The Most Overrated Films of 2014

Disclaimer: I actually like some of these movies. Just because I consider them to be overrated, doesn’t mean they’re not good movies.


Overrated by families around the world: Maleficent 

Disney’s massive box office hit has its qualities, namely a charismatic star turn by Angelina Jolie and the guts to even minimally explore the rape metaphor permeating the Sleeping Beauty story. Elle Fanning is adorable, but her and Jolie are overwhelmed by CGI oblivion. This is a tonally clunky eyesore of a movie, with some of the worst effects in a big-budget movie this year, and a one-dimensional supporting performance from the usually reliable Sharlto Copely as the evil king. Grade: C 

Overrated by fangirls: Divergent 

Whereas “The Maze Runner” is a semi-successful attempt to recreate the success of The Hunger Games franchise, “Divergent” is pure pale imitation. Despite some thrilling action sequences and a few decent performances, particularly from Shailene Woodley in the lead role, the film is a stiff combination of teenage angst, violent rebellion, and token romance. Take “The Hunger Games,” stir in “The Giver,” and add just a smidgen of Harry Potter. Grade: C+ 

Overrated by film critics around the world: Boyhood

I admire “Boyhood.” It’s an imposing achievement featuring an impressive ensemble cast, an authentic screenplay, and astute direction from the great Richard Linklater. But it’s not a tear-jerker, and it’s not a profound statement on the nature of getting older. It’s thirteen years in the life of a boy living in Texas, affected by his parents’ divorce, their subsequent re-marriages, and the simple pleasures and perils of growing up. Having been shot over the course of more than a decade, a film like this has rarely been attempted before, and while the accomplishment is something to behold, it doesn’t make for the best movie of 2014. Grade: B+ 


Overrated by fanboys: Guardians of the Galaxy 

It’s as funny as Star Lord. It’s as witty as Rocket. It’s as endearing as Groot. It’s as quirky as The Collector. “Guardians of the Galaxy” is all of these, but it’s lacking two very important things: a great plot and a good villain. Comic-book movies are typically only as good as their villains, and Thanos’ underling Ronan the Accuser is the worst so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that’s saying something. It doesn’t help that he’s after the umpteenth MacGuffin in the galaxy. James Gunn’s sci-fi comedy features a fascinating cast of good guys who kick ass and say clever things to boffo smiles and hearty laughs, but they’re surrounded by the mundane. Grade: B 

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