Wowzers, a mere 2 weeks of posts left! How ever does one mark such a milestone (or millstone depending on how one looks at it. It is, after all, all about perspective). Well let’s see. I’ve done one dual list of over and underrated movies, so there’s a start. Maybe 14 of those in honor of the remaining number of posts. But what to call it?
Ah. I have just the thing. Back when I was a lovestruck college lad, one of my innumerable crushes was partial to 7&7’s, so named for the 2 ingredients being Seagrams 7 and 7-Up. Clever, yes? So, here is my own 7&7: 7 Overrated & 7 Underrated Movies.
#7 Dracula (1931)
I might take some heat for this. Now, I’m not saying this movie wasn’t quite something for its time or that it’s not an important, iconic moment in cinema. I’m just saying that after almost 100 years, it doesn’t hold up well. Even as a wee lad, this didn’t have much of an effect. And speaking of vampires…
#6 The Hunger (1983)
The best way I can describe this is to call it a beautiful disaster. David Bowie is, at first, lovely to look at, and the movie is gorgeously shot and mesmerizing to watch. But hot damn is it boring, so boring that I can’t even raise it to the level of all style and no substance.
#5 The Strangers (2008)
One of many, many movies that was hyped as being sooo goddamn scary but turned out to be pretty tedious. Okay, a home invasion. Okay, it was cuz “you were home.” Yawn. If you found this movie frightening, I urge you to check out the earlier and much better French/Romanian film Them (Ils 2006).
#4 Insidious (2010)
Man I don’t get this. I don’t see what’s so scary about it. Even the jump scares are taken down a notch when they involve that red and black Darth Maul lookin’ demon. Maybe it’s not entirely the film. Maybe it’s related to that age-old Lovecraft problem of not being able to translate a devastatingly frightening extraplanar being to a visual medium. Oh, wait, I also saw the ending comin’ a good couple miles away, so maybe it is entirely the film.
#3 It Follows (2014)
Okay, I’ll grant you the movie’s opening. After that, it essentially boils down to another creature feature with a creature that jumps from host to host. Like The Hidden (1987). Or Night Of The Creeps (1986). Or The Thing (1982).
#2 The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Do I even need to explain this? I have zero suspension of disbelief with this movie. One is lost in the wilds of Maryland. Why would one not travel east toward the sun (and away from it after midday) until one hits the ocean?
#1 A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)
I know. I know. I’ve complained about Wes Craven in general and this movie in particular, but geez I can’t stand this movie or Freddy. And I’m not alone. If I recall correctly, Stephen King takes a less than favorable view as well in Danse Macabre.
#7 It (1990)
Lotsa folks wanna hate on this Tim Curry version. I think it’s fantastic, and it managed to creep out a supposedly ultrasophisticed 25-year-old grad student me.
#6 Halloween (2007)
I’m not sure why people despise Rob Zombie’s remake. I don’t know what unreasonable expectations they had goin’ in, but mine were managed quite nicely. Rob Zombie was what I came for, and Rob Zombie was what I got. And I also appreciated the Michael backstory.
#5 Signs (2002)
“I am not wasting one more minute of my life on prayer.” Hell yeah, Mel! I really liked this which I realize makes me a little bit of a hypocrite. If I can’t get past the sun in the east thing with Blair Witch, why can I accept aliens who can’t touch water invading a planet that’s mostly, y’know, water? I might offer the semi-lame argument that they might not know what water is, being aliens, but…
#4 Death Proof (2007)
I love this for its supersimple premise: a stuntman (Kurt Russell…as a bad guy!) who kills women with his car. I love even more that he runs afoul of and receives his comeuppance from Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thomas, and Zoë Bell.
#3 Dune (1984)
I gotta admit right from the off that I’m not beatin’ down any doors to see the new version. I wasn’t a fan of the novels, and I can’t deal with all the pre-release ads in which the actors introduced themselves with “I’m X, and I play so-and-so in the upcoming event movie, Dune.” Event movie. We’re taking ourselves a bit seriously aren’t we? Anyway, there’s an amazing documentary, Jodorowski’s Dune which is well worth your time. What a mind trip that woulda been. But I’ve recently revisited David Lynch’s version and found myself enthralled by just how spectacular it was. I don’t mean that in a good way. Something can be a spectacle for all the wrong reasons, as this was. That’s why it’s here.
#2 Frenzy (1972)
I have a dear friend who absolutely loathes this movie, and I get why. But I’m listing it based for 2 reasons. First, I dig the fact that this cynical, mean-spirited, nasty little film is kinda Hitchcock’s poison penned letter to the entire Hollywood system. Second, one rape/murder scene ends on a slow, masterful pullback from the room all the way to the street where nobody has any clue what’s going on. Y’know. Like later with David Lynch/Blue Velvet (1986) or Todd Solondz/Happiness (1998).
#1 Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982)
Another movie I’ve gone on and on about. Like Rob Zombie’s Halloween, I’m not sure what the detractors were looking for headin’ into this one. Maybe more Michael Myers. Maybe some kind of tie-in with the Haddonfield universe. But if you go in looking for a culty, evil, science fictiony, and, most importantly, fun Saturday afternoon kinda romp, this is some primo shit here.
And there it is. 14 movies on the list, 14 posts left. As always, feel free to leave discussion, differences of opinion, other titles, and/or random gushes of affection in the Comments.