to get there.

La La Land

La La Land was supposed to be an homage to the interesting musicals of yesteryear. It falls short from the genre, though, and doesn’t quite live up to the predecessors that inspired it. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, but even they couldn’t save it.

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Aside from the fact that both Stone and Gosling are barely equipped to sing and dance, the film itself is a sad ripoff of Old Hollywood. It’s not interesting, the songs don’t make you want to sing along and the buzzworthy film isn’t going to stand the test of time. You’d already forgotten about this one, hadn’t you?

The Hangover Franchise

If there was ever a terrible movie that got two undeserved sequels and a ton of unwarranted hype, it’s The Hangover. The films follow a group of friends who keep getting into crazy predicaments while on vacation.

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Although there are some funny parts throughout the films, they’re more laughable than anything else. The jokes in the movies don’t transcend generational humor, and they just seem like they’re trying to be stupid for the sake of idiocy. They’re just not good. It’s that simple.

The Hobbit Trilogy

The Hobbit movies were made on the back of the success of the Lord of the Rings franchise. What they failed to do that Lord of the Rings made possible was to create an interesting world and noteworthy characters. Even if you’re not a fan of LOTR, it’s easy to appreciate the cinematic feat.

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The Hobbit movies were just boring reproductions of the same tools used in LOTR — without the same success. The LOTR movies were well-conceived, but The Hobbit seemed like there was no cinematic direction and the entire thing was made up as the directors went along.

Sin City

When Sin City came out in 2005, it was hailed as a stunning piece of pop art because of the incredible visuals and the use of color in an otherwise bleak and dark setting. That’s still true — the film looks cool — but that’s the only good thing about it.

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The gritty film failed to realize direction in its storyline and popped around from story to story within the created world without any rhyme or reason. Many of the events in the film were also pretty offensive, even for the time.

The Kill Bill Franchise

More Tarantino? You bet. It could be said that the Kill Bill movies are an ode to modern-day feminism, but the story told isn’t much of a helping hand for women everywhere. A lot of people loved the film and even went as far as saying that it inspired them in their own lives.

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But Tarantino uses his same over-the-top violence and purposely odd filmmaking tactics to try and create a good revenge story. Instead, the films fall flat. They’re boring and overly choreographed. Plus, they’re completely unremarkable in the way of any storyline.

Drive

Drive was supposed to be the perfect indie film. It got a lot of buzz when it was released in 2011. The film follows Ryan Gosling’s stunt-driver character as he falls in love with a woman and does whatever it takes to get her away from her horrible, criminal husband.

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The problem with the film isn’t that it’s a seemingly vapid production. It’s that from start to finish it’s just not good. Nothing about it is redeemable — from the acting to the storyline all the way down to the way it was filmed.

Fight Club

It’s absolutely wild how many people in the world think this boring film was anything more than a two-hour-long mental health exposé. The film follows Edward Norton as he tries to spice up his life by starting a fight club.

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His partner in crime Tyler, played by Brad Pitt, is an apparent bad influence that tries to get Norton’s character to literally fight for a better life. The twist at the end can be seen from a mile away, and once you know the ending, it’s not worth watching ever again.

Independence Day

Films about doomsday alien invasions have been done to death. There are probably more alien-invasion films than there have been reported UFO sightings, and the movie Independence Day is just another one of those typical, predictable films.

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The worst part about the film isn’t the weak storyline, acting or visuals. Those could actually be forgiven if the entire movie wasn’t so easy to read. You can see what’s going to happen in the end almost from the beginning, so there’s not much point in watching this one.

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