With the constant barrage of blockbuster films assaulting our senses these days, I have been thinking back to another blockbuster-filled decade and wondering how many of these current films will stand the test of time as poorly as so many of those. Will people still use words such as “awesome” to describe “Iron Man” or the “Lord of the Rings” films in ten or fifteen years? Here are ten films people considered to be pretty damn incredible at the time that have not aged well at all:
The Fugitive- When news of this Harrison Ford starring remake of the classic TV series dropped, I’ll admit to reacting bitterly. After all, I’d already started work on a script with Dennis Quaid in mind (A Harrison Ford type to my way of thinking) and it was a far more grounded treatment than what we got. At the time, the film seemed exciting and riveting, but age has revealed it to be overblown and suffering from a ludicrous third act reveal.
Speed- Okay, I hated this one from the outset, but even I thought it had some production level merits. Not anymore. It was yet another overwrought descent into laughable mediocrity, featuring Dennis Hopper is an embarrassingly awful scenery chewing performance and more clichéd dialogue on that stupid bus than one would find in a screenwriting class.
Demolition Man- What once seemed like a refreshingly humorous take on a tired genre now feels forced, loud and severely compromised. Stallone’s fish out of water is fine but Snipes’ overacting is painful to watch.
Forrest Gump- I’m pretty sure this movie makes everybody’s list of overrated schlock. What a cloying piece of sentimental rubbish. Hanks has never been worse and neither has Zemeckis.
Titanic- Bill Paxton once referred to this movie as a 3-hour “romance novel crap-a-thon” in an SNL skit. Whether he meant it or not, he was right. Frankly, at the risk of offending idiots, they’re the only ones who could possibly still think this historical bastardization that was obviously filmed on a soundstage was anything other than James Cameron’s massive ego run amok.
The Matrix- Oh, look. It’s Keanu Reeves again. Never mind the fact that he seems to have just recently learned to act. Nobody could have changed my opinion of this pretentious, over-the-top pile of drek.
Jurassic Park- I never understand what thrilled people about this lackluster, phoned-in excuse to introduce people to the next generation of CGI. The story was dull, the action was stagey, the acting was better than the material and the dinosaurs failed to impress. Looking at it now, the skeletal plot and dull resolution remind us that it really was an excuse to practice using new technology. Boys and their toys…
The Silence of the Lambs- If ever one needs an example of bad melodramatic Nineties acting and “Face/Off” isn’t available, look no further than this overrated glorification of serial killers. Anthony Hopkins, an actor I’ve always found rather iffy, chews scenery so hard I’m surprised he still has his teeth. Taking a character another actor infused with a quiet, subtle dread and turning it into a farcical mockery must be a talent. The less said about an apparently half-asleep Jodie Foster the better.
Braveheart- Mel Gibson is a very good director, despite his personal problems, but this is not the movie to showcase his talent. While his acting in the film is quite good (everyone’s is) the visuals are so textbook symbolic and silly the movie suffers from an overabundance of self-indulgence. If not for the admittedly kick-ass battle sequences, this woefully inaccurate portrayal with its cartoonishly evil English and virtuous Scots would be a complete waste.
Men in Black- Here’s an idea: Let’s take something people have been reporting seeing for decades in the most negative manner possible, and turn them into a pale reflection of the Ghostbusters. Let’s make the aliens wacky and almost harmless and throw a bunch of one-liners at everybody. Oh, and let’s make sure the movie is plotless. The only saving grace for this movie is that by the third installment, all involved had apparently learned how to make an actual movie with a plot.