This will be the last ‘year-end’ list article until the Top 25 Albums and Top 25 Films lists and accompanying podcast are released next week. This list will outline the most underrated and overrated films of the year by critical reception compared to our reviews, and the Best Films by each genre when you’re in the mood for something specific. If you want to see this verbalized, the Podcast #1 that was posted earlier this week has most of this on it.
- The 5 Most Overrated Films of the Year:
#5. Inside Out…RT Score: 98%
Although this was a decent animated movie and fairly average in terms of Pixar’s filmography, I would argue that the critical acclaim that it received was not quite warranted for the actual quality of the film. The world-building was cool, but I wasn’t in love with the animation or really the way the film resolved itself. It overstayed its welcome just a little bit, and although there are very funny parts, it never quite gets as sad as some of the best Pixar films. I’d still give it 3.5/5 or somewhere in that range, but it won’t be on my best films of the year list, as its reception would indicate.
#4. The Hip-Hop Double Feature (Dope and Straight Outta Compton)
RT Scores: 88% and 88% respectively
We on this site are large hip-hop fans and consistently try to review the great albums of the current era for that genre. These two films, despite being immersed in that hip-hop culture, do not really have enough of a backdrop to allow the fan service to really take flight. Dope‘s scenes dealing with music are horribly mixed and too silly to take seriously, and the film itself never comes across as very likable, while Straight Outta Compton tries to humanize too many characters and ends up a bit of a muddled ensemble cast mess. My scores for the two would be 2.5/5 and 3/5 for the two of them, well below critical reception.
#3. Magic Mike XXL…RT Score: 62%
I’m not really sure how this movie got positive reviews. I found it to be painfully unfunny, poorly written where character motivations make little to no sense, and not goofy enough to forgive the previous two flaws. It seemed so much like a dry sequel trying to suck a little more life out of the original and it just didn’t really work at all for me. I’m surprised it was moderately well-received. My score would sit around a 1/5, it’s one of the worst films of the year.
#2. The Noah Baumbach Double Feature (While We’re Young and Mistress America)
RT Scores: 84% and 82% respectively
Look, if Noah Baumbach’s films are your cup of tea, that’s great. I can understand some of the attraction, but frankly, these two films were huge disappointments for me. The scripts were supposed to be very satirical and introspective, but the satire was so heavy-handed that it took away from half-decent characters that Baumbach created. What’s left is an unfunny mess of a film that just can’t be contained. There’s so much mania and energy but so little firm direction that the result is just a mess of one-liner dialogue put into films. They feel like what David O’Russell’s bad movies are. I would give them both a 2.5/5.
#1. Ant-Man…RT Score: 80%
There’s nothing really to say about this one that I haven’t stated before. It’s so formulaic and follows very trope that the Marvel Universe has begun fitting in every single film. They’re all just a set-up to get to the next one, and so on, so when they try to trick us by putting a bottom of the barrel hero into a more comedic movie, I thought I’d enjoy it. Sadly, I didn’t find this funny, and the supporting performances by Evangeline Lily, Michael Douglas, and Corey Stoll as the villain really, REALLY do not work. I don’t know how so many people liked this better than Age of Ultron, because this one was so much more by the numbers, and the villain was poorly realized. This film is a real shame in my opinion, and I’d give it a 2/5.
- The 5 Most Underrated Films of the Year:
#5. Jurassic World…RT Score: 71%
I know that this made a ton of money and people did enjoy it, but critical reception was fairly mixed on release and then it’s now become a movie that has jumped on the ‘Internet Hate’ bandwagon. Guess what, it’s not worth your hate. Jurassic World never attempts to be more than it is. It’s a large-scale, beautifully shot popcorn movie that turns into a hunt for the biggest monster in the Jurassic Park universe. The new creation of Indominus Rex is really interesting, well-conceived, and awesomely violent, so when this film becomes a monster movie with the characters joking about how everyone wanted everything to be ‘bigger and badder when the first one did fine,’ I gained respect for how self-aware it was being, in addition to some great science fiction/action scenes. There are plenty of flaws in the characters, but this was just so damn fun. My score would be a 4.5/5, well above the mixed critic’s score.
#4. Burnt…RT Score: 28%
This movie really appeased my love for the Gordon Ramsay television shows and with one of my favorite actors in Bradley Cooper as a celebrity/angry chef, the close-ups of food and the clear homage to what people like about Hell’s Kitchen actually really worked for me. It’s not a great film by any means, but I had a ton of fun watching it. I gave it a 3/5 on the site and I stand by that; it’s better than the really low critical score.
#3. The Visit…RT Score: 64%
The Visit didn’t get the kind of credit that it deserved because it was an M. Night Shyamalan film, but it ended up being one of the best horror films of the entire year. It used a ton of suspense to shock the audience, and in the relief after the payoff, the film would throw in a solid joke to make you more vulnerable to laughter after the scare. It was well-directed and actually really worked. I gave it a 4.5/5 on release and stand by that, and it deserves better than the mixed reviews that it received.
#2. The Intern…RT Score: 61%
The fact that this movie, one of the sweetest, funniest, and better acted films of the year got such a mixed reception is really frustrating. Sometimes, you don’t want a film to constantly push the envelope and are happy to watch something that functions as eye bleach, a fun, cute, timely, and smartly written comedy that has very little central conflict, but instead works as a nice place to spend an hour and thirty minutes. It’s just a really fun movie to watch and has great rewatchability. It’s in my top 10 for the year, and the reception just shows how cynical some critics are.
#1. Fifty Shades of Grey…RT Score: 25%
Look, I accept that the script in this movie cannot be saved from the terrible source material that conceived this film, but with Sam Taylor-Johnson directing, the team behind Fifty Shades tried to make it into something sleek and respectable. In my opinion, they succeeded. The way the film is shot and acted make it above average. Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan both do a good job in the lead roles, the soundtrack is good, and its edited and shot really, really well. I’ve even considered putting a ‘Fifty Shades Analyzed’ review on this site to explain why the people that diss on the quality of this movie are objectively incorrect. It may be trashy in theory, but the film elevates the source material by quite a bit. I stand by that it’s a respectable romance film and would still give it a 4/5.
- The Best Films By Genre:
- 1. Mad Max: Fury Road, 2. Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation, 3. Furious 7, 4. Spectre, 5. Everest
- 1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 2. Jurassic World, 3. The Avengers: Age of Ultron, 4. The Martian, 5. Predestination
War and Western:
- 1. The Revenant, 2. Bridge of Spies, 3. The Hateful Eight, 4. Beasts of No Nation, 5. Slow West
- 1. The Visit, 2. It Follows, 3. Unfriended, 4. Insidious: Chapter 3, 5. Crimson Peak
- 1. Sicario, 2. Black Mass, 3. The Gift, 4. Ex Machina, 5. Room
- 1. Spotlight, 2. Steve Jobs, 3. Clouds of Sils Maria, 4. Creed, 5. Mr. Holmes
- 1. Brooklyn, 2. Carol, 3. Fifty Shades of Grey, 4. The Danish Girl, 5. Far From the Madding Crowd
- 1. Trainwreck, 2. The Intern, 3. Grandma, 4. The Big Short, 5. The Overnight
- 1. Anomalisa, 2. Inside Out, 3. Shaun the Sheep, 4. The Peanuts Movie, 5. When Marnie Was There