Richard at The Humpo Show has tagged me to get involved in this Unpopular Opinion Tag (Films edition), and I thought it would be great fun since I have to pick three films generally loved by most people, but which I find undeserving of all the hype and explain my choices. Thanks again, Richard!
In particular, the rules are as follows:
- Pick three movies which most people like, except you;
- Tag a minimum of five (or more) other people;
- Thank the person who has tagged you.
So, without further ado, I pick American Beauty (1999), Dead Poets Society (1989) and The Cabin in the Woods (2012). Be warned, spoilers ahead.
I. American Beauty (1999)
IMDb score: 8.4; Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%.
I am a fan of Sam Mendes (see “Revolutionary Road” (2008) and “Skyfall” (2012)), but “American Beauty” is just far from being a great film everyone thinks it is. The film is just a pretentious and self-indulgent portrayal of middle-class family life in the suburban USA. It may appeal to the audience because of its strong performances, alluring direction and cinematography, and its beautiful soundtrack, but its self-conscious, manipulative play with the its melodramatic narrative leaves much to be desired, and all of its characters are unlikable. Through the narrative of our already dead protagonist, middle-aged Lester, “American Beauty” looks at the example of a middle-class suburban life cynically, romanticising the exploitation and commodification of female bodies, the maniac and perverted pursuit of underage girls, and the use of drugs, among other things. The film thinks Lester, played by Kevin Spacey, is another “Great Gatsby”, who died being misunderstood by everyone and because of some unfortunate series of events. In fact, the film glorifies a protagonist that is abusive and manipulative, and that is only too happy to gain and exploit the attention of young girls to satisfy his own sexual needs (Lester Burnham is an anagram of “Humbert learns” (from Nabokov’s controversial “Lolita”). Though some of its scenes are entertaining, the film’s overall self-importance is just laughable, and the messages its sends are, if not shocking, then definitely very tasteless.
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