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Feature: HollywoodChicago.com’s Overrated & Worst Films of 2017

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CHICAGO – Opinions are like certain orifices, everybody has one. The contributors to HollywoodChicago.com – Patrick McDonald, Jon Lennon Espino and Spike Walters – are no strangers to opinions on the film scene, so why not offer judgement on the most overrated and worst films of the year 2017.

The term “overrated” can cover a multitude of films, but mostly it involves the critical darlings that just didn’t resonate with the contributors. The “worst,” of course, Is equally as arbitrary, but the consensus usually is in agreement after experiencing the movie. The following represents the two categories for the 2017 film year.

StarPatrick McDonald

OW1
OVERRATED: ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ WORST: ‘The Comedian’
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures & Sony Pictures Classics

Overrated: THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI My timing is excellent, since THREE BILLBOARDS was just named Best Film (Drama) at the 2018 Golden Globes. But for me, the problem with this film is that it just doesn’t land. It’s a series of vignettes that are designed to show how powerful the intellect and decision making of Mildred is (the anti-hero portrayed by Frances McDormand), while the rest of the small town environment bumbles around her. And yes, in context it could easily be seen as symbolic, yet there is so much arbitrary violence and cruelty, with no consequence, that the metaphor and point is muddled. Mildred’s confrontation with the town priest, for example, is filled with overwrought screenplay dreck about the sins of the Catholic Church, delivered with perfect timing and expression by a clerk at a souvenir shop (Mildred’s “job”). That ain’t small town, that’s the writer/director’s (Martin McDonagh) exploitation of small town. One mitigating factor is the vague ending, nicely played.

Worst: THE COMEDIAN There is nothing worst than a waste of talent in a film, and THE COMEDIAN should be arrested for toxic waste. The rogues list of the expertise thrown away by director Taylor Hackford (“Ray”) and the four screenwriters include Robert De Niro, Edie Falco, Danny DeVito, Patti Lupone, Harvey Keitel, Cloris Leachman, Charles Grodin AND Leslie Mann (who apparently needs husband Judd Apatow to shine). DeNiro portrays a stand up comedian – and still had the chops from when he was in the far superior KING OF COMEDY – who is trying to make some kind of comeback. The film was as flat and unfunny as squished roadkill, and seemed to introduce a major comic player or actor every five minutes to try and recusitate it. There was no authenticity in what could have been a poignant elegy. It’s perplexing how De Niro is toying with his legacy with this string of late career flops.

Click here for a counterpoint review of “Three Billboards…” by Jon Lennon Espino.
Click here for a full review of the “The Comedian” by Patrick McDonald.

StarJon Lennon Espino

OW2

OVERRATED: ‘Dunkirk’ WORST: ‘The Emoji Movie’
Photo credit: Warner Bros. & Columbia Pictures

Overrated: DUNKIRK I can’t deny that Christopher Nolan creates impressive cinematic experiences, that are meant to flood your senses with striking visuals and stunning sound design. As entertaining as these experiences may appear, they are meant to distract you from the fact that they mostly lack any real substance or coherent story. DUNKIRK is Nolan’s latest film and attempt to create experiences he feels should only be seen in a movie theater. With this film (but not with his entire argument against Netflix), he is right, of course, but once you get over the shock and awe and actually begin to analyze the film, you’ll come to realize how empty it truly is. This isn’t a film like INCEPTION, where you’re likely to get into an argument with your friends on the way home about the finer points of reality versus dreaming. Or a film like INTERSTELLAR, which will have you asking morality questions about family and duty. DUNKIRK is like a temporary high that lasts the length of the film, and once it comes to an end, you’ll go back to wondering what TV shows are coming on that night. 

Worst: THE EMOJI MOVIE Emojis came into existence as a fun form of brevity, creating full conversations with a few precise, select symbols. Even at under 90 minutes, THE EMOJI MOVIE feels devastatingly long, lacking in both fun or an interesting message. Created as an obvious cash grab trying to capitalize on what the studio thinks “young people” are into, this animated film fails to entertain on even the most minimal levels. The adult audience is already rolling their eyes on the premise alone, so that only leaves the much younger intended-to-monopolize-on demographic. Even with the complete wreck of a story, and jokes so basic they’re out of a children’s comedy book, this couldn’t have gotten the attention of kids if it were made seven years earlier… when emojis were shiny and new. The novelty of the premise stopped being relevant long before the film was even a seedling, and instead turned into a painful experience that would have been better suited as an animated short. 

Click here for the counterpoint review of “Dunkirk,” by Patrick McDonald.

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