The Playlist Staff’s Most Overrated And Underrated Films Of 2013

The Playlist Staff's Most Overrated And Underrated Films Of 2013

You have to be especially careful with the words “overrated” or “underrated.” Some people don’t like the terms, thinking that they’re condescending or snide, elevating your own opinions over those of the majority. And arguably they have a strong point, but the words do serve a purpose—how else is a writer meant to sum up their feelings when they’re swimming against the tide? And sometimes, that tide is among your own colleagues. See, we’re not a hive mind at The Playlist, though we might sometimes give that impression. Like any group of colleagues, we disagree from time to time. Scratch that, we disagree quite a lot, and it’s rare for a film to hit theaters without at least one member of staff bucking the consensus, when a consensus can even be reached.

Playlist HQ still bears the scars from the plate-throwing, wall-punching, blood-spilling arguments that resulted over films like “Stoker,” “The Place Beyond The Pines” and “The Hobbit,” and in the attempt to find a Christmas armistice of sorts, we have, as in past years, given staff members a chance to pick out the films on which they found themselves on the other side of received wisdom, and exorcise their demons here—the films they deem underrated and overrated, in other words. Read our picks below, please remember they are subjective and speak for the individual only and let us know what you thought were overlooked and oversung in the last year in the comments section (and if you’re throwing pies, please specify your direction).

Kevin Jagernauth
Underrated:Blue Caprice
Taking on the Beltway Sniper, the man who terrorized the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area for nearly a month a decade ago, paralyzing anyone along Interstate 95 with fear, there is a sensationalist route a movie version of these events could take. But thankfully, director Alexandre Moors never goes there. Instead, he takes the script by R.F.I. Porto and weaves a nervy drama about the psychology that drove divorced, single father John (Isaiah Washington) to team up with a wayward youth named Lee (Tequan Richmond), forming with him a new sort of family unit, one that expresses its fidelity in only the most deadly of ways. Washington in particular is a revelation, an intimidating presence who finds dimension in an unlikeable character that, while not quite making him sympathetic, reveals a man who has internalized deep emotional pain and finds a twisted outlet with which to react to a life that has not gone according to plan. Meanwhile, Richmond finds the rights notes for a young kid who needs a male authority figure, and while he realizes their bond is dangerous and unhealthy, he’s ill-equipped to handle it, and not confident enough to be on his own. Together as the film’s center, they make a fascinating and fearsome pair in a movie that slow burns to the moment when the trigger is pulled on complete strangers, with the horrifying randomness of their actions allowed to register with a lingering hauntedness. “Blue Caprice” is a tight, economical and impressively accomplished film (particularly for a first feature) that finds depths even within its modest means, boosted with an evocative score by Arcade Fire member Sarah Neufeld and her husband (an accomplished saxophonist in his own right) Colin Stetson. Hitting Sundance and somewhat fading in the months after until its fall release, this is a picture that deserves a second glance and a bit more recognition for the work in front of and behind the camera.

Overrated: “Spring Breakers
Here’s a shocking revelation: youth culture focused exclusively on sex, drugs, celebrity and partying can be pretty empty, soulless and even dangerous. While it’s easy to see why excitement built for Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers”—hot young starlets prancing around in bikinis, waving guns and gyrating to dubstep sells itself—I’m positively baffled that the film has endured in any kind of conversation, particularly with the year winding down. While “Spring Breakers” was more audacious and daring than Sofia Coppola’s similarly themed “The Bling Ring,” it offered just as little substance. While there is a certain enjoyable lasciviousness to what is basically Korine’s 21st century take on a 1950s PSA about youth gone wild, this is the director at his most tame and mainstream (granted, a relative statement given the pornographic imagery the filmmaker suggests but doesn’t quite show in the film’s cleverer moments). As a peeling away of the facade of American culture, Korine has been here before in much better, more transgressive form: “Trash Humpers.” That outrageously wrong, flat-out hilarious movie took the notion of the suburbs as a haven of normality and turned it perversely upside down, never once pandering to an audience. “Spring Breakers” finds Korine in a more conciliatory mood, that while still offering just enough of his brand of surrealism to put an author’s mark on the work, covers it in a sheen of neon, sweat and skin to make it go down easy, but also forgettably.

Kimber Myers
Underrated: “In a World…”
“I think you’ll like this,” my gentleman said as he played the trailer for me for “In a World…” He’s far better than the Netflix algorithm; this movie about movies with a female director and a feminist message was admittedly right up my alley. Lake Bell’s debut feature is far better than its apparent pedigree. The actress’s own filmography isn’t exactly impressive, with credits like “What Happens in Vegas,” “Over Her Dead Body” and “No Strings Attached” peppering her resume. But despite those choices (maybe she’s learned what not to do), she’s written, directed, and starred in a remarkably funny and different film. In the self-obsessed business of Hollywood, films about films are as prevalent as baby-voiced blondes (often with as much variety). But “In a World…” takes a different approach, circling from the outside and giving an insider look at the little-seen world of voiceover artists. With that in mind, the movie manages to be about more than just Carol’s career as she tries to ascend the male-dominated ranks of voice actors. She’s a friend, a sister and the oblivious object of affection for an adorable oddball (Demetri Martin). For her first feature as both writer and director, Bell is incredibly assured, with the film boasting a witty script with fully realized characters. She also wins points for not making a film that revolves around romance and for rocking a pair of overalls without shame.

Overrated: “Room 237”
By that same token, I should love the movie-about-movies doc “Room 237.” If anyone’s work can be dissected ad nauseum, it’s that of notoriously detail-oriented Stanley Kubrick. “Room 237” dives deeply into the essential filmmaker’s 1980 film “The Shining,” featuring interviews with five overly analytical superfans. They share theories about the film’s real meanings, including the Holocaust, the genocide of native Americans and faking the moon landing. They go frame by frame, making giant leaps of logic that seem more suited to subway ranters than a college professor, an award-winning journalist, and a playwright. It’s ostensibly a film about being obsessed with movies, but it quickly goes from a cinephilic exploration to a movie reminiscent of an eye-rolling hour in class with a bunch of film students with no professor to direct the conversation. I should’ve been watching Rodney Ascher’s documentary at rapt attention, awed by exactly how far people go in their appreciation for film, but I just kept checking my watch and waiting for a dismissal.

Oliver Lyttelton
Underrated: “The Invisible Woman
I was struggling to get enthused about “The Invisible Woman” in the run up to seeing it a month or two back—I hadn’t been especially enthused by Ralph Fiennes‘ directorial debut, “Coriolanus,” found Abi Morgan‘s previous work a bit spotty, wasn’t particularly overjoyed to be facing another period literary biopic, and buzz had been muted at best when it premiered at Telluride and TIFF. That probably helped my reaction, but I like to think I’d have been knocked over by “The Invisible Woman” regardless, because it’s a beautifully made and acted film that I don’t think has had a fair shake yet. I’ve seen it dismissed it some quarters as another young-girl-falling-for-older-man tale, but I found the execution to be much more ambivalent and dark than that—it’s the story of how Nelly Ternan (Felicity Jones), a mediocre actress with a pretty face, is essentially forced into becoming the mistress of Charles Dickens (Fiennes). She has a crush on him, certainly (who hasn’t gone starry-eyed when flattered by a genius), she might even love him at one point, but after she resisted him so long, it feels more like Stockholm Syndrome, and as soon as she relents, he uses her up and moves on. It’s borderline abusive stuff, and Fiennes doesn’t for a second hesitate to show Dickens as a hugely unsympathetic figure, even if you can understand the appeal at the same time. He gives one of his best performances in some time, but he’s overshadowed (appropriately for a film shining a light on ‘an invisible woman’) by the women: Kristin Scott Thomas‘ pragmatic, pained theatrical matriarch; warm, sweet performances from Perdita Weeks and Amanda Hale as Nelly’s sisters; a scene-stealing, heartbreaking turn from Joanna Scanlan; and best of all, Felicity Jones as Ternan. It’s the fulfillment of the potential she’s been showing for so long, a performance that can go from the flighty, impressionable girl to the hardened, but thriving woman working as a schoolteacher years after the end of the affair. Like Morgan’s smart, complex script, and Fiennes’ confident direction, which feels closer to Wong Kar-wai than to Merchant-Ivory, it far exceeds expectations, and if you were thinking of skipping this one, I’d urge you to reconsider.

Overrated: “World War Z”
There were a fair few films that I found myself out of critical step with this year, some of which have been covered here by other writers (“Captain Phillips,” “Spring Breakers,” “Out of the Furnace“). The biggest gap between consensus and my view probably came with Alexander Payne‘s “Nebraska,” but I’d hesitate to call that Overrated—I simply stopped clicking with Payne’s work after “Election,” and I’m glad for those who can find something to love there. But I’m truly baffled that anyone could really champion “World War Z,” a tepid and dull blockbuster that got a soft pass from most critics, and raves from a scattered view. I’d hesitate to go as far as to call “World War Z” a bad movie, because it’s more like a pretty good video game. Brad Pitt‘s hero, more superheroic and invincible than any other blockbuster lead this year, “Man of Steel” and “The Wolverine” included, is as blank as the first-person protagonist of some survival shoot-em-up, without a single characteristic to him other than ‘loves his family.’ He moves from level to level, set-piece to set-piece with a series of clear objectives: Level 1: Philadelphia—GET TO THE CHOPPER. Level 2: South Korea—GET TO THE PLANE. Level 3: Jerusalem.—GET TO THE PLANE. AGAIN, etc., etc. And if you were playing as Bradvatar (I’m sure he had a character name, but I’m pretty sure even Pitt won’t remember it until he gets the script for the sequel in the post), you’d probably have a good time—look over there, those zombies are climbing a wall! Out the window, there’s a nuclear bomb! Initially, the visceral, ground-level perspective feels like a good idea, but the taped-together-with-gaffer-tape script never makes the most of the geopolitics and details of the novel, and we’re given so little reason to care about Bradvatar, or, really, anyone. As such, the film adds nothing here we haven’t seen many, many times before, except perhaps this large a collection of actors given nothing to do. This isn’t a film I hated—there’s occasionally an arresting image, and the final sequence is the best budget-saving bottled episode of “The Walking Dead” so far. But “hey, this wasn’t the train wreck we were expecting” isn’t a reason to give something the thumbs up either.

Cory Everett
Underrated:Pacific Rim
I know what you’re thinking and yes, I am aware that “Pacific Rim” ’s central conceit is kind of ridiculous, the script is built on cliches and Charlie Hunnam is a bland lead with a questionable Fauxmerican accent. But I just don’t care, because Guillermo del Toro’s robots vs. monsters epic was easily the most fun I had at the movies all year, which is ironic because prior to its release, I had not been especially been looking forward to it. I even questioned del Toro’s status as a Geek God whose reputation (in my opinion) outweighed the quality of his output and went into “Pacific Rim” fairly skeptical. But somewhere around the 40-minute mark, with a giant smile plastered across my face, I had an epiphany that put everything into perspective: maybe del Toro just isn’t an “A” filmmaker and maybe he never will be? Unlike some of his contemporaries who sought to elevate genre material into something more respectable, with “Pacific Rim” del Toro made one of the biggest “B” films of all time that just happens to look like the most beautifully realized “A” movie you’ve ever seen. Like a modern-day Mario Bava (“Black Sunday,” “Danger: Diabolik”), sometimes you have to look past shoddy acting or a juvenile script—which is why Bava’s films aren’t usually mentioned in the same breath with classics like “Alien” or “Rosemary’s Baby”—but you’ll never be disappointed by the craft on display. Similarly del Toro’s passion for the material, silly as it may be, bleeds through into every joyous frame which is what also separates “Pacific Rim” from something like the “Transformers” series. (Michael Bay is passionate about explosions but couldn’t really give a shit about robots that turn into cars.) And while I’m not generally a fan of CGI or 3D, this film proved to be quite the exception: a beautifully stylized world that I just wanted to spend more time in which may explain why I ended up seeing it three times in theatres, more than any other film this year. So while I can’t really argue with anyone who couldn’t see past their issues with the film, if you didn’t shriek with delight when that fucking monster sprouted wings, I just don’t know what to tell you.

Overrated:Blue Is The Warmest Color
Look, I’m not a monster. I will admit that there is a lot to admire about “Blue Is the Warmest Color,” the 3-hour Palme d’Or-winning sensation that made waves for its raw intimacy as well as for its extended, graphic sex scenes. I think the performances by co-leads Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux are magnificent, the IFC Center’s decision to allow teens to see the film was a brilliant fuck you to the MPAA and admittedly for the first hour or so, I was completely under the film’s spell. In fact, I think everything leading up to the first consummation of Adèle and Emma’s relationship was emotional, intimate and pretty perfect. Unfortunately the problems begin with that oft-discussed 10-minute sex scene whose main problem is less about length and more to do with point of view, which switches jarringly from Adèle’s to the director’s. Up until that scene, everything in the film had been about experiencing first love from the point of view of a 15-year-old girl and all the excitement and weirdness that goes with that but when they finally get together, all the sexual tension that had been building deflates in an instant because they’re just straight fucking. This moment should be thrilling for Adèle, instead it feels like it was constructed for the audience’s (or the director’s) stimulation—like Tyler Durden slipped in a scene from a different film—and while excuses have been made for Adèle’s “voracious appetite,” I just don’t buy it. There was no thrill of discovery there and if the scene had done right by the characters, there is literally no way it would’ve elicited snickers from audiences (as was reportedly a common occurrence). Unfortunately that was only the beginning of the film’s problems as the remaining two hours nearly drain any goodwill built up by the first. Again, the problem is not so much with length as to how it chooses to spend that screen time. Rather than focusing on large dramatic developments like showing us say, SPOILERS the indiscretion that leads to an irreparable rift between the couple END SPOILERS, instead we’re shown endless scenes of Adèle munching down on more spaghetti (not a euphemism). We get it, she has a voracious appetite! Now can we please spend a little more time with these characters while things are actually happening to them? Apparently not. By the time the film ended I was frustrated that it had squandered such promise. Its actresses and audience deserve better.

Katie Walsh
Underrated:Touchy Feely
It’s bananas that “Touchy Feely,” the most recent feature from auteur Lynn Shelton feels totally slept on. With the success of her previous gem “Your Sister’s Sister,” which garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Rosemarie DeWitt, it’s crazy that “Touchy Feely,” which is larger in scope and feels like a step forward for Shelton, hasn’t received the same attention. Josh Pais (whom we mentioned briefly in our “For Your Consideration: Actors” piece) gives a precise yet revelatory performance as Paul, an uptight dentist who discovers he has a magical healing touch. At the same time, his sister Abby (DeWitt) a massage therapist, loses her ability to touch others, which sends her into a tailspin, emotionally and professionally. Scoot McNairy is perfect as her bewildered younger hipster boyfriend, who just wants to please her but can’t, and Ellen Page also does fine work as Paul’s daughter and dental assistant, who is learning to stand on her own. And never forget Allison Janney, the MVP of everything she touches, doing damn delightful work as Reiki master and guru-of-sorts Bronwyn. For all the funny and touching characters and moments, the film achieves transcendence during the interaction between Abby and ex-boyfriend Adrian (Ron Livingston, DeWitt’s real life husband, and boy, can you tell because their chemistry is like woah, off the charts). In an almost dreamlike, possibly fantasy sequence, Abby and Adrian confront their past together, their emotional scars, and Abby achieves the closure that she needs in order to move on from her crippling bodily anxiety. The whole end of the film is set to a gorgeous live performance by Tomo Nakayama who also plays one of Paul’s patients and if you aren’t just melted into a puddle on the floor by the end of it, well then, I’m sorry to say you have no soul. Shelton’s films take up the subject area of the everyday extraordinary, injecting a bit of magical realism into intimate stories of family and love, and this one is no different, though it feels more expansive, a treading of new ground, and she truly demonstrates her storytelling chops, as well as emotional intelligence, and lets her performers shine, each in their own way. It’s just fantastic, see it immediately.

Overrated:The Spectacular Now
SPOILERS THROUGHOUT: So, I recognize that “The Spectacular Now,” is a “good” movie—well-acted, well-directed, solid, quality work. But unfortunately, the story they choose to tell resides in overly well-trodden territory. All of the characters are stereotypes from teen movies that have been around since the dawn of time: charming asshole, pretty girl who doesn’t know she’s pretty, popular bitchy blonde girl, etc. And not much is done to change up their genre-established arcs, except for one notable twist (alcoholism!), which still manages to feel old hat, somehow. As soon as Miles Teller’s Sutter busts out the flask at work, my only thought was “oh, OBVIOUSLY.” My second thought was, “James Ponsoldt, you okay buddy?” because he’s now got three features under his belt, and all three of them are about alcoholics. I sort of felt the same way about “The Spectacular Now” as I did about “Smashed,” his previous film, which is that I felt too old for both of them. Had I seen ‘Now’ at 17, or “Smashed” at 23, they might have been extraordinarily moving. But at 30, nothing about these films seem fresh or original or revelatory. I know that this statement glosses over the real skill from all parties involved in the film (and my ability to assess cinema at 17 and 23), but if you’re skillfully telling a very trite and stereotypical story, well, it’s still trite and stereotypical. I kept wanting the film to escalate even more, just to have something different and unpredictable happen. One should not be hoping that the female love interest (Shailene Woodley, fine) dies or is paralyzed in a drunk driving accident just because it might make the proceedings that much more interesting and dark. The film seems like it might go there, and then it doesn’t, resting instead on an ending that’s cliché and safe (and crowd-pleasing to teenagers who probably aren’t even watching this movie). “The Spectacular Now” tries to pull off authentic real-world problems in a high school setting, but it just ends up feeling too clean and too pat. Unfortunately, a very special episode of “90210” contains more complex emotional and moral heft than “The Spectacular Now.”

Drew Taylor
Underrated: “The Lone Ranger”
One of the joys of being a film journalist is the blissful ignorance with which you can occasionally watch a movie. I saw “The Lone Ranger” (with Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as the titular hero) a while before it came out, in a midtown movie theater with two other journalists (who happen to be a couple of my best buds) and we had a perfectly wonderful time with the movie. I was more outspoken in my appreciation for all of its borderline surrealist pleasures (its wonky tone, its sudden bursts of hyper-violence, the bizarre framing device), but we were in agreement that it was one of the more solid, handsomely produced summertime confections we’d witnessed that year. Flash forward a few weeks and the movie actually opens and critics take a tomahawk to it, scalping it alive. Which is a shame. In a few years, I’ll bet there will be a widespread reappraisal of “The Lone Ranger,” and the same critics who trashed it initially will bemoan the lack of outspoken acclaim for the movie the first time around. The movie has faults, for sure; it’s way too long and too crammed with stuff (ideas, themes, characters) that clog up what could have been a more streamlined and pleasurable narrative. But the movie also has personality, something that was sorely lacking in big studio tent poles this year. Gore Verbinski, the mad genius behind the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies and the Oscar-winning “Rango,” fearlessly shifts between tones and genres, offering up a dab of horror movie here, a little bit of historical drama there, all encased in what is literally the biggest western ever made. It leads, of course, to the much-ballyhooed train chase, a mindbogglingly complicated action set piece that remains one of the most peerlessly cinematic sequences all year. When we talked to one of the film’s costars, Helena Bonham Carter about it a couple of months ago, she compared the film’s reaction to one of her other cult classics that got an initial critical drubbing, “Fight Club.” While it will one day undoubtedly reach that status, it’s a shame more people didn’t get to see it where it was meant to be seen—on the biggest screen you could find.

Overrated: “12 Years a Slave”
On a technical level, “12 Years a Slave” is unimpeachable—it’s one of the most rigorously gorgeous, historically meticulous recreations of a specific era that any of us are ever likely to see. (Not that we want to see this kind of thing again, ever.) And yes, the journey of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejofor), who goes from free man to wrongly imprisoned slave, is a harrowing experience for sure. But, ultimately, the movie is more formally impressive than it is emotionally involving. And that’s a big problem. Slavery is one of the worst atrocities of humankind and yet director Steve McQueen, with his languid tracking shots and artfully composed brutality, approaches everything with the calculated detachment of a sociologist. In all of his films, McQueen seems interested in humanity, but at a distance, encased in a series of beautiful tableaux. And the filmmaker found his perfect entry point therefore in the character of Northup, since he too is continually kept at arm’s length from actually engaging with the senselessness around him. When the movie begins, there is a shot of a paddleboat, with a particular emphasis spent on the paddles as they slam into the water (accompanied by a menacingly grinding Hans Zimmer cue). “Oh,” I thought. “This is great. It’s like McQueen is focusing on this amazing machine because America is a machine and slavery is a machine.” But then that didn’t happen at all. There are some thematic concerns that are brought up and dabbled in, stuff about freedom and how we define our own experiences, but nothing all that grand or profound; for the most part it’s almost shockingly straightforward. “12 Years a Slave” has had praise heaped upon on it for no apparent reason, other than its unflinching roughness, and even as a likely Best Picture winner it seems a little safe (although its saccharine ending, seemingly airlifted from another movie altogether, should warm voters’ hearts). At least “Django Unchained” had the guts to turn slavery into an abstract, blood-splattered comic book. Here, it’s like someone reading to you from a stuffy history book. Of all the things I expected a Steve McQueen movie about slavery to be, dry was never one of them.

Kristen Lopez
Underrated:Gangster Squad”
When Ruben Fleischer (“Zombieland”) announced his latest film was a 1940s gangster movie starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, and Emma Stone, it was as if the Hollywood heavens opened up and made a movie just for me. According to my friends, that explains why no one else likes it. Really, Fleischer did his homework with “Gangster Squad,” and created a truly legitimate 1940s B-movie. Everything about the movie is true to the time period of the movies referenced; it isn’t a movie about the 1940s or set in that period, it wants to be a movie released during that time period. If you went to the movies during that era, you’d see something similar; more “G-Men” than “White Heat.” As a classic film lover, I applauded Fleischer’s attention to detail. He truly created and attempted to immerse audiences in every facet of Los Angeles during the period, right down to filming on location in places like Grauman’s Chinese Theater. He could have stuck to set design and costume—base elements necessary for creating a period drama—but Fleischer went further. Yes, the dialogue is hokey because the actors aren’t versed in how to make words like “tomato” sound as fluid as in movies past, but you have to applaud them for trying. Yes, other elements like the bare-knuckle brawl finale, and a character’s wife giving birth at home whilst being shot at have an air of camp and ridiculousness exemplified in the more ham-fisted movies of the era it seeks to represent, and the “messages” were less than subtle: a character dies then we cut to a scene of a hamburger being grilled. But the real issue appears to lie in audiences’ belief, at the time, that this would be another “L.A. Confidential” or “The Untouchables,” which it isn’t, or nor does it feel as such. It isn’t a neo-noir, nor is the intention to use a modern lens to look back at noir tropes. It seeks to reinvigorate and recreate the aura of a 1940s movie in tone, characters, and narrative. And then the last-minute reshoots in light of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting cursed the movie and prevented it from getting a fair shake; it’s far from perfect, but its reverence and adherence to classic film ideals warms the cockles of my heart and makes it worthy of a second look.

Overrated:Captain Phillips
The final ten minutes of “Captain Phillips,” particularly the eponymous character’s breakdown at the end showcases an exemplary performance for which Tom Hanks should be applauded. However, the rest of the movie is too basic and uninspiring by comparison. I remember when Phillips’ boat, the Maersk Alabama was hijacked back in 2009, so where’s the desire to see a recreation of events four years later? I could just as easily go back and watch the original story on YouTube. Yes, director Paul Greengrass is well known for rapidly capitalizing on world events; his own “United 93” came out five years after the events of 9/11. On top of that, director Kathryn Bigelow was inserting history as it happened in last year’s “Zero Dark Thirty,” so I understand the need to produce recreations; however, is this an event which necessitated a movie? The incident happened and people moved on; it never attained the historical significance of Greengrass’ prior work. Greengrass attempts to show balance in his movie, especially humanizing the Somali pirates, but it wears its “America!” heart on its sleeve. It doesn’t help that the movie has fallen under attack for authenticity issues, which I’ve heard about since the events happened in 2009. I don’t begrudge either Hanks or Barkhad Abdi’s performances, because they’re phenomenal, but the movie is a victim of its own hype. It’s well-performed, but the impact of the events is negligible and I don’t feel enough time has passed to make me say “Yeah, remember four years ago?”

Diana Drumm
Underrated: “The Last of Robin Hood
Full disclosure, I am a big Errol Flynn fan (carry around a swatch of his clothing for good luck; may or may not own a pair of pants he wore in “The Prince and the Pauper,” etc.). So when I walked in to see “The Last of Robin Hood” this past September, I was ready to pounce at anything inaccurate or inauthentic or generally offensive to his memory. Based on Flynn’s last affair with teenage wannabe starlet Beverly Aadland, the film was overshadowed and written off out of the gate when it premiered at TIFF, but that overlooks one of the best performances of 2013—Kevin Kline as Errol Flynn, a role every critic noted he was clearly born to play. Even before Kline’s face appears onscreen (the first shot being of his hands and torso accepting an award), I was taken aback by the voice, a remarkable facsimile of the star’s. And it wasn’t the young, dashing, bounding-for-life Flynn, but the aged-beyond-his-47-years, world-weary Flynn you can see on his “What’s My Line?” appearance, which by the end of the film turns into the even more aged and bloated, bordering on decrepit, Flynn of his last interviews. Then, as the camera revealed Kline regaling the women’s auxiliary league with stories of “Cirrhosis by the Sea” (the Hollywood playboy bungalow he shared with David Niven) and his dear old friend John Barrymore, the waterworks began. I was sold—hook, line and sinker. Kline brought Flynn back to life and for that, I will always be indebted to him and directors/screenwriters Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland (“Quinceanera,” “Fluffer”). Maybe I went in with too subjective and appreciative an eye, but this film deserves to be seen beyond film festival and classic film fan crowds. Although there are many more redeeming qualities to the film, the most pressing is Kline’s jaw-dropping, heart-melting performance that neither mimics nor impersonates but brings my hero back to life for a brief, all-too-fleeting 92 minutes.

Overrated: “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Knowing full well that this hasn’t been a total critical darling, certainly round these parts (here’s our review), I still believe Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is, given its generally warm reception, deserving of some balancing out. After its premiere at NYFF, whispers began around Oscar nominations, but I thoroughly hated it, spending two hours hoping for a punchline that never came, with each superficial reflection feeling like an insult to the intellect of not only the average filmgoer but also the general American public. First among its sins: an onslaught of promotional tie-ins and product placement that goes from obnoxious to downright offensive. You’ve probably seen the eHarmony tie-ins during a few of the film’s TV promo spots, but there’s also the deeply crude use of Papa John’s. SPOILER, Walter Mitty (Stiller) loses his father as a teenager and has to give up his dream of skateboarding to work at a Papa Johns. With the blunt knife of doltish symbolism already stabbed in, they decide to twist it a bit more and sprinkle some salt on the proceeding wound with his mother (played by an underused Shirley MacLaine, actually come to think of it, all of the women involved—Kristen Wiig, Kathryn Hahn—were woefully underutilized) commenting on that connection and how hard it must have been for him working somewhere with the name Papa in it after losing his father. Presumably meant to be some profound, heart-tugging moment, it was my last straw. It’s simply outright manipulative to tie the loss of both father and childhood to a shameless, clumsy plug for a pizza company. I may be too sensitive, but for a film trying so hard to tug at the heartstrings and draw on the notion of making your dreams come true if you will it hard enough (cue Arcade Fire and some “exotic,” but samey locations), the film doesn’t think too hard about the actual hearts and minds of its audience. It’s an insult not only to the original James Thurber-penned short story and the Danny Kaye-starring 1947 escapist delight of a film, but to daydreamers everywhere, especially to those who actually put some serious thought into their daydreams.

Sam Chater
Underrated: “The To Do List
When it comes to girl coming-of-age comedies “The To Do List” is no “Whip It” or “Easy A”; Aubrey Plaza may be a thinking man’s pin-up but she doesn’t quite have the left-of-centre charm of Ellen Page or Emma Stone. However that doesn’t make her any less perfect (in my eyes at least) playing the competitive, goal-driven, Hillary Clinton-admiring over-achiever on a mission to de-virginize herself—usually viewed as a male concern, societally and cinematically. Reviewers have complained that film is confusing because it’s unclear whether it is a criticism of enforced promiscuity or a blast of the feminist horn for sexual empowerment, which is an unfortunate black-and-white lens through which to the view the story, as is so often the case with a female-led cast with a female writer and director. Critics want to know “What’s your agenda lady?” To be honest I like a gross-out comedy as much as the rest, but I enjoyed the character of Brandy more, who Plaza deadpan-delivers perfectly. She’s a girl who is less phased by “the virgin-whore dichotomy” than by getting what she wants (or at least thinks she wants) and maybe also learning along the way that you can be too goal-oriented. “The To Do List” is yet another female-led film (in our post-”Bridesmaids” era) that feels realer and more relatable. Sidenote: all the supporting cast also bring the lulz, so more of Alia Shawkat, Andy Samberg and Donald Glover et al. in 2014, please!

Overrated: “Only God Forgives
I wasn’t sure if “Only God Forgives” actually was overrated (boo-ed at Cannes, savaged by critics, ignored by U.S. audiences) until I saw the Foreign Box Office for the film sat at just under $10 million, and realised just because everyone I know hates “Only God Forgives” doesn’t mean everybody else does (obviously). I mean I don’t know anyone that voted for crack-smoking Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, but he still got elected, didn’t he? Prior to watching “Only God Forgives”, I thought I was a fan of the Ryan Gosling x Nicolas Winding Refn combo—I mean I liked “Drive “at the time—but on reflection I think I just loved the opening scene and the soundtrack. “Only God Forgives” doesn’t have the soundtrack or a dynamite opening, all it has are pretty lights (courtesy of Bangkok) and Gosling’s face staring blankly. And it turns out when he doesn’t have a really cool jacket on, his face is a pretty boring one, and won’t carry a movie, even if it is only 90 minutes. “Only God Forgives” crawls along and for a film with almost no dialogue, the script that exists is incredibly awkward and stilted. Winding Refn even makes veteran Kristin Scott Thomas look like a hack, and all his efforts at shock e.g. making her say “cum-dumpster” come off as forced in context, which is a shame because I’ll admit “cum-dumpster” is something I’ve found myself saying more than I expected after the screening. So there’s that.

Rodrigo Perez
In an unpopular move, I’m electing to cover an “Underrated” pick and a “Disappointing” rather than “Overrated” pick. Reasons below.
Underrated: The Past
Follow-ups to great pieces of art are difficult to reconcile for audiences and critics alike. And while Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” is far from his second film, since the beloved and Academy Award-winning “A Separation” it was the first of his films to really pop internationally, “The Past” gets saddled with the sophomore album-slump, thematically and emotionally touching upon similar issues (“A Separation” is about a marriage coming to an end, “The Past” is about a divorce about to be finalized), and yes, “The Past” is not quite the A+ shot of cinema that its predecessor is. And yes, there’s a bit of an overly-involved mystery in the third act that’s arguably a bit overcooked, but Farhadi’s movie has tons of value. It’s a moving, memorable and powerful film about family, secrets and lies and perspective. It also features some terrific performances from its cast—not only the three leads, Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, but its lead children Pauline Burlet and Elyes Aguis who have to depict the trauma of being at the center of this marital maelstrom. Never shrill, “The Past” is emotionally messy, but don’t look at that as a knock. It’s a plus given the extreme situation of a wife and her new lover trying to briefly live together with an ex-husband. Part of “The Past” being overlooked is a function of following the aforementioned “A Separation,” but also having to compete for attention at the crowded Cannes Film Festival. Yes, Bejo took the best acting prize, but more noise was made about the polarizing “Only God Forgives” due to its divisive nature. This happens at every festival and to be fair, “The Past” is only hitting theaters this month. But the conversation for it has cooled off since Cannes and I believe the picture deserves more love, and a second look.

Disappointing: “Out of the Furnace
Anything that’s “overrated” or “underrated” is so subjective because the terms mean so many different things to so many people (just see this feature). And yes, “disappointing” generally falls under this same rule. But to me, Scott Cooper‘s “Out of the Furnace” isn’t disappointing because of expectations (a crime drama from a sharp director with a stellar cast) but because the characters, themes and narrative themselves hold so much promise that’s never fulfilled. Modeled in the vein of “The Deerhunter” or even “The Godfather,” via its brooding meditation on brotherhood, moral absolution and spiritual journey into darkness, Cooper understands the lost art of subtext which earns him innumerable points these days. And there are so many impressive emotional choices in the movie, so many moments left unsaid (and understood) rather than spoiled with words, because Cooper understands the power of expression and the moving well of unspoken body language; it takes a perceptive director to not only write this kind of material, but to pull it off as well. And for the entirety of the movie he pulls it off with terrific internalized performances by Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck and especially Christian Bale. But what the movie can’t do is coalesce these themes and reconcile them with a third act that instead becomes a rather generic revenge movie. It’s not even that the movie can’t stick the landing; its problems lie deeper. The movie tries to say so much about things like socio-economic class, poverty, salt-of-the-earth struggle, but does very little with those themes. Through Casey Affleck’s character, the movie paints a rather bleak portrait of a post-traumatic stress-afflicted Iraq war veteran with few options, but other than presenting his issues, the movie says very little about these issues. And that’s kind of “Out of the Furnace” to a tee, a movie with a lot of thematic texture to it, but one that rarely says anything meaningful or moving about it. Which in many ways makes the ultimate outcome of this otherwise auspicious movie a real shame, and certainly a disappointment.

Please keep in mind once again, that these are individual choices, so before you mash your keyboard in fury (or agreement), remember who to point your feedback toward.

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Comments

David

I’ll overlook that you put The Spectacular Now as overrated just because you addressed the questionable usage of these words and because you put 12 Years a Slave as overrated.

Brice

-"Blue is the warmest color"- I thought the depiction of the sex scene was not at all from the directors point of view, but rather a clear representation of what sex is truly like. It’s not two people together for 30 seconds in between sheets with sunlight pouring onto their bodies. The sex was real, and palpable which is why so many viewers had a difficult time with its realistic portrayal. The length was also an added reality check for the audience and enveloped us to become one with her first passionate sexual experience.

Complaining about the pasta? Weak. The pasta represented a constant social classification that Adele belonged to and a reminder to the audience of her city-like low income life (especially in that part of France: "L’isle") If you paid attention you would have noticed the juxtaposition between Adele’s eating regimen (+cultural taste) and that of her partner’s -eating oysters and other delicacies. This wasn’t just about first love, it was about how diverse social class, education, and environments bring people closer or drive them further apart.

TJ

I agree with most of these except pacific rim and gangster squad both really were disappointing wastes of 12$ in my opinion, and Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, and Dallas buyers Club were wayyyyyyyy better than 12 years a slave;)

Jim

PACIFIC RIM WAS BAD. Your choice in movies are not that great after all.

Bryan Foreman

You lost me at Pacific Rim. I wish I had just seen The Avengers for the third time.

Harry

'Blue' is easily top 4 films of 2013. Spectacular Now and Spring Breakers overrated? Pacific Rim underrated?

Do us all a favor and don't attempt to write this stupid propaganda until you understand film

Joe H.

Hold on, hold on. Maybe I need to get my eyes checked. Only God Forgives OVERRATED?? Since when? Good lord, the majority of people disliked that movie, so how the hell is is overrated?

I loved it, but that's not the point. Most people didn't. You can hate on that movie all you want, it's your opinion, but to label it as overrated is just plain incorrect.

Joe H.

THANK YOU!! I thought I was the only one who thought 12 Years a Slave was overrated.

Brandon

This post is a fantastic reminder of why I have vowed to never use the words over/underrated. They come as majorly pretentious and dismissive of one's opinion of a film this just breeds a hostile environment to hold a conversation or debate, additionally it screams hey look at my opinion it's so much less mainstream than the other guys' opinion; that is something the Cinephile community doesn't need.

reggie e

Haitian Pirates?

Nik G.

I'm not part of the staff, but I contribute whenever I get the chance so I'd like to just throw my overrated and underrated ones out there. For whatever it's worth. (Like the intro suggests though, the terms need to be taken with a spoonful of salt – probably two of the most abused descriptors in movie conversations).

Underrated:
To The Wonder – Malick's latest movie got so much crap flung at it because of its abstract expressionism that people didn't even care about how stunning it is to look at. Cinematography aside, the film is less film and more essay or meditation on love, loss and faith which can understably drive so many people relying on plot and narrative away. But this is the kind of movie that reminds me of how poetic movies can be.

Overrated: (hard to choose one to be honest)
Gravity – both my picks share the same cinematographer and it looks like he's finally heading for that overdue Oscar with this one, so at least there's that. But, talk about a fantastic technical achievement that's hampered by a contrived plot and a protagonist that's so fabricated she might as well been part of the green screen. A technical milestone no doubt and Cuaron together with Lubezki should be applauded and awarded for their achievements but Gravity, together with Sandra Bullock whose mediocre performance might be a highlight in her career but take a look at that career for a second, is getting way too much attention and praise than it deserves. Watch it age like vinegar, not wine.

Lucille

I found American Hustle overrated

PAPAJOHN

News flash: nobody cares about your strange loathing for Papa Johns. It's a pizza place that people work at in a place called the real world. One many people enjoy. Though I have not seen Mitty yet, that you would let something like that ruin a movie for you while I assure you the vast majority of movie goers will not give a crap seems to be saying more about you than the film. You went on and on about this non issue at length. Almost as if you had nothing else to complain about but that. Would you have been happier if it were "Papa Steve's" and people still obviously knew what real world company was being referenced?

um

I know you begin the article by commenting on the flaws of overrated and underrated in relation to film, but what did I just read? With two supposedly "underrated" films exceeding 90% on the tomatometer, and most "overrated" mentions proving to be critical non-events, receiving generally mixed responses all round, I really don't know what to make of this list.

Lucas

I'm sorry, but saying that "Only God Forgives" is overrated it's just unacceptable.

Trey

"Plush" by Catherine Hardwicke has been underrated. This movies stars Emily Browning and is really interesting by mixing the styles (music film, fame, erotic, thriller). It just got a limited release and it's a shame! I also think that people have been unfair with this movie: they criticized it without watching it because of the tagline "from the director of Twilight". But Catherin Hardwicke also made "Thirteen" and "Lords of Dogtown" which are very good films !

md

wha?

Devon

Unless you are familiar with Thai cinema, and Asian film in general, you cannot possibly grasp Only God Forgives. So unless you majored in Asian film in college, or have lived in Thailand, you should not be allowed to comment on the movie. Because you're just plain ignorant.

rodie

Calling Only God Forgives overrated is absolutely ridiculous. A film needs to be highly praised critically or make a ton of money to qualify in that category, and OGF did neither. That said, the cinematography and the music in the film were A+ amazing, and you're wrong Kristin Scott Thomas is fantastic and frightening in the movie. If David Lynch had made Only God Forgives, critics would have called it a triumph. It's flawed, but definitely UNDER-rated.

Marlowe

I thought "The Counselor" was way underrated. I know a lot of people hated it(critics and audiences) but I thought it was so nilhlistic and ballsy that it was really fascinating. I even liked the strange, Shakespearean dialogue by Cormac Mccarthy. No Country For Old Men kind of seems tame in comparison. A lot of it reminded me of 70's cinama like Sam Pekinpah films. Nice to see a rare film that didn't cater to the box office or awards. This film almost felt like one big "F You" to both of those things.

Jon

The 'male gaze' criticism of Blue doesn't really make much sense to me. The sex scene didn't differ all that much from the rest of the film aesthetically, and its dramatic intentions were clear: a depiction of Adele's voraciousness, and to show that their relationship was predicated more on physical desire than any emotional connection.

And come on, you're really going to bring up the giggling? As if the reaction something elicits is always the fault of the thing itself. America is a prudish nation; we giggle at sex.

Some of these complaints seem more politically than artistically motivated.

stefan

m8..u are completely idiot

MIke

Horrible is such a subjective term, so I'll just say that of the movies that I've actually seen on this list I completely disagree with everything the writer said about it. The one that sticks out more than other is "To do List". I'd go further than saying that movie isn't underrated in the least, I'd say it hella overrated considering all the people I've heard call that movie underrated — which is why I wasting my time giving that movie a chance.

And how is Gravity not on every single overrated list? That should be on most overrated movie of ALL TIME lists, not just 2013.

MARTIN

Anyway, I think "Gravity", is absolutely OVERRRATED!!!! I can't stand the "universal acclaim" it holds, it's ridiculous how everyone is buying the idea of a movie like that. I was dying of boredom… If you quite the excellent special effects from it, what do you have? A movie (supposedly) about fighting "adversities". Boring. Next.

randall

The Only God Forgives entry is just silly, that film was universally shit on and in no way is overrated.

If anything, I think the film is probably slightly underrated.

Michele

Those who can do and create….those who can't, write over rated/under rated movie comments. GO MAKE A MOVIE and I'll you how over rated/under rated your efforts were.

Themba

"At least "Django Unchained" had the guts to turn slavery into an abstract, blood-splattered comic book. " ?????????

You mean to say you applaud Tarintino for making slavery comfortable and entertaining for Caucasians and any other race who didn't endure slavery?

'Django Unchained' (2012) is a fictional account of slavery and was created by someone who stands on the outside looking in. '12 Years A Slave' (2013) is a historical memoir of an educated African American protagonist expressing his journey from the inside looking out.

Mark

Drew Taylor's take on "12 Years a Slave" needs an ass whipping! Utter nonsense.

Grego

I cannot share anyone's opinion that 12 Years a Slave is unemotional. It is an emotional powerhouse. Yes, it is dry, but that is what gives it its unsentimental edge that makes sure the movie earns its emotion in a way few pictures about slavery ever have. McQueen keeps us at a distance, frames all the horrors amidst a beautiful painting, so that we can fully comprehend how horrible that period was. The beauty makes the horrors all the more terrifying. I would say in this case the problem is definitely not with the film, but with the rare viewer who didn't let himself look past the surface.

Jack

Under-rated: Agree with The To-do List, also The Bling Ring
Over-rated: Nebraska (June Squibb FTW though), Epic

Joseph

This list is complete bullshit lol

yeeesssss

12 years a slave is the only movie that might win Best Picture that will actually earn it. Refn really let everyone down with Only God Forgives. Spring Breakers was ok but Korine needs to know the difference between elaborating on your message than just repeat it over and over (also the acting was awful). American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, and Gravity were all fantastic.

and also never read anything by Drew Taylor or Kristen Lopez ever again. Go ahead, Indiewire, call me a sexist.

Affirmative Actionita

Kristen Lopez is the perfect example of why employers shouldn't hire someone simply because they need to fill their "woman" or "latino" quota.

Gangster Squad, underrated.
"Haitian pirates"
My God.

Goegre

Underrated: Gloria
Overrated: American Hustle and Blue is the Warmest Color

Paulina Garcia must be in Best Actress at Oscar because she is simply amazing.

Tim

"Haitian pirates"

Oh wow. How do these people keep their jobs?

kyle

Drew Taylor is a ridiculous paid-off hack.

Rebecca

Drew Taylor: I hate your opinions the most. Like, who are you? Are you kidding me that a racist piece of shit film will be as lauded as the Fight Club is now because, um what? Because YOU liked it. I wish I never read them, it ruined this whole feature for me.

ET

Lopez come on, Gangster Squad was a glossy piece of trash with terrible dialogue and acting.

Gerard Kennelly

Only God Forgives doesn’t have the soundtrack ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

the reviews all agreed on two things
1-this isn't as good as DRIVE
2-the soundtrack is amazing

Justin a

Spring breakers is the most important film of our generation. It embodies perfectly the youth culture of our time period.

Jonlynx

The pirates were Somali, not Haitian. Embarrasing mistake.

Hawaiian Punch

Underrated: To The Wonder (It's Malick, which means you either love it or hate it. This one is no exception.)
Overrated: 12 Years A Slave (I think the fact that the black man is given his freedom as a present by the white man says it all. Thanks, Brad!)

notstudiofilm.com

Pacific Rim being called underrated is interesting. I found it to be one of those movies where there is constant action but that was it. Didn't feel like a Guillermo del Toro film, which are better paced. Maybe it is because our expectations are so high for his films.

john

haitian pirates? c'mon guys

Davide

Underrated: The Bling Ring
Overrated: Gravity

Rocky

the fact that the writers would use offensive terms like "take a tomahawk to it" and scalping it alive" is a good indication of why they enjoyed that racist piece of garbage "The Lone Ranger"

Skippy

All I know is that I want to hear Diana Drumm's story about she got Errol Flynn's pants.

TC Kirkham

Katie – FINALLY Someone else that sees through "Spectacular Now". I did like this film and gave it a good review, but it was very cliche in more than one place, and Miles Teller probably couldn't have passed for 17 when he actually WAS 17 – which was NINE years ago…had they tried another lead,someone that actually looked the right age, maybe it would have worked better for me, but as it was, I didn't believe his character was a day under 24 or 25…It definitely goes on my overrated list this year, while my most underrated films were the French farce Populaire and David Gordon Green's wonderfully witty return to indie form, Prince Avalanche.

Jeb

I think Only God Forgives got a bum deal this year, but calling a film with a 37 aggregated rating overrated is a serious reach.

christiana

Drew Taylor's comments about 12 Years a Slave are interesting. I have heard quite a few people be critical of this film and bring up Django Unchained as a counterpoint, but I find that problematic. When I left the theater after watching Django Unchained I wasn't even sure why slavery was involved at all, that's how uninterested Tarantino seemed with the it, other than as a means to a revenge plot. On the other hand, 12 Years a Slave left me devastated and I actually attribute that to the naturalism of McQueen's direction. It's almost as if McQueen wanted his direction to seem remote, almost as if to prove that we can try to keep these horrors at arms length, but even that cannot dull their emotional potency.

Washington

Gangster Squad was straight garbage who are you kidding

Alan B

I hate pieces like these. They presumptuously demand a special insight into the writers' psychology to the point. How else can you explain 'Walter Mitty' being 'overrated'? And what does 'overrated' even mean? Effectively it's just someone reading that other people like something that he or she doesn't and getting annoyed by that idea.

Alternatively, the idea of valuing something as underrated isn't so obnoxious … in theory. However, you have some of these writers who need to declare that this film will be recognized years later blah, blah, blah. Who cares if someone recognizes a film later? Shouldn't a film be good if it stands up on its own? Can't you distinguish its quality (or lacktherof) from whether other people choose to agree with your or not?

As for the individual writing itself, it's a COMPLETE shock that only Oliver Lyttelton doesn't seem obnoxious and ignorant. He's the only writer who deployed CRITICAL THINKING in attempting to gauge where he was coming from and why he felt that the films in question meet, exceeded or failed his expectations of the material and genre. Wow, that must have been really hard to think before you write but he seems to be the only person capable of doing so. You have other people declare that a film "had praise heaped upon on it for no apparent reason" and that's it. That's their insight into the film and other people's opinions. I guess other people must be if they only do things for "no apparent reason". Or maybe they did have their reasons and you're just unwilling or unable to engage with them on any other level than "ha, ha, ha, they're STUPID". Or maybe the director must be an alcoholic "ha, ha, ha" (oh wait, that was another writer, but really who gives a shit?)

It's a waste of time and effort to merely engage with people who just don't want to engage with others and that everyone else doesn't get it because, umm, they have different opinions than I do. And you know what? Everyone has different opinions. Critics shouldn't be judged on what films they liked or didn't like (or their status), but how they came to form those opinions. That's the difference between a judgement and an insight. If you can't critically engage with a text, it doesn't matter what publication you write for or what degrees you have, because you will never have an insight and that's what matters.

Luisa

Lone Ranger UNDERRATED? Spring Breakers OVERRATED? Gangster Squad UNDERRATED? 12 Years a Slave OVERRATED? This post doens't make any sense, sorry.

Joss

Only God Forgives holds 39% on rotten tomatoes, 5.9 on imdb and only made 10 million at the box office. To say it is overrated is plain idiocy.

DJP

Drew Taylor: "Slavery is one of the worst atrocities of humankind. Django Unchained had the guts to turn slavery into an abstract, blood splattered comic book." Idiot.

Tyler

Underrated – Upstream Color. Why? Besides being the best film to come out of Sundance this year, it is one of the few movies I have seen that's so incredibly aesthetically, emotionally and intellectually engaging (on par with Enter The Void, Tree of Life and 2001: A Space Odyssey).

Overrated – Stories We Tell. Why? Because it was so damn dull. Does anyone really like watching family home videos of strangers? (Dear Zachary made this idea work so much more effectively)

Reese

I have never left a comment like this before but I was curious to see the type of people you have writing for you on staff and I was a bit baffled to read the selection of movies picked. This has got to be one of the worst film critic staff's ever.
Kevin Jagernauth- I agreed with you picks completely, all though I did enjoy Spring Breakers, the acting was horrendous but the part of me that enjoy's shitty movies, enjoyed it.
Kimber Myers- Never saw In A World but have no desire to because of you thoughts on Room 237.
Cory Everett- How did you get a job? Really? Pacific Rim? I get where your trying to come from but to claim it is underrated is a joke. You clearly have no taste in movies. And for you thoughts on Blue is the warmest color, that is hands down one of the best most realistic looks at what modern day love actually is, leaving the fact that they are lesbians out of it. There way love is depicted was right on point. If anything that and The Place Beyond the Pines are the only 2 movies to come out this year that have been worth loving.
I want to keep going and go into more detail with anyone is they are willing to email me.

Xavier

For me, Breathe In, Drake Doremus' follow up to Like Crazy, with Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones, was the most overlooked and underrated film of 2013, the complexity and emotional sincerity brought to the familiar summer-autumn relationship, really brought home the notion that there is still untapped and interesting themes to explore, even in well worn territory. It was by far the best movie I saw that was at sundance.
Stoker, as well I felt was largely ignored, but I thought it was just fantastic, and a great english-language debut from Park Chan Wook (a great score from Clint Mansell too). The foreshadowing, the twists and turns and the overall mood were all extremely well done. The acting fitting the style also.
Ain't them Bodies Saints however, I found to be overrated and felt it was too much like a lesser clone of Badlands, without adding much of its own vision.
Upstream Colour I consider probably the most overrated and over-analysed film of the year. I felt that the romance was completely unconvincing, the acting average at best and there was very little substance to its sci-fi elements, it leaves so many themes and threads unaddressed in an uninteresting way. Just because it was vague and abstract does not mean there is depth in what it brings up.

Melissa

I'm bewildered that no one picked Gravity as overrated.

Xavier

I am going to take real issue with one item on the list, Only God Forgives. While my opinions on a few of the movies here differ from those expressed, for instance Gangster Squad was the worst movie I saw this year, however if you liked it, it was certainly received poorly and you would find it underrated.
Only God Forgives on the other hand was almost universally critically reviled and taken down for not being as good as Drive, I don't think it doing reasonably well for a film of its type (I don't know box office very well, but $10 mil for a film like that still seems average/modest) means its overrated either, maybe plenty went to see it on the strength of drive and were just as disappointed as "everyone you know". Quite frankly its ridiculous to consider it overrated, who was "rating" it, I have seen maybe one or two positive reviews for it and they certainly were not championing it as an all time great.
Personally I found the movie engaging and Refn to be trying to explore the links between sexual and violent urges. This didn't work as often as needed and I would agree that a couple of shots linger too long as Gosling (it felt like a crutch at times) and some of Kristen Scott Thomas' lines felt forced. There was still much to like however, it was shot absolutely, the lighting and sound coming together to create a chilling ambience, and the use of perspective through the doorways near the end was fabulous. As a dancer/choreographer I liked a lot of the slow languid shots and the use of repeated gestures and motifs throughout, which is not something that is often seen in film.
Although it didn't all fully come together, there was enough for me that other films don't often do and the set pieces that for me were the crux of the whole thing were so well executed (the karaoke scene for instance) that I found it compelling. If you disagree and thought it was average or poor, fine, but the fact that your negative criticisms are echoes of dozens of other opinions out there just works counter to your very argument that it is "overrated".

benutty

I'm disappointed that nobody put Frances Ha in their underrated, and I'm not really sure how Sam came to the conclusion that a) 10K is solid box office, and b) that 10K at the box office means people/anyone liked Only God Forgives……………

Also: obviously American Hustle is the most overrated film of the year. It's god-awful, and the piece Variety wrote TRASHING it is the best film writing I've seen all year.

Charles

I would've liked to have seen Thanks for Sharing on someone's underrated list.

Michele

I'm not certain that The Counselor was underrated, exactly–more like trashed by the critics. But it deserves a lot more respect and love than it got.

terry girard

How is a movie that only made 10 million and everyone hated "Overrated." Do you know how this works?

Jonathan

This Sam Chatter kid over-criticizes Gosling just because he's angry "Only God Forgives" wasn't good. Gosling's got a boring face? Please. Can't carry a movie? Guy's never seen "Blue Valentine," "Half Nelson," "The Believer" or, hell, even "Fracture." If he has… he's wrong.

Piotr

Drew Taylor: "Johnny Depp's performance as a Native American got my juices flowing. Didn't really feel the struggle in 12 Years A Slave, though." Oooooooookkkaaaayyyyy.

MJ

Surprised no one is mentioning Disconnect and the mind-blowing performance of Andrea Riseborough. Though, double-checking the dates, it looks like it came out in 2012? Man… her performance is going to go down as just killer. Especially if you watch Oblivion then Disconnect. I mean, I didn't realize it was her until AFTER the flick.

Witness

Haha. Charlie Hunnam shade??? He is a good actor and his accent has ever occurred to me on Sons of Anarchy. I actually thought outside of the effects he was one of the better parts of Pacific Rim

the mayor of crazy town

Overrated: Gravity
Underrated: The Counselor

tristan eldritch

A distinct lack of substance in the criticism of Only God Forgives, and a total absence of logic in calling it "Overrated".

cirkusfolk

My picks would be Place Beyond the Pines for underrated and Gravity for overrated.

Dieagens

To call "Pacific Rim" underrated and "Blue" overrated is going beyond the realms of subjective opinion and entering into an infinite void of stupidity and lack of emotional sanity, maybe it's time to get back to just drooling on your pyjamas while watching Power Rangers

Billybob

ALL IS LOST is easily the most overrated flick of '13 for me. I mean, wtf is the point of telling that simplistic of a story and adding nothing interesting to it…Also, PACIFIC RIM was a total dud for me and I call bull***t on all people who claim it was awesome.

David

Rodrigo Perez is the most intelligent person on the staff, and Kristen Lopez is obviously the least intelligent.

WM

This list is ridiculous. How is a very acclaimed film such as "The Past" underrated? Or how are two critically panned films, "Mitty" and "Only God", overrated? This is contrarian for the sake of it click bait. Unfortunately this becoming more and more common on Playlist/Indiewire. Thank the stars for The Dissolve.

vpoaivmgfoia

Good god. Another deterrent of an otherwise great film like Blue having someone bash it's apparently gaze filled sex scene that's actually shot and edited no differently from anything else in the film. Someone needs to learn up on their Kechiche cinema, and maybe pay more attention to the subtle character development that shows and doesn't tell for the happy to be pleased, unhappy to be challenged audience.

Michael

Man, I don't know how anyone can say "12 Years a Slave" approaches it's subject matter with emotional distance. Personally, I found it to be one of the most bruising and empathetic movies I've ever seen. I really felt like I'd shared Solomon's experience (of a completely different magnitude of course). I don't think I'll ever be able to look at that time period the same way again.

Ricardo

Where is The Counselor?

ad.

You give a "A" to Terrence Malick To the Wonder and it is nowhere on your lists.

NewYorker

my 10 favorite underrated films of 2013 are defently
1-Disconnect
2-The Secret Life Of Dorks
3-Thanks For Sharing
4-Plush
5-Charlie Countryman
6-The To Do List
7-Stuck In Love
8-The Brass Teapot
9-Filly Brown
10-The English Teacher

and my 10 favorite overrated films of 2013 are defently
1-Man Of Steel
2-Spring Breakers
3-Thor: The Dark World
4-Iron Man 3
5-Oz: Great and Powerful
6-Fruitvale Station
7-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
8-Lee Daniels' The Butler
9-The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug
10-12 Years A Slave

laur

Did someone actually say Pacific Rim as UNDERrated??????? It's by far one of the worst movies I've seen in the last five years.

bob

you are still a shit bell

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