Oh my God, it’s almost 2010: Most Overhyped Movies
“The Men Who Stare at Goats” was released recently. When I first saw the trailer, I thought it would be funny and smart. Plus, it had Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” in it—a recipe for success. A week later, it’s getting crushed by “2012,” and its Rotten Tomatoes rating hovers around 55 percent. Like countless other movies this decade, “Goats” didn’t live up to the hype. So, I’ve put together a list of the most overhyped movies of the past decade. Think of it as a PSA. Now that the movies are out, don’t trick yourself into seeing them.
5. “Superman Returns”
I saw this movie in summer 2006 when I was in a pre-college camp at Northwestern University. I didn’t have a ton of friends, but people I did hang out with loved to watch movies. “Good movies,” we’d call them, like “Boondock Saints” and “Kill Bill.” So leading up to the release of “Superman Returns,” I tried to drum up hype…which was my first mistake. But in my defense, a reboot of Superman, released a year after the same sort of move with “Batman Returns,” looked more than promising. My friends were reluctant and only agreed to come if we could stop by Hollister on the way back. I agreed (don’t judge me!), and we made an afternoon show.
We left 20 minutes later. It was just so…bad. To this day, I can’t believe that they cast Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel. He could have been replaced by a cardboard cutout of Christopher Reeves, and I would have liked it more. The endless ice puns! “Why so stiff, Superman?” What a bad movie.
I think 2006 was a disappointing year—first “Superman Returns,” then “Cars.” All signs pointed toward this being Pixar’s next big box-office hit/critical darling. First of all, it was a Pixar movie, and after a seemingly endless string of successes, the company could do no wrong. Second, it was directed by John Lasseter, director of Pixar’s first hit, “Toy Story,” and overseer of everything the company had ever done.
This didn’t make it a good movie. Its use of stereotyping was surprisingly unsettling and, more importantly, not engaging. Following this thread, yes, the cars went fast, but the movie didn’t go anywhere. The plot revolves around a hotshot racecar slowing down and enjoying the slower things in life, but that shouldn’t have left the viewers bored out of their skulls. Thankfully, Pixar’s made good since then, but now whenever I see a Pixar film, I have this horrifying vision of “Cars” in the back of my head.
Again, this is another instance of the trailer overselling the movie. “Troy” had Brad Pitt and a whole fleet of boats that hyped the movie in everyone’s mind. Some of the build up was definitely residual from “Lord of the Rings.” In 2004, people everywhere were still dealing with the fact that the trilogy was over, and that, for the first time since 2000, there wouldn’t be a “Lord of the Rings” release that year. “Troy,” an adaptation of “The Iliad,” and featuring large-scale battles and Orlando Bloom, had just enough to be our fix.
Too bad it butchered its source material in too many ways to count. Too bad Orlando Bloom couldn’t capture his Legolas-badassitude and ended up playing one of the most annoying characters in film history. On top of that, the fight scenes were largely unnecessary—the screenwriters should have spent more time on the dialogue than describing Pitt’s high-leg kick, because the conversations were stilted and captured none of the beauty of the epic poem.
2. “The Matrix Reloaded”
“The Matrix” was every fifth-grade boy’s fantasy back in the day, and when we were all given a chance to relive this dream in eighth grade, we jumped at the chance. We were told there would be more fight scenes and the biggest car chase in film history. I know nowadays that people don’t refer to the three films as the “Matrix Trilogy.” There’s the first film, “The Matrix,” and then there are two unnamed sequels that should never be brought up in the same sentence as the original.
It had a Thursday midnight release, which I couldn’t attend, and I remember that when I heard one of my friends talking about the plot the next day of school, I started screaming, “SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!” And when she didn’t listen, I stuck my fingers in my ears and yelled, “LALALALALA!” The hype had taken me prisoner.
We snuck into the movie that Friday night. We cheered when the titles hit…but we left the theater silently. It was like watching my beta fish die, slowly, day by day, drifting to the bottom of the tank, until one morning, it’s belly-up. What are you supposed to talk about when that happens? I swore never to let it happen to me again.
1. “Spider-Man 3”
It happened again. I debated over switching this movie with “The Matrix Reloaded’s” spot, but I decided this was more deserved. The hype for “Spider-Man 3” was astronomical. After two stellar prequels, each better than the last, the third-quel said it would continue that trend. But it lied.
The trailer made it look like Spider-Man’s transition from red to black would be dark. In reality, it was moody, with a touch of emo-hair. At that point in the show, all bets were off. The movie hadn’t kept its promise to be a fantastic film, so we went back on ours to be a good audience. How’s the pie, Harry? “So good!” (Malicious wink!) Not one, but two spontaneous dance scenes? Why not? There’s one in the middle of the street, where Peter Parker points…suggestively at all types of women like he’s The Todd, and there has to be another dance scene set in a swingin’ jazz club, and you know it’s a swingin’ jazz club because they play the Chips Ahoy! music.
My friends and I laughed when Spider-Man landed right in front of an American flag (oooh, symbolism!), and we lost it when Tobey Maguire’s acting skills betrayed him in the crying scene.
It was awful, just awful. Promise me you’ll never watch it. Watch clips on YouTube for a good laugh but never see it.